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The Curse of the Bambino

sunny 31 °C

9 March 2016
Hotel Bosque del Mar
Playa Hermosa
Guanacaste, Costa Rica


Good morning, blog fans! I realize that for most of you, it’s warm where you are, which is a little disappointing to me, since one of the points of coming to the tropics in early March was to be warm while the rest of you are cold. (Yes, sometimes vacation decisions hinge on something that trivial.) If it makes you feel any better or less envious, it’s not warm here—I would classify it as HOT. But it’s not bad here in the shade by the pool… (and before anyone asks, I am slathered in sunscreen and insect repellent, even though I am wearing clothes and sitting in the shade!)

Anyway, I arrived late last night after the adventure of two three hour flights with, it seemed like, every baby in Christendom. When I got to my gate yesterday morning in Philadelphia, there was the cutest little guy who was quite taken with me. For those of you who know my track record with babies, you’ll know this is quite rare. Most of them hate my guts, and apparently the sight of my face or my smell makes them scream bloody murder. More on that in a moment. Anyway, he and I flirted for a little while, then his parents asked if I would keep an eye on their bag while they stepped away for a minute. Sure, no problem. They proceeded to disappear for over a half hour!!! The boarding lounge was starting to fill up, so I gave their seat away to a sweet little old man who had had two knee replacements. Hey, you snooze, you lose! They still didn’t show up. The flight was getting ready to board, so I deputized the wife to guard their stuff so I could run to the restroom before the flight to Miami boarded. The people still hadn’t returned by the time I got back from the bathroom. (I sure am glad they only asked me to watch their suitcase, not their kid!) They finally showed up just as the gate agent made the first boarding announcement. Who does that???

Baby number two belonged to the rabbi who was in my seat when I got on the plane. Now, I know what you’re thinking: that I should have just sucked it up and let the rabbi have the aisle seat and taken the middle seat. Between him and his wife and their baby. Ain’t happening, people, especially on a three-hour flight. I wouldn’t give up an aisle seat for my mother, let alone for a rabbi with a potentially screaming kid, especially after said rabbi, wife, and baby had filled and closed the entire overhead bin before I ever got there. However, after boarding was done, there was an empty aisle seat diagonally from that one, so I moved so they could have room to sprawl out. This was not entirely altruistic of me, since the middle seat beside the one I moved to was empty. Cha-ching! I think the rabbi’s baby was pretty well behaved during the flight, but it’s hard to be sure since I had my noise-cancelling headphones on. Those suckers do work!

I had two tasks when I got to Miami: exchange money and get some dinner. Both were equally challenging. For reasons surpassing my understanding, there was only one money exchange office in all of Terminal D at the Miami airport, at Gate D19, and of course I had to be at Gate D60 to catch my flight (and there are no skipped numbers). I had time to kill, so I walked rather than taking the little skyway. When I got there, I made the exchange, and I have to say that, at least in Costa Rica, I think I’m rich! I got 415,000 Costa Rican colones for my US dollars! (And that is the correct plural. I checked. Otherwise, it would be multiple internal organs, and that’s just nasty. ) Dinner was less exciting, but definitely an adventure: any time you eat airport Chinese food in advance of a 3 hour flight, you’re pressing your luck!

The curse of the bambino struck on the flight from Miami to Liberia. There were three babies on that flight and they all screamed bloody murder for three hours. Then, to add a little hilarity to the mix, the littlest one had a sleeper blowout during the flight. (I wasn’t sitting beside him, but this was confirmed by the hub-bub by his seat and by the fact that he was wearing clean clothes when we all got off the plane.) Amar Bose’s marvelous invention is the only thing that kept me out of jail yesterday, I assure you of that.

I got picked up at the airport by the tour company’s driver, who took me the ~30 minutes to the resort. I am not completely sure where I am relative to the airport, but it’s “a fur piece” as we say back home. In fact, I think I heard banjo music a couple of times. A couple of observations about Costa Rican driving: everyone drives with their high beams on at night, whether there is oncoming traffic or not, but that’s because it’s so dark here. No street lights at all, very much like the Big Island of Hawaii. I read in my travel book that there are lots of sea turtles that come to Costa Rica to lay their eggs, and ambient light pollution can confuse them, so maybe the darkness is intentional, but regardless, it’s disorienting! Another thing is the rolling altos. (Alto is the Spanish word for stop.) Perhaps my driver didn’t think I knew what the red octagon signs that said “alto” meant…

The resort is lovely, if jungle-esque. That’s not a problem if they show you to your room in the daylight, but in the dark, you are very reluctant to go back out without a machete and a map! It was late, so I hung out in my room and checked out my television options: standard US broadcast stations from Miami (so lots of nasty election commercials), or American TV shows dubbed in Spanish. “Bones” in Spanish was particularly funny! A couple of comments on the room. First, there is no bathtub. For those of you that know the Burch family predilection for baths, this is pretty much a deal breaker. There is, however, a very cute little foot shower, so you can at least adjust the temperature of the water before you get hit in the face with it. Also, this being anywhere but the United States, the air conditioner setting is in Celsius, not Fahrenheit. However, being an above-average engineer with exemplary knowledge of all major temperature scales, I did the conversion in my head and selected 24C for my cooling comfort.

So what am I doing now, you ask? The tour doesn’t technically start until 6:00 pm this evening, so I had a little breakfast, followed by a walk on the beach. I didn’t see many shells, but the ones I found were this lovely shade of pink.
I scheduled a massage for later this afternoon, but for now, I am going to give nothing a try. That is, if I am not interrupted again by this iguana…


Hasta luego!

Posted by hidburch 08:36 Archived in Costa Rica

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