We had our first road bump of the trip. I shall call it my Bejuco Road Bump. Fuck you Bejuco. If I rationalise thing though we have been travelling 9 weeks as of yesterday and this is the first rough spot we have hit so we are pretty lucky really. We were spoilt rotten in the States and spent time with those we loved, we created a little home away from home at Providence, had a fabulous house-sit experience in New Rochelle, a road trip with my matey, we were welcomed to Princeton and Washington D.C. by lovely people and then in Costa Rica we loved our little San Jose Guesthouse and absolutely fell in love with our Howler Monkey Hotel Home. So all in all we have been very, very lucky and I guess we were bound to hit a road bump at some stage. Just funny that it had to be Bejuco where we hit it.
The Bejuco beach shack was the first place I booked way back in March when I first came up with this crazy idea of travelling around the world with Archie and Rissie and I was certain it was going to be our favourite place in Costa Rica. Amazing how those cookies crumble really. Our departure from the Howler Monkey Hotel was very smooth, I did not even finish packing until about 45 minutes before our bus was due. I now have packing down to a fine art where I believe the kids and I could be packed and out the door in about 15 minutes. If there is ever need for an urgent departure, then I am your gal. Of course there were the pre-requisite tears for the dogs. It now seems a ritual that there are permanent tears for whenever we have to leave Strach and Veep in the States or for any canine on our trip. As there were four dogs in residence there were quite a few tears trudging up to the bus. Archie was even heard to say, “I really hope that bus driver got drunk last night, then we can just stay Mummy.” Cute kid but he should know by now that his Momma sticks to a programme.
The water taxi was wonderful. 45 minutes of bliss on the ocean, we saw mating turtles, jumping dolphins and flying sting-rays. By the time we landed on Herradura Beach and were timing the jump off the boat with the surge of the waves I was thinking to myself that I had this travelling thing sorted. I was a nomad, I didn’t look as cool as the Costa Rican girls in their shades and shortie white shorts, but I was not freaking out like a fucking nimwit so I was feeling pretty cocky. Then we got the transfer to Bejuco that I had somehow sorted out in Montezuma and we arrived at our shack ready to be all settled for a month. From the outside, I loved it. Opposite a wild and beautiful beach and just what I had imagined, but from the moment we walked in the front door it was a bit of a shit-fight to be honest. There was no manager to greet us and the girl cleaning the house tried to talk to us but to no avail. She got out her phone to try to translate some Spanish and it was revealed that there was no internet. I told the kids to get their iPads and she said “No wifi, no wifi”. Now I know I go on and on about wifi when you are out and about which is fine, but at home wherever we are staying I need the internet to work. If I can’t work I can’t pay the bills and can’t afford to be there.
So it went from there. I won’t bore you with the details but it was a very long 36 hours ahead of us. Phone calls to the AWOL manager who told me it was a lines thing, it will be fixed tomorrow, maybe the next day. No guarantee though. The owner of the property who I communicated with via email whilst I was utilising the internet in the hotel next door was less than helpful using phrases like ‘third world country’, ‘it is a beach house - things happen’ ‘no guarantee’ etc etc. No matter how many times I told her that the house was listed as a ‘Ocean front house for you with internet” she didn’t seem to get it.
Then it became apparent that there was no point in me staying, she promised a refund, we had to book into the hotel, then start looking for somewhere else to stay. By the end of our dialogue she was just plain rude and then contradicting herself. I had a visit from her manager the next morning to our hotel door encouraging me to stay a few nights in the hotel in case they could fix the internet at the house. It went on and bloody on. Then to make matters worse just as we had dragged our backpacks up to a room I could ill afford I accidentally kicked my foot so hard that I had a sneaking suspicion that I had broken my bloody toe. I knew I was going to freak out more than I had fucking freaked out in a very long time. I was hot, stinky, sweating like a deranged animal and stressing more than I have stressed out in a very long time about money so instead of scaring the shit out of the kids, I went and sat in the shower and had a very long sob.
