I had always planned to head to San Francisco next. In my mind I thought that I was flying from San Jose, Costa Rica to San Jose, California, to an extent where I was telling anyone who’d listen, as it usually got a laugh. I wanted to say in an ironic way but there is actually no irony in this, kind of like most of the stuff in the Alanis Morissette song! At one point when I was looking at flights, double San Jose must have been an option but when I checked the ticket yesterday the flight was actually to San Francisco, via Charlotte, North Carolina.

The check-in process in San Jose was slightly stressful. I was always under the impression that the ESTA required for entry to the USA was an electronic document. When I later checked this out, this was confirmed by the US authorities who advise you that a paper copy is not required. The lady at check-in asked me for my ESTA confirmation number. I explained that I don’t have it to hand and that it has never been required before. She said that she could not log into the computer system to check that I have a valid ESTA so therefore I could not be checked in for the flight. We had a bit of a problem as due to a lack of Wifi coverage I also could not get onto the internet to access my confirmation number. The matter was resolved by the nice check-in lady letting me borrow her personal mobile phone to log into the US Homeland Security website to obtain the confirmation number. I’m not sure whether the fault lies with the airport or the airline, although I’d be more inclined to blame the latter as American Airlines never seem to be far away from a customer services cock-up! As my luggage was disappearing down the conveyor belt I realised that, possibly as a result of flapping around at the check-in desk for the past 20 minutes, I’d forgot to check-in my suncream. However at the rate I’d been going through it recently there was only the dregs left.

Upon exiting Costa Rica I spoke to a rarity in life, a friendly immigration officer. He seemed genuinely interested to know whether I had enjoyed Costa Rica and if I planned to visit again. I didn’t have heart to say that I probably would not be back. However writing this two weeks later, with the benefit of hindsight, I probably didn’t plan it the best way. It wouldn’t have been a bad idea to avoid San Jose altogether. Also you probably don’t see the best of Costa Rica voting it on your own.

Charlotte Airport isn’t the best airport to spend a night in. All the seats have solid arms, making sleeping uncomfortable. If anyone actually managed to nod off there was someone doing some sort of drilling job that made kipping almost impossible.