Horseshoes Up My Ass...


You're probably asking yourself, what in the hell is Andy ranting about now?  Well it all has to do with something called karma or just plain old good luck. 

Yesterday, as Fran and I were returning from a shopping trip to Liberia, we stopped off at a local Subway restaurant to get a couple of cold drinks (for the road).  Later on that day, as summer time approached, we made a hasty dinner decision; we called up and ordered a pizza.  Our goal was to relax, eat some fine pizza, drink some wine and watch another spectacular sunset.

I grabbed my wallet to make sure I had available cash and lo and behold, my wallet wasn't in my pants pocket.  I looked at the next logical place, the table where I put my car keys.  There was no wallet to be found!  Oh well... it was somewhere.  So I grabbed 10,000 colones from Fran's purse and headed out the door.  I'll find it after dinner. 

Fifteen minutes later, we were watching Venus and Jupiter replace the sun in the western sky, eating delicious pizza, sipping some wonderful boxed wine but all the while wondering where in the hell was my wallet!

Right after dinner I proceeded to tear my car apart... three times no less.  NO WALLET.  We then turned our attention to the house.  Fran took the living room, I took my office.  We left nothing untouched.  I even sifted (by hand) through a garbage can which was loaded with all kinds of gooey shit!  Still NO WALLET!  By this time, I was beginning to freak out for inside my wallet were my AMEX Gold Card, local Debit Card, Drivers License and Cedula (my Costa Rican residency card).

Just as I was getting ready to call American Express and Banco Nacional to cancel my cards, Fran's cool head came into play.  She forced me to slowly and methodically retrace my steps from earlier that morning.  After wracking my AADD (Adult Attention Deficit Disorder) brain, the only possible answer was that I lost it at the Subway restaurant earlier that morning.  I honestly do not remember leaving it there but I don't remember sticking it into my pants pocket either.  People normally do not remember things they do when operating on autopilot. 

So here it is, 9:30 at night.  My wallet can be anywhere but more than likely lost at Subway.  Anybody can be wreaking financial havoc on this poor little expat.  I did go online to see if there were any recent transactions and fortunately there were none.  Maybe the wallet was just sitting somewhere, waiting to be found and pilfered.  My mind was racing.  I didn't care about the money or the cards.  I was obsessing over having to fight Costa Rican bureaucracy to get a new drivers license and immigration Cedula.  This has all the potential of becoming a massive "cluster f**k." 

Hey, if I were back in the States what would I do?  So I decided to call the Subway restaurant and ask them if they found my wallet?  Easier said than done.  We have no telephone  information system here.  No phone book.  So I got on the internet and looked up Subway restaurants in Costa Rica.  As it turned out, there were 43 restaurants but only one in Liberia.  And listed the phone number! 

When I called the number I immediately knew that it WAS NOT a Subway restaurant.  I even went so far as to write down my question (in Spanish) should the person on the other end not speak any English.  But all was for naught because the Subway website listed an incorrect phone number!

I finally gave up for the night after trying one more time to look in the car and throughout the house.  It was 11pm and I needed some sleep.  At 2am I awoke to my mind racing at 1000 miles an hour.  Again I am obsessing about what I was going to have to endure in order to get replacement documents.  So I did what all modern day insomniacs do, I went to my office to play on the PC.  I did at least manage to get caught up on the last two weeks of Jon Stewart's Daily Show, so all was not lost.

By 8:30 the next morning, Fran told me I needed to get my sorry ass up, get in the car and drive to the Subway in Liberia.  Let's assume for a moment that I did loose my wallet there.  I didn't stand a polar bear's chance in hell that my wallet would have been turned in.  Hey this is Costa Rica!  However, before I cancel all my cards and begin the unenviable task of reestablishing my identity, I at least ought to try.

Driving more careful that I have ever driven since moving to Costa Rica, we made the 40 km trip to the Subway restaurant.  We walked in, stood on line as if we were going to order a breakfast burrito.  When it was my turn, the young girl from behind the counter said to me, "Por favor, espere por un momento."  When she returned to take my order, I saw that she was holding my wallet in her hands.  The last time I felt this sense of relief was back in 1972 when I learned that I was no longer eligible to be drafted into the US Army!  If someone had a camera, I'm sure they would have caught me with the biggest shit-eating grin the world has ever seen.  All I could do was to thank the Subway woman profusely.  She too had a huge smile as well.


I have to admit, I hear and read a lot from angry and disenchanted gringos, continually bashing Costa Rica and its Ticos.  In the three years I have lived here I have never had a bad encounter.  In fact, the only bad encounters I have ever had were with gringos.   Maybe it's just good luck or just karma.  But a friend of mine told me a few years ago, "Browne, you have horseshoes up your ass!" 

Toni... Back then I didn't understand what you were saying.  Today I do!


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