Monday, June 30, 2008

"Donde Esta La Farmacia?" By: Chris Wehkamp

We've been planning a trip to the nearby town of Samara ever since we heard that Sunday was a busy day in town for the locals. The prospect of mingling with the Ticos in their natural state intrigued us. 

And the pharmacy, too. 

We've been planning this trip to the pharmacy since before we were married, since before we were engaged. Sarah will tell anyone within earshot about her fantastic adventures with the Spanish farmacias, and I like cheap drugs and stories about cheap drugs. 

An hour of bumpy "roads" later, and we plopped out onto the main street of Samara. 

Samara was busy by CR standards; locals whizzed past on their dirtbikes and scooters. But we still have yet to encounter a stoplight. 

We feigned interest in shopping at the many tourist shops lining the road, but after ten minutes we were headed to the pharmacy, buzzing excitedly about the bounty that awaited us. 

The shop was small and shyly tended by an equally small Tico woman named Maura. Sarah began to reel off in confident Spanish our desired elixers. I waited expectantly for cheap drugs to magically summon forth. 

But Maura was onto us. First she pretended not to know what hydrocodone was, then she offered us the equivalent of extra strength Ibuprofen instead. When I balked, she offered to get us an appointment with the local doctor so that we could be issued the required prescription. 


"Listen, Maura was it?" I wanted to say with sly smile, "We both know what's going on here, don't we? We're the excited gringos who want to exploit your health care system and you're the clerk who's going to pretend like you don't know the deal." 

Instead, we retreated like the determined scholars we are to the internet cafe, the better to learn the name for Costa Rican hydrocodone. 

But when we returned to Maura minutes later, she didn't have the Costa Rican name for hydrocodone either. Then she called the doctor and handed me the phone.

"Um, hello?"

"What drugs do you need?" he asked me in perfect English.

"Well, just some basics really. Hydrocodone, valium, xanax."

"And what are these drugs for?" The very worst question he could have possibly asked. And in such a skeptical tone. 

"Oh, they're for me. I'd like to purchase these cheap drugs and then eat them some Saturday night so that I might feel funny," didn't sound like the right thing to say, even though it was the truth. 

So instead I said, "For pain." It was as ambiguous a response as 
I could muster at the moment. 

The good doctor thought for a moment and then offered that naproxen was available without a prescription and it would work just as well. I eagerly thanked him and asked Maura to ring us up a box of naproxen. 

Of course, after we checked naproxen online a few moments later, we learned that it goes by another name in the states; Aleve. 

Our third visit to the pharmacy was just pathetic. Maura took back the box of naproxen, but would only give us store credit. Sarah bought another six months of cheap birth control pills and with the remaining money purchased three rolls of fruit mentos and a melted chocolate bar. 

It was a debacle, if ever there was one. But I consoled myself with a fantastic lunch of casado con pollo at a local restaurant and we made the trip back to the resort.

Sunday evening was much the same as Saturday evening, but more so. We saw the heaviest rains yet and shuttered ourselves away cocoon-like in our cabana for the night. 

Hey, pizza and a movie in paradise is still pretty okay. Even without cheap drugs.          



Costa Rica, Day 6

Saturday started as most days, no alarm clock, no immediate plans or traffic jams or morning news.
Chris and I rolled out of bed, ate our catered breakfast and decided today we were going to try our hands at golf.

We went to the gift shop to rent clubs, only to find out that the balls were $3 a pop. 
As I have only touched golf clubs twice in my life (and one of those times was because it was the closest weapon at my disposal when I was confronted with a spider in my parents garage), we decided $3 a ball was too rich for our blood.

So we went to the "driving range."  

Or hole number 6 if you're really paying attention to where you are.

Chris is a great teacher and I found myself to be a ready and competent student.
But nothing could have stopped the fight we were about to find ourselves in the middle of.

It was the first fight of our marriage.

Fortunately, as with all of our marital milestones, we were rolling tape.

We tried to get closer to the issue at hand and figure out what the fight was really about.

Sometimes there's really just no way to tell.

After such an intense fracas Chris and I retired to the ocean for some much-needed rest (it's been a hectic week).

