Costa Rica 2007

Friday, February 2, 2007
05:30              Sea-Tac Airport

Somehow, this date and time finally arrived. For about three months now, our Costa Rica trip seemed to loom out there far, far away. Even as recently as… oh… Wednesday, it seemed it wouldn’t come. Finally, now Goob & I, and Robert & Ellen are sitting on the plane in Seattle, patiently awaiting our departure to DFW on the first leg of our journey/pilgrimage to Playa Zancudo. We are unstressed (relatively), at least not stressed from any travel problems. I don’t foresee any either, since we have like 4 hours in Dallas. I’m sitting in seat 7E on a B757, which is a bulkhead seat (a +), exit row, (a double +), and is only a two seater next to the big door. Goob has aisle. Robert & Ellen are right behind us.  

The last connection to civilization will be Dallas. I expect Worker-Bee Goob to spend some time working and that’s OK, since I know that once the door closes on the plan to San Jose, it’s over. I’m going to call my mother and maybe Sheila.

Anyway, that’s enough for now. I’m really going to attempt to keep this journal type thing going this time, but who knows. The next entry could be Dallas, and it could be a week from now and consist of one entry:


14:20              DFW Airport

Woo Hoo! New entry without “oops!”!! We’re boarding in a little while, so we’re at the AAdmirals Club lounge at Dallas Fort/Worth airport, Terminal D. I just called my mother like a good boy and left a message for the Zonies. Goob’s doing math puzzles, Ellen is knitting a sock, Robert is AFK-AWOL, and I’m talking to you (me). I like the AAdmirals Club. It’s quiet, cozy chairs, free coffee & cookies, and it’s away from the traveling throngs in the terminal. We haven’t played any UNO yet, but we’ve hit the puzzles pretty good.

Under an hour till boarding. I think I’ll go top off my drink and maybe do a crossword until we gotta boogie.

Mmm… Scotch…

17:25              35,000 FT up

Dinner on ze plane! Choice: Chicken or pot roast… bet they taste the same… Ok, gotta eat.

17:55              Dinner

Chicken Pasta… Meh.

19:25              Post Uno

Paul Sunny Paul Sunny
122 43 5 81
13 90 2 24
135 133 7 105
66 50 31 30
201 183 38 135
18 42 51 15
219 225
89 150
27 3 109
246 92 259
167 6 68
413 98 327
94 74 30
507 172 357
101 62
273 419
2 68
275 487
1 16
276 503
Two rounds of UNO, one Guido win, one Goober win. So far, ok. We should be landing in about 30-40 minutes. Hopefully, customs and immigration will go easy. Weeee! Almost there!!

Saturday, February 10, 2007
07:50              The Don Carlos

Hooray for the Don Carlos! Goob and I just had breakfast and we’re sitting in the Pre-Columbian lounge, chilling.
Yesterday went pretty perfect. No flight delays, no long customs/immigrations lines, taxi ride without dying… it was great! We parted company with Robert & Ellen after check-in and retired upstairs after a brief email check. Before sleeping, we watched the movie “Flight of the Fenix”, which is kid of a dumb movie. But then, any movie that stars Dennis Quaid as an ‘action hero’ is doomed anyway.

Today our flight to Golfito is at 11:00, so our taxi is picking us up at 9:45. No sight of Robert & Ellen yet, but they know when the taxi is and where breakfast is.

I’m a little bit anxious about the flight, only because I don’t know how I’ll handle them each time. This anxiety makes it more difficult than it needs to be. But hey, I can always pop a valium thingy and not worry. Ellen is anxious too. I’m glad it’s a rougher flight on the way back and not on the way in. A couple of bumps and weird shifts and that’s about it. If it were rougher, then you’d have all week to think about the return & worry. It’s ways a hoot, though… NOT!

This will be our only visit to the Don Carlos this trip. We had to book somewhere else on the way back, so I’m a bit curious about it. I love the Don Carlos, but maybe on the way in it is better to stay out near the airport (even though this place isn’t). We’ll see.

Off to get Susan’s telephone number…. 011-506-776-0012… Brittannia… 011-506-223-6667

11:25              9600 feet above Costa Rica

The take-off from San Jose was surprisingly smooth, which is good. Now we’re at 9600 feet up. Well, less than that from the ground with the mountains and all, but soon the groovy ocean will appear below us and that number will be accurate. Lot’s of popcorn clouds below us now. We’ve all snapped a few pics and we’re settled in for the flight. Still taking many pics though. (Oooh! Coastline!)

