Today felt like the last day in Costa Rica, although it actually is tomorrow. But this morning I got up and returned the car in Tamarindo (not without hustling to find eye liner or car polish to get rid of the scratches), and in the evening, I walked to the next surf shop to sell my board. I never really loved this board since I didn’t appreciate the weird and somewhat random design. But I really started to appreciate – and even love it a bit – here in Costa Rica, it gave me a lot of wonderful rides. (I think it might have been 200-300 rides in total in the roundabout two months I went to the Atlantic and Pacific oceans with it.)
When it comes to the parting words with Costa Rica, I have my difficulties… No doubt, this is a country of stunning natural beauty. But I never fully warmed up for this very – actually, too – hot place. It never quite gave me what for example, Portugal gave me so much of. Or Mauritius before that, or some places of Spain like Tarifa have been giving me for years. Maybe the geomantics here just don’t work for me. Maybe I never fully digested the almost-attack of the deadly yellow-bellied black water snake in the lineup on day three of my stay.* But it could just as well simply be the crazy price level of almost everything from food items to car rentals. Most of all, it was the feeling of being one of too many tourists in a country crowded by holiday vacationers, with no possibilty to exit from this status.
It is almost symptomatic for my trip to Costa that it was a guy from Uruguay who reconciled me with this place just before I left. This man, a surfer for life, surf shop owner and, as I would find out, surfer poet, bought my board from me after a long and skillful, but friendly negotiation from both sides. With a good deal (that is to me, one that is toughly negotiated, if not contested, and serves both buyer and vendor), often an atmosphere of mutual respect and genuine interest for the other party is created. I think this might have happened, and we embarked on a long conversation about surfing and life in general after the sale was done. It was the first time someone who lives here revealed something truly relevant about themselves and their personal history to me. My spirits felt renewed after that conversation.
* This incident probably raised my awareness for all the many species of animals here that ‘don’t mean well’, as I would point out to a a friend in the line up some week thereafter. There are many of them to choose from: Sharks (theoretically), crocodiles (quite practically – even in the sea, on some surf beaches too), a nice range of venomous snakes on land and on water, scorpions, spiders, mosquitos with various diseases, or the ever-disgusting and severe-disease-transmitting kissing bug. If you are a turtle, you also tend to hate the vultures which prey on your freshly laid eggs. On the positive side, you will see turtles, pelicans, many different species of birds, howler monkey, sloths… the main thing about the Costa Rican fauna is that it is much richer in both quantity and variety than the central European.