After five years of experience...Even we can be fooled!...Car rental warnings....More Atenas Farmers Market photos...Stunning sighting from the veranda...


A farmer with several coolers of homemade sausage cooked us a sampling of his Italian sausage which we have trouble finding in many countries.  After tasting the delicious, perfectly seasoned sausages, we purchased six packages to use for our next batch of low carb pizza.
"Sightings from the Veranda in Costa Rica"
From this website"The owl butterflies, the genus Caligo, are known for their huge eye spots, which resemble owls' eyes. They are found in the rain forests and secondary forests of MexicoCentral, and South America.Owl butterflies are very large, 65–200 mm (2.6–7.9 in), and fly only a few meters at a time, so avian predators have little difficulty in following them to their settling place. However, the butterflies preferentially fly at dusk, when few avian predators are around. The Latin name may possibly refer to their active periods; caligo means darkness."   
This morning's sighting of this Owl Butterfly sent us both to the moon with sheer delight!  Can you imagine the magic of this amazing creature with spots that appear to be eyes resembling an owl in order to keep predators away?  Wow!
After tasting the above Italian Sausages as shown above we purchased six packages from the farmer.
When we spotted this butterfly on the front veranda this morning, I couldn't grab the camera quickly enough.  Tom witnessed it flying but by the time I grabbed the camera it had landed in this spot by the sliding glass door.
The small but fun-filled Atenas Farmers Market.
We'll be sharing more photos of butterflies over these upcoming months in Costa Rica due to the fact we've seen more butterflies here than in any other part of the world.  Please check back for future stories.
There are plants for sale along with produce and handmade goods.
Speaking of our remaining 85 days in Costa Rica, yesterday's experience at the car rental facility in San Jose will be emblazoned in our minds forever.  Never once in the past five years of world travel, having rented cars for approximately 50% of the time, have we ever had such an outrageously awful experience.

Sure, we anticipated the US $9 (CRC 5,169) a day rate (included all taxes) would never end up at that rate when we went to pick up the car.  We anticipated add-on charges for our age which was listed at US $5 (CRC 2,871) per day, per person.  But even at US $19 (CRC 10,912) we could live with that with both of us able to drive. 
We were impressed with the elaborate displays.
In many countries we've rented cars for around US $600 (CRC 344,574) to $700 (402,003) for a monthly rate which we've always felt has been fair.  But, the discovery we made after our taxi ride from Atenas to the Europcar facility (franchise owned) next door to the Walmart store in San Jose where we planned to pick up a few items after getting the car, threw us for a loop.
Huge banana picked in giant bunches caught the eye of many shoppers.
It all started out fine when the rep behind the counter began processing our booked rental asking for our passports, drivers licenses, US address, etc. We'd brought along the printed documents with our confirmation number and pertinent information to ensure nothing would infringe upon our getting the decent rate we'd derived online at our usual rentalcars.com, a reputable company.
Belts, wallets and other leather goods.
And, we've used Europcar at least 10 times over these years expecting they'd honor the online pricing without gouging us.  After finding they were franchise operations and subject to any peculiar laws in a country (so they say), we were shocked over the "bait and switch" tactic we were presented.
Local farmers and butchers have a wide array of beef, pork, and poultry for sale.
Aad has warned us about "bait and switch" type rental situations frequently occurring in Costa Rica, the reason why we'd chosen to do the five day rental through his regular guy from "Thrifty."  Having used Europcar many times over these past years, we didn't anticipate any problems.
Refrigerated cases with traditional and uncommon cuts of meat.
Here's the prices we'd have had to pay, had we taken the tiny car yesterday:

1.  US $9 daily rate, plus the US $5 (CRC 2,871) for one driver over 64 years old (Tom) PLUS...an additional US $44.95 (CRC 25,814) per day for insurance (we already have insurance through our credit cards and a separate liability policy) for a total of US $58.95 per day (CRC 33,854) for a grand total for US $5,070 (CRC 2,911,444) for our remaining days in Costa Rica.
2.  Plus, they wanted a letter from our bank stating we have sufficient funds to pay for the car in the event of an accident (what the heck was the US $44.95 (CRC 25,814) per day supposed to be for?
3.  Plus, they required a US $9,000 (CRC 5,168,610) deposit!!!
Specialty flavored sea salts.  We purchased a similar item in Tasmania, smokey Himalayan salt which we continue to use and enjoy.
Why in the world would we pay any of this?  Any one of these above three would sent us walking out the door in a huff, which I did, this time, not so much Tom.  Yep, I was the "overly grumpy" traveler this time, appalled by this unbelievable trickery. 

I couldn't resist buying one of these containers of two dozen quail eggs.
Sure, if someone was renting a car for a one week holiday, it wouldn't seem so bad but still they'd required the outrageous deposit!  Who'd be willing to put a US $9,000 (CRC 5,168,610) deposit on a credit card?  Not us!
Over a period of a few days, I boiled these tiny quail eggs and had them in my taco salad.  They're tiny and fun to pop in one's mouth for a tasty treat.
We left...no car...as frustrated as I've ever been in our years of world travel.  We walked across the road to the Walmart store, our yellow Costco bag in hand with a short list of items we needed to find, some of which we did find and others we did not.
For illustration purposes, I placed one large regular chicken egg atop the boiled peeled quail eggs.  About four quail eggs is comparable to one chicken egg.  I ate all 24 of them over a period of three days.  Tom didn't care for them, although they taste almost identical to a regular egg.
Wait until tomorrow, folks when we share the story of what transpired at the pharmacy at Walmart that left me with a dilemma for which there's no logical solution. By the time we paid for our few items we were both in a better state of mind, and we found a taxi outside the store that drove us back to Atenas. 
Since Tom's been eating fruit, we purchased this watermelon which he hadn't eaten since we left Minnesota.  Today, I used this cauliflower as an ingredient in a favorite meal; Chicken Sausage and Cauliflower Bake.  Email me for this amazing recipe!
Round trip taxi fares from Atenas to San Jose?  The total came to US $54.83 (CRC 31,485) which actually wasn't as much as we'd expected.  That was one pricey trip t0 Walmart!
We used these small purple onions in taco salad over these past few days.
No one ever said it was ever easy.  We'll be back with more...
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Photo from one year ago today, August 29, 2016:
Final photos of Chalong Beach in Phuket, Thailand when we were preparing to depart on September 1, 2016.  For more final photos, please click here.

2 comments:

Susan said...

Good for you for walking out of the car rental agency. I hope you let Europecar know what they are doing in their name. Unfortunately I am not surprised at your experience. Friends of ours lived in CR for 15 years and we heard many negative stories from them which led us to sell our plot of land and cancel our plans of retiring there. All for the best anyway as we are following in your footsteps as home free nomads.

Jessica said...

Dear Susan, we're definitely letting Europcar know once we get our money back in he next few days. Most countries have their pluses and minuses and we find after living in one for a few months, we do get a feel for what works for us and what doesn't. Then again, we have no plans to settle anywhere in the near future so we chalk it up as good experience. There are many wonderful aspects to Costa Rica, just like Belize, which could be challenging as well.

Hope you're plans are working out well and your home will be sold soon. Please stay in touch. We love hearing from you!

Much love,
Jess & Tom

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