Monday, August 25, 2008

Costa Rica Part 2

The plane* that took us from San Jose to Tortuga was small. Actually, that's quite an understatement. You know those planes that Horizon uses to do commuter flights? The ones with the two props? Those are small. This plane was several sizes down, and would best be described as frighteningly tiny. In fact, the only way to find a smaller aircraft would probably be to get an ultra-light or maybe a hang glider.

When we first arrived at the private airfield early in the morning, we saw many small planes around and made all sorts of guesses about which one would be ours. In fact, our plane was nowhere in sight until the last minute when we were asked to walk out onto the runway. There it was in all its four-seater glory, the smallest airplane I'd ever seen up close.

Needless to say, there wasn't any jet way or even a set of roll-away stairs. There was only one small door. The pilot actually had to fold his seat forward to let us get in the back, and we were asked to pitch our luggage in the narrow space behind our seats. It smelled like the inside of a 1968 Dodge Dart.

The pilot climbed in (I could have reached up and tapped him on the shoulder we were so close) and began his pre-flight check. All of a sudden there was a yell, and the pilot opened his door again to admit a last-minute passenger. This person actually climbed over the pilot in order to take the co-pilot's seat. He handed back his backpack for stowage, and we were off.

I know I should have been scared by the whole situation, but sometimes, when I know I can't do anything to impact the things, I just stop worrying. This meant that I was actually able to enjoy the flight quite a bit. It was fun watching the city disappear, giving way to farms, and then nothing but mile upon mile of jungle. We remained low enough to see much more detail than on the average flight.

By the end of the 25 minutes, we could see the island on which we would land including the grass/dirt landing strip. It was truly like something out of Indiana Jones to climb out of that tiny plane and see nothing but jungle and river beyond the airstrip. And the humidity, did I mention the humidity? It slaps you like a wet towel and reminds you once more that you are not, in fact, still in Seattle.

We'd arrived safely on the island of Tortuguero.

*Plane in first pic is obviously not our actual one. How the heck would I take that pic?

Friday, August 22, 2008

Soup Anyone?

Taking a break from my Costa Rica fest, I just had to pass on the link to this incredible article about a trip to a soup kitchen. First of all, the author lives in my hometown, so the experience she's writing about is something I can easily picture. Second, it's just an amazing piece of writing about what it's like to hit bottom and need help. We often assume that those who use social services are somehow not as smart or "together" as the rest of us. However, hard times really can come to anyone.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Costa Rica Part 1

Costa Rica is a place I have always wanted to visit ever since I read about it in my History of Latin America class in college. The country's two claims to fame are unparalleled biodiversity and an incredibly stable and peaceful political system. Of course that second one may not seem like a very romantic reason to visit, but when you consider the history of the region, it really does make a difference. Add in the ease of getting there from the U.S. and the comparatively cheap price for the trip, and you have a package that is hard to resist. We were not remotely disappointed.

The flight from Seattle to Houston, Texas is really no big deal in that it takes only about 3.5 hours. It is sort of scary to land at the George Bush Intercontinental Airport (Intercontinental?!) especially when you come across the life-size statue of the former president. However, it is actually a decent, modern place, and I can't really complain too much. We arrived very early in the morning, and spent about three hours mooching around before boarding our next flight to San Jose. Again, the flight was only about 3.5 hours, and before you know it, you're there in Costa Rica!

San Jose is, well, a city. It is not particularly lovely or exciting as far as we could tell. We did get a certain thrill from driving on the Pan-American Highway (Alaska to Chile), but otherwise there isn't much to tell. We did get to stay in a very nice, historic hotel, Grana del Oro which means "golden grain" this refers to the huge importance of coffee in years past. The best part about the hotel was the restaurant which featured an open central courtyard and the most incredible stained-glass windows. Granted, the food was more French than Costa Rican, but we still enjoyed dinner very much.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Tackling Costa Rica

Well I've been a bad blogger this past week. This is largely due to the mental block associated with describing something as exciting as our Honeymoon. No, no I don't mean the romantic moments. That should remain, I'm sure you'll agree, quite private. The bits I want to share are associated with the incredible people, animals, and places we saw while we were away. I think I will simply transcribe the more interesting bits of my travel journal, and see how that goes. If I can manage to pull down some of our pictures, that will be a bonus. Fingers crossed that it all comes out well.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Our Wedding

Not long after we got engaged, I was talking with our friends, J and T, about their wedding which took place a few years ago. I asked them how the day actually went from their perspective, and I was surprised to hear J (the man no less!) say something like "Oh it was perfect. It was absolutely the best day we could have had. The only problem with it is that it didn't last longer." I thought that was incredibly sweet, but how could a whole day be perfect? Especially with all the million pieces that need to come together for a wedding? Something has got to go wrong. There had to be stresses and difficulties right? Nevertheless, when our day came, I knew exactly what J was saying.

Our day felt perfect too. It really did. From the moment I got up to the moment we went to bed everything seemed to go smoothly. Breakfast with the girls was excellent, our hair and make-up experience was incredible (more on that later), and then there was the actual ceremony and reception. Honestly, I can't think of anything that actually bothered me or caused me to feel anxious. Everyone was so kind to us and so helpful that I really don't think I had a moments worry.

Just a few of the memorable moments were (in no particular order):

--- My little brother staying with me the night before to "protect my honor"
--- Eating tasty sushi lunch with my three lovely bride's maids
--- Seeing those beautiful flowers for the first time
--- Hearing the distant sound of "You Can't Hurry Love" and "Going to the Chapel"
--- Seeing all those handsome boys dressed up so beautifully in their tuxes
--- Walking around the corner with my parents to the sound of "Valkyries"
--- Seeing M at the end of the aisle
--- Two little flower girls with rosebud crowns
--- Seeing not one, but two brothers tearing up
--- The way elder niece read the poem
--- The rings, the words, the look on his face
--- Signing the certificate
--- The sun-washed image of all our family and friends
--- The first peep into the beautiful reception room that so many people helped to create
--- The simple, sweet, green-and-white cake with its serene wedding couple on top
--- Bubbles from all, but especially pesky brothers
--- Oh the toasts
--- Delicious food and everyone seated around us
--- Dancing with my dad, dancing with my brothers, dancing with everyone
--- Dancing the first dance, many middle dances, and the last dance with M
--- The classic British Taxi that took us away
--- The love, the elation, the excitement, the amazement that this was all really real

I would have married M in a courthouse in jeans and t-shirt if needed. I would have been happy just to have him. In the end, married is married no matter how you get there, and that is the part which is really important. However, the fact that we got to have our very own perfect day is something for which I will always be grateful. Reader, I married him. I actually did! Can you believe it?

Monday, August 11, 2008


Can you believe it?! More on that later. Right now I have to dig myself out of a pile of honeymoon laundry the size of Texas.