School had just let out for the summer and it looked like it would be an awesome one: I could drive, I was going on two great surf trips-one to Costa Rica and one to Hawaii, and it was the summer before my Senior year of high school. We basically finished finals and then that weekend went to LAX to fly out to Costa Rica. We were on some random airline I had never heard of, Laksa Air I think it was called, and it was a red eye flight. I remember it was a pretty long flight and that we had a stopover in Mexico City. We arrived in San Jose in the morning and took a shuttle over to the car rental place. Luckily my Mom had decided to be a chaperone on the trip as her credit card was the only one with a high enough limit on it to cover the deposits for all the cars we had...there was a bus that fit about 10 of us and 3 pick up trucks if I remember correctly. We should have all had an inkling to the drama that awaited us when Bran's random friend joined us in Costa Rica and when I overheard the Overindulged Asshole talk about how he had smuggled pot in with him (Which by the way, WTF, how dumb can you get? Obviously O.A. hadn't considered how horrible a Costa Rican jail might have been before deciding to become a novice smuggler!)
We get out on the road and drive for hours and hours through gorgeous countryside. I got in the car with all the older boys and Mr. G and it was pretty funny just listening to them joke around. Mom and Nae were in a car with K.C., D. Mini, and B. King (another really cool and nice guy from my class, that I forgot to mention in the earlier post) and they had the majority of the bodyboards in the back of their truck. Photo Larry, his girlfriend Sally, Dick and Cabeza (one of my favorite kids ever, from Nae's year, had that nickname from everyone because of his massive head, and could be a real asshole but was also hilarious, too) were in one of the other pick up trucks and Doug and 2 other chaperones who's names I can't even remember, but were basically just there to surf and hang out with each other, were in the final pick up truck. The roads were pretty sketchy. They were one or two lanes the whole way and some of our trek was over some pretty windy hillsides and you had to share the road with big 18 wheeler trucks as well who were notorious for having bad brake systems...not a fun experience for the drivers!
This was the era before cellphones regularly had international calling capability. About 4 hours in to our drive we realize that Mom's car isn't in the caravan anymore. We have no idea how long it's been since they were out of sight either. All the boys start telling me how it's pretty common in C.R. that if you piss off the truck drivers they'll just run you off the road and you end up dead in a ditch and all this other stuff...nice guys, right? We wait around for like an hour and they still don't drive past. The boys are itching to get to the surf spot and so is Mr. G. Photo Larry instantly earned friend for life status in my book when he said I could hop in their pickup and we'd drive back and look for where Mom's car was.
After driving for awhile, we found them broken down in a random spot in the road. They had asked at the place they broke down in front of if they could use the phone to call the rental company to come bring them a new car. It was going to be a few hours wait. The people at the place were super nice and even brought us out some cut up melon to snack on while we waited. It started getting closer to sunset and closer to mosquito feasting time. The boys from Mom's car, on hearing how all the older boys didn't want to help look for them and wanted to get in for a surf instead, decided to take some of the bodyboards from the back of the car and "surf" them down the hill across the road from where the car had broken down. The older boys would've been so pissed to learn their boards had been used in this way, but whatever, they deserved it. I've got the best pictures of K.C. standing on one bodyboard and riding it down this rocky, viney hill. We ended up having fun, even though it was a crappy situation. Out of nowhere this huge, pure white stallion came galloping down the road and I didn't have my camera out at that point and was so bummed to have missed it. Finally a replacement car arrived and we were able to continue our journey (with still about two hours ahead of driving) in the dark.
Every so often, Photo Larry would call to the boys to roll up their windows and if you weren't quick enough you ended up with a bit of his chew juice on you...the boys learned after the first or second time that he wouldn't wait long! Costa Rica isn't the best place in the world for big road signs or street signs so we were kindof driving blind and had a general idea from a map of where we were going. We stopped once or twice and asked in broken Spanish if we were on the right track and we were, thank goodness. At some point, Nae and Mom saw us hit a cat- I guess it kindof bounced off our tire and rolled to the side of the road, I don't even remember feeling it! We finally ended up on a dirt road and drove for what seemed like forever on it. Sporadically along the road would be these red glowing eyes and it was super spooky as the only lights around were from the moon and our headlights. We found out later on the trip, that they were some kind of bird (I'm guessing plovers) that liked to live next to the road. We finally pulled up to the surf camp and everyone was just finishing dinner at the bar. The Lakers were on the satellite TV as they were just about to win the NBA playoffs. As we got out of the car, we heard the scariest sound...it sounded like gorillas were in the trees around us just waiting for us to walk under them so they could jump on us...What had we gotten ourselves in to?? We had some leftovers from the night's dinner then were shown to our rooms...there were no TVs in the room or phones, just beds, a dresser, a decent enough bathroom, and a really cool patio with a hammock out the front that looked down out on to the rest of the surf camp and forest around us.
I think I'll leave the rest (or maybe the next part) of the story until tomorrow so this one doesn't end up being 3 pages long. Yes, that is me bodyboarding. Yes, I know I look like a boy because of my short hair and because of my long board shorts, but I was totally cute when I was dried off with that hair and there was no way I was going to chance losing my bikini bottoms while surfing so I always wore boardies when I wasn't in a wetsuit.