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  • Writer's picturePoppy

My Treacherous Journey Back to Alajuela

4 a.m.: I was woken up by a group of runners that stayed in the dorm during my last night at the farm. They turned on all the lights and made a lot of noise as they prepared for their 60 km (40 miles) race the following morning. As I laid there upset and exhausted, shoving my earplugs deeper into the canals of my ears, I eventually was able to fall back asleep.

5 a.m.: After the runners had gone to the kitchen for breakfast, I got up and prepared for the long day ahead of me. Anneka and I said our goodbyes to the family and headed towards the bus stop.

5:15 a.m.: With 15 more remaining minutes until the bus was scheduled to arrive, Javi: the farm owner, pulled up in his truck with all the runners piled in the bed and waved us in to join them. Confused but assured that there must be some sort of reason behind this, we grabbed our stuff and hopped in.

5:30 a.m.: After talking to the runners, we learned there was a landslide due to the rain that night, and therefore the 5:30 bus was unable to make its scheduled stops. And so, we found ourselves on the way to catch a different bus leaving at 7 a.m. We arrived at the landslide and held on for dear life as Javi recklessly drove the truck in between the landslide and another car that was stuck in the mud. Other cars loaded up with more runners did the same thing until a car lacking four-wheel-drive also got stuck. Javi pulled a rope out of the truck to tie to the stuck car in order to attempt to pull it out. Eventually, all the cars made it through the mud and were safe. Once again, we continued towards the bus stop. That is when Javi’s truck began to make strange noises…

6:15 a.m.: Javi turned to us and said that the truck had broken down and that we were going to have to take off on foot in order to catch the bus. The bus stop was about 3 km (roughly 2 miles) away and we only had 40 minutes left so he advised us to hurry. Terrified and confused, Anneka and I grabbed all of our bags and began walking up a hill. After maybe twenty or so minutes we reached a fork in the road. At this moment, Anneka started to panic. She was worried we had no food, no water, no service, and not a clue where to go. No cars were passing on the road this early in the morning and if we were to miss this bus, there would be no way of getting to our destination today. And on top of all of that, we would then have a 6 km (roughly 4 miles) hike back to the farm. I am not sure how, but I was able to retain a calm and collected attitude during this mess and assured Anneka that we had to keep going. It was our only option, so we kept walking.

6:45 a.m.: Javi showed up in his truck all smiley and content that he had once again gotten it to work. Shocked, and again confused, we hopped in the bed of the truck and continued the drive towards the bus stop. We arrived with plenty of time to spare and even got to watch the runners begin their race. One thing is for sure, looking back now I realize that we never had a chance of making it in time because as we drove towards the bus stop in the back of Javi’s truck, it became apparent how far away we were.

The remainder of the trip back to Alajuela was fairly smooth and easy. We sat in the back of the bus on the ground, which as shocking as it may seem, turned out to be super comfortable. I laid down and took a nap as I had grown exhausted with the stress of such an eventful morning.

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