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Monday, May 7, 2007

The Visit - Part One (Administrative)

So to catch you up, we are thinking of moving to Costa Rica. We have been thinking about it for a while. As part of our research we went on a "vacation" there last November. We bundled up our three kids, including a 3-month old baby and took off for 3 weeks. Here is what happened:

We flew from San Jose, California to San Jose, Costa Rica - which for some reason, just really tickles me. We had a few hours in Houston, which worked out good for the kids. So we land, deplane, and find the line for immigration. It is quite long and quite late. As we wheel up with infant, a beautiful lady in incredibly high heels with a clipboard gestures for us to follow her. She takes us around this long line to a special short line. I believe because we have small children (or a baby - Costa Ricans seem BABY CRAZY). WOW! - this kind of consideration would never happen in the U.S. If kids get you this kind of treatment in Costa Rica, might be a good reason to have more. Just kidding. It takes about 30 minutes to get through.

We move onto baggage and get all our stuff (believe me - alot of paraphanalia - baby bjorn, baby backpack, baby pack and play, and luggage). This is tough because we need to get the stuff together and coral the kids. We get through customs and out to the taxi que. This is efficient as can be. We are quickly assisted into a large van type taxi to take us and our stuff to the Adventure Lodge, where we will spend the first night.

I know this is a lot of detail on the airport, but I was impressed. I have traveled with these kids alot, and they have been good about it, but the amount of assistance we received far exceeded anything I've experienced other than family meeting you at the airport. I hope it will always be this good.

We stay at the Adventure Lodge for one night. Seems nice enough. Cool things to note - the bathroom has a bidet. Cool foreign country. Bars wakes early and goes out to rent the car. We wind up with very nice Toyota w/ Four wheel drive. Very necessary for us and all our stuff. This is all our stuff (except one big suitcase that the nice neighbors at the Escazu condominium let us leave with them during our walkabout portion and Bar's sister, Wilma and her luggage that we picked up in Liberia). So quite full. Did we need it all. Pretty much. But look how nicely my husband packs a car!

Back to the story. We eat breakfast (complimentary) at the hotel. The nice lady serving it starts chatting with Ibarra because the father of her kids is Filipino. Ah, it's nice not to be solo-gringo family. And so far our few years of Spanish schooling is making basic exchanges slow but pleasant.

We go from here to find our VRBO rental. We have used VRBO a few times now and always with great sucess. Can't say enough about it. We stayed at Matt's place in Escazu for one week. It was a great place in a condominium. We then went on the "vacation" part of the trip which will be the next entry. After "vacationing" for about a week and a half, we return to Santa Ana for another week in a conduminium. Both places in the central valley were great. Most of our time was spent just living. Grocery shopping took up a lot of time. We also spent two days with an agent to see some places for sale. We went to the mall. We visited a school for Bells. We ate at KFC and Soda Tipico (I think that is right, at first I thought it was "typical" but with my limited Spanish, learned that it is the family name. Pretty nice place). We also spent one day doing administrative stuff. Met with our abagoado (lawyer) for signing paperwork for our residency, went to the San Jose Police Central for fingerprinting, good fun stuff. Definitely was helpful to have an escort. This is all part of the service. We have hired someone recommended on the We Love Costa Rica Site to do this.

So with two non-consecutive weeks of "just living" (for the most part) - we are hooked. We like it. And thus the plan was born, named and weighed in at a healthy 5 lbs (people in our family).
More to come.

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