alpaca princess (renniekins) wrote,
alpaca princess

A Tale of Two Hats

This story of two hats begins in Costa Rico, on our honeymoon. We were in Costa Verde (near Manuel Antonio), staying at a decent (though not fancy) resort. We wanted to sign up for a horseback ride, so we asked about it at the front desk. They were able to reserve one for us, but we needed to pay cash.

We discovered that we were low on cash, so asked where their ATM was. It turned out they didn't have one on the premises, but one was available about a mile's walk away in town. We were both dressed in our "throw something on and go to breakfast" clothes, not clothes or shoes made for walking. Also, we weren't wearing sunscreen - not a good thing for two palefaces with Irish blood - especially so close to the equator.

However our room was on the opposite side of the resort, and it seemed silly to go all the way back there before visiting the ATM. A mile was too short of a distance to "prepare" for.

Thus began a fairly silly walk. It was scorching hot, and the sun beat down. We were shuffling in our flip-flops, darting from patch of shade to patch of shade, the way people run between awnings during a rainstorm. Sweat dripped down our backs, we had not brought any water, and suddenly a mile seemed like quite a long distance after all! All along our walk, I had been wishing I'd brought my baseball hat. The sun was not just hot, but it was glaring in my eyes.

Halfway down, a few stores sprang up. We ducked into one, grateful to feel air conditioning. It was an artsy store, with many hand-made gifts and various clothing. Prices were in US$, so you could tell they were marketing to tourists. In the middle of the store, I found it. The Perfect Hat. It fit me nicely, and was attractive. It had a nice brim for keeping out the sun, and it was orange (our wedding color!). When I saw it cost only $20, it became clear that it was meant to be mine.

I bought the lovely thing, then we emerged into the blistering sun. At least this time I was wearing a nice shady hat. We continued darting from patch of shade to patch of shade, until finally we found the ATM. Money retrieved, we scampered our way home. Happily we managed to not burn, so our caution paid off! Plus, the horseback ride through the rain-forest and out onto the beach was totally worth it.

Now is where the tale takes a sad turn.

The only problem with the hat was that it was fairly cumbersome. It's not like a baseball hat where you can just wad it up and tuck it in a suitcase. It could get crushed in an overhead bin. But I loved my hat; I had to take it home with me! I decided the only way to get it home with me was to wear it.

We strolled through the San Jose airport, me sporting my fancy orange hat. There was a very long line to check in, and we started getting worried. By the time it was our turn to be searched, we were quite antsy. I kicked off my shoes, undid my belt, put my valuables in their buckets, and turned to walk through. "No hat," the man informed me.

I took off the hat and put it on the top of my bucket o' belongings. Then I went through the metal detector and grabbed my things on the other side. I stepped into my shoes, fastened up my belt buckle, tied my jacket back around my waist, and shrugged into my backpack. Seeing M ahead of me, I hurried to catch up.

We arrived just as the plane was boarding. We climbed aboard, found our seats, and settled our bags under the seats in front of us. I removed the jacket tied around my waist, touched my head, and gasped. The hat was not there.

"Oh no, did you leave it in the cab?"

"No, I had it with me, until.... security, that must be it, I didn't get it off the belt at security. It must have fallen out of the bucket.... it might have even gotten trapped in the x-ray, since it's so light-weight. I didn't see it, so I didn't think of it in my hurry."

"Do you want to try to find it?" Almost everyone had boarded, it was clearly too late.

"No, it's too late. Drat."

He teased me gently, trying to cheer me up, "I know, you just didn't want to have to deal with hat while traveling home, so you lost it intentionally."

"No, I loved that hat!"

"I know you did... I did too. Are you sure you don't want me to try to do anything?" They were shutting the gate. I don't know what he thought he'd do, maybe pull out the emergency slide, and go swooping after my poor lost hat? He was just so bummed that I had lost my lovely souvenir.

That was five months ago. For the past five months, whenever I had an outdoor event to attend, I have been suggesting that my orange hat would be perfect. We have exchanged sad and amused smiles, and shrugged it off. Can you really mourn a hat? Not really. But it sure was a bummer.

Then, a month ago, I went to Holland (Michigan) with my sister. We rode our bikes around, and visited Saugatuck. While wandering around in the brutal heat, we popped into a cool artsy store to enjoy their air conditioning.

You can probably guess where this is going. What did I find there? Cool orange hats! (They had other colors too, but who cared?) They were not styled the same as the original orange hat, but the color was very similar. It had a wider brim that turns up a little, but still looked good on me. Plus it had one additional feature: it could be rolled into a bag and still regain its original shape. Incredible!

It only took me a few minutes to decide to buy the hat. After all, why not? It's not the Costa Rica hat, but that is gone forever (probably being enjoyed by a Tico from the airport). It's a lovely hat, it's orange, and it is the continuation of a very good memory - with some extra memories of its own thrown in. Hats off!

Tags: hat, travel, wedding
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