I can’t wait to get there! 1 landing, 1 taxi, 1 boat, and a truck and we’re there! The pilots are eating cookies, and we have photographic evidence! Mmm… cookies…

“The Costa Rica Triathlon”
One taxi
One plane
One boat

                        …and then go plop! (Goob)
                        …while Guido moves in… (Guido)

16:12              Los Cocos

You know, there’s many a time that I think I could just do this all the time. I know that really, I couldn’t, but this is so good and so familiar that it doesn’t seem foreign any more. We just went for a little swim and as I’m out there looking back at Goob with the beach backdrop, I feel like it wasn’t that log ago that we were here. The world outside just disappears and all you have is Los Cocos. Good to be Home again.

So, the Costa Rica iPod playlist has grown to 884 sonds, up from 744 last year, but I also removed about 50 or more tracks that didn’t “mood” right. New this year: Van Halen, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Presidents of the USA, more Zeppelin, and more Doors, and Weezer. …Bompa deeda… Bompa Deeda… Oh, and new Beck. I’ll list them out later.

So, I’m hungry. I’ve snarfed some good local bread, I’m drinking a wonderful juice mix (guava, banana, orange, apple, passion fruit, etc) with rum, and I am feeling goooood. Hungry though. Mongo need food.

21:25              Cabina

Paul Sunny
19 162
20 5
39 167
56 64
95 231
24 28
119 259
127 86
246 345
139 31
385 376
27 88
412 464
38 5
450 469
Mmm… whole Sea Bass… Dinner at Sol y Mar. Beer good. Chit-chat with Rober & Ellen, a bit of Uno, and full bellies. We bailed a bit early to play pumpkin out, played some Pac-Man on the Gameboy, did some puzzles, etc. Now, me thinky sleep…

Sunday, February 11, 2007
13:33 or something

Today is Sunday. We went to church at 9:30, which is out in the gulf a few yards. Did I say church? I meant swimming. Today’s activities thus far: Coffee & pineapple, swimming, puzzles, Gameboy, Coconut break-in, beer, pictures

I am now cooking a pot of beans with salt/pepper, bacon, hot sauce, onion, cilantro, and whatever else I desire. A lazy day.

As for this journal, it’s pretty dumb/dull. Each day is intentionally the same-ish. So, it will never be of much interest to anyone but us, but I’ll post it anyway because I’m retarded and think someone might actually care and read it.

The wind has picked up a lot. Surf tonight could be fun! It was very peaceful this morning.

Willy the vegetable man should be by after 3 o’clock. I still need a mango! Mongo need mango!

Changing the NFL Uno rules for the Champs card:
Stays the color of the 4 or 7 that’s played
No draw penalty
A 4 or 7 must be the next card played
Must draw 1 if you don’t have a 4 or 7.
Paul Sunny
32 66
53 12
85 78
290 93
9 41
299 134
20 43
319 177
166 9
485 186
48 20

Monday, February 12
07:30              Front Porch

We were held hostage by Willy the vegetable truck guy for hours yesterday waiting to by mangos. We finally got some, and I’ll eat one later.

I scored some really good cilantro in Golfito, and it’s made me want to have fresh salsa, so today I’m going to make some!

Dinner last night was at Sol y Mar, horseshoe night, and it rained too. The place was jumpin! Horseshoes every Sunday night and the winner gets three free beers! Woooo!

Robert & Ellen left a bit ago to go on the boat tour up the Rio Coto. I hope the see some cool stuff. They seem to really be enjoying it here; I think they “get it”. That makes me happy!

Blues = Good!

Oh! I should speak about my small crisis! So, after breakfast at the Don Carlos Saturday, we went back upstairs to finish up the pack and get ready to go. Goob needed to charge the camera batteries for a bit, and I balked a little because I was trying to close up the pack. After some discussion over what batteries to use, I caved and got out the charger. Then I noticed that I had forgotten my iPod dock and cable! I had no way to charge the iPod, and there was no way the battery would last for 10 days! After uttering a few colorful metaphors, Goob, (the ever-smart one) says “There’s a Radio Shack near by” and after a brief moment of contemplation by me, we were gone. This was all 30 minutes before our taxi was due to pick us up. We got to Radio Shack and they happened to have a 3rd party docking station, and with a new cable, the crisis was solved! Whew! And now, Lightnin’ Hopkins is pickin’ and singin’ on the ol’ ‘pod and all is well with the world.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007
12:15              Porch Spot

The full lazies have set in. This is usually about when it happens. Goob’s napping, and I’m sitting out from with a rum & coke and listening to Elmore James. Things to write about: Vacation plans, houses, changes here, iPod playlist, dinner Monday, burnage, next time, tours.

