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Ploughman
09-21-2013, 01:39 PM
Here are some notes from the just-completed 4-dayer. Probably not much new to experienced hands, but maybe someone finds something of value.

Arrived midday on Tuesday on the Spirit Airlines flight from Fort Lauderdale. Was seated toward the front & got to immigration quickly. Lines weren't too bad. Spirit has the expensive bag policy and I had packed everything into a rucksack (maximum 12x14x16 inches) to not have to pay anything there. Wore one shirt that I was going to give away anyway, and assumed 2 days on the shorts. You also hear stories of people wearing multiple layers while flying (so they can carry more clothes) , but I didn't have to resort to that.

Went to the bank in Departures next to the departure-tax counter to change $60 into colones. They're bank-like (I. E. Not the speediest) with their processes but I s'pose the rate was fairer. ($1 was about 500 colones, with the ATMs coming in around 496. 4).

Went to the bus stop along the road in front of the airport and took the Tuasa bus into town for 510 colones. It was maybe a 7-block walk from the stop to the Hotel Europa, made easier by having to carry only the rucksack. Checked into the Europa (to their credit, they let me do it at 1 pm). Got a room with 2 queen beds that looked out to the covered inside courtyard, so the outside noise was minimal. OTOH, the wall-unit air-con vibrated quite a bit and could cause the window to rattle. I tried wedging in tissues or other things to limit that. In general the furnishings are a bit older and tired in the hotel, but still well within the zone of tolerability. The TV was large with a good cable-channel selection.

Energy level was so-so on the first night. Took a nap up to 8:30 pm or so from being tired and walked over to Taberna VIPS. None of the 4-5 chicas there at the time caused the needle to jump, but eyes were on the local-TV news coverage. ESTAMOS EN EL MUNDIAL! Costa Rica had made the World Cup thanks to a tie with Jamaica (almost a win) and a result from another game. Celebrations broke out in the streets. I walked down to Av. 2 and Parque Central to check out one of them. Lots of excited people. 2 bandstands and some things planned, some not. Cars were being detoured around the Av. 2 side of the park, and on one block there was a gauntlet of celebrants who'd run up to cars and bounce them up and down. Not all drivers were good sports about this and some would try to plow through, so it was dangerous. Thankfully it was still early enough that alcohol wasn't a big part of the mix. People were excited and generally well-behaved.

Next stop was Molino Rojo near Av. 10 and Calle 2. Paid the cover and got the drink, but not too much happening yet. Saw one girl I'd seen earlier at Taberna VIPS.

Went next door to Arcadas, with a higher cover (2000 weekdays / 3000 weekends). Chica quality looked better, and after looking around a bit I went over & sat with Carolina, a 21-year-old from Nicaragua with medium-length straight black hair and nice body firmness. You don't have to sit with 'them very long before the waiter asks if you want to buy them a drink (c5000 tequila shot) , but with that you do get a topless lap dance, and Carolina was fine with some tongue and finger exploring with that. Much better value for that than you get in the USA, but I guess that's the infrequent-visitor gringo perspective.

That got me in the mood for the sexo in the upstairs rooms, which cost a locally hefty c20, 000 per 30 minutes (unless I got some kind of extranjero price) , payable to the server upfront. Rooms were about par as those things go. Fans, no en suites (shower / toilet down the hall) , a TV that didn't work, red lighting for signature effect, etc. Nicer than most Tico places but not ready for Gringo prime time. Carolina washed up for 5 minutes or so and came back in. She started with the CBJ, but I deemed her DATY-able (very clean) and went about that. Then several positions but it took a manual to finish the job. I blamed the cervezas and relatively later hour for the performance. Carolina was pretty good on the GFE and just generally cuter and fresher than what you usually see.

Cruised through the Del Rey on day #2. Lots of very dolled up but generally older and probably harder girls, as expected. Had a nice chat with Maria, from Quezon City in the Philippines, of all places. I've been to the PI numerous times and it just seemed to reaffirm how they have a way of connecting with you. Some would chalk it up to the language barrier and better English ability, but many of us are introverts with below-average "game" there, so I think there's more to it than that.

Game plan for night #2 was to look through more places. Camelot Bar was a cramped second story dive (a room with a bar in the middle) and maybe 5-6 chicas at the time, none compelling. Checked out the Pirate Club (Ave. 10 between calles 12 and 14) , but I didn't have the timing right. Friendly bartender and just 3 chicas. Probably too early. Well-furnished and slick enough to be gringo-friendly, though not overly spacious.

Headed to Arcadas again and saw more chicas than before, with quality appearing above average. Carolina came over again and it didn't take much to get me to go for the lap dance-sexo bit again. This time, though, I think I was cheated by the upstairs timekeeper by as much as 10 minutes, so it didn't end like the one before. I guess there's a trust-but-verify element.

