Author’s note: I wrote this last night, but we got in so late I couldn’t keep my eyes open to post. Enjoy. I’ll post later on for today’s installment.
In the end, the charms of the awesome jungle house didn’t outweigh its downsides. It was looking promising for a while until last night when K heard a dripping sound and looked up to see mealworm beetles falling from the ceiling.
R packed her bags immediately and declared that she’d sleep on the couch. N topped that by announcing that he wouldn’t sleep at all (I’m not sure what that was supposed to achieve, but I had to admire the strength of his convictions.) K was mostly unaffected (her bedroom had very few insects in it) and E kept saying, “Can we please move somewhere else?”
“Because there are BUGS FALLING FROM THE CEILING!” R and N chorused repeatedly.
It was too late at night to start moving anywhere, but we all agreed that come morning we’d talk to our host and find a new place to stay.
Our host—who, I remind you, spent most of yesterday vacuuming the whole house and spraying for bugs—was understanding and apologetic, and agreed to refund us for the next four nights. I found us a new AirBnB (it was our second-choice place after this jungle house) and we packed everything up.
I had hoped to be writing this from the comfort of our new accommodations, but we’re still stuck in traffic. Our driver was an hour late picking us up: he took a wrong turn and then got his van stuck in the mud (it’s the dry season now and hasn’t rained in that part of the country in weeks, so his mud-finding talent is impressive.)
We soon hit rush hour traffic; Mr. December suggested that we pull over at the next restaurant in the hope that while we were eating, traffic would clear up again. It didn’t really: we had stop-and-go traffic all the way to highway one. Then it moved, and then—bam!—traffic again.
So here we are, on a two-lane highway in Costa Rica at nearly 10 p.m. I’d mention the lack of streetlights, but there are enough cars around us to keep everything pretty well illuminated, so streetlights really aren’t necessary right now.
Our driver is not impressing me, I’ll tell you that much. He didn’t count his change from the toll booth until a couple hundred meters down the road, at which point he pulled a u-turn on a two-lane highway, drove back to the toll area, parked on the shoulder, and got out of the car to walk over to the booth and ask for the correct change.
Driving through Orotina—an area known for fruit production, according to our driver—we asked to stop at one of several enormous fruit stands. The place was lit up brightly enough to be mistaken for an operating theatre, a football stadium, maybe a movie set. It was jarring after three hours of darkness. On the plus side, we got churros, which seem like an appropriate Chanuka food.
The kids are great, which is par for the course on long road trips. K and Mr. December are in the very back row discussing parenting styles, the Golden Ratio, base-pi mathematics, and philosophies of homeschooling; N is listening to them with one ear and playing something on the Nintendo Switch; R is colouring in a phone app; and until I pulled out the computer to start typing, E was riveted by my dramatic reading of Mr. Popper’s Penguins.
It’s been a little while since I typed that last paragraph and now R is dozing on my shoulder. E is half asleep snuggled under my sweatshirt. K is still geeking out over polynomials and devising her own “base cactus” math.
“They should pay you for this traffic,” Mr. December jokes as we sit in line for another toll both (I hope our driver counts his change this time.)
Oh, look—this is our exit. I’d better stop typing and start directing.