  • Vacation Plans – Having two gooblings makes planning difficult. We just spent over an hour discussing our almost 2 year vacation plan, because of how they complicate things. Plus, limited funds are always a constriction. Ultimately, I think our plan is to skip a family trip this summer and give them a choice: summer camp or a trip to the UK over Thanksgiving week. The UK can be combined with a business trip, and we can use some miles for some of the airfare. If they choose camp, then there’s no knowing when we’d go to the UK. I think they’d choose the UK. Camp is Camp. And their father is supposed to do something anyway (Hawaii… HAH!) Then, we can all come back to Costa Rica next February, which I know they desperately want to do.
  • Beach Houses – So, Susan and Andrew manage some beach houses too. Larger and more self contained and traditional than the cabins. But, good for families. We looked at two of them next door to Los Cocos. They’re pretty nice. The one closest to Susan & Andrew’s house is now called “Freaky House”, because it’s so hip and cool, and the layout is very open. It’s very cool and fully screened. It’s got a great interior, but lacks privacy, and it doesn’t have much of a deck, either. It is very cool, lots of great wood and green varnish and the kitchen has a bar counter. Dunno if it really works for four, two adults and two teenagers. The next house down (Harry’s House) is much more functional and has a second bedroom with two twin beds. It’s not as open on the inside, but it has a huge deck. They both have better kitchens and even a washer and dryer. But… they aren’t as cool as these cabins. So, we’re not sure yet what we’d do next time with the girls.
  • Changes Around Zancudo – Susan & Andrew are tearing down the studio/shed next to the front of their house. Apparently, there’s an ordinance in Costa Rica that mandates a 50 meter line from the designated beach line that no structure can reside in, and an upcoming survey for full concessions would find it in violations. They’ve also replaced a lot of the split coconuts used on the pathways. Good thing too, because last year they were looking a bit mangy.
  • iPod playlist – The playlist has pissed my off. Before we left, I ripped the remainder of my Led Zeppelin, and re-ripped the ones I already had so they were all at the same bit rate. For some reason, 90% of them are playing only about 60% of the track and then skipping to the last 2 seconds of the song and stopping. Now I gotta redo them. Plus, NO ZEPPELIN!! Mongo ANGRY!!
  • Dinner Monday – So we tried a new place last night, Puerta Negra, Alberto’s Italian restaurant across the road from the grocery. The crazy Italian lady Nadia from Sol y Mar was there and was cooking. We both had simple pasta dishes which were very good. We were the only ones there (BBQ night at Sol y Mar). It was all pretty good, but nothing special. Still, I’d go back.
  • Burnage – I am Splotch Boy. I did a really shitty job on my neck and shoulders the first day, so I have splotches of burn and unburn all over them, and now a ridgeline on my back of unburn between burns. It looks sort of like the “Nexus” from Star Trek Generations. I burned my belly yesterday on our walk. It’s probably the worst spot, but I’ve had worse. This is definitely the “splotchiest” I’ve been.
  • Next time – The next time we come down, girls or not, we’re doing a hike in the Osa. It’s just a couple of extra days, with a flight to Puerto Jimenez and a day hike, then take the boat taxi back to Zancudo. We could even get groceries in Jimenez before coming over. (Note: we’re just doing a day trip to the Osa.) Next time in Zancudo will probably find us in a house, and not the cabins. Dunno yet. Also next time, LESS CLOTHES for Guido. I always bring too much. 3 tanktops, 3 t-shirts or buttoned, that’s it. Also, 2 lazy shorts, 2 cargo shorts, only. And fewer books if you’re doing puzzles. I brought 4 books, I’ll finish 1 (Note: I finished 2, actually)
  • Tours – We’re still debating between the Botanical Garden and going to the Refuge again. We’re the only two for the Botanical Garden, and they need 4 to go. But they could take us along on the boat to the Refuge, drop us off, and pick us up afterwards, but we’d be waiting awhile afterwards. We could just do the Refuge again, too. Dunno. We haven’t decided yet, but need to soon. Maybe once Goob is up. Lazy Butt. J
How/When/Were was ‘sea level’ determined? Goob: 1850+, and for flight purposes. Guido: 1849 and earlier, for mountain and hill elevation needed for maps.
My home-made salsa is the bomb! 1 package salsa, 1 tomato, a bunch of cilantro, ½ onion. Chop it all up, add a dash of pepper. Good shit… I think it’s a new staple!
Paul Sunny Paul Sunny
40 2 53 45
132 131 59 91
172 133 112 136
18 22 21 14
190 155 133 150
123 65 11 78
313 220 144 228
8 11 126
321 155 354
138 5 15
459 160 369
21 14 13
480 174 382
76 20 61
194 443
4 7
198 450
24 47
222 497
4 3
226 500

