Costa Rica:One Hell of a Start

The beginning of every trip is a little different. This one, well…Holy Shit.

Normally because of all the travel, the first day or two is spent just relaxing and recovering from jet lag. Exploring the neighborhood I am staying in and soaking in the new country. This trip is not like the others. Not even close. Nothing was out of the ordinary as I made my way down south. Got to the airport early, all flights were on time, even breezed through the visa entry line. Then everything changed.

I always hit the ATM at the airport when I arrive to get some of that local currency in my pocket. I am always a little hesitant though to do it in the terminal because nothing says “mark” like a person pulling out a wad of cash with a big ol’ backpack on. This time, between the visa line and customs I saw an ATM and I thought perfect, out of the eye of the mass terminal public I could get my Costa Rican colons (insert colonoscopy jokes here). Initially I inserted and withdrew my ATM card only to be told I must leave it in for the whole transaction (anyone see what’s coming). So I reinsert it, and after figuring out 80,000 colons would be the proper amount to withdraw, I do, and get a receipt, and walk away. I was happy. I had carried my luggage on so I smugly walked past all the people on my flight waiting for their luggage. Because I had an uber waiting I smugly walked past all the cab drivers pushing hard to get the gringo into their cab. Through the airport in no time and a pocket full of colons. Life is good.

As I arrived at the hostel, I had trouble finding my passport. I knew I had it, I just couldn’t remember where I put it after passing through customs, and eventually found it in a side pocket. Then I opened my wallet and noticed my ATM card was not there. So, just like with the passport, I started searching through all the usual suspect pockets. And then I realized, I put it in the ATM machine and…never took it out.

After bringing my pack up to my room and meeting one of my new roommates, I spent the next 30 minutes on the phone with my bank to cancel my old card and get a new one FedExed out to me. We’ll see if this works out because as I quickly found out, in Costa Rica they don’t use addresses. My ATM card is now on it’s way to just, “150m west from central park on Ave Escalada” in Escazu. With that done, it was the time where on the first night of a trip, I crawl into bed and start recovering from the journey. Nope, not this time.

This time, I went down to the bar with my new roomate and met some friends he had traveled with and a hippie on a mission, yes on a real mission, a vegan missionary, now I’ve seen everything. Anyway, several beers later, yada, yada, yada, it’s 12:30am and I’m in a Jacuzzi with a bunch of 23 year old Frenchies.

Life is good.