Tag Archives: exploring

Costa Rica Trip, Day 1 – Getting There


Getting to La Fortuna de San Carlos, Costa Rica is no simple trip. After staying up until 11:30 to pack, we had to get up again at 1:30 am to go to the airport. We got there so early that the check-in counter wasn’t even open yet, which meant that we stood in line for a half an hour waiting to check our bags. The plus side was that we were third in line, so once they did open we got through quickly.

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Naptime is about to commence.
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Goodbye, Connecticut!

We flew to Atlanta, barely maintaining consciousness. I’m telling you, we probably looked like two bobble-head dolls with our heads lolling to and fro. In Atlanta, we had to walk from A to F  because the “Plane Train” broke down. Which was actually ok, because it gave us some exercise and helped us wake up a bit.

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Halfway there – HAH! Little did I know…


The second flight seemed unnecessarily long – probably because we weren’t sleeping through it. We landed in Liberia at about 1pm. Getting through customs was quick and easy.

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Hello, Costa Rica!

 

We rented a Hyundai Accent Blue through Adobe Rental Cars. The guys there were really nice and got us on our way quickly. The road by the airport was a mess because it was being repaired. It was so holey and bumpy I thought for sure we were going to destroy the car in the first 10 minutes of having it.

Being the cheapskates that we are, we didn’t want to pay extra for a GPS, and of course we didn’t want our phones to be roaming, so we had to rely on maps to find our way around. By this point we were pretty hungry, so we stopped at one of the first places we saw. It turned out to be some kind of Costa Rican/Asian Fusion place. Not the best first impression of Costa Rican food.

After we ate, we were quick to get back on the road. I had read that you don’t want to be driving at night in Costa Rica if you’re not familiar with where you’re going.

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This is the jolly good time part.

At first, the drive was a jolly good time and we were only slightly confused by the complete lack of road signage. We were excited to take everything in. The scenery was amazing and we were loving life.

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We came across a huge wind farm at dusk. It’s at the opposite end of Lake Arenal from where we were heading. 

After several hours, I figured we must be getting close to our destination, but no. If you look at the map of Laguna Arenal, it’s a huge lake. At one point we had to make a turn and we were confused about which way to go (again – complete lack of road signage!)

We stopped to ask a kid for directions and he said he was going our way. So Dave invited him to hop in. He only spoke Spanish, so I just listened to their conversation and thought about what I would do if he pulled a knife or a gun and tried to rob us. Because, America.

He rode with us for half an hour or so before we dropped him off. By then, it was completely dark. The road around the lake has a lot switchbacks – I guess because the terrain is too variable to put in a nice smooth road – so it was really rough going. Then it started to rain. In the dark and rain it felt like we just kept going around the same curves over and over and I was beginning to think we were in some kind of twilight zone. Or that I was going insane.

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Laguna de Arenal is the largest lake in Costa Rica.
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A close up, so you can see the switchbacks.


After what seemed like eternity, we arrived in La Fortuna around 7. We checked into Hotel Tangara and I was ready to lie down and sleep the minute we walked into our room. We managed to steel ourselves enough to go back out and get a quick dinner.

When we finally did get back to the room and lie down to sleep, we noticed that the curtains did not block out any light from the outside. Our room was right next to the reception area, so it was very bright. Luckily we had eye masks that we’d used to snooze on the plane, so we ended up sleeping with those over our eyes every night we were there.

Stay tuned for Day 2!

Vegas Trip… Part 1


 Yesterday morning I said goodbye to the pretty fall colors (and my pretty little Mazda) and embarked on a two-flight journey to Las Vegas, Nevada to help out with a trade show for work. 

I think fall colors look brighter on rainy days.
  

My flight to Chicago was uneventful.  Like, really uneventful. It was cloudy so there was nothing to look at out the window, and they didn’t even offer snacks with the beverage service. 

When I landed in Chicago I had just enough time to run to the bathroom before I had to board the next flight, so I couldn’t grab any lunch. Luckily I had trail mix and a huge bottle of water, but I was still so hungry. I bought a snack box on the plane. It had about 5 chips and this difficult-to-open hummus.  

Horrendously inadequate lunch.

At least on the second flight I was next to a petite woman and not a massive dude like I usually get stuck next to. She even got up to use the bathroom as we were flying over the Rockies, so I got some cool pictures. 

Somewhere in Colorado
  
Snow capped mountains magesty
  
When I got to Vegas, one of my coworkers was waiting for me at the gate, so that was nice. We shared a taxi to the hotel. I felt somewhat crappy at this point because I hadn’t had much to eat, and even though it was 4pm Las Vegas time, my tummy time was 7pm. 

We checked in and then went to the trade show floor to see the state of our booth. I grabbed a slice of pizza on the way, but it was too late. I wolfed down the pizza as we were walking. We spent about a half hour rearranging the booth that our other colleagues had attempted to set up. 

That evening, there was a welcome reception at the Chateau nightclub. I went back to my room to change and I was feeling so awful. I knew it was from not getting enough food and from being stuck on a plane most of the day. The pizza was just lurking in my stomach undigested. 

I made an attempt to do the nightclub. I got dressed up, I went all the way there and met up with more of my team. The pulsing lights and the smells of the food and people’s perfumes and aftershave was definitely not helping my headache, and by now the nausea was making its presence known. Luckily I made it back to my room just in time to toss my cookies (or pizza, in this case). Ugh. 

More times than not, flying makes me feel like death when I get to my final destination. It doesn’t even matter that I drink like 10 gallons of water on the way. This is why I don’t like to have any plans for the night of my arrival. I just need time to purge and sleep it off.

Anyway… Today I felt better, despite tossing and turning all night worrying that I was going to forget to do something before the show started. 

 

May I take your order?
  
After the trade show, I had a quick dinner with one of my coworkers, and then I headed over to the Bellagio because I heard that there was a conservatory and botanical garden. I was a bit disappointed because it wasn’t really a botanical garden but a fall harvest display. 

Look at my pumpkin!

I did enjoy taking a gander at the Chihuly sculpture that hangs on the ceiling of the reception area.   

I also caught a couple of the Bellagio fountain shows. The first one I saw was set to the Beatles’ Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. That was cool. The second was set to some opera piece and I was cracking up because all I could think of was Adam Sandler as Opera Man. 

Dancing fountains.
 

It gave me joy to notice that all the bright lights in Vegas were still outshined by the nearly full moon.  

That’s it for now!