“Cough, Cough, Cough.” My body still coughed through the night, It wasn’t Costa Rica’s fault. My grandson gave me this cough, but I’d fought it off until I got stressed out in San Jose. Then my voice had gone hoarse, but I was sure I’d recovered quickly after all I hadn’t been sick for 8 years. We went for a beautiful three-mile walk that first day in Monteverde and returned totally exhausted. We decided I’d take it easy the next day, but we went to town and walked around there. Again I returned totally exhausted. The next day I really did stay at the cabin all day, but the cough, sore throat and sharp pains in my ears continued. It had been a week. “I’d better check this out.” I said as I called my cousin to ask if she’d help me go to the doctor.
I asked my cousin,” could you please come with me to the doctor on Monday?”
“Sure there is a 24-hour clinic by my house. But the doctors all speak English so you could go by yourself.”
“I may have complicated requests that their English might not understand. “ I try to avoid antibiotic pills at all cost. A shot works better for me.
“Sure I can come with.”
“ Ok I’ll meet you at 10:00 tomorrow morning at your house.“ I said through breaks in my coughing fits.
We had driven there once so we thought we knew the way. The next morning after a leisurely breakfast we started up the rocky road to town. “La Troucha,” I think that is the word my cousin uses for this fascinating road of clay, bumps and intermittent tar. It is paved only on the very steep parts or next to drop off where it might wash away. It is easier to be the driver than the passenger. Holding on to the steering wheel and being in control is much easier than just sitting and being jerked this way and that over rocks. I happily drove holding on to the steering wheel. My brother enjoyed being able to just look and take photographs.
I drove up first turning left into town we searched round and round, my cousin’s house could not be found., I reached for my cell phone. I’d left it at Xenia’s so a turning around and rushed back down down down. I was enjoying the drive, and through familiarity, the drops were expected beauty not gasps for breath. With my phone close at hand we started back up “La Troucha.” My phone rang.
“That’s my cousin I need to answer it.” I said to my brother.
“Then stop and answer it.” he said.
Not wanting to stop in the middle of the tiny road, I pulled slowly to the inside edge away from the drop off on the other side. Only I forgot the road drops into a two-foot trench for drainage. There aren’t any shoulders. The car tettered and stuck, but I did answer the phone. It was my cousin. I assured her we were on the way, I’d just need to get directions when we got into town.
My brother decided he should drive. We backed away from the trench, and continued up the steep road. Following my cousins directions, we arrived at her house.
She called the clinic to make sure the doctor was there, and we took off to see what could be done for my cough. My cousin thought it should be inexpensive, for Costa Ricans it was free. They have universal health care. It looked like there was no one there as we went in the door. Good, it won’t be a long wait.
My cousin walked to the back of the building and returned with a friendly young lady. “ESpanol o Ingles? she asked.
English I replied, and she spoke excellent English. I gave her my passport and she examined me thoroughly. Both my ears and my chest were clear. I was overjoyed, no antibiotic was needed. For my voice and throat, she recommended a shot. I got a shot in the butt and a prescription for my cough. She said, “Be sure you stay warm at night.” She accepted by credit card for the $95 charge and said the invoice would come via email. My AARP insurance should reimburse me for 75% of that or so I’ve been told. Time will tell.
“Then maybe it would be a good idea to drive down to the beach,” I said.
We drove back to my cousin’s house and I spent the afternoon using her internet and visiting with her wonderful grandchildren. It is the high season, so it took me three tries to find a hotel on the beach with an opening. We had a reservation starting tomorrow at El Balcon Beach Front Hotel, in Jaco.
“You’ll be hot down there and anxious to come back.” my cousin warned. They fed us a wonderful lunch and we headed home at 5:30 as the sun was setting.
The next morning we packed. I got cash in town from a cash machine at a bank and refilled our phone and data cards at the grocery store. The Kolbi phone service requires that we pay in Colones. We were off to Jaco, sun, and warmth. The GPS said it was on two hours and thirteen minutes away. We knew it would take us much longer, as we drove slowly down the road turning out of town and starting to go down the mountain. I was expecting another steep narrow road and was surprised to find myself on a beautiful smooth mountain highway.
My brother dreamed of taking the curves on his motorcycle, the pegs almost touching the pavement. It was a smooth ride all morning without much traffic we saw signs for a Macadamia restaurant and stopped there for a delicious lunch.
The seating was beautifully surrounded by green with acorns covering the floor. In addition the food was delicious.
At lunch, I commented to a local resident about the beautiful road.
“It’s only been finished for one month,” she said.
“No wonder it is so smooth,” I said. Grateful we hadn’t had to drive during construction.
After lunch, we continued onto another road. Traffic increased and soon we saw the ocean off to our right.
The air sizzled with warmth and humidity. The air conditioner buzzed in the car as we rolled towards Balcon Del Mar. We were in Jaco, the GPS said turn right and we drove down to the beach. There was our hotel, right in front of a sand beach as promised. All beaches in Costa Rica are public. We parked my brother stayed in the car as I went in to register.
We took our stuff up to our room, Turned on the air conditioner and then took off for the sand beach.
We stayed on the beach for the sunset.
What a beautiful day.