Jungle, Waterfalls, and Wine

I haven’t been able to make myself write in a long time but as I sat here watching my old pictures of jungle, waterfalls, and animals in Costa Rica run across my screensaver, I thought I should make my travel journal into something readable. Hopefully the posts will be enjoyable to both write and read.

Destination: Costa Rica
Purpose:      Fun and adventure

Susan gazing at a waterfall in the jungle

Day 1 Wednesday 8 May 2013

I knew that my adventure would be somewhat contrived and that Costa Rica is a pretty touristy place but even so, it was the first time I had been out of the United States in five years and I was looking forward to practicing my long ignored Spanish.


It was fortunate that I got to the airport two hours early! I learned that I had gone so deaf in those eight years that I couldn’t hear the beep from the self-service check-in that I had no idea how to operate. United Airlines is smart to keep someone close by in case people like me decide to travel. The machine told me I had no reservation but I had my printed confirmation in hand. The magic man helping me, fixed it all and I was off to the security checkpoint where I learned just how empty my pockets had to be, that computers could be x-rayed, and that bad people hide things in their shoes.


Hotel Aeropuerto

I was meeting Kat at Hotel Aeropuerto in San Jose. The hotel provided a nicely dressed taxi driver to take me to the hotel at no extra charge. I liked the no-extra-charge part.

The hotel architecture was open construction, no doors or walls in the public areas, just a large permanent pavilion. You get out of the cab and walk a few feet to the front desk. Sorry, no pictures.

I tried out my Spanish even though everyone wanted to speak English. I couldn’t hear well enough to understand them anyway.


La Paz Waterfall Gardens – Walking in the Jungle

Waterfall in the jungleWe got started right away. The Gardens were exquisite! I love the jungle, for jungle is what it was. Johnny Weismuller could have swung into view and I would not have been surprised.

Tarzan vine in the jungle Those Tarzan vines  are really a water-gathering mechanism for the trees. They grow down from the tree tops and when they reach the ground, they put out tendrils to collect water.


There was a small nice zoo. We saw jaguars, monkeys, millions of butterflies, and birds. Little did I know that later in the trip, I would get to see monkeys, birds, AND caimans in the wild… alas, no jaguars.

jungle animals, two white jaguars


picture of our feet in our barefoot toe shoes
Our twin feet

The Waiter and the Wine

I had a late dinner back at the hotel and ordered red wine. (Red and white are all I know about wines.) The waiter misunderstood me because he brought me a white wine. I went with it but when I wanted to order steak for dinner, he wouldn’t let me because I had a white wine. I ate fish. It was good fish and I had a great day so I couldn’t complain just because I was looking forward to steak.


Kathryn came down just for an after dinner drink and ordered a specific wine by name.

“When did you learn about wines?” I asked. “I know nothing about them,”

“I don’t either, I just didn’t want to appear ignorant to the waiter.”

Old Route 66

My folks and I used to travel US-66 (aka Route 66 aka the Mother Road) from Oklahoma City to West Texas once or twice a year to see family. When I became an adult and went back to see grandparents on my own, I-40 had come into being and I thought it was wonderful. It took two hours less time to get there; I could drive at faster speeds. It was great. I used it every single time and still use the interstate when I have business out that way. I have seen and heard journalistic pieces about old Route 66. It is advertised as a sort of tourist attraction but I hadn’t been on it since I was a kid… until yesterday.

I usually take food to eat or stop at a Loves or a Flying J. This time I wanted real food so I took the exit at mile marker one east of the Oklahoma Texas border. The town is called Texola. My family used to eat there sometimes.
Looking down the road into Texola, Oklahomaabandoned house
lived in house
Abandoned building

Did it occur to anyone what would happen to the towns once the highway bypassed them?  It certainly never occurred to me.


It saddened me to see grass growing in the middle of the old highway pavement of Highway 66.


Looking west down Route 66
Looking west down Route 66
Route 66 looking east
Looking east up Route 66




Tumbleweed Grill

If you are ever out near mile marker one on the Oklahoma side of western Oklahoma/Texas border, and you are hungry, go into Texola, to the old 66 highway, and eat at the Tumbleweed Grill. People do still travel the old route and Masel Zimmerman is there to feed them. I ordered chicken fried steak with mashed potatoes and green beans, my favorite meal of all time.

She said, “It will take a few minutes, I have to mix up the egg batter.”

“Wait,” I interrupted. “I can’t eat eggs.”

“Alright. Shall I just mix up a flour and milk batter for you?”

Homemade food. I love the lady.

Masel Zimmerman
Masel Zimmerman

The walls are covered with her artwork that she also sells for the pricey prices that good art brings. She does acrylic paintings and pencil sketches. Near the ceiling, she has pinned all the different currencies that customers have brought her. The most distant currency she has is Australia.

She came here from Las Vegas nine years ago where she made her living as a portrait painter. She and her husband got tired of Las Vegas when it began to change, so they loaded up in a travel trailer and started driving east to Memphis, TN. The travel trailer broke down in Texola, Oklahoma and they never left.

I think I’ll take old 66 on the trip home.