You know those times when you are asking yourself what the fuck it is you are doing and you just can’t stop crying. Well I had a moment like that. My foot was killing me and whilst I was sitting there sobbing in the shower, Archie came in and decide that it was a good time to let me know he was not feeling well and proceeded to hurl his guts up in the toilet. So I got my act together, looked after Archie who I knew was going to be sick for a while before he felt better which is the way it goes with Archie. I then spent a couple of hours looking for a place to stay and within two hours had found somewhere and they even offered to pick us up. So on that side of things all was looking good.
The revolting owner from the other house at this stage had still not processed my refund and did not do this until the next day with substantial money being withheld. She told me it was Homeaway and thus started my dramas with Homeaway. When we got to our new place I did not have service on my mobile phone so needed to email them. 12 emails and two open cases later absolutely no response. I tried Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and the response from the social media pages was basically it wasn’t their issue. Then this morning at 6am I was lucky enough to go out far enough onto the low tide line to get some reception on my phone and thus today I proceeded to spend $50 in phone calls trying to get my money back. For my final phone call in Jaco today I was in the same condition that I end up in after speaking to Telstra. Fuck you Bejuco Beach House with internet and Fuck you Homeaway. As far as I know all of my money bar USD $64.91 is being refunded but this has taken dozens of emails and $50 worth of calls to achieve this.
In hindsight I probably was quite funny. The beach directly in front of our new home is rocky and at low tide a bit slippery. To get phone reception I had to go out as far as I could on wet slippery rocks whilst talking to people who turned me into a fucking lunatic and who had as much customer service skills as the robotic machines that work at Telstra all the whilst limping and wincing every time my foot jarred on some uneven surface. I am sure I looked like a lunatic foreigner – I looked worse than Donald Trump did in his debate last night. By the end of it I was a fucking mess. Then on the way back from our walk – we did not even explore the beach as I was on the phone to the very unhelpful Homeaway team – poor Archie jumped over a muddy puddle and landed on my foot. In agony and in pure reflex I actually punched my own son in the stomach. The fucking circus had come to town.
This afternoon as I was finishing up some work I kicked my toe again and could not make it to the shower and instead just sat at the kitchen bench and had an almighty cry. So to say the last two days has been rough is an understatement.
In summary it looks like my money will be refunded but I will be very, very wary of using Homeaway again. However, on the upside we are in our new home for a month in the little village of Esterillos Oeste south of Jaco. We have not had the chance to explore but I am looking forward to doing so slowly over the next few days before maybe venturing out further afield from next week. Our beach has a waterfall and a mermaid. We walk down from our apartment down a few flights of stone steps and a grassy pathway to hit the beach. In front of us is our stone mermaid, to the right is our own little waterfall. The beach to the right is rocks with tidal pools for the kids to explore and torture me with saving poisonous puffer fish and to the left there seems to be miles and miles of sand for me to walk on once my toe returns to normal.
I love unpacking the backpacks and it was something I needed to do to feel like we had a home for a while. There is, I have discovered an art to an unpacking which then enables me to pack swiftly in the event of a hasty departure. Saying that makes me feel like a super hero, as if I need to leave quickly to go save the world or something. The lovely owner from our new place drove us into Jaco to do some shopping so we also have food in the cupboards and now no need to venture further afield than the village or the beach with the waterfall and mermaid. The kids have a pool and I have a beautiful wooden chair where I can sit and stare at the ocean and watch the macaws whilst I read my book.
I must admit I am weary and a bit flat. I would like to think the best of people and would like to think I never become that dark and twisted that I stop doing that. I would rather be disappointed than one of these people who expect the worst and then say ‘I told you so.’ It is just when bad things happen like the owner of my Bejuco House or the complete lack of customer service at Homeaway it tends to get me down a bit. But the good thing about me is that it does not take me long to go all Pollyanna. Also, I have found squirrels. This morning I was greeted by two squirrels with red feet. I never even knew Costa Rica had fucking squirrels. It was a sign. A sign that all would be ok once I got through today, put my foot up and had a good sleep.
It does not take me long to find rainbows and unicorns. They are always there somewhere even if at times you don’t feel like you can see them.