Thursday, February 15, 2007
09:00              Same Porch

Yesterday was an exciting action packed thrill-fest of mystery and adventure! We woke up and got ready to go on the Wildlife Refuge tour, but we didn’t know if were going or coming back. See, there are these other losers who wouldn’t give Susan an answer on whether or not they were going to the Botanical Gardens. (She needs four two go on the tour) They said they’d let her know early on Wednesday. Well, we had just committed to the Refuge instead of the Botanical Gardens because no one else were going, and we wanted to keep it all simple rather than do the round about tour discussed earlier. In the early evening, she comes by and tells us the latest development with the other folks. We told her we’ll plan for the Refuge, but if the other losers make up their mind and decide to go, then we’ll wait and go to the Botanical Gardens on Thursday. Needless to say, she didn’t hear from them until 08:30 and we left at 08:00. Gomers! So back to the refuge we went. The owners were there this time (Earl & Carol) and Earl led our group. (Carol reminds me of Edith Bunker on PCP). Earl had a new baby spider monkey named Ginger. LuLu, the baby howler monkey that was attached to our guide Kelly last year paid us a visit so that was cool. She’s getting big! Didn’t see the ocelots or jaguarindies  because they don’t want them to get used to people. (I wonder if Kelly took us back there in error last year…) Got to see a scarlet Macaw up close (Joy), the 3 Capuchin Monkeys are now 4, 2 males and 2 females, and they moved on up like the Jeffersons to a dee-lux cage. The 2-toed sloth was out and healthy. She was sick last year. We also got to see the kinkachoo better this time; they’re very cute. The baby ant eater was either set free or didn’t make it, we forgot to ask. It was a good visit.

The only sad story was about Gordo. Gordo was an overweight monkey. She was kept in as a pet in a garage and was fed marshmallows & junk food and just crap. The Refuge took Gordo in and slowly she lost weight. She was doing pretty good; diet was right, things were looking up. Then, typical of life, it was taken away. One night around Thanksgiving 2006, a jaguar climbed 60 feet up the tree she was sleeping in and ate her. Gordo got eaten!! L But, they learned something new: Jaguars will climb to eat. It was always though they fed on the forest floor. Plus, having a jaguar around is a good sign of a healthy rain forest. So, even though Gordo died, she still benefited science and conservation on the way out. Thanks, Gordo.

After the refuge we were to go snorkeling, but before we left the area we found a pod of dolphins feeding! Very cool, and very unexpected. They were playing with the boat too. There were tons of them, more than we’d ever seen before. Snorkeling was meh because we didn’t do it, we just stayed in the boat. I know why Goob didn’t go, but why I didn’t, I dunno. I’m just retarded. Oh well.

We came back, made lunch and did the usual hang out bit until dinner. Molested a few hermit crabs, took a crabbie movie, etc.

