“There’s a place to wait over there.” My husband waved his hand toward the far wall of the dusty automotive repair yard in Costa Rica, where we’d stopped to have the oil changed in our 1990 Nissan Sunny.
It was almost 10am, and the heat and humidity wrapped around us like overcoats. Sweat droplets made their way down our backs, as my kids and I picked our way around broken down vehicles sprawled out around the yard, in various states of disrepair. They looked like they’d desperately crawled toward this isolated mechanic’s oasis, but sadly, chugged their final gasp and collapsed, just short of the single work bay.
This was not an air-conditioned waiting room with magazines strewn about. We were in Costa Rica, where the only place you can find cool refreshing air in most small Costa Rican towns is inside banks, or in their inclosed ATM vestibules. This explains why “Ticos” (Costa Ricans) never complain about a two-hour wait at the bank!
The lack of magazines would be attributable to fact that there’s virtually no mail delivery in Costa Rica, so no one is going to bring you mail, much less, any shiny new magazines. Ticos generally catch up on all their news from the daily newspapers and supplement that with neighborhood gossip, or chisme, which is serious business here, but I’ll save that for another post.
Knowing all of this, we still hoped we’d at least find a little shade and maybe something to sit on.
Instead, the waiting area consisted of a small and empty tiny concrete patio attached to a cluttered 6′ x 6′ room that served as the office/break room/storage room. My husband told me later, that an old car seat was available to sit on the last time he was there, but someone must have decided it was just the piece they needed for that spot on their patio, and had absconded with it.
Once we realized we wouldn’t be sitting again until we were back in our car, we good-naturedly shrugged, resigned ourselves to standing, and periodically shifted our weight from foot to foot. While wiping sweat from my forehead, I took in our surroundings. There were cast off engine parts scattered about, a couple of battered looking employee bikes, and some old soda bottles with a collection of bug carcasses floating in the remaining amber-colored liquid at the bottom.
When the thrill of investigating my new environment had run its course, I turned around and saw it. It was a striking shade of azure blue, like the unobstructed sky overhead on a clear day.
Upon closer inspection, I could make out brush strokes shooting off in every direction, almost as if created as a backdrop for a photography studio. I knew though, that the effect was a result of a painter struggling to cover a large area with the poor quality paint available in Costa Rica, basically a watery stain.
Always game for transforming seemingly adverse situations, I grabbed my kids and told them, “Go stand up against that beautiful wall!” Their lack of enthusiasm at having to humour their mother yet again, resulted in unison eye-rollery, but they shuffled over to the wall and turned around. Any other time, they might have put up a fight, but the oppressive heat had worn down their defenses.
My kids are experienced selfie takers, so it didn’t take long for them to get into the spirit of things, and begin striking pose after pose. The mechanics paid us little attention, as if people selecting their repair yard for a photo shoot was a common occurrence. As we handed the phone back and forth, the comedy of the situation struck us all, and we couldn’t contain our laughter! Tears and perspiration ran down our cheeks, as we were swept up in the bizarre moment.
My husband came over to tell us the car was ready, and we were suddenly jerked back to reality. 45 minutes had flown by as we’d been busily shooting our impromptu photo shoot, and we actually felt a bit disappointed that it was time to leave!
Here’s some my favorite shots from the azure wall: