Monday, January 09, 2006

an attempt at costa rica

Okay. Not so sick now. Feeling better. Picking up all the sentences now, all the ones I'd stacked against the wall in the spare room, some from foreign countries, a little pile of odds and ends from the broken bits of the last few weeks. Tried to line them up but. All those pieces. Here they are.

Flew here, flew there, stopped, slept, laid over, stumbled along the corridors of the Houston International Airport, ate at Pappeadeaux's Slopbucket (If you want to eat at Pappadeaux's, you must have extremely clear arteries. Your arteries must be spacious, a vault of clear light and verdant pathways to amuse the weary traveller. Because you're about to shove a shitload of grease into every cubic centimetre of your body when you eat at that place). Six hour layover. Even in an airport the size of George Bush International, you can pretty much visit all the stores and loiter around all the departure lounges in the space of six hours. At some point it occurred to me that we were all wandering around in the body of a horribly bloated and slug-like George Bush, rapacious and massive, so overgrown that eventually he was able to lease out his form to the local airport authority.

By the time we landed in San Jose we'd all reached that semi-hallucinogenic state that comes from dislocation and airplane air, so that the humidity and heat, the lineups, the champion soccer team that flew with us and the and the cheering crowds around the airport all seemed part of our due as travellers, as if we were making up the whole thing as we went along. Because we didn't quite believe in the crowds we managed to thread through them easily, find our host and secure a taxi. We left the airport and found ourselves in the midst of an impromptu parade, vans stuffed with people honking their horns, waving hand-flags out their windows. A van pulled up beside us and a clutch of children pressed their faces to the window. One of them pointed at me. I smiled back. They started cheering and hooting in the belief that I'm as big a soccer fan as they are. Either that or I was the butt of some Costa Rican joke.

The parade gradually thinned out into traffic after ten minutes or so. Dark palm blades sawed back and forth across the beams of streetlights as we drove along the frewway into the city. We passed a Best Western, then a Denny's, and I had to remind myself that the world I thought I'd left behind has outposts everywhere. Then we turned right onto an unlit road and dipped into a spaghetti-like tangle of dark roads, with high walls and banks of trees pressing in. I could feel the plant life out there in the dark, smell it in the warm dark air that came pouring in over the lip of the window. It reminds me of my childhood summers in Bermuda, walking down lanes sandwiched between hedges of hibiscus and sugar cane. Finally we were on our way to something different.

2 comments:

ZaZa said...

Wow. You have just condensed the bizarreness of long distance air travel into a few evocative sentences. So real.

Anonymous Midwest Girl said...

Great summary. I, too, am always a little bummed to see a McDonalds in some out of the way, unexpected place. Or equally bummed to find out that X restaurant is actually a franchise with locations all over and not just some mom and pop diner I discovered.