Actually, Chris took to the ocean, I took to another pina colada.

After water time, Chris and I talked the Ticos into putting a DVD player in our room and we watched The Incredibles.

At night, the rains come.

There is only so much marital bliss that Chris and I can stand before we have to call in outside entertainment.

So we watched The Incredibles and went to sleep to the sound of the thunderstorm.

Friday, June 27, 2008

"TGIF," By: Chris Wehkamp

My wife Sarah has been doing a fantastic job keeping the New World in step with our journeys.

But marriage is primarily concerned with division of labor, and so I have gamely volunteered to take over for this one.

Notice how cavalierly I bandy about the title 'wife?' Yes, wife; I said it. We've come to call ourselves 'wife' and 'husband' with growing comfort in the last few days. Owing largely to a steady stream of fruity alcoholic beverages.


We began our Friday by joining a group of more-or-less equally hapless tourists on a horse tour of the countryside.

Sarah's mount was a dashing and virile beast named Chingo. Mine was a dashing and virile beast with bladder control problems. Named Sandy. 

Our tour was concluded with a spirited gallop across the shore. The temptation to lead Sandy into the foamy deep, testing both our swimming ability and patience, was overwhelming. But in the thoughtful service to our marital bliss, I abstained. 

We returned for lunch and a quick inspection of our saddle-sore bottoms (nothing that some time won't heal) and set out on our second leg of the day: "Monkey Quest."

This is one of the most aptly-named excursions in history. We piled into a land rover (the first time either of us have encountered a land rover being used for it's intended purpose) along with our guide, some binoculars and a powerful Swarovsky telescope and set out.

Questing for Monkeys. Any monkeys, really, we weren't feeling too particular. 

And after an hour of bouncing across the Costa Rican "roads" we found them. A whole family, in fact. 

I devised a revolutionary method of documenting our new subjects. 

Our guide was quick to draw our attention to the alpha male of the group, who seemed to spend most of his time hooting excitedly or staring off. 

I have thusly deduced myself to be an alpha male also.

To sum up: I haven't seen or heard a car commercial in over four days, I have eaten and slept like an emperor for as long, and I have, for the first time ever in my life, said "TGIF" in a completely ironic context. 

Thank God It's Friday? I wish it were last Monday morning again.    

 TGIF to our family and friends back home. May your weekend be long!


Costa Rica, Day 4

So yesterday we took the only free tour Punta Islita has to offer...the trash tour.
It is supposed to be a tour about how the hotel recycles, but it ended up being a cultural trip into the town of Islita.

We learned a lot.

In Costa Rica there are 4 necessary ingredients for every town.

A school

A soccer field

A church

And a bar

Okay, so that's not a bar.  But it is a crazy cat mural.

And this, is the so called "mother-in-law" tree.

So named for its thorns sticking out. I can't say I would understand the naming of this tree as my mother-in-law is as sweet as a pot of sugar sitting on a pile of jelly beans.

Talking with the Ticos was great fun. They were taking a class to learn how to make pottery. I was more interested in all the little kids and dogs running around.

After the trip into town Chris and I came back to the hotel for more massages.
This time we had the reflexology massage for hands, feet and head.  It was very reflexive.

While waiting for our romantic dinner on the beach the rain began to fall.
Our spirits however didn't.

The sky finally cleared and we made our way to dinner.

Our dinner on the beach was an explosion of romance.

We were greeted at the beach with two glasses of champagne. The Senor took us to our table, about 30 yards from the surf. Our table was lit with candlelight and flanked on both sides with torches.

The sound of the waves crashing, the soft light, the exquisite food...

Just as we thought things couldn't get any better, out of the forest came a guitarist. He came to our table and sang us a few love songs.

Then, time for fire.

A honeymooners dream...

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Costa Rica, Day 3

I'm typing in my backyard while listening to howler monkeys in the rainforest and glancing at the Pacific Ocean over my laptop screen. Chris says the monkeys sound a little bit like a Harley Davidson throwing up. They are apparently the loudest land animal on Earth.

Yesterday we managed to make it in time for breakfast.

We even had extra time before our tour to relax in our new backyard.

