Will Design for Room and Board :)

Our good friend Jobbie who lives in Mal Pais has a surf shop called Jobbies Longboards and does holiday packages down here. I have been doing his creative for years and this last trip down here we did what has turned out to be a pretty good trade. I designed him up a bunch of new hat and T-Shirt graphics and in exchange he rented a great 2 bedroom apartment that Josi and I are living in for the month. It works well for both of us as he sells a crap load of the stuff that I design for him.

Another friend of his runs a really great seafood restaurant called Product C and he was asking about help with a hat design. I ended up doing a bunch of hat and T-Shirt designs for him and in exchange Josi and I go there most days for lunch for one of the best salads topped with fresh fish.

The last time we were here I ended up being a wedding photographer and Josi assisted. I don’t remember what we got for that, but it was way more than most people who live here make in a month.

I’m hoping that we are able to do more of the same as we venture around the world as I really enjoy designing and at FreeBird Agency I find myself doing more management stuff and way less old school design. It’s also great because I’m able to do design pretty fast so it doesn’t take long to create cool designs in exchange for decent trade.

Loving the Adventure of Life

Mal Pais, Costa Rica

Being here has provided a great opportunity to shut my brain off and to relax after working so much during the last six months prior to the trip. I find it amazing what one is able to put them self through with regards to long long hours of non stop work, and what one is able to accomplish, when you are working toward a goal. With out something to look forward to I could have never put in the hours that I did.

It’s hard to believe that it’s already been 22 days since we left home, crazy how time flies. Our days have been going something like this. Wake up really early and surf for two or three hours. Shower and go for breakfast. Come home and check emails and then possibly do a bit of work. Eat a light lunch. Go fly fishing in the surf or adventure around a little and check things out. Then go for an evening surf, shower up again, go for dinner and go to bed early.

The Surf:
The waves have been smallish, but have been consistent and the mornings have been a lot of fun. My late takeoff on my backside drop in’s have been touch and go. I got totally rocked today on a wave that I normally would have caught with out much problem. I’m happy that I’m working it out a mellow beach break rather than on the razor sharp reefs of Indonesia. My goal for this trip is to get back into shape and to catch airs on my surfboard again. In truth, I have only ever landed a few and that was years back. I’m confident that I will be sticking them by the end of this trip. I was stoked the other day to ride out of a little frontside barrel which is always a good start to a surf trip. For the most part there haven’t been much in the way of barrels to be had, but there have been lots of fun waves. The water is crazy warm and I could stay in it all day with out getting even the slightest of a chill. I’m also stoked that Josi is getting the hang of her new board and is catching lots of waves. I keep hoping that the swell is going to pick up a bunch so that we can surf some of the many great point breaks in the area, but I din’t think that that’s going to happen. Not to worry, lots of opportunity for great waves over the next 6 months.

The Food:
Lets just say that as long as you love delicious seafood, or chicken for that matter, then you will love Costa Rica. For dinner, a huge main course consisting of a protean like fish (mahi mahi, yellow fin tuna, snapper), chicken, or beef with rice, beans and a salad costs about $10 to $14. It’s a lot of food and it tastes really great. For breakfast we have a traditional Costa Rican meal consisting of eggs, rice and beans, a corn tortilla and a protein (Josi usually has the fried local cheese and I usually have bacon). Breakfast is about $5, but when you add in coffee and fresh fruit smoothy it costs a little less than $20 for both of us including a decent tip.

Fly Fishing:
There have been huge amounts of sea birds diving into the surf every day as they feast on small silver bait fish. The locals are fishing from the shore every day using two hand lines, one for catching bait and another for catching the larger fish eating the bait. As the pounding surf comes at them they throw their line over the wave and then quickly duck under it. Normally on surf trips I bring a casting rod but because we are spending a month in Argentina and I plan on doing a lot of fly fishing in Patagonia I only brought a 6 weight, 4 piece Sage rod. i have had a less then easy time learning to cast through the surf as it pounds you over again and again. Prior to yesterday, the closest I got to catching a fish was seeing some fish chase my fly as I retrieved it in quickly. I haven’t seem many locals actually catch fish, but I have seen a few which is enough to keep me coming back again and again. I keep experimenting with new flies and yesterday was the first day that I used a fly that looks like a white minnow. I still didn’t catch anything, but I had one one which is a start in the right direction. I saw the fish come out of the water as it hit the fly and I think that had I not been worked around by the surf I would have set the hook sooner and would have had caught it. I’m not sure what they are called, but I have seen them as big as 8 pounds and the locals say they taste great. Hopefully in my next blog post I will be able to tell you first hand how it taste.

