Our little Royal Family was not happy in Parismina and we left as soon as humanly possible. The day after our forced march, we were so exhausted that doing a patrol that night was out of the question. And this first day, our only full day there, we were stolen from left and right. Very discouraging.
But the straw that broke the camel’s back and drove us from Parismina was the heat.
I’m a Straw-That-Broke-The-Camel’s-Back kind of gal. There may be loads of reasons to do or not do something, but there is always that One Determining Factor: the Straw. Because I can rationalize anything to suit my need du jour, I like to whittle excuses down to the Straw. Keep it simple, keep in touch with my motive. Have a much better chance of making the next right move.
In Parismina, the heat was the Straw. Not just hellishly hot. With NO relief hot. Zero. None. Unless you count a dip in the warm ocean or a plunge under the cold shower. Neither of which gave relief for more than a few minutes. There is no shade unless you stand under a tree. There are no verandas, no tourist venues at all, no hammocks swinging under any trees. No breeze, not a whiff. The soda where they stole from us was the only restaurant, place to hang out with a cold drink. There was one pavillion with a dirt floor and stone benches scattered around. Or I could have sat on the low stone wall outside my door (photo right). At least I’d be sweating in the shade.
The boys went to the only place they could go: the pool hall. They were the only ones there and it was stifling. I went and sat next to the door. Two times I felt a slight breeze for which I was so so grateful. There was nothing else to do and no place else to go. Not a store of any kind except for pulperias. No TV. Too hot to read. Hot.
I spent some time laying in my bed under the mosquito net with the one box fan, the only fan in our room, blowing on me. The button was broken off and it only worked on low. I balanced it on my bed under the mosquito net. So I felt air blowing up to my knees.
Tico houses are not made to let heat out. The low tin roof was right over my head and right under the hot sun: it was like an oven. And the mattress was like a sponge, soaking up all that heat, then sharing it back up into my body.
Here’s how hot it was that day: I was too hot to eat. I skipped two meals. That is unheard of. I NEVER miss a meal. EVER. I was desperately hot to the point of feeling nauseous. Now, I like my drama and I’m sure I was not ill, just unbearably hot and uncomfortable. But I COULD have been ill.
The boys were pretty miserable as well. Fortunately, they are young and strong and like playing pool, so they were saved from my misery. All four of us wanted to get the heck out of Parismina. None of us wanted to do any more turtle patrolling nor did we care to spend another day in that heat. As guilty as we felt about bailing, we had to escape. I found Vicki that evening and told her we were leaving the next morning. She was lovely about it, of course. I offered extra money for the homestay family and she was appreciative of that. She said they buy extra groceries when they have guests, so money to cover that would be helpful.
You have two options leaving Parismina: a ferry at 5:30a to Caño Blanco where you catch a 6am bus to Siquirres (2 hours) where you catch a bus to PV (2 more hours). This entire operation costs under $10 each. A bargain.
OR we catch the ferry to Limón at 10:30am for $20-$25 each, then a bus to PV for $2/each. My immediate problem was that I was down to my last $100. There is no ATM on Parismina; the closest is in Siquirres… but, hey, Jacob has $40. Between the two of us, we have enough to get to Limón and an ATM. Not only will Option № 2 be faster, the ferry was bound to be more fun. Wow. A plan.
The next morning, actually getting off the island turns out to be way more complicated than one would think possible. Three different people told me three different times and three different places to catch the boat to Limón! At one point, I am directed to The Storekeeper I Do Not Trust (TSIDNT). Surprise: she sells ferry tickets. She tells me I have to give her $25/person for the ferry and she will pay the boat driver. I ask her if I will get a ticket when I give her my last $100. She says no but – hahahahaha – I can trust her.
I don’t. I say I will be back just before the boat takes off and buy my ticket then. She shrugs. I go to one of the two hotels on the island and the owner calls the ferry company. She finds out the tickets are $20 each, reserves four spots on the boat for us and says I pay the driver. I am SO relieved.
We arrive at the ferry dock at 11am. I ignore TSIDNT. The boat comes, the driver goes up and talks to TSIDNT but never asks me for a ticket or money. We join the other 10 passengers from Tortuguero and head off to Limón. It is a two hour boat ride, uneventful and unfortunately raining so we cannot see any wildlife. But a nice COLD breeze!!! HEAVEN.
Upon arrival in Limón, I go up to the ferry driver and offer to pay. I know EXACTLY how this conversation is going to go because I am now an educated princess. He says $25/person. I say: "No. $20/person." He say $25. I say $20: "My friend called the ferry company." I hand him $80 and walk off. He does EXACTLY the same thing the cab driver did: looked off in the distance like he is so martyred, then shaking his head in disbelief at the thievery to which he is subjected, pockets the money and gets back to boat business.
He and TSIDNT were going to split the money. Let them split someone else’s money. Apparently tourism is down in Parismina. Small wonder.