On the first week of January we all packed up our flip flops, swimsuits and t-shirts for a much needed week in a tropical climate. Here's a taste of what we'd been dealing with in Pennsylvania:
Waking up at 3 AM to dress and dig the car out of the snow, we were running behind even with the best intentions. It took awhile to dislodge the wheels from the frozen mess and make an expedient run down to Philadelphia International Airport. It was Torin's first time on a plane, and for a 13 month old I think he did exceptionally well. I only got a few disgusted stares from nearby passengers and I think they were individuals with no personal experience with small children. 10 hours later we touched down in a bright, mountainous landscape. Coastlines jagged and lined with pale blue bays encrusted in white sand. Yes.
We were ferried to a nearby car rental pavilion and picked up a white Toyota SUV that we drove about an hour north to our destination in Tamarindo. Torin enjoyed having shorts on after months and months of my dressing him in 2 and 3 layers to fend off the cold. Arriving at the villa we had all voted for months before, it definitely lived up to expectations. With our 8 adults and one toddler, it seemed ready for professional vacationing. There were frangipane flowers and towels artfully arranged in our room when we got there....and palm trees outside the window. Double yes.
The pool was awesome, the view was awesome, and I immediately set to creating a signature drink. Corona mixed half & half with Squirt (fizzy citrus soda), a squeeze of lime.... and you have the Kir-Beer. Or the Beersten. Either way, a favorite was born. Add a lounge chair and this is truly how most of us spent most of the week!
The beach was lovely and dotted with unselfconscious Central Americans. Banana hammocks and muffin tops abound. Very refreshing coming from the self-shame capital of the world.
Iguanas were everywhere, so much so that the staff often shooed them away from the tables. There were also many gorgeous birds. Bright yellow ones, whip-smart looking crow-like birds with beautiful long tails, and the beaches had sand dollars, tons of crabs and live shellfish rolling around in the surf.
Midway through the week, a few of us decided to go for a spa day up in the mountains (including us new mothers who have been working 15 hours a day, 7 days a week for the last year). Triple YES!
A staff member came down and picked us up in a van. He drove us about 40 minutes away and up a dusty, windy gravel road to a little resort in the jungle. We all got 3 treatments from scrubs to mudwraps to massages and afterwards they fed us an amazing meal with white wine and ceviche. It was followed by a delicious passionfruit dessert.
While it was a pretty sizeable splurge, this has to be the best spa experience I've ever had. No question about it. I left feeling like a cloud. A well massaged, slightly buzzed cloud.
Torin, or 'The Bibble' as he is affectionately known, very much enjoyed the surf and had no problems being pummelled by waves as tall as he is.
(Photo credit Alan Allum)
And he is a big time water lover... not much fear there at all, which is key. (Photo credit Alan Allum)
Our last delicious meal before flying out the next day.
Oh, and watch out for the ant eaters.