It’s about 2am in Costa Rica. I woke up an hour ago because my body thought it was 7am, which – at home in the UK, it was.
Usually waking up naturally at the same time every day is useful for things like getting to work and going for a smug early jog, but not today. Today is the first day of yoga school, where I’m due to meet my fellow trainees and be driven four hours south to a little town in the jungle by the Pacific Coast.
Already I am socially exhausted after making a very nice plane friend yesterday, which was all well and good when we could dip in and out of in-flight movies between spurts of conversation, but which really tested my (underdeveloped) social skills during the seemingly endless passport control queue. Somehow we kept the ‘haha look we’re in a queue for the rest of our lives’ banter going for over two hours but now my inner introvert is begging me to lock myself in a room where no one can find me and throw away the key. This is obviously not on the cards because today, after negotiating breakfast with my extremely friendly but non-English-speaking B&B hosts, I need to make a good impression on my new yoga pals, one of whom I’ll be sharing a room with for the next 3 weeks. Is it impolite to spend the whole shuttle journey pretending to be asleep to avoid conversation?
Impressions of Costa Rica so far…
Chaotic roads… My plane friend, who is here for work, asked his company driver to drop me off at my hotel last night. It was more like dodgems than driving. Constant beeping, cutting in front of each other, driving milimetres away from the cars on either side, sudden lurching acceleration and emergency stops. Yet somehow it works. People get places, and they don’t seem to deeply loath each other which is the case with drivers in the UK.
It’s like unlocking a new area of an open world computer game… Familiar, yet subtly different. Different plants, different smells, sounds, different ants and birds. I’m still in the city so haven’t had the chance to see the real natural landscape yet, but even in the garden of my B&B there are bananas growing, and crows that aren’t really crows, which make prehistoric-sounding noises. As soon as I got here I whipped my shoes off and went for a bare-foot walk around the garden inspecting all the alien-like foliage. I suddenly remembered about all the poisonous insects/snakes/spiders here but decided, in my jet-lag haze, that the universe would protect me and also I was just too tired and achy from travelling to care.
Friendly people… I haven’t met many people yet but so far I’ve been struck by a sense of genuine warmth. I crossed the road outside the airport and made eye contact with a guy in a car, and we smiled at each other – not in a creepy way, or an attraction way, or even in a strained polite way, but in this warm, familiar, we are both human kind of way. The B&B owner told me I looked like a Hollywood star in my passport picture which is the biggest lie anyone’s ever told (I look like a greasy famished ghost), but it was nice of him to engage me in some friendly banter.
I’m going to try to sleep again now and wake up at a normal Costa Rica morning time.