As much as Charles and I would like to go whipping about the globe at a moment's notice, the reality of it is a bit different. Exactly two kids, a cat and a house full of stuff different. The kids? Easy. They come with us. The cat? A eight hour drive and he's rolling in catnip on Grandma's floor. But, our stuff is a bigger problem. What on earth do we do with all our stuff when we're on an extended trip? We've got some great tips for long term travel storage that have worked for us in the past.
I wrote this post a few years ago, after we came back from an extended trip across South East Asia, New Zealand and Australia.
Some things have changed. Today, I have two great kids, and I've moved to British Columbia, Canada, one of the most gorgeous areas I've seen in my travels, and where I can see the mountains everyday. But I still struggle with that surreal juxtaposition of our adventurous, nomadic travels, and returning to our so-called normal, everyday life in Canada. And Cosmo still cuddles us at night.
If you're in Las Vegas with little kids, Circus Circus is the place to be. Our little ones were completely transfixed by the idea that we were staying in a Circus hotel. They'd never heard of anything so cool. Personally, I love the hotel's tagline Act Your Age Somewhere Else. That's my philosophy pretty much anytime. We easily whiled a way a few days taking in the in-hotel entertainment. The circus acts were great, with a few shows a day. They featured David and Dania, the quick change artists from America's Got Talent, along with a pretty talented assortment of acrobats and clowns.
Once we rented our car in Tamarindo, we knew it was only a matter of time before we headed out on a longer road trip. We had already enjoyed the nearby beaches and were looking for something a little different. We still had the condo for another week and a half at that point. For the amount we paid for the place we didn't mind taking off for a few days and staying in a hotel to break things up.
The choice was either south down the Nicoya Peninsula or east to Lake Arenal and the volcano. At the last second we chose south and let me say it was a wild few days...
One thing that we've discovered since getting into Tamarindo is that wildlife can sometimes surround you without actually having to search for it. We've also found that some monkeys can be a little intimidating. I'm not talking about their body size (though some of those male dangly bits look downright painful to have while hanging onto a 30 foot branch) but rather their sound.
The male howler monkey is known for two things out here. One is those afore mentioned dangly bits and the other is for the loud howling it does. It's a bit of a unique sound and the closest I can approximate would be a cross between a Tarzan howl and a loud, deep guttural growl. They say that the howlers cry can reach almost 5 km's and is one of the loudest land animals. After hearing it firsthand, I can believe it.
Now imagine this scenario. It's five am the second morning after getting into Tamarindo. You're feeling quite comfortable and secure in your 3rd story condo knowing that thieves or any "bad" people would need to jump the 10 foot high razor blade covered outer wall then perform a spiderman feat of climbing nearly 30 vertical feet to get to your balcony. Now imagine being woken up with superhuman loud guttural screams only feet from where you're sleeping...
Because of the heat in this area, we've made it a point to stay out of the sun from 12 to 2 each day. Tamarindo is crazy hot and walking out of an air conditioned place into the afternoon sun is like walking into an oven. If you're out and about at an earlier time and stay outdoors (preferably in the shade unless you like to punish yourself) it's not so bad. Just like the boiled frog parable, if you slowly roast yourself you won't realize how hot it is as the day wears on but if you jump into a boiling pot (or the rolling heat in this case) you'll quickly realize how much folly it is.
That being said, the few times we have braved the elements at a neighboring beach club called the Langosta Beach Club and it's about 2 blocks from our condo. It's owned by a French company and everyone there seems to speak French, English and Spanish. They have a nice little pool, beach loungers, a few hammocks and one of the nicest stretches of beach (at least in my mind) right in front of the place. They also have a little bar and restaurant in the pool area and serve great food at somewhat reasonable (at least for this area) prices. Their bacon and avocado sandwich is quite delicious. Smoothies aren't the cheapest we've seen but their strawberry one is heavenly on a warm day.
Over the course of the past few weeks we've had the opportunity to really explore the Guanacaste Province. After leaving San Jose we jumped on a shuttle bus to Tamarindo where we were staying for the month. The 6+ hour bus trip was quite the experience. We didn't realize how hot and dry Tamarindo could get but after being here for a while we've learnt a few tricks.
In my previous post I talked about ziplining being popular in Costa Rica. That's probably a bit of an understatement considering there are literally dozens of places to do it all over the country. We were really hoping to be able to go before we got to Costa Rica but realized that it would be near impossible with Jordan along. That was until we got into a long chat with one of the tour operators out here. It seems that kids can indeed go ziplining. The only caveat is that they need to either go with a guide or a willing parent. In our case, it was both. We were picked up at...