Our Adventures:
I’m not sure that I mentioned it in my first blog post, but the adventure starts even before you land in Tambour. As you are flying in you see a tinny little gravel airstrip that drops into the ocean. Coming in you are thinking to yourself, are we really going to land here? It’s the type of air strip I imagine being used by drug lords rather than tourists. When you take off out of San Jose you fly over some pretty poor neighbourhoods with all of the houses having bars on all of the windows and old tin roofs. Makes me glad for what I have and for how blessed I have been in my life. I like to think that if I were really poor I would live by the sea and not in a city.

Having been to Mal Pais so many times in the past we have seen pretty much all of the sights, but this is Josi’s parents first time so we are seeing it all again which is great. With every corner you turn there is another beautiful beach, lush tropical jungles, beach side restaurants serving up fresh food and delicious blended fruit drinks, huge lizards scurrying across hot and dusty roads, and all sorts of other cool and wild things. The other day we watched as they released endangered baby turtles into the sea. It’s super cute watching them scurry across the sand as they make their way into the surf to live a life at sea. We collected clay rocks on the beach that we took home and crushed up in warm water to make a mud paste. Josi, her mom and her dad and I went down to the beach and we all gave ourself’s a home made luxury mud bath. It was pretty funny as we caked it on ourself, face and all, which made for some great photos. After it dried in the hot sun we washed it off in the open ocean. The end result was perhaps the softest my skin has ever been.

Most of the locals wear Jobbies hats and shirts that I designed for his surf shop. It’s neat traveling so far from home and into a remote beach side community where everyone is wearing creative that you created. I’m hoping to be able to take photos of some of my new creative that is at the print shop now. I’m expecting that it will be done before the new year, but it is Costa Rica so who’s to say?

This is only that third Christmas I have ever spent away from home. Once I was in Tokyo, once I was surfing in Australia and this year I’m going to be here. Lets start by saying that I have always loved Christmas. While it won’t be the same as being at home, people have put lights up in cactus’s and there are a few fake Christmas Trees up so it feels just a little like the holidays. It’s also great that Josi’s parents are here. Family, even if they are my new family, are great to have around over the holidays. And I think that I would much rather the sun and a surf than snow and a toboggan ride on Christmas morning.

Happy Holidays and I look forward to updating you again soon.

Papaya Colada and Mud Baths

Finally my cold is gone and I can do stuff again. I found it less than easy to stay in bed while everyone was having fun. Since I’ve been feeling better, I am packing my days with activities and enjoying as much sunshine as possible.
Most of our mornings are dedicated to surfing. Noel had warned me that it would take a while for me to get used to my new 6.0 board as it is much shorter than my 7.0 that I am used to. The beauty is that I am now mostly able to duck dive and I can get past the break way easier and much faster. Duck diving is an art. My board is super floaty and I’m not so big so whenever I don’t get it perfect the white water hits me and I end up riding the wave backwards and getting worked. I’m sure that it provides much entertainment for the people on the beach! The surf has picked up and the shapes of the waves are way better. Today was my best day so far as I caught quite a few decent waves and rode down the line. I can’t wait to go back tomorrow morning!

My folks are in town and it’s been a real pleasure hanging out with them and touring around. We recently rented a car and went to Montezuma, a village on the tip on the Nicoya Peninsula. Our friends Jobbie and Veronique joined us and we had a great time shopping, playing on the beach and enjoying some delicious cocktails. I had the Papaya Colada and I have been craving it again ever since. We’ve also used the car to visit playa Manzanillo and Playa Hermosa which were both beautiful and so peaceful. Noel put his line in the water, but no luck. Still, it was super fun.

