Filled with joy I get in Jayden’s car. It's Wednesday, which means that Kalina's got the afternoon off from school and I have the whole afternoon for myself. Jayden is one of our happy campers since Monday and, like me, traveling alone. We seemed to get along really well, so a good excuse to go on the road together. Once my bum touches the passenger’s seat I starred at his gearstick. "Do you have experience with driving a manual transmission?" I ask, as the vast majority of Americans drive an automatic. "Do not worry, my first car was a manual transmission" laughs Jayden and ends his sentences with a big wink. "And that's how long ago?" I ask with wide eyes. "Sometimes it's better not to know everything Sunny (since nobody here pronounces my name in a decent way, I’m renamed Sunny). With a sudden release of clutch and too much gas, we leave hopping and jolting into the direction of Irazu National Park. A lot of engine failure, wrong turns and vague directions from several locals later, we finally get to the borders of the national park. The roads become narrower and steeper, but the surroundings more and more beautiful. The Daihatsu chugs. If a car could get a burn-out, then you could definitely sign this one up for a yoga retreat. To complete the party, we had to cross a bridge which pretty much was in the same mental state as the car. Jayden quietly chugs the car over the bridge and we both let out a sigh of relief once we make it to the other side. Jayden taps me on the shoulder and points into the distance with a blank face. I look forward and cannot ignore the immense gate sign, labelled with the letters "CERRADO", which means nothing less than `closed`. We seem to have taken the wrong entrance. The main entrance is on the other side of the mountain and three hours away. “What do we do now?” Jayden laughs; "Then we’ll just hike around there." Indeed, it was very beautiful here. We get out and armed with our cameras we go in search of beautiful plants.
Jadan is a pretty avid gardener and moves his head and camera back and forth, up and down to capture the scenery in every possible dimension. The trees in Costa Rica are small habitats in themselves. Often overgrown with all shades of moss, orchids and other beautiful flowers. We come across a flower which looks like cosmetic inflated lips. Jayden says that it is the Psychotria Elata, generally known as "Hooker's lips' (whore lips). I smile: "Am I not in Amsterdam and still I can’t avoid prostitution.
Jayden suddenly pulls out his pocket knife. 'What are you doing?' I ask. "I'm taking some cuttings along for my garden." "But it is forbidden to take plants or seeds out of the country!" I respond surprised. "Oh, with the right approach, you’ll soon discover that there is very large gray area between what is legal and what is illegal" laughs Jayden. I tell him that I'm surprised that he has got his knife on the plane. "As a traveler you cannot live without a good knife. Certainly mine, I couldn’t be without it. “It's a wingman” he explains the brand of the knife as he hands it to me. Impressed, I look at the knife. It has more options than my Iphone3.
Days go by and it's time for Jayden to go back to the 'States'. He returns me the keys of the guest house and we thank each other for the nice days. He gets into the car and quickly lowers his window; “Ow something stupid, completely forgot to turn off the light." "Does not matter. I still need to get the dogs out, I'll pass along the guesthouse to switch of the lights" Once upstairs I actually see the light on in the bedroom. I turn on the light in the living room and see that one of the bar stools is parked in the middle of the room. A small box is placed on top of it. 'For Sunny', it says scribbled on a post-it. I open the box and smile. His wingman is polished and neatly placed in the box, covered with a note:
Thank you for the wonderful week in Costa Rica. I hope you make it to the states someday. Here a little treasure. I'm sure it's going to be of good use during your travels.
I wipe of a tear hoping I will meet many more awesome people on the ranch.
After a burn-out it was time for a change. I quit my job, sold my stuff and bought a one-way ticket to the Dominican Republic. What was supposed to be a 4 month adventure turned into 2,5 years and counting......
Photo by: Vanessa Marques Barreto