Today’s Alajuela Adventures

I travel by bus to our province’s capital every week or two, mainly for Aerocasillas & Walmart. Here’s today’s story with phone pix:

Iglesia Bautista 1946, Alajuela
I got the 9 AM bus to Alajuela ($1.43) and it got there in 30 minutes, the fastest time yet! Walking from the Alajuela bus terminal to Aerocasillas, as always, I saw for the first time the Baptist Church of Alajuela. I have walked by it before without noticing the small “Iglesia Bautista 1946” sign. It was started when I was just 6 years old! I know it is the date because we don’t use house numbers here! It is behind and overshadowed by the Alajuela Cathedral pictured in my January 15 post

Aerocasillas Alajuela Office

From the bus station to Aerocasillas (the blue sign on gray building) is an 11 block walk or as they say here, “about 1100 meters” or actually “oncecientos metres.” Today I had one letter, a check from the sale of my dining room table and chairs, finally! So worth the trip! Then this afternoon when I got home I received notice via email that a package will be ready for me to pick up tomorrow. Grrr! Maybe I go tomorrow or maybe next week! ! It is the replacement blades for my electric razor that I couldn’t find here. Oh well! Another adventure!

Then around the corner from Aerocasillas are two of my favorite landmarks and the cab stand:

Church of the Agony, Alajuela

La Bohemia Rock Bar across the street from Church of the Agony

Cab Stand at Church of the Agony – $3 to Walmart – All official taxis are red!
Maybe I’ll show a photo of the Walmart sometime, but it is just a big box! Today I walked across the street from Walmart to a new modern strip center with several nice restaurants. I chose Mexican, Taconteinto. It was very good and very expensive!
Then another cab back to the bus station where I just barely caught it as leaving and packed full. The first time I have had to stand all the way to Atenas, well, nearly all the way. Between La Garita and Atenas our bus broke down and we all had to stand on the side of the road at a partly covered bus stop for 20+ minutes waiting for a replacement bus to pick us up. We were all patient. “These things happen!” People don’t get bent out of shape when things go wrong here. Everyone just visited or used their cell phones. And 20-30 minutes for a replacement bus is actually pretty quick!
Waiting for a replacement bus on the western edge of La Garita. 

Cardiologist’s Office?

Cell Phone Capture of Alajuela House that is now a Cardiologist Office.

At first glance I thought it was some kind of government building! Why? Because all government buildings are two-tone blue and white. But most have a lot more white than this one. The sign is for a cardiologist, Dr. Luis Fernando Valerio Soto. Yet he could work for the government as part of the universal health plan and it may be a government building after all.

Then all over Alajuela are these modern, curving park benches – giving the city a cosmopolitan look maybe? Or at least some city councilman thought!  🙂  Downtown Alajuela where I go a lot is mostly, old and dirty looking, so this building kind of stands out! Later I may do a post on colorful buildings in Atenas and in Alajuela. The Walmart in Alajuela where I went today is not colorful.

Bus Riding with Grace and Two Churches Today

 All photos are by my Samsung Galaxy 4 Cellphone. Surprisingly good! Click photos to enlarge.

Iglesia La Angonia – The Church of Agony in Alajuela

Today I left the house at 6:15 AM to walk to bus terminal for the 6:55 bus to San Jose, the collectivo or slow route, because the embassy told me I would save taxi money if I got off at Hotel Corobici and road a taxi from there. A lady on the bus told me when we were at the hotel (I didn’t know what I was looking for) and I got a cab for about $3 to the U.S. Embassy after my $1 bus ride to the big city. First bus-riding grace (undeserved or unearned favor).

It went smoothly at the U.S. Embassy and I got my last needed document for the filing a residential application. Took it immediately to my attorney’s office ($2 taxi) where with this last document and nearly $1,500 of my money he will be filing my retiree residential application. He says it can take from 5 months to a year and a half. So I’m finished with it and will let him do his job, however long it takes! No more worries!
Second act of grace on bus riding: I asked the receptionist at the ARCR Office which bus terminal I should get a taxi to if I want a bus to Alajuela (since I had a package to pick up at Aerocasillas), and she said, oh you don’t need a taxi for bus to Alajuela, just go 300 meters to your left (3 blocks) and turn right for another 300 meters to the bus stop. I walked straight there and the Alajuela bus arrives in about 2 minutes!
Third act of grace on my bus riding (with little Spanish skills): I was going to the central bus station in Alajuela and then walk the 10 blocks to Aerocasillas, but as we came into town I saw the church pictured above that I thought was Iglesia La Angonia and asked the lady next to me, she said “Si.” I pulled the buzzer and only walked one block instead of ten to Aerocasillas which is near this church built in 1941. God is good! (Or I’m incredibly lucky!)
Then I walked the 10 blocks to the bus terminal to catch my Atenas bus, but stopped at the Central Plaza and the 1863 Alajuela Cathedral below for photos. Afterwards I ate lunch at McDonald’s across the street. Can’t believe I patronized them, but it was my first hamburger since getting here and it was very good! Home by 1:30 and staying in this afternoon. Pura vida!
Alajuela Cathedral, Finished in 1863

“Central Plaza Alajuela” is what most call it, or officially
“Plaza del Benemento General Guardia”
The cathedral is in background

Towering Palms & Mango Trees
Kind of like our’s in Atenas

Alajuela is a city (ciudad) of 300,000+ while Atenas is a small rural town (pueblo) of about 8,000. And I’m really glad we don’t have a McDonald’s! Pizza and fried chicken by locals is enough westernization for me! I’m loving small town life! Pura vida!

The Mailing Addresses

I don’t think I’ve shared them on the blog yet, though you may have received my new bus. card and Christmas post card with the new mailing addresses:

REQUIRING AN INTERNATIONAL POSTAGE STAMP AT $1.15:
Charlie Doggett
Hacienda La Jacaranda
03-4013
Atenas, Alajuela 20501
COSTA RICA

I PAY A COURIER SERVICE TO FLY IT TO COSTA RICA ONCE A WEEK:

PO BOX FOR MAIL & MAGAZINES ONLY:
Charlie Doggett
PO Box 025-331
SJO 170066
Miami, FL 33102-5331

STREET ADDRESS FOR PACKAGES ONLY:
Charlie Doggett
6703 NW 7th St.
SJO 170066
Miami, FL 33126-6007

If interested in knowing, these two Miami addresses are with Aero Post or Aero Casillas in Spanish, which is a courier service helping residents of all of Central and South America to have a U.S. address which is needed for some internet orders and other purposes. They fly to San Jose (the SJO code in the address) once a week with accumulated mail and packages and take it to my nearest Aero Post desk which happens to be in the town of Alajuela in the same province as me, also Alajuela. It is also the location town for the International Airport and about 20 minute drive from where I will live.

AND A LITTLE SERENDIPITY:
One of the two young men who came in a truck to pick up my boxes for Craters and Freighters of Nashville today was born in Alajuela and lived there until age 7 when his parents brought him to Nashville. Now how about that for a coincidence!