Yesterday was Valentines Day, so at sunset we walked down the beach to the restaurant The Oasis (which used to be the Zancudo Beach Club) on the south end of town for something new. It was a nice 35 minute walk at sunset, and we figured they’d give us a ride back like they used to when it was the Beach Club. On the way, we saw large hermies on their way to sea. Really big ones! Tonight, we’ll find ‘em again. Anyway, The Oasis is all enclosed, mildly air conditioned, and decent. Food was good, but not ‘wow’. The Tico girl who waited tables was cute and understood just enough English to be easily confused; the older lady at the bar bothered me and tried to charge us 1,500 colones more than we ordered; and the younger blonde woman well, I think “Snooty Bitch” is the right phrase for her. We asked about a ride back to Los Cocos, and they said they would call a taxi. We waited. Finally the “Snooty Bitch” came to us and said Susan was coming for us and she couldn’t possibly leave “her” bar to take us. Meh, whatever. I felt bad for bothering Susan. Come to find out from Susan during the ride home that the original owners sold the place because no locals liked it and thought it was bland. Plus, it is kind of far. The new owners don’t give rides to/from there anymore, so I don’t know how they stay in business. We won’t be back. It’s too far, and not all that great really, for the trouble. Plus, I don’t need “Snooty Bitches”.

When we got back we watched home movies. Two crabbie flicks, a Golfito flight, and lovely teenage girl blackmail films; a slumber party talk & song, and costumed Gooblings. Good stuff. Girls are weird! After a little playtime, Guido passed out. Woke up this morning, got myself a gun…

13:00              Cabin porch
Entry written by Goober

My ankles itch! Thank god for Benedryl cream. :) So, now it’s my turn to add something. Not sure what to add. :) (besides funny faces) Tee-Hee!

It’s funny the kinds of things we make up to talk about when there’s nothing to do but just be. Not that we don’t talk about random stuff at home, but at home, practical discussions and project-talk prevail. What should we do today gets answers like “paint Stacia’s bathroom” or “go to the gym” instead of “let’s build a fort for hermit crabs and take pictures of them crawling out.” And instead of questions like “why does no one else rinse the sink”, “when are you going to be home”, or “how did all these pine needles get inside”, we ask questions like “where do hermit crab shells come from – do they grown them or find them”, or “…hmmm… I wonder what other kinds of abstract questions I can ask that can be a good source of discussion.”

So last night, as Guido already said, we did the 35 minute walk down the beach to Oasis. We’ve done a lot less beach walking this year it seems like. Anyway – it was cool to head that way, we’d waded up the beach (towards the point) earlier in the week. There were some giant hermit crabs that we’ll need to go play with tonite, some cool shells, lots of dead/eaten fish and wide, flat wet, “beach” below the steeper part of the beach that had a wonderful reflection of the sunset. I kinda wish we’d been walking the other direction, so that we could walk towards the sunset and see it all the time instead of having to turn around to look at it. But that part of the beach was cool to see. It’s amazing how much slower it is to write than to type. When there’s actually a thought trying to get out, handwriting is dreadfully slow, and sometimes by the time you finish one sentence, the next thought is already gone. Then you have to stop and think about what that thought was. Maybe you remember maybe you don’t. I wonder how many great stories would never have been written if computers had been invented long ago. Heck, how many stories are not being written, or being written very differently today than if writers still wrote things by hand. I remember when “typing” your essay for school was a novel concept – and that was on a typewriter! Now when kids learn to write – do their brains process the output differently? You know, like get a bunch of words on paper (on screen), then go back and move stuff around, change works, get prompted for grammatical and spelling errors. But when you actually have to write something, you invest so much time into the act of writing, that you really have to think about all the elements of writing, – because it’ll take just as long to writing a second, or a thing, or a fourth time. Do you think it’s changed the way our creativity manifests itself? Are we more prolific than we need to be just because we can be? Or maybe there’s a whole other level of creativity that has been released because the barrier to entry is lower? Do things like text messages help us revert to being more concise out of necessity again? Hmmm… Interesting thoughts, and only in Costa Rica. Amazing how interesting our thoughts can be when our brains are not trapped by the requirements of normal life.  That’s all for now! :)

14:00              Sol y Mar

Paul Sunny P S
12 121 285
18 32 72 32
30 153 357 298
16 30 38 41
46 183 395 339
70 2 11 33
116 185 406 372
4 63 60 30
120 248 466 402
79 3 51
199 251 453
86 15 4

