19 November 2023 Puntarenas
In search of a hotel
“I would define mental health as the capacity to be aware of the gap between stimulus and response, together with the capacity to use this gap constructively. Thus, mental health, in my judgement, is on the opposite side of the spectrum of ‘conditioning’ and ‘control’.”Psychologist Rollo May’s 1963 behavioural science article “Freedom and Responsibility Re-Examined”
Alarm set for 6:15… awake at 5:22 !
I had breakfast and checked out of ‘Eddys’ at 7:30 am
I asked Eddy if the bus would stop outside the hotel but he said no, you have to go to the bus station in town. So, I took a short but steep 10-minute walk – with backpacks – uphill to the Bus Station.
There were maybe 20 people waiting to board the bus which left at 8:01 essentially on time. The bus then stopped right outside ‘Cabinas Eddy B&B’ where I had recently had breakfast and checked out!! Nevermind, I needed the exercise anyway.
It was a very scenic journey, you can see the Pacific Ocean from not too far outside Santa Elena.
The bus stopped many times as people hailed it from the side of the road. It’s a big bus and the roads through the hills are small.
I was faced with a quandary, should I stay in Puntarenas for one night, or just change buses to carry on to Quepos? I do need some time to research places to go and things to do, before going south.
As we approach Puntarenas town a bus stops on the opposite side of the road, and our driver shouts out ‘Quepos autobus!’ pointing across the street. At least a dozen mostly – but not all – young travellers grabbed their backpacks and dashed across the road to board the southbound bus.
Under different circumstances I may well have joined them, but the thing is, I had a full bladder as it was, so I simply couldn’t consider getting on another bus for a journey of an unknown duration. I will be staying in Puntarenas tonight.
It was after 11 when we arrived in the town centre and very hot under clear skies, unlike up in the hills of Monteverde.
I stood in the shade of a closed shop doorway and booked a room at the Hotel Don Robert a few blocks away. Even last year, this would have terrified me! Travelling somewhere without booked accommodation, let alone arriving somewhere without a hotel booking would have kept me up at night, I would feel like I wasn’t in control. (PPS+R … protect, promote, satisfy and repeat!)
Being a Sunday most of the shops are closed, with shutters down. There are a noticeable number of down at heel individuals mooching about. Also noticeable is the heavy security on properties… shutters, barred gates, and razer wire at strategic places to discourage uninvited visitors.
I checked into the hotel… once I could find it. I walked around in circles for ages. Strangely, the hotel does have a very large sign outside that straddles the sidewalk but it can only be seen from across the street?!
My room wasn’t ready, but I was allowed to sit down in the shade with an electric fan running and log on to the hotel’s WiFi. I took the opportunity to do a little research into where to go next, and then joined Sunday’s online ‘Sit-and-Share’ meditation meeting which was very pleasant and agreeable.
After the Sit-and-Share, I walked to the Bus Station to check the times for the buses to Quepos, and so that I would know where to walk tomorrow… this quells my travel anxiety about being in control… more PPS+R.
A block beyond the bus station was the public beach. I took off my flip-flops and dipped my toes in the Pacific then had a long walk along the sand. It’s the weekend so there are lots of people around. It’s not the cleanest of beaches but better than many I have seen on this trip.
There are families swimming in the sea, and a very large football game going on. The soccer match seems to be being taken quite seriously, if good natured, with players of all ages involved… some participants covered in grey sand adhered to their damp clothes and skin… there’s a lot of ‘diving’ going on!
Further along, in a small open air arena, there are dozens of mostly women parading in flamboyant Flamenco type dresses in a synchronous wave. It looks like they are practising for ‘Carnaval’.
This is Sunday afternoon in Puntarenas.
On the way back down the beach, I stopped at one of the many seaside restaurants to have a main meal of Special Burger and fries… I am still trying to work out what was special about it.
As I walked back to the Hotel Don Robert, I spotted a POPS ice-cream parlour, stopping to sample a ‘Churchill’ flavour sundae. I can’t tell you what ‘Churchill’ flavour is other than it’s very pink.
I couldn’t go to bed without tackling some laundry and making a few notes about today. But now that really is it.
- Bus Ticket Monteverde to Puntarenas € 4.50
- Lunch special burger and fries plus 2 sodas € 11
- Hotel Don Robert booked through Booking.com € 47 with breakfast .