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  • Joanna

Befores & In-Betweens

Updated: Jun 22, 2022

In my last blog, I catapulted right into my perplexing piracy… I like using the word ”piracy” more than “burglary”… as there was a mermaid involved, so identifying the bastards as pirates seems somewhatl more fitting

Anyways… due to this devastating violation, I managed to miss out some of the befores and afters… and even some of the durings… because this theft was all I could focus on. I was crushed.


I still am.


BUT… now I have had a few days to reflect… come to terms with my loss… wrap my head around the financial repercussions… and mentally try to categorize every item I might have lost due to a serious lack of backup… I am on the path forward.


Pura Vida.


Pura fucking Vida.


At this exact moment in time, there is nothing more I can do about it. I have done all I can do and the remainder of the consequences will be waiting for me when I arrive home. Good times ahead…


Onwards and upwards 💙


As I mentioned in my last blog, Lisa had come down from near San Jose, to meet me for a couple days. She was a local tour guide before the pandemic hit, so in addition to having a couple days of friendship, I figured I could definitely benefit from her knowledge and experience. I was only in Costa Rica for a couple more days… the time had flown by so quickly.

We met at the infamous Tarcoles Bridge.


The bridge that crosses the Tarcoles River has become famous for crocodile viewing. Wow…. and crocodile viewing, guaranteed. There must have been more than 30 of them there. Who knows how many more were hiding or further down the banks?


Massive beasts!!


Unfortunately, in addition to being fabulous for wildlife viewing and souvenir shopping, the Tarcoles River is one of the most contaminated and polluted rivers in Costa Rica. Regardless, this river is considered to have the highest population of crocodiles in the entire world.

I had read a mortifying story about a drunk Nicaraguan, who recently decided to jump in to the river to cool off. It didn’t end well. I was petrified even hanging my phone over the edge, for fear of dropping it… let alone joining the ghastly monsters for a refreshing dip.


There creatures are terrifying… yet still high on my want to learn more obsession list… along with sharks and hippos.


Since a very young age, I’ve always had a plan of action, should I ever be attacked by any of these creatures. Having heard that crocodiles bury their victims under rocks at the bottom of the river, to feast on later, I had always planned on pretending I was dead, and then swimming to safety, after it had gone.


Discovering they initially tear their victims, limb by limb, put a bit of a damper on that well thought out plan.


Ok… Plan B…


It had been suggested I might like to do a river cruise, where I would have the opportunity to be up close & personal with these enormous reptiles… but I think that was a little too close for comfort for my liking. I preferred admiration from a safe distance. Don’t get me wrong though… I seriously considered it… and probably could’ve been persuaded, had the boat been directly in front of me.


From here, we made our way into Jaco. I had absolutely no interest in going to Jaco, as I had heard it was dirty, too touristy, full of young partiers and hookers… and equally full of old, dirty men, thinking they were still young partiers, and looking for hookers.

My original intention was to bypass Jaco… but Lisa told me she knew of some hikes in the area, so I booked two nights, ever hopeful I would be pleasantly surprised.

No. I was disappointed and now wish I had stuck with my gut feeling and bypassed the town altogether.

From my perspective, it was everything it had been described as, and a mere lunch stop here would have sufficed. Too late smart!


One thing I really enjoyed was a sunset jaunt up to a boutique hotel, called the Zephyr Palace. This place was luxurious to the point of pure magic. Situated 1100 metres above sea level, this amphitheatre-style lounge offered the most spectacular view of the surrounding beaches and horizon. The hotel was decked out in full Ancient Greek design, an exotic style of marble sculptures and high columns.


Location, location, location… and this stunning piece of property definitely had it dialled in. Highly recommended. Well worth the extravagantly priced cocktails & appetizers… though well out of my backpacker-budget accommodation league.

The weather was touch and go. The sun did pop out, albeit it intermittently… but the grey clouds and rain seemed to move in more frequently and make themselves comfortable.


Lisa had booked with a nearby hostel, but it was a little too steep for a dorm room, so I had opted to find my own digs.


My hotel was fine… very conveniently located between the beach and the town. On my first evening, I was awoken by a bout of terrifying screaming… and it honestly occurred to me that there might be a tsunami.

What other reason for all the shrieking?


I immediately jumped out of bed, ready to run for the hills… only to discover it was a bunch of drunks on the beach.

Lisa joined me here on the second evening.

I was in desperate need of a pedicure, so I headed down Jaco’s main drag to find someone to deal with my talons, corns and callouses. As I was heading to Panama soon, I figured I owed myself a certain degree of pedi-pampering.


It wasn’t long before I came across, what looked like, some kind of spa. There were colourful pictures on the doorway, depicting pretty nails and such… so I naturally assumed they must do pedicures, I opened the door and saw three young girls, sprawled out on the couches and carpet, all enthralled in their phones. As soon as I walked in, they all jumped up and dispersed. One girl remained and asked me what I was looking for. I pointed at my toes and asked if she might be able to help me. Yes, was the delayed and hesitant answer… and I was instructed to take a seat.

I sat on the couch for quite a long time, before she finally returned with a foot soaking bath basin, filled with lukewarm water. You could tell the basin had once been a top notch model with massage vibrations, heat bubbles and motorized rollers. It had seen better days and now was a shadow of its former self, nothing but a big bowl. The rollers did nothing but poke upwards and irritate the bottom of my feet. It was like trying to relax by stepping on Lego.

I remained on the couch, soaking my feet in the tub, desperately trying to endure the hardship of an uncomfortableness that was teetering on agonizing.


Yes… I am fully aware my grievances are first world problems. Bear with me.


As I sat there, on this lobby couch, she moved my feet UP onto her lap. I kept thinking it did not seem right, nor did it seem natural or professional.


Where was my massage chair?

Just then, the front door opened and a German couple walked in. There was not a lot of conversation between them and the staff, which led me to believe they had become regular customers. The couple disappeared behind a nearby curtain and prepared for, what I can only assume was, their couples massage.

The entire ordeal was beyond awkward.

All of a sudden, the lights all dimmed to the point of romantic obscurity. Ideal for a naked couples massage, but bizarre for an acceptable and professional pedicure & polish. As if the darkness wasn’t enough, it was time to cue the music, and a loud static and bass filled cacophony filled the room. Within 3 feet of where I was sitting, with my dirty feet on some strangers lap, was likely a rub & tug behind curtain #1. On my other side, was a commotion, much too loud and unmelodious for my liking.


I have very established expectations of spas... and I was hardly in the mood to compromise my beliefs. I didn’t have the patience for any of it.


I am very talented in the art of concealing what I am feeling… until I explode.


… and that’s exactly what happened…


I didn’t like it.

Any of it. Not one bit.


The girl seemed genuinely confused, which seemed almost absurd. How could anyone actually think any of this was ok? Normal??

I threw her 5000 colones for the mediocre soak and for removing colour from half of my toe nails… and then I booked it out of there, as fast as my wet feet could carry me.


Gone.

I did eventually find a place that meshed well with my salon expectations, and I had my toes trimmed and tainted! I celebrated my pretty feet by taking them out for a tasty banana colada! Then back to the hotel for a well deserved dip in the pool… and then out for some delicious shrimp tacos!

I was glad I was leaving the following day.

Jaco seemed like a place where dreams and development came to die. There were so many unfinished and decrepit old building scattered around the area… which probably have no purpose or plan anymore except for that of housing those with drug issues and mental illness.

I didn’t get a good feeling here.

It was an unsettling uneasiness.


Onto better things and brighter places?


not so much...

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