The Norman Transcript

August 16, 2013

Tales from the tropics

The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — What does vacation mean to you? Do you look forward to relaxing, unfettered by schedules? Or, are you the intense vacationer, filling every waking moment with activities?

If you lean toward the relaxed approach, you understand the concept of vacation — an escape from daily responsibilities. However, if you are the “Energizer Bunny” type of vacationer, you will need a vacation after your vacation.

Our family members fall into both categories. To quote our daughter, “In a foreign country, I want to see and do a lot of things.” On the other hand, even though the Grands tend to take after their mother, they were quite content to play on the beach for hours… when they were not surfing.

Hubby and I like to mix it up and add balance to our vacations. Activities and sight-seeing are wonderful when interspersed with unscheduled breaks. Claiming and relaxing in the hammock with a good book or walking for miles on the beach in search of sea shells or just contemplating our jungle surroundings.

The entire family went to Costa Rica to a town which evolved from a small fishing village on the edge of the jungle to a destination point for surfers. If the waves are good, they will come by the droves. But just because the place draws tourists, does not mean the town is totally “civilized.”

The surf shops sell everything from bikinis, surf boards to bumper stickers. There are a variety of restaurants offering the freshest and most mouth-watering foods, but the seating is usually outdoors. Since this was the rainy season, it was common to combine dinner with a personal shower. Perfect if you are into multitasking.

Unlike the sewer systems at home, the town’s system is unable to process anything besides our basic contributions, which means toilet tissues must be placed in a nearby receptacle. It requires concentration and once you are home, you still pause to consider whether to drop or not to drop.

During the rainy season the predominantly dirt roads become even rougher and every ride becomes an aquatic and bumpy roller coaster event. The rental of 4X4 cars and quads is highly recommended. Or, go native and walk or ride a bicycle.

In high season when it is hot, dry and dusty, every mode of transportation, other than a car, covers riders in dust. Folks even sport bandanas across the lower half of their faces, just like cowboys during a cattle drive, because dust is not delicious.

Our son has a motorbike and we all had a chance to ride with him. The ride was fun, but for the mother with short legs dismounting was a problem. My foot caught on something and I fell. Never knew a person could bounce on hard ground, especially on a tailbone.

The unforeseen consequence of my klutzoid act — while the family went zip lining and having a blast, an ice pack became my new best friend. Another consequence of the fall, riding in a car or on the quad over those aforementioned rough and often vertical roads was painful.

However, it became necessary to ride from the beach up to the surf villa on the quad. Sitting behind my daughter, I held on the rack behind me and tried to elevate my sore rump. Big mistake.

Suddenly, my legs flew up in the air as we reached a ravine. Did I mention that I screamed? This little blip shook both of us up, but was gleefully retold by my daughter every chance she got. And, the family has officially and collectively banned me from riding motorbikes and quads.

They should know better than to tell their maternal parent, “Don’t.” I figured out how to dismount and will be back on that bike.

Later, when the Grands climbed on the quad, one of them quipped: “Mimi, watch how the pros do it.”

Elizabeth is a freelance writer and author. Her novels “The Dionysus Connection” and “The Marathon Man” are available on Visit her website: