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There was a Dead Body in Costa Rica: Revenge Travel Part Three

dead body


And now another installment of Revenge Travel: Part Three. You can read other installments here and here

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 scene.

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. 

dead body

Swamp Thing

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. 


Revenge Travel: Part Deux

Revenge travel part two


For my second installment of Revenge Travel, I chose Providenciales, (Provo) Turks and Caicos in the Caribbean. If you haven’t read Part One, you can read it here. 

I wanted an island experience; an island where I had never been to before, and where I could read, relax and feel clean white sand between my toes.

It’s important to note that the Turks and Caicos only came onto my radar because American Express Travel sent me an e-mail offering a sweet deal at the resort, in the time frame that I was looking for.

My plans came together pretty quickly once I had made my decision, and so naturally I took it as a sign; a positive sign. A sign that said, yes, this is where you should go next. I thought it was a good idea to be away for my birthday, as it was the first one after my break up.

Somewhere between thirty-thousand feet over the Atlantic Ocean and waiting forty-five minutes in line at customs, I remembered that I actually didn’t want to be traveling. Instead, I wanted to be still. I wanted to address the trauma of the demise of a seven and a half year relationship, and it’s by-products, and fall-out, including, but not limited to, how I was going to see the kids.

However, after I found out that my ex had taken off to Europe (how original… I said to no one), I was compelled to take my passport out of the drawer.

I felt old and lost among the hundred or so tourists whose vacations had begun on the flight from New York and who were already wearing their sarongs and Kappa Sigma muscle T-shirts, in  line at the Provo airport.

Fully dressed from head to toe, I waited for my passport stamp. Trust me, it was the only thing keeping me alive. Anyone looking around the hoards of people in customs would have easily picked out which one of us did not belong, due to her, I am not in a vacation mood, puss on her face.

What was I thinking? Revenge be damned. The last thing I needed was to lie on a chaise lounge with a drink in my hand, watching lovers frolic in the sea while I contemplated my navel. I had spent more than enough time in deep contemplation, and the only thing that my navel yielded was a lint.

Unfortunately, these admissions were late in coming, and instead I smiled up at the passport stamp man.

I was now stuck on an island with college kids, the recently engaged, honeymooners, and parents who had escaped their asylums for a few days—and each and every one of them were drunk. It felt eerily similar to being at one of my brother’s parties that he’d have at our house in high school, while our parent’s were away. I stayed locked away upstairs in my room, studying, writing sad poetry, or composing love letters to Bobby Emerson. My point is, I was profoundly out of place.

I checked into my hotel, and I was instantly upgraded to a spacious suite with an ocean view. This would have been a wonderful surprise, had I been on tour with The Partridge Family, and Reuben, (including the musical instruments). I did not need that much room. It only depressed me further, and I felt even more alone than I already did.

I went through the motions of being on vacation, which was a lackluster attempt at best. I walked into breakfast each morning, and quietly sat at a table set for two, pretending that my non-existent companion had the shits, due to a contaminated lettuce leaf, and couldn’t leave the suite. Telling myself this story made me feel only slightly better, as it was like acting in a play.

I read several books on the beach, and romped in the ocean on a paddle board until my skin shriveled up like a prune. The hotel staff was scattered and inattentive with just a hint of rudeness. I was convinced that it was because I was flying solo.

On the afternoon of my birthday, there was a knock on my door. I had no idea what or who it could have been. I didn’t order room service, and no one, including my parents, even knew where I was staying. That probably wasn’t a good idea. If there was an emergency, or a hurricane for instance, and the resort was washed away, nobody back home would have known that I, too, had been washed away.

For half a second, I thought that perhaps my ex had hired a private investigator, or had done his own sleuthing and had found me. Yes, I was still romanticizing, and the hot sun had made me loopy.

I opened the door to find a staff member holding a tray with a piece of chocolate cake on a plate. “Happy Birthday” was written in white frosting along the rim. What? How the f’ did they know? He came into my suite and placed the tray on a table in the entryway, and looked around the cavernous room. “Oh, no family?”

Was he kidding me? How did he know that my family wasn’t frolicking in the ocean or rehearsing in the beachside cabana? How rude, Mr. Cake Man. Now if you don’t mind, please extricate yourself from my presence.

The pit in my stomach, which was the size of Toledo, never dissipated the entire time I was on my dreamy Caribbean getaway. It was a dreadful experience, and I was miserable. Taking a trip alone to a resort that mainly catered to couples certainly was not the healthiest, or wisest, decision that I had ever made. And if I were to guess, it probably wouldn’t be my last.

The experience reminded me of the time that I went to a podiatrist because I got a coupon in the mail. I was shocked and dismayed when the doctor (and I’m only guessing that he was an actual doctor, because I never actually saw a framed degree on the wall) said that I needed surgery to remove both of my bunions, when I only had one.

I guess sometimes a deal isn’t. And sometimes what you think is a sign, isn’t.

When I returned home, I put my passport back in my drawer, hoping that I wouldn’t have to use it for awhile. And I didn’t… until I did.

Revenge travel would see more miles and more stamps.

To be continued…

Can I Catch A Disease In This Lake?

I don’t want to brag, but let’s just say that I can be quite the man magnet. Of course, I didn’t say what kind of man now did I.

I went stand up paddle boarding with friends the other day in New Jersey on the open waters. However, the open waters were dirty, and surrounded by power lines, a parking lot, and the New Jersey transit, albeit quite punctual. Yup, every half hour, choo choo.

While my friends sat together on the paddle board, drinking beer, I held a ladybug umbrella over my fair skin, as I lounged on an inflatable tube. It looked like a scene out of Driving Miss Daisy.

I did my SUP’ing, focusing solely on not falling into the murky waters, as I was certain that I’d catch something vile if I went under; something much worse than a yeast infection from a hot tub.

As I climbed back onto my tube and opened my umbrella, I heard the sound of a jet ski approaching. Sure enough, a big burly guy, wearing a cowboy hat, was headed straight for our floating island.

He drove up to us and started talking to me. It must’ve been my umbrella. My friend told him that she liked his hat. He politely told her that it’s what they do in Texas, where he was from.

He asked me my name. I asked him his. “Tex.” Really? Tex from Texas? I actually said, “Come on. Tex, from Texas?” He responded with a serious, “Yes, ma’am.” Oy vey.

My girlfriend totally pimped me out, saying that I’d never been on a jet ski, and that I would love a ride. “Climb aboard,” he excitedly answered.

“Oh, that’s okay. I don’t have a life vest.”  He said that he had an extra one. “No, really, thank you. I’m afraid of the water.”

My friends wouldn’t let up. I felt like I was at a high school party, “Drink, drink, drink.” So I did what I always did in those situations; I laughed and walked away. Or in this case, I politely refused and Tex turned around and peeled rubber on the lake.

My friend asked me why I didn’t go. I told her that getting on the back of a sea motorcycle, with a stranger named Tex, on an unidentified filthy body of water, was not on my bucket list.

We packed up the crushed beer cans and cigarette butts, waded through the dead fish that were floating by the dock, let the air out of the inflatable SUP and called it a day.