What the?!?!?! Is that a tree in the middle of the road? What is that? Holy Cow! That’s a palm tree someone cut down and stuffed down a man hole! What?!? And look, another one? Seriously!
My Uber driver laughed at me, only partly understanding my English. He laughed and explained how “kind of people to help warn drivers that all the man hole covers down the street had been stolen” and “be warned” of the danger.
Yes kind. I was in a fit of laughter. It was not the first time roads have given me a giggle in Costa Rica.
I have learned to love my Uber drivers! This was not the first experience of comical and odd road rules of Costa Rica. The crazy starts with insane traffic and ends on high mountain passes, with sheer cliffs, surrounded by thick fog. Some roads fun. Others make your heart beat faster.
For example. The maps and roads themselves are not as they seem. Siri is not as reliable as you would think. Like most map programs she gives multiple road options. After a recent trip to the mountains of Irazu and Turrialba volcanos in Costa Rica, I learned my lesson and taking what may seem to be a shorter road. Unfortunately, the rental car company delivered a 4×4 but was actual a 2xGerbil. I was so blessed that my dear friend was an expert driver. He took us over what could only be described as a farm tractor trail. It was a rocky path that went directly up the mountain. A one point a felt the need to lean forward in fear that any more weight back would flip the car. In our laughter, we found ourselves crossing was was probably called a “bridge” but was actually two logs with a big piece of metal laying cockeyed over the top. As we crossed a farmers unfenced paddock Siri still said we were on track and on time to our volcanic destination. One cow was right next to the car. She looked me right in the eyes. I know she wanted to tell me “What the heck are you doing! This is a pasture!” I smiled and proudly announced the obligatory “Cow” to my friend. Just as everyone does each time they see a cow on any drive. By the time we got to a road that was more than a meter wide we stopped and took in a spectacular view. We both had to stop a bit and take a breather of that eventful path. Siri proudly looked at the view and said “told you it was a good route”.
Another time, Siri, took me and my cousin over two mountain different passes. Both real roads. She drove. One path was through tiny villages on hand made roads that are only passable during dry season. The view was beyond incredible. The other was a high serpentine road that twisted across the top of a green treeless mountains in central Costa Rica. The road was covered in think fog. So dense she was following the faded painted lines and a cow truck in front of her. What I never told her was that each side of the road plummeted down. There may not have been a view that day. But it was no less spectacular.
I can’t talk about Costa Rican roads without a bit of mention to the traffic. Have you ever seen a Discovery Channel video about a school of fish? Watching thousands of tightly packed silvery bodies shifting, turning, and forming perfect formations. Remember when the giant tuna came into the school and throws the whole thing into chaos? Some fish stay together. Others get separated. They swim faster and twist in all directions. You never see them collide, but you know there was some near misses. Yeah…that’s Costa Rican traffic. Add a few hundred no rules motorbikes in the mix and you have yourself a weekday evening. Pura Vida!
I have not driven yet in Central America. Not on any trips or in the city. I refuse. I have let friends, family, and most importantly Uber drive for me. I do this because I do not want to be responsible for all the crazy that could happen on the road. Yo no loco!!
I don’t want to seem as I am complaining. For the roads are one of my great joys. It is part of my glorious experience. I adore chatting daily with new Uber drives. I am grateful to friends and family I get to spend time with. I appreciate the peace they have given me. I have seen spectacular views from nearly every corner of this country.
You see it is the roads less traveled and the tired worn roads that give us the most incredible experiences. I am blessed to be surrounded by these many new roads on which to travel.
I thank God for giving me these roads.