Another thing that kept us all entertained today was our mud baths that we took! We collected a bunch of clay rocks on the beach at low tide, crushed them with boiling water and made two big containers of mud. We then went to the beach where we proceeded to spread the mud all over ourselves. We couldn’t stop laughing as we started snapping photos. Once you are done spreading it, all you have to do is to let it dry. It feels like your skin is going to crack and it sure gets people’s attention as they walk by! Once all dried, we jumped in the ocean and washed it all off, leaving your skin soft like a baby. There is nothing like a free homemade day at the spa!

I should go to bed soon as we are getting up at 5:50am tomorrow. A lady that we met on the beach will be taking photos of Noel surfing first light in the morning. It already sounds like the best morning ever! Exercise first thing as we get up and then after go enjoy some delicious Costa Rican coffee made by my lover and then go out for a yummy breakfast.

Mal Pais, Costa Rica

We flew out of Bocas Del Toro to San Jose Costa Rica and then connected to Tambor which is an airport with a super sketchy little small gravel airstrip on the tip of the Nicoya Peninsula. On the plane we sat in front of a guy who lives in Santa Teressa who knows Jobbie so we shared a cab with him to Mal Pais with saved us a couple of bucks which was nice. Having spent a lot of time in Mal Pais over the years it felt as though we were back to our home away from home. While there is always swell here, it’s not the waves that keep us coming back, it’s the people and the laid back vibe. It’s super chill with great food, decent surf most of the time, and lots of fun things to do.

Our good friend Jobbie, a fellow Canadian who I met down here 12 years ago, has a surf shop and surf school in Mal Pais. http://www.jobbieslongboards.com. If you are looking for the perfect get away from the winter rains and want to learn how to surf, relax, and have a blast, be sure to look him up. And if you are wondering why his logo and all of his apparel graphics are so dam cool, it’s because I have been doing all of his creative since day one. A little ruthless self promotion. What’s cool is that yesterday I also designed up some shirt and ball cap designs for Product C, a local fish market and restaurant that totally rocks in exchange for free meals.

Josi had caught a cold in Vancouver just before we left and it never quite left. Over the last week she was hit pretty hard and she even had to take a couple of days out of the surf. She has been riding her now short board and was stoked to find out that she can now duck dive, something that she always wanted to do. Now that she is starting to feel better I’m sure that she will be in the surf every day. I have been waking up between 6 and 7am for an early morning surf but today I took the morning off because I paddled through some jellyfish yesterday and my arms are marked up pretty good. It hurts a bit when you first get stung, then feels like a mild burn and the next day it swells up and gets itchy. Your only defence once you have been stung is to pee on it right away, then pour vinegar on it when you get home and after that to scrape it with a credit card. The scraping is meant to get out the stingers. It doesn’t help that I’m more susceptible to jellyfish stings than some and because of it seem to get stung more than most.

Jobbie hooked us up with a killer apartment right by the beach which is so great. Two bedrooms, AC, full kitchen and 24 hour security so you don’t have to worry too much about things getting stolen which is good. While it’s super beautiful here and the locals are all super nice, you hear stories of things going missing all the time.

Josi’s parents have joined us here from Montreal and are staying through Christmas which is really great. For them this is a big adventure as they have only been out of Canada a few times and usually it’s at an all inclusive. It’s pretty rustic here with only gravel roads and the restaurants are often open walled huts where they cook on open fires. They are great sports and I think that they have been having a good time so far.

Yesterday we went fishing with our friend and local fisherman, Dougie (https://www.facebook.com/douglas.castrillo.14). $150 gets you a boat that can sit 6 people out on the open ocean for 4 hours. Dougie is a great guy and as far as the local fisherman go he is the best. If you are ever down here I highly recommend that you send him a message and have him take you out. Josi caught a big Amber Jack, Luke caught a huge Mahi Mahi (Dougie is holding it up in the photo below, I caught a super tasty Yellow Fin Tuna and the rest of the team caught nice size Amber Jacks as well. We saw dolphins, huge sea turtles and lots of fish. Needless to say, we are all going to be eating lots of fresh seafood for the next few days!

