Tuesday, 14 January 2014



Where to begin?  There has been many adventures as of late, some interesting new developments, lots of stress and paperwork, and more late nights than I might possibly care to admit.

So, in keeping with my rather free spirited year, and a tradition to keep things weird over the holidays, we headed for Costa Rica for a bit.

Oh, it's lovely there. I had been once before, ages ago, and I was pleasantly surprised that it had changed very little since then. It's an amazing place, filled with rainforest and jungle creatures, volcanoes, and lovely beaches. Ecotourism is the number one industry here, and they take super the environment super seriously.

It was an adventure getting there. While most people elect to fly into central San Jose, we found really cheap direct flights into tiny Liberia in the North West and built a trip around that. I booked whatever hotels I could find last minute, rented a car and grabbed somehow managed to pack a bag for warm weather with most of my earthly belongings in boxes on a ship.

The first hiccup came when we got shuttled to the Alamo kiosk for a rental car only to find they were all out of cars. In fact, all of the car rental places were completely out of cars- nothing but empty lots as far as eye can see. They were apologetic but basically shrugged and seemed mystified that this might happen. We were nice and didn't pitch a fit (which, some of the other people who were on our flight were giving themselves medical issues over the ordeal). People in Costa Rica are nice and generally helpful, but they aren't trained to deal with stressed out angry demanding New Yorkers. Our rep, despite not being completely confident in the solution he created, offered to pay for the cab to our first hotel, where in a day or perhaps two, another car rental place will deliver a car to us, but couldn't offer us any real proof that this would happen. What to do?

A leap of faith was made, a cab was called. A jovial young man in an old beater of a taxi showed up, and in our limited Spanish we thanked him profusely and we began the long trip to Monteverde, with a nervous wave adios to the Alamo guy as we realized might be stuck in Monteverde for quite some time.

Despite a short distance kilometer-wise, it takes at least three hours to get to Monteverde from Liberia. It's a mountain-top village founded by American Quakers in the rainforest, and the roads to get there are unpaved and unmaintained. The fact we were in a tiny car was a bit nerve-wracking, but a local would have done this before, right?

It was not comfortable, I'll tell you that much. Alas, when my teeth were clacking together like those wind-up dentures, when I could get a glimpse outside it was predictably amazing.  Most of the steep roads looked as though a river had run down them very recently. We ended up getting to the top of the mountain just as the sun was setting, found our little rustic cabin of a hotel in the rainforest, and thanked the cabbie a million times for getting us there in one piece.

So, the other hiccup. This one could have been bad.

I realized pretty quickly that I had a raging UTI. I get these from time to time- I'm just kind of prone to urinary tract infections. Sometimes, I don't get the initial uncomfortable need-to-pee symptoms and the infection ends up in my kidney and it makes me really sick and bed-ridden for a few days. I've been good about catching them early and preventative measures, but I had been lax about it apparently. Having two long flight days in a weekend and much moving around and general craziness meant I wasn't drinking the amount of water that I need, which usually triggers these miserable events for me.

I had left NYC thinking/ignoring that I had to pee a lot, and after the 5 hour flight and the 3 hour cab ride was done, I knew I was in big trouble and finally announced I was going to see a doctor pronto.

Happily, there was a medical clinic right down the rutted drive from the cabin. I explained the situation to a lovely doctor who had been cooking a side of beef on a hotplate when I stumbled in. She gave me a script for antibiotics, and sent me off to the one pharmacy in town in Santa Elena, and even offered to feed me. It was...amazing. Medical care in developing countries is just so easy and efficient.

So with that, our adventure begins.

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