United Airlines put us up at the Camino Real Hotel downtown which was a little swankier than what we are accustomed to. In fact, by the time we returned to Colorado six weeks later, United Airlines had probably spent more money on hotel rooms for us than we spent ourselves… but I’m getting ahead of myself.
After an evening of exploring and shopping (we ended up buying gifts for everyone back home so we didn’t have to worry about it while we were traveling), we returned to the hotel and danced the night away to salsa and meringue from a live band.
The next morning the tire arrived, but the flight crew had “expired,” and they said we would have to wait for a new one. United was very accommodating, and arranged for a minibus to take us to a another hotel, this time on the beach, where we spent the day swimming and relaxing.
Eventually United gave up on getting us out on one of their flights, and chartered a plane complete with crew from TACA. We returned to the airport, and to our surprise, we found that the passengers who had chosen to wait for the next available flight were still in the airport.
Only about a dozen of the 100 or so people who waited in the airport had managed to get a flight out. They looked like they had spent long nights trying to sleep in those really uncomfortable plastic airport chairs, hadn’t brushed their hair or teeth for days, and had been subsisting on stale sandwiches and weak coffee… Oh yeah, they had…
Moral of the story – Go with the flow. If you get a chance to check out El Salvador, go. It’s not as nice as Costa Rica, but it’s much better than the inside of any airport.
The Flight form San Salvador to San Jose lasted about half an hour, and was without incident, but somehow our bicycles headed to San Francisco. United Airlines felt responsible, so we found out that there is a Camino Real hotel in San Jose too, and if your budget allows (or someone else is paying), it is a very nice place. United Airlines was once again kind enough to pick up the tab for our room, and dinner at the excellent French restaurant downstairs. The next morning our bikes arrived and we were ready to roll.
Pampered, well fed, relaxed and already a little bit tan we hit the road.