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John and Roxie’s Wedding

Day six came with the arrival of the event that brought us to Costa Rica: John and Roxie’s wedding. We drove to the venue, Tambor Tropical.

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We were early enough to watch some of the set up.

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Despite some rain clouds rolling in, the ceremony turned out wonderful.

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Immediately after the ceremony, it began to rain, which is supposed to be good luck.

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The reception dinner was moved indoors but everyone was cool and relaxed.

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A three tiered cake was not possible despite plans, but cream puffs and custard tasted equally as good.

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A good time was had by all.

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What a beautiful destination wedding!

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Rehearsal Dinner

Day five, we slept in and had a leisurely breakfast of eggs and rice.

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We decided that one nighttime adventure walking along the beach was enough, so we rented a car for a few days. The guy spoke really good English and told us where we could get the best views of the sunset.

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We drove to the rehearsal dinner and had pizza while we mingled with the guests.

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The bride and groom to be looked happy and relaxed.

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We headed home early for a good night’s sleep before the wedding day.

Party Time in Costa Rica

Just when I was thinking we would experience no conflict during our Costa Rica trip, day four came. The bachelorette party was scheduled to happen at noon at a local spa, but once all the girls arrived at the spa and ordered 20 pedicures, the staff told us we would have to wait four hours, despite having made reservations 3 weeks in advance. The bride was not pleased, so we ended up canceling most of our services and toured the resort instead. We found a peacock just hanging out on the lawn.

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Next we encountered parrots in cages.

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After the spa, we went back to a resort where some of the wedding party was staying and hung out on the beach.

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By evening, we could see storm clouds rolling in.

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And sure enough, by the time that the party was at its peak, buckets of rain were coming down. I had gotten an email from my mom that my dad had a high fever, so I was getting worried and wanted to go back to our hotel, but it was impossible to get a cab. We decided to walk back along the beach, but by nightfall, a walk along the beach turned out to be the first of the adventures of Jungle Gina.

Mick and I had headlamps, but it was high tide, and we knew there was a creek that flowed into the ocean ahead. We had passed it that morning during daylight, but at nighttime, it presented new dangers. I was about to head back and walk along the road, which would have been twice as long, but Mick and I ran into some quicksand. We managed to escape and walked towards the waves, where the water seemed more shallow. We took off our flip flops and crossed at a slow shuffle until the water reached waist height. I almost lost a flip flop, but luckily it resurfaced in the sand. I’m the luckiest girl in the world when it comes to lost things.

We made it back to our hotel safely but learned the next day that the creek we crossed had crocodiles in it!

Tambor Beach

Day three in Costa Rica, Mick and I enjoyed a complimentary breakfast at our hotel and then headed to the beach on foot. It was hot, but overcast, so the walk was pretty enjoyable. We encountered a huge ant nest on the way.

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The local flowers are absolutely stunning.

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Once we arrived at the beach, I was surprised how warm the water felt. It’s the same Pacific Ocean we know, but the water was so much warmer than  what we were accustomed to in California. Besides one other person, we had the beach to ourselves.

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We walked until we happened upon a resort, the quintessential paradise. Grass huts and everything.

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There’s mostly American food on the menu at our hotel, so we had hamburgers for dinner.

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We were the only ones at the lodge, so we had a peaceful evening.

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Tambor

Day two of our trip to Costa Rica, we woke up after a good night’s sleep to the sound of busses on the busy streets of San Jose. Because we still had more traveling ahead,  we bought some meat-filled pastries across the street and checked out early to head for the bus station.

Mick wanted to take a cab, but when we flagged one down, the cab driver, who spoke only Spanish, informed us that the bus was only six blocks away.

We bought our tickets and I almost forgot to take my change, but the man at the counter tapped on the window till I came back to get the coins. Mick and I definitely looked like tourists with our oversized backpacks and shorts.

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Costa Ricans appear to never miss an opportunity for a sale, because there were guys selling potato chips, bottled water, and apples straight to the passengers on the bus.

Mick and I kept our bags with us on the bus because we had been warned that theft is common on the busses.

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The bus ride revealed acre after acre of greenery and a few for sale signs. Once we arrived at our destination, we bought our ferry tickets and purchased  more pastries to tide us over. The ferry was surprisingly modern and air conditioned, and despite more warnings about theft on the ferries from our cab driver, the only threat I encountered was a four year old girl who kept smiling and pointing to me while saying something in Spanish that I couldn’t comprehend.

Once we arrived in Tambor, a cab driver took us to our hotel for only $40. The landscape in Tambor was way more lush than anywhere else we had seen, and we passed several cows that were lazily dining on grass. Even the fence posts were growing back into trees.

Once we got to our hotel, H&B Lodge and Restaurant, the attendant greeted me by name. And guess who else greeted us? A puppy! I think all hotels should have cute puppies to greet you.

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The mother of the bride and some of our friends were dining at the lodge that evening, so we had good food and good company our second night in Costa Rica.

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Costa Rica

The last time I was out of the country, I was about nine when my family went to Vancouver. I didn’t have to make any decisions and my parents handled all of the travel plans. My boyfriend Mick’s good friends are getting married in Costa Rica, which presented the perfect opportunity for a vacation. Mick’s friends have been studying abroad as part of USAC, UNR’s study abroad consortium. They will graduate and then get married, so we have much to celebrate!

The tickets to Costa Rica were surprisingly affordable, and my tax refund covered the cost of mine, so why not go?

Our flight out of San Francisco was smooth, and although I couldn’t sleep on the plane, we had complimentary TV shows of our choice,  so I watched several episodes of The Big Bang Theory, which made the time go by quickly.

Before we knew it, we were arriving in San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica. We exchanged our money and a taxi driver took us to our hotel. We were too early for check in, so we walked around in search for a good place to get lunch.

The first thing that surprised me was how Americanized everything was.  Sure, the store signs were in Spanish, but the restaurant had hamburgers and hot wings on the menu. I ordered nachos and Mick received two less tacos than he ordered, even though he specifically mentioned four.

After lunch we checked in and were able to freshen up before dinner at the hotel. We were sipping sangria by evening. The perfect end to our first day in Costa Rica!

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