The tattooed and strategically pierced Yogi looked confused. “Can I ask why you want to cancel your tour?”
“Well, mainly because I just heard that a dead body was found in the river, and I’m not too psyched about stand up paddle boarding alongside corpses– er corpse.”
“A dead body?” Her tone was more amused than shocked. “We didn’t hear anything about that.”
“Another guest just told me that her SUP tour was cancelled because they were dragging the body out of the water.”
“Hold on a minute, let me check.” Her words expressed concern but her body language was more, where’s the party. Five minutes later Miss Front Desk Manager reappeared, smiling as if someone had just given her a puppy.
“Oh, no, he wasn’t dead. He was drunk.”
And that was how my entire trip to Costa Rica went—bizarrely.
I didn’t friggin’ care if this unfortunate person was sleeping off the previous night’s bachelor party blowout at the Plankton Club or he tripped, hit his head on a coconut, drowned and was now floating upstream, I was not about to cruise along the water’s surface and swim with the fishes— if you know what I mean.
You know what else I wasn’t going to share the waters with Crocodiles. Yeah, the friggin’ resort where I was staying failed to slip me that little bit of information. I overheard some of the other guests talking about it at breakfast.
Was I missing something? How could these people expect me to relax and stay upright on a paddle board when all I would be thinking about were drunk (or dead) bodies and crocodiles underneath me.
I wasn’t going to be able to take a leisurely tour through Mangrove tunnels when at any moment, I might be attacked. Why wasn’t this information shared? Maybe some of the tattoo ink had seeped into her bloodstream and affected her ability to, oh, I don’t know, think!
SIDE NOTE: When I read the tour description (and clearly not very closely) I thought it said, “Paddle through Mango trees.” I thought that sounded sweet and funsy. I didn’t think that I’d be paddling through a swamp with who knows what lurking just below the surface.
I had zero interest in navigating through this particular river unless I was dressed head to toe in rust proof armor.
I brought my concerns up with Miss Front Desk Manager and I asked to switch my activity to something a bit safer and less frightening to me like zip lining or bungee jumping off of a bridge.
She giggled. “Oh, the crocodiles aren’t going to hurt you. They’re only this big.” She stretched out her arms measuring about two feet.
I was amazed that, instead of showing compassion and sympathy for my fears, she tried to convince me that the crocs were harmless and that they were more afraid of me than I was of them. Where was this woman’s humanity?
“Are you kidding? I don’t care if they’re ten inches. It’s not happening.”
I’m already uneasy when I’m in the ocean, let alone a brackish, jungle on the river where I can’t see squat. I love the water, I do, but only if I can see the bottom floor, and what’s floating around me— hopefully nothing is floating around me.
This woman stared at me, looking eerily like a Stepford Wife and I know that she was judging me. I was not being taken seriously and I wondered if she was familiar with the term, the customer (or in this case guest) is always right and that perhaps she would benefit from some night classes in hospitality and customer service at the nearby community college.
I wasn’t being unreasonable, but she waved me (and my terror) off, as if I were a gnat that had landed on the Buddha tattoo on her chest (how original), nonetheless. My protestations were completely dismissed. Did she have a lobotomy? Was I speaking Swahili? Did she think that I was doing a comedic bit? (not this time.)
I was in utter disbelief that an establishment would fear shame one of their guests into taking a SUP tour alongside drunk (or dead) people and crocodiles.
Needless to say that cancelling my tour was a challenge. But after I went a few rounds with the staff, I was able to switch to an ATV ride to a waterfall, a waterfall that had as much power and awe as the drip coming from my outdoor shower head (that Miss Front Desk Manager told me could not be fixed)… whole other story.