Well, it’s hot and I’m itching to go for a surf so I’m out of here. At some point I will pull out my good camera and will take some nicer photos. And if the surf gets big then we will be sure to get some surf photos as well.

Bocas del Toro

Bocas Del Toro ended up being a shorter stay than expected. It was overcast and grey when we arrived in town which didn’t make for a great first impression. I was wondering where that turquoise water that you see in the pictures was. We had shortlisted two hotels from our online research and the luckily, the first one we went to had a beautiful room available and overlooking the water. Most of the houses and hotels over there are on stilts and sit right overtop of the water. It makes for a nice scenery and a calming sound at night. I have to say though that the shore right underneath the houses in covered with trash. Luckily, it’s not the whole shoreline that is like this, but most of the shoreline inside the bay is. The trash from surrounding areas floats away and gets trapped there. Once you enter your hotel, you don’t notice it, but still it was on my mind. I am not sure what the solution is to fix the issue and bringing more awareness to the problem might be a start.

Unfortunately, we didn’t get to experience the surf at all during our stay as there was no swell. We kept busy though with a bit of work and beach hopping. There are so many beautiful beaches in Bocas del Toro. They are either accessible by bus or boat rides for super cheap. Playa Estrellitas was my favourite. You can access it via a 45 minutes bus ride from Bocas town and you get to see more of the country side. It’s only $5/person round trip. Once you get there, it is a 15 minutes walk along the ocean. Once we got there, we took a short boat ride to check out bird island which was beautiful. The boat went around as you cannot get out and got us back on the beach where we hung out for a several hours. Before leaving we had the most delicious seafood dinner at a little white shack on the beach. I had the prawns which were served with a tasty tomato, garlic and pepper salsa, a side of coconut rice, a fresh salad and patacones (Green plantain chips). The whole meal was tastier than some of the meals I had at fancier restaurants back home and cost only $10.

The following day we went to a private beach on Carenero Island. As we got out of the boat on this narrow wooden pier I noticed this super long skinny snake hanging out by the gate to the beach. I proceeded with Noel’s help to jump off the pier in the water to avoid the creature. One guy who was hagning out on the beach made a comment about my lack of bravery and that was our introduction to Yves Guillaume and a couple of his friends. We started chatting and had so much fun getting to know them that we ended up going for drinks a Bibi’s, a beautiful restaurant on the water.

The 3 days we spent in Bocas were enjoyable and overall I am very glad that we went to check it out, but with no surfing and chilly weather, it was time for us to go. A phone call later, we had changed our departure flight and are currently on our way to Costa Rica.

Bocas Del Toro, Panama

We took the night bus from Panama City to Bocas which cost $55 for both of us which seemed like a great deal. Save the costs of a hotel for a night, and $220 in airfare. Half asleep and in the middle of the night as the Feds checked our passports we were second guessing our decision. We should have guessed it was going to be weird the second a bus worker talked to us in length about the importance of not going PoPo on the bus and then promptly after showed us his bare belly that protruded as though he was giving birth to an alien. At first I though that he had experienced first hand the importance of not going PoPo on the bus, but he then walked the isles asking for money. Even the locals were giving him change to I chipped in a dollar assuming that he was collecting money to pay for sorting it out his tummy problem. We were loaded up with snacks and the trip started off fun like adventures are meant to. Come the middle of the night the AC was cranked and we were freezing. Luckly we had towels to use as blankets. A little later in the night and two security checks later, one that included showing passports, two food stops at the typical weird restaurants that busses always seem to stop, and the driver rocking his latin music all night long was just enough to ensure that we didn’t get any sleep.

When the bus finally dropped us off in the early hours of the morning it was pouring rain and a bit of a panic. We were swarmed by tax cab drives asking to take us to the boat launch. Bocas is group of islands and the only way to get there is either by water taxi or by air. When the boat pulled into Bocas I was a little surprised by how developed and how run down things were. I guess that it didn’t help that one of the first locals that talked to me was a sketchy Caribbean guy asking if I wanted some weed.

