Holy cows! A village traffic jam, Indiana Jones and lessons in moving forward.

by Vishnu on June 2, 2012

A cow traffic jam can ruin your morning.

A rush hour traffic jam.

Traffic jams and accidents in the pueblo, or village, take on a life of their own.

Earlier this week, I traveled from the Costa Rican pueblo I’m living in for the summer, Biolley, to another nearby pueblo, Las Tablas. We went in my friend’s truck to pick up a student volunteer who was joining us at the farm for a couple of weeks.

It was a typical morning in Costa Rica; heavenly! The sun was shining, the birds were chirping, the greenery was as vibrant as ever. We even left 2 hours early for the 30 minute ride down to the Las Tablas bus stop, trying to capture the beauty of this region with our cameras.

As we  drove down the last winding turn towards a straight road that would take us into Las Tablas, we approached a trailer full of cows sitting in the middle of the bridge! (see photo above) The trailer could not make it up the small uphill climb because of the weight of the cows.

Indiana Jones to the rescue.

Since the trailer was stuck in the middle of the narrow bridge, cars couldn’t travel either way. 8 am in the morning, a trailer full of cows in the middle of the road, traffic stopped on both sides, what would you do if you got stuck on this traffic jam?

Exactly. Stop the engine, get out of your car and chit chat with all your neighbors from the village who you hadn’t seen in weeks. As we commiserated and tried to find the humor in this situation, we realized our cell phones didn’t have reception in the area to make calls or communicate with anyone.

At that point, we didn’t know how many kilometers away the actual bus stop was and it was nearing 8:30 a.m, the time the student volunteer was to arrive. As we looked out into the sea of cows stomping with restlessness in the trailer, a frustrated driver who couldn’t figure out how to move his heavy trailer, and no cell phone reception, I volunteered to do the only thing I could do in that situation.

Walk across the bridge to the bus stop.

My Indiana Jones-like tactics required I tip toe without falling into the river behind me and without getting a kiss from the agitated cows whose faces were literally a couple inches away from mine.

I had to walk past the entire trailer, clutching onto the rails with my life, to get over to the other side of the bridge. Once I made it across, I started to walk towards the bus stop. I commenced my long and treacherous uphill journey, uncertain of how many kilometers away the actual bus stop was located.

When you move forward past the initial road blocks, the obstacles seem to disappear.

I made it past the cow-filled trailer and began to walk towards the bus stop.

To my relief, the bus stop was only 1.5 km from the derailed cow trailer. I reached the bus stop exactly as the bus arrived. The student volunteer and I started walking back to our friend’s truck.

A local merchant in a van pulled over and offered us a ride back to the bridge. He rolled his eyes at us when we tried to explain to him a trailer full of cows had broken down back at the bridge. He drove us back to the bridge, where we jumped out and trekked back across the bridge, holding onto the rails with our lives.

Without falling in the ditch again or exchanging kisses with the cows, we got back to the other side of the bridge. Our friend was able to make a u-turn with her truck and we headed back home to the farm.

What does a broken down cow-filled trailer have to do with life? Well, if you confront an angry-cow filled trailer traffic jam, you have 2 choices. You can sit there and wait it out or try to move forward despite the obstacles.

All I did was decide to cross the bridge to walk to the bus stop.

From there, I found that it was just a short distance to the bus stop. The bus also arrived exactly when I did. A local merchant gave us a ride back and we were able to head back home a lot sooner than if we had sat in the traffic jam until the driver had figured out the physics of moving his cow-filled trailer.

When facing obstacles and challenges, you just have to move forward. While I could have ended up kissing a cow or falling into a river, I didn’t. And once I showed the situation I was willing to take a smooch from my four-legged friends, the other obstacles just disappeared right in front of me.

What about you? What do you do when facing a trailer full of cows? How about other life obstacles? Have you noticed that obstacles tend to fall away when you take them on? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

A couple other photos of the scenery that morning.

Costa Rican scenery

River from afar

Another couple of cows (not in the trailer)