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  • Writer's pictureJoanna

Violated by a Mermaid

Updated: Jun 18, 2023

Don’t ever leave anything valuable in your car.

That is what everybody tells you.

That is what all the travel companies say. That is what all the tour guides advise.

That is what all the guide books recommend.

Every single blog.

Webite. Novel.


You name it. Somewhere, along the way, eventually, you will be strongly encouraged to never to leave anything of value in an unattended vehicle.

This is something that every traveller knows. Inside and outside. If there is anything that anyone has ever explicitly learned from travel, this is it. 100%.

… except me.

I consider myself a seasoned traveller. I keep my passport and wallet on me at all times, I worry when my luggage is out of sight, I try never to be out alone at night, I refrain from visiting dangerous places and I never ever represent myself as overly bling bling.

Unassuming, poor and low profile.

That’s me.

BUT… for as much as I might be some kind of an accomplished globetrotter… I can also be fairly stupid and quite naive at times. A lot of times.

I put faith into locked doors and luggage compartments and friendly smiles…


I’ll come right out and say it.

I was robbed yesterday.

They broke into my new Suzuki and stole my Canon camera and my MacBook Pro.

*insert devastated face, many tears and much regret.

Once again, I had met up with Lisa, who I had originally met a few weeks back, when I was near San Jose. She had come down to meet me for a couple days, and show me some of the sites. She suggested we stop at this one beach, Esterillos Oeste, to see a mermaid statue, that was apparently quite impressive.

We parked… got out… and of course, much like any other time, I ensured all doors were securely locked. I was always very diligent about this. I had only just grabbed my phone, thinking the mermaid was located quite close to the parking lot.

I was wrong… and as soon as I saw how far of a walk we had to do on the beach in order to reach the mermaid, I turned back to grab my backpack. This was the ONLY smart thing I did… as in my pack was my passport and my wallet ~ full of the usual identification, debit cards, credit cards, cash, vaccination proof… and more.

Had I not done this, the thieves would’ve gotten everything… and I would’ve been left with nothing but my dirty laundry and some stinky shoes.

Now… I don’t really like to falsely accuse or play the blame game, especially with something so detrimental, but I have a sneaking suspicion I do know who did it.

When we first arrived, there was a young gentleman sitting alone, just watching all the people come and go. In other words, he was casing the joint…

The joint? My car.

When we reached the mermaid, he was suddenly right there, directly behind us. He was all smiles and friendliness, asking us silly questions about the structure. I remember thinking how foolish he sounded when he said he believed the structure was over 3000 years old.

An odd thing to say about a bronze-cast mermaid, staring out to the horizon.

Erected in 979BC… ya… that’s it.

Regardless of his ignorance, he seemed overly charismatic. When we left the 3000 year old mermaid, he immediately took off on his phone… as though warning someone we would be returning soon. He was definitely working in cahoots with someone.

Petty little shits…

We got back to the vehicles, thought nothing of anything… and drove away.

I was desperate to get a little bit of exercise and also to see a little bit of the local landscape, after spending two days in Jaco. Google Maps showed some nearby waterfalls, and I’d set my sights on Las Pilas. It wasn’t too far off the beaten path and represented everything natural and beautiful I was looking for.

Off we went…

The trailhead was a little difficult to find and we both got a little disoriented on the back roads… but eventually found it. The parking lot, so to speak, was a small driveway at a private home.

The lady living there, charged us 3000 colones to park, and came out to give us some advice about the trail and the swimming hole. She advised I change out of my flip flops and into proper shoes… due to the excessive amount of mud on the path.

As I was changing my footwear, I realized one of the straps on my backpack had come undone.

Very odd.

I definitely had not put it in like that. I was a stickler for always latching my straps. Curious, I pulled it towards me and noticed the zipper was open slightly.



Frantically, I ripped my backpack out of the vehicle and tore it open, as fast as I could, the entire time, feeling around everywhere for the familiar touch of my corduroy case, that usually held my laptop.

It was gone.

I wasn’t able to fully affirm my loss until all of my belongings were scattered over this strangers driveway, at the Las Pilas trailhead.

My annoying, beloved, expensive, slow MacBook Pro had been taken taken.

I did what anyone faced with any kind of loss does in a similar situation… I just stood there, completely dumbfounded. I was entirely clouded with disbelief.

How the fuck did this happen???

All the doors were locked! They were STILL locked.

After the dust had settled and reality was rearing it’s ugly head, I hit the road immediately, determined to scour the beaches of Esterillos Oeste and, once again, find this creep.

What, exactly, I was planning to do with him when I found him is unclear and highly debatable, but my temper was flaring. I was furious. I felt so violated. I kept mulling over every single word I would say to him, when I found him. I was going to demand my computer back.

I didn’t find him.

I tried.

Picture me on the side of the road, in floods of tears… and I changing as many passwords as I could possibly think of…

Question Period…

~ Did you go to the police?


Two different stations. I was bawling uncontrollably… and at one point, I actually said - in my best, broken Spanish - “I’ve never stolen anything!!! Why is this happening to me?” Thet told me it was probably a foreigner and were truthful that I will never see it again. I don’t travel with my serial numbers, so I was basically shit out of luck.

~ Did you try to find your computer with an online app?

Find my… to the rescue… though location could not be found. I did lock my Mac, so as soon as they try to get online, it will alert me and prevent them from doing anything. The best they will be able to do is sell it for parts.

~ Are you sure you didn’t leave it behind somewhere?

Hell no. The bastards broke in to my vehicle and stole what they knew was valuable. They knew what they were looking for and they destroyed my passenger side door lock in the process. There goes my insurance here.

~ What are you going to do?

Well… nothing.

There is nothing I can do. I have already ordered a brand new, 14-inch screen laptop, and it is being delivered, within the next week, to my parents home… so it will be there, when I arrive back in Mission.

~ Did you save all your important documents and writing to iCloud?


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