Monday, March 29, 2010

manuel antonio


Us three Georgia girls set off for another road trip weekend on Friday and arrived in Manuel Antonio just after dark.

We met up for dinner at one of our hotel’s restaurants and enjoyed some delicious grub and some lovely hospitality before calling it an early night. Those are becoming quite the norm for us these days, but hey, we’re still recovering from all the socializing we did in Atlanta.

Jules and I had a leisurely breakfast on Saturday by the pool at our hotel which was tucked just inside the lush greenery of the jungle. We lounged by the pool and kept our eyes out for monkeys until it was time to head out on our snorkeling tour early that afternoon.

The hotel had told us it would take about 5 ½ hours. That’s a pretty good amount of time so we were expecting some pretty great snorkeling. After a short transfer into the neighboring town of Quepos we boarded the catamaran with about 40 or so other tourists. Immediately we spotted some dolphins and followed them around for a bit. We then began a slow ride around the coastline and when it was announced drinks were on the house we quickly deduced this was going to be more of a booze cruise than a snorkeling expedition. Which was fine with us, it was a beautiful day and it felt great being out on the water…





We did actually snorkel. Well, I did for about 10 minutes. The visibility was poor and the fish life pretty scarce. When Jules spotted a jelly I swam back in and got myself another rum punch. I’ve got a bad track record with those little creatures and was not risking yet another sting for such meager snorkeling. When a guy climbed back in the boat with a pretty nasty whelp across his arm I took another sip of my cocktail and knew I had made the right decision.

The crew had cooked us up some delicious fish kabobs, but my cocktail-to-food ratio didn’t feel too balanced, so I suggested another meal at the cute little restaurant at our hotel. We finished off the night there with good food, another cocktail or two, easy conversation and lots of laughter.

After breakfast and check-out on Sunday we headed down to the national park. We had to stand in line for a while and just as I was about to melt into a pool on the ground they opened the gate.

We skipped hiring a guide which turned out to be fine because it was easy enough to look where others were looking. We got to see everything we hoped to see and even a few extras. It is no wonder this is the most visited park in the country…






Outside of our trip to Bangkok this may have been the hottest I’ve ever been. The animals were awesome, but it felt amazing to get back into the car, crank up the air conditioning and head back to San Jose and our shower.

It was a great weekend and in just 3 days we’ll be off again. It is Semana Santa (Holy Week) here leading up to Easter so we get a 4 day weekend and are headed to Nicaragua on Wednesday night.

Hope everyone has a great Easter and eats at least a dozen deviled eggs for me!

Friday, March 26, 2010

flashback friday

i should really rename these to "flashback to india or south africa fridays" since they are really the only places we filmed. this is some of the evening aarti (ritual) from our night on the ganges in varanasi...

video

Thursday, March 25, 2010

soapbox

I know quite a few Republicans and I’m related to more than I care to count. Granted, I don’t have a ton of Republican friends. With gay rights being one of the polarized issues dividing the two parties, I’m obviously not too keen on snuggling up to those who want to treat me as a second class citizen in my own damn country.

Now with that said, I know there are some moderate Republicans out there. I know there are some that just truly believe in fiscal responsibility (although how you supported GWB and that Congress I’ll never understand?!?) and less government. I also know there are members of this party who are intelligent and truly educated on the issues at hand. I know there are decent human beings that are members of the Republican Party.

I am now just praying that those people, you know the ones with at least half a brain and some common decency, stand up and take back their party from the hate-mongering yokels that are currently leading them down this dark and sinister path they are on.

The latest from Mrs. Palin:



She posted this map on her Facebook page showing cross hairs set on the districts where Democrats who voted for the health care bill hailed.

And then sent out this little Tweet:

"Commonsense Conservatives & lovers of America: “Don’t Retreat, Instead – RELOAD!” Pls see my Facebook page"

All I can say is...WOW!

Really?? This is someone who is leading your party! Are you really okay with this blatant call for violence towards those who you disagree with on healthcare???

I don't care what political party you belong to- this is dead wrong.

Shame on you Sarah Palin and shame on anyone who condones her and her insanely irresponsible actions.

Monday, March 22, 2010

jaco



We decided not to venture as far as the beach this past weekend. It was our first road trip so we played it safe and headed to Jaco, just over an hour outside of Escazu.

We wanted a relaxing weekend and that's exactly what we got. We stayed at a lovely hotel atop a little mountain (or was it a big hill, not sure which) overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

After a painless drive we arrived in time for an early dinner at the hotel on Friday evening. The hotel was lush and secluded and just what we were hoping it would be.

Saturday was spent lounging by the infinity pool…



and that night we joined the rest of the hotel guests in the amphitheater to watch the captivating sunset…



Thinking that we were going just to relax I left behind my massive camera bag and only brought along the point and shoot. Of course, I quickly found this was a mistake.

While in the shower, Jules came running in and opened up the curtains (no peep show folks, our windows opened to nothing but the forest and the ocean far below) to show me the huge iguana in the tree by our balcony...



