So you would think that the answer to my prayers was the invention of the GPS. And you would be correct; except for the fact that you should never leave the programming of your destination to others. My case in point is a recent trip to Costa Rica (yes, the same one where I was almost arrested by air marshals on the return flight for threatening ill-behaved children).
We arrived at our car rental outlet and there, as promised, we were shown to our four-wheel drive SUV for those rough Costa Rican roads. We told the attendant which resort we were going to (which was supposed to be 40 minutes away) and he programmed the GPS. Well, the roads started getting unbelievably bad (like… mini-boulders-in-the-road bad), and I started to question how a five-star resort could expect clients to endure this trip to get there. An hour and a half later, we were surrounded by jungle and had not seen a single car coming in the opposite direction. Yet somehow, we all believed the great expanse of our deluxe resort was just a little further. I’m not exaggerating when I tell you we even passed a skeleton nailed to a cross. The GPS said we were doing really well.
By this time, my partner sensed something was terribly wrong. Ninety minutes into our adventure, we finally saw a car coming the other way, and my partner jumped out of our car without waiting for it to slow down and basically threw himself in front of the oncoming car. Of course, the driver spoke no English and my partner spoke only a weird type of Spanish wherein he just adds an “o” to the end of every word. But by feverishly pointing to the resort on a map he got the driver to tell us we were going the wrong way and he would lead us back to airport. The GPS was fine with our progress.
Finally, about four hours after we landed, we arrived at our destination. It was Happy Hour by then, and we were certainly happy it was. The GPS? The attendant at the car rental had put it in “simulation” mode for our trip so that if we had driven to Argentina it would have been equally pleased with us.