Every trip that my husband Dave and I take usually creates some kind of drama, and this is one of the most memorable.
Dave, my Mom and I were on a Caribbean cruise that stopped for a day in Costa Rica. Since we’d never been there before, and because it was raining steadily, we decided it was a perfect day for a cab ride around the area. Cruise personnel assured us that folks at the dock were reputable and we only had to establish a fee before getting into the vehicle.
We quickly found a cab with a driver who spoke English. Dave lifted me into the cab and then the driver helped Dave put my scooter into the trunk. As we drove along the coastline, our driver gave us a history lesson and described the flora and fauna. We hadn’t gone more than 5 miles when a police officer motioned for us to pull over.
The officer asked to see a license from our driver. Heated arguing ensued, in Spanish, of course. When the officer walked back to his patrol car, we asked our driver what was wrong? He just kept repeating, “No problem! No problem!” But it was clear that there was a problem.
A few minutes later, the officer was back. He said a few words to the driver and then went to the back of the cab and started removing the license plate. The driver shook his head angrily, and muttered, “This guy is ‘loco.’” With that, our driver grabbed his belongings and stormed away,disappearing into a rundown neighborhood. Mom, Dave, and I just looked at each other in utter disbelief!
Then I looked out the cab’s back window, and saw the police car drive away! I could barely choke out, “My God, now the police officer just left!” Within seconds, we all started laughing.
Dave jumped into action. Luckily, we were on a well-traveled road, so in a matter of minutes Dave had flagged down another taxi. However, this cabbie didn’t speak English. Finally, Dave opened my cab door and told me we were moving into the second cab. Unfortunately, our cab was parked along a dirt shoulder and even though it had stopped raining, the ground was a MUDDY pit! I could hear Dave’s shoes squishing into the mud as he carried me to the “rescue” cab. Then, with help from the cabbie, Dave transferred my scooter to the trunk. What a mess!
Just as we all had settled into cab #2, “our” police officer pulled up with cab #3! The officer motioned for Dave to exit the cab. He hesitated but did so. Within minutes, he returned to report that the officer wanted us to transfer to cab #3. Why? We were never quite sure, but figured this was no time to argue! Poor Dave had to move me and my scooter once again.
Finally, comfortably seated in cab #3, our English-speaking driver apologized for the inconvenience. It was only noon, and I was ready to go back to the ship and have a large piña colada!
By SHELLEY PETERMAN SCHWARZ, From the Wisconsin State Journal
Author Shelley Peterman Schwarz offers tips for how to live better with aging, disability or chronic illness. Contact Schwarz at [email protected]. Her column runs every other Sunday.