Category Archives: Around the world

Costa Rica Part IV: Zip line

Remember those posts back in December/January about our trip to Costa Rica? Back when I would tell locals that their team had a chance to do well in the World Cup and the locals didn’t believe me? (they played great in the qualifiers!). Well… The MKX® reporter tasked with those never finished her assignment.

I installed a bunch of memory on the Mac mini, which makes editing video decisively less painful. To test it, I pieced together our clips from zip-lining throughout the Costa Rican jungle. This was on December 18th, 2013. The clips are short and to the point.

Enjoy!

Costa Rica Part III: White water rafting

December 16, 2013.

In spite of, or maybe due to, the nonstop rain that refused to let up during our stay, we opted for a water-filled activity on our first day. We thought that white-water rafting sounded like fun, and given our very limited experience with this activity, we signed up for a level 1-2 rafting trip. For those who don’t know rafting, it’s organized from levels 1-5, 1 being the easiest and 5 being for crazy adrenaline junkies. I know what you’re thinking – crazy, risk-taking Marcos only chose a level 1?! I guess marriage really has helped tame the beast.

In any case, we board the van with 8 other people and arrive at the training station by the river to get the show on the road. We spent a a few minutes learning the basic commands and instructions for how to stay in the boat and how not to drown and die, all while trying not to be distracted by the fact that we were surrounded by hens and roosters. Then, a bunch of rafts filled with people stop at our station. After a flurry of Spanish words get traded between our guys and theirs, Marcos and I suddenly find ourselves being separated from our group and being put on a raft filled with American frat boys and a skinny Tico by the name of Tony the Tiger. I thought that we were going to get to practice the basic movements and commands as our original guy had promised, but instead they threw helmets on us, and with a push, we were off.

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Before: Exuding pure  confidence.
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Before: White water rafting? Bring it on.

Within about 30 seconds, we realized we were in for way more than we bargained for. Our raft mates operated like a well-oiled machine, having been rafting together for the past hour. They kindly informed us that each had already fallen off the raft into the rock-filled, super-strong currents of the river.

With commands like “get down!” and “row hard to the left NOW!” being thrown at us by Tony every 5 seconds, we had no time to process any of it… we were in pure survival mode. The Frat Pack was in adrenaline-fueled heaven, whopping and cheering the whole time.  Somehow Tony the Tiger was able to maintain a conversation with Marcos, the only other Spanish speaker on board, the whole time. Marcos was mostly silent and looked even a little paler than usual.

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Thanks to the surrounding paparazzi, we can see the expression of our protagonists during their adventure. As you can see, the photos differ drastically from the ones above.

After what felt like forever,  we reached the end of the adventure with nothing shattered (except for our confidence). It wasn’t until then that I learned what Tony had been telling Marcos all along:

  • “There is way too much weight on this raft for a level 5. I’m going to ask them to pay me more.”
  • “If I bounce off of you really hard, don’t take it personally, it’s only to keep the raft from flipping over.”
  • “I much prefer marijuana to cocaine. But don’t get me wrong, I do plenty of cocaine too.”
  • “Did I mention this is level 5?”

Thankfully Marcos had the sense not to translate that last lovely piece of information for me until after it was over because he knew I would freak.

During the ride, and despite my futile attempts at recalling any sort of psychological wisdom about warding off panic attacks, I did find myself having a good time. I think it had to do with seeing Marcos’ facial expressions in that masochistic wife kind of way….. Maybe I’m a worse wife than I thought.

While the whole operation wasn’t sophisticated enough to keep the area clear of free roaming chickens, they did have a professional photographer running around the jungle with his expensive gear. Since we already overpaid for the CD, we might as well share a few with you. Click to enlarge (I recommend zooming in on Marcos’ face – we’ve discovered he has a “rafting face” that has not popped up in any other situation).

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Somewhere beneath everyone there is a raft.

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Shlomit didn’t even have to close her eyes.

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“¡Pinche Tony!”
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Right before the adrenaline crash.

Costa Rica Part II

The Digs

Following my father’s advice (who is also my husband’s domestic partner… we have an interesting family dynamic, but that’s for a different blog post), we stayed at a vegetarian, self-sustaining kibbutz-like hotel called Lands in Love in the middle of nowhere owned and operated by 19 Israelis (insert any number of jokes here). The place was surprisingly modern, with functional internet and nice looking furniture.

