Driving in Costa Rica, you will see the undercarriages of more 18-wheelers than you ever cared to. They turn over all the time. Partly because the roads are so bad, so narrow, the ditches so close and deep. Partly because as soon as you can get a driver’s license at 18 (which makes sense), you can have a license to drive anything with zero additional training (which makes no sense at all.) I guess they figure if you can steer a moped, you can drive a 40-ton truck?
HINT: If you are driving on a road and you see a fresh tree branch
with leaves on it laying in the middle of the road, SLOW DOWN. This
means there is a car or truck stopped in your lane and they don’t have
those orange triangles (which you are required by law to have in your
car). It’s usually a truck and it’s usually turned over.
This picture is from La Nación, Costa Rica’s biggest daily paper (I showed this picture last January so it may look familiar.)
The rest of the photos I took and these are just the ones for which I was quick enough with the camera… there are at least twice as many I was not able
to photograph. Like the first few times I found myself staring at an 18-wheeler undercarriage, realizing this was going to be a common sight.
The last time Mom and I went to Sarchi about a month ago, we were following this truck (on the right). He must have turned over shortly after we passed him, ’cause here he is about an hour later when we were en route home. Fortunately, no other cars were smushed. I’ll bet it was close. Imagine watching the topple start to occur…
I’ll bet the guy driving this truck (these photos were taken two weeks ago) is just 18 and this is his first delivery job. Did they pack the truck like this, all out of balance? Is it my imagination or is the weight shifting more and more to the left? And who’s the bigger fool: the guy driving the truck or the guy passing on the left where that big metal thing will land when the truck tips over?
Hmmm. Quite possibly, it’s the moron driving behind them snapping pictures.
This truck on the left is filled with men: illegals going to work. Every once in a while, the wind blew the tarp up and we saw the guys inside. They looked plenty nervous. Mom took this picture. I never take pictures while I’m driving and it’s raining. Too dangerous.
These trucks, like the one on the right, are my favorite: filled with all kinds of junk going to the junkyard. You see 18-wheelers like this, sides constructed out of scrap metal, fill to overflowing with crap. Er, scrap. NOTE: You’ll wanna stay back for when things fall off.
On our van trip to the whitewater rafting jump in spot, the coming and going van drivers found themselves in this predicament. No room to pass, ditches and/or big rocks on both sides. And backing up to a wide spot in the road would have meant backing up for close to 30 minutes either way.
Of course, it took almost an hour to get the two vans dislodged. And all the guys (there were at least four beside me, a couple more still in our van and two guys standing on the other side with the other van driver), standing around scratching their chins, shaking their heads, evaluating the situation, shouting ideas and suggestions and orders in either Spanish or English, shoving, pulling, then re-evaluating, all of us being order to get out, then in, then out. It was quite the project!
Road and auto safety is a big issue here, whether you are driving, riding or walking. Most deaths in Costa Rica are auto-related, pedestrians and bicyclists being the biggest losers. Mostly, I believe, because we are surrounded by first-generation drivers. There is no history to point to, no collective wisdom, no long chain of evidence. No grandpa to teach the young ‘uns to drive. We are all learning together.
In the states, I never got the whole seat-belt thing (more proof of my morondom) and resented when drivers told me to buckle up or walk. Here, we can’t get buckled up fast enough. Even the boys, and not ’cause I told them. Probably because I’m driving. But after just a day driving here, you will unconsciously reach for your seatbelt if you don’t already. Some days, on some roads, you’ll even think helmets might not be a bad idea.
I just love this piece on trucks. HOW TRUE, “can’t buckle up fast enough”. I laughed out loud ’cause I can relate. Also, using my emergency brake. I never thought much of it until my car rolled forward, knocking down a column that was supporting a little casita. That cost $500. to get their “porch” repaired (it only dented my car when it fell and I never fixed that).
I ALWAYS use my seatbelt and ALWAYS use my emergency brake when I park now.
Costa Rica sure does teach us some valuable lessons, huh?
