i made a list somewhere. i wrote down all the things i'm supposed to do tonight, now just a few hours before i get a ride to the airport and embark on my one week nature adventure in costa rica. return dvd? check. laundry? check. spanish phrase book? check. headlamp? check. bug spray? check. write a note to mike about the house while i'm gone? check. pack my clothes? check. empty the fridge of perishables? check. eat dinner? check. backup the ibook and clear the memory so i can have enough space for my central america photos? ah, i still have to do that.

i've had a long day, and it's going to be a longer week. rarely do i actually relax on my vacations. vacations are about itineraries and sightseeing and a chain of activities from the moment i leave to the moment i come back. the only vacation i've ever had where i truly relaxed was when i went to mexico one spring long ago. in that package hotel, with the air conditioning on, the television tuned to some spanish channel, lying on the bed after a hot shower, room service delivered food, the noise of people frolicking on the beachside pool several stories below the balcony, that was relaxing. i'm afraid costa rica will be hot and humid and dirty and i'm going to be eaten alive by mosquitoes and the weather will be rainy throughout the week because it's still the wet season down there. the traveling pessimist, that's me.

the whole day i was debugging once more. kristine went running by herself and borrowed the insoles from my sneakers. so also borrowed confidence, which i forgot to return to the video store and had in my bag - she promised she'd return it for me tonight after she was down watching the movie. during lunch i went to downtown crossing to buy a spanish phrase book (i'm not putting too much faith in my high school spanish) then got a beef sandwich from chacarero. i walked through chinatown on my way back to the office and took a gander at this friday's batch of new york city pilgrims. i tried calibrating my newly updated gps (from version 2.21 to version 3.50) but i couldn't get more than a single satellite to lock on to my position, fortified within the concrete jungle. the fact that in less than 24 hours i'd be on my way to costa rica never really hit me except for one single moment, when i had a momentary bout of excitement before it soon disappeared, replaced by the drive to finish all my bugs so i wouldn't have to leave with loose strings. when i left at 6:30pm, everyone wished me a happy trip as i left the office. downstairs a block away, a mob of people were waiting on the street corner for the next available chinatown bus. i'd never seen a crowd like that before in chinatown, for a moment i thought maybe it was a protest of some kind.

what happened within the next two hours was kind of crazy. originally i was supposed to go see a chimpanzee imax movie with eliza, but she bagged out at the last minute (story of my life), so i suddenly had some time on my hands. i got off at harvard square where i went to EMS to look for headlamps. i didn't think i really needed one so i left without buying anything, browsed a few bookstores before walking back home, making a brief stop at hollywood express to return one of my dvd rentals. i thought about packing, but then sort of slumped on the couch watching some television, surfing the web for costa rica photos. that's when i found a description about how dark the jungle was, and the necessity of having some sort of flash in order to take any decent photos. that got my really worried, because between my father and i we had two flashlights, but i didn't think they'd be strong enough for photos, so i walked down to porter square, to the sporting goods store there (forgot the name of it), but they didn't have any headlamps, so i went to the train station and took the subway one stop to harvard square, where i hurried into EMS 10 minutes before closing time and bought one of those white LED headlamps (petzl tikka plus). when i got home i tried it out, strapped it onto my forehead and walked around the house, even taking a photo to guage the effective brightness (1/4 second shutter speed, but no problem getting clear photos with nikon's best-shot-selector).

my parents were out at some dinner function and dropped by my place to see how i was doing in regards to packing, which i hardly even started. by the time they left, i had most of my gear assembled on the coffee table. i briefly went back to belmont with them because they were having dsl issues and my sister needed to surf the web. turns out it's something verizon is doing wrong and i instructed my sister how to deal with them when she called them up about a fix. i got a ride back to cambridge, where i got mike's rent check, then got a ride to the nearest fleet atm to cash it, before getting a ride back to my place.

throughout the remaining evening i did the rest of the stuff on my list, assembling my rain forest wardrobe in lovely shades of earth tones, even picking out the outfit i'm going to be wearing tomorrow morning. the plane leaves at 11am for miami, then costa rica, where i should be arriving in san jose close to 8pm EST. we'll be staying with some friends of family friends. sunday morning my father and i will be making a 1 hour flight south to drake bay, next to the corcovado national park, where we'll be staying for the next 4 nights. on thursday we come back to san jose, and then friday we're off on a day trip to monteverde up north. saturday, coming back to boston, returning in the late evening.

this of course means radio silence for a week (i doubt there's wireless internet access in the cloud forest). i'm sure i'll have plenty of stories and pictures to show of my trip when i come back. until then...