Costa Rica’s roads are in deplorable condition. I may have mentioned this. During rainy season the potholes they fixed last rainy season open up again. My brother, a criminal defense lawyer in KY, likes to point out how getting people off is his job security, seeing as how most of them will kill again. Funny, haha.
Well, that seems to be the attitude on fixing the roads around here. I saw a team the other day: a truck with asphalt, a guy following along behind pushing a wheelbarrow and several other guys walking behind him, carrying shovels. They find a hole, dig up some nearby rocks and dirt, shovel that into the hole, pour some asphalt over it, pat it down, move on. I may have also mentioned I’m no engineering whiz, but this does not look like a long-term solution to me. This is all they can probably afford to do, however, because…
We were driving along one day during rush hour on the pista [short for autopista – ow-toe-PEE-stah, the highway] and traffic is at a dead crawl because we are approaching a toll booth. Three lanes of rush-hour traffic is slow as molasses anyway. Add a toll-booth and you may as well recline your seat.
We settle in for the ride – which, despite all the
whining sharing, will really only be a few minutes. We crawl for a bit… when, suddenly, traffic starts moving. Fast. In fact, we find ourselves sailing right through the toll booth, all three lanes. I have to pull my seat back up to see what’s going on. The toll booth guys are still there, but now there are cops waving us through. We don’t question, we don’t toss 75 colones (about $.15) at the guy. Just breeze through. Great! But, curious.
After the first few times, we are no longer surprised. Plus, when you get waved through, you feel kinda special. On one hand, it makes perfect sense: when traffic gets too backed up and the line of cars may have to wait more than – God forbid – ten minutes, just stop collecting and wave everyone through. When the jam clears up, start collecting again.
On the other hand, this is more evidence that ticos are on tico time unless they are driving. Then they become crazy fiends in a big hurry. Screw the money, get out of my way. Just like ‘Merikans. Except for that "Screw the money" thing.
Do not anyone tell them about Sun Pass.
Toll Booths? Toll Roads? Sounds like Mexico. Or maybe on the East Coast of the US. Are you certain you are in Costa Rica?
We’ve only encountered a couple of tolls: one here in Escazú and one on the way to the airport. $.15 each. It’s hardly US style – I was surprised to see them here at all. Wonder where the money goes…