I am now connected through an Internet cafe, which in Costa Rica is known as a cafeteria. If you are ever in the San Jose Santamaria International Airport here, just walk in and look up. On one side of the second floor you won't see much, but if you entered where I did and the departure restrooms are to your right, look up to your left and you will see Lavazza. We had a quick dinner here while waiting for our flight back on our way to Tucson, which entitles me to use their Internet connection. It brought joy to my heart to see the word, "excellent" instead of "low" on the lower right of my screen. Let's communicate!
Well, if you are in the airport, you got here somehow. Lavazza is open 24 hours a day, by the way, and there are a good many other attractions, some of which I have not seen because they are closed and others that are not physically located in the terminal. But how we got here is yet another story.
My husband's older daughters picked us up when we got here, and they dropped us off today. But getting here was at least half the fun. On the long uphill drive from sea-level Puntarenas to San Jose, our car overheated. Because the needle was all the way in the red, my step-daughter was forced to pull off the road. But little did we know that was when the fun started.
It seemed like only five minutes when a man in a traffic-safety vest stepped up to our driver's side window and asked the Spanish equivalent of, "What's all this, then?" Johanna explained what was going on and it seemed like only another five minutes before a nifty Nissan diesel platform tow truck pulled up, backed into position in front of us, and carried the four of us in the car to their garage. These two guys, who are cousins, are roving mechanics who pick up customers from the people who encounter unexpected difficulties on the road--like us.
The four of us arrived in San Jose like Cleopatra's barge, looking down from what seemed like a second story on the traffic below, since there was not room for the four of us in the cab of the tow truck. We were laughing about how we might ask the driver to drop me and my husband at the airport--I wonder if anyone ever pulled in like that. However, we went together to the drivers' shop instead, much to my disappointment.
There was a lively conversation there, and the diagnosis was that the manguera was roto, and el refrigerante se salio. That is to say, the valve holding the cooling system closed was broken and the refrigerant in the system had been expelled by engine pressure. My step-daughter was perturbed because she had just gotten the car back from a mechanic who had changed the radiator. Well, apparently he did not change the manguera.
For those of us who remember that you never attempt to open a hot radiator just after you have turned off the engine of an overheated car, that's why there is another valve/knob that opens safely. You can put more water in. And by the way, the mechanics advise their clients always to use plain water in their cooling systems because it can be added to easily. For those of us who drive cars in which overheating might be a future issue, there's the skinny from two darn good mechanics.
I sure was ready for something to eat and some hot coffee when we arrived at the spiffy airport. It is quite large, with a bright, airy atmosphere and high ceilings. Lavazza offers sandwiches, juice drinks, some mighty good coffee (seriously) and some treats and sweets. I had a little empanada-like meat pie that is described as onions, meat and olives (cebolla, carne y aceitun). That simple description doesn't do it justice, though--the pastry, which you encounter first, is buttery, rich and tasty in the French style. I also had their cafe negro (to which I added my own Senor Cafe and stevia) and a piece of pina colada layer cake. They were all exquisite; whoever is contracting out the pastry concession for Lavazza has kicked it up a few notches for this shop. Since it is open 24 hours a day I would, if I were younger, absolutely bring a date here for a sophisticated atmosphere, the buzz of an international air terminal (which I always enjoy) and good food that is right there in plain sight.
If you ever get to this airport, happiness awaits you in the Italian coffee and good food at Lavazza. And if you are whiling away the time before a flight, as I am, good news--there is a fine Internet connection here that enables me to post at least a day sooner than I thought I could.