Aug 23 2016

Mathematically Challenged Me

Published by under Travel

Even though the Costa Rica trip is weeks away, I have my suitcase out on the floor of my bedroom with bunch of things piled around it. It’s not all going to fit. What will I do?


I have a bigger suitcase that I could take, but that’ll make it harder to zip around the country, so I’d rather not do that. But I really do need things like:

  • Yellow rubber dry bag
  • Hawaiian sarong
  • Binoculars
  • Illuminated jewelers’ loupe
  • Electric water boiler
  • Notebook
  • Umbrella
  • Wireless keyboard
  • A couple pints of bug spray
  • Seven shirts
  • Four pairs of pants
  • Two bathing suits
  • You get the idea

I’m worried about a few things: getting up into the treehouse by ropes, rafting on the Rio Pacuare and staying in the boat, and rappelling down waterfalls, dragging my suitcase back and forth across the country.

This is what the travel agency says about the canyoneering:

This Arenal, Costa Rica canyoning adventure tour will take you where very few have had the privilege to roam: The Lost Canyon! Grab your helmet, strap on a harness and get ready for the adventure of a lifetime! Canyoning is a very popular activity in La Fortuna because the rugged, mountainous terrain near the Arenal Volcano. The perfect place for first-timers and experienced canyoning enthusiasts. Trek deep into the rainforest and rappel some of the most-impressive tropical waterfalls in Costa Rica in the Lost Canyon.

Today I went to Wells Fargo and got 330 dollars’ worth of colones. For your information, the grand total of colones is 165,000. It’s always hard to figure out the money when you’re in another country, especially if you have a bad math brain as I do. The teller told me that the exchange rate is 0.0020025633. What the hell is that supposed to mean? To put it another way, $1 is 550 colones. A thousand colones is $1.82.


On an unrelated note, I got my first social security payment a couple weeks ago. Now when people ask what I do, I can say I’m retired. But I can’t be retired because I need more than $720 per month. That hardly covers the basics like champagne.

In other news, I have absolutely no news. My life is very dull. Minutes creep by like hours. In an hour or so, I’m going to visit Anna and Frank, at whose house I will drink Frank-made margaritas and play board games.  On Thursday I’m going to visit TJ and Richard. Tomorrow I have my teeth cleaned. At 8:30 Thursday morning I have a Kaiser appointment.

Oh, I did have a wonderful visit with each of my girls: first with Molly last Saturday. We got our toenails a matching shade of opalescent royal blue, and we talked about our trip. On Sunday afternoon, I got all four of the Redwine-Papanikolas clan, for fun and chaos.


2 responses so far

Aug 12 2016


Published by under The Great Outdoors,Travel

I’ve just decided that the best part of traveling is the planning. At least, that’s how I feel about Costa Rica. I have the usual travel anxieties, but looking at possibilities on my computer in the safety of my bedroom is divine. What’s even nicer about it is that I’m not the one to be doing all the research. Molly is taking care of most of that. All I have to do is respond, “That sounds like fun” (or the opposite). She’s the one who suggested I go to La Fortuna/Arenal on my own.


It was her Internet exploration that led to the discovery of the tree house in Manzanillo.


And then there’s the e-mail I just got from her, in which she proposes a day-trip on the Rio Pacuare (“one of the ten best rafting rivers in the world,” according to somebody). The tour company would pick us up in Puerto Viejo, drive us to Turrialba, throttle us down class III and IV rapids (with names I don’t like, such as Pinball and Magnetic Rock), and then lead us to another shuttle that takes us to our hotel near the airport in San José so I can fly out the next day. Now, wouldn’t that be fun?


I said in my last post that I wouldn’t deluge you with details of my trip until they became a reality, but I’ve changed my mind. Here are some of the possibilities of things to do while in Arenal, which will be rainy every day:

  • Horseback riding
  • La Caterata de la Fortuna (waterfall)
  • Arenal hanging bridges
  • Canyoning (rappelling down a waterfall)
  • Nighttime jungle hike

As far as what to do during the Molly-portion of the trip, that’s in her head, not mine. For that, you’ll have to wait, if you can bear it.

One response so far

Aug 08 2016

Big Love

Published by under Audio,Family,Travel

It is truly beyond belief how much I love my granddaughter. Jason recorded this bit of audio on June 23, 2016 [Ed. note: Eleni says this is about 1.5 years old.]; it captures her innocence and her sweet voice makes my heart go thumpa thumpa thumpa. [Don’t despair if you don’t see any video; it’s barely there.]

An excerpt:

Jason: Are you going to be a photographer when you grow up?
Ember: Um, nope. I’m going to be a big girl.

Eleni and I had a video chat this evening on Skype, which kept freezing every few seconds. During one of these freezes, I heard Eleni completely lose it to hysterics. I didn’t know why, until she sent me this:


I look just like Mr. Ed.


The big news from here is Costa Rica. A couple weeks ago, Molly told me that she was planning a solo trip there. “Can I go?” I asked rudely. I’ve been before, but this was a rare opportunity to spend time with my beloved younger daughter whom I rarely see these days. Molly didn’t faint dead away at the notion, but allowed as she needed some time to ponder the possibility. She ruminated, and decided in my favor. So our plan is for each of us to spend some time alone there, and then to convene and travel together. What a treat! Yesterday, with Molly’s help, I bought my plane tickets. I’m quite nervous since I haven’t traveled for a while and there’s so much to worry about when you’re on the road: where’s my passport, how do I get across the country by public transport, will the ATM work, how do I keep thugs from stealing my things, that sort of thing.

Plans are beginning to emerge, but I’ll spare you the details until they become reality. I leave just over a month from now on September 10 (my parents’ anniversary) and return on the 22nd.

3 responses so far

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