A Blue Dream
Updated: Jun 18
There are many important things one must take into consideration when traveling... and even more so when traveling solo. That could be the basis for another article ... and not so relevant to this blog for right now... but...
But... there are definitely TWO things one must consider prior to booking accommodation;
Price... always an issue. You can never, and must never be fooled by price. This is exceedingly difficult, as price is the number one, most deceiving little scoundrel. Over priced accommodation can give the impression that it's of better upkeep, provides premium amenities, is of superior value, stands above in style and is of much higher class... but can be absolute shit. I have stayed in some pricey dives. On the flip side, lower priced lodging has provided some of the best accommodation I have ever stayed at... and also some of the worst. There have been times, I have been so perturbed by everything encountered, that I've been quite prepared to storm into the office, cause the biggest stink and demand I get my $3 back. Then I breath, calm myself down and realize the expense matches worth. It's a crap shoot. I try to vary my stays to appease my financial affairs.... though, very rarely, do I veer over to the very extravagant side of travel. Sometimes, I give myself the impression I do... but in all honesty, I always remain within my poor backpacker budget.
Hostels/Backpackers. This is a TOUGH one. On one hand, I am completely over the party-place atmosphere... but I want to meet people. I don't want to feel I'm drowning in the suffocation of budding 20-something's... but I want to meet people. Rarely does one meet anyone at a hotel. Saving money and feeling like the granny of the group doesn't necessarily always mesh well, and unfortunately, my insecurities don't bode well in situations such as these. Don't get me wrong, I try to remain seemingly youthful, with a facade of youthful enthusiasm and acceptance, but inside, I'm usually annoyed. I don't want to be kept up all night by booming music, incessant laughter, howling, singing, inebriated altercations... nor do I want to be woken up to the drunks in the next room, having sex. Bookings should mention thin walls and poor insulation in their online amenities. I bid adieu to dorm rooms years ago, and I have NO intention of going back. Occasionally, I will consent to a shared bathroom...but you have to catch me on a good day, and it has to be the deal of a life time. On the flip side, hostels are meeting areas. Hostels are the best places to sit in a common area, and strike up conversations with like-minded travelers, regardless of age. Give me a private room, with a shared bathroom, in a laid back hostel... with a chill bar, any day. BUT... please, give me all my money back if I hate it.
In regards to hostels and backpacker accommodation, over the past 3/4 years, I have probably had more bad experiences than good... but it's the GOOD ones that give you the BEST experiences and really keep you eternally hopeful… and coming back for more.
I made the decision to leave Volcare and move north to La Cruz. La Cruz is one of the last stops before Nicaragua. I originally had the intention of popping into Nicaragua for a quick look around, and a stamp in my passport... but there in no such thing as popping anywhere anymore.
Covid took the pop away.
Nowadays, prior to entering most countries, travelers are faced with filling out health forms, downloading QR codes, getting their first shot, second shot.. third shot... proof of vaccination, paying an exorbitant amount of money for testing on both sides of the border, the fear of positive results and quarantine... only to turn around and do it all over again. Gone are the days of a quick jaunt across the border for some lunch, a stamp and a photo.
Faced with a $240US covid test and much shaky ground on being allowed to be let back in Costa Rica, I was staying put. That didn't mean I couldn't look at Nicaragua though, right? I gazed across the blue sea and thought, "One day we shall meet. One day."
Now is just not the time for me and Nic.
When I mentioned I was going to La Cruz, a few people responded with 'why?'
I don't know. Why not?
Seemed ok... and for some reason, I had marked it as a favourite in my Google Maps. Off I went.
The journey was ok... the road out of Vocare was a bit touch and go, but once I was on the main drag, my little Bird flew. It was nice not to be on bumpy roads. I was starting to feel like my excursion was more like a bumper car ride at the fair, rather than a relaxing vacation in paradise.
It wasn't until I had to turn off the main road that things began to get dicey. The usual;
Narrow, winding roads.
Again.. no big deal. I was used to all this by now.
My phone died.
I am also used to this... but never take it well, regardless.
I was desperate to charge it, and of course, my car USB was useless and my portable charger had packed it in. I ended up having to pull out my computer and charge from there... and we all know how reliable my computer is right now. In the meantime, along the way, I encountered quite a few dead ends, mud pits, private property gates, farmland... yet surprisingly... some secluded and gorgeous beaches & marinas. Good thing I had my real camera with me, as I wouldn't have been able to capture any of it with my stupid, dead phone.
It's Waze that drains it. It's true.
The place I was set to stay at was about 10km outside of La Cruz, and it's was called...
... wait for it...
... wait for it...
Blue Dream Hotel.
If that wasn't a BIG red flag to an obvious rubbish side of accommodation, then I don't know what was. Sometimes my blinders are on, and although I hope for the best, I'm usually a naive idiot.
My Blue Dream was location somewhere between Playas Papaturro and Puerto Soley. I could not really understand the address... and both Google Maps and Waze were leading me in opposite directions. I drove by this place 7 TIMES.
A couple times, I screamed.
Stopped the car... and screamed.
Even with my phone at a minimal charge, Waze was draining the battery faster than it could charge. Directions were trying to lead me into fields and trying to force me through closed fences... It was beyond frustrating. These map apps kept insisting there were roads, where it was quite obvious, there were not.
For the life of me, I could NOT find this stupid place. Finally I did what every self-respecting gringa would do, I stopped at the corner store and went in, begging for help.
Ya... just as I suspected... not in a field, or through a fence.. or down a mud path... it was back about 5km and right on the side of the road. The girl described it to me as "Tall." So off I went, determined to find the only tall building in Playa Papaturro.
