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Heartbreak Heaven

Updated: Mar 3, 2023

When I first rolled in to Pavones on March 3rd, 2021, the darkness had wrapped everything in complete hiddenness. With the road unlit to avoid light pollution, and only my car lights for guidance, I slowly meandered through the bumpy dirt road consisting of more air than mass. I had no service, and I was alone. I remember thinking ‘Where the hell did you go, Gaby. Why you always gotta put yourself in situations like these.” - followed by a “Oh well, at least it’s gonna be a good story..” and a big grin spread across my face. A familiar warmth spread in my stomach. Adrenaline. I felt immortal. I’ve missed that feeling.

There’s something special about this place. Something magical. Something..that makes me feel at home. I have to admit, I didn’t feel it first. My eyes wandered from one crown of the majestic tree to another, all beautifully merging into one another, shadowing the dirt road I was strolling on. Sun glares peeking through as the midday approached. I heard the screeching sound of a pair of scarlet macaws. They were close, and I could localize the tree they were in. I stopped to try and see them, but despite their vibrant colors, they are masters at blending in. A local was sitting in front of what looked like an abandoned building. His facial wrinkles gave away his life in the scorching sun. Other than that, there wasn't much life at 10 a.m. on this Wednesday.

My feelings roller-coasted for my remaining escapade into this unknown destination, recommended to me by an American staying at the same condominium in Quepos. The drive here was probably the most wild I've ever done in my life. For an hour and a half, I drove through the darkness, and it felt like I would never arrive. I had no GPS, just a screenshot of the Google Maps I had (thankfully) taken before my departure from Quepos. I was impatient, felt a little frustrated for never getting there after 5 hours on the road. I also felt a little scared. What would await me. Would it be worth all of this? At the same time, I was so excited over doing this trip, and what a great experience this would be.

For the first time in a very long time, I felt alive again.

So, there I was. Leaving the safe haven of Sweden, taking off to a whole new country, new environment, new nature and culture, renting a car and driving as far out south as I could. Away from civilization.

After 2 hours off the paved road, a few missed turns, and a few ‘fuck’s’ from scratching the bottom of my rental on what they refer to as the road, I made it to my Airb’n’b. I felt relieved when I saw the beam of a head lamp approaching me. I got out of the car and the lamps turned off. I took a few steps toward the bright light, slowly coming closer as it rocked in the rhythm of human steps. I was trying to extinguish my surrounding and see where I’m putting my feet. The beam blinded me and made the rest impossible to see. I swear you could have placed a brick wall, and I would have walked straight into it.

As the light got closer, I heard a voice calling my name, breaking through the buzz of the cicadas in the jungle. I was at that moment so relieved to see a human I was a second away from running straight into the person’s arms, asking him or her to never leave me alone ever again. But I quickly reminded myself to get myself together and remained standing grounded just two steps away from the car. “Ah you made it,” the woman who was now just in arms length away from me expressed. Here eyes were cast in shadow from her head lamp, but I could see a wide smile surrounded by wrinkles hinting about her age, and some blond locks framing her face lit up. Her voice was deep with a German accent.

“I’m sorry for the road, it’s horrible!” Bes, the lady renting me the casita, continued: “Do you need help with your luggage?” Traveling with only a duffel bag, I kindly declined. “Well, this way!” She said, and walked past me.“Watch out, there are some steps here, can you see them? If you have a lamp I would use it - just in case. We are in the jungle, you know..” She added in her German English, putting an emphasis on ‘jungle’. Her mouth made an effort, giving away a life of different linguistic oral expressions. Bes unlock the door and showed me the way in. I was hit by a breeze and before she turned the lights on, I realized I had just stepped in to a wall-less room. Lights went on, and I was now facing a simple kitchen on a large patio, accompanied by a wooden dining table surrounded by equally thick and lacquered wooden chairs. There was a hammock hanging along the balcony, separated from the patio with only beams and a waist-high wall, creating the feature of a big window. The roof was high and triangular, just like those cabins you see in the mountains. Leaning behind the door to the bedroom was a wooden latter. I followed its path and looked toward the free space that looked like the top of a barn, where you put they hay to dry. Bes must have noticed. She pointed to it and said “There are two extra beds up there, it’s just a little hangout area if you prefer to sleep outside.”

Exhausted from the long and dark drive, I quickly thanked her and made my way into the bedroom, which thankfully had walls, although not sound proof. The bedroom was not bigger than 10 sq. meters. A simple bed with a mattress dressed in a beige sheet and small bedside tables on each side, leaving no space between them and the walls. The cover, which was only a thin sheet was gracefully formed into a bow tie at the foot of the bed. A fan was facing the bed, and behind it, along the other short wall, were some shelves, mostly empty but with a few books lined up in a corner. The air was moist and thick. I decided I was too tired to shower and enough fresh from driving with AC for the last 6 hours, so I got undressed and crawled straight to bed. The buzz of the cicadas quickly made me fall asleep. The next morning I would wake up to magic. But I didn’t know that yet..

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