Up at 8am. I would have slept in but we had to do the whole huggy thing.
While the others were having breakfast I checked the Internet (it's free at the hotel, which is why I was on it so much). Phil Spector was getting sentenced today. I didn't realize he'd been convicted in the retrial. That happened the day Harry Kalas died, which is probably why I missed the story. I was emotional that day. I said hi to Fabi and the Canadians at their breakfast table, and Phil asked if I'd gotten a haircut. I realized that I'd brushed my hair back but forgotten to tease it down. Fabi said I looked younger with it down, which is useful to know, but I already knew it. All of you may thing I look this hot naturally, but it's actually quite a bit of work every morning.
Reprise of the first pic of the tour, this time in daylight.
The last 4 group members had a taxi coming at 9:15am (Sandy had an earlier flight, and there were no hugs when she went to bed last night, although she told me later that Fabi got up early to say goodbye...above and beyond, indeed). I waited with them, prolonging the tour as long as possible.
Fabi, Sarah, Anna, Tara and Phil. Finally, a decent pic of people, even though Tara looks a bit like Ivonne Nardone here.
Taxi came, we all hugged (Ralph Wiggum: "Everybody's hugging!"), the sisters and the Canadians left, and Costa Rica Adventure was over.
I went back to the Internet room, and a half hour later a freshly-showered Fabi showed up for a final goodbye, because she was checking out. More hugging. She told me to look her up on Facebook, which I did immediately after she left, along with everyone else. I got all the friend requests out before I even left the hotel. [As I type this on June 1, all have been accepted, except two, oddly. I hope they're not pulling a Jodi Cryderman.]
I checked out at 10:50am and the taxi (provided/owned by the hotel) was already waiting for me. I got to the airport at 11:25am. Had to pay a $26 departure tax before checking in for my flight. Waiting to check in I saw a size-check thing for carryon bags...it featured a cartoon of a carryon asking "Am I too big?" That's what she said. And usually the answer is yes. Most girls are too big, especially in LA. Don't let these photos fool you. Those two are anomalies.
I was thinking of the bathrooms at Cafe Mundo, which I described as damas y caballeros, and recalled Hugo Savinovich starting off his interview segments with that phrase on the channel 35/41 Spanish NWA show in the '80s. When it started airing in Philly the interviews were promoting the Night of Champions at the Meadowlands. And whoa. I realized while waiting in line that the Night of Champions was 25 years ago to the day. May 29, 1984. I remember lots of dates.
Random note I wrote down on a random page...Tara was Phil's teacher. That's how they met. Nice. To paraphrase Sasha Gabor: "Wow...now you're animating."
There was a big old American guy at the counter checking in too late for a flight and complaining that American Airlines reps had given him three different times to check in. What a douche. There's a stereotype about American tourists, and it takes just one guy like him to perpetuate it. Asking people is the worst way to get information. Teaching yourself works better.
When I checked in for the flight the woman at the counter said "buenos dias", and I replied "hello". I always do that so they know what my language is. I vaguely remember saying that in a previous travelogue. My bag weighed 44.5 kg. At the start of the trip it was 42.5 or 43.5 (Fabi: "That's almost me!"). How did it possibly gain mass? My jacket was in there, and a plastic bag, and they weren't before, but that's not anywhere near a kilogram. And I'd used shampoo, deodorant and contacts solution. Maybe it gained mass via Ryan Rowland's vacuum fluctuations.
The airport seemed to be full of American kids ending their various trips. The San Jose airport is where dreams come to an end. Kind of like the Pig 'N Whistle. (I stole that line from someone...sorry.)
I ate at Church's Chicken. Are they in LA? Church's reminds me of that weird chicken place I ate at in the San Antonio airport, except Church's is more widely known, and thus less weird. Every place in the airport takes US$, so I couldn't get rid of my last ¢11,970. Now I have to send it to Travelex, which is kind of a waste for such a small amount.