Then as I was getting out I heard all these bird noises outside. It went on for so long I quickly got dressed and ran out to see what was making all the commotion. “It could be parrots or something!!”

No parrots, but even better- a Swanson’s Toucan! After running around Igazu in Argentina like a maniac trying to see a toucan, there he was just perched on the tree outside my balcony. Another toucan even joined him for a while. They were so magnificent. It kills me I didn’t have my big camera!





I’m actually a little scared at how much I enjoyed them. Jules is worried I’m going to become some dorky, old lady birdwatcher and drag her on bird-watching expeditions when we’re old and gray. I’m worried that it won’t even take me that long.

We left early afternoon on Sunday and after some errands and lunch enjoyed a little sunshine at the pool here.

We’re going to Manuel Antonio this weekend for some beach time and some more wildlife at the national park. Don’t worry, I’ll be totally prepared with my giant lens and my dorky bird-watching binoculars.

ch...ch...ch...changes

Change is one of the only constants in our current life. We've learned to roll with them and embrace them.

Like this one...

The schedule changed and we're headed to Tunisia next round instead of home to Atlanta. We're sad to think it'll be so long before we see everyone again, but at the same time very excited for an adventure in northern Africa.

I'm just beginning to research the country and in all honesty, didn't even know where the heck it was located at first. Geography was never my strong suit.

But, so far, it looks like it is going to offer up some amazing Mediterranean beaches, fascinating ancient ruins, exotic desert excursions and even some doable flights to Europe. And yes, for all my geeky friends, and I've got more than a few, this is where the scenes from “Tatooine” in Star Wars was filmed.

May the force be with us!

Friday, March 19, 2010

flashback friday

this video is super short but, when i watched it i was instantly taken back to the utter chaos that is india.

the cacophony heard here as we arrived at the fort in jaipur is just a tiny taste of what it is like to be in india. make sure your volume is up so you get the full effect.

video

Monday, March 15, 2010

safe and sound and finally well-rested...

So, we got to Costa Rica just before noon, their time, yesterday. I have to say, yesterday was not my finest travel day. Maybe it was because I was out of practice or that we couldn't get a taxi to save our lives or perhaps the fact that I had another “less than 4 hours” night of sleep had something to do with it. I need my sleep, people.

Anyway, I hereby publicly apologize not only to my poor, poor wife who had to deal with me, but also to that woman in the security line that I made a snarky comment about...at a volume I made certain she would hear. Even if you refused my numerous offers to let your friend cut in front of us so you could stop staring past me and holding your conversations over my head- I was rude and it wasn’t right to take my bad mood out on you. Sorry.

Now, with that out of the way…

So far, so good with San Jose-actually we’re staying in a suburb called Escazu. Our hotel is comfortable, has a huge gym, lovely grounds that make you forget you’re in the ‘burbs (I’ve never seen so many birds of paradise!) and the egg guy at breakfast helped me learn how to ask for my egg white, mushroom and onion omelet in Spanish. It was very sweet, even if I’ve already forgotten.

The only real issue we’ve had was the several hundred teenagers that were staying at the hotel yesterday. You can imagine the noise level. Thankfully, they left today. I can’t tell you how sweet of a sight it was to see a couple hundred teenagers wheeling their suitcases into the lobby to checkout this afternoon. Repeat- I need my sleep, people.

We’re thrilled to be back in warm weather, so this weekend we’re headed to Playa Tamarindo (translation: beach). It should prove to be a perfectly relaxing weekend after the stress of leaving home.

BTW- I had written this sappy goodbye post about how wonderful you all are and how grateful we are for such amazing friends and how much we’re going to miss you, etc. But, when we found out we were back in ATL in just 8 weeks I deleted it. It seemed a bit much considering we’ll be seeing you in 2 short months. I mean, you’re still awesome, but I don’t want to deal with a bunch of big heads when we get back. Got to keep you grounded :)

Friday, March 12, 2010

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

home.

we both believe that things happen for a reason. but, we're also human and *of course* going to be disappointed and frustrated when we feel we're getting screwed or things are done unfairly.

that being said, i suppose my dad was right- life isn't always fair. but, my dad also taught me that life is what you make it. what really counts is what you do with what life throws at you.

so, here's to being home another round!

there are tons of pros against just that one stinking "we aren't traveling" con...

