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A Protest and Traffic, All in a Day’s Trip!

August 9, 2013

We have just finished our second week of trips into the Central Valley (which consists of the capital and surrounding cities) for chiropractic adjustments.   About 3 weeks ago, while playing with our 14 month old daughter on the floor, I rocked back and hit my neck and head on a hard plastic kids stool.  After a week of pain that was getting worse and worse, we made our first trip into a chiropractor that was recommended to us by friends. And thus began our two and now three times a week trip into the valley.  We live in a small very laid back and relaxed town, so going to the busy valley always stresses me out!  Normally, we only make the 1.5 to 2 hour (depending on traffic, longer) trip about once a month and sometimes I can stretch the groceries to last 2 months.  Last week and the last two trips of this week were pretty uneventful.  Of course there was the normal traffic and normal “close calls”.  The Central Valley is almost 4.5 miles squared and holds more half of Costa Rica’s 4 million population.  Friday of last week we were able to make it to the office in just 1 hour 45 minutes. Monday, however, leaving at the same time as Friday we arrived in 2.5 hours, and Tuesday’s time was in between the two. 

So today, with that in mind, we left at the same time, 8:00 for a 10:30 appointment, with hopes of not hitting traffic again.  We made great time up and over the first mountain (about 45 minutes into our trip) and were getting ready to head up the next mountain when we came around a curve in the road and noticed there were a bunch of cars and bikes parked on the sides of the road.  We then noticed that there were people standing in the road in front of the bridge that was being blocked by large branches and a rope.  Ok, what is going on you might ask.  Well, Brian yelled (kindly, and of course in Spanish) out the window to anyone that would listen, “When is it going to be opened?” and a lady turns to another and said, “I can’t understand him, he’s speaking English.”  Ummm, ok.  When she walked up to the car, Brian repeated his question.  It was funny to see her face when she realized he was speaking Spanish. (It always makes me chuckle inside at those shocked expressions when my husband starts speaking.)  As it turned out, they were protesting the bad state the road was in and wanted to get the government’s attention by refusing to allow people to pass.  It would not be open until “much later.”  Of course with it being at a river, there was no way around it.  And no, they were not going to let us pass.  Brian explained we had a doctor’s appointment but the lady wanted to see the paper for the appointment (for socialist medicine here you have to go to a certain office to make the appointment and they give you a paper with you appointment time on it.  You have to then take the paper with you when you go to your appointment.) She wanted written proof that we did indeed have a doctor’s appointment.  My chiropractor is a private practice and so, does not give any papers with the appointment time.   After going back and forth with her about me being able to have an appointment with a private practice without a paper, she finally said he was right, but still, we could not pass.  Thankfully, Brian knew another way down (though, we have never driven it before) without going all the way back to San Marcos and out the other side of town.  (which would have taken 45 minutes back and another 2+ hours back out the other side. We would have had to cancelled the appointment and tried to re-schedule.)  But we only lost about 35 minutes backtracking and going down the other way but it put us into more traffic for a longer period of time.   And boy did we hit traffic!  Worse than it had been any other day we had been down!  It seems to be one of those things that if you are running late for an appointment, you will be stuck behind every slow truck, bus and car on the road and hit every stoplight red.  While it is true that the culture is more laid back than in America and time is not kept the same, there is still the expectation that if you have an appointment you have to be there on time.  Some places make you pay a fee or pay for what the appointment would have cost.   I called to let them know we would be late and then realizing we would probably miss my window of time altogether, called and thankfully they could fit me in later in the morning without any fees!  So, we ended up being 20 minutes late for my original appointment (because speed limits are only suggestions, right?).  Not too bad, really.  We did ask the secretary to write the appointment down for us just incase they are protesting again when we go down Monday.  Smile

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