Wrapping Up

The butterfly farm was one of the best things we did. We walked through the gardens where so many very beautiful butterflies were flying all around us. A really pretty blue one let me hold it in my hand. We got some great pictures and souvenirs. We had a cool taxi driver who talked to us a lot about Costa Rica, answered some of our questions, and was very friendly.

We did end up going to the zoo. We missed out on seeing the animals in the wild because all that stuff was scheduled for the days that Mark was sick and by the time he felt better, we were in a different part of the country outside the rain forest areas. (As I mentioned before, we did see big iguanas and a couple of white-nosed coati.) I really wanted to see a parrot, a toucan, and a monkey. The zoo, like most in Central and South America, caged their animals too narrowly - which is great for spectating, but terrible for the animal - they did have a lot of programs to support humane treatment and reduce trafficking of exotic animals as pets, which was good to see.

After running around town, we went back to the hotel. Mark's tummy was hurty so I went to dinner by myself. It was a special menu for Christmas Eve, and many people including myself had not thought to make a reservation, so I ended up sharing my table with a couple from El Paso. We shared a nice conversation, an even better four course gourmet dinner and some tropical drinks. Mark came down for a moment to get the room key and sat down and joined us for a few moments.

Our flight was very early, so we tried to tuck in early. This would not be, however. People were setting off fireworks, caroling and otherwise celebrating nearly all night long all over the city. We got up at 4:30 a little red-eyed and went straight to the airport. What an adventure. America West is really slacking. They didn't have signs up for their desks so noone knew where to go, no one came to check us into our 8:15 flight until 7:00 (they say show up so many hours early...) they didn't start boarding us until 7:45 and even then it was to put us on a bus and truck us out to the plane where we actually walked out onto the tarmack and up the ramp into the plane - an Airbus seating 5 across - tiny. We watched our own DVDs and our 5 hour flight flew.

Once home, it really started to seem like Christmas day. The McCowen house was simmering with those wonderful smells and dinner was almost ready. We ate a big, scrumptious (thankfully normal homecooked) meal. Of course we were excited to impart all the details of our trip, so we gave a little showing of our video footage, a photo slide show, and demonstrated all our souvenirs. We snacked on chocolate covered cashews and papaya. And after all that, we opened presents together. It was great. Some very priceless moments. (Aubri will be glad to know that we got a new office chair. Her comment when she saw the one we were using went something like, "Mommy, the chair's head fell off and it's buttcrack is showing.")

We played some cards and games, mom baked some cookies and the guys had some good conversation. Overall, it was very nice. When we got home, I talked to Evan on the phone until I literally fell asleep.

A few notes about the wedding...

The wedding photos came out really good. DJ really captured all the emotions and highlights. I'm going to burn them to disk along with a little travel highlights slide show and send them out relatively soon as wedding favors... I'm not sure how soon, but before school starts up again or never would be a good guess. If you came to the wedding and don't want a CD of all the pictures let me know. If you did not come to the wedding and do want a CD of all the pictures, let me know. I am posting the very best on a post-wedding website that should be ready fairly soon. When I get it set up I will link to it from here.

Thanks again to everyone who helped. Particular credit should go to Mom, Pat, Don, Eva, Paula, Brandy, DJ, Huff, Ben, Evan, Tiff, Lindsey, and Jenn.

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