On the morning of June 8, we left Arenal Lodge and set out in our rented 4×4 for Monteverde, Costa Rica’s cloud forest, one of the country’s protected regions. More than a third of Costa Rica is protected by either the government or private ownership, usually families who have owned property for several generations and maintain its pristine conditions.
We had our trusty GPS set for Arcoiris Hotel in Santa Elena, a small town in the region. We knew the distance was less than 70 miles and that the trip would take about four hours because most of the road was unpaved. Well, unpaved isn’t really the adjective I would use. Horrid fits the bill. Pitted with craters, the roads twists and turns upward from about 1,500 feet to around 5,000, the altitude of Denver, Colorado. But it takes you through such exquisite and dramatic landscapes that after the first, oh, 15 miles, you forget about how your kidneys are about to drop through your feet.
We stayed at a place called Arcoiris – rainbow – another spot I’d selected from the Internet . I wasn’t sure if it was a pit or what, but once again, we were shocked and delighted. It’s right in Santa Elena, a town favored by backpackers from all over the world who come here for the adrenaline – ziplining, Tarzan swings, the Superman fly. Our cabin was set off in a corner of the property and every afternoon, like clockwork, the fog rolled in, creating an eerie strangeness to the place.
One morning, Megan and I were in the lobby, making a reservation for ziplining, and I noticed a poster on the bulletin board for yoga classes. I just scanned it, didn’t think anymore about it, and we made our reservation for the ziplining tour. Rob and I walked over to the Mercado a while later to buy some stuff for our drive back to San Jose the next day. While waiting in line, we noticed a woman wearing a namaste t-shirt and Rob said, “My wife has that same t-shirt.”
Turns out the woman and her husband were American expats who own a yoga studio a few miles outside of town. When she asked Rob what sort of yoga he taught, I mentioned that we were writers and he had created his own system of yoga, a vinyasa flow connected to the zodiac.
“Oh, I was a writer.,” she gushed. “Past life.”
I thought she meant she had been a writer in a past life and asked if she was familiar with Carol Bowman’s work. She wasn’t. Later, Rob pointed out that she was referring to her life before Costa Rica, when she and her husband were journalists. Well, hey. I equate yoga with an awareness of past lives, and laughed afterward at my tunnel vision. At any rate, she invited us to drop by the yoga studio that afternoon and work out. So, after we ziplined (another post!), we did. The studio was spacious with a gorgeous view and while Rob did his yoga, Megan and I went shopping.
This area boasts a number of artists and we found some fantastic shops that featured local art, jewelry, sculpture, even tailored yoga clothing. In a place called Luna Azul, we did some serious shopping, took our purchases up to the counter, and the young woman who spoke perfect English began adding it all up. All these businesses have computer software that do the math, but also have backup hand calculators.
“Uh-oh,” the young woman said. “I made a mistake,” and she turned her calculator toward us so we could see what she was taking about. “I punched in too many ones.”
Megan and I just stared at the five ones. $111.11. Then we burst out laughing.
“Wow,” I breathed.
“Awesome,” Megan remarked.
“I’m so sorry,” the woman said.
“Don’t be,” I told her. ” This is a powerful number.”
She glanced up, frowning. “Really?”
“Absolutely.” I handed her a credit card.
“The actual price is $111.00. I’ll give you the difference in colones.”
“May I get a receipt?” I was thinking I could scan it and post it here.
“That’s the problem.,” she replied. “Since I messed up on the ones, I’ll have to put the card through again.”
“Just leave it,” I told her. “ I’d like to take a photo of it.” So I brought out my BlackBerry and snapped a pic.
Then Megan and I left the shop, giggling about all those ones.
And that’s how Costa Rica was for us from Sunday to Sunday, a stream of small, silly synchros that were, nonetheless, powerful indicators that we were in some kind of beautiful synchro groove. I mean, really, $111.11?