Friday, February 16, 2007
09:00              Cabin Porch
Entry Written by Goober

We had a great rain last night – hard rain for an extended period. The rain left its texture in the sand. Very bumpy. A large palm tree fell across the road just before Sol y Mar and took out the power lines. It was a hot, wet, humid night, especially with no fan. Amazing what a difference that fan makes. At this point, the power is on for everyone except us thru the house next to the banana cabins because we’re all on one offshoot of the power line that got yanked out when the tree fell. They were supposed to be back at 8 this morning to finish the fixin’, but no sign of them yet. Almost reminds me of Ilha do Mel, except no violently peeling sunburns. Oh god – that was awful! I wonder how much nicer our memories of that place would be if weren’t so uncomfortable? I wonder if the islands have split by now. One of these days when we make it back to Brazil, we also have to go back to Ilha do Mel – when they’re not planning power cable repair. :)

Donde esta nuestra electricidad? Yo quiero tomar barilo! You siento sticky! :)

I wish I could draw. I would love to be able to paint pictures of this place and capture its essence. Oh well. Maybe Stacia will be up to the task one day.

11:30              Cabin Porch
Entry Written by Goober

Yay Power!

Saturday, February 17, 2007
18:30              Dinner @ Hotel Brittannia

Quick note: More later: Dinner wine – 2001 Ruffino Chianti, Italy. Very good. Fruity!

Monday, February 19, 2007
11:15              35,000 feet up, Flight 2166 to Dallas

One of the main reasons I wanted to try and keep a journal up to date this time is because I hate the idea of trying to “recap” or “catch-up” after a few days. Well, here I am on the plane to Dallas and I’m forced into a recap/catch-up. Goob won’t do it. Frankly I’d rather be reading my book, “The Anansi Boys” by Neil Gaiman than scribble here. Thankfully, there’s not a whole lot more to say. We last left off Friday morning when Goob wrote about our power outage. At 11:30 we got it back, took showers, made lunch, and generally continued our uber-lazy routine of sitting on our butts. I went for my last swim around 3 pm, alone. I had fun though, because at that time the tide was at it’s highest, and with the afternoon wind, it was a lot of fun in the big swells. Woulda been more fun my buddy though. Oh well.

Soon after, we went for our final dinner in Zancudo, at Sol y Mar, of course. It was barbeque night… mmm… jumbo shrimp… We chatted with Robert & Ellen and a family from the cold upper wilds of Quebec about the place, Robert & Ellen’s week, and I’m very happy they’ve enjoyed it all. It was nice that finally someone had enough courage (and funds) to come down. Maybe one day some others will visit. If not, oh well. It’s our spot and that’s fine by me. Poop on them!

Saturday Morning we packed up and consumed as much of our lingering food as possible. We buggered off for the boat taxi with Andrew around 12:30. While waiting at the dock, we saw really large sea hermies scuttling about the mucky river bottom. Golfito was as hot and sticky as usual, but the airport had improvements. They constructed a large new section for the waiting area and it was very cool. Maybe next year the old building will be gone. The “airport bar” was also open, but their radio seemed to be stuck on the “1986 chick song” playlist of the Bangles, Bonnie Tyler, and REO Speedwagon. Our 2:20 flight came at 3:00 and I popped my happy pill when I saw the plane on approach. Just a precaution. I’ve been anxious about the flight back to San Jose all week (and before, actually). In the end, it was fine. They’re always fine. Yeah, it was a bit bumpy in spots, but really not worth the anxious dread and build up I lather onto it. However, I’m always VERY happy and relaxed once we’re slowly taxing to the terminal. We got our bags and left in a taxi. Now, it’s uncharted territory. We were not headed to the Don Carlos, but to Hotel Brittannia. We got there just as a busload of traveling German tourist (all seniors) arrived. So, we waited. Thankfully, even though the lobby was packed w/German tourists, they checked in pretty quick and we were off to our rooms. Rooms… meh. Two twin beds. Noisy lobby. The place is okay, but it is NO Don Carlos. We had dinner there, which was pricier than the DC, but we had a very nice Chianti (and fava beans!) and enjoyed the company.

Sunday morning at 8:00 we were to be picked up for our bike tour. We had our breakfast at the hotel, which was fruit and toast. It’s nice and all, but again, the DC rocks. They offered additional things for breakfast like eggs, gallo pinto, etc. But we’re cheap and lazy. After breakfast we got ready for our tour. The guide was waiting for us promptly at 8:00. We were the only ones on the tour! Yay! No other obnoxious Americans! The guide’s name was José, and he reminds me of someone and I can’t place it. Anyway, more about the tour in a bit. I want to read a bit. Still to come: sunburn, tender bum, and empanadas!

