May 26:  Monteverde to Quepos/Manuel Antonio National Park

Up 7am.  Barely slept.  The 4 beers and other stuff amped me.

At 8am we got into a spacious minibus.  We stopped at 9:20am, where I got a Snickers and a Pilsen...the much-heralded Breakfast of Champions.  I'd planned the night before to have a beer at every stop today.  We continued on the Pan-American Highway, which goes to Argentina to the left and Alaska to the right.  We went left.  I'm wondering if the Pan-American Highway crosses the Christopher Columbus Transcontinental Highway.  It has to, at the nexus of the Americas.  Highlight of the ride was when the driver gave a double-bird to a truck that was passing on the wrong side.  It wasn't the SCSA 3:16 palms-forward double-bird though.

Our next stop was at ~10:45am at the bridge over Rio Tarcoles, where Fabi guaranteed we'd see at least 20 crocodiles.

Here are 11 on one side of the bridge, and there was another one out of range,

I see at least 8 more here on the other side.

This is back on the first side, and my camera was on a weird setting.  All in all I counted 21 crocs, so Fabi delivered.  I also bought two cans of Pilsen here, and drank them as the ride continued.

We arrived at the Quepos hotel at 12:40pm.  It's much hotter here than in the cloud/rainforest areas.  Fabi warned us about the German owners of the hotel and their strict rules, like $20 for the A\C (was actually $10) and no outside food/beverage items like in a movie theatre.  But the receptionist chick seemed nice.  Nevertheless, I heard the Nazi anthem on my iPod on the way to the hotel.  Why is it on my iPod?  We considered fielding a Team Germany at Wiffleball a couple years ago, and in the interest of making it a "heel" team, I was going to fashion them after 1939 Germany.  The idea was deemed too controversial and nixed, but the anthem remains on my iPod.

Another song on my iPod was Sweet Georgia Brown, and I've always thought it would make a great Family Guy cutaway.  Like Stewie and Brian are talking, and all of a sudden Brian says "hey man, who's that cat coming down the street", and Stewie's all "I don't know, but it sounds to me like that hwistlin' man with the bones", and Brian says "sure having himself a ball", and then it's like two minutes of myriad creative camera angles on Peter as he whistles and plays the bones, with Cleveland joining on horns as necessary.

We walked into town to Soda Sanchez, which again was recommended by Let's Go and Fabi independently.  I had rice with shrimp.  Best meal so far, except for the part where I had a stuck sneeze and inhaled way deeply to clear it out, and instead sucked a fly into my nasal cavity.  The Canadians and the Dutch girls left from there to go to the beach at Manuel Antonio (the sisters skipped lunch and were already there), and Sandy wanted to explore the town, so Fabi and I walked back to the hotel.  But then she remembered that she had to buy bus tickets for us, and went back into town again.

At the hotel I laid out by the pool 2:45pm-4:30pm, trying to restore my fading tan, but the sky became overcast very quickly as I was putting on my bathing suit, so I didn't get any color.  On my iPod I heard "In the Navy", which contains these lyrics that I'd never paid attention to before:  "Don't you hesitate/there is no need to wait/they're signing up new seamen fast."  This is my second straight travelogue that cites a semen/seamen pun in a song (see "Glass-Bottomed Boat" in Greece).  I'd had my iPod on shuffle and had just passed song #900 of 974 when I mistakenly reshuffled.  So now I had to listen to songs a second time just to hear the ~70 I hadn't heard once yet.  The 8th song in the new shuffle was "Black Or White", which never left my head in the first place, so no additional harm here.

I got on the Internet at 4:43pm (I wrote down the exact time so I'd know when to stop just before the 1-hour mark).  A few news items:  a 5-million-year-old sloth was found, the Lakers lost game 4 to the Nuggets, and Prop 8 was upheld.  I voted against Prop 8, more as an anti-government gesture than a pro-gay one.  It's a tricky issue though.  I hate that it's commonly referred to as "gay marriage", when it's more accurately "same-sex marriage".  A man can marry a woman regardless of their sexual orientations, whereas I can't marry Mike or LG even though I'm straight, so there's really no individual right that Prop 8 infringes upon.  True, it doesn't make sense for a gay guy to marry a lesbian or two straight dudes to get married, but the truth is it never makes sense for a guy to marry anyone.  Marriage in general is unnatural.

Also I saw Matt's post on MySpace that the Jon Lovitz Comedy Club is now open at CityWalk.  That's a short walk from my apartment, and he's trying to get a job there, so I'm hoping I can get booked at some point.

I shaved (which is a major chore in humidity) and showered, and discovered that my sides and arms were now sore.  Very odd.  Maybe I'd been sleep-shagging and didn't remember.

We all left the hotel at 7pm for dinner at Monchados, a Mexican place.  I had a "chimichanga" that wasn't flaky, and two Pilsens.  Fabi, after finishing a big meal:  "I feel like a stuffed turkey.  That's what she said."  Nice!  I trained her well.  Afterwards everybody went home (they were planning a huge night tomorrow night that ultimately didn't happen) except me and Fabi.  We took a taxi to Bambu Jam, a club/bar she'd been talking about.  We people-watched and listened to a live band, but Fabi was bored, as evidenced by repeated glances at her watch long before she suggested leaving.  The music was the problem.  While talking I noticed that her phone had a photo of a monkey on it, but that was actually her boyfriend.  Seriously, from upside-down, I thought it was a chimp.  She was telling me about some bad groups, like her previous that wasn't active and adventurous like us, and bad evaluations she's gotten from passengers, like one who said she was more like a passenger than a tour leader.  One of my students at UCLA said something similar on her evaluation of me (I was more like the smartest kid in the class than a TA), but that was meant in a good way.  And Erik's current group (which was now in Nicaragua) was the worst ever:  Robert, a quiet Australian girl with a pierced lower lip (one of those skinny "off" girls from the Arenal hike), and a pair of Swedish or Swiss girls who separately hooked up with a pair of Swedish or Swiss guys and just stayed in all day and pounded instead of doing the outdoor activities that everyone pays to come to Costa Rica for.  Couples usually ruin the chemistry of a group because they tend to be antisocial and go off on their own.  Tara and Phil are an exception.  You can be a couple and still be cool.  This was a tight group...we had dinner as a complete or nearly-complete group every single night, except notably the one night Fabi skipped.

We left after 2 hours (11:30pm) and 2 more Pilsens (for me) and took the taxi back.  Bed 12am, although I listened to my iPod for an hour or so before falling asleep.