Letter, January 30, 1976

Hello Jan,

I really am racking my brain trying to decide what to tell you about your planned trip here in February. I figure this letter is the last chance I have to communicate with you (send & receive a letter) before you head out, if you do. It would be cool just making it down here when you can without notice except for one thing. I plan definitely to go to Costa Rica by bus the 20th (with Jaime Olson) unless you come. We have to get tickets ahead so time is already running out, considering how long it will take for you to get this letter & answer. And there’s no faster communication ‘cause we’d have to set up a phone call in a letter too! If you want me to call you (before coming or ever!) tell me the number & when you’ll be around for sure (like a Friday or Saturday evening at home for instance).

So here’s my last minute trip suggestions as painfully hammered out. I assume you got my long letter of trip recommendations, which answers most of the questions you asked me. I’ll wait a few days to get a reply to that letter - in case you confirm that you’re coming and about when. If it don’t come or you still aren’t definite, I’ll buy my bus ticket for Costa Rica for the 20th. If you have trouble making it for February, why not put it off ‘til March (or ideally try to get here about a week & a half before Easter in April when I’m planning another one week run to Costa Rica). I’m probably getting unnecessarily uptight about getting my bus ticket & being set to go to Costa Rica. <We could always hitch & take local buses, but I’m really getting anxious to run down there & I’ve got Jaime and Sofia & other people down there wanting to be informed if I’m coming & when, & Tica Bus is an easy, reliable way to go ($36 round trip).> So if I don’t get another letter with more definite plans in a few days, I’ll buy the ticket (don’t know if I can sell or change it once I fix the day) and if ya come about that same time anyway, we’ll work something out. From the 20th to the 29th I’ll be in Costa Rica if I hear nothing from you before that, OK?

Important info.: You won’t need any real warm clothes here. A sweater and a fall jacket will do it & bring sturdy walkin’ shoes, but not heavy boots (roast your feet). A friend said you can get a travel agency to send your passport to Chicago, take it around to the consulates (most countries have one there), and get your visas fairly cheap - you might check it out. Jay, the Peace Corps Volunteer (PCV) I live with, came through Mexico & Guatemala by bus for $40 in bus fare, recently. He says to take lots of fruit to eat if you try it. Restaurants along the way are quite expensive & spending all day in a bus you’re better off not eating anyway. Jaime Olson’s parents came down without getting any shots, but by plane. Everybody says a passport is essential. Remember most border workers are at least functional illiterates and the shape & color of a U.S. passport is instantly recognizable. You might get to El Paso, Texas by hitching, buses and/or trains, and get a bus from the Mexican side. It’s shorter than going to California, & there are lots of buses out of there (Jay came through there). Try to get a thru-bus all the way to Guatemala if possible to avoid possibly getting lost in Mexico City. From Guatemala City either Melba or Tica Bus will get you to San Salvador. Melba is cheaper but you have to go to the city bus terminal to get it so it could be more hassle. If you get to Guatemala City, are spending the night, and want to let me know you’ll be in San Salvador the next day (If you haven’t given me prior notice some other way.), call 28-0374 in Santa Tecla, El Salvador (after 6 PM weekdays someone’s usually there), and ask the guys there (Names: Steve Pamperin, Steve Hays, Mike Shank) to send me a telegram in Metalio saying you’re coming (and what bus). I’ll warn them. If I still don’t meet you, you could take a cab to Peace Corps Office, #915, 25 Avenida Norte {Avenue North}, a green building almost across the street from a tall building with a big neon OXGASA sign on it (usually rings a bell with cab drivers).

That shot the letter. Thanks for the University of Wisconsin forms, the info. on University climate, "Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail '72" (I’m recommending it to all as we start the same trip again!), etc. <You can camp here - right by the beach - and I wrote to ask Sofia about possibilities in Costa Rica, near where she lives.> We can either find you a place to camp or stay in cheap hotels, don’t worry! <No space for discussing Sofia’s personality.> Just as well, I got to see her again to be sure of anything.

Love & Happy Ground Hog’s Day,


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