Dawn revealed a soggy landscape all about. A quick scan of the bay and I could pick out the radio tower ashore and beacon in the bay that the lightning had struck. It was humbling to know I was so close to these things; so close to being electrified myself. For the first time I truly realized why it was that most cruisers avoid visiting a region during the rainy season. Most I had met were already south of the equator, in the dry comforts of Ecuador. But, on the other hand, if I were to visit Central America only in the dry season I would likely have found much less surf, and experienced fewer memorable adventures. For me it was a tradeoff I’d be willing to make again in an instant.
Seeking to put the harrowing night far behind me, Ryan and I boarded the bus for Jacó where we split ways. He struck off in town and I headed for the beach where I was introduced to the other scourge of Costa Rica—ladrones. Many cruisers I had met had warned me to be very careful about my things in Costa Rica for fear of thieves, but in my many travels throughout the country I had yet to be robbed of anything. Perhaps this caused me to let my guard down a bit too much, for I left a bag with little of value hidden in a bush atop the beach and headed north, going for a run. After little more than a minute I came to a rocky stretch so I turned around and started heading the other way. When I did so I saw a local teenager near the bush where I’d left my stuff jogging away with something black in his arms. I sprinted back to the bush, saw my stuff was gone, and followed the local. When I started following him I saw him toss the black object up onto the roof of a beachfront house. I stopped the kid and told him, in my broken Spanish, to give me back my stuff.
“No tengo. No tengo. (I don’t have.)” Was all he kept repeating. I said I had seen him throw it up on the roof, but the weasel refused to admit it. He reached for a couple cans on the beach and crushed them. Then he pointed at the can and told me it was only a bag of cans he had thrown on the roof. Now why anybody would be throwing a bag of cans onto another man’s roof is completely ludicrous to me; but apparently it made some sense to this Tico, and I played along, pretending to believe him. He said he had seen the guy who had taken my stuff and said he would go get him. With that he took off sprinting up a side street and turned out of sight.
I started walking in circles, trying to figure out how to get my bag back, when a couple locals who worked at a restaurant nearby approached me. They said they know the guy I had talked to had taken my stuff, and I motioned to the roof and said I knew it was up there. These friendly Ticos, as most I met were, hated to see a gringo harmed in their country and before I knew it they had procured a ladder and retrieved the black object from the roof. It turns out the thief had wrapped my bag in his black T-shirt. Thus, in the end, I was left with a free souvenir for my troubles, though I missed my daily run. I thanked the waiters for their help, and they warned me against leaving anything unattended on the beach. I had learned my lesson, and left the beach for the day, spending the rest of my time on the internet before returning to Avventura fed up with the dirty, touristy town of Jacó and eager to depart Bahia Herradura.