Costa Rica: Day of Fail

“What should we do today?”someone asked. It was a very hungover eleven AM, the kind of hungover that renders you incapable of ordering a sandwich,washing your face, or finding matching shoes. I felt like someone had opened up my skull and removed my frontal lobe with a melon baller.

After ruling out a zipline canopy tour, Corey convinced Christina and I that a quick dip in the pool would cure our ills. Immediately after jumping in I got nauseous and Christina managed to inhale pure chlorine. Pool sucks. Fuck the pool. So we got dressed, took a drive down the beach, stared at the waves for awhile, and came to the conclusion that the swell was no good for surfing.

After a good fifteen minutes of silence wherein I mentally debated the merits and pitfalls of buying a slushie from this Tico with a rickshaw and a cooler of ice, we decided to go for a hike in a nearby national preserve that none of us knew how to get to or could remember the actual name of.

Some miles down the road, after much semi-dazed map-wrangling, we remembered we had a GPS. “Aha.” I thought, wincing.

“Turn Left.” our GPS instructed.

We stayed straight.

“Turn Left.” it insisted again. The only thing to our left was a grazing field (which stretched for miles in every direction), and a herd of cattle.

“Recalculating Route.” the GPS chirped, and promptly lost satellite reception.

“Hey, wow, I think one of those graves is open! I think I can see a dead person!” We were passing a cemetery at 45 mph, but ripped a U-turn to see whether or not there was an actual rotting corpse. Christina, who’d been moaning about taking graveyard pictures for days, lifted a limp arm out the window to get a shot and came away with something that looked like a pile of dirt and half a tree. What I thought was a dead person turned out to be some plastic flowers. “Can you back up?” Christina asked, as we pulled back onto the road. “This picture sucks.”

“Turn Left.” suggested the GPS, suddenly revived.

The signage in Costa Rica can be lacking, at times, and with our obstinate navigation device on the fritz, ourjourney to the national park included several more wrong turns, dead-ends, and turn-arounds. After an hour or so, though, we finally found the preserve. Ambling loosely toward the wildlife, we came to the abrupt but unanimous realization that we were hungry, thirsty, and/or had to pee, so we took a side trip to a nearby hotel in search of nourishment and bathrooms. Walking up a flight of stairs to the dining room proved to be an effort worthy of its own inspirational poster, Christina’s chips and salsa tasted more like Fritos and Pace, everyone in the restaurant was ugly, and right at the end of the meal the road meat from Puntarenas took its revenge on my intestines. As we struggled to pay the bill, it became clear that a long hike in the hot sun was, perhaps, not the best course of action.

“What do you think?” asked Christina. Corey blinked twice, adjusting his hat. I stared at my toes and tried not to vomit. Thusly in accord, we took our leave, without so much as setting foot in the preserve. Things seemed to be moving in the wrong direction.

Then, on the way back to Tamarindo, we got pulled over.

It’s very hard, as one might imagine, to explain to a spanish-speaking Costa Rican policeman that your license isn’t ACTUALLY expired, that you have a paper from the DMV that gives you an extension, but the paper just isn’t ON you at the moment (in fact, it’s back home in your other wallet) and really, everything’s OK, no es una problema. Especially when you’ve had your brain removed by several too many tequila shots. Especially when your own command of the language is constrained to “quiero una cerveza” and “la cuenta, por favor”. We were just lucky to have a bunch of cash on us, which seemed to sway him into not confiscating our rental car.

We got back to the hotel and spent an afternoon sleeping poolside – and by “we”, I mean “everyone who isn’t me”, because I am physically incapable of napping, ever. Just as I was drifting off, it started to rain. Again.

“Sweet,” I thought, “awesome.” And I jumped into the pool.

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