The Daily Diary of a Wandering Restaurateur
December 5 - The Road to Arenal

I talked with my doctor this morning about those other three teeth and there was no way he could get me in before two in the afternoon. I appreciated his flexibility but an afternoon appointment would mean that we couldn't be able to make it to Lake Arenal today which would cause a domino effect with our other reservations. The issue is the amount of time the lab needs to make the finished crowns. He checked with them and said that if I could get back in on Wednesday morning, they could have the work done in time for the preliminary fitting the next day. This solution required that we cut our time at the beach short by a day, but that at least was do-able with minimal impact.

The horror stories told about driving in Costa Rica are not totally unfounded. The problem is not necessarily the drivers -- I have seen crazier things in Italy -- but rather the roads. Even the grandly-named Pan American Highway is not much more than a narrow two-lane road jammed with lumbering trucks. Aside from one or two sections with passing lanes, the only way to get past these chugging monsters is to zip around them whenever there is a break in the oncoming traffic, regardless of what the striping on the roadway allows. Our little Toyota doesn't have a lot of power, but it is enough to scoot when scooting is called for.

Even with that, the trip seemed to take forever but I suspect that was more mental fatigue than anything. The important thing is that we found our way to the lake and our next oasis, Casa Manana, a charming B&B owned by Alex and Laura Murray, ex-pats from Western Washington! She is a local realtor and he is mostly retired but looks after the property. They are warm and hospitable types -- pretty much a sanity-saver if you are in the B&B business -- and I look forward to finding out more about what it is like for Americans living in Costa Rica. The number I heard was that over 800,000 people have relocated from the US to this little corner of the planet. That is a significant number!

For dinner they directed us just up the road to the grandly-named Puerto San Luis Yacht Club, a huge restaurant built as an ego trip by the owner of the Port San Luis development. I'm sure he didn't think of it in quite those terms but its the only reason I can think of to build so much larger than the local market could ever possibly support. Tomorrow we will poke around the area. Tonight it was more about settling in and getting some sleep.

First impressions of Casa Manana

Dinner at Puerto San Luis

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