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  • karenleehall

New Country, New Car



Living in the city — traffic, parking issues, perpetual rush — one wants my Honda Del Sol (small, peppy, really manoeuvrable) that currently sits quietly in Toronto. For this mode of life – we’ll call it Costa Rican Rural – we need something completely different. We had heard the road to our place was washed out in the rain this year. So there was that. It was not for the faint of heart to begin with.

Our plans for life here are various, we might become small farmers, or devise some crazy-ass tours into the wild for curious visitors, and for sure we want to pick up our beloved family & friends from the airport when they come for some sun.

So it was clear we needed my dream truck – a Toyota Land Cruiser circa 1979. Et Viola! La Camioneta! It drives like a beast, I am fearless behind the wheel. One can see everything – it’s all windows (oh, such a comfort to be able to see). It’s all levers and cranks, an evolutionary relic. I’m amazed that a vehicle this old runs so well. Maybe it’s like the macaw. But then again, why wouldn’t it? It’s a simple, metal military-like vehicle that has never been eaten by the winter salt. I love the satisfying grinding sound the gears make (just kidding). It’s hilarious how whenever you hit a bump or do a hard turn the ignition key falls out . (Less fun once you’ve stopped and have to route around under the gas tank to find it so that you can actually turn the engine off.)

The gas tank is conveniently and somewhat unsettlingly located beneath the passenger seat.

There are metal flaps at your feet you can flip open, with your foot while driving, that let air flow. Who needs air con? I love those. They remind me of gun turrets. The gear shift knob shows five gears, but really there are only 4. Then I noticed the shifting instructions are imprinted in the metal of the dash. Again, both comforting and cool. In addition to regular 4×4, (operated via a separate, smaller shifter) there’s super 4×4. They say this car can climb vertically if it needs to. At the hub of the front wheels, you can manually lock the wheel to the axel to engage the crazy-ass, wall climbing 4×4 mode. It’s loud as a helicopter, so really, who cares that the radio isn’t working (though there’s a suspicion in some parts of the family that it was removed before we picked it up). We’ll simply need to work up our repertoire of driving songs.

And most hilarious – unless you are doing 60 – 70 km , the speedometer fluctuates wildly like a metronome on meth – it’s a methanome. Thankfully, its maximum speed appears to be 75km, so the speedometer is less essential than one might originally think. And there’s no chance of going over the speed limit so we will never, ever again be stopped by those rotten, corrupt traffic cops who relieve you of your cash on spot. Huzzah!!!!!! Come for a visit and I’ll take you for a ride.


keelan sweet ride! that is the vehicle we wished we had gotten when we were there last. now, don’t get me wrong — our little DIIIIIIIIA-HATSU! (it must be screamed with excitement, as we did every day we got in it) worked out just fine, even over the 2-halves-of-a-log-cut-longways-used-as-wheel-guides bridges — but there were times when i really did want to attack a truly insane incline (especially down in drake bay)! if when we get down there, i’ll be sure to fashion some sort of little hanging cup to put under the ignition switch, to catch those flying keys. can’t wait to ride in the costa rican copter! .xko. Reply

karen you, your squirt, and your squeeze all have preferred seats in the Beast. love you mucho. klh Reply

Helen KLH! Loving your blog! Sitting in my favourite cafe in Palm Springs (El Cielo) and wishing I could click my heels twice and land in your passenger seat. I’d camp out for a week and make jewelry or candle holders from tin cans to reduce your garbage. Miss you, my friend. xoH Reply

karen Been thinking of you a lot, and realizing you must be minutes away from having another festival notch on your belt. I tell you what, next full moon, look up and say “Hi Karen, What’s up?!” and I’ll do the same and we’ll have that to share. Feb 7th creo. Besitos amigita.


Originally published January 08, 2012

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