Courage, En Pied and Jaco

I gotta tell ya: « It takes a lot of courage to travel by yourself.” This weekend I went to Jacó, a surfing beach on the Pacific side.

I woke up at 4:45am, had a plate of gallopinto (rice and beans), got dressed and took the bus to San José. Not knowing where to go I run around looking for el Terminal Coca Cola to buy a ticket for $2065 colones ($4) to Jaco.

-One to Jaco at 7am, I said in espanol.

-We only have 7:45am “en pied” or the other at 8:45am.

-En pied?

-Si, en pied.

A bunch of ideas went through my head. Does this bus just go to Pied? Not to keep the line I gave the cahier $50,000 colones (about $100) and got the ticket for 7:45am. He gave me the change and I rapidly stuck in my pocket. Who cares to count, right?

While waiting at the bus stop there were a lot of gringas and I was dying to ask where “Pied” was.

When the time came to board I climbed on the bus and sat behind an obviously American girl. Two minutes later I realized that people were looking for a seat number on their tickets. I looked at my ticket and all it said was:

“En Pied.” Hm…

I leaned forward to the girl:

-Excuse me. Do you speak English?


-Is there supposed to be a seat number?

-You are En Pied! Standing!


I took my backpack and moved behind. The bus moved. 10 minutes later an older gentlemen from the front seat waived at me.

– ¿Yo?
– Si, si, tu!

I grabbed my pack and slowly, as a drunk salesman moved to the front of the bus.

A bus driver turned around:

-You don’t have to ride “en Pied”, you can seat next to me.

That was a VIP spot! I could see it all: mountains, volcanoes, bikers, runners, even crocodiles! Needless to say, I got to practice my Spanish with the nicest tico bus driver. That lasted for about an hour until the seat next to the ginga who helped me with that entire “en pied” thing became vacant. We started talking.

When we arrived to Jaco, two other girls met us at a ticket office to buy the return tickets. There it occurred to me that the cashier gave me change as if it was from 5000 colones ($10) and not 50000 ($100). Here is a lesson: COUNT YOUR MONEY BEFORE WALKING AWAY!

We headed to Taco Bar and had a delicious breakfast for $3. Then we headed to the beach where I got to know the girls and we got hit on by 5 ticos with a bunch of beer.

Here are the most common questions in Costa Rica:

-Where are you from?

-How old are you?

-Do you have a boyfriend?

Well… even with moving my ring to the left hand and saying that I have a serious boyfriend in Ukraine they wouldn’t leave us alone. We had to take off ourselves. The girls went to the bus stop and I went to find a hostel.

As much as I hate shopping I hate looking for hostels. I walked to the first one by the beach and got a room for $12. Then I went for a walk. While strolling on the main avenida I saw a cute guy with a backpack. We exchanged looks.

When I went back to my hostel guess who was my roommate?

-Do you smoke weed? He asked.

Who is this man? – I thought to myself but with open heart and sincere smile we ended up talking for at least 2 hours. He was a 24 yo Swedish truck driver who came to Costa Rica to surf.

The Sunday was spent on the beach and I GOT BURNED! Ouch ouch ouch… It was a real pain to get back home on the bus. When I got back there was a new a girl who arrived to Catalina’s house. She is 18 and did not speak any espanol!

After telling Catalina all about my trip she said that the cashier didn’t give me the wrong change. There is no 50000 colones in Costa Rica. Only 5000. AZUCAR! At least it will teach me to pay attention.

With pain, courage, and open heart it was a great weekend!