We drive our Suzuki Jimny upward. When we picked it up I scoffed at its size. Driving, I basically rest my elbow in Wendy’s face while I sit in Isabelle's lap. The infographic at the counter showed four adults and four pieces of luggage fitting in the vehicle.
When the car rental company brought it out, I realized that the people and bags must have been replicas, because no way would four real adults and pieces of luggage fit in this flea wagon.
As I pulled away from the lot in San Jose, I scoffed at the fact that resting my elbow at my side required opening my window. About two hours later, on the rough narrow windy roads of Costa Rica, I praised the vehicle as man’s most ingenious invention.
Up we climb. The road is steep and rocky. I am comfortable driving about twenty miles an hour. The blind curves and slippery ground bordered by hundreds of feet of nothing make for a “comfortable” rather than a comfortable drive. Isaac is neither comfortable nor "comfortable". He is panicked. Turns are punctuated by his sighs and winces.
He stares out his window into space. We twist and slide over the rocky road. He insists that I drive on the wrong side of the road. However, while twenty miles per hour seems reasonable to me up the treacherous mountain road, fifty feels too slow to locals on their way down.
Also, they don’t see the point of sharing the road. I hug my side and the vastness beyond and still have to swerve and slide to avoid the locals on their way down.
Isaac can only fixate on the hole beside us. He is very insistent that we get away from it.
He says, “I am afraid of heights.” We explain to him that he is not. He jumps off cliffs into water, has no problem looking out from tall buildings, or crossing high foot bridges. He informs us that he will not longer be doing any of those things, he is now afraid of heights. We explain his fear is localized to this particular madness. He does not relent.
Our climb lasts for three hours. By the end, my hands are numb from the shaking of the steering wheel over the rough ground.
However, when we reach the top, we find an amazing motel just outside of Monteverde. It is run by a small elderly Costa Rican woman that is delighted with our children's command of the five Spanish words that they speak. She is genuinely happy to be around our kids, as so many people in Latin America are. (Just to be clear, this is a statement about the warmth of Latin America, and not a brag about our kids. But now that you mention it, our kids rule.)
She is welcoming and kind, and the motel is quaint and warm. The Motel is on the crest of the Mountain. There is a spectacular view of a waterfall in back and a calm cold breeze around the property.
We eat a typical Costa Rican dinner at a restaurant fifty paces away, and return to go to sleep. Wendy reads to the kids and I notice the breeze pick up. By the time she is done, she is almost shouting to be heard over the wind. We turn out the lights and the wind increases even more.
The kids and Wendy are asleep within about eight seconds. The wind increases still more. I turn on white noise to drown out the wind. This works for a minute or two. I realize that I left something in the car. I exit the motel. I am immediately propelled toward the car, shoved with great force. I struggle back inside, lie down and spend the night listening to the wind assault the roof.
I honestly think that there is a real chance of the roof ripping off. I am every bit as perturbed as Isaac was a few hours before. I am wide eyed, and almost tear the little piece of blanket that Wendy has allowed me into two.
When the others wake after nine hours of beauty sleep I tell them, “I am afraid of the wind.”
From Volcan Poas in Costa Rica.
BLUE LILY | Lifestyle Photographer | Salt Lake City, Utah