Sunburns, Manta Rays and Multiple Injuries: Things I Learned in Costa Rica

As I mentioned yesterday, I’m back from Costa Rica and sorta tan! And by tan, I really mean more of a vanilla color. Even this shade shift takes a lot of dedication, involving hours by the pool, high-level sunscreen, and multiple magazines.

This is basically the only time I should be allowed out in the sun. At sunset.

I usually burn within 30 minutes of the first day of vacation. Almost always on just one half of my body. This trip it was my back and the back of my legs, which made my massage at the spa more of a delicate exercise in aloe gel application.

After a week (usually by the time I go home), the angry reds subside, and I finally turn a slightly less pasty version of myself. I never actually attain bronze goddess status.

This crab (well, crab remains) was trying to cross the road at the resort. CRUNCH. I think he was coming back from the beach and heading to the buffet. Crab cake, anyone?

So, since I never seem to learn my lesson on sunbathing (Can’t do it. Don’t even try. Eschew the sun, Poe.), here’s a list of other things confirmed by my recent trip.

1)  There’s never going to be “too much” reading material. I bought $45 in magazines (plus a book and another magazine at the airport on our way out) and still ran out of reading material by the time I boarded our second flight home. (For the curious, I took a UK edition of Hello, Life & Style, OK, US Weekly, Fitness, Vanity Fair, InStyle, and Real Simple. I didn’t pick up InTouch because that just seemed like overkill. I did, however, devour the aforementioned Rules of Civility, a very good book that takes place in 1930s New York high society.)

SIDE RANT: Can people please stop reading 50 Shades of Hot and Bothered in public? I’m actually really skeeved out to think that people are getting all horny while reading by the pool or even worse, on the metro. Ya’ll know it’s considered “erotica,” aka mommy porn, right? And we’re all familiar with that fact? So we know what’s up. Keep it in your bedside drawers, please.

2) All scuba places must be run by expats from somewhere. Our fine dive instructors/animal rescue fanatics at Costa Rica Diving were from Germany. Of course. Because when I think of diving, I think Germany.

Take me to the manta rays, German man.

3) The van to transport you from the dive shop must be old, decrepit and somewhat smelly. When we dove in Puerto Rico, Arnaud’s van didn’t use a key – it used a long screw driver. In Costa Rica, Harald’s van had one very hardworking and totally ineffective tree-shaped air freshener.

4)  Every dive following a manta ray sighting seems singularly unimpressive. Manta rays are impossibly cool. I was gobsmacked. We saw one on our second scuba dive on the first day. It was huge and graceful and just….majestic (like in this video). Everything after that (schools and schools of beautiful tropical fish, a sea turtle resting on the ocean floor, a spotted ray), was just kind of shrug worthy.

5) Soccer tournaments will put me right to sleep. We’ve discovered this in our own private research at home. This theory was reinforced during our World Cup-coinciding stay at an all-inclusive in the Dominican Republic. This time, the Eurocup final between Italy and Spain occurred during our trip. My soccer-loving-companion-for-eternity XFE was smart enough to suggest we watch it in a nice, cool public place with drinks and snacks and another couple who I no doubt infuriated with my incessant talking and cheering on of Spain (they were cheering for Italy).

6) Fishing will also put me to sleep. Listen, there’s a lot of downtime during fishing. It should actually be called “waiting hours for 15 minutes of excitement.” The rocking of the boat did me in. I slept much of the 8-hour trip, you know, between bouts of excitement, which included catching 4 mahi-mahi, 2 small tuna, and one very large (45 pound) rooster fish.

XFE calls this the action shot. (And yes, I wore that purple shirt and navy hat for every off-resort excursion.)
My mighty tuna. His teeth were very sharp looking and dangerous. Do not be fooled by his modest stature.

7)  I cannot for the life of me avoid self-injury. Every single entry/exit on any boat whatsoever was marked with wobbles and nerves. Even small inflatable boats that are brought right up to the beach to fetch you and take you to a larger boat (TWICE the death opportunity). Boats are so lame (except for napping purposes).

On my way back onto the dive boat, I took a non-water dive on the slippery deck in full diving gear and tanks. I banged my knee up pretty bad and caught, my ankle on a sharp metal lip. I had to bite my lip to not cry.

I also hit myself in the head with our glass patio door at one point (I was distracted by the fireworks), resulting in a red knot above my right eyebrow. Doors are so lame (except for room service purposes). And, I pretty much fell off the sidewalk every time we walked from one place to another because I was afraid of getting hit by a golf cart if I walked in the middle of the road. Sidewalks are also lame (except while riding on a golf cart and squishing crabs).

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