Saturday, January 31, 2009


Okay, so maybe the title was a bit extreme but it is very true! Sorry I
didn't write a blog on Costa Rica sooner, but we have been busy transiting
the canal, doing tests in school and hanging out with friends as much as
possible. Anyways, prepare yourselves because this might be a really long

So two days after we got back from Puerto Rico we hopped back on a plane and
took a 1 hour flight to Costa Rica. When we first arrived......oops, I need
to back up. When we arrived at the Panama Airport Daddy realized that he
had only 3 passports and that his passport was at the boat. We had to call a
friend to get Daddy's passport. While we waited for 3 and 1/2 hours we had
lunch, and randomly walked around the airport. Doesn't that sound like fun?
Once we arrived in Costa Rica we got into a taxi van and started for our
hotel in the mountains. We finally got to the hotel at around 10 at night
and quickly fell asleep. Once we got out of our van though, we felt like we
were in Antarctica. It was so cold and our hotel room wasn't much better.
For the first time in a long time, I slept with three blankets on top of me.
The next morning was scheduled for zip-lining. Although the weather was
rainy and cold we got in the tour van and headed off to the reserve. When we
arrived we all strapped on harnesses and met the rest of our group that we
would be with. After a quick hike to the first cable we were off. The
highlight of this day though was absolutely the Tarzan swing. You walked up
a big ladder and onto a platform. Then you get hooked into a cable that was
attatched to a really tall tree. Next the people tell you to bend your knees
and pushed you off the platform. From there you drop about 40 ft. and then
swing out really far. Since you're hooked onto the cable with your harness
you can spin around the not hold on while you swing. Once you start to slow
down some people at the bottom basically stop you like you are the jet and
the ground is an aircraft carrier. By this I mean that they put a bunch of
huge elastics infront of you and then you stop and they unhook you from the
cable. It was so much fun, and we didn't see any animals after that because
I screamed so loud. After 11 cables over 600 meters long and a really fun
Tarzan swing, we headed to lunch and then back to the hotel. Being able to
explore the hotel in somewhat light we found an outdoor pool, tennis courts,
a baseball field, two restaurants, and some rooms to rent. The next day was
a trip to another resort by boat and car. Since we arrived around noon we
walked quickly around the small but nice resort. There was a heated pool and
Jacuzzi, a restaurant, and many little houses that we would stay in. Inside
our mini house was a master bed room and bathroom, a small kitchen with a
stove, sink, and refrigerator, and finally Cole and my room had two twin
beds and a bathroom. Outside the front door was our own tiny pool with jets.
For lunch we went to the restaurant and had some okay food, but not great
service. This really surprised me since the people at the front desk were
extremely friendly and smiley. At this resort you could look out our little
house and see the active volcano, Arenal. Only once did we see the whole
volcano, but it was really amazing. Some really fun activities that we did
was more zip-lining, a tour to the base of the volcano, a wildlife tour
through the Rio Frio (Cold River) on a little power boat, repelling, and the
hot springs. We did a different zip-lining in this resort and I liked that
one better. For one, the weather was much warmer and drier, the cables were
longer, and you didn't have to hike from cable to cable. The tour to the
base of the volcano was a hiking tour. We walked from the parking lot to a
really huge pile of rocks at the very base of the volcano. It was about an
hour t walk there but it was on a really pretty rainforest trail and we saw
lots of cool plants. The rocks that we climbed on were blown from the
volcano a couple years ago and you can climb around on them and get a really
cool view of the volcano and some toucans. The wildlife tour wasn't great,
but we did see some cool animals including a caiman, or small crocodile. We
rode a bus for about an hour and a half and then stopped to get on a little
boat that would bring us down the Rio Frio. After the 3 hour or so ride up
and down the river we got back on the bus and went to a little restaurant
where everyone had lunch. It was some really good typical food: rice, fried
plantains, fruit juice, chips and a bean dip. After lunch was the bus ride
back to our hotel. If you have never heard of repelling, it means to go down
a mountain or waterfall while clicked into a harness. We drove a little
while in a van to the waterfalls and then clicked into a harness and put on
a helmet, gloves and a rain coat with Velcro on the neck and wrists. Then we
quickly hiked to the longest wall. The first one we would be going down. Our
guide taught us how to go down and then off we went. If you have ever been
on a rock climbing wall at those amusement parks or something like that you
know how you come down. Well we did that exact thing except that we let
ourselves down, got wet, didn't climb up, and did it on a real wall. It was
really fun and even though I was drenched in cold, river water I wasn't a
happy as I could be, which meant I wasn't cold until we took off our
raincoats. Oh yeah, on the way up the mountain we rode in the bed of a
pickup truck. After that we went back to the hotel. So you want to know
about the hot springs. The hot springs are basically natural hot tubs
powered by the volcano. One place that we went to had a heated regular pool
and a fun but short water slide, a not heated pool and a bunch of different
hot springs. There was paths set up around the baths with little bridges to
cross the river and then steps into the pool. It was really beautiful and we
were even allowed to get pina coladas! Since the water was so hot though, I
could only put my whole body in the water for about two minutes before
passing out from the heat. It was really weird, but with all the ins and
outs Cole and I just decided to stay in the pool for the whole time and go
down the slide. Also at this place there was a really good restaurant/buffet
that served a different type of food from around the world every night and a
spa that Mommy enjoyed a mud bath in one afternoon.

