We’d been warned not to stay overnight at a motel in Costa Rica because they usually rent rooms by the hour, have lots of mirrors, and feature hidden parking, you know, around back, behind a fence or in a garage so your car can’t be seen. Michael’s Surfside Motel in Puntarenas had the whole trifecta but he also had an all-night special deal and at 30,000 colones the number was right. We’d traveled further out the peninsula on the beachfront than we thought we would have to and it was so late that our standards may have slipped a little. After parking our bucking bronco behind the high corral fence we tried to sleep on the lumpy bed.
We both awoke in less than generous moods with a deep-seated tension. We’d heard nothing about our customs situation and it was crunch time for Bonzo. Even though we’re in mañanaland, Marce and I still keep “film production time” which meant that we would be at our 8:00am Customs appointment at 7:45am, no excuses. Our Cinderella rental car had to be back in Quepos at 9:30. Yes, I know this can’t be done but I felt the closer to 9:30 the easier it would be to talk my way out of late fees. Hey, mañana.
A quick breakfast with eggs and gallo pinto, in the lazy, thoroughly deserted early Sunday morning sunlight (insert your favorite On the Beach metaphor) had us slowly heading towards the Customs office with a Presbyterian safety cushion. A cheerful greeting from the now familiar armed guard and with a quick check of our passports we were soon enjoying the well air-conditioned waiting room. Time passes slowly when you’re tense. If our Customs agent Iriam somehow determined Escape Velocity seaworthy then we were out of there and we really didn’t have a plan D or E or whatever we’re up to. We have a big box of stuff in Florida that won’t have a destination, but then neither will we.
It was after a good long wait that Iriam called the office and said she needed another twenty minutes. We paced. I tried to smile when I noticed Marce looking at me, but our hearts weren’t in it. Finally she sauntered in and again seemed to want to hug it out but the desk was still there. Everything is ok but only for another thirty days, she pouted, but next time you’ll come up and stay with me at my house in the mountains, it is very beautiful!
What can you say? Thirty days. Thank you.
On the drive back to Quepos we called the marina manager and he said, “I don’t know if I should tell you this because it’ll either make you mad or make you laugh but it was kind of just a drive by. She never got out of the car.”
We try to never let a victory, no matter how small, pass without a celebration so it was off to the marina bar happy hour with fish sliders and a sunset.
Sounds about right!