Part 4- Decisions. The journey. Money game.
When to go? Where to stay?
I networked with friends. “Anyone know anyone in Costa Rica?” Low and behold I got a few email addresses and phone numbers. I tried all of them. One immediately got back to me and became my Knight in Shining Armor.
As fate had it, another woman from Texas getting dental work was staying with him. She lived in my old neighborhood in Austin. When she got back, we met and reviewed what I needed. She told me to cancel my hotel arrangements at El Sestro and to stay with him. “The house is beautiful. You’ll have full use of the kitchen and your own room with private bath.” I took her advice.
Confusion happened around arrival pick up. This is when being a seasoned traveler comes in handy. Due to inconsistent Internet and phone connections not only from Costa Rica but from “good old” AT&T in my rural area in Lockhart, TX , I didn’t know who was picking me up at the airport and I didn’t have the address of the house.
At 11pm CST, Dr. Anglada gets through to me. He is concerned about my welfare and relates that his driver will be at the airport to take me to whatever destination I want. This was 6.5 hours before departure. At departure, I didn’t know where I was staying but I did trust that it would all work out.
A call comes from my “Knight” while on the Atlanta Airport Tram. I can barely hear him. “Everything is set. The driver knows where to take you.“ I take down his Costa Rican phone number. I arrive in San Jose, Costa Rica on time. My baggage is there as is the driver; we depart and arrive at my destination. All is well in my world.
I left on a Saturday at 5:55am on a Delta flight from Austin. I slept on the plane. Arrived in Atlanta for an hour layover and arrived in San Jose at 1pm something. That afternoon we went grocery shopping. We made dinner and I retired early to a comfortable bed.
Sunday: We went to a park and watched a fabulous performance of Jesus Superstar in Spanish. Later that day we went back to the airport to pick up another one of his friends. And even later that day we went home and another friend came by to make dinner and stay over. WOW. For not knowing anyone, to having a delicious dinner with congenial people in a wonderful house I decided I had good karma.
Monday: My knight took me by bus to my 12:30 dental appointment and waited for me.. San Jose has a cheap and fantastic bus service. Street traffic is loud! There are hordes of people on the streets all the time.
The medical technician took a 360-degree digital photo of my mouth. His dental assistants set me up in a room just like we have here. Dr. Anglada came in after I was prepped. We were hoping that the tooth to be extracted wouldn’t develop an infection but it did. Therefore, we could not put an implant post in that socket. Our plan is to do that on my return trip and to have the abutment and crown made and fitted in the States.
Everything else went as planned.
We set my surgery date for Tuesday afternoon. Then we talked about money and I realized I didn’t keep my end of the bargain. I thought it would be okay to pay him a certain amount daily as my ATM LIMIT was $1000 a day. We worked it out just doing that but payment after service is the integral thing to do. Ask if your dentist wants Colonees or Dollars. Mine wanted dollars.
Money: There are international transactions fees on most debit and credit cards. Visa is the preferred card in Costa Rica. You will have a 5-7% additional charge on your dental bills if you use credit cards.
This is what I did:
I deposited money into a Schwab Checking Account, which offers a no-charge international debit card. This is the one to use! I had a daily $1000 limit on ATM transactions. I took out money daily instead of carrying a wad of cash on me. It’s really safe enough to carry money like anywhere in the US.
I reactivated my Capitol One Credit Card (though I can’t stand Capitol One). Capitol One doesn’t charge international transaction fees either but is not as good as Schwab’s in my opinion.
Dr. Anglada and I had a Financial Memorandum of Understanding. Make sure you have one of these with whomever you choose. As mentioned earlier, I had an infection where the extraction occurred. The 5th implant didn’t happen. We reduced my invoice for that amount.
I suggest you have enough money to operate above your financial memorandum of understanding. You may want other procedures done at the dental office or elsewhere. I suggest you research possibilities before going. I’m doing just this for my return trip.