Can’t say I enjoyed that. Maybe it’s because it’s been a while since travelling solo to a foreign place with little sleep, little food, lots of rain and even more darkness. Maybe it’s because it’s everything I sought out for? Maybe it’s because i just left 3 feet of the Greatest Snow on Earth? As usual, it was an epic.
Jumping in a little orange Hyundai taxi I asked the driver to gun it. I want to make the 2:30 bus for San Isidro General
and leave San Jose behind as its not a favorite place to spend time. Like an F-1 race car, we zip in and out of traffic, sometimes missing sea blue and yellow buses by the skin of our teeth. Motorcyclists line the gaps between cars at every stop light and sometimes line the sidewalks.
Ten minutes into my harrowing escape from San Jose, were stuck in traffic. Five minutes later, we move a car length. I see 2:14 on the dashboard, a bus to our left, a train to our right, miles of cars in front of us and a motorcycle jump the curb and around all of this.
Thinking the same thing I ask Roy the driver,
“Donde estacion por el bus?”
“3 o 4 kilometers, mas o menos”
“Ok. Yo carrer.” I’ll run. Seems like the normal thing to do upon arriving in Costa Rica. The last time I ran in 85 degrees and 85% humidity to catch a ferry. This time, it’s 78 degrees, 100% humidity and 100% pouring rain. After all, it is the ‘wet season’ here.
Looking over his right shoulder, Ray breaks out his perfect English,
“In the rain? You are going to run in this?”
I hand him 14,000 colones, grab my bag, jump out of the car with nothing more than jeans, a sweatshirt and my lucky 1995 blue gray and maroon quiksilver ski hat, into the driving rain and listen to Ray as I poke my head thru the passenger side window,For reasons unknown, running is a normal response. Some things never die.
“6 blocks direcca. 5 blocks isquierda. Cross the train tracks. 1km a terminale, direcca. Primera stop light, isquierda. 200 metres el bus ea en su direcca.” Sounds like me trying to speak Spanish.
I fold up my jeans and take off across broken concrete sidewalks and splash almost every puddle. Six blocks and there’s been an accident, the cause of the jam. Policia and ambulancias have everything blocked off around an SUV that t-boned a little red taxi. I run around the accident, across some train tracks make a left, a right, another left and slide into the bus station sopping wet and buy myself a ticket for the 3:30 bus. Four minutes late.
Five hours later, the Musoc bus rolls into San Isidro de General, a sketchy place according to my brother who spent some time here 6 years earlier. Confirmed by 3 people at the Agua Termales today. It’s like dealing with the paparazzi when you walk off a bus in Central America.
“Taxi? Taxi? Mi amigo, taxi?”
No, I really need to go to the bathroom.I blindly scurry into a mercado filled with candy, coca cola, chips and Costa Rican trinkets. “Taxi?”
Growing some balls, I walk out under the street lights of San Isidro and jump in a 4×4 taxi and say “San Gerardo de Rivas, por favor.”
An hour later and numerous openings of the sky above, the truck rattles up a steep,
rocky and dirt road to Hotel Roca Dura where I’m greeted by a friendly Luis Hernandez, the sounds of Vanilla Ices “ice ice baby” the smooth taste of an Imperial lager and a much needed plate of salty homemade fries and a burger.
Word to your motha. I’m out.