Playa Grande: Teeming Life

To read my Costa Rica journal from the beginning, click here.

We had made the long, hot drive from Liberia to Playa Grande, located on Costa Rica’s blistering Pacific coast.

Martin made all arrangements for this trip, and every lodging – every single one – was down a minimum of six miles of dusty, rock-strewn roads. Seriously! A minimum of six miles. No sissy paved roads for him, no sir! No gleaming high-rise hotels, no swanky condominiums. We would turn off the pavement onto bone-rattling, pot-holed roads, kicking up dust, and I’d settle in for six miles – or more, often it was much, much more – of bumping and jouncing.

Martin had it all planned out.

But our small, welcoming hotel in Playa Grande was a little piece of paradise. It had pretty green gardens, a sparkling blue swimming pool, a brightly-painted patio and private hammock for each room, and two sweet and friendly dogs.

We also discovered that paradise comes with ants. As Martin and I dropped our bags in the room, we noticed a scattering of red ants making forays across the bathroom floor. I don’t mind spiders on the wall or a few ants on the counter, as long as they stayed out of our luggage and away from us. I hoped they understood the rules.

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Liberia, Costa Rica: Poised to Explore

Martin and I were standing in the middle of the cavernous, empty San Francisco International Airport terminal, the only people in the vast room, our bags piled around us. It was very early in the morning.

We watched Dakota, Martin’s best friend and our traveling companion to Costa Rica, stumble into the terminal, head down, concentrating on his phone. We waited in the echoing space, grinning at him, waiting to be seen. Dakota sank onto a bench facing us. Martin’s cell phone pinged that a text message had arrived.

I’m in the international terminal, Dakota’s text read.

So are we, moron, was Martin’s reply.

A moment later Dakota looked at his phone. Then he groggily looked to his left… then looked to his right… and finally looked up.

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Poem: Jenni the Hairdresser

The Backstory

I was under strict orders: No talking for four hours.

Not. One. Word.

That’s not easy for me.

I was sitting in a salon chair in a stark exam room. My little sister Jenni was a candidate for her hairdresser’s license; I was her model. Seven other nervous candidate-and-model pairs were spaced throughout the room. For four stressful hours, Jenni had to demonstrate her skills, techniques, and knowledge of safety to a scowling and unnerving exam monitor. The monitor was suspiciously watching our every move.

Possession of a cell phone was grounds for dismissal. A simple piece of paper, forgotten in your pocket, was grounds for dismissal. A murmured word of encouragement from the model was grounds for dismissal.

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