Day 13 Costa Rica Retroactive Diary pt. 1

29 Oct

Washed up and Somewhat Slightly Dazed

Crawled into Montezuma, or should it be called gringo central? I caught the first ferry out of Punta Arenas at 5:45 AM. Had a cab pick me up at my hotel (somehow I managed not to get stabbed although I did wonder if I’d make it out alive when I found there was a locked gate that kept me from entering the exit stairwell.

I ran the entire length of the dock to get to the ferry. I had 5 minutes to spare but I was not taking any chances. I did not want to spend another freaking minute in that city. We took off in the moonlight, the coast of Punta Arenas growing smaller by the distance.

The ferry ride was beautiful. A nice hour and 45  minute cruise where I had to keep reminding myself not to think about how precarious our situation really was, being out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean where anything could happen. Sometimes I’d try to let myself think of ways I’d survive if something cataclysmic were to happen, such as shipwreck, running out of gas, mutiny etc.

Would I float on a makeshift raft or  like Elian Gonzalez? Would I kill and eat some of the passengers for food? Would I drink my piss to keep myself hydrated until that  airlift came to rescue me and put me on the news for the U.S. and BBC to see?

Of course none of that came about. We watched the sun come up and we docked in a town about 45 minutes from Montezuma. I didn’t sleep much and was still pretty wound up. I didn’t want to wait for a bus and some Tico man (he looked a bit shifty) offered me and this couple a ride to Montezuma for 20 US dollars. I took the ride because I just didn’t want to wait.

We drove, I didn’t want to talk much (especially in Spanish) to the fellow but he insisted on making small talk. Mostly I stared out the window at the landscape. It was stunning to see how different it was in this region. Costa Rica certainly had some diverse topography.

We pull up to Montezuma, right down the street from my hostel, Luz en El Cielo, and the man (Carlos) says 35 dollars. I repeat his original price, he then says that he thought I was going to St. Theresa. I know for a fact that he heard me say Montezuma, but I know that with the foul mood I’m in that if I haggle with him I’ll end up slicing the buttons off his shirt with my knife. So I let it go and pay the man more than he deserves. This would come back to make things difficult for me later on but of course I don’t know (or care ) about this at the moment. I just want to find my hostel and sleep.

Yet sleep was not in the cards for me on this Sunday morning. I walk to hostel. Which looks more like a bungalow. Its a lodge in the middle of the fucking rainforest. Monkeys hanging on the ledges, crawling up to the dining table and taking food off of it. And as wild as it is, the beach (and the middle of town)only .5 km away.

The guy behind the desk looks hung over and says as much to his work partner, a stoner from Belgium named Francois. He is a rolling a doobie and listening to Bob Marley on the ipod. Pretty much how you would imagine it huh? And my  room is occupied and won’t be ready until after breakfast because my reservation got lost. FUCKING STONERS.

I am beginning to crack at the edges at this point and it isn’t until I am made a breakfast of Pinto Gallo and coffee that I relax a bit.  Francois puts my belongings away in a closet, and people slowly start waking up around the place. Apparently everyone parties like crazy, the hostel employees sleep with the guests, and the bud is crappy in this region. Nevermind that as Francois gives me a toke of his spliff and I start meeting some of the kids. I’m the oldest person at the table, a bunch of the kids have come in groups, one particularly from Minnesota, the other group from Los Angeles.

My prejudices are aroused but I say nothing (and my shades hide my disgruntled facial expressions and judgemental eyeballs). I just need to rest. But they say my room won’t be ready until the afternoon. Never mind. I meet two guys from Chico State who invite me on a hike with them. They are clearly cooller than the rest of the group, earthier, more chill and genuine.

These cats from Chico state remind me a lot of some friends from Austin. Had a great hike out to the waterfalls.  They showed me a cheap meal to buy at the bodega involving bean dip, bread, sardines and avocado. We chilled out, smoked a bit, hit up the swimming hole by the falls, and observed the massive population of white- faced howlers in the area. A gorgeous part of the world. Still couldn’t believe my eyes.

My initial response to this town is that it’ll be too many young white party kids here and that I won’t have much fun. The chill week that I spent on Mt. Chirripo had me in a different, almost serious state of mind. Things were a bit more loose down here at the beach. It was like I was 22 years old again, taking a walk through west campus near UT-Austin. I considered leaving the day after my birthday, possibly even returning up to San Isidro.

I knew that I had to go surfing at least once (possibly take lessons) and see some of these waterfalls.  I also knew the places where I’d want to go eat, thanks to the trusty old Lonely Planet traveler’s book.

I still had a few poems I needed to work on but for the most part I chilled. I got to watch some football at a local bar with a couple of ex-patriots and a couple of kids from California. This one guy, Mike from Humboldt County, kept walking off between commercials and coming back smelling like some good dope. Here was a guy I needed to get to know. We watched the Jets game and shot the shit and I drank a great deal. Dinner time approaches and I realize that its time to go looking for one of the places I circled in my guide book.


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