08.30.2003 (Saturday), 11:00 PM

The World's Smallest Airport

Come my children...

We were a little apprehensive about the twin-engine turbo-prop plane that was going to whisk us from the Tobias Bolaños Airport to Tamarindo. They said 25 pounds of luggage per person only and we packed and unpacked and weighed and weighed again until we were under, at or near the limit. Hah. The guys ahead of us had a buttload of luggage and a surfboard and went over by 85 pounds. Did they not take the flight? Nope. They paid $40 extra. And we could have brought the gold bars and sandbags after all..

At touch down, I realized that we landed at the world's smallest airport. To call it that does real airports an injustice so let's just say....airstrip. IMMEDIATELY, images of Jim Jones' twisted cronies riding into the airstrip in an open Jeep with machine guns aiming to gun us down flashed into my mind. Rather, it was kind of cool ("quaint", Jan quipped) and I really knew that we were in a place that was quite unlike any place we had been to before. We took up the offer of one guy who kept saying "taxi?" and followed him to his chariot which was a beaten-up Mazda something-or-other. Hmmm, interesting. A minute into the trip, I realized why it was beaten up because were using it to cross a small stream. The road: dirt. The potholes in the road: deep. We eventually made it onto a paved road which was nice but had the same pothole disease as the airport...er, airstrip road.

Success was won finally when we arrived that the ultra-swanky (no, really...compared to other places we passed, it was real swanky) Capitan Suizo Hotel which is right on the beach in Tamarindo. Talk about nice. Damn. We took a walk on the beach while they were getting our room ready and made it to Iguana Surf and met the first of several cool characters we met on this trip. Peter Andrews (a Santa Clara University grad...), had just moved to Costa Rica a few weeks ago and gave us the lowdown on the area. Right next to Iguana was Gil's, a Mexican food restaurant which had pretty good food and cold beer. The latter especially appreciated since it was about 90 with humidity to match.

After we got our room, we took a real long walk from one end of the beach to the other and ended up at the town line of Tamarindo. Walking back on the paved road, led us to quite a number of interesting shops and businesses. Since Tamarindo is a small town and not even an official town at that, pretty much everything is within easy walking distance. Supermercados (super markets), small restaurants (most are open-air), Internet cafés (yes, plural...I counted four) and surf shops. This was going to be an interesting time...

Posted by wjc