Thursday, November 29, 2007

Frantic Friday - Part Two – OR- Where’s Azure?

Recap: We decided to go shopping in Escazu before Azure’s soccer game. We arrived at the school 30 minutes early to find the school closed and the gates locked. Holy …. Where is Azure?

Patrick resolves the car alarm problem but by this time he is starting to unravel. We explicitly told Azure we would meet her at Blue Valley school and not to accept a ride with anyone (the school hires a bus to take the kids to their games and they must take the bus even if their parents plan to attend the game).

I walk confidently into the indoor soccer area and ask some kids if they speak English. They point to a woman who appears to be setting up for a party. I ask her if she knows anything about a game between Blue Valley and European Schools. She confirms that she is setting up for her son’s birthday party and she doesn’t know anything about a school game. She shrugs and directs us back to the first indoor soccer place we had stopped at with sincere apologies that she couldn’t help.

By now Patrick is in a tizzy. I’m actually trying to stay calm. I keep thinking to myself that I have been in this situation before – some sort of déjà vu. We head back to the first indoor soccer place thinking we should check it out since we never did go inside. There are a group of guys conversing with the security guard so I explain our situation to them and ask if they have any ideas of other places the girls could be playing soccer. They tell us the indoor soccer place we are standing next to closed but one guy thinks there is another one about half mile down the road. Patrick and I have doubts but at this point we have no choice but to check.

Of course we never found the place down the road. Patrick is panicking. He doesn’t know how we will ever find Azure. Maybe there is a different Blue Valley or maybe they gave the coach a game location and that information didn’t get passed to us. Or maybe they are playing a different school. ETC I suggested we should drive back to the school but Patrick disagreed figuring if we arrived there and couldn’t find Azure on the school grounds then what? We agreed that our best bet would be to call the school and hope someone was still around to answer the phone – after all it was a Friday and about 30 minutes after the last class.

Here is another problem. The payphones in Costa Rica don’t take coins (they use a card you have to buy at certain stores) . We head toward the mall looking for an internet place since they typically allow you to make phone calls. We don’t see any internet places since I suppose most people in Escazu can afford to have internet at home. We do see an AM/PM (mini-market). We pull in and ask to buy a phone card. The cashier has to ask his supervisor and then says they don’t have any. What’s up with that? According to all the info we’ve read, all markets should sell phone cards. Okay, let’s not panic. We leave the car in the parking lot and run around for a few blocks trying to find a phone we can use. We even considered asking the agents and Coldwell Banker to use their phone but the office was closed. Figures! (I guess Costa Rica agents don’t work on Fridays just like in Minnesota)

I calmingly tell Patrick we should head back to Blue Valley School since it was almost 3:30. Maybe the girls really were playing there –yeah right. Otherwise, I figured we should get the security guard to call European School and find out what happened. Good plan so I thought until the guard tells us he doesn’t have a cell phone. Now what? Panic strikes!

I tell Patrick that I knew the other security guard had a cell phone. I bet he would let us use it since he knows we are worried parents. We head back over to the indoor soccer field yet again hoping it’s not to late to reach someone at the school. By now the security guard is not surprised to see us. We’re almost friends J I ask if he would call the European School for us and hand him one of their business cards. He obliges and calls them then hands the phone to Patrick (I always forget that this is still a man’s world here in Costa Rica…).

Patrick asks the receptionist if she knows anything about the girls’ soccer game at Blue Valley. She puts him on hold for only a moment and returns to say the game was cancelled. Whew! Patrick asks her if she happens to see Azure Jones to tell her that her parents just received the message and we’re on our way to pick her up.

Now to get back to San Pablo de Heredia during Friday rush hour. On a good day it takes 45 minutes! Patrick handles the traffic well but obviously we are both relieved to know where our daughter is so the panic attacks have subsided!

We actually make it back to San Pablo quickly (about 45 minutes!) and locate Azure sitting under a tree outside the principal’s office. Her principal, Ms Cristin, yells to us from her window apologizing for the misunderstanding. She said they didn’t know how to reach us but she emailed and hoped we would figure it out. She said the coach also said she would wait as long as it took for us to get Azure. We walked past the front office and waved to the coach. She immediately ran out to apologize. She said the school only had a half day and no one bothered to tell her. She called around noon to talk to the other coach and found out the game was cancelled. The other school knew all along the students wouldn’t be there. Azure’s coach says “This is Costa Rica after all… “

So, I have to wonder, what did parents do before there were cell phones????


jen poco loco said...

Wow - what a Fun Day for you guys (only a slight amount of sarcasm in my voice).
By the way -
1)you were a stone's throw from our house (with internet and phones). We are essentially mid-way between the A.M./P.M. and the MultiPlaza, except tucked in the little neighborhood.
2)At the multiplaza are payphones that take coins (supposedly) - they are outside of Scotia bank by the TCBY yougurt. It seems you make call and then feed it coins. I have never had much sucess. One time I had to call Barry and it kept letting the call go through and then hanging up - after 4 times he got the message and came and got me.
3)We have had similiar cell phone queries. About a month ago I got a flat tire while getting the kids from school. I was lucky enough to stop in the Supermarket plaza, find a stranger to let me make a local call on his cell phone, buy the kids icecream and wait for my knight in shining armour to arrive by taxi. It is somewhat discerning to be reliant on luck anf kindness of strangers. One car -no cell and kids in the car - hope our luck stays strong.
4)Even if we wanted a cell, not sure that they would give us one as we STILL DON'T HAVE A BANK ACCOUNT. More tries today - wish us luck.

And may your good luck keep up.

Jones Family said...

I hope you come through with a bank account. I know we were lucky with the way ours worked out! I'll have to write about post related to banking someday.

I am really happy about the friendly Ticos and admit it is a reason we moved here!