Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Happiest Place on Earth*

Very soon I will be heading to Costa Rica, which is one of the most exciting places I've had a chance to visit. I am visiting some very dear friends (one of which has a blog that is actually about Costa Rica, so if you found this blog while searching for relevant information on Costa Rica you may want to go here). I am excited about the opportunity and can't wait to begin my adventure by hiking through the countryside, scaling volcanoes, and zip-lining through the jungle. Once I reach my destination of course I will realize that I did not pack any hiking shoes, nor do I own any hiking shoes, and also that I am afraid of heights (unless in a steel-structure building surrounded by glass and with a nice jazz bar). This revelation will force us to revise our itinerary to include things that don't require shoes like hot springs and piña coladas.

Preparing for your trip to Costa Rica:

Packing!: The climate is very different from New England, so naturally I asked a few questions about what to pack. The traveler's dilemma: how to pack enough to get through the trip while having a little extra room in your suitcase for souvenirs and exotic animals you might want to smuggle home. Personally, I'd leave enough room for a small sloth or monkey, who will feel comfortable enough swaddled in between my skirts and tank tops. At the request of my hosts, I have packed magazines, Flinstones gummy vitamins, clothes that aren't growing mold on them, and Reese's peanut butter cups. That should leave enough breathing room for my souvenirs.

Things you wanted to know about traveling to a developing nation but were too afraid to ask:

Q: Can I bring my hair dryer or other hair styling accessories? It is important for me to look good in pictures when I screen my photo album to a roomful of bored and resentful friends and family.
A: Yes! Your U.S. appliances will work in Costa Rica, although you may suffer embarrassment as others make fun of you for styling your hair in a jungle.

Q: Will I get malaria in Costa Rica? Do I need to take any precautions to avoid contracting horrible diseases?
A: From what I've heard, malaria isn't a pressing concern in Costa Rica unless you are in very remote or high-risk areas. Personally, I like to be well-prepared so I am going to bring my own malaria.

It's good to learn a little of the language before you go somewhere foreign. I have a rudimentary knowledge of Spanish that I remember from high school, and some more I gleaned from watching soap operas on Telemundo. I only have three days left to learn the rest of the language, so I think I am going to focus on learning jokes translated into Spanish because I want people to like me. The trick is going to be remembering which are acceptable for everyone I meet and which are the dirty jokes.

*DisneyWorld was quickly knocked off its previous spot on top of the roster when someone realized they don't sell alcohol in the Magic Kingdom.

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