Saturday, February 12, 2011


Every 90 days, I have to leave Costa Rica for 72 hours and then I can re-enter the country and get my passport stamped again for another 3-month tourist visa.

This time I decided to go to Bocas del Toro, Panama.

On the way, we passed Costa Rica’s longest (and only) transnational oil pipeline.

To put it into some perspective, here’s the size of the United States' Trans-Alaskan Oil pipeline.

And here’s me next to Costa Rica’s pipeline.

We also passed this meeting-place for AA. “DO YOU HAVE A DRINKING PROBLEM?? DON'T KNOW HOW TO STOP?? ARE YOU TOO ASHAMED TO ADMIT IT?? IF SO, YOU’VE COME TO THE RIGHT PLACE!!” (So much for anonymity…)

And later, in the mall, I saw this store. Not exactly sure who would want to shop here...

Meanwhile, here’s me being welcomed to Panama.

Bocas del Toro (literally “Mouths of the Bull”) is actually a series of small islands that used to be part of Costa Rica. But now it’s part of Panama (which is why it qualifies as an outside country for a visa run).

All traveling is done by taxi boat.

This is the hotel where we stayed.

Hotel Olas de la Madrugada. Which is a long way of saying “Waves of the Dawn Hotel.”

Here is the view from our window.

Here is the view from the front of the hotel, which is really a lounge extending over the water on sturdy pilings.

And here is the painting that was hanging inside our room. I insisted I be photographed with it.

One night for dinner, we went to a seemingly very hardcore restaurant called El Pirate which had this thing on its roof:

Imagine my despair when I discovered that the logo for this restaurant was actually this:

Not very hard core. (But a lot of pirate stereotypes wrapped up into one cuddly little logo.)

Of course, that didn’t stop me from getting margaritas.

When then, of course, led to this.

Additionally, these are the two official beers of Panama. I have tried them both.

We took a tour which included three things:

1. Dolphin spotting (no pictures)
2. Snorkeling (also no pictures)
3. A trip to a lovely beach.

The boat captain said that the best seat on the boat was the very front…

So that’s where we sat!

Also included in our tour was a fancy lunch…

And some dockside cocktails.

On our trip to the lovely beach, we saw four kids with these tiny red frogs. For $0.25-$1.00, these kids would let you take their picture with the frogs.

Some bitter American tourist walked by and muttered, “I hope you know those things are endangered.”

“Oh yeah,” I thought, “Well, if they’re so f-cking endangered, how come these kids have four of them???” Either those kids are really adept at catching these semi-extinct little guys, or they’ve somehow cracked the code at breeding them. At any rate, I took my picture and paid those kids a dollar.

Then onto the fancy beach!

(Note the small island in the distance…)

Here’s a picture of me in front of an underwater mural. (Note: I am not actually underwater.)

I saw this seesaw and thought it would be a good idea to ride it. Of course, I insisted on a picture. Which, of course, required censorship.

One night we went out to a fancy dinner, filled with fancy food.

Here is me playing with said fancy food.

Here we are looking fancy with all our fancy food.

PS Worst. Bar sign. Ever.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Here in Costa Rica, Some Things Just Make Sense--

Here in Costa Rica, there are some things that just make sense.

Such as:

1. Sharing your kitchen with a motorcycle.

2. And four truck tires.

3. Keeping a wadded up grocery bag in your shower drain. (Why? To keep the crabs out, of course!)

4. Dogs wearing NASCAR collars.

Just because you moved to Central America, doesn't mean Jeff Gordon doesn't need your support.

5. Fanny packs. (Aka Belly sacks.)

This is one of the most useful inventions you can have down here. When riding yourbike 5 km (3.107mi) to the nearest grocery store, the last thing you need is a purse dangling from your shoulder and dripping with sweat.

So just strap one of these babies on, put your ipod in the big pocket, and take off!

(And if you still think fanny packs are lame-- you're a snob. Meanwhile, I am awesome. See photo above for proof.)

In all, living in Costa Rica is a tranquil and lovely experience. Here is a picture of my house which is a 5 minute walk from the beach.

Pura vida!


There Are Basically Two Categories of People in this World:

1. People who have come to visit me here in Costa Rica.


2. Chumps.

If you are not Shaun Hamontree, Jed Carter, Sue Lee, or my grandparents-- you fall into Category #2 (Chumps).

However, just because you haven't scraped it together enough to come down and visit me here in tropical paradise, doesn't mean that you can't see the fun things I've been doing-- and vicariously enjoy them through me.

Here are some pictures from October of last year, when Jed and Shaun came from Kansas City to visit. Enjoy.


We spent a lot of time seeing the sights, and traveling around to enjoy the beaches and the hills.

This is not an ad for Ray-Ban.

Neither is this.

Or this.

Or either of these.

We rented Quads and motored up into the hills.

We walked on the beach. And talked about our problems...

(Photo by Shaun Hamontree.)

We also enjoyed many fine sunsets on the shore. (With beer.)

This is what we did on a Tuesday at 1:15pm. What were YOU doing??...

We drove about 40 minutes south to Cemetery Island. This is an island where the people of Montezuma have buried their dead. The island is only accessible by foot during low tide when the water pulls back and a land bridge is exposed. At other times, the island is only accessible by boat.

Despite the ominous vultures who kept watch over us with suspicious eyes, the island itself was rather peaceful.

We also spent important time bonding (aka Drinking) with the locals.

This is Carlos Calin-- the gardener/security guard at Shaka.

He also looks like a vaudevillian cartoon villain. (Admit it-- he does!)

In all, we had a wonderful time in Costa Rica!