Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Logbook: Taking Care Of Stuff

Takingcareofstuff1Having gotten my extraordinary travel arrangements made -- as described in the last Logbook entry on Monday -- it was time starting on Tuesday for me to make some “ordinary” arrangements. First, I needed to do laundry which is usually pretty simple, but this time would be a little more complicated due to the fact that the place I am staying is pretty far from the middle of town. I figured that a cab ride to and from a laundry would make my washing a little pricey, so I explored the option of using the hotel’s laundry service. With rates like $3 per shirt and $5 for pants, however, it was clear that even my limited wardrobe was going to add up pretty fast. So, I talked this dilemma over with Vanessa -- a very helpful staff member -- and asked for a better deal on the house laundry service. She had me wait a moment while she talked to her boss, but returned to say, “Sorry, no deal.” I didn’t exactly whine, but I did press the issue with her and after a few minutes of light-hearted banter, she said “Hold on” then made a phone call. After the usual incomprehensible chatter in Spanish, she hung up and said, “Someone will meet you at your room in five minutes. She will take your laundry. You can pay her what you want.” Now we’re in business! So I went back to my room and sure enough there was soon a knock on my door. A nice young woman who is obviously part of the housekeeping staff took my laundry bag, beamed from ear to ear at the 5,000 Colones ($10) I handed her) and said, “Manana!” With that deal done, I started working on figuring out how to find a dentist so I could get my teeth checked and cleaned. Right in the middle of the hotel lobby is a rack of brochures, and I found one for a local dentist. I got Vanessa to make a call for me, and was rewarded with an appointment for the next morning. Okay!

Takingcareofstuff2The rest of Tuesday was spent on-line figuring out what I’m going to do for the next couple of weeks. Yesterday morning when I got back from breakfast, I found my laundry -- perfectly folded and maybe even ironed! -- sitting on my bed! (Your guess is as good as mine, but I suspect it was a little “side job” at home for the housekeeper.) Perfect! Feeling like I was on a roll, I got a ride into town and was dropped off at the location shown above. The sign clearly indicated it was the dentist’s office, but even after traveling for a while in this part of the world -- and getting accustomed to modifying my expectations -- I still had to take a moment to adjust to the surroundings. Pura Vida! I went in, met Dra. Suzanna Vallejo and sat in the chair. Her English skills are not quite as advertised in the brochure, so I used my best Spanish and said “No problemo! Necessito solo limpia!” (In other words, “There’s no problem. I just need a cleaning.”) That seemed to do the trick and everything went find. She did a routine check-up and confirmed “No problemo” then did a fine cleaning. When she was finished, we had a good laugh, took a group picture and I paid her the $40 she asked for. Done deal!

Back on the street, I walked around until I found a Pali store -- sort of in between a convenience store and a supermarket -- and got a few supplies. In the afternoon, I was back on-line, deciding to head to the Caribbean coast to explore until I embark from there on January 3rd and making bus/lodging arrangements. All day today has been an iLife day -- it takes a long time to put all this web stuff together, even for a Mac guru like me! -- and I’m ready for a drink before calling it a day. Tomorrow I will pack up my gear, make sure everything is in order and prepare to get moving again on Saturday morning. Stay tuned!

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