After a few days the sun came out and things seemed better. Yes, the same sketchy Caribbean guy kept asking if we wanted weed, but we stopped seeing things as old and falling apart and quickly came to appreciate it’s unique Caribbean charm. The town is built up a little much for our liking, but a short water taxi, taxi or walk away you can find your own little piece of tropical paradise complete with palm trees, warm tropical ocean and a slight hint of what you can see may be great surf on much bigger days.

Most of the guest houses and restaurants in Bocas are built on stilts over the ocean which is super cool. Partly to keep them cool and part to keep out the rats and bugs. Even still, we were told that they have to spray for pest often.

We researched Trip Advisor for best value places to stay and ended up staying at Bahia Del Sol for $88 per night. It may have been a bit much, but they had a fast internet connection which was great because I was able to complete my photography site (http://www.noelfox.com), and it came with a good breakfast every morning complete with great local coffee. Jack and Lee, the couple who run the place, are a nice and somewhat odd American couple. I’m not sure why, but must of the people who move the tropics are a bit odd in one way or another, but then again who isn’t. After breakfast Jack takes the scraps of leftover fruit and throws them off of his patio into the sea where hundreds of fish would come to feast. I really wanted to fly fish off of their patio, but I feared that I would be catching Jack’s pet fish rather than the bigger, more tasty fish I was after. Our room was only feet off of the water and the sound of the small wind waves lulled us into deep sound sleeps each night.

We really enjoyed taking water taxies to deserted beaches and to the little villages in the area for between $1 and $5 per person. You can flag them down from the beach and they will rush in to take you to where you want to go.

One of our highlights was a trip up to Starfish Beach. We took a 45 minute bus trip with mostly locals to the north end of the island for the day. Then either a 15 minute hike through the jungle lined seaside, or another boat trip and you are there. If you go, we recommend eating the seafood at the middle, white beach side shack that’s run by a really cool Caribbean gentleman. When we arrived at the beach there was a 15 room, 72M private cruise ship docked just off shore and a small group of older Russians had set up a small luxury camp on the beach. Servents/ crew would race back to the ship on jet skis or in a large white Zodiak style of boat bringing back champaign and service what ever their needs might be. In talking to the crew and were surprised to find out that the guests were each paying $65,000 Euros a day. When they left our new friend gave us their left over Caviar & Egg covered crackers, pastries and raw vegetables which we enjoyed eating for lunch.

The main reason we chose to go to Bocas was because of it’s great surfing. Unfortunately, even though early December is considered high season, there were no waves while we were there and nothing epic in the forecast so I called up our buddy Jobbie (http://www.jobbieslongboards.com) in Mal Pais Costa Rica to ask what was going on over there. As always Jobbie said the surf was epic to we double checked his claims online and sure enough it’s going off. We quickly changed our flights and are now headed for the Pacific. While we would have loved to spend a little more time in Bocas Del Toro, Costa is about 10 Degrees warmer and there are way better waves at the moment so we are out of here.

Next stop, Mal Pais, Costa Rica. Pura Vida!

On the road

The world adventure has begun! It was more than a year ago that Noel and I decided to embark on trip around the world. For a while, we weren’t sure of the exact date of our departure and since the summer is so nice in beautiful British Columbia, we decided to stick around and enjoy the sunshine. It was perfect really since it gave us time to go to Mexico for two weeks for a swimwear photo shoot/ surf trip, and prepare for this trip. It took a lot more preparation that I had envisioned, so we both ended up working a lot more than expected and the trip, even though it was coming quickly, seemed like it was never going to happen.

Noel’s mom drove us to the airport and it is only when we sat down on the plane that it felt real!

We have been gone for 4 days now and it seems like it’s already been forever. Vegas was a blast! Staying awake all night was definitely the call and it made for a sleepy plane ride on our way to Panama.

It is the first time for both of us here and we didn’t know what to expect at all. I was surprised to see how many high rises there are in the city and how tall they are. My guess is that the tallest is around 80 floors and the crazy thing is that it is right next to the ocean. The architecture of some of these new buildings is impressive.