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Israeli decor in the lobby.

Though we were skeptical at first, we ended up loving the vegetarian dishes that they served (their soy hamburger is surprisingly delicious and similar to the real thing). Plus Marcos got to eat as much hummus as his little heart desired, which was fun for him and not-so-fun later in the room for me.

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We forgot to take eating pictures during this vacation, so we had to dig into the stash of past Marcos-stuffing-his-face-with-hummus photos for the post… this one is dated May 2013 in Israel.

The rooms were set up in such a way that no matter where you stayed, you had an amazing view of the jungle around you. According to my dad there were monkeys all around us in the trees, but we didn’t end up seeing any.

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Mexican decor outside of the room.

During the day, the hotel organized several tours that we could attend – we went on a few, which will be described in separate posts.

December is clearly not the height of their busy season, because the place was deserted during our whole stay – there were maybe 10 other people in the whole place, which made for a romantic – if not slightly creepy – stay. All in all, we really enjoyed our time there and would recommend them to anyone desiring a vacation in middle of nowhere, Costa Rica.

Costa Rica Part I

After a decidedly slow year at The MKX®, the CEO, in a desperate attempt to revive this rapidly declining blog, has once again hired me as a freelance correspondent and sent me on an all-expense paid trip to Central America for some fresh material. I couldn’t turn down this offer, and that’s how I found myself deep in the jungles of the tropical and beautiful Costa Rica for four days of nonstop rain and nonstop excitement. As per my boss’s instructions, I will post about said exciting days in a series of blog posts spread out over several days in order to keep the ratings high and leave you, dear readers, on the edge of your seats desperately awaiting more (coincidentally this is the same strategy my boss used in the years leading up to our courtship – I’m still waiting for the good part).

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Beautiful Jungle
Middle of Nowhere, Costa Rica

Adventures in the jungle

Coming soon: the second-ever exciting post from prolific The MKX® writer Shlomit. She will be writing all the details about… well, you will see.

Bingo

The Sandlers signed up for a two week intensive Bingo Championship in the Caribbean. Here’s us practicing some of our strategies.

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Romantic Adventures in Cambodia

Well, it’s finally happened… the years I invested in courting, becoming engaged to, and most recently marrying The MKX® head honcho have finally paid off, because I’ve been given the world’s first ever guest spot! It was no easy feat, but let this be a lesson to you all – dreams really can come true, with the right combination of prayer, hard work and determination.

So what I want to share today, in what I hope is my first of many guest posts, is one of the adventures Marcos and I experienced on our recent trip to Asia. We were in Siem Reap, Cambodia on an intense, packed three-day itinerary planned by our wonderful tuk tuk driver, Barang. We had an awesome time exploring Angkor Wat and saw many incredible temples. Barang promised us a romantic, sunset boat ride to end our three-day experience, and we were looking forward to it – he had Marcos at “romantic”!

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Barang, Marcos, and Tuk Tuk

So finally, the day arrived. It was pouring rain and we had to drive through many unpaved dirt roads to get to our boat. If you’ve never ridden in a tuk tuk while it’s pouring on unpaved muddy roads… then you really should get out more often! But you should also know that it gets a bit bumpy. And by that I mean I swear I could literally feel my brain bouncing around inside of my skull the entire ride [editor’s note: too much empty space?], which isn’t as pleasant as it may sound. Upon finally arriving at our destination, bodies somehow still intact, we were told that the cost per person was $20. This may not seem like a lot by American standards, but to put it in perspective, a two-person dinner at a nice restaurant in downtown Siem Reap with milkshakes and beers, including taxes and tip, cost us $9. So we were skeptical, to put it mildly, but at that point we were already way too far into the journey to turn around (plus I couldn’t put my poor head through the drive again). We figured that for $20, we would be going on an elite cruise with dinner and drinks included, which sounded fun, so we paid and began our adventure.

Continue reading Romantic Adventures in Cambodia

Honeymoon photos

honeymoon mkx

I’ve already posted a few anecdotes and photos from our honeymoon. But I just finished processing over 1000 photos and uploaded a large sample (but not nearly all) to
The MKX® Photo Central – since some of you expressed interest.