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Final Thoughts – Costa Rica

Thursday, January 31st, 2008


By the Numbers…
• Number of identified birds in Operation Bird Discovery – 47
• Pounds of gallo pinto (rice and beans) consumed – 6
• Number of monkey photos taken by Monkey Photographer BP – 1,000+
• Percentage of random foods Brendan made Mel eat – 24
• Number of Brel disagreements – 3 (that we’re counting, anyhow)
• Percentage of time Mel spent whining while hiking – 30%
• Number of hours Brendan claimed to be working when really, he was just surfing the internet – 26
• Ratio of Freebies to Personal Money spent – 2:1

Moments We’d Rather Forget…
• The 2.5 hour local bus ride to Dominical – spent standing in the aisle (until the whining finally got someone to give up their seat)
• Mel’s sun rash and Brendan’s food poisoning
• The plastic covered bed in Monteverde – shielding us from bed bugs perhaps?
• The many impossibly slow internet connections and the ridiculous amount of time we spent uploading content to the blog, and photos to Flickr

• Titi Monkeys eating bananas out of Mel’s hand (I know, you’re not supposed to feed the monkeys, but have you seen the pics? Who could resist!?)
• Waking up in Mel Gibson’s bed with waves crashing just metres away
• Being treated like VIP’s – when we all know this just isn’t the case
• The rooms at Arenas del Mar, the privacy of Latitude 10, the clubhouse at Rancho Pacifico and the service at Tabacon Hot Springs
• Meeting great Ticos (locals) and fascinating tourists – hola!
• Mastering some great salsa and merengue moves – and being applauded while trying them out in at a local restaurant
• Realizing people are actually reading our blog – thanks! We love the comments, so please keep ‘em coming!

Tarzan and Jane

Thursday, January 31st, 2008

We knew we couldn’t face any of you back home, if we didn’t participate in Costa Rica’s number one touristy adventure – the canopy zip line. For those of you who don’t know what we’re talking about, a zip-line is a series of cables strung over valleys, rivers and above the rainforest canopy (treetops).

Tour operators would have you believe that the canopy tour has something to do with wildlife, and spotting animals, but once they strap you into a climbing harness, clip you into a pulley and push you off a 100 foot platform, trust me – nature is the last thing on your mind.

My internal narrative went something like this: “Wow, this is high. Why am I doing this again? Why do I always feel the need to please Brendan – haven’t I already proven I love him by washing his dirty laundry and putting up with his nagging? Well, the view from here is kinda cool and I’ll probably see some cool stuff. OK, here we go. Expletive. Expletive. Expletive. I’m glad my Mom’s not here to hear these words. Oh god when will this be over? Expletive. If my eyes are closed and I’m zooming so fast, how the heck am I supposed to see anything? OK, almost done. I hope Brendan isn’t taking pictures – this can’t be a flattering angle. Excellent – I can see the platform. Ok, phew, I made it.”

Brendan’s internal narrative: “Cool. Can’t this thing go any faster? I can NOT believe I got Mel to do this. What the hell was THAT bird call? Shrill, squawking, almost shriek-like… Oh god, that was Mel. I’m so embarrassed….”

Mel - aka Jane Brendan - aka Tarzan Rancho Pacifico 236.jpg

“I’m gonna soak up the sun…”

Thursday, January 31st, 2008
We’ve spent the last 3 nights at the very unique and posh Rancho Pacifico, located high on a seaside mountaintop, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. ... [Continue reading this entry]

Dominical Sunset

Saturday, January 26th, 2008

After all this silly luxury I thought it was time to get down with the peeps. You know, keep it real. Otherwise known as the local bus. (Chicken-free) I assured Mel there was “hardly any” chance ... [Continue reading this entry]


Friday, January 25th, 2008
Titi Monkeys! No matter how many times you see them, they’re still cool. No, they don’t come when called (not for lack of trying by Mel: “…mooooooonos, ven aca monos…” was her second Spanish phrase ... [Continue reading this entry]

Lessons learned on the road…Volume Uno…

Thursday, January 24th, 2008
Brel 1. When travelling with limited underpants, the following manoeuvres are permitted: • Continuation – the continued wearing of a pair of semi-clean undies, after for example, a shower or swim, if the undies have been ... [Continue reading this entry]

Enough with the tree facts, already!

Thursday, January 24th, 2008
Downside to dating a former tour guide: enormous amounts of random, mostly useless knowledge. Brendan told me all about this gunera, but I 'soft focused' the details. Message to Brendan: stop with the tree facts - ... [Continue reading this entry]

Uno, Dos, Tres…

Thursday, January 24th, 2008
Mel Studying Hard…and then it gets really, really hard. I am taking Spanish classes this week in beautiful Manuel Antonio, while Brendan “works” (more on that later). It’s funny how challenging it has suddenly ... [Continue reading this entry]

Mal Pais and Montezuma, with Special Guest Star: Sean Evans

Thursday, January 17th, 2008

The Ugliest Teacher we Could Find

We’re joined this week by SPF 85 guest, Sean “el blanco” Evans, as we take on the surfer paradise of Mal Pais and the hippie-lands of Montezuma.

By surfer-paradise, ... [Continue reading this entry]

Butterflies and other Disgusting Bugs

Wednesday, January 16th, 2008
We thought the butterfly garden might be another meet-up spot for our new-found birding friends. Imagine our surprise when I ended up holding a live tarantula (caught in the garden earlier this week). I also had a chance to bond ... [Continue reading this entry]

Canopies, Monkeys and Birds, Oh My!

Wednesday, January 16th, 2008
Today we woke up in a cloud – and could literally see about 10 feet in front of us. So much for the view...Typical tourists, we instinctively planned on paying $$ for the heavily promoted Cloud Forest™, but soon realized ... [Continue reading this entry]

Head in the Clouds…

Wednesday, January 16th, 2008
Next up…the Monteverde Cloud Forest. Rather than stomach the pot-hole riddled 5-hour drive from La Fortuna, we opted to travel via horseback, again through the Desafio Adventure Co. Nixon, our guide, an authentic vaquero (cowboy) led us along Lake Arenal, ... [Continue reading this entry]

The Brel Honeymoon

Sunday, January 13th, 2008
We are currently on our honeymoon. Ok, so there wasn’t a wedding, and no, Mel still doesn’t have a ring, but we are living every couple’s dream honeymoon. We’re currently staying at Latitude 10 (, a luxury resort in ... [Continue reading this entry]

Somewhere down that crazy river…

Sunday, January 13th, 2008
B: After all the plush and cush of the first few days, it seemed time for a little adventure, Costa Rica-style. First up: canyoneering! Canyoneering is a combination of scrambling down a steep river canyon, often neck-deep in water, and rappelling ... [Continue reading this entry]

Luxury Accommodations: $0. Canyoning, rafting, horseback riding: $0. Gourmet food and wine: $0. Dating a travel writer: Priceless.

Sunday, January 6th, 2008
Tabacon Hot Springs One of the first conversations we had the day Brendan and I met, was the whole travel vs. vacation debate. His point, of course, was that I had not truly travelled, but merely vacationed. His ... [Continue reading this entry]