Potholes, Traffic, and Trash Bins: a Concoction for a Tropical Odium

By BobbyRica | July 15, 2011

This is an interesting little ditty from Nettie Taus. She’s a twenty five year old ad exec who sent me her hilarious account of her first trip to Costa Rica. As much as we want to promote a positive view of the country, things can and will go wrong. Maybe next time, we can come prepared for any…uh inconvenience.


Dark clouds are looming on the horizon.

Looks like a perfect opening for a grim flick, only the setting is in a Caribbean paradise. Who would have thought that an otherwise happy trip to Costa Rica proved to be disastrous? A series of mishaps should be blamed for this forgettable experience.


It’s not to say that I deliberately went for a vacation. As a matter of fact, my boss compelled me to go on for this trip. A business meeting of sorts. So, dutiful working bee that I was, I followed her (with the air fare and all other expenses paid, of course). I was hoping for an afternoon of sun and fun. Boys will follow on the sidelines.

First blunder: I woke up late. After a dizzying ride courtesy of KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, I stepped into the country with a terrible case of jetlag. Add that to the makeup kit I left home, I will spend the rest of your vacation looking right out of a rabbit hole! With more pressing concern at hand, I just decided to walk the streets of San José au naturelle (but resolving to replace my vanity kit some other time).


I never knew I was in for a bumpy ride! Traffic in Costa Rica is one of the worst in the world, even more so than in France! I noticed that roads here are in bad shape, and short distances can take you for hours on a stretch. Roads are riddled with potholes and you know that you have reached one when a tree branch or a poking pole greets you in the middle of one! How crazy can it get? Many roads are unpaved, and even the paved roads have lots of unpaved sections and washed out or unfinished bridges. Bridges are often only wide enough for one vehicle; one direction usually has priority. Now I am faced with the inevitable: not to expect reaching my destination on time. It seems that the government does not seem to be fixing the infrastructure well (or at all!); 50km/hr is good over unpaved roads.


Some hotels located in the mountains, my kind driver told me, even require a four-wheel-drive vehicle just to reach them. “Next time señorita,” he admonished me, “you call ahead.” “Car rentals are actually available near the airport, but call them anyway,” he added. To get through the horrendous traffic, my driver has to snake through both lanes, returning to the right lane, when oncoming traffic approaches. Still, it took me almost five hours before finally reaching her hotel. I was jittery and frantic for the whole ordeal. My boss’s definitely going to kill me!

I was panting all the way when I finally reached my boss’s table at a swanky resto with two cute guys next to her. She couldn’t hide her irritation even as she introduced me to her business partners, Alec and Alex. Gosh, Alex is such a killer! Nice bummers as well! But before I ended up drooling for him, I focused my attention to our meeting.


Two hours of monotonous droning and several swigs of espresso later, I needed to go to a toilet to void myself. I relieved smoothly until I read a signage on my door that says like: ¡Favor de no botar el papel en el inodoro! ¡Use el basurero! (Please do not throw the tissue into the toilet! Use the waste bin!) Problem is, there are no receptacles on sight.

Oh no! Where will I throw my crap?! I opened the door of my cubicle furtively. No one’s around – yet. And the bin was placed underneath the vanity sink. Ugh, whoever placed that thing there?


Well, I just insisted on throwing my tissue into the toilet. Anyway, it wasn’t my fault that the janitor forgot to put one back in my cubicle on the first place. Until images of feces and other wastes disgorging out of the bowl and flooding the room. Ugh! Faced with that prospect, I scampered out of my cubicle, clutching my skirt with my butt exposed, to grab the bin, and hurried back to the cubicle. I finished the whole business as quickly as possible, before heading back to our table.

My boss is just concluding our meeting as he bid goodbye to Alec and Alex. I also exchanged pleasantries with them and even left me with their business cards. Nice! I can meet up with Alex for a drink maybe.

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