The USA is getting blasted with a winter storm here at the end of 2010. From coast to coast, snow and extreme cold is snarling airtravel and life in general for millions. The northeast was hardest hit, as always, with blizzard conditions even forcing the postponement of a football game. Here in the southeast the snow moved in Christmas night, dumping four inches. When I was a kid I would have loved it, now it’s just messy and painfully cold. Meanwhile it is sunny and 85 degrees in Cebu, Philippines.
>Costa Rica is a country located in Central America. One of the regions most prosperous and stable democracies, it flourishes as a popular tourist destination for American, Canadien and even many Europeans, who find the mild tropical climate, the nice beaches and pristine rainforests a welcome break from the stress of their busy lives. I have travelled here twice, the first time in July 2007 and again four months later.
Like the Philippines, Costa Rica is a predominately Catholic nation. And as in the Philippines many people speak English, although it’s good to know a little Spanish, if only for greetings. The capital is San Jose. It has everything a traveller could want. Five star hotels, eco-tourism, a bustling nightlife, casinos and for the more adventurous, the world famous Del Rey Hotel & Casino. Located in the heart of the city and open 24/7, The Del Rey is San Jose’s place to be. Three bars and hundreds of Ticas (Costa Rican women) for stimulating company, it’s a must see for the single guy.
I stayed there my first trip, I was single! The music pounding until six a.m. along with the visual images of what was going on downstairs made it hard to sleep. My advice is, visit, but stay at the Morazon Hotel next door. Just watch out for the cross-dressers late at night on the street, who will try to pull you away from your evenings companion. It happened to me and a friend of mine. (He actually punched one they were being so aggressive). But as always when in a foreign country be mindful of your surroundings and avoid trouble.
San Jose is a great place to visit whether your single or married. Lots of options for things to do. It’s a great trip with short relatively inexpensive flights from the US. Forget Cancun….Head to San Jose! You’ll be glad you did.
|Chicken Chow Mein…My Favorite|
I decided to write again about food after a bit of an absence. As you may know I love Asain cuisine, but my choices in the US are mostly limited to Chinese restaurants. These establishments are everywhere here. There must be at least six or seven within driving distance of my house. They go by colorful names like Chin Garden, Panda’s Den and Fast Wok, and tend to be very popular and successful (have you ever seen one go out of business?). I eat there quite often. The food is fresh, hot and inexpensive, and with five dollar lunch specials on many dishes, you can’t go wrong. I like the food because of the good healthy vegetables incorporated in them, which I don’t always get in other meals. I have visited several but have settled on a few I like. They can’t compete with the authentic Asian food I prefer, but for a quick meal it does the trick. The only downside is the meal doesn’t stick with me (you feel hungry again after a couple hours…is it like that with you?). But I enjoy it and that’s what keeps me coming back.
|Hot & Spicy Beef Lunch Special|
This is a story of my trip to The Philippines. The last in a series I wrote. Please see previous posts for full story. My friends and I left from Cebu for Manila on Saturday July 14, 2007 after having our flight cancelled the previous day. The airline was nice to provide a van back to Angeles at no charge. (Thank you Cebu Pacific). Met a nice Filipino woman on the trip up the highway. A successful business woman heading home to her husband and kids. Her company sells furniture in the Philippines and Internationally. She taught me a lot about the country and answered all my questions. Like are the Water Buffalo’s I saw on the side of the road wild or owned? She said they are owned. I had thought they just ran wild.
Being stuck in Cebu for one more day was an unexpected pleasure. The airline offered to comp us in a hotel near the airport, but we would rather be in the city, so off we went. Got a room at the Holiday Plaza Hotel. Very nice place in the heart of the city. I had just an ok lunch there though, the sweet and sour Lapu-Lapu fish. Something was off about it. Not the best of meals I have had in my travels. We were the only patrons in the restaurant, which should have been a clue that the food’s not that good. But to their credit, the banana split desert was fantastic! So to anyone traveling in Cebu. The Holiday Plaza is a nice place to stay. Just find an authentic Filipino restaurant in which to dine. I wish I had.
Later that evening, after some much needed down time, I decided to ditch the guys and headed accross the street from the hotel to a lounge for a beer. A little away time. I needed a break from the group dynamic for awhile. It was interesting being by myself. Out on the streets of Cebu, the looks from the people on the street. They are not used to seeing younger American visitors. I’m 42, but look much younger. The “lounge” turned out to be a go-go bar. But being weak in the flesh, I stayed for a cold San Mig Light. I had a nice meeting with a couple fellas from Texas there. They were in the the Philippines having a good time. Cool to chat with travelers on their journey, especially from US like me.
Was a shock seeing him again. Here he was in Cebu. Stephen was scanning the room and said “There’s that guy Tom”. He was also surprised to see us. We chatted with Tom while waiting on our flight and he enjoyed seeing the pictures we had taken of our adventure so far. Hilda was not so happy, seeing that some of the photos my buddy’s had taken were pretty racy. Didn’t want her American lured away by temptation I am sure. She was a great gal though. He was meeting her family on the trip so I’m sure he’s a future Expat in The Philipines.
First night in Cebu! In the company of a couple of Filipinas who know the town well, even though they live in the northern province in Medellin. Got checked into the Diplomat Hotel and went for a fabulous meal at a restaurant in the SM Mall. These people know how to cook some fish (no surprise). Then it was off to the Sunflower Disco in the city. An awesome place! Live music with dancing. Not my favorite thing to do but after a San Mig and a shot of Tequila, why not let the girls have some fun. We had a blast and after the fun headed to the Jolibee for a late night meal. Mage attempted to find a street vendor selling Balut but was unsuccessful. Which was fine with me. I didn’t try Balut while there, but I will give it a try, maybe, next time. If you don’t know what that is, it is a fremented duck egg, with the duck fetus inside. Know as an aphrodisiac in The Philippines. Not my cup of tea.