Rio Claro, Costa Rica
Date: Lodging: Distance: Total:
10/10/2001 Cabinas Perez 616 KM 218497 KM

We crossed the border out of Panama and into Costa Rica, but every hotel was full for the first thirty kilometers after the border. We finally found a US$10 room in Rio Claro, complete with an enormous water-bug.

10 October 2001 – Jim was driving and turned a corner to find a truck traveling less than 10 km per hour in an 80 km per hour zone so Jim darted around the jalopy as not to hit it. Police stop just ahead and an officer flagged us down for passing on a double yellow line. Of course, Jim tried to explain that the truck was going so slow that if he had not darted around, then we would have rammed it. After minutes of struggling to explain our case, the officer, grudgingly, let us move on without a ticket in hand.

A few kilometers later, we pulled into a Texaco station with a Visa sign posted. We carry little cash for obvious reasons, so when we find a place that takes credit, we seize that opportunity. Ready to pay, I handed the man a Visa card. No Visa. Only cash. Jim showed him the sign out front and I said, “We have no dinero, only Visa!” After a few minutes of Visa versus cash payment, the worker took us to the competing gas station next door, which had no sign advertising Visa, and here I made the Visa purchase for fuel from the other station! The woman operating the Visa machine was on a personal call and kept me waiting about five minutes, before I finally pled, “Please senorita, pronto”. The payment process for a US$66 charge took 20 minutes.

Soon after, we saw a police stop ahead and dread set in immediately, since we are stopped at most every police check throughout the world. Here, the DEA agent decided we looked like drug traffickers and searched the contents of everything in our trunk. Poking in my computer bag, he pulled out the many cables and cords and repeated this process with other items. After about 30 minutes, I felt relieved when he allowed us to exit and also fortunate that he had not searched our trailer, since that would have taken hours. While this officer searched us, probably 40 cars passed through without inspection.

Our patience is tested on this journey. Perhaps from these simple incidences, and these situations occur several times every day, one can understand that patience is a must for travel. But, honestly, it is not a strong suit for either Jim or me. I know it is best to stay calm and not lose my head, but when the situation is ludicrous, I admit to too often losing my cool.

  Costa Rica (Jim)