Sort of like a last minute forced vacation because Costa Rica is cracking down on illegal immigration, and we…are…illegal immigrants.
Yeah, I said it. We’re illegal. OK?
See, the deal is that Costa Rica only allows a 90 day stay on a tourist Visa. You’re supposed to leave before that 3 month period is up. Aaaand you have to provide proof, like an airline ticket or a bus ticket, showing that you will, indeed, be leaving within that timeframe. When we arrived, this wasn’t really a big deal. Gringos, *ahem* like us, overstayed their Visas all the time, for years and years consecutively, and never had any trouble getting back in to the country if they left. Until recently, we had never been asked to show proof we would be leaving again within 90 days. But, the thing about living in a developing nation is that, well, it’s developing. Things are changing, improving (mostly), and the government is becoming more present through revisions in infrastructure, public safety, and law.
It’s the “law” part that’s coming in to play here.
woah! I think I just heard my kid puke! I’m sitting in the waiting room at the orthodontist where he just got his braces off – they’re doing impressions for retainers…Oh, yeah – that’s definite pukage. *gag*
…Costa Rica changed some laws in January, increasing penalties for illegal immigrants. Like me. And they’ve really gotten serious about that whole “proof of exit” thing. They made El Chupacabra buy a roundtrip airline ticket last time he returned to Costa Rica. (You should totally know that Spirit Air is a dirty liar, and when they say “fully refundable” they mean “fully creditable” that doesn’t seem like a real word, but spellcheck says it is and now we have, like, $800 dollars in credit for the worlds most useless airline!) So, since we think being denied reentry to the country that we’ve come to call home would be an absolute nightmare, we’ve decided to go ahead apply for residency. The problem is that we don’t have all the documents we need to start the process, and we won’t have them until we come back from California in January. That means two trips out of the country between now and then to renew our Visas and stay legal, which totally sucks.
Don’t get me wrong, we like to travel, and we can really use this little break. BUT. We have this pesky little thing called a “budget” – I know, I know, how very 1950’s – and we haven’t “budgeted” for these two trips. So while it’s will be fun to get away, we really, really, really, can’t afford it. Like in any way.
And if you’re thinking that I’m crazy because traveling in Central America is super cheap and anyone can afford it, then I’m thinking that you’re, like, 22 years old and have the freedom to sleep in a freaking hammock for $1 a night. Good for you.
Yes, a round trip ticket to Panama City is $94. Yes, that’s totally cheap. Multiply it by 5 – now it’s NOT cheap. Now do the same thing for all your travel needs. $4 meals? Awesome, SO cheap – Times 5 for breakfast, lunch, and dinner over 4 days – yeah, now you’re screwed. See how it adds up?
Oh, and I haven’t even gotten to the part where I whine about the SIXTEEN hour bus ride to get there. 16 HOURS! On a bus. each. way.
So here we go. Smack in the middle of our busiest time at work, we’re hopping on a bus to fulfill our obligation of 72 hours outside of the country, and we’re just praying they’ll let us back in. And I almost forgot to mention that I think El Chupacabra is limping around on a broken foot that he injured at football practice on Wednesday, which he refuses to have looked at – you’ll love this – because the hotel has a pool.
This is just one example of the how badly he needs this down time – Obviously not thinking clearly!
Ok. I’m done. Thanks for letting me vent.
I’m not going to complain about this anymore. This is gonna be fun. It’s an adventure. 32 hours of round trip bussing will give me a lot of time to pray, right? And even though it’s not in the budget, I can rest assured that we will NEVER starve to death…. and if we do, I’ve heard that’s a pretty good way to go, so that’s encouraging.
No. Really? I need to stop freaking out! I am thankful for this trip, even if it wasn’t my idea. I’m excited for some uninterrupted time as a family. And I’m looking forward to relaxing with a book or seven on the long quiet drive. So that will be cool. And I think I’m gonna let God handle the rest; the money, the Visa issues, the me being a giant whiny baby all the time. He’s proven Himself trustworthy with all that junk in the past, soooo…. Sheesh, I don’t even know why I worry in the first place…
Alrighty then. I’m going to Panama City because this is my life. Kinda cool, huh.