A long way to San Jose

Generally, we have had good luck with our world travels, though there have been some hiccups along the way.  We didn’t expect anything out of the ordinary on our flight to San Jose, Costa Rica.  

Heavy thunderstorms were bearing down on the Dallas – Fort Worth airport as we arrived, so we were mentally ready for a flight delay.  A minor mechanical issue, delayed catering, and the thunderstorms did mean we spent an hour or so on the runway before taking off.  The flight itself was uneventful, but on arrival, we had a go around, when the runway was not empty when our pilot made his approach.  The prior flight had not yet exited the runway, so we got a second tour of San Jose by air before safely landing and pulling up to the gate.  We were not able to deplane immediately, as there was a short delay before the jet bridge could be extended.  We soon found out why.  

There was a power outage at the San Jose airport.  Locals reported this is a somewhat frequent occurrence.

We got off the plane and headed to immigration where we found that the power outage had caused a problem with the immigration system computers and they were not able to reboot the system.  All immigration was stopped, and several planeloads of people were in the queue, zigzagging through the line markers like an amusement park line.  

We managed to make it to the end of the queue, but most of our plane and those who arrived after us snaked down the hallways outside the immigration hall.  It was an hour and 15 minutes before the computer system came online and the agents began processing arriving passengers again.  Customer service staff at the airport handed out water bottles and turned on fans to cool the crowd, doing their best to keep the chaos to a minimum, but it was a long hot wait.  

With no phones or electronics allowed in the immigration hall, Boy was restless.   I challenged him to count the seconds, telling him if he got to 5000 I would give him a dollar.  He got the dollar, and I thought I might have to pay up twice.

Once processing started up again, the line moved rather quickly, but it was still nearly 3 hours, in all, before we got to baggage claim and were able to leave the airport.  That was one of the longest immigrations we have had, yet.

As every plane had been delayed, the arrival hall was busier than usual, with car drivers, tour operators, and relatives trying to collect 5 or 6 plane loads of arriving passengers. Leaving the chaos of the arrival hall, we arranged a taxi and set off to our hotel.  We had decided to stay at an airport hotel, for convenience, while we were in San Jose, as our main stay in Costa Rica would be in the rainforest.

We had planned to spend our arriving afternoon in the city of San Jose, visiting the Plaza Central and Museo del Oro, but by the time we left the airport, the museum was closed. Instead, after a quick stop at a local grocery for supplies we went to the hotel swimming pool.  San Jose city center would have to wait for another day.

The hotel did have an indoor garden and turtle pond which entertained Boy for the evening.  It also has internet, so he was thrilled.

Turtle Pond

Hotel Pool

An Indoor Garden at the hotel
On our return to San Jose, before leaving the country, we were finally able to make it to the city center.
It was raining, again, so we stepped into a busy, local cafe for lunch, that was packed with office workers.  Scanning the menu, we chose Tico (Costa Rican) specialties of arroz con pollo, plantains and empanadas.

As the rain slowed we saw the National Theatre, and then headed underground to the Museos Banco Central de Costa Rica, the museums of the national bank.  

This inverted pyramid is one of the only underground buildings in Costa Rica.  These bank vaults are home to the Museo del Oro, which has an outstanding collection of precolumbian gold and archeology and the Numismatic (money) museum.  The Numismatic museum presented a display of the history of Costa Rican money and a surprisingly good interactive exhibit on personal finance and money management in both Spanish and English that kept Boy interested through a lengthy discussion of investing, saving and budgeting.

Brains engaged it was back in a taxi and out of the rain to our hotel.

I was nominated for a Liebster Blogging Award

Thanks travel blogger 2kidsnoitinerary.com for reading our blog and nominating us for the Liebster Blogging Award!

We were challenged to answer eleven questions, so here we go:

1. Why is family travel important to you?
We think TRAVEL is important, and have done so extensively, throughout our lives. Naturally, now that we have a child as part of our family, we include him in our explorations.

2. Have you traveled anywhere with your family that you wouldn’t recommend?
No, we have not travelled anywhere that we wouldn’t recommend at all, though there are times, travelers, and places that make for a bad match. For example, mountain climbing with grandma, or taking a toddler to a quiet theatre, may not be a good match of the traveler with the place.

3. Favorite family vacation?
Fiji! When our boy was just over a year, we spent a week on a Fijian island! The Fijians fussed over the baby, had fresh fruit in abundance, and there was a sandbox as far as you could see. It was a great trip for both parents and child.

4. Best family travel memory?
Driving across the USA to see as many baseball games in as many different baseball parks as possible in 2 weeks.

5. Any embarrassing travel moments?
Spilling a drink on an airplane, across both Boy and Mom, and then having to wear the clothes, wet in embarrassing places for both of us, while we left the plane and claimed luggage.

6. Do you travel without children anymore?
Rarely. We have snuck off for a couple days while Boy visits with grandparents, but those outings tend to be short and close by.

7. Any family travel packing tips to share?
Pack things easy to wash in a sink and quick to dry. Jeans take days to dry when the weather is humid and there is no dryer.

8. What inspired you to start your blog?
We wanted to record our travels and allow family and friends to keep track of us as we roamed the globe. Though it seems hard for us to imagine, we have now spent the entire summer traveling. Boy’s friends in the US are back to school, and even here in Europe, the summer holidays are coming to an end. Now that we have completed nearly three months of travel, we have a chance to look back and see what we have learned

9. How far in advance do you plan your family travel?
We are on the road for about a year. The general outline was decided by our Round the World airline ticket, but the details we plan about 3 weeks at a time.

10. Where is your next trip planned to?
We are going to Madrid , Spain and then South Africa.

11. Where would you rather be today?
Nowhere else. I am with my family, in a new city, and we are exploring at our own pace.

Who do you nominate?

I nominate http://notsosahm.com

Let those bloggers know that they have been nominated so they can continue the chain.

The Liebster Award Rules are as follows:
· Thank the blogger who gave it to you including a link back to their website
· Answer the eleven questions they ask you
· Nominate bloggers with less than 500 followers
· Let those bloggers know that they have been nominated so they can continue the chain
· Ask eleven questions –

Why is family travel important to you?

What does road schooling mean to you?

How would you describe your goals for your child’s education?

Favorite family vacation?

Best family travel memory?

Any embarrassing travel moments?

Any family travel packing tips to share?

What inspired you to start your blog?

How far in advance do you plan your family travel?

Where is your next trip planned to?

Where would you rather be today?