Sunday, March 31, 2013

James Bond and the Rich Coast

The modern, angular architecture of the Costa Rican immigration building towered above 007’s head as he proceeded to his customary interrogation. The atmosphere was chill and dry, and the office was impeccably clean; a long shot from the grit from previous crossings. The patrolwoman raised her eyebrows and took his passport.

–“Name, sir?”
–“Bond, James Bond” –retorted without taking his eyes off hers.

–“Film producer, madam.”
–“To take these two lovely ladies to La Fortuna’s thermal baths. Purpose is strictly confidential. What are my code words, at all this?”
–“Pura vida, double-o seven. Once your mission is complete, Agent Soto will meet you in the remote village of Moravia, in the mountains of Turrialba. It’s harsh terrain, so be wary.”
–“Not a problem”.

The Aston Martin is officially released by a ship of the Royal Navy...

Agent 007 stepped up on his DB5 and continued the route in the good company of his two Dutch guests. They descended Highway One until the town of Cañas, where they took a less transited road not to awaken suspicion. For the following hour and a half, they meandered at the shores of Laguna Arenas, an area so green and mountainous it brought Bond memories of his native Scotland. In the later afternoon, just before sunset, they received their lodging assignment at agent Gringo Pete’s facilities and had a delightful, well-deserved supper. The next day the mission was complete in the thermals baths at Los Laureles, and Bond continued with a new assignment: to head for the mountains in the East to the secret enclave of the Hacienda Moravia.

Due to the lack of pictures, we had to hire a local artist to render the triumphant mission at La Fortuna.
Dramatic high-speed pursuit heading on to Turrialba.
Cartago, right in the way of this unique mission to the remote mountains of Costa Rica.
Arrival to the quasi-Amazonian town of Turrialba. Now, time for some offroading!

Thanks to the advance satellite guidance system in the Aston Martin, Bond did not take a single wrong turn and reached the end of the paved road at the village of La Suiza. He proceeded without fear, as the Q Branch had made sure the automobile, despite its fine appearance, would be completely off-road capable. What followed was a rough, snaking path crowded with rocks, rubble and sand, sometimes steep enough to make the car’s wheel spin, sometimes uneven enough to make Bond hit his head on the ceiling. All in all, 007 arrived in one piece to Hacienda Moravia, where he was given a tour of the facilities. The farm sat in close to a thousand acres, and offered everything from milking quarters to secret airstrip, several ponds and a church in the heart of the valley. Surrounding the Soto’s facilities, groups of cultivate indigenous people –the Cabecar– assured the safety in the perimeter of the property from any incursion with the most modern weaponry available, while keeping appearances as a traditional tribe.

Security escort in armored, four-by-four vehicles.
Sign reads "Roads in poor condition". Geez, thanks for the warning!
Courageous river crossing, a good rest from the rocky road at both sides.

Morning fog at the Moravia headquarters.
Don't be fooled by the scenery! These are motion-sensor-activated, acid-spitting death-traps!

Command center, alias C.H.U.R.C.H.
Enemy operative, refusing interrogation.
 Soto’s father welcomed bond to the secret base and complimented the car repeatedly.
–“You made it here! I trust the facilities will be of your liking.” –He said with calm confidence– “Anything to drink, Mr. Bond? Our barista is world-class, and certainly has heard of your strong preference for Martinis. Shaken, not stirred, I presume?” 

–“Some water will be fine, thank you” –Bond replied, noticing the slow outset of a small, dehydration-related headache.

Agent Soto arrived with utmost punctuality. He was a man in his late 20’s, extremely dexterous with mechanical systems. As a day job, he worked as an engineering supervisor for the Toyota Corporation, testing materials and vehicles left and right; only at night he could take part in more “tactical” matters as a secret operative.

Agent Soto has a deep appreciation for fine cars as well!

–“Pura Vida, double-o seven! Glad you made it here!”
–“No need for four wheel drive” –said Bond pointing at the mud-covered DB5.
–”I have something for you. It’s a very special setup from the Toyota Corporation: two very special vehicles, a “Model 86” and one I am sure you have seen before, a 2000GT.”
–“I do recall that car fondly” –uttered Bond, thinking of his loving companion in Japan.

The following days were spent amongst fast automobiles, glamorous women, great friends, delightful meals and resounding live music. Bond settled for a week in a cottage at agent Soto’s quarters, overlooking all of San José, and reported the spotless facilities of the Toyota Corporation as one of the most organized and best equipped he had ever seen since Blofeld’s hollow volcano. It was also during this time that some items were mended and modified in the Aston Martin, to proceed with the crossing to Panama and the rest of the continent, to defeat the ills of elevation and neglect.

Heavy modifications to a Toyota 86 for future use by "00" agents.
Luxury tactical vehicles. Complete refinement!
And here's something that needs no introduction: a real, legitimate Toyota 2000GT.
Morning view from the temporary Bond cottage!
Very happy with this $1 fix for these broken lenses... the Q Division could not think of anything better!

On Bond’s last day in Costa Rica, both agents drove South and had a simple breakfast overlooking the mountains. A photographer, sent by His Majesty, took this last picture to report the encounter of both men of the Secret Service, who parted ways shortly thereafter.
Undisclosed location on Route 2.

1 comment:

  1. Diesel , TURBO Diesel ! =8-) .

    I wish I were there , you're flooding me with Centro - American Road Trip memories Miguel .