So far, I have managed to experience exactly twelve hours of Costa Rica, of which 11 hours 45 minutes were under unarmed guard. Apparently, my passport is rendered invalid by a few notes and reference numbers I wrote down three goddamn years ago. This has never been a problem elsewhere, but the Immigration officials were adamant. Why is it always the frivolous things that twist panties? I feel a victim of injustice more than anything. I argued on the key posts: Senor, it says “any alterations” render it invalid. I have three used and thirty unused visa pages on my passport of which two, two, contain small notes for an essay I wrote in school. The stocky official was not budging: “aqui,” he said as he tapped the page again. Interpreter claims he is just doing his job properly. I retort that I respect that but that I can hardly be expected to be happy about it. So I go through the normal stages: argue on the facts, plead, beg and then just give up. Not going to win that argument.
So I spent the night in an airport again, breaking my hips and spine on the uncomfortable seats under armed guard. No phones, no laptops. To contain my rage, I stretch and then run around in circles like an idiot for half an hour until I’m too exhausted to cry/flip out. The view from the airport is painfully beautiful. An impressive mountain range fill the distance between houses. A live vent spews steam and smoke from the middle of the jungle. I haven’t breathed non-airport or non-airplane air in 36 hours. My ass, neck and back are sore from bad seats and little sleep. So I sneak out to the bathroom under pretense of a shave and call home the next morning. The airline booked me a flight to Atlanta and then to Heathrow, so it looks like I won’t be in Costa Rica until Tuesday at the very earliest.
I’ve had an excellent book to read the whole way through: Lustrum by Robert Harris, detailing the Consulship of Cicero. Towards the end of the book, Caesar, Pompey and Crassus form the First Triumvirate, an unstoppably powerful force that practically owns Rome. Cicero’s bitter enemy Clodius, a Patrician turned Plebian populist wins the Tribuneship (backed by the Triumvirs) and instantly passes a law forbidding anyone from assisting Cicero in any way. His options are exile, death or working for Caesar. All three are disgraceful and given little choice, decides to go into exile. As Cicero flees Rome late at night, Clodius and his mob burn his house to the ground and Cicero watches as the orange glow of his former glory reflects itself off the dark clouds above Rome – the ultimate expression of his long history of mistakes and errors catching up with him. He departs a dejected, dishevelled mess for lands unknown.