Category Archives: Around the world

Manuel Antonio

We went to Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica for a family vacation earlier this month. Manuel Antonio is a small tourist town near Quepos, about a 3 hour drive away from San José. It’s on the beach by the rain forest.

We stayed at a small hotel. It was far from fancy, but unlike most of the hotels in town, it had direct access to the beach, a huge advantage. It also had monkeys everywhere, including many loudly jumping on the roof at night.

We had a very full schedule of outdoor water activities and extreme sports and my adrenaline-addicted children loved it. A few of the things:

Manuel Antonio
The beach at Manuel Antonio. Incredible natural beauty.
monkey on a sign
Monkeys! Monkeys everywhere!
pick up soccer game in Manuel Antonio
Of course we had to find the one soccer field in the town and go play pick up soccer with the local kids there. Every chance we had.
The largest Catamaran in Manuel Antonio.
Beach soccer
Beach soccer was good, too.
ATV riddng.
waterfall swimming
Swimming in a waterfall.
playing with sand
More beach.
hanging bridge
Ziplining in the jungle. It is so much fun.
snake head closeup
Snake in Manuel Antonio National Park. Lots and lots of cool animals.
white water rafting
White water rafting. If you look closely, my two kids are in there.
making chocolate
We learned how chocolate is made. And we ate a lot.
small airpliane
We took a very cool short flight back on the way back.

Omega Mart

We took a quick trip to Las Vegas with the kids last month. We heard a lot about Omega Mart being a good place to visit. I was a bit shocked at the prices ($50+ per person) but we went ahead with it.

It’s really cool and unique and worth the admission; and it’s better if you know less about it when you visit. So if you think you may go anytime soon then stop reading.

What is it? You start out in a fake supermarket, playing the part of a new employee going over orientation. As you start looking closely, you will see things get progressively weirded. Eventually you find secret entrances to the back – where you are in the corporate offices but also in some sort of other dimension. It’s huge and super well made.

Your goal is to find clues and figure out what the heck is going on, it’s like being inside a giant interactive Black Mirror. We stayed there for almost 3 hours and couldn’t get to the bottom of it but made lots of progress. Maybe with older kids that don’t get cranky when hungry?


¡Nos vamos al Mundial!

It was a rough first day.

My flights were: AUS-DFW, DFW-LHR, LHR-DOH.

American Airlines was quick to mess with my plans by delaying the AUS-DFW flight. But only 10 minutes at a time so that I can’t look for alternatives before missing a connection. I made it to the gate of my connecting flight 3 minutes after it closed.

The saddest photo.

I was instead forced to stay the night in Dallas (not the airline’s fault of course, so hotel’s on me) and put on a flight that lands me in Doha with barely enough time to get to my first match with suitcase and all.

Thankfully, I went to the airport early and straight to beg to a really nice AA lady, using my best sad kitten eyes face 🥹. She got me on an earlier flight direct to Doha! That gave me enough time to go to the apartment, shower, eat, nap, then to the two matches! Sure, it was a middle seat all the way to the back in a 15 hour flight. But I was going to make it! No complaints.

Left to right: Marcos, very nice Qatar Airways flight attendant, and Fred – former player for San Jose Earthquakes and Bora’s close friend with the best soccer stories.

I was impressed at the big and modern airport. And most impressed at the speed and efficiency of immigration. Wow! Will everything in Qatar be this fast and efficient? (Narrator: no, it won’t).

The apartment we got is in a small building that is definitely not new in some random Doha neighborhood. It absolutely demolished my expectations though. It is simple with no luxury, but perfect: Large, comfortable, newly renovated. Two bedrooms, 1.5 bathrooms, kitchen, fridge, washing machine, TV. Everything looks fairly new. AC works like a champ. There’s several places to eat and buy groceries around it that are quite cheap. Everyone speaks serviceable English – probably better than Arabic.

USS Lexington

On a recent long weekend, the Kirsches from Austin went on a quick trip. Our goal was to stay within short driving distance. We decided on Corpus Christi because beach.

I had never visited Corpus Christi and didn’t know what to expect – I don’t think a Selena Shrine is a good enough reason to plan the trip.

But the USS Lexington is. I am embarrassed to admit I didn’t even know it was there. It’s an old WWII-era aircraft carrier turned into a museum and it’s just as cool as you would imagine.

I need help identifying that little brown computer or dumb terminal.

Not only was it extremely interesting to learn about the history of the ship and see its insides and look at the planes… they even have an Escape Room. That’s right: an Escape Room inside a 70 year old aircraft carrier.
We couldn’t solve it though.