Well, I guess I have no one else to blame, when it gets right down to it. I had lots of prior experience and should have known that an innocent inquiry would lead to this predictable predicament. And so, back in May, when I asked Mikey after Minyan (Eminem, as I like to call him) if he thought that he & Colleen might be interested in joining us for a jungle adventure in Costa Rica, I really shouldn't have been surprised when, within the next 24 nanoseconds, he had the 4 of us booked and ready to leave.
It got real when Eminem started showing up for Shabbat morning services wearing his headlamp, pretending that he needed the extra light to see the Siddur. I know he's just practicing for the night hike through the rainforest so he can be the first one to spot the snakes and bugs.
We've had to lay down some ground rules of course. He's not allowed to eat pistachio's. Ever. While we will adhere to his "3 kacks before 9am" regimen, I'm not prepared to stop the car every 20 minutes for his further 'relief'.
Debbie & Colleen do not suffer as much from the tender tummy syndrome that me & Eminem do, so they have kindly consented to let the two of us occupy the front seats of the rent a vehicle. They will monitor our regularized intake of non-drowsy Dramamine as well. I'm prepared to ingest it hourly but the directions on the box state that every 8 hours is sufficient. Those are just suggestions, I know, and they have no idea how torturously winding the roads are in Costa Rica.
We have all been reading up a lot in order to get some idea of exactly what we have ahead of us. An early surprise for me: It turns out that Costco and Costa Rica are in fact two different things. Go know.
Preparations for this trip have required that I purchase an entire new wardrobe consisting primarily of things that will not disintegrate when they get wet. I now own (in no particular order) a pair of sandals that are made for walking in water, a flashlight and headlamp good to 30 metres below the surface, and a waterproof (guaranteed) neon green lightweight rainjacket.
Interestingly, it turns out that the previous lightweight rainjacket I owned is merely water 'resistant'. Meaning that you will get wet, but only after being fooled into thinking you won't. They should not be allowed to sell such things. But then, they knew that I'd come along and buy it so....
The waterproof flashlight weighs about 10 pounds. It will double as a doorstop to keep out monkeys in the night. Or Eminem, as the case may be.
In addition, I have purchased a much smaller and lightweight suitcase into which I will pack all my new purchases. It doesn't have room for clothes or stuff like that, but the flashlight will fit in there for sure.
And, of course, I have been brushing up on my Spanish. I am now prepared to be laughed at in yet another language. Luckily for us, Colleen has just returned from a two week prep course in Mexico (all inclusive, of course) and is well versed and ready to act as our interpreter. She has made it clear that anytime we will require "uno mas drinkito with an umbrellito" that she will do the ordering. Also, she knows most of the pool boys by name.
My wife is naturally apprehensive about the idea of spending 2 weeks with Eminem (she shows natural good sense, once again) but has rationalized (correctly) that this is more than offset by having the wonderful Colleen with us.
That said, she has shown an unnatural (but predictable) excitement at the planned Rio Cano Negro riverboat excursion, featuring a chance to get up close and pesonal with caimans. I looked up caimans. They are simply Central American versions of alligators. Not for the first time, I'm concerned about the number of TV shows she watches that focus on wives murdering their husbands. Eminem won't be much help as she may have it in for him, too. Colleen is likely our only hope, to be honest.
And so, we are (sort of) packed and ready to roll... and drive, and zipline, and hike, and canoe, and rappel, and whatever the heck else Eminem has planned for us for the next two weeks. On the road again....