When moving to Central America for nine months, you need to make certain sacrifices. It begins when you pack – forced to squint into that humid future while sucking on a Jamba Juice is a difficult task. Then, once you arrive, you are forced into even tougher decisions. You know, the ones that may or may not haunt you for your entire trip, and even affect your life afterward. Knowing this to be the case, I did some soul searching our first week in Costa Rica and finally decided what had to be done. I approached my wife hesitantly, unsure about how to drop such a bomb on her.
“Honey, guess what?” I said, my voice an anxious plea. “I’m not going to play Mafia Wars anymore.”
Alisa hardly looked up from the computer long enough to smirk and say, “Wow, honey, that’s damn impressive.”
“Yeah, I know it’s going to be hard, but I figure I need to enjoy life here a little more, maybe get out of the apartment one of these days.”
We then logged on to Skype to chat face to face with her parents, who are a double-click away in the Bay Area.
While preparing for our nine-month foray into Central and South America, I used a familiar incantation to guide me: Be Prepared. Yes, I figured that if anyone could survive a rough trip through lawless foreign countries it would be the Boy Scouts of America.
Yeah, I know what you’re saying. Costa Rica isn’t lawless. In fact, it’s just the Latino version of the United States.
So check this out for lawlessness: In Costa Rica, if you get caught driving drunk it’s a forty dollar fine. I know, pretty ridiculous, right? But that’s not it, it’s waaaaaay better than that. After issuing your ticket, the cops let you get back in the car and continue driving to your destination! I know, I know, now you’re probably thinking the same thing I am.
But the crime in Costa Rica isn’t all fun and games. ATMs now close at nine because there have recently been too many “Millionaire Drives.” That is when you are temporarily kidnapped and forced to pull out as much money as your bank allows from every ATM along the avenida until your dinero dries up.