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Tico Taxi

My family and I celebrated Thanksgiving in Quepos, Costa Rica this year. On this particular day, we wanted to try dessert at a neighboring resort; so, we had the front desk call for a taxi. Our resort was nestled in the mountains of Manual Antonio’s rainforest, but we were wanting to visit a resort that was down the mountain closer to the beach. As we started down the mountain, we passed the ever-present construction crew that was working along the side of the road. We all nodded to the crew and kept making our decent towards the yummy dessert that awaited us.

We all indulged in a delicious dessert while enjoying the lovely view of the beach. After dessert, we asked the front desk to call us a taxi back to our resort. When the taxi arrived, it was a small Toyota model that barely fit our family of four. We all squeezed in like biscuits in a can with all of us feeling like one good bump would send us bursting from the car.

I did mention that we were in a rainforest and as you can guess from the name, it rains! While we were eating dessert, it had rained enough to leave puddles. The rains had stopped by the time we climbed into the clown car to return to our resort. We started our ascent up the mountain. As we were passing the construction crew for the second time, my husband hollered that he did not have his cellphone. He said he must have left it on the table in the reception area at the resort we had just left. My husband and I speak enough Spanish to get us by and we attempted to explain to our driver we needed to return to the resort for the lost cellphone. The driver found a turn-around spot on the side of the road and back down the mountain we went, passing the befuddled construction crew for the third time. Halfway down the mountain, my mom realized she was sitting on my husband’s cellphone! Don’t ask how this stuff happens, we have all learned to just roll with it. Anyway, my husband explained to the driver that we could turn around once again to head back up the mountain. At this point in the journey, I suggested we stay at the bottom of the mountain for another dessert!

As we made our way back up the mountain (I have lost count by this point), we pass the construction crew yet again. We all smile and wave because you just must at this point. We finally make it to the top without incident or so we thought. Did I mention the little Toyota tin can is a manual transmission and it had rained? We were stopped at the top of the mountain because we could not merge due to an oncoming car. We waited for the car to pass and the driver accelerated only to start spinning rubber! He eased off the gas and tried again with the result being nothing but burnt rubber and smoke. The solution was for the driver to ROLL back down the mountain, passing the now attentive construction crew, and get a running start. The back seat of the car was laughing like a bunch of hyenas at this point. The front seat crew was speaking in Spanglish about the plan to get us up the mountain.

My husband instructed the driver, in Spanglish and goofy hand gestures, the driving plan. He was also working the emergency brake on the car while the driver worked the gas and clutch. The little Toyota was vibrating as the driver revved the engine. My husband released the brake, the driver popped the clutch and floored the gas on “the little engine that could,” and we shot up the mountain like a bullet! The backseat crew was still laughing hysterically as we zoomed passed the shocked expressions of the entire construction crew yet again. The little red fireball made it to the top and never stopped for the stop sign!

We finally made it back to our resort after spending a good twenty minutes teeter tottering on the side of a mountain. We all fell out of the death trap laughing uncontrollably. The “Tico” taxi driver was a little ashen and I think was suffering from shock. We all congratulated him on his successful mission and wished him a spectacular day. Honestly, how could his day be any more spectacular after that adventure! I bet he never forgets that drive with us because I know it will be a memory for all of us forever!!! (By the way, people from Costa Rica refer to themselves as “Ticos.”)

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