Alligators 'n Roadkill

Alligators 'n Roadkill
On The Road


Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Princess and the pea…..

NOTE: this has already appeared at top10CostaRica, and was originally written some months ago…………..

"All human situations have their inconveniences. We feel those of the present but neither see nor feel those of the future; and hence we often make troublesome changes without amendment, and frequently for the worse." - Benjamin Franklin

We all remember the story of the Princess who couldn't sleep, even with many mattresses piled one on top of another, all because of a little, tiny insignificant pea. You know how it is……that one little thing gets under your skin, and you just can't get away from it. It pesters and festers and generally drives you nuts. Finally, you have to either give in to it, and do whatever it takes to make it go away, 'cause there just ain't no way you can live with it, or you simply explode. Right? You know what I'm talking about.

Well, my little thing that is pushing me right now is more like the sum of many little things that is growing larger every single day. And, I am reaching that point where I will have to do something about it.

"Now, what could this 'little pea' that is starting to fester have been caused by?" you ask. Well, I'll tell you. I really did not expect this to happen so soon, but here it is: I am getting tired of putting up with all the crap inherent to living in Costa Rica! There. I said it. I am tired of dealing with public and private employees who are so apathetic to the needs or wants of their customers that they flat refuse to do anything. I am tired of having to pay so much more than a thing is really worth. I am tired of finding a product that I like one month, so I buy it, and then can't find it again for six months. I am tired of constantly telling the people at the Super or the hardware store, or wherever, to please order more of something, to be met with reassurance, but never any action. I am tired of going to the hardware store to buy four of something only to find that they have just two or one or three in stock and no clue as to when or if they will ever have the total that I needed. I am tired of the lights going out for seconds to minutes to hours at a time. I am tired of not having a decent internet connection. I am tired of driving on really bad roads that never get fixed properly. I am tired of an attitude of, 'well, it happened; I don't know why it happened; it wasn't me, so get over it; I hope it doesn't happen again; just keep on paying the bill, though, 'cause you don't want to lose the service?/utility/options/use of.'

I am tired of paying too much for a lousy beer! The cheap beer here still costs over a dollar a bottle in the so-called Super markets! I am tired of reading in the local press that gasoline is going up again. I am tired of the electric, the phone, the whatever constantly going up in cost, but never improving in terms of reliability, or constancy, or consistency, or quality, or (God forbid) service. I am tired of never being able to find certain food items, or even the ingredients to make your own. I am tired of trying to complete phone calls to loved ones back in the states with lousy connections that cause all kinds of pauses, static, loss of signal, leading to only frustration for all concerned.

We had one spot on the infamous Lake Road, near Nuevo Arenal, that had been only one lane wide for more than ten years. (Someday, when you have the time, ask me how this came to be). With the recent heavy rains, that one lane became threatened and it was finally obvious that the entire road was going to be out if something was not done – fast. The fine folks from MOPT finally brought in truck loads of monster big rocks, and a couple of back hoes, and started in to fill the massive hole. They did bring the level of the washed out portion of the road nearly up to the level of the small amount of pavement that was left, but then apparently abandoned the project, leaving a slightly wider road, but most of it is now mud, and nobody is willing to risk driving over that mud, because no effort was made to pack it down, or to put gravel over the surface.

Note: I started writing this back in March, when I was feeling particularly fed up with it all. Now, here it is April 11, and that spot on the road is still the same – enough pavement left for one car to pass, slowly, and then, mud and dirt and rocks to the right, where only the bold dare to pass.

Meanwhile, we are now preparing to make a trip to San Jose tomorrow because we learned that our drivers' license renewals necessitate that we first go to a Consejo de Serguridad Vial (Council of Road Safety), or Cosevi office in downtown San Jose to change the license numbers from our passports to our cedulas (we did get our licenses about four months before we got our cedulas). It seems that there is no one – in the entire lazy-assed nation – capable of going onto a computer and changing these numbers, other than in that office. Of course, in speaking to some friends here, we have been told that (just like everything else in this silly place) it all depends on who is across the counter or the desk from you whenever you need something done. If it is a typical Tico/a, then you will be sent elsewhere. If it is a smart, ambitious, capable, and caring individual (a true rarity), you can get whatever it is that you need.

It seems that this couple, who have lived here for more than twenty years, had different expiration dates on their drivers' licenses. She went to Liberia, to the Ministerio de Obras Publicas y Transportes (Ministry of Public Works and Transport) or MOPT, location there, some months ago, and renewed her license. The person with whom she dealt noticed that her license showed her old cedula number, so he changed it to her new one, while he processed her renewal. No problem. When her husband later went to the same place, the (different) person that he encountered immediately said, "Oh, no. You cannot renew here because your license shows your old cedula number. You have to go to San Jose."

He did, too. He did just what we have to do tomorrow. First, we go to a Cosevi office near downtown, to ask that they please change the numbers on the licenses, and then, we schlep over to La Uruca, where drivers' licenses for the entire country originate, to get them renewed. So, this process, which already was more inconvenient than it should be, (involving a trip to our Provincial capital), will now take up an entire day, burn up one or two tanks of gasoline, use up who knows who how much time and energy of a government that can ill afford it, and serve only to further piss me off.*

I'm telling you. If only somebody would come along and offer me what our million dollar view is worth, I think I'd take it and go back to Texas!


*The truly high cost of obtaining a driver license in this sorry backwater has been chronicled in another post.