The stoney-faced border official raps the security glass at me through the window, recognizing that I speak Spanish, scolding me in the same language: “When I am talking, you listen. This is my country. This is damaged and we will not accept it.”
Rolling my eyes and swallowing my ego: “Okay.” What the hell else was I going to say? I need to get Cristina and myself back to Costa Rica.
Let’s back up a squish…
It’s the morning Thursday July 11th, 2012. Cristina and I have days before our 90 day visas expire, which means we need to cross a border, get our passports stamped, and then cross back. The first two times we crossed into Panama, once on the Caribbean and the other on the Pacific, mostly without incident. Panama may be militarized but it’s well organized and industrial. Our other neighbors to the North, Nicaragua, are also militarized but there is more widespread poverty and the borders are more chaotic. Or so I hear. This crossing, since we now live closer to the latter, will be across the line of chaos.
I can’t wait.
We have a plan today to meet up en route with another expat, a local by the name of Jan, who is looking for travel companions for her and her daughter Crystal. At 5:00 am my alarm goes off for the first time in eight months. I set it the night before to be sure we awoke, since I am usually up at five anyway, but juuust in case. Thank you to my bedtime self as it seems I needed the help this morning. Having lived for eight months with only sunlight and nighttime bathroom runs as my only vertical motivations, that old familiar alarm jingle barrels through my ears tossing shards of glass-blown sunrise dreams in it’s wake.
I fumble quickly to make the bad man stop.
“Uhnggggg… Cristina get up”
“I have been up since 1:00 am,” she filters through her pillow.
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