I just got back from my third and hopefully second to last trip to the doctors office. The good news is that the doctor told me that I am looking fine and that now I just have to wait for my body to heal up the wounds on its own. She also told me that I most likely will not have to hang around for another week after my last appointment as she will give me some medicine that I can apply myself and so long as I do not engage in any overly strenuous activity for a while, I should be fine on my own.
So now I just have to hang tight and keep myself from crawling up the walls while I wait to get the last appointment under my belt and hopefully a bill of good health so I can hit the road again.
Artax, my trusty bicycle, is now en route back to the States. I took him apart, and the great guys at the local DHL helped me to get him into boxes safe and sound. It was weird, I felt like I was saying goodbye to a buddy or something. He was a great bike and I was totally satisfied with his performance. Even under really terrible conditions he kept on trucking like a champ. I look forward to putting him back together in the future and taking him for a spin.
San Jose is a lot nicer than most of the cities I have been to in Central America, but I am staying in a neighborhood that is not exactly the best in town. Its right next to the biggest bus station and their are a lot of shady characters hanging around. Although the hotel is safe, clean and cheap, plus its close to the hospital.
I hate being in places like this for too long as it begins to harden and jade you. Whenever I see somebody spot me and come over to talk to me, I instantly assume they are going to try and hustle me somehow. Nine out of ten times that is the case, as they are either trying to sell you some junk, drugs, advice, etc. or to just flat out beg. You reflexively develop a defense against it, and start to come across as really rude. The down side of that is when you meet someone who is just trying to be nice and then you start off on the wrong foot. I like the country towns because there when people approach you, they are genuinely trying to be friendly and get to know you. You only get about one out of ten that are trying to hustle you.
One guy in particular here has really been getting on my nerves. He spotted me coming back to my hotel a few days ago and started talking to me in American accented English and looked clean so I figured he was another traveler. He asked where I had been and where I was headed, typical traveler questions, and I chatted with him for a bit. He told me about a couple of cool places to visit in Panama and started asking me about American football and such and I figured, this is just a cool guy from the states who saw someone he figured he might be able to talk to, maybe he is going it alone like me.
Then, he asks me if I want to buy any drugs. Great, he is just a clever scumbag from the states using it as leverage on people. I tell him no, then he offer to take me to a casino. No again. How about some prostitutes. No buddy, beat it. How about a cheaper hotel, come on, its just over here, as he tugs on my shirt. No, I am fine here. How about a couple of bucks for helping you out, I showed you some great places to visit in Panama. So, I give him about 50 colones (a couple of cents American) just to get him to get out of my face. He takes it and goes, that's it? I lost it then and told him he should be happy I gave him anything. He then tells me he is coming down off some drugs and needs more money, I tell him to get out of my face.
Two days later he spots me again and comes up to me begging for money, saying he is going through some tough times and I just looked at him and say, too bad, and left.
Guys like that make me sick. He is just a lowlife junky trying to pull on peoples heart strings to get something without working for it. I truly feel bad for people on the streets that don't have anywhere else to go, like the mentally ill who are abandoned by their families. They are there through bad luck alone and it is terrible to see them suffer through no fault of their own. But this guy, reasonably intelligent and able bodied, has no excuse to beg from people. It just blows me away, where is your sense of pride? Or at least shame? I just want to yell at people like that and shake the hell out of them, tell them to clean themselves up and do something with their lives besides waste it and live like a human parasite. He made me so angry at him, I wanted him to not say he was an American to anyone else as it makes the rest of us look bad.
Anyway, sorry for the rant, it was just something that has been bugging me. There are lots of those types around here so you have to stay on your toes a bit, but it is nothing more than an annoyance, I have never felt unsafe at all.
I am going a bit stir crazy though as I am not used to being in one place this long any more, and I can't do much. For the most part I am confined to my room while I heal up. I have found a great second hand book store that has a huge selection of English language books cheap, which has been a godsend. You can also trade in your old books for credit towards new ones, so I have been burning through a book every day or two. And, the nerd in my rejoiced at this, the book store even has English language comic books. Sweet! So I have been hanging out there quite a bit. I love bookstores like that because you never know what you are going to find. I have dug up some real gems as well as some really, really bad books that I have enjoyed reading and laughing at. I like the big bookstore chains too as they have such a great variety and its all so well organized. But, they do lack the charm of the little Mom and Pop bookstores, even when Mom and Pops idea of organization means just having books on the shelf...or in boxes on the floor, or laying in giant stacks with no rhyme or reason. The one annoyance though is when you find a great book to read, but it is the second in a series and they have all but book number one. I hate that! I can not read any books or watch any movies out of order, it drives me nuts.
But, other than that I have been well, I have scoped out all the best and cheapest food joints around me. They LOVE their fried chicken in central America, its everywhere, and its cheap as well. That and beans and rice, the staple foods of the Central American diet it seems to me. I miss Mexican food a lot, they have such a huge variety of really excellent types of food there for reasonable prices. It truly spoils a traveler.
At any rate, this is turning into a random stream of consciousness blog update that does not have a lot of pertinent information so I will cut it short. I plan on hitting the road as soon as the Doc gives me the thumbs up and I get my new gear sent to me from my parents. And Mom, Dad, you guys are awesome for running around getting everything I need. I know its a pain in the butt, but it is a huge help to me and I truly appreciate it! Love you guys!