Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Santa Ana's Calle Vieja

It's funny how you hear terms over and over again, and never find out exactly what they mean until some occasion comes along to force you into finding out.  Santa Ana's Calle Vieja was one for me, until last night :-).

Calle Vieja means "old road" - there are *tons* of roads in Costa Rica that use this name!  Any time a new route is built (like a highway between San José and Santa Ana), the old road becomes Calle Vieja (natch).  Well of course it is still used (and the traffic is horrendous)!  I found out which road is called Calle Vieja because a restaurant we wanted to go to was off it, and listed it as part of its directions.  Then I had to plot a route to get there (in plenty of time for our reservations).  Thankfully, I love a challenge...

Our timetable:
5:15 leave our house in San Pedro
5:25 Barrio Escalante bus picks us up.  Note that this is rush hour traffic - standing room only on the bus, and it takes half again as long as normal to get into town.
5:45 Downtown San José, Barrio Escalante bus terminal.  We decide to walk to the next bus stop instead of taking the Sabana Cementerio bus.  It turns out to be 8 blocks, through a not-so-nice neighborhood, but do-able.
6:00 get on the bus for Santa Ana at the Coca Cola terminal.  Fortunately, it is exactly the bus we need, and the driver seemed sincere when he said he would tell us when we got to the Paco stop in Escazú/Santa Ana :-). 
6:10 bus leaves station (still rush hour)
6:30 finally out of town, and we take the exit to Escazú.  We go past EPA, and turn right onto THE CALLE VIEJA!  I can easily see several landmarks, and so we're ready to ring for our stop when the driver looks at us and says "Paco" - it's truly wonderful when the bus drivers look out for you (this is not the first time a driver has done something special for me or for other riders, but they don't always remember what help you needed).
6:45 exit at Multicentro Paco.  We have now experienced the trip to The Calle Vieja Santa Ana, in rush hour!  As you can see, it takes a very long time, especially compared to the same trip in mid-day :-).

Our return, much later:
9:37 PM - bus to San José picks us up at the Multicentro Paco, on The Calle Vieja Santa Ana
9:50 leave bus in San José at Yamuni, just past La Sabana park
10:03 Sabana Cementerio bus picks us up for the ride across town (BTW, this bus stops running at 10:30 PM)
10:15 leave SC bus at the San Pedro bus terminal (notice that it only took 12 minutes to get across town?)
10:30 San Pedro bus leaves terminal.  I think this is the first time I have taken this bus so late at night - most of the time, I catch it in the middle of the day, and the buses leave every couple of minutes.
10:47 Home!

By far, the longest time factor in rush hour is the traffic.  Late at night, it is the wait between infrequent buses.  The same trip in the middle of the day would be shorter by about half an hour.

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