The old part of the city: Casco Antiguo is beautiful and great fun to walk through. The old buildings now house government offices, churches, restaurants, stores and hotels. It definitely has a tourist vibe and at the same time it is vibrant with the locals presence. Casco Antiguo is on the other side of the bay from the downtown area and it makes for a bit of a clashing scenery. While most of the government buildings are revamped and quite charming, the rest of the area is surrounded by dilapidated buildings and rough neighbourhoods.

Unfortunately, there is no real surfing right in the city, so after two days, we decided that it is time for us to move to our next destination: Bocas del Toro.

We could have flown there easily within 45 minutes and we decided that saving a few bucks by taking the bus was a great idea. It is an 11h bus ride! Ouch! In fact this is where I am writing this post at this very moment. I love going on bus rides in tropical places because it gives you time to reflect on what you’ve seen so far and plan your next adventure. That being said, the real reason why I like bus rides is that you get to bring snacks! And shopping for snacks in tropical places is the best!

First you get as much local food as you can: empenadas and locally made ham and cheese croissants are the best! Second you get to choose between all the sugary snack from your youth and some that you never even heard from before! The labels are usually pretty awesome too, in a non American kind of way! Third is the drinking yogurt! I don’t know why we don’t carry more in our grocery stores back home in Canada, because it’s are purely delicious and they have all the fruit flavours that you can imagine. I have to say that the mango and passion fruit mix is my favourite so far.

My sugar rush is finally coming to an end so I will put my headphones on, listen to a audio book and pray for the bus driver’s assistant to find the key to for the bathroom which has been locked since we left the bus terminal a couple of hours ago:)

Vegas & Panama City


We landed in Vegas at 4:45pm and our flight to Panama didn’t leave until 4:45am. Rather than get a room and sleep we decided to gamble, drink and eat a greasy late night breakfast. Our first stop was the United Lounge which was underwhelming, but not totally disappointing. We had enough time to check our emails, do a quick blog post and down a couple of stiff drinks. Vegas is a town best served with a buzz.

My observation of Vegas is that it’s made up of 70% waisted dudes looking for action that they will never find, 20% women who are dressed like really dirty hookers and 10% old people smoking darts and playing slots.

We didn’t gamble much, just enough to win enough to pay for our cab fairs to and from the airport to the strip. As long as I leave Vegas up just a little I’m always happy. I credit my luck to doubling down when ever I get a chance and to only drinking Jack and Coke when gambling. I don’t drink it back home, but when I’m in Vegas it’s the only thing that seems to make things right.

When we finally got back to the airport to check in we were beat tired so we curled up on the floor next to where we checked in. I have crashed on way too many airport floors in my time, but this time was different because when we woke up we skipped the line and dove into our first class seats.

Flying with Copa was like flying in the 70’s, but the plane is now old and without the hip and stylish flight attendants. We slept hard most of the flight.

As a photographer, I found Panama City is rich with vibrant ageing textures and colour which made for some fun photos.

We stayed for 2 nights and would have likely only stayed just one had we know that it had little to offer us other than a few great photo opportunities. We stayed at the The Hard Rock Hotel which came with first world prices and third world service. The longer are in Panama the it seems as though that many of the workers can’t be bothered. Of course there are some great exceptions, including the taxi driver who took us to the bus depot and then lead us deep within it’s masses to the ticket booth that we would have never found otherwise.

Every day has had a mix of little sun in the morning and then hard core thunder showers in the afternoons that sneak up on you from out of no where.

We did enjoy our Pacific Ocean facing 34th floor suite (they gave us a free upgrade) because it offered a great view of the huge cargo ships as they either entered or departed from the Panama Canal.

In sharp contrast to flying first class and staying at the Hard Rock, Josi and I are now on an overnight bus trip ($27 each) to a small group of islands on the Caribbean called Bocas Del Torro. It’s meant to have a cool hippy vibe and great surf which is well needed after 3 days of travel, a night in Vegas and a 3 days in Panama City.


Let the Adventures Begin!

A rainy day is always a good day to leave Vancouver.

