Friday, April 20, 2012

No Third World No More

     My aching and vulnerable body makes it impossible for me to travel to the Third World or actually anywhere with my customary abandon and relative disregard for comfort and protection. The time has arrived for careful pill packing and a far slower pace. That is the fate of every aging traveler at some point in their life. The trick is to do as much as possible when the opportunity presents itself. I still have many unwritten anecdotes about my voyages past but my current adventures are tamer and far less frequent. For example, I have just returned from a second trip to Costa Rica. Now I do not consider Costa Rica a Third World country though some of the folks living in one room shacks might disagree with me but there are passable roads to travel on, electricity and filtered water  and good sewage facilities throughout the country, artifacts that the Third World often lacks. The food is safe, schools are available to all and people vote for their political leaders. But the country is a splendid place to visit for folks looking for scenic delight, jungle adventures, Hispanic culture and cuisine and other such things. The entire country is is a bit like a self-contained resort in an underdeveloped area.

      In spite of my apprehension, my family was eager for one more trip. I did not want to disappoint them so off we went. This trip was quite a change for me. As a now disabled traveler, I had to concern myself with lots of new things. My rooms needed to be handicapped accessible; I had to organize my pills in a box with each day marked on it; I could no longer do hikes or climb hills; I needed to make sure I had sufficient rest (no more all nighters for me); I needed someone to wheel me from one place to another, and so on. Costa Rica turned out to be a wonderful place for a wounded warrior still moving along the travel path. The distances from one place to another are manageable so a couple of rides of a few hours each was the total transportation I needed to weather. Even those trips were delightful with views of neat farms, resplendent vegetation and lovely mountain scenery. The rides simply flew by.

     Costa Rica is an extremely beautiful country. There are smoking volcanoes, soft and lovely beaches, jungles with zip lines and hiking trails, rivers filled with large crocodiles and with birds and iguanas and lizards perching on the tree limbs, magnificent but expensive hotels in the tourist areas, monkeys and other animals to be spotted throughout the country, white water rafting and more. It is a place worth going to even if one's travel capacity is not 100%. I was able to do some rather nice photography without walking a lot, especially from the boats that took us on the picturesque river rides. With the help of my family I was even able to ascend to the jungle canopy in a lift which took me up to the zip line although I could not join the others flying through the forest. At least I was in the company of howler monkeys and such. The biggest problem was the price of almost everything. Food at the hotels was outrageous and traveling into town by taxi or shuttle was even more. The excursions could break the bank as well. As a Third World traveler, I was not used to resort rates. This was not a trip one could easily do on the cheap and still participate in the things the country has to offer.

     All my life I have taken risks and gone to places many others tend to avoid because of the presence of the unknown and the absence of customary travel comforts. My Costa Rica trip was just another extension of such activity. A safer, more predictable journey for a body that I now need to be more careful about. But it was successful and surely delighted my family who shared my expectation that I would not venture abroad again. Glad I surprised them and myself. If you share my dilemma, evaluate carefully what you can do- and do it. It is always about seizing the day, whatever that may mean to you.

Howler Monkey with Baby, Jungle, Costa Rica

1 comment:

joan said...

Great to read this very vivid account of your recent trip. I knew you'd do it and when and where is the next trip????
Joan Silver