I left off yesterday with us at a tiny casual restaurant on Thursday, October 5th. Continuing on.
This was the point where I finally found enough cell phone towers to call out. Coverage was down in Tamarindo along with everything else. I called our airline to tell them we were never going to be able to get to San Jose for the flight. I wanted to reschedule for Saturday or Sunday because the battery operated radio in the cafe had announced that Costa Rican president Solis had declared a state of emergency, ordering everyone to stay home and off the roads until further notice because of all the downed trees, flooding and washed out roads.
I'd been watching right up until we lost power the weather sites and updates on this airlines own website, seeing nothing about my flight, but noting that they'd already announced that anyone flying their airline out of New Orleans or Mexico later in the week would be able to reschedule their tickets for free because of the approaching Hurricane Nate.
But when I got through I ended up with someone who sounded Pakistani at an overseas call center, she told me that she didn't show Costa Rica with any weather emergencies and my only options were a) miss the flight and eat the cost of the ticket, or b) pay an additional $750 to reschedule for Saturday. She refused to refund us or simply rebook, insisting there was no weather events going on in Costa Rica. I was still hyperventilating and crying when this set of cell phone towers went down and the call dropped.
We just came home, Annie's car crawling slowly back around downed trees, powerlines and water lapping at the roads ever higher. The water covered the roads in places we'd just been, meaning we had to seek another back road to get around it. We had to stop and reroute again. We were in the car over three hours.
Took some crazy video of the waters everywhere. Sadly I wasn't quick enough with my camera to get some of the stranger things I saw, like floating cars, people huddled on bridges because it was the closet thing to a high spot to shelter from the high water. Saw a man walking a huge hog on a leash like he was having a Sunday stroll with the family dog.
We got back and quickly realized that not only did we have no electric, internet, telephone service or water we also had zero drinking water and no way to flush the toilet. I quickly set out every pot, pan, pail to collect enough rain water to be able to flush the toilet.
After we talked to people on the street we found out the fruit stand was open and one of the nearby grocery stores had their own generator so they were open. We really needed a few things because we'd deliberately run down our groceries for this trip back to the states.
We get to that only open store and it's bedlam! They are out of bread, candles, lights, matches, so we grabbed what we could to hunker down for the wait. I got a big brick of shortening to make a makeshift button lamp for nighttime.
So, we're checking out at the Mega Super with our food and I'm bagging and starting to load our bags into the cart while Jim pays the cashier. As I put the third bag into the cart Gus, the scheming scamming taxi driver from the day before appears suddenly, telling me that he'll take us home. I tell him no, we've arranged for another driver. When I turned away to bag more groceries Gus grabbed all the bags and marched outside to put them in his trunk. Jim and I look at each other, look at him and both say 'What an asshole!' Jim and Gus start dickering over price while a lady and her child also get into the cab.
We get to the house, starting to lug bags of food and jugs of water into the house inside as Gus pulls away, trying to turn around and not watching where he was going along with ignoring our earlier advice that the driveway has a huge dropoff on either side. He went straight down off the drop off, popping a tire and scraping up the bottom of his car.
Twice I'd warned him about the raised driveway and he still drove right off it into the water.
Without electricity and with hard rain falling there hasn't been much for us to do today but read, eat and take naps. Tomorrow we make another attempt to get to San Jose and the airport to talk face to face to an airline rep not in a foreign call center. Hopefully they will reschedule us for free.
Coda: Right after writing this account of our day I was blowing out candles, readying the house for the night I had the mosr disturbing encounter – a tarantula spider as big as my hand had decided that the house made a dandy place to escape the storm. After very carefully sweeping him up into a dust pan I put him out onto our covered patio out back safely out of the rain. During the day we'd had oodles of ravens and magpies huddled down into the iron bars over the windows to be out of the storm.
Shortly after we went to bed the lights came back on along with the water and internet almost a full twenty four hours after we lost them. First thing I did was close all the windows and doors so there could be no more creepy crawly surprises in the night.
After less than an hour everything went down again, around midnight. It was nice while it lasted. At some point between 1 am and 3 am the power came on again along with the water. I got up just enough to re-close and lock the windows while switching on the spider-defying levels of air conditioning to pull some of the sticky humidity out of the house.