I decided to come back by regular bus rather than Nica or Tica bus. Both have really early morning departures, so I decided to take the local bus, sacrificing comfort for sleep. I don't know if that was such a good idea. I wasn't thinking and took the wrong way to the bus stop, so I wasted time and energy walking around in the heat for about half an hour to 45 minutes. The problem is that streets aren't always labelled, so I didn't always know where I was or where to turn to fix myself. I finally made it, only to learn that the next bus didn't leave for more than an hour. At least it was already there, so I could sit somewhere. The bus was cramped again; many were other travellers but all were staying in Nicaragua after Rivas. So I crossed alone.
It never occurred to me there wouldn't already be buses that I needed to take to get from there to Liberia at the border. I waited, and finally a lady from TransNica approached me, seeming to have appeared out of nowhere, to find out if I was going to San José. Liberia is on the way, so I was able to get a ticket. I was really happy she showed up, though, because I otherwise had no idea how I was going to get back to Liberia! The lady said the bus left at 3:30pm, but it didn't arrive until 3:45pm. Then it took a while for the people already on the bus to get off and have their bags and passports checked. It was an eternity as I just wanted to sleep.
Finally, the bus left around 4:15. I was so happy. The TransNica is more expensive; it's a luxury A/C bus, but it was only $12, and for the comfort of the trip back to Liberia, it was worth it. I even had a seat to myself. Of course, the one part I didn't think about is that I had only cleared Nica departure customs but not CR entry customs. so just after I shut my eyes, we were instructed to get off again and take our luggage out from storage for inspection. It took so long just standing there, I almost wanted to cry. We finally left around 4:45, meaning I spent over 2 hours at the border area. I think I prefer the India/Pakistan border. It takes only about 45 minutes flat, though most of my wait here was for my bus I guess, and maybe I'd be waiting a while in India or Pakistan if I had to wait for a bus, too. The photo here is of the sunset just after I crossed back into CR.
Anyway, I'm glad to be going home just to take care of my cold. I was expecting the bus would go to the bus terminal, and I was going to have one last battle of negotiating a taxi as I was in no mood to walk, but the bus was on the Pan-American and let people (in this case, just me) off at the gas station on that highway just 2 blocks from my hotel. It was great! I felt so thankful and knew I'd be back in the comfort of what seems like a luxury hotel after all the hostels I was in. Having a hot shower was refreshing, and I hope I'll sleep well tonight.
One thing I should mention is the fact that, as much as I always make fun and say I'm on a local chicken run bus, I've never actually seen any chickens--until today. In fact, there were two. I wish I could have got a photo, but it was too packed when this guy came on the bus with 2 live chickens, their heads peeking out of the two holes in a sac. It was awesome!
Thus ends my trip to Central America. I know I'll need to return here, especially to Nicaragua because I really loved it there and want to see more of the country.