Fucking holy hell.  What a relief to be back on a bus, back on the road.  Out of that hole called Jaco, littered with Colombian hookers, fat old greasy ex-Pats, 10-year old drug dealers, broken glass on the beach, crackpipe bums begging for help: seeing into their eyes and realizing their soul and will to live had crumbled to ash long ago.  Robbed twice to the tune of $800+.  5 days burned of my precious remaining time due to corporate numbskulls.  Endless calls of frustration to clueless credit card reps from India who can’t even "to be speaking the English."  Begging my own family for cash.  Filling out meaningless police reports to bored crooked cops.  Countless long dusty agonizing walks to the post office for a credit card that never came.  How amazing that a little piece of plastic is all that separates you, the wealthy privileged tourist, from the masses of humanity with the unfortunate dumb luck to be born in a 3rd world country.
 
The worst wasn’t the utter shock, rage, and embarrasment of being robbed.  It wasn’t the internal anger at being so careless and stupid.  It wasn’t even the burning pain at knowing the fuckers hit the jackpot with my overstuffed pig of a wallet and got away clean.  No.  The absolute worst was the stolen time they took.  5 days is a side-trip to Cambodia.  5 days is more than the length of the Inca Trail or a voyage into the Amazon.  5 days can be the difference between catching a great swell or completely getting skunked while rotting on dry land.
 
Guatemala’s Infamous Chicken Buses

I was thinking about a side-trip into Guatemala to see the famous picturesque colonial city of Antigua, surrounded my towering volcanos.  One of them you can climb up and actually poke a stick right into the lava!  To get there you ride these local cramped chicken buses emblazoned with more crazy paint schemes, glitter, and flair than Elton John in Vegas.  And I wanted to go to the cloud-forest of Monteverde and finally see those damn elusive quetzals I had been reading about since before I left.  But now this window was closed.
 
So I reckon the lesson I’ve learned is that on vacation there is one thing more valuable than your passport, money, wallet, or (gasp!) your Not So Lonely, In Fact Quite Well-Trampled Planet.  And that’s time.  Especially now, at the end of my trip, where the flight home is being measured in days, not months.  Where each new destination is a final count-down to splashdown.
 
If I could take those two thieves and could do anything I wanted to them, I wouldn’t run ’em over with a bus.  Because after I’d settled down and had a week to think about, I realized that those people were destined to a life of suffering.  That the only way their life can end is in a bad way.  So my anger at them eventually morphed to pity.  And an acceptance of the sad fact that it’s the shitty life most of the people in the world face that drives them to be turn against one another and the natural human state of cooperativeness.
 
Pain is so much sharper when your expectations are doing an exact 180 of what life throws ya.  So instead, after they’d taken my stolen money and planned a vacation, got on the plane, and sat down on the beach with their Mai-Tais, I would like to see some other thieves rob ’em and leave ’em stranded.  (And then I’d throw them all under a bus.)
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