The zip-lining was a thrill. We felt like monkeys swinging through the forest. The first zipline was incredibly intense...we both had to work up the courage to try it.

But then we got in the "swing" of things...

I wish I could zipline everywhere. To work, to Target, to our parents houses.
Maybe someone could start working on that for us.

Chris was so good, I think a few monkeys mistook him for one of their own.

After making our graceful exit from the forest, the infinity pool beckoned us.

Swimming around without a care in the world...well, one care...but I'm not really sure being too lazy to swim over to the swim-up bar could really be called a care.

Really, it could only anger people back home that are sitting at their desks today.

When we did finally make it over to the swim-up bar, we found reason #274 to move here.

So come and visit us.

Chris, myself, the monkeys, and reason #274 will be waiting for you...

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Costa Rica, Day 2

Please forward all our mail for the next two years to:
Chris and Sarah Wehkamp
Hotel Punta Islita, Costa Rica

As noted in the video (and please, if you're not already, anytime you see blue or purple words in the blog, go ahead and click on them to see moving pictures!), so yeah, yesterday after breakfast, Chris left his banana peel out in an attempt to attract some Costa Rican wildlife.

The day went by and nothing happened.

Last night we had pizza for dinner on our patio,  and yes, Chris added a piece of pizza to the tempting mix.
I just went to check on the trap, and the pizza is gone!  Chris doesn't know it yet (remember reason #4 of why it's easy to blog here?...) but he's going to be so excited!

Yesterday was a day of discoveries.

We were so tired when we got in on Monday, we didn't find much else other than our room and the restaurant.

But yesterday we found the spa

The jacuzzis

The best massage of our lives

The pool with views of the Pacific

The actual Pacific


Hermit Crabs

The Pacific was quite cruel.
The waves are large, the rocks sharp, Chris and I both got cut and I threw up a bit.

We're thinking maybe just chlorine water for awhile, till it's time to scuba.

Today we are going to discover:
the trash tour
and how to transfer all our funds over to Costa Rican banks.
Since we live here now and all.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Costa Rica, Day 1

Welcome to the honeymoon of a lifetime.

I feel weird starting to write about the honeymoon without mention of the wedding, but we'll back-track when we get home.

For now I will say it was one of the most relaxing, emotional, perfect, happiest days of my life.  I could feel love in every direction I looked.  I got to say and listen to the most precious of vows from the man I love.
Nothing could have made the day any better.
Thank you to all of you.

Chris and I woke Monday at 4am.  By the time we got to Liberia, Costa Rica we were quite exhausted.

We took the longest, most dangerous, slippery rode, driving through small creeks and playing chicken with oncoming traffic, to end up at Hotel Punta Islita, paradise.

We were greeted with pina coladas and cold towels.

We took a nap and then had one of the best dinners of our lives.  (Thank you Wehkamps!)

Listened to the rain fall and went to sleep.

For anyone who might ask "why are you blogging on your honeymoon?"...I have a 4-fold answer.
1.  We love to keep in touch with everyone.
2.  We love to write and share photos.
3.  Our only other responsibilities are getting massages and eating.
4.  I'm still waiting for Chris to wake up.

P.S. Mom and Dad - we did have a few problems last night with our Fujitsu Inverter.

Friday, June 20, 2008

The Biggest Dump Ever

Yesterday Chris and I made one serious dump.

Getting into the Lewisville landfill isn't as easy as you would think it would be (not that you ever gave it any thought).

After a ten minute wait, we were on our way.

Dumping things is great fun.

Okay, the actual dumping was a bit anti-climatic, but really, what bride-to-be doesn't dream of taking a trip to a landfill just days before her wedding?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Father's Day

My dad is the best dad I know.

He always makes sure my car is running right, keeps a calm head when I'm mad at the boy, gives advice when I need help, makes me laugh, hugs me when I'm crying, has always expected me to do better than my best, and is in no way gummy.

This father's day we got to hang out and have a pool party.

There were shark attacks and doggie paddle-ings.

I hope you had fun dad.

Thank you for all you do for me, my sisters, and mom. You are truly one of a kind.

A very well-received man.

Ah Taco Bell-Ah.