Well, this morning we started "deja-vu all over again" (May Day holiday is over)!!! After an hour wait at the side of the road, we hopped bus #1 towards Playa de Coco. It lets us off 3 miles out of town (why???), and we catch a cab (the same friendly one we took yesterday back to Playa Panama!). Meeting with the Capitan del Puerto went well enough, filling out the requisite papers, with multiple carbon copies (this is where carbon paper goes to die!!!) and the usual flurry of stamps. Then the 5 minute walk to Migracion (Immigration) office. We had nearly all of the required paperwork with us in photocopy form for her, except that she wanted the paperwork from our last 5 ports visited. Why in the world would she care where we were over the past several months in Mexico??? No one ever told us about this curve ball! So off to get these copies. Plenty of nice stamps all around, including our passports, which now sport lovely 90 day visas.
Then back to the Port Captain to proudly display our new stamps. He was suitably impressed (NOT!), and sent us to the Liberia airport to meet with the Aduana (customs) officer. After another 1 hour wait for the bus, we head out for the 40 minute drive to the airport. Bus drops us at the turnoff, and we hike the 1+ mile to the terminal. When we ask to speak with the office of the Aduana, no one had a clue what we were talking about.....hmmmmm....didn't they get the email that we were coming??? Guess not...
;-( Finally after 30 minutes of waiting and speaking to several folks, all of whom were honestly trying to help, we were told that the Aduana office is not, in fact, IN the airport, as we'd been told, but NEAR the airport.....back out the road we hiked in on, to the main road.
There Mr. Aduana looks through our paperwork, and asks for his copy of our passports (we had left copies with other 2 offices already). No problem...we came prepared with these! We give him his, and he looks confused....it's not stamped!!!! Seems he wants his copy to have the same stamp as is in our passports. He sends us next door to use a copy machine, but it's broken!!! Things were looking a bit bleak for a few minutes, as he realized that we had no car, and he was not going to accept a copy without the official stamp!!! Finally he fired up his scanner, and scanned and printed to his heart's content.....and EUREKA!!! We're legally in Costa Rica at last!!!
While waiting around in Mr. Aduana's office, we met an interesting chap also there on some business. Martin, a Czech diamond dealer immigrant to the US over 30 years ago, and now calling Costa Rica his home, offered us a ride as far as he was going. We jumped in the truck, and enjoyed the miles rolling by as we learned of his fascinating history, and he likewise enjoyed hearing about the sailing life. Along the way, he said he needed to stop at a little Italian store...just take a few minutes. We walked into a most amazing little grocery...in the middle of Nowhere, Costa Rica. Everything in the store was Italian grocery fare...5 types of gnochi, a whole wall of pastas, sauces, prosciuttos, salamis, cheeses, wines, oils, tomatoes...you get the picture!
Like Martin, we bought our share, and when the spree was over, he graciously gave us a ride all the way out to Bravo, still bobbing at anchor at Playa Panama. A perfect finale to the Paperwork Cha Cha!!! Thanks again, Martin!
But wait...this cha cha ain't quite over!!! Tomorrow we're planning on leaving this area, and will have to SIGN OUT with the same Port Captain that we SIGNED IN with today!!! (as the saying goes, "the more things change, the more they remain the same!!!")
After the requisite bus rides from and to the boat, we'll head south again, exploring some promising dive sites that we've been hearing about! Stay tuned...