Mule – Is That A Faucet In Your Pocket, or Are You Happy To Be On Vacation?

Trying to posture myself in the most believable; ‘I am an honest person and not a plane hijacker slash suicide bomber’ pose. Lined up like good little travelers accompanying our bags as they are screened through the x-ray machine before going to security.

I see the puzzlement on the x-ray technicians’ face.

He asked my husband who is mirroring my ‘I’m the most lovely person, please let me on your plane’ stance,  “Um Sir, did you pack this bag?”

“Yes I did.”

“There is a large kitchen faucet in it…” he squints back at his screen. “And… another faucet…  And… tools.” he looked puzzled.  “Are you going to do plumbing?”

“Yes I am.” my husband proudly said.


As it stood the faucets and tools were just the tip if the iceberg…

We had 4 extra-large suitcases filled with a wide variety of odds and ends. Stuffed in them were two sets of new dishes, two night lamps, many light bulbs, kick down door stoppers, a long string of rope lighting,  brackets to put up said rope lighting, weather stripping, a ceiling fan, champagne glasses, two rain shower heads, kids toys, framed art, and painted sculptures in amongst our bathing suits, tank tops and flip flops.


We have officially become ‘Mules’.


Well maybe that gives off the wrong impression….

Muling was a term that came from trafficking goods, mostly drugs, across borders. In early days before the high tech security we go through at airports now people put drugs on their person. Mostly taped to their bodies or sewn into their clothing. As security checks became more invasive people went to body packing. Swallowing packs of drugs and carrying the drugs into the country in their stomachs and intestines.

I only had my eggs, bacon and toast breakfast to show on any x-ray in my tummy.

Today we are on our way to Costa Rica! Darren and I are the proud owners of a Gorgeous Rental Condo in Playa del Coco, Costa Rica (CR). Although it is lovely just as it is, if any of you know Darren and I, we are suckers for ‘projects’. Something to do with idle hands or whatever. We can’t just sit and enjoy like most people. We have to find work in all corners of our life.

Our condo is no different. We have grand plans for it. Hence the new beautiful facets and such.

Over time the act of muling has become a catch phrase for someone who is bringing a lot of ‘stuff’ into a country. It is anything that can be purchased in another country for a cheaper rate thus making it more economical to bring with you than to purchase it in the country you are going to.

The last time I went down to the condo I was taking a plethora of stuff down. I thought I was a true professional mule.

I ended up bumping into friends who live in CR in the L.A. Airport on their way back home to their condo. We landed on the topic of what was packed in our suitcases. When I told them I was bringing 3 suitcases down, Sheila looked at me sternly and said “Sarah, you have to start taking this thing seriously.”

Apparently 3 suitcases, a back pack and a purse were taking it lightly. Who knew!? I thought I was that person who made everyone mad ‘cuz I had so much.

Sheila told me she had one suitcase filled with candy and sweats from the USA alone, and her husband Brent had a case full of tools. They were even contacted by a CR friend who had horse blinders sent to them in the USA to be muled in by them as a favor. Muling for friends and acquaintances is a regular occurrence.

My Dads friend even brought in a king size sheet set for people they had never met!


Muling into CR is so economical though. Buying anything that has a plug-in in Costa Rica is more than double what it costs in the US and Canada. An example is a hair dryer in CR is around $55.00USD and the same model in Canada is only $30.00CND! Another example is the ceiling fan that we are carrying with us on this trip. We bought on sale, back in Canada, for $39.00CND. Compare that to the same fan in Costa Rica at $150.00USD.

That’s a huge difference. Just that purchase difference alone is enough to pay the extra baggage fee for the entire suitcase to be brought down with you on a holiday.

Now fill your bags with any assortment of other items you feel you need in your vacation home for either yourself to enjoy while on vacation or for your guests to use. You are giddily ahead of the game!

The thing to be careful of is that if it looks like you have ‘stuff’ in your suitcases for sale than you will be stopped and made to pay import tax once you arrive in Costa Rica. For instance, if you have 15 hair dryers then that looks like a bit of a fishy deal. Tax time!

Once we arrived in Costa Rica with our booty we were stopped by a customs official and  asked to open one of the stuffed cases. The item causing all the commotion? A toaster!

There we were waving our hands in the air trying to do our best ‘making toast’ mime with the customs officer. Attempting to speak Spanish with her and probably talking about taking long walks on the beach instead of toasting your morning breakfast accompaniment.

In the end she let us go without taxing us on the toaster. Not sure if it was just routine or that she felt sorry for us and our bastardized Spanish. All of our other treasures seeming to be just an average haul to the Customs Officer.

Here’s to long walks on the beach and toasty toast!

March 2016 1887


‘A Little Bit Extra’  2270785-3d-illustration-of-glowing-green-checkmark-over-black-background

————As it turns out, after the customs area and on towards the final exit, we saw a family with a huge box on an airport dolly. I went up to them and said to Darren “See. You can bring down a large flat screen TV.”

We were quickly corrected by the man pushing the cart, in his thick southern drawl. “Oh no, Sweetheart. This is a complete front end for my Ford 4×4 Truck.” Then he said with a proud smile. “It only cost me $80.00 bucks to bring it down with me.”

March 2016 1795





                                                           Darren installing the Ceiling Fan in our Condo. ===>
                                                                   AmberSun Vacation Rentals, Sombras 201





19 thoughts on “Mule – Is That A Faucet In Your Pocket, or Are You Happy To Be On Vacation?

  1. First of all, CONGRATULATIONS on the condo! That is awesome 🙂
    Secondly, I seriously had no clue that bringing items (in your case, faucets) into a country was called Muling! I mean I’ve heard of the term used when bringing illegal substances, but I didn’t know it was also used for bringing other wares. I loved the whole toaster situation and the way you described your Spanish skills as “bastardized” that really made me crack up.


    1. thank you so much for your comment… it has been an adventure trying to get things down here… we have people coming down soon and they are bringing real maple syrup, business cards for me from vista print who doesn’t ship here and a plethora of sunscreen which is a whopping $20/ bottle here…


  2. Carrying your stuff for the holiday is a huge saving. There is no point of spending money on something that you already have. I would do the same in this case.


    1. thank you for coming to be a part of my journey… it is such a thing here. we have friends coming soon with Head and Shoulders shampoo… here it is over $12. now don’t get me wrong you can get local brands , but I still want some H&S once in a while. lol

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Haha! I can just imagine the looks of confusion you got with those suitcases packed full of odds and ends. Congrats on the home and renovation!


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