So who’s up for some plantains?
We arrived tonight in San Jose. Costa Rica’s first official welcome came from its customs agent who said to us (loosely translated), “Your daughter can’t come into our country. She doesn’t look like you. You stole her. You will be arrested shortly.”
After pointing out that 1) Rae shares my last name, 2) she has a Costa Rican stamp in her passport from this past June, and 3) I’m the only one whose sleeve she’s urgently pulling on while whispering, “Dad, I have to pee NOW!” the customs agent finally let us in.
The father of one of Rae’s schoolmates picked us up at the airport and drove us to Monteverde. (After the customs incident, I now refer to him as our “getaway driver.”) Our driver, who I will call Jose, was born and raised in Monteverde. Jose was pleasantly chatty and shared various bits of Costa Rican information with us. For instance, he informed us that the Caribbean coast is a great place to buy drugs. He went on to say it is also a wonderful place to get shot by people who have taken those drugs. He bemoaned the fact that it is now illegal to talk on a cellphone while driving. Fines for speeding recently went up from $40 to $350, he added. Jose made it sound like The Man was cracking down on helpless drivers all over Costa Rica, but he later lost his case when he actually passed a police officer across a double yellow line. The lines must just be there as polite suggestions. I’m not entirely sure why the police officers are there. In Jose’s defense, he did put on his turn signal before crossing the double yellow.
We pulled into the language school where we’re staying a little after 7:00pm. Jose bid us good night and took off.
I think the apartment is going to work out well. We never actually set foot in it when we were down here in June, so I wasn’t entirely sure what it was like. It’s very spare, but very clean. Rae really likes it because it has some funky nooks and crannies. She already set up a pile of her toys in one corner. Come to think of it, Rae’s been hopped up all night. Pam and I were wondering how she was going to react to Monteverde, but when we walked to dinner she spent half the time excitedly pointing out places she remembered from our visit in June.
Tomorrow morning we’re going to head into town and get provisions. There’s a substantial supermarket about a 30 minute walk from our apartment. There’s also a great fresh market every Saturday morning. I look forward to checking it out.
All right. I’m out of here. It’s late, and I’ve still got to set up some shotgun tripwires around the place and put the bars on the windows. I didn’t haul them all the way down here just for decoration.