The Road Less Traveled
Some time last year I realized that I had never been to Upala.
For that matter I did not know anyone who had been to Upala . . . at least nobody who ever went there deliberately as in, "Today I am driving to Upala, can you tell me the way?".
A huge majority of guests will ask me "how long does it take to get to Arenal?" or "which way to Arenal?" or "what is the fastest way to Arenal?" or my favorite, "which way do you like to go?". I mean 1000's of guests have asked one of those.
But "can you tell me the way to Upala?". Never once.
Now I know plenty of people who have "come from" Upala. A couple of our staff and some former staffers "come from Upala". But nobody goes there. My imagination of course, over the years, constructed this vision of a ghost town somewhere near the Nicaraguan border . . . devoid of population except perhaps 3 or 4 grandmas waiting for their kids (our staffers) to show up at Christmas or Easter. There might be one bar, one church, one overgrown soccer field with banana trees growing in the goal areas and one street with a sign "Alajuela 100km". This was my vision of Upala until I decided enough is enough and I will be the first to say "Today I am going to Upala!".
Which is what I did and guess what?
My vision was pretty much accurate. Although there is also a quite nice little regional hospital in town too. I found Upala and I found it to be delightful!
Anyway . . . in the news today is word of an even more remote journey that is now being made possible thanks to Chief Nutjob of Nicaragua, Ortega.
Finally a road that is really less traveled! In fact never traveled.
I see a road trip on the horizon . . . from today's news at Insidecostarica.com:
Costa Rica Building A Road Parallel To the San Juan River
Almost a year later after the discovery of an alleged invasion by Nicaragua of Costa Rica's side of the San Juan river, raising an international incident that is currently before the International Court of Justice in The Hague (ICJ), Costa Rica is building a road parallel to the river so that residents and police do not have to use the river.
The road stretches some 120 kilometres on the south side of the river.
There is no question that the river clearly belongs to Nicaragua. But, the south bank of the river is Costa Rican territory and Costa Rica has the right to navigate the river, both a source of friction between the two countries for more than a hundred years.
The gravel road will connect the communities of Los Chiles and San Carlos in the province of Alajuela and Sarapiquí in the province of Heredia. Those communities never have been connected with each other by land.
The road stretches from Los Chiles to the Delta Costa Rica, just ahead of the Isla Calero, the area of the current conflict, alleged invaded by Nicaragua.
Once finished, hopefully by next year, the road will be passable by four wheel driver vehicles all year round.
"The idea is to continue to enable border and isolated populations that have only have had contact by the river", said Francisco Jimenez, Minister of Public Works and Transport, and ensure the movement of police and other authorities.
The project will cost ¢7 billion colones, will be 14 metres wide built on a 50 metre wide right of way and will include storm drains. Six bridges will be constructed to allow traffic flow.
The money will come from the emergency relief agency, the Comisión Nacional de Prevención de Riesgos y Atención de Emergencias (CNE) and the Consejo Nacional de Vialidad (Conavi) - transportation department.
Asked about the possible paving of the road, minister Jiménez was candid in his response, "highly unlikely in the short term".
The residents of the communities of La Trocha (Los Chiles) Tiricia (San Carlos) and Trinidad (Sarapiquí) have something in common that they never had before, the movement of large machinery everywhere, equipment hired for the job
Reports from the area say farmers and those living in isolation in the area are stunned to see this type of movement in the area, the only big machinery they ever saw was dredges, now the area is filled with loaders, trucks, bulldozers, graders, compactors, etc.
The road building work is being carried out in 12 to 16 kilometres section, with some of the sections already finished.
You must admit it is sorely tempting
"Those communities never have been connected with each other by land.". How many places left on earth can you make such a statement about?