The Pura Vida Files – part 1

Anyone who’s ever flown in the last 30 years will agree, scientists really need to get cracking on that whole teleportation gig. Between the TSA (who apparently are hired for their scowling abilities as much as anything else), the “can’t bring your own drinks in, but you can buy our 300% marked-up ones” airport rules (because everyone knows that airport vendor employees are beyond reproach) and the oblivious unwashed masses of travelers, it can try even the most patient of humble folks. I am far from patient on my best day.

The notes I took, both in the airports and on the planes, reveal someone itching to douse himself in radioactive waste just to see if flying might be a random side effect. Seriously. Let me break this down for you a bit. If you’re an adult who hasn’t been raised in a secluded basement somewhere, with your only human contact coming from the hand that shoves food through the slot in the door, I shouldn’t have to tell you that kicking the seat of the person in front of you (whether or not the rhythm is gonna get you) is a no-no. When staring at her with my “I’m not psycho, sweetie, I’m just grumpy” half-smile didn’t work, I opted to take matters in hand…literally. You’ve never seen someone so shocked to have their foot prevented from hammering out their own personal rendition of “Stomp” on someone’s place of rest. She reminded me of my impertinence throughout the rest of the flight to Costa Rica, however, by yanking back on my headrest like a Greco-Roman grappler every time she needed to move or blink her eyes.

I also learned that it’s important to choose what you will wear on your excursions across the sky. Evidently, I was wearing my “put your ass here” jacket, coupled with my “let me eat your bags” (interpret as you like) face-paint. Since I live in fear that a stray molecule of mine will wind up in someone’s food, face or fanny that I go out of my way to ensure I don’t invade anyone’s space, it bugs the living snot out of me that nobody else seems to give a damn about that sort of thing. It’s almost as if they’re saying, “Don’t you DARE touch me, but let me plaster my anatomy and belongings all over your face and neck.” The next time we travel, I’m painting my forehead to say “I have herpes”.

Achebeyo lives in fear of what I might say or do in public, which is why we typically don’t go to movies in the theater until they’re about ready to chuck those reels into the return bin. She’s mortified every time I force polite behavior out of the world around me. Which I completely understand, honestly. If you’re a kind, caring and decent person who leaves others alone, having someone with you who seems to attract unbridled asininity can be tough. But she manages to get through it…usually by yanking my chain and calling me to heel.

We eventually made it off the plane without assistance from local authorities, and proceeded to do the taxi driver avoidance shuffle. Since we had booked our shuttle to the hotel in advance, we had to bounce, verbally and physically, through the hordes of waiting drivers looking for the sign that said “ACHEBEYO & LACKEY”. Unfortunately, our driver was wearing his Predator cloaking device and we “missed” him…according to him. Of course he wasn’t late. We just couldn’t find him for thirty minutes while walking back and forth past the place he said he was waiting the whole time. Since it was late, and we were facing a potential 2-hr ride to the hotel, we hopped in without much more fuss.

On your left you’ll see…nothing. The beauty of this country was lost to us on our ride in, as it was dark and much of the landscape after San Jose was jungle. Our driver seemed bent on proving to us he could court death (something not exclusive to any one place we’ve visited) as he careened inches past anything and everything in his way. From what I could tell, he mostly navigated by the vestigial eyes in the back of his head, since he liked to turn around to talk to us when he reached any speed above 5mph. Sure, tell me all about the largest concentration of crocodiles in the world, just not when you’re about to commit vehicular homicide! To say it was a relief to make it safely to the hotel would be like saying heart attacks are bad news. We staggered out of the shuttle and got settled into our room in short order, all thoughts of adventure hiding behind utter exhaustion and relief at making it safely to our destination. A good night’s rest, and dreams of roller coasters from hell, and the next phase would begin.

Continued in The Pura Vida Files – part 2 (Jungle Tantrums)

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5 Comments on “The Pura Vida Files – part 1”

  1. Dad Says:

    From your repetitive use of “Achebeyo”, I gather that you are getting used to courting death — a slow, agonizing, painfully irritating, hard on the oysters kind of death. Either that or you’re just plain bat guano crazy.

  2. Katie Says:

    Haha, you have got to RELAX, Mon. Wait. That’s Jamaica. Crap. Anyway, yes. Plane people suck. Though I’m trying to figure out — did you actually grab that woman’s foot?? Just be thankful you got in a cab, and not a BUS. Same experience, just bigger vehicle. And many, many more people. 😉

    • renpiti Says:

      No no. It was a mini-bus. Bigger than a cab, but with the same number of airbags as a bus.

      And yes, I grabbed her foot. I figured one good invasion of the personal bubble deserved another.

  3. Narf Says:

    Personally, I like your travel ethic – andyour restraint. I would have twisted her foot until she was kicking her OWN seat.

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