My parents, GeorgeB and BarbaraB, will be married for 50 years on December 26. For half a century of marriage, you deserve more than a one-day celebration, so we kicked off the fun early. First, my mother received her Wendy Brandes anniversary ring in October. Then, for Thanksgiving, my parents took the entire family went to Costa Rica.
My father rented a beautiful villa near Quepos that fit all of us: GeorgeB; BarbaraB; MrB; me; my sister, Terri Berry; Terri’s husband, Tim Berry; the two little Berries; and Kenny, Tim Berry’s brother.
On our first full day, we explored Manuel Antonio National Park where we saw sloths …
… white-faced monkeys …
… and white-faced monkeys posing for the paparazzi.
There were more white-faced monkeys when we took a boat tour of a mangrove forest on the second day.
These monkeys are really cute … until you zoom in. Up close, they look a lot like Lord Voldemort.
We then spent a day with a personal guide who took us horseback riding …
… led us (on foot) over a narrow bridge that reminded me of the bridge scene in Shrek …
… and took us to a waterfall/swimming hole.
After the horses, bridge and swimming, we were on our way to lunch when we had a minor mishap.
I suspected that the horses standing around our van were laughing at us. The guys who ran over to help us were definitely amused. I amused myself by taking a selfie while the guys dug us out of the ditch. Yep, I’ve decided that during minor transportation emergencies, my job is to take a picture of myself.
Zip-lining is a must in Costa Rica. I loved it.
Take a close look at my shoes in that photo. We had to leave the house early that morning and I was running all over the place looking for my sneakers. Finally, I gave up and put on my fancy-looking — but comfortable — rubber-soled shoes from Opening Ceremony. I figured if I can stand for hours at concerts in my Opening Ceremony shoes, I could zip-line in them.
When we got back to the house, I found my sneakers. My nephew had plugged in an iPad to charge … and set it on top of my sneakers. Lesson of the day: Always look under an iPad if you’re missing something important.
We went snorkeling and then slid down the boat’s steep and terrifying slide. You could also jump off the roof of the boat. There was a dude who helped position you properly for the slide and gave you a push, so I managed that just fine. But on the roof of the boat, I had to propel myself off and I was scared to do that. Terri was scared too but she eventually jumped. My 7-year-old nephew jumped more than once. An 11-year-old boy came back four times while I was standing there petrified. (He said, “You’re STILL HERE?!”) People did somersaults off the boat while I stared over the side of the boat. For the second time during the trip, I thought of Donkey in Shrek. I was like, “Don’t look down … don’t look down … Shrek, I’m looking down!!!” My brother-in-law Tim, who came back up for a second or third jump, finally said the magic words: “Just look straight ahead.” I said, “Can you repeat that sentence until I go?” Tim said, “Look straight ahead, look straight ahead, look straight ahead, look straight ahead …” and I finally jumped. Whew.
I wouldn’t have been able to relax and enjoy the sunset if I had chickened out of that.
In between all the classic Costa Rican activities, we had a classic Thanksgiving dinner.
The only negative thing about this experience: Now I want to spend EVERY Thanksgiving in Costa Rica. GeorgeB and BarbaraB, you’ve created a zip-lining monster!