I have a beef about “jake braking”. It’s outlawed in the U.S. but not here and I live at the base of a mountain near the highway. It’s LOUD!!!
So true about first generation drivers. They don’t respect (or understand) all that horsepower under their hood.
Guess you probably already know who wrote the above but commenting again just in case.
On my way to the beach for more surf shots. I’m addicted now. When are you and the boys coming?
I recently was with a friend who was having a truckload of 2,000 cement blocks delivered for his new house. We met the truck at the developement as my friend wanted to show me his new lot. Just to let you know…2,000 blocks is a full truck bed load and stacked over the cab in height. On top of this full bed was 4 men riding. This truck came from Alajuela to Atenas switch back after switch back with absolutly no ties what-so-ever. As the semi turned in the development we looked back and could see 1/2 of the bricks seperating and leaning several feet to the side. It was only then that they walked to another construction site, picked up some boards and tried to secure the pile. Its a miracle that they didnt cause a major accident on the HWY. The sheer stupidity and carelessness causes problems time after time. I saw the same truck delivering the same week another full load of bricks, do you think they took the extra 10 minutes to put 3 straps on it? Of course not.
You must have Hal watch this clip. Its hilarious.
Hi Sally or Saratica:
I’m not writing about the trucks but your “blog” overall.
Thanks for taking the time and effort for making your adventures available via the internet. It’s been a very informative and enjoyable read. I came upon your site via a search for “Cost of Living Costa Rica”, snagged one of your pages and got hooked on your style and energy. I went to the beginning and read the WHOLE THING. Wow – what an effort on your part. In that you are still contributing to “A Broad in Costa Rica” I assume that the activity has sustaining rewards.
Your whole effort in “A Broad in Costa Rica” is very professional. Here are a few glitches I ran into while reading through that you may or may not be interested in:
1. My default screen resolution in Windows is 800×600 (I have old eyes and like to sit back from the screen). I suspect this is also the default screen resolution for may others as well. Anyway, with the resolution at 800×600 some of your images are cut-off (e.g. only 75% of the image displays from left to right. I note that if I set my screen resolution to 1024×768 the images display fine. Not a big deal, but puzzling until I figured it out.
2. Many of the daily entries have the following displayed at the bottom: An “i” encircled in blue followed by the phrase “the webpage cannot be found”.
3. Some of the video images embedded in the text no longer link to their source.
I only mention the above because of the obvious amount of effort you have put into creating a high quality site. Thought you might want to know.
ARE THERE BODY SNACHERS, MIND SNACHERS OR BLOG SNACHERS IN UVITA?
As mentioned, I read through your entire offering and thought that I was getting a sense of your perspectives on things until I got to the “I Take It All Back” comments on Uvita. I thought that someone had either drugged you or hijacked your blog. What a change in tone. You recovered in your next offering, but wow talk about taking both sides of an issue. Well, it was fun reading.
A LITTLE ABOUT ME
My stepson has visited Costa Rica a couple of times on vacation and thinks it’s just like San Diego. Guess he hasn’t seen as much of the country as you. Sent us a web link suggesting that the cost of living was reasonable and that with our soon to come retirement (1-4 years) we should check it out. After that site, with a Google search on “Cost of Living Costa Rica” I found your site.
PLEASE KEEP WRITING.
Thanks again for all your efforts.
Teri – I did figure that was you! Thanks for letting me spend the night – so fun!!!
Cindy – great story. You can’t believe it until you see it with your own eyes!
Ibarra – great video – thank you for sharing that one.
John, I will respond to you on the Uvita/body snatchers thing in a post. I’ve been meaning to write more on that…
1. Don’t know what to do about the screen resolution. I will add that to my “traveling this blog” page – hopefully that will at least give some direction.
2&3. I suspect that these links and photos and pages are from the old days when I was on blogger. I copied the posts from there and installed here… I need to do some heavy-duty site maintenance – thank you for the head’s up. I will get to that. As soon as my first book is published!!!
Thank you for reading – I’m loving writing. Costa Rica is worth all efforts. Pura vida.