Cell Phone Data Plans

I just have to take a minute to rave about how nice it is to have cell phone data service for my laptop. A couple weeks back on our departure flight from Grand Rapids, our flight was delayed a bit due to the inclement weather. We were already boarded on the jet and the attendants never provide you with enough information. I whipped out my laptop and cell phone, visited The Weather Channel and was able to inform the passengers that the storm was below us and unlike everyone in Detroit, Chicago, Cincinnatti, and Indianapolis, we would probably get to depart.

We’re now on our way home, sitting in Atlanta, waiting for our connecting flight. My emails are downloading in the background and I’m posting a blog entry. This is far better than paying for a subscription to WiFi service. With Sprint, I add a $15 Vision pack to my cell phone subscription. The WiFi subscriptions available in some airports cost that much, and only work in a few airports. I have access in any metro area in the country, and on most freeways. Nice.

Our flight back from Costa Rica to Atlanta was uneventful, exactly the way we like flights to be. The weather in Grand Rapids looks interesting, but not severe enough to impact our arrival. We should be home in about 6 more hours.

C.R. Update #2

Wow, so much has happened, and there’s so much to say but that story will wait to be told when I’m not being charged for internet use. For now, you’ll just have to be content to know that we’re alive and well, and suffering intensely from days of lazing around on the beaches. Love, Matt & Jen

Costa Rica Update

We’re in now in the rain forest in La Fortuna, Costa Rica. Today we took a tour down the San Jaun river and spotted all sorts of critters, various birds, a two toed sloth, monkeys (cappuchin, howlers), mini-gators, and various other indigenous species. Now I’m hammering away at a keyboard in an Internet cafe, after finding one where I could change the keyboard layout to English.

We are doing quite well, having a great time for very little money. We just paid our lodging cost for the last three nights. The grand total equates to $36. Ground transportation is also quite cheap. We’re headed for Monteverde next, the Northern beaches on the Pacific and finally considering a trip to Nicarauga to go shopping.

We’re in Costa Rica!

Hooray, we have arrived.

We awoke at 3:00AM, departed home at 4:00, arrived in Grand Rapids at 5:30, spent an extra hour getting out of G.R. (de-icing, ground delay), and arrived in Atlanta an hour late. We still had an hour and our Atlanta to San Juan flight was picture perfect. We’re now enjoying sunny warm 80 degree weather in Costa Rica. Life is good.

Costa Rica Flight Info

Departing December 23, 2004:
GRR -> ATL – Delta #4089 (6:45 AM)
ATL -> SJO – Delta #375 (1:41 PM)

Returning January 6, 2004
SJO -> ATL – Delta #564 (3:00 PM)
ATL -> GRR – Delta #4227 (11:54 PM)

Halloween

Each year at Halloween our church hosts a “Pumpkin Patch” party. To get a mental picture, imagine a large building with 2-600 little kids all dressed up in their costumes playing various carnival type games, door prizes, balloons, and other exciting stuff for kids. Jen and I are in a group and our group volunteered to serve at the event and were assigned to assorted positions.

I was one of 11 people assigned to security detail. It is Halloween so a costume would be necessary. I had aspirations of being a Roman Centurion but a $15 plastic helmet and sword doesn’t do it justice and a “good” costume with real metal helmet and sword was a bit much at $800.

I didn’t give the costume much more thought until last night when Jen brought up the matter. Since we were now in the 11th hour, we were limited to clothing options in the closet. Jen came up with a great idea, an Agent from The Matrix. I already had the black suit and black square sunglasses. The white iPod headphones made a perfect earpiece, so only a few accessories were needed. A trip to Wal*Mart to acquire a black tie, tie clip, and hair gel and I was in business for a whopping $21.

The real work was done last night, reviewing the movie again to get the lines down: “Hello Mr. Anderson”, and other classics like, “I’m going to enjoy watching you die Mr. Anderson” expressed in monotone eloquence. I’m quite pleased to report that it was a smashing success. The most common comment was “You look so professional”, followed closely by “You look like an agent”. Everyone got the “government agent” part. Members of demographic profiles that would likely have seen the movie got it immediately, and everyone else guessed Men In Black, or CIA agent.

Defining moments were intimidating 15 year olds with nothing more than an expressionless stare and issuing an appropriate agent greeting to a miniature Neo. The little Neo was quite taken by the experience as well. We enjoyed ourselves very much this evening and hope that you too did something enjoyable and memorable on this holiday.

Oh Canada!

Hasta la vista Michigan. We’re off to Canada for a long weekend of backpacking along a couple stretches of the Lake Superior Coastal Trail. We hope you too are doing something enjoyable this weekend.

Isle Royale

Tomorrow evening (Thursday) Jen and I pull out of Cadillac bound for the end of the earth. Some twelve hours later we’ll pull into Copper Harbor, Michigan at the Northern most tip of the Keeweenaw Peninsula. There we park the litte Jetta and board ourselves and backpacks onto a ferry and sail off into the frigid waters of Lake Superior.

Four and a half hours later we’ll arrive in Rock Harbor on Isle Royale. From there we’ll depart on foot for parts unknown. We expect to hear the howls of wolves at night and maybe even see a moose or two. We’ll return to civilization on Monday and be home sometime late on Tuesday.

A warm western update

After arriving last week, the first order of business was a fishing trip in Ilwaco, WA, at the mouth of the Columbia river. As Ricardo and I drove down we encountered schizophrenic weather. We’d have torrential rains for a short while, and then it would be clear and sunny 5 minutes later. The weather continued switching personalities during our entire drive there.

Due to the inclement weather and resulting 11-14 foot waves, we weren’t able to go into the ocean fishing and had to instead fish in the mouth of the river. We caught three decent silver salmon but we were both disappointed by not being able to fish in the ocean. We could see the breakers crashing just out past the mouth where we were fishing but they were too much for any of the chartered fishing craft to deal with.

We also fished from Ricardo’s boat in Mukilteo for two days, catching two minnows (about 10″) and one decent (9 lbs) silver. On Sunday, I visited with Ryan Merrick and we went out sailing on his father’s boat. It’s been a long time since I’ve just sat around and waited for the wind to blow. It’s quite tranquil and eventually the wind did pick up, affording us a fine bit of sailing.

I continue to be amazed how fleeting time can be. I had aspirations of visiting Rich (brother-in-law) and Mitzi & Bill (mother and step-father in-law) but I can’t imagine where that could fit into the next two days. Being mobility challenged does not help. The clerk that took my drivers license when selling me my fishing license didn’t give it back. I failed to notice until we got back to Mukilteo. It’s being mailed to me but in the mean time, I have to impose on others to get around.

As usual, it’s sunny and warm in Seattle.