There were no tall buildings. I should have stayed at that lovely eco-farm. Cursing myself. Even hitting myself, occasionally, depending on how intense my agitation got.
I eventually found it.
I don't know if tall would be the word I would use as an apt descriptor.
But I guess - the steeper the hill, the taller it appears. I guess.
Who am I to judge?
Steep was actually an understatement. I feared for my life walking down this hill and walking up almost gave me a coronary. *Note to self... Must get in shape...
The view was outstanding though. Sometimes steep is good.
I tried desperately to install a Pura Vida aura within me, but already my inner frustration was exploding.. stupid phone...
This direction fiasco had put a bad taste in my mouth...
Blue Dream was actually a kite boarding boarding school (aka hostel) ... and cheap accommodation for tradespeople working in the area... and me, the dumb gringa.
My room was blue, which made me think this was the dream they were talking about.
Were all the rooms blue? The bathroom was very similar to that of an RV lavatory. It was very tiny, very simple and offered nothing outside of minimal.
All night long;
Dogs were barking.
Ticos were drunk. Drunk, I could handle. It was when they started howling with the dogs...
The lady in the the accommodation beside me, to my right, was on the phone ALL NIGHT, talking about how grandma needs more bacteria in her diet.
Two kids sat outside my little hovel and 'got to know each other all night.' Everything from how they like to dress to future aspirations to what scared them most in life. FML.
The couple beside me, on the left, had sex all night.
Bugs went to town on my back during the night and treated my body like a buffet. A peppering of red itchy dots is the new black.
Then to top my nightmare off, the WIFI turned off at exactly 10PM... logic, to which I fail to understand. Ok??... Why?
So I had nothing to do, but surf Facebook on my phone, eat up my data and listen to the porno going on in the next room.
In the morning, I was determined to get some of my blog written and published, as I'd been denied WIFI access the night before. I hadn't bothered to change the time zone on my computer, thinking it wasn't of upmost importance, so in the midst of writing... and continuously watching my one hour behind computer clock, so I missed breakfast by 10 minutes.
All I really wanted was a coffee, and due to the inconvenient fact that breakfast was over, they charged me for it.
Fine. I'll always pay for coffee. No biggie. Bring it.
I had made the executive decision, prior to viewing the place and sussing my surroundings, to stay two nights, and I was now financially obligated.
I drove into La Cruz, determined to get something to eat... I was famished.
I tried to park in a residential area (to avoid paying another parking fee) and walk around town... but soon discovered there really wasn't much of a town to walk around. There were a few scatterings of restaurants, but nothing that seemed to lure me in. I tried driving down a few odd streets, hoping they might lead me to the next undiscovered magical location, but nothing did.
So, from there, I made my way back to my little blue, steep room and then took a walk down to the beach.
It was so peaceful and beautiful... and so incredible quiet. I couldn't help but wonder if everywhere was so quiet due to it not quite being tourist season yet... or lack of travelers due to COVID. Probably a little bit of both. For whichever reason, I am sure if gave Costa Rica a nice sigh of relief and respite for a few months. Time to rejuvenate.
I kept my eyes glued for snakes and crocodiles the entire time, knowing full well that there was no one to save me, should any reptiles snap me up. After awhile, I found myself at the banks of an area where a small river flowed into the ocean. I was fully prepared to turn around and walk back to my Blue Dream... but two fisherman, on the opposite side, seemed determined to help me cross. Momentarily, very momentarily, I seriously considered it, but when the one started to make his way over to me, and I saw him drop to above his waist, I knew I would remain safe, on dry land. Well... as safe as safe can be.
Why throw myself directly into the fire of a potential crocodile feeding frenzy?
I can see me on the cover of the book now...
Stupid things Tourists Did.
*starring Joanna McBride.
I didn't see anyone kiteboarding, mind you. Odd... being so close to the kiteboarding school... though I don't really know what kiteboarding is. Or where one might kiteboard, should one want to kiteboard. I really should take the time to look it up, considering I'm staying in a predominantly kiteboarding location.
As most people know, my extreme sports days have been over since I flipped an ATV over myself in Africa, so no kite boarding for me, thank you.
Too bad for the sharks.
Having had nothing to eat the entire day, I made my way to the Blue Dream restaurant for dinner.
There were two choices - Fish with Beans or Pasta Carbonara.
Hard no to Fish and Beans.
Hard no to Pasta with cream sauce and mushrooms.
Shit. I was out of options.
What kind of blue dream was this?
Pasta it shall be, without mushrooms.
I have had a lot of stomach pain problems as of late, and have been desperate to figure out the cause.
Was it dairy?
Was it gluten?
Was it deep fried?
I knew it absolutely could NOT be the wine. Of course not.
That's silly talk.
Anyway - not wanting to get into too much detail, I cut out deep fried for the most part... cut back on dairy and made the heartbreaking decision to completely cut gluten out of my life (save the occasional beer or two) in order to see if my situation improved.
Leaps and bounds.
Until, of course, I ate an entire plate of pasta dosed with thick cream sauce.
... and... cue the suffering.
Anthony Bourdain once said "Get the cream sauce"... and ya, I did get the cream sauce. Coming from a person who doesn't like carbonara, it was probably one of the best pastas I've ever had. But... never again.
I left the Blue Dream and made the promise to myself, I would never fall prey to these shenanigans ever again. Regardless of price, I have to read the reviews, see the room, find out the thickness of the walls and the slope elevation...
Are there bugs?
Is there a bar?
Is the WIFI on all night?
Might I slip on mud?
In case anyone is wondering if I did, in fact, slip on mud... Yes. Yes, I did. It was on my way to get my breakfast, that I missed. Splat.
Seriously though... serves me right.