Dropped by the Gringo Gulch places just to look around, especially with the Key Largo going. As mongering venues go, it has the best aesthetics and atmospherics of anyplace I've seen. A real Papa Hemingway-type place only partially compromised by tourism and with lots of freelancers circulating around. The live band also adds a lot.

Wasn't expecting to take anyone but spotted a darker-than-usual and bigger-than-usual girl obviously not of Tica origin. In heels she was almost 6 feet, curvy and proportionate except for a bit of junk in the trunk. Her name was Meliza, a 23-year old from the Dominican Republic. Nice smile and the Latina / black combination. I offered cincuenta and she was immediately okay with that. This would involve a taxi ride to the hotel and getting through the front desk, which went fine (she handed over the I'd card).

Performance-wise she was that amusing combination of trying to be a bit hurried and businesslike but not being able to totally hide that she likes sex. She did the short CBJ and then climbed on top. The full, totally natural boobs were a great feature. She also had more tightness and muscle control than Carolina had, which ultimately got the job done. I paid in a colones / dolares combination plus 2K for the taxi, and walked her out with no problem.

On night 3 I again hit the Pirate at the wrong time, this time after a bunch of guys had blown through. They gave me the tour of upstairs. The rooms are indeed nicer and more recently renovated than anything you see in locals' places. They have showers, but only the larger $100 VIP room has a TV. I think $52 is what a chica and regular room would be, but again, the selection was depleted.

Taberna VIPS has 2 or 3 more to choose from, including a curvy chica trying to look like Madonna in her heyday that almost got the call. Gringo Gulch had the numbers between the Del Rey and Key Largo, but it's a bummer to make 2 or 3 passes through with only lukewarm candidates (and seeing the same ones repeatedly). One of the better lookers wasn't much of a talker and wouldn't budge below ochenta. Seems like when you're having one of those nights the little bits of unusual bad luck just keep piling on. When I was about to head out, Meliza shows up again and I quickly take her. Longer performance this time but same ultimate result.

On night #4 (a Friday) I had noticed the long lines at BCR ATMs, which should have been a clue. The Pirate Club was packed with a mix of locals and gringos. They'd have a girl on the pole and occasionally one or two dancing on the bar, plus a barfine to be raffled off later (there was a cover charge that night that went to the raffle ticket. 3K, if memory serves). All of which was fine for a night out with maybe something to look at, but not good for the M / F ratio. Good to see 'them doing well, though.

* * *

Outside of the mongering I tried lunch at Kalu in Barrio Amon (pretty good sliders and excellent cheesecake, though not cheap). Also La Esquina de Buenos Aires, the well-reviewed steakhouse, for the beef tenderloin medallions & bernaise sauce (C13, 100 net) and empanadas (C1800). Steak was indeed excellent, and they cooked it right. ****o if they could go toe-to-toe with places in the USA like Ruth's Chris, but I had no reason to believe it wasn't the best locally. Good atmosphere as well, though that night (a Wednesday) they had only a few tables for walk-ins.

Better restaurants are generally not cheap in San Jose, with costs about the same as midsized USA cities. This seems to be the case all down the line, with McDonald's about the same in price as well. (No doubt there are some good Sodas out there that expats would swear by, but on short trips the temptation is to hit the splashier places.). The cafe at Teatro Nacional is a real gem, with great 19th-century atmosphere and prices sightly better than a USA Starbucks. OTOH, the restaurant at the Santo Tomas Hotel had gone downhill, with the menu greatly downsized but steaks that weren't too bad at C7000. They'd need better signage, a functioning separate entrance and some marketing to have a higher profile.

Checked out the Museo Nacional as a touristy activity. Kind of a unique space (a former fort) , with some of the old quarters preserved and others converted to exhibit halls.

BTW, the Citibank near Av. 1 and Calle 1 not far from the hotel came in very handy, with no surcharges from the ATMs.

Weather didn't really cooperate (afternoon rain on every day, rain most of the day on one of the days). The Hotel Europa's pool was open and looked inviting but didn't get to give it a try. Also thought about doing a daytrip to Jaco just to give it a look for possible future reference, but would have needed to get up early to pull it off and that just didn't happen.

Bus connection worked fine for getting to the airport, and I had gotten there 3 hours early, so there were only 10 or so people ahead of me in line. Spirit can be a real mess, as there aren't any kiosks and check-in lines can move slowly, thanks in large part to the baggage charges and arguments there. I had gotten the RT on miles rather than dollars, paying only about $50 in taxes. Departure tax was $29, and thankfully I had the cash. Signs now say that credit card payments go through as cash advances, which for most people is a bad deal.

So overall it was a good, relaxing trip. I tend to put most of the time / money resources in that area into longer biannual SE Asia trips, but it's nice to know that good results are possible after much-shorter flights.