Friday, July 1, 2011

"Never Trust the White Folk"

           It was a bumpy ride into the Lecheria Las Lapas.  Located 25 kilometers from the nearest town of Siquirres, the farm is just outside of the tiny little village of San Bosco.  It was a bolder filled drive, 7 or so kilometers in a tiny little sedan not suited for such roads. We arrived a day early with no one expecting us. Barbara, our one tica connection on the farm, was gone until late afternoon delivering ice cream and her husband, Mauricio, doesn’t speak a lick of English.  Word spread fast that two gringos had arrived and planned to stay. As Zach and I made ourselves comfortable in the front yard, waiting for Barbara to return, a young gringo man approached us.  ‘Homeboy’, as Zach likes to call him, fed us some nonsense story of him owning the farm, that he speaks great Spanish and that he knows these parts of Costa Rica as well as he knows his genitals. All of this, I would soon learn, was a wheelbarrow full of cow shit.

            Zach and I stowed our packs, with everything that we own, under a tin roof we had never seen and around noon set out to explore one of the rivers on the farm. I was in awe. This was quite possibly the most beautiful section of soil my chacos had ever trekked upon. Flat, sprawling, green pastures filled with fruit trees followed by dense, deafening rain forest teeming with wild life and finally the Rio Perla. This river is surrounded by thick jungle on both sides for as far as the eye can see, only giving way to large rocky “beaches” at every other turn. The water flows with a passion and is as clear as my contact solution, tinted only slightly green by the jungle canopy over head. I was in love.

            After 2 or so hours following the rivers path down into the jungle, hunger struck and a long navigation back up stream still had to take place. ‘Homeboy’ said that if we traveled around just a few more corners we would come to a “familiar” bend in the river and a road would magically appear. For some fools-hearted reason I trusted him. And what a mistake that was.

            It wasn’t any earlier than 5:30 in the evening when we came upon the small sign pointing us in the direction of the farm and what a relief it was. Turns out there was no magical road but field after field of pineapples. We must have hiked through three miles of pineapple plantations. Just before reaching the crest of the next hill, I would hope for this illusive road that was “just around the next bend”. After 20 such hills I started losing trust and hope of ever finding our way home. After finally finding an edge of the never-ending plantation, it was a rugged dirt road that brought small hope. Straight, right, or left? ‘Homeboy’ said he knew but we were all completely lost. At least 12 kilometers later, after being laughed at by the ticos, after coming to a bridge that was no longer a bridge, and after dealings with running bulls on the loose, we made it home.

            Over dinner that evening I came to realize how stupid and mindless our adventure actually was. Turns out, no one walks through the pastures or jungle without tall rubber, steel-toed boots for fear of all the poisonous snakes that roam close by. I was wearing chacos. Turns out, the only reason we weren’t shot at by ticos on the pineapple plantation was because it was Saturday, and they don’t work Saturdays. Turns out, if we would have chosen right instead of left, our trek would have been more like 35 kilometers to the closest village. Lets just say the powers that be want us here for at least a little bit longer and ‘homeboy’ and I didn’t get along too well after such fun.

            Don’t fret, all is well and all is beautiful and all is all I can ask for.

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