New Wife vs. The Magnificent Frigatebird

Listen. If I come home and I'm not tan, I don't want to hear anything because it has poured rain almost every single day except for a few glorious hours yesterday and thankfully we were able to really take advantage of the sunshine. The thing is - it doesn't matter. Seriously. It didn't matter on the wedding day and we are having the most spectacular time here despite the weather. After all, we are in a rainforest. I can barely include it all in this write up, I'm sure, and we've only been here a few days. The taxi driver stopped above a river on the way to our hotel to show us some crocodiles. He didn't know the word in English so he guestured with his hands, made them into chomping jaws on his face til we got it. The next day we met some friends on the 50 cent bus into Quepos, a nearby town. They'd gotten married Saturday too, in fact, it seems half he hotel did. We walked around, I bought saline solution and razors, a task that involved our Spanish-English dictionary and pretending to shave my legs. Although I felt very strongly that this honeymoon involve a significant amount of laying around, in Costa Rica, it seems so far, the adventures are every bit as relaxing and fun and hilarious as "just relaxing" could ever be. Yesterday we took a hike through the National Park at Manuel Antonio...up and up til we reached the highest peak for a stunning view of cliffs and clear blue water below. The trail took us back down and we emerged onto a beautiful beach that felt incredibly private, maybe because it's not really tourist season and maybe because that's just how it is here. The sun was shining, the hot equatorial sun, and we stripped down to our bathing suits and talked to people who'd made it there with us. I swam and then sat on a hot rock to dry. Tiny hermit crabs scatted everywhere, on our towels, hiding quickly in their shells when I bent down, over and over again to exclaim, "Look at the crabs!" White-faced monkeys made their way down trees and onto the sand and looked at us, the visitors. Yesterday morning at breakfast in the hotel they performed a similar show, scurrying up the vines and onto tin rooftops, almost as though someone had paid them to do so for our benefit.

This morning we continued the adventure swinging through the jungle on a series of zipwires and repelling down trees. It wasn't scary. I mean, standing 120 feet up on a wooden platform without guardrails is bound to give your heart a little jolt, but the guides were funny, and what's more, they were knowledgeable and all the things I'm normally afraid of just seem so ridiculous in this place. Last night we walked through the woods at night, in pitch darkness with our guide, Chris, flashlights, and an adorable family. We saw frogs, like the red-eyed tree frog that abounds on travel brochures, and spiders and we were on the lookout for (but didn't see) snakes, and I was so happy and not worried, as usual, what would happen should we be attacked. Costa Rica is wonderful for reinstating a true sense of adventure. I feel incredibly healthy.

It hasn't all been swining from tree to tree or getting a huge workout hiking up steep cliffs. Yesterday J and I spent a delightful afternoon in the pool, washing the sand from the beach, that clung tightly to my ankles and shins, away. We swam up to the bar and made friends with a couple that had been married 21 years and one that had just gotten married, like us. We chatted about the war, about Costa Rica, about marriage over beers and margaritas. About wildlife. Before we'd met these fun and interesting people, I'd asked J if he thought maybe be could go for four minutes, just four, without talking about birds. He's been craning his neck almost constantly, pointing out to me the Magnificent Frigatebird, which has a forked tail and soars high overhead. I was interested the first time I saw one, but not really the 200th. Just after the four minute non-bird-talking period had begun, the boy turned his head and watched in awe as "some species" he'd never seen before flew by. That's what he said. "But Cara that is a species I've never seen before." So much for the four minutes.

Despite the birds, I married the right person. We are having the most amazing time. I had a small breakdown of sorts the night we got here, I hate to admit. It all hit me. I got married. We were on our honeymoon. I was Cara McDonough. "My naaaameeeee!" I told J. "I changed my name! Am I still part of my family???" Oh yes, he assured me, and said, "Hey, when we have a kid someday, he'll go to apply for a bank account, and he'll have to give his mother's maiden name, and that will be Rotondaro." Hey, I thought. "Hey, that's true." And we moved on. And the birds followed...