The Daily Diary of a Wandering Restaurateur
December 6 - (Almost) Around Lake Arenal

I do like B&Bs. Actually what I like is the idea of somebody else preparing a nice breakfast for me. Laura had a real estate closing today and Alex had to drive to San Jose to pick up his car at the repair shop (a 9-hour round trip!) so it was just the two of us and the housekeeper for breakfast. Eggs, bacon, toast, fresh fruit, juice, coffee. We effectively had breakfast and lunch before we even left the house. What's not to like about that?

We though we would drive around the lake to see what was there to be seen. Road-wise, that meant lots of potholes. I suspect that most every car in this country needs a front end alignment, because if you don't pay attention and weave your way around the potholes, the suspension takes a real beating. They say you can tell when a Tican driver is drunk because he drives in a straight line!

Other than the small town of Nuevo Arenal, there is no real population concentration anywhere around the lake. I was surprised at the number of hotels and resorts we saw. I also think that every third gringo sells real estate ... to other gringos. The softened market in the US has caused thing here to slow down as well, but the Baby Boomers continue to come and purchase their place in the sun. OK, Laura is a realtor, too, but I have been impressed with her ethics regarding which properties she will handle and which ones she won't. Apparently not everyone up here holds to such high standards.

Actually, we could have used a bit more sun today. For the most part it was overcast with occasional rain showers, fairly typical for this time of year. We made it halfway around the lake, tried in vain to see the top of the volcano (not going to happen today) and successfully avoided several busloads of tourists.

We did make one foray to a tourist-like destination. I liked the idea of a canopy tour where you ride up through the top of the rainforest and, as an option, come back down on a zip line. Like I say, a cool idea. So we started around the south side of the lake on a dirt road to the place that Laura had mentioned she went with her family when they visited. Only after bouncing our way up the mountain to the base lodge did we learn that it was $50 a head for the tram! It was a cool idea, but not one I particularly wanted to pay 100 bucks to experience.

Since we were already on the south side of the lake, I had the brilliant idea to follow the road that runs along that edge back to the B&B. On the map it showed as a secondary gravel road and while it had been a bit bumpy thus far, it was tolerable. "How bad could it be?" I asked myself, forgetting that every time that question pops up, the Universe has a way of answering it. Well, the road got rougher and rougher. Imagine a rutted dirt road strewn with irregular rocks about the size of softballs. Top speed was less than ten miles an hour and the bouncing wasn't doing Margene's neck any favors.

Still, there was that part of me that was saying that it had to get better, we were probably closer to the end of the road than we were to go back to where we started ... and other whoppers like that. The question was finally settled when what was left of the road disappeared into the river!

Now you may be thinking that I should have spent twice as much and rented a four-wheel drive car like everyone else has around here. I admit the thought crossed my mind once or twice as the road got rougher, but the only two advantages I can think of are improved traction and a higher ground clearance. Our brave little Toyota didn't hit bottom even once and we were never in a spot where traction was a concern ... so there! I am, however, paying more attention to the condition of the roads!

Around the house and (almost) around the lake!

Dining around the lake

[Itinerary Page]

© 2007 Restaurant Doctor