Okay, I think that that's everything about Costa Rica. Now I've got to write
a blog on crossing the Panama Canal, bye! BTW...there are a ton of pictures
in the photo gallery of our family blog

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Buenas Puerto Rico!

Sorry I haven't written a blog in so long! We have been doing lots of traveling in January and it's still not over! Well, right now we are in the Orlando airport waiting to check our bags so that we can get on our flight back to Panama. Anyways, we left Panama on January 2nd, and took a flight to Orlando. We had to fly to Florida because it was cheaper than a one way flight, and it worked out really well since we got to meet up with our aunt, uncle, cousins, Nonna, Nanna, Grandma, and Harley! When we landed at 5 past midnight we went down the escalator to find Nonna waiting for us. We were so happy and there was lots of hugs. She informed us that Unkie, Auntie Dana, Sophia, and Giordan had just left a couple minutes ago since the kids were sick and tired. "Hmmm, this could be a problem" we thought. Because we would be seeing Lauren really soon we were being extra careful not to get any type of cold. Anyways, since we were also tired and wanted to go to bed, so we hopped in Nonna´s car and started the drive to her house. On our way there we passed a Mc´Donalds. Before I knew it we were all munching on french fries. Once we got to the house we all ran around hugging everybody. I was so happy to see everyone, especially Harley. Since Grandma had the pink room and Mommy and Daddy were in the elephant one Cole and I slept with Nonna. After two days of family, presents and tons of fun, we were off to Puerto Rico to meet the Barkmans. As soon as we arrived at the hotel we were greeted by Kakky and Darlene. Since we had just been through the airport we took quick showers, and changed clothes before seeing Lolly and Pete so that we were sure that we couldn´t get Lolly sick. Everyone was so happy and we went right to the restaurant and then to the pool. The pool was really huge and had raft things that you could float on. We played for the rest of the day and after a restaurant for dinner, we all jumped in bed (since we can´t be apart for more than three seconds, Kak and I slept in one room and Cole and Lolly got the other.). If I went through our days one by one, the blog would last for ever so I´ll explain the highlights. One really fun thing we did was go to the water park down the mountain. There was three slides and a lazy river one was a curvy slide that you lied down on, the other was a swirvy tube slide and the third was a slide that basically went straight down. They were all so much fun and we spent one whole day at the water park one time. One funny thing that happened was we were all going through the lazy river when we spotted an iguana jump in the river and then back out. We all freaked out and Lolly automatically stuck her self on to me while I tried to get passed it as quick as possible. We also went to a little island called Palomino Island for a little while. I didn´t really like it there since there was so many wasps and all the activities cost so much. We did do the banana tube ride though, and it was really fun. Kak and I sat in the two back seats while Lolly and Cole sat in the front ones. One time when he whipped us, since I was in the very back, I fell off the tube and went flying into the water! Also, Kak was hanging off the side and screaming ¨We lost a chicken, we lost a chicken!¨ It was hysterical and we all laughed about once we got off the tube. Since this trip was all work for Pete, he didn´t do much with us until the last day but he was the MC for the awards ceremony for Certa Pro, and we all got to go. Some of it was really boring but Pete was really funny and everybody laughed. We had planned to do flashlight tag after the ceremony, but we were all too tired so we just watched the movie Meet Dave (which is really funny) and went to bed. Another Certa activity was the Certalympics. It was when a team of Certa guys had to build a raft out of the given materials and go around the mark and back twice without sinking. Since Pete was working, Daddy took his place in the race. It was so funny to watch them all fall apart and sink while they all looked so serious, but the got fourth place out of ten teams. Oh yeah, there´s more about the big slide. As soon as we got to the park Daddy just jumped in the slide and went with Cole, and later Kak then me and finally Lolly. Not so great right? The funny part is that the only reason Lolly didn´t go down first was because she wasn´t allowed to. As soon as the people finally let her go down she didn´t even think twice (unlike me who thought about five times) and just went straight down and then up and down about five more times. I loved Puerto Rico! Now we are in Costa Rica which is just so amazing. I will wright a blog about it later, but now we are going into the little town to walk and have dinner, bye!