I've always been a passionate promoter of solo traveling.
I've extolled the virtues through rough, approximate-syllable haikus and slurry eulogies to every mosquito, resort-rendered deaf vacationer and apathetic aphid I could find.
I've told them of the remarkable benefits of bussing, training, and hitching alone (namely, the amount of people you meet, the extended kindness and invitations offered by others and the ability to avoid the itineraries of shopping travelers, dance club seekers, Mai Tai enthusiasts… as well as the soul-necessary ability to stay three extra days in an otherwise touristically uninteresting place, just because the hammock is comfortable...)
But, there is one logical reason I can think of for inviting a travel companion along with you on a vacation or exploration. And that is:
so you have someone to take pictures of.
And, so..., when my mother gave me this hand-made, construction paper Bug for my birthday last summer, I decided He would make the most amiable and relaxed companion on my next trip. Afterall, he already seemed to have a flair for the travel life...
And, I must say that our little Birthday Bug did quite well on the road.
He was care-free and friendly as we navigated the crowded Avenida Central in San Jose, remained pleasantly optimistic when we had to stand without seats for the four hour busride to La Fortuna, and slept peacefully as his travel companion (yes, that's me) joked and chatted into the early hours with Japanese-fluent Tico hostel owners and Law philosophers.
Now, many creatures of Costa Rica have an affinity for and an exclusively survival-based relationship with water (like the Jesus Christ Lizard and the poison dart frog). But, our little Birthday Bug companion proved not to be the aquatic enthusiast you'd expect.
Infact, he was appallingly frightened of swimming, cowered from waterfall misty sprays and even crumpled his contruction paper arms at the touch of sweaty tourist fingers.
(I even offered him a stylish mini-coconut bikini and a tree-sap latex speedo, depending on his orientation... to no avail.)
BUT, I did finally get him to pose for a photo once, albeit very unwillingly, infront of a small cascade...
He tried to smile, but the wind currents sent his black paper
legs swinging liberally in the humid breath of his hiking companion, and he just didn't feel comfortable posing alone.
Having been the domesticated entomological puppet of a mother's creative hands for so long, he just didn't feel much at ease in the presence of a daily-active volcano and its seismically charged, bordering rivers...
But, I like to think he DID later enjoy himself a bit, locked safely inside a Zip-Lock tupperware containter for three days (with appropriate airholes, mind you), as his traveling home-girl hiked throught the Cloud Forest alone, aweing at the sights of Quetzales, being drawn to wing-like arm stretches beside cloudy vacancies and enjoying the sounds of non-construction-paper insects and birds for three hours at a time without seeing another person...
But he did get hungry.
And he did get lonely.
So, when he met a tired and friendly stray puppy one night, our little protagonist insect (though, he could be an arachnid... for he has lost a few paper legs in journey...) reached out for companionship.
And because his travel companion had forgotten to bring such proper medical supplies as glue, colored construction paper and scissors, and because he was so tired, lonely and hungry...
He ate the dozing puppy right there in Mal Pais, Costa Rica;
first swathing the dozing puppy in a moist caccoon of artificially-colored paper,
and then sucking the sashimi juvenile dog juices out like a dry martini with bedbug chasers and remnants of undigested, out-of-date Lonely Planet guidebook pages...
Yes..., I like to think we both had a good time...
(more to come soon...)