The Daily Diary of a Wandering Restaurateur
December 8 - The Road to Dominical

It was difficult to say goodbye to Alex and Laura, but it was time to hit the road for what we hoped would be three days in the sun along the Pacific shore -- a chance to relax, kick back with a book, swim a little, all that good stuff. It was about a six-hour drive down here. The first four were fairly easy driving with only the occasional parade-like backup behind slow-moving trucks. Then it took us 90 minutes to cover the last 29 miles!

As you drive down the Pacific coast, the paved road ends at the town of Quepos and picks up again in Dominical. The section of road in between is a kidney-jarring, bolt-loosening, alignment-destroying, dust-eating journey as you weave past big rig trucks and navigate narrow one-lane bridges. Top speed can sometimes hit as much as 25 miles an hour but often are only half that.

There is an option to this self-abuse. We could have followed the Pan-Am highway back through San Jose (remember how much fun that was when we headed up to Arenal a few days ago?) Then we could have followed the narrow winding two-lane Pan-Am up through the mountains where we would definately spend half the time stuck behind trucks chugging along at less than ten miles an hour. The choice is the Costa Rican equivalent of asking if you would rather be eaten by an alligator or a shark!

We knew we had to come back via the mountain route so we opted to go with the shark. The best thing I can say about it is that it finally ended, an outcome that I had grave doubts about on several occasions. Back on the blacktop at Dominical, we drove a few miles and located our retreat on the beach. All looked idyllic ... until I got out of the car and got hit by a shock wave of hot, humid air. This is December, for God's sake. It's not supposed to be 95 degrees! I was thinking more link the high 70's but it was not to be.

Troopers to the end, we schlepped everything into our room. We shuddered a bit the strange smells, odd lighting and general state of maintenance but at least the air conditioner worked. Of course, by this time I was soaking wet ... and I hadn't even been anywhere near the pool or the beach! We were starting to think that perhaps we had made a big mistake, but since the last meal we had was some fruit and toast at breakfast, thought it best to head into town, find a restaurant and consider our options. How bad could it really be, anyway?

I am learning that whenever that question pops into my mind, the Universe has a way of answering it for me. Beautiful downtown Dominical is a surfing center of sorts, right on the beach under the palm trees. If you were nineteen, into surfing all day and partying all night and thought sleeping on the beach was a great idea, this would be heaven. We didn't meet any of those criteria so the rutted dirt streets, grimey bars, bad lighting and similar "local color" made us feel like we needed a shower. (We probably did, but work with me here.)

Other than a few offices, there appeared to be no place in town with air conditioning and nothing that passed for a restaurant that Margene would dare eat in. So we got out of Dodge, figuring that we could scrounge up something meal-like at the local mini-mart. Instead we found a small local restaurant that, while dark and un-airconditioned, at least had seen a broom sometime in the last week. With our hunger temporarily appeased, we picked up a few goodies (chocolate for Genie, of course) and headed back to the room to ponder our fate.

The Dusty Road to Dominical

Dominical Surprises

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