For those of you that follow me on Instagram, you might have seen some pictures of Santa Clause at the airport. I totally thought it was just a funny coincidence, but it turns out that there were Santa's on a lot of planes because there was a Santa Clause convention in Costa Rica. I would've thought they would hold those in like the North Pole or something, but I guess even Santa likes to get away somewhere tropical before Christmas comes.
I have never been one of those lucky people who can sleep on an airplane. I think I managed to pass out once when I was flying from Florida back to Idaho and I was hungover. It was not a fun flight, but I slept. So when our flight to Houston and then Costa Rica left at midnight, I knew I'd need some help. Before the flight, I had a glass of wine that I took some melatonin with. Once on the plane, I had earplugs and a sleep mask and I swear it was the best 3 hours' sleep I've had in a long time.
Once we landed in Costa Rica and met up with our family that lives in Minnesota, we set out for our adventure. The first night we were staying in Arenal and had kind of a drive, so we got started in our two cars. On the way there, we pulled off on a dirt road because the car with the kids in it needed a break, and the car got stuck int he mud. And I mean stuck. Growing up with snow, I think all of us just assumed that we'd be able to push it out because with snow you almost always can. But it wasn't working. And we tried everything: using the floor mats for traction, pushing from the front, using our car to push the car from the back, nothing worked. Of course, by this time, it was puring out. Everyone who had gotten out of the cars to help were soaked. I was wringing out my dress and had mud half way up my leg and Colin eventually changed to a swimsuit. Eventually, when we had exhausted all our efforts, our car drove back to this little roadside market and B (who speaks Spanish way better than anyone else) asked them for some rope. They gave us two pieces of rope that I wouldn't have even used to hold up a tire swing, but whatever. We had no choice. So back we went. And it worked! I clapped and hollered, Colin ran in circles and yelled excitedly and everyone else was so tense from the experience that it took awhile for everyone to breathe a sigh of relief.
Okay, now pictures. The next morning, we awoke to this view of the volcano Arenal.
We went for a walk on the grounds and saw all sorts of beautiful plants (unfortunately no monkeys were seen) and then later that morning, B and his mom and I did a short (very short) walk to a waterfall. It was really cold, but we both managed to dunk our heads because that is what you do when you are in Costa Rica and see a waterfall.
This is one of my favorite pictures of my sister-in-law, Libby. Isn't she beautiful? Elka's pretty cute, too.
That same morning, we had another long trip to Tamarindo, so we piled into the car and started our journey. Nobody got stuck in the mud and we all made it safely to our rental house. Which, by the way, is amazing. Here's the link if you want to check it out. My mother in law found it, and it was as awesome as it looks in the pictures. It was a little further from town than we realized (like a 15 minute drive) but it was fun because we got to pass all these cute little farms, and one day we even passed through a herd of water buffalo! Some of the houses in Costa Rica are so....dilapidated. It feels like Neverland in the sense that the houses feel sort of pulled together with whatever materials happened to be lying around. I expected The Lost Boys to come running out of the houses and start flying. It was really pretty and magical, yet also kind of sad because I know people actually live there. I can't imagine how cold and wet it would be during the crazy thunderstorms.
The only part that sucked about the house was the very first night Libby and I found a scorpion. It totally freaked me out and it took me a few days to warm up to leaving the doors on our balcony open. Libby's mom, Mary, was a total badass and got rid of the scorpion with some Tupperware. She also slept outside (her choice!), so she's hardcore.
|Colin making a crazy face + baby Elka|
|But I want to go swimming!|
The group also went ziplining and on a mangrove tour, but I caught a cold and slept in so I missed out on that fun. Which sucks, because they got to see monkeys! I didn't get to see any monkeys on our trip, although we did hear them. The howler monkeys are loud. They sound like dogs fighting Chewbacca. I actually took a video of them but I have to edit it, so I will put it up later.
My mother-in-law wanted to do her Christmas card, so we all posed for her. Because it was so bright out, I put my camera on the setting where you can just hold down the shutter and it takes a whole bunch in a row. It's my favorite way to take photos of kids or dogs because they don't know how to sit still. Mary held the shutter down for us like a pro.
On Wednesday morning, our carload got up at 4am and drove back to the airport. You have to pay an exit tax for everyone of $29 and some guy didn't have any money, so we paid for him too. Then began our long journey home. It's always the worst. All you want to do is get home and then you have to sit on an airplane for 7 hours. B and I got super super lucky and had two whole rows to ourselves, so we watched The Great Gatsby (Daisy's a bitch) and tried to sleep. Then we got home at midnight where I was a total asshole because I was exhausted and grumpy and we had to wait for a shuttle to just get out of the airport (?). We made it through customs and got home where we got to see Gypsy and then fall into bed.
To sum up: Costa Rica is really beautiful and fun. If you do go, I would recommend traveling to a few different places to get a feel for everything. I really liked central Costa Rica, where the volcano was. Tamarindo was fun, but it was expensive and touristy. The house was awesome though, and I didn't mind hanging out by the pool all day, but it would've been fun to see some more of Costa Rica.
I know I'm missing a whole bunch of things that I wanted to write about, but I'm drawing a blank. Hopefully this post wasn't too long! I wanted to fill you guys all in on everything.