16:25 PDT    Flight home

So, here we are on the flight home. I’ve gotten Goob to agree to help close out the journal. My duty: the bike tour, where I left off…

The van ride took us thru the old capital of Cartago to our first little stop in Cervantes for fruit snacks for later. We bought a pop and a couple of yummy fruit pastries to snack on, then back down the road. We drove through a lot of coffee plantations, but then the sugar cane started. So, we had coffee, we had sugar… now all we needed were cows and we had ourselves a latté! J Anyway, we drove on to Turrialba, found a dirt road next to more sugar cane, and got out the bikes. My bike was too small, which I was a little surprised about, since I was asked when I booked it how tall I was so they could size me. I guess since there’s not a lot of tall Ticos, I just got the biggest bike. Goob seemed ok on hers, size-wise. So, at 9:30 or so we headed down the road. A bumpy road. Potholes, exposed bedrock, that sort of thing. Very bumpy, but flat. Goob was a bit slow, which was fine, and as we went along her comfort level—er no, I can’t say “comfort” —“familiarity” with the bike increased. As for comfort… well, not. The bumpy road, plus a bad seat, plus probably nonfunctional shocks, plus not being used to riding a bike led to an early statement of “My butt’s gonna be sore!” by Goob. It was cool and sunny out, and even though we brought it, we never put on sunscreen. Why, I have no good reason. Perhaps since it wasn’t 88º and 100% humidity we didn’t think we needed it. I dunno. El stupido gooberos. Down the road we went. It was kind of lame at first; the road was like the old gravel farm/county roads I remember from growing up, except for the exposed bedrock and sinkholes of course. After a short distance the road forked off to the left to a little offshoot and we took it. It wound its way into the hill and trees and felt more like a forest service road, which I much preferred, at least until it went uphill. It wasn’t bad actually, considering that hills and I never get along. On the up-side, Goob did great. She’s got her pace, and that’s the speed she’ll go, hill or not. Her legs will do what they do. I think she did better than me. Anyway, the whole day consisted of winding our way around this hillside and sugarcane field, and crossing the Pejibaye River. You can take the bridge or you can try to bike it. Goob wisely chose the bridge. She’s smarter than me. And I have video proof of it. I tried, and if the bottom wasn’t so slippery, I might have made it. But no, splunk went the left foot, splunk went the right foot. Both soaked. (They’re still soaked. I’m wearing Tevas on the plane!) So we continue on, winding around, going across a few bridges, cruising thru a little town, a nice ride for the most part. Except Goob’s bum was really hurting. She doesn’t bike. It’s not her thing. And here she is, enduring a butt-bruising bike ride on dusty, rocky, bumpy roads for me, with me, and with the exception of one bit just before the end, she stayed on, she stayed positive, happy-ish and took it all (and especially the tender bum) much better than I would if roles were swapped. I love my Goob. I owe her. All told, we were out for about 4-5 hours. Remember the sunscreen? Good. Because we didn’t. After religiously slobbering on sunscreen for a week in Zancudo with no Goober burns and only a belly burn for me, we blew it on the last day. My legs from the knee up to about 8 inches up are beet red, so are my arms and hands. Dumb. Goob too, but I always burn worse that she does. Just a pasty white boy. Now I’ve gone from “splotch boy” to “lobster splotch boy”! Hooray!! We ended the ride just a bit early and loaded up the van. We inspected our bodies for burns, but didn’t see any and we thought we escaped. Wrong! Sometime during lunch, it finally baked in and we began to see the damage. Ouch! Why is it that you never see it until it’s too late? Lunch was ok, not the best ‘typical’ Tico food, but not the worst. Except for the beet slice. Disgusting thing bled all over my food! Bleah! The ride home took forever, and Goob’s bum really hurt, so it seemed longer than it probably was. We finally got back to the hotel and showered, plopped, and compared burnage..

I enjoyed the ride, but I don’t think I’d do it again. And I certainly don’t think I’ll ever get Goob on a bike on vacation again! She was a trooper, and her bum will heal, but the mark left is probably a bit more permanent.

My work is done here, Goob will finish up. Guido, signing off!

