Circus Act in Costa Rica

A story I wrote soon after my trip to Costa Rica and Panama in January 2015 was recently given a home at Sonderers Travel Magazine. An extract is reproduced below, you can read the rest on Sonderers.

Circus Act

I met Annalise over breakfast in Costa Rica’s dreary capital, San Jose. She was Asian Australian with a bright smile, a shaved head, and a ready laugh. I was wrapped tightly in the Indian shawl that accompanies me everywhere, that helps me either blend in or stand out depending on my mood and where I am.

San Jose was dramatically colder than the Pacific coast, where I had just spent a week at the beach. I told Annalise that I’d had a cold shower that morning. Having been there a few days, she explained which showers in the hostel spurted cold water, which were lukewarm, and which were just right.

I told her I’d lived in Kathmandu for a year. “My water was heated by solar panels, so in the winter, when there wasn’t much sun, I had to boil water on the stove and have bucket showers for two months.”

“Wow, you were committed!” she laughed. “I just put up with the cold water in Honduras. And what came out of the tap was usually brown.”

She explained that she was touring Central America after a stint as a volunteer development worker in Honduras. She was relieved to be in Costa Rica. “In my mountain village, it was like the circus had come to town,” she laughed, rubbing her lightly-stubbled head. “The men were absolutely vile!”