Pura Vida part one

Crossing the border was like a dream: a bad dream. My hearing was still really bad and my head still hurt. Actually, exiting Nicaragua was a breeze but then I didn’t have enough money on the Costa Rican side to buy insurance. There was a bank at the border, but the ATM was telling me I had insufficient funds on all of my cards. Finally after a few trips from the bank to the insurance broker, I was able to use my passport and credit card to get a cash advance from a teller. I punched on down the open road, whose quality improved drastically, for Playa del Cocos. My cousin Michael was living there, and I decided it was time to get medical attention.GOPR7769 After a 50$ doctors visit, I bought some antibiotics and allergy pills for another 50$ and began the healing process. I showed up at my cousin’s work one afternoon and we met each other for the first time. Despite not feeling one hundo p, we got on well and I knew next weekend at Envision festival with his two brothers and others would be a blast. Michael had a few more days of work so I told him we’d catch up and I flew the coup for Southern Costa Rica.GOPR7665 The other brother I hadn’t met yet, Sam, was down in Jaco. After a couple days of recovering and settling into Costa Rican prices, I got down to Jaco and met Sam. On the way to Jaco I crossed the crocodile bridge and disembarked to view the little monsters. There were more than 30 of them just soaking in the sand off the side of the bridge. In Jaco I heard from my ex-girlfriend Maggie, who told me she wanted to come down. Despite hating the minivan I drove when we dated, she was now eager to drive it through Central America with me, and camp in it and deal with all of its old age problems. I was skeptical, but she was keen so she booked a flight and we said “see you in a couple weeks”.GOPR7793 I met up with Sam and we did some surfing at Hermosa and Jaco in between hammock chills. Sam had recently graduated from Earth University in Agricultural Engineering, so it was really cool to have him teach me about all of the local plants. Did you know papaya seeds are edible, and are good for you? He also taught me about coconut sponge. When a coconut is germinated, it sprouts a leaf and grows roots into the ground, but the water dries and turns into a sweet spongey material inside.IMG_1799 Wednesday we met Michael and Kenny and one of Michael’s crazy ex-girlfriends in Jaco, and then convoyed to Dominical. Over a buffet lunch, I learned that the place we were all staying was a long list of directions-far away from the festival grounds, and I had a small cringe. Even the on site festival camping is sometimes too far from the music for me. I know how long it takes to rally a crew and get everyone inside the gates. It turned out that it was a 30 min drive up a steep dirt road to this air bnb place, but the first night took us over an hour to find it. I couldn’t drive my van all the way in, and at that point decided I didn’t want to be staying out in the boonies at this place.GOPR7706 The rest of the weekend I played the waiting game while my country bumpkin cousins came down from the mountains. I camped on a beautiful beach under almond trees just a mile North of the festival site, with a bunch of other like-minded people. One night I left my van at 5:45, just after sunset. The sky was still glowing orange and yellow, reflecting off the water in a vibrant scene. I had left a note on my van for my cousins, indicating that I was going to try my fake wristband to get in. If I got in, I would meet them at a stage, if I didn’t, back at the bench where we sat the night before. As i got closer to the beach in front of Envision, hippie radar started to go bonkers. There were naked people, girls cracking whips, people dancing and chanting, and others meditating with a forcefield of rocks arranged around them in the sand. I acted as normal as I could, despite my excess of clothing and lack of substances in my bloodstream. I got closer and closer to the entrance of the festival: a trail leading off the beach into the jungle. With every legit wristband I passed, I became a little more discouraged and worried that my sick mix of green tent fabric and white nail polish with a pop can clamp was not going to fly. And then the Universe aligned a little and I saw a short girl with curly blonde hair and a big backpack. It was my friend Bree from Victoria. I figured I could roll in with her and look more like I belonged. It wasn’t until I was next in line to be checked that I saw the guards were grabbing the wristband and testing its durability. In a feeble attempt I held out my arm and the wristband gave out like a soggy piece of toilet paper. The guard snatched it and gave me an ‘are you stupid’ look as I 180’d out of there.GOPR7838 I sat on the meeting bench for a minute before figuring I would intercept my cousins if they came this way anyways. It became darker as the beach traffic thinned and I walked sullenly back to camp. When I reached my van, my note was unfortunately unmoved. But then I noticed, painted in the dust on my driver’s side window, “Call Us Stage Left Lets Go!” So I borrowed a phone and called the number I thought was Mike’s/ But it was a female voice that answered. She said she was Anna and asked when I was picking her up. When I asked if she was with Michael the line went dead. I called back and there was no answer. The next day I found out Mike’s crazy ex, Annabelle was screening his calls for him. She thought my name was Jimmy and hung up on me. I still had my wire cutters, but the idea of tackling that mission alone brought me little confidence. I sat down by a fire with a few other wristbandless gents. A Canadian girl took interest in me and we spent the night swimming in the moonlight, swinging into a creek down the beach and cooking by fire. Not knowing hardly any of the names on the bill at Envision, I thought this was a pretty nice consolation to dancing to electronic music until all hours of the night.IMG_1827 Eventually my gang locked down our program and snuck 9 people in by cycling wristbands. We paced ourselves, ate snacks, stayed hydrated and partied very responsibly. I took the homies to the Funk Hunters and we kept dancing until early in the morning. I walked home down the highway as Emancipator summoned the sun rise. After the festival, for lack of a better plan, we hucked back to Jaco. We hung hammocks and urban camped on the beach. After unsuccessfully trying to sell our surfboards, we ate an expensive seafood lunch and hit the road to San Jose. Maggie was flying into San Jose soon so we headed to Michael’s old house that his parents built in the city.GOPR7972

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