All the Reviews of COSTA RICA (Everything is Better in ALL CAPS)

Since it's our anniversary month, me and Shannon took our first EVER trip without kids, since on our first anniversary we already had a kid. Actually, now that I think about it, we did manage a trip to the Oregon Coast on our third anniversary, but Shannon was really sick from being pregnant with our second kid, so it wasn't much of a getaway. It was more like, "Want to walk on the beach?" "No, the ocean makes me sick." "Want to watch a movie?" "No, the TV makes me sick." "Want me to just sit here and look around while you lay there?" "No, you make me sick." "Want me to leave and come back tomorrow sometime?" "Yes, actually that sounds quite nice."

No better sight than Shannon hauling my camera gear like a boss.

So for our first proper trip sans kids, we went to Costa Rica. I will write a review of each aspect of the experience, on scales from 1-10.

Comalapa Int'l Airport, El Salvador: 7. It's what an airport is supposed to be -- a place where you get on a plane. That's it. It's, like, 2 hallways so you can't get lost and there are lots of bathrooms that host relatively few Civil War-era diseases. I get annoyed at huge airports with trams and trains and massage parlors, where I'm like, "Are there any airplanes here?"

Flight from San Salvador to San Jose: 10. It's only 55 minutes long, so that's it. I can do anything for 55 minutes, including listening to "How Am I Supposed to Live Without You" by Michael Bolton on repeat.

Rental car place: 6. Guy at the front desk had his hair parted down the middle, which was kind of cool. Our car was a Suzuki Jimny -- third-best car name ever -- and a stick shift to boot. The windows you roll down manually made me feel like a kid again, but a kid with odd shoulder pains that started when he picked up his kid, which is a strange mental picture, I know.

World's smallest 4x4, or, as the British say, "four times four."

The Garmin GPS they pushed on us for $6/day: -86. Worst product ever, even worse than my rotten middle toenail on my right foot, which is in fact a product because I'll sell it to you for $0.45. The Garmin lady who kept shouting directions at us was super confused and couldn't figure out which country we were in. We shut it off after a half hour and I just used my Cub Scout skills of following the sun and the scent of crabs.

The drive from San Jose to Punta Islita on the southern coast of the Nicoya Peninsula: 8. It rained a lot, which I like. Also, we found a super awesome radio station that played all the classics, like a 50 year old Celine Dion singing "The Power of Love" live, which made me almost throw up, in a good way.

Punta Islita Hotel: 10. Probably the nicest hotel I'll ever stay in. We paid with Marriott points we got from living in a Marriott-affiliated corporate apartment for 7 months, and then a Marriott Courtyard for another 6 weeks. When we arrived, they upgraded us a "junior suite," complete with its own splash pool (a euphemism for "super, super tiny pool"). The adult pool was pretty cool, but we couldn't order Cokes at the swim-up bar because this other couple hogged it the whole weekend so they could get drunk while watching all the Harry Potter movies.  

Fortunately we are too far away to see that I have soaked through all my clothing with sweat.

Trail running options: 8. No paved roads within miles, and bright red and purple forest crabs infested the muddy dirt roads. I got in a couple of solid runs, which were actually closer to "lurches" due to the stifling heat and humidity. I carried a two-liter of water with me like a football, which I think made me look super hard core, sort of like Walter Payton, except slower and less agile, and with no connections to Chicago to speak of.

Weather: 10. Heavy rain and serious thunderstorms, interspersed with searing sunshine. The thunder was so loud it made the drunk guy at the swim-up bar cry for his mommy. Just kidding, that didn't happen, to the best of my knowledge.

This incoming storm brought a couple inches of rain and enough lightning to shock the monkey.

Horse riding experience: 5. Conga, my horse, got really tired and started breathing heavy and I thought she might die. I do not know how to expeditiously dismount a dying horse.

Ziplining: 8. No chit-chat, no nonsense. The guides were like, "Don't put your hand in front of the pulley. K go." Shannon broke the sound barrier.

You can't actually see that Shannon has broken the sound barrier, because you can't see sound. But she did.

Food at the school benefit cookout in the tiny village 20 minutes from the hotel, the road to which required fording a river: 4. Overpriced at $5 per plate of rice. Plus the cute black dog would NOT stop trying to eat off my plate. I was like, "You eat my rice, you're paying for it pal." We got invited afterward to come back that night to play bingo, which boosts my rating from a 2 to a 4.

My swim trunks: 3. Colored like the Union Jack, they really look like I got them at Wal-Mart, which I did. 

The tattoos on the guy who was eloping with his girlfriend: 4. Slightly better than my swim trunks. The guy's back looked like a sticker album where he was just sticking random tattoos, like here's one of a gaggle of geese, and there's one of Boris Karloff. But he had a great beard, and I liked his shoes.

I guess I could think of more stuff to review, but, c'mon man, you really need to get back to Facebook.