17:42 PDT    Flight home
Entry written by Goober

Less than three hours to Seattle – the rain and cold await. It will definitely be welcome, and I hope our coats are still in the car cuz we’ll need ‘em! So, yeah, the bike tour was definitely an experience I don’t really care to revisit. My butt really does hurt, along with the heel of my hands (that took the brunt of the handle bars). I was really happy, though, that I didn’t crash. I learned on the very first downhill to take the hills slowly. My water bottle fell off on a rock and I had to stop. The only other extra “stop” was when the chain fell off my bike. It wasn’t until the very end when my aching butt and sore quads and oncoming headache got the best of me and I snapped a bit. I was done, but I wasn’t about to give up and stop before we were really done. So, I made it. Whew! I think part of my problem was I was expecting something overall pretty different. I was expecting something more like a nice trail like the Burke-Gilman along a beautiful river. It was so not those conditions. Oh well – live and learn.

Anyways – got back to the hotel and plopped – we had arranged to have a “closing” dinner with Robert and Ellen at breakfast that morning. We were going to walk the 5 blocks to the Don Carlos, raid the gift shop, and have dinner in the pre-Columbian lounge. I had been looking forward to the Combo Pura Vida since we left Seattle oh so long ago. Empanada de pollo, con gallo pinto. Mmm… The gift shop was nice. They’ve done some changing around. They moved the stairway entrance to outside of the shope and closed in the stairs that used to be behind the register. They had some new stuff, but noting totally new and awesome. We got a notebook of banana paper for Kylie so that she can write more stories, a little journal for Stacia for her NY/DC trip, a cute wood frame with a butterfly for Stacia, they had Guido’s super cool mugs again (after a long absence), so we got two of those. We also got another pot – this one with crabs around it… and what else… I think we got another feather painting, a cool bright blue frog. Then off to dinner. It was great. Slow as snail shit, but that’s part of its charm. Empanada, gallo pinto, cappuchino, pineapple crisp, coffee… yummo! We also got to hear all about Robert and Ellen’s canopy tour. Sounded pretty cool. They did the Sara Piqui River tour, rode horses up to the start of the canopy tour, did 8 lengths, and that was it. OF course, there was more story-telling at dinner. The things they saw on the boat, getting all harnessed up, climbing long ladders, getting stuck in the middle of a rope, etc. After dinner, we walked back to the hotel. I plopped, to rest my aching bum, my sore legs, and my still present headache. Paul got everything packed up and I took my headache sleepy pills.

We left the alarm set for 06:30 and planned to leave around 8. We didn’t need the alarm at all. Both Guido and I were awake around 5. Although we both tried to catch some extra Z’s and not just be bored waiting. The time came, and we got up, showered, put the final touches on the packing, and went down for breakfast. By 8, we were all checked out and ready to go. That’s when the plan lost its momentum. No taxi appeared for nearly a half-hour, plus, traffic was bad in the city, so it was 9 before we got to the airport. Three lines and 45 minutes later, we were in a gift shop then things went from slightly frustrating (because the taxi delay, etc) to downright Guido pissy. They had some really cool-looking salsa in the gift shop, one mango-something and also a passion fruit. Guido grabbed the mango one and was carrying it around the store as he looked for other stuff. One of the store staff came up and told him that he couldn’t by it. Apparently now in San Jose, anything liquid you buy has to be taken to the gate by the store. No passenger is allowed to bring any liquid on the planes. How stupid is that! And the stores won’t let you buy anything liquid with 2 hours of the flight to give them time to take your stuff to the gate. With less than 30 minutes to boarding we missed out. So, we stocked up on coffee and we were off. We made a quick stop at the duty-free shop to see if we might possibly get some rum, but with only 5 minutes to boarding, we were too late. Needless to say, Guido was not happy.

The flight to Dallas was pretty uneventful after that. We hung out in the AAdmirals club for a couple hours and here we are – Almost home!

Epilogue by Guido

All in all, it was a most awesome and enjoyable time on our 2007 Costa Rica adventure. It really was what we needed. Everything went quite well, and we had a great time just being with each other for what seems like the first time in a long time. But, we did find ourselves thinking about the girls a lot, since they were there with us last time. It’s odd too, for me to be down there, in my happy place, and be fondly reminiscing about the girls’ adventures last year. Odd, but not bizarre. Good times. Next year, we shall return with the Gooblings, as I think they’ve been bitten by the Zancudo bug themselves.

So, until next time, cheerio to all those who stumbled upon this journal.