So today it was a time to say goodbye to the very beautiful Osa Peninsula. We had hoped to have time to make an early morning sojourn down to the beach to see if we could finally capture a close up image of the Scarlet Macaws but alas this was not possible given our departure time.
We left at around 7:15 with Felix our favourite birdman driving us back to Puetro Jimanez to catch our flight to San Jose. Joining us were a couple from Switzerland who had driven to the Osa and therefore were not aware of the uniqueness of the small town airport.
On the way Felix continued to point out any manner of birds and our travelling companions who also seemed to have some knowledge in this area were also keen to stop and take some last minutes pictures, making for a gentle, if you can say that about this road, trip back into town.
Arriving at the airport, our Swiss companions were flabbergasted to find that the airport was a haggard, chomped up piece of bitumen adjacent to a cemetery. Check in was a tiny, empty box with a man and a desk, nothing else just the man and his desk (Yep definitely different from Zurich airport!).
We were having a slight chuckle as we kept examining the man’s face and demeanour as he just couldn’t quite believe that this really was the airport. He was even more apprehensive when a noise rang out to which he explained that it must be a bird and we explained that no it was the aeroplane (although not much bigger than a bird I must say). With the wisdom of knowing how this all worked we waited at the gate to board (and when I say gate this is what it was) and then boarded the plane bound for San Jose. The Swiss couple had discovered that they were actually on another flight that went along the coastline stopping at a number of smaller airports…hmmm lucky them. So with a laugh, a wave and a slight lean forward to help the plane lift off we took off and flew the 45 minutes or so. The flight back wasn’t nearly as bad as the flight there although it may have been that we were a little more prepared for it and also that there was a lady on the plane who was happy to chat to us, possibly taking our mind off the smaller bumps that occurred.
Arriving at San Jose, we walked out of the smaller Sansa air depot to the larger international section. We noticed the multitude of taxi drivers waiting at arrivals and reminisced that the bewildered tourists exiting the arrival gate were us only a week ago. How different things are when you know how something works. Check in went relatively smoothly although our flight had been delayed and the American Airlines lady said we would have trouble making the connection at Miami so moved us to an earlier flight to assist. So on the plane for our flight to Miami, a flight around two hours.
Coming into Miami airport is chaos if you come from another country. It is the same issue as Los Angeles when arriving on the west coast. There are so many planes that come into this airport – pretty much all those from Central and South America and also those from the Caribbean. As a result there are a massive amount of travellers all in one location. Firstly you have to collect your bags from one of the many carousels that are in baggage claim. You are then carolled through a narrow entrance where each individual one at a time has their customs paper checked. To get through this stage took us around 30 minutes. Then you have to go through passport control – hmm are you ESTA, Visa or US/Canadian citizen? Sorted and then back in the line to wait your turn to be approved before then going through security one at a time to be checked, removing shoes, watches, laptops and anything else that may be deemed a security concern on the machines. We could see why the lady in San Jose had put us on an earlier flight as what seemed like a simple connection wasn’t and an hour to transfer from one plane to another would not nearly have been enough. There were however, some people in the line who had not had the same assistance and were clearly going to miss their flights, a concern they verbalised aloud (I wonder why their line then seemed to go a little slower?)
Through security, customs, immigration and everything else and then onto the plane bound for Las Vegas, around five hours flying time. A quick chance for a nap for some and then arrival at Las Vegas International, a million miles away from the Osa Peninsula that we left this morning. Taxi from the airport and arrival at Bellagio with just enough time to see the last two water fountain dances. Tomorrow take off time bound for Melbourne. Our trip almost over.