- we get to snuggle at least two babies (are there anymore due before July?)
- we get to spend more time with our friends (remember one of my resolutions was to do more to nurture my relationships- who knew how easy that one would be??)
- we get to try more of atlanta's new restaurants
- we get to see our families more
- i get two more months of not converting time, money and measurements
- we get to see our doggies
- i get another chance to actually get the things done i meant to get done this round
- we both can have regularly scheduled haircuts
- we only have to take one suitcase each to costa rica
- we can enjoy patio season in atlanta
- we get to finally go out on easy e's boat (yes, that is a bona fide promise!)
- we can travel to more places in the u.s. since it won't be frigid

i could go on and on, but you get the picture.

atlanta is our home, where we feel comfortable, where or close to all our loved ones are, where everybody knows our name. okay that last one is a lie- but at least the people we want to know our name know it, there are those few we'd wish would forget it but that's another story ;)

the whole point is- sure we'd rather be traveling, but who wouldn't? we're blessed, pretty healthy and extremely happy. there are a lot worse places to be than "home".

name change?

i'm thinking maybe we should change the name of the blog to

www.2girlsinaverysmallpartoftheworld.blogspot.com

whatcha think?

got the schedule for round 3.

we're back in the a-t-l.

yeah, we're as shocked as you.

oh well.

we love being home with fam and friends.

just wish we could actually travel during these 2 years.

that's kinda why we rented our house, sold our cars and why i quit my job.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Goldfish

They say goldfish grow to the size of their living environment. Small tank = small goldfish, big tank = bigger goldfish.

Seems this also rings true for us and our stuff. Our clothes seem to have bred like rabbits and somehow we've acquired all these other random odds and ends since we've been home.

How is it that we can live out of 4 suitcases for a year but, we come home for a few months and we’ve become like those people on that horrible show “Hoarders”? How depressing is that show? Does anyone ever get cured? I digress…

I guess it’s just the American way…buy, acquire, buy, acquire. I guess that’s just how we roll in these here parts.

So we’ve got a huge bag to take to storage…



This is literally only clothes and other randoms- nothing that we actually acquired on the road last year. Pitiful.

Flashback Friday!!

From our dune bashing in Dubai...

video

You can hear me, although my voice is vibrating like crazy, saying that I needed to film it so I could pretend it wasn't happening to me. Looking through the camera was the only thing that helped me survive the insanity that was driving like maniacs over incredibly high sand dunes.

Please note that not all the screams and squeals were coming from me. Most were coming from our sweet little Sri Lankan car-mate (see below) and her daughter-in-law. You can also hear her son dying laughing at them being scared.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

8 years

seems like a lifetime ago that you and i decided to become serious about our relationship - to become "girlfriends". that seemingly huge step was just the first of so many we've taken together since.

i am so thankful those crazy girls, just barely in their 20's, were wise enough to know what they were doing.



thank you for the best 8 years of my life.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

zip line anyone?

as we start planning our time in costa rica it looks like we'll be in costa rica most weekends. if you want to come visit we'd, of course, love to have you! we just need to know when you'll be coming so we can plan accordingly.

any weekend except easter weekend (unless you want to go to nicaragua with us) is still pretty open.

we'll be there from march 14th- may 7th.

volcanos, waterfalls, beaches, cloud forests, hot springs and all just a 4 hour flight away...what more could you ask for??

Meet Howard


Most of you know my friend Jodi (if not, see below photo from fiesta with her and Mexican Apollo Ohno). She is not only ridiculously hilarious but also has a huge heart. She's been fostering doggies for years but now she really needs a good home for Howard. When we met him he just laid in Jules' lap the entire time cuddling. He is really the sweetest thing and if we weren't nomads and already pawning off our own dogs off on friends we'd take him in a heart beat!!

If you or someone you know is in the market for an amazing dog, he is your man! Contact info is below.

From Jodi:

About one and a half years ago I adopted Howard from Macon Animal Control for my great-aunt but for various reasons he ended up staying with me. Over the year, I have come to realize that Howard needs to be in a home where he is the only dog. He is very loving and sweet and he gets along great with kids. He is an awesome lapdog and bonus, he loves to cuddle. He needs a fenced in backyard or an invisible fence. I would love to keep him in my home but I feel that I am doing a disservice to him. He loves going on walks but basically he likes to chill out at home with the family. He is not a typical Jack Russell at all. I'm looking for a loving family that will give Howard the attention that he deserves.

If you are receiving this note and know of anyone that is looking for the most awesome dog ever, please tell them to email me at jnbray@gmail.com.





Who can say no to this precious face??

Happy Birthday Baby!


Happy Birthday to the most wonderful person I know!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Birthday Fiesta

Thanks so much to everyone who came out to celebrate the Wife's 31st!! And a big, huge thanks to J & D for hosting the fiesta at their beautiful home, to P & A for picking up the yummy tacos and to L & A for providing all the ice for our delicious margaritas! I could not have pulled this off without you guys!

Really, though...I can't tell you how much it meant to Jules to have you all there...after she got over the initial shock and stopped standing behind me that is ;)

We're so blessed to have so many wonderful friends. We love you guys and will miss you dearly while we're away...
















p.s. i'll put up the slideshow as soon as i gather all the photos from that night.

p.p.s. if you've had a hard day or you're just in the mood for a margarita PLEASE stop by our apartment. really. what am i going to do with all this tequila??

Monday, March 1, 2010

countdown has begun...

14 days and we're back on the road...

i feel like i haven't accomplished anything i needed to while here. i feel like we haven't spent nearly enough time with loved ones.

note to self- make these last 2 weeks count!