For the first time in our marriage, Hubby and I set off on a journey we have taken before but not during the Christmas holidays. We are going to Costa Rica.

Prior to this year’s trip, all our holiday travels included visiting our parents for fun gatherings with siblings, their spouses, and the predictable off-springs. But after both sets of parents moved on to the parallel universe some call heaven; our only holiday trips involved visiting our daughter and the Grands.

The trip to Costa Rica was a family affair. We took our daughter and the Grands to visit our surfing son. Our son warned us that this was the insane and busiest time to visit because folks from all over the world descended on one of the popular surfing meccas to celebrate either the holidays or just to get wasted. Sometimes it was hard to tell the difference.

Our clever travel planner, moi, unwittingly chose one of the busiest travel days of the year. But aside from Hubby insisting we leave extra early for the airport and arriving nearly four hours before our flight’s departure, a new wrinkle arose.

Based on past travel experiences, we expected to enjoy other traveler’s wailing babies. We lost count of the number of babies and children about to board our plane, but what we did expect were the number of dogs traveling with their doting masters and mistresses. We lost count at fourteen.

So instead of the expected and occasionally howling children, we can look forward to yipping dogs as well. O what fun it is to fly during the holidays!

As you would expect, holiday travel means crowds and difficulty in finding two seats together in the airport waiting area. We finally found two seats within shouting distance of each other and settled down to eat our Chick-Fil-A spicy sandwiches in peace.

Oh well. Forget the peace part. The female occupying the seat next to me was on the cell phone shouting at someone we guessed was a boyfriend. But perhaps it was a stretch to label the person on the other end of the line a boyfriend or even a friend.

The “shy lady” was going on a vacation alone. Based on her shouted replies, he was cautioning her not to drink adult beverages while she was away. Then the next words flowing from her lips turned into a TMI moment.

“I don’t have a baby inside me, so stop telling me what to do.” Pause. “I know we talked about having a baby last night, but there is no baby in my body now.”

He must have accused her of packing sexy lingerie for the trip because she replied in an ear-splittingly loud voice, “I didn’t pack any lingerie. I’m done talking with you cause I’m disturbing people.”

Wonder what was her first clue? Was it the countless people who stuck their fingers in their ears and rolled their eyes? In either case, she finally got up and left. There was a loud collective sigh accompanying her departure.

After a brief lull in the entertainment,  a couple sat down nearby. They could have been any normal young couple except for one thing. A coat covered her entire head and most of her upper torso. Periodically, a graceful hand would appear and grab the water bottle in her lap and disappear under the coat.

Fertile minds wove simple to fantastic reasons for the cover. Was the woman excessively shy? Did she have deforming acne problems? The questions were piling up with no answer in sight.

The temptation to tug the coat off her head was close to frying every good sense this writer possessed. Perhaps gold medals should be awarded for showing incredible restraint on such curiosity-inducing occasions.

Hubby whispered in my ear. “This girl is either very ugly or sh doesn’t want to be recognized.” Well, there is that possibility, but walking around with a coat on your head is not the best way to avoid attention.

When she left, we had a glimpse of her face and a black patch. Perhaps she had eye surgery and was sensitive to light. The answer for the coat covering will remain a mystery.


It was time to board the plane and fly off on the first leg of our vacation.



(Stay tuned next week for Part 2 of our adventure.)

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