One of the things I did differently in Jaco, Costa Rica than I had done anywhere else was to set up sort of a base of operations. Not only did I have this massive condo that I had no business being in, but I also set up shop in a local sports bar. This wasn’t intentional to tell you the truth. I arrived on a Sunday afternoon and my previous post covered the simple but somewhat time consuming aspect of getting settled into my condo.
My next step was to get some groceries for the week. I figured a loaf of bread, few packages of meat, mayonnaise, cheese, and a couple tomatoes should cover all of my non-eating out needs. Some wine, rum, and coke would round out my food pyramid. I caught a cab for $2-$3 and had him take me to the grocery store. Here, I ran into one of the Russian guys from the flight and he gave me some great advice for where to go and what to do. The rest of them were packing to leave in a couple of hours.
A little later I decided I needed to go out. It was not the busy season and Jaco didn’t seem to be too out of control on a Sunday night. I asked Frank (the security guard) to call me a cab and help me get to a relaxing bar where I could just hang out. Frank’s English was good, but some explanation was necessary. Finally, I think we’ve got everything figured out and the cab arrives. Frank tells him I want to go to a “barro tranquila”. My immediate thought was “No I’m not looking for drugs!” Before the words could come out of my mouth, the word tranquil replaced the thought of a tranquilizer and I figured he was probably right.
The driver took me to a bar/hotel called OZ. It was a simple sports bar with a long open side. It had about 6-ish large flat screen TVs with tables and a wrap around, large island bar. There were only three or four other customers that were in the back shooting pool and the bartender was free to chat most of the time. He told me his name was Leo and the conversation just ran. He spoke great English and filed me in on all of the highlights of Jaco. He quickly became my go-to guy for anything I wanted to know and I quickly became very comfortable in the bar.
I told Leo that I would return the next night and I did. I found out that the bar had almost decent lunch and dinner meals, but later found out they had one of the best breakfasts in town. I also met the rest of the bartenders. Leo was the only guy among them and was also the only one who spoke both English and Spanish well enough to moderate. There were three other bartenders, Tania,
some chick whose name I can’t remember, and La Gringa. La Gringa was from the west coast (Washington or Oregon) and had a masters degree in Psychology. Oh, the entertainment I had at her expense. To make matters even better, for me that is, her Spanish wasn’t much better than mine! I kept myself entertained for hours with questions like “so how many years of college do you need to be a bartender?” She probably hates me.
This was the perfect place to hang out and get a juice in the middle of the day or start the night life a little early. There were a lot of Soccer game on and the place could get rather packed when the right game was playing. There was also a constant flow of hit 80’s tunes (Oh yeah!) that flowed perfectly with the beach atmosphere. Every once in a while these guys would come in and sing a little with the customers. They were quite good even if I didn’t understand a word out of their mouths.