My goal of only half filling my big wheely bag fell a couple of items short of success, but with the amount of Coppertone Sport sunscreen that I rip through in the first month of surfing, not to mention the multiple bars of surf wax I plan on giving away to local kids along the way, my bag is only going to get lighter for the first month and a half. In case you are wondering, I’m dong my best to pack my bag only half full because I plan on buying cool things along the way.

Our first flight of the trip is on Air Canada and for the first time ever I was amazed by how friendly the check in lady was to us. Like all of the people who work for Air Canada, she was old and I was expecting a carbon copy of the multitude of bitter unionized lazy Air Canada staff that we have all encountered over the years. Why didn’t Canadian survive and Air Canada disappear into the memories yesteryear? But this isn’t a want about bad, but rather a praise about great because the lady who checked us in, aged and all, was something special. She had a sparkle in her eye, she was super helpful, she was happily married for 27 years and she joked around with us by making fun of me which Josi LOVED. Was she nice because we were flying business class? Or perhaps she was nice because I’m now overly nice when checking in to any and every flight I take… Yes, I once made the mistake of not being so nice by arguing with a young lady at check in about who was responsible if the airline were to break my surfboard which ended dreadfully. She must have put a big red X beside my name and when the perfect opportunity struck, she chose to have a 300lbs lady sit in the seat beside me on a totally full flight. At least she was very nice and pretty funny so it wasn’t all bad. Still, this lady was so big her food tray wouldn’t go down more than a few inches, her seatbelt was perhaps 20″ short of being able to close, and when the movie came on it was me who had to fish deep into the side of her many folds in hopes of finding the plug for her headphones. Elbow deep in a scene better suited to a bad comedy, I succeeded in supplying her with the needed audio for her movie and have felt slightly damaged ever since.

I’m writing this post from our double wide, second row, business class seats with more room than I know what to do with. Usually when we fly we fly coach and for us coach is great. What is really really fricken great is that for the next six months we are flying business class.

What I still love about coach is how if you are smart you can get three seats between the two of you if you request it when checking in and when we do Josi and I spread out and sit super close to each other. In case you don’t know us all that well, we love to sit close to each other and we cuddle a lot. If I were reading this and I didn’t know us I would throw up in my own mouth and then my internal voice would mistakingly slip out and saying for everyone to hear, “Get a room”, but for what ever reason it’s not that bad at all with us. I’m guessing it’s because Josi is so dam cute and at the same time classy so she can get away with pretty much everything. Anywho, in business class there’s a big divider/ table/ arm rest between us so she doesn’t get to sleep on my lap, but they are keeping us occupied with the kind of things those in coach only dream about. Warm cloths to clean our hands, hot meals (C-), Baileys/ Coffee, very pleasant red wine (served in glasses made of real glass), and more leg room we know what to do with. Not to mention being whisked straight through the security lines which meant that we had more time in the first class lounge while waiting for our departure.

Did I mention that they didn’t charge us for our surf boards? Once again I’m not sure if it was because we are flying business class, if we just got lucky, or if she believed me when I told her that the surfboard bag was a snowboard bag? Regardless, it’s always a good day if you manage to fly with out paying for your boards. The lady checking us in was so nice I felt a little guilty but the dam airlines have broken way more boards than I have when actually surfing and they always overcharge you like crazy. I never understood why, but when flying snowboards are free while surfboards usually cost between $50 and $200 per flight. Our board bag is only 6’6″, looks almost like a snowboard bag, and is a little lighter. My goal was to stencil the words “SNOWBOARD TEAM” in big bold letters on both sides of our new double board surfboard bag, but time got the better of us and I didn’t get around to it. Surf De Neige is French for snowboard, and it would make a great snowboard bag, so the line between truth and untruth is slightly fuzzy. Regardless, I’m calking this up as a immoral win and any money that I may have saved is my small reward for having to sit beside the 300lb lady all those years ago.

Luckily, our bags are being directed through to Panama so we will be free to spend 13 hours adventuring around Vegas luggage free. Vegas is a funny place that has very little love in my heart, but I’m pretty excited about checking it out given we are only there for such a short time. We will hit the strip checking out a few casinos, eat dinner and then sneak back into the safety of the first class lounge in the wee hours of the night while we wait for our 4:48am flight to Panama City.