At the food court there were a bunch of hotties, all wearing shirts that said Jesus Te Ama on the back and Mission Costa Rica '09 on the front. All young and physically flawless, except for the obvious neurological damage. It sucks that so many of the attractive ones are so excruciatingly stupid and irritating. Stop believing stuff. That's my general advice for life.
At the gate, a guitarist (Elvis something) was playing "Girl From Ipanema". I laughed out loud. One person reading this knows why. Sitting in my chair I saw a toenail on the floor. Who the fuck are these people who cut their toenails in public? People do it at work too. Do they decide in advance that they're going to put clippers in their carryon bag so they can make efficient use of their time while waiting for a flight? Do they always carry the clippers and suddenly decide that their toenails need cutting and just can't wait? Do they assume if they leave a toenail on the floor that no one will write about it in a travelogue or do a standup rant on it? Probably. Most people aren't very bright.
On the flight to Miami I was looking out for Cuba, but the entire island was shrouded in clouds and secrecy.
In Miami we had to go through screening again. On the other side of the X-ray machine, the screener woman picked up one of my ¢500 coins and said "it's big!" That's what she said...which she really said, so it probably doesn't count as a TWSS.
I had a hot dog at Nathan's. Just one.
US coins look so tiny now!
Why is the MIA-LAX flight 5 hours and 45 minutes? PHL-LAX isn't that long.
The AA woman making announcements at the gate in Miami spoke unintelligible English. Fabi liked to criticize her own English, but it seemed good to me. Living in LA and travelling so much, I'm used to various accents, and some are very bad, but with Fabi I found myself talking as fast and familiar as I would with a native English speaker. And she learned English on the street. Probably the same way those Cambodian kids do. I've realized that when people can't speak English well, especially when they live in the US, it's not because of their parents, or their home country's schools, or their home country's government's brutality against people who try to learn English...it's simply because they're defective. And every time I mention defective people, somebody brings up eugenics. I don't advocate eugenics, nor do I advocate reverse eugenics (socialism). Government shouldn't be nudging either way. Evolution should take care of the defectives.
On the MIA-LAX flight I was in seat A, seat B was empty, and a guy was in seat C. I told him I was a comedian and he said some of the guys in his church were comedians. I gave him my MySpace link for networking purposes. He mentioned the church a few more times, and said if I want to meet one of the comedians, I could do so Mondays at 7pm. I assumed that was a church meeting he was trying to get me to go to. Asshole. I'm pretty sure I said I was a COMEDIAN. We tend not to like people, especially stupid ones, and put a ton of work into making fun of them on stage. Most of us are atheists. At least the better ones are. This guy was wise to abandon the topic. Even though I was sick of all 974 songs on my iPod (they're not all songs...some are Phillies clips and whatnot), I stuck those headphones in as soon as the fasten-seatbelt sign went off.
During the tour, my sister (in reference to J. Peterman's Costa Rica upbringing) asked me on Facebook if I'd bought any stories from Kramer. I didn't. But if I had, and this travelogue was about Bob Saccamano instead of the tour, his part of the story would now be over. I realize I used that same joke at the end of the Greece travelogue, but it was more appropriate here.
Ending weight (the morning of the 30th) = 162.5 lb. Only a 2-lb loss, and if you recall the pre-trip weight was pre-dump anyway. How did I not lose more weight with all that hiking and all those sensible meals? I'm convinced now that eating less and exercising are ineffective weight-loss gimmicks. I should stick with the stuff that I know works, like bulimia and over-the-counter supplements.
Awesome trip. Great group and great tour leader. It probably didn't top Greece, because that one had a bigger group, and it was Greece. But this one was close behind. Everyone in the group was positive, energetic, adventurous, healthy and funny, which makes it all the more difficult to go back to j2 alongside people who are the opposite of every adjective I used there. I'm gonna be irritable at work for a while. Regardless of whether a tour involves historical sites, beaches, outdoor activities, long bus rides, partying, or whatever, it's always painful when I get back to LA and I'm not around fun people anymore. Or around girls.
Thanks to everyone I encountered on the tour, especially the members of the group, and most especially Fabi, for running a good show and indulging my sense of humor.
you guys have been great