I'm back!!! Miss me much? Probably not, but I've returned to annoy you anyway :o)
I can't believe that a month has flown past so incredibly quickly - it feels very odd to be back at home again - I keep waking up and not having a clue where I am!
Over the last 4 weeks, our whistle-stop tour of Costa Rica has taken in 10 different stops, including the Central Valley, the Southern half of the Pacific coast, the Caribbean coast and a quick jaunt into Panama to go to the islands of Boca del Toro.
We've seen sloths, turtles, monkeys, dolphins, hump-back whales, caimans, crocodiles, gigantic spiders, iguanas, green parrots and McCaws, toucans, tree frogs, gigantic butterflies ... the list goes on and on!
We've walked, biked, horse-rode, white-water rafted, kayaked, swam, surfed, body-boarded, done zip-lines and snorkelled ... and lain on the beach quite a lot.
It's been the most amazing experience, and I'm so, so glad I went!
But more of that later, because this post is about reality and being back home. Over the last month, we've also eaten out continuously. Far, far more than we ever thought we would - it blew our budget out the water, because we'd assumed that there would be more places that would have a kitchen available to guests where we could rustle something up. We've had 3 home-cooked dinners in the entire 28 days of the trip, and maybe a handful of breakfasts where we had access to a fridge so were able to keep milk and therefore have cereal instead of having to eat out then as well.
The last 3 days coming home have been an absolute nightmare eating-wise - we were travelling all day Thursday to get back from Panama to San Jose - 9 hours of buses, plus a boat ride back from the islands and a taxi ride to the bus station. Then Friday was spend the last-of-the-money-on-food day as we had a blow-out meal to commomerate our last night. I didn't sleep at all on Friday night, and then we were up at 5am to get to the airport - we took of at 8am, and 2 flights later we touched down at Heathrow at 5.50am yesterday morning having flown right through the night due to the time difference, so absolutely zero sleep again. And 24 hours on a plane? Do you know how many times they attempt to feed you? I got back to the flat about 9am yesterday, and after a quick power nap to see me through to the evening, I had dinner with loads of friends last night as a welcome home - one last holiday dinner - lasagne, garlic bread and wine, with a slice of cake to follow. Yum.
So, you want to hear the evil numbers? The damage that a month of eating out has inflicted? You totally do don't you?
It is .....
..... deep breath ....
.... 1. Whole. Lb.
(runs off to go and do the happy dance in the corner and do several celebratory laps of the room).
Check me out!!!
Did I mention that I've been tracking everyday I've been away? It's been a bit hard work what with the constant temptations on the menu but I survived. I've eaten my fair share of bad food whilst we've been away - burgers, chips, burritos (they do a lot of "Mexican" food in Costa Rica), carbonara, and brownie and ice-cream, but I've done it in moderation. And in between I've eaten vegetable pasta, chicken sandwiches, toast and jam, and lots of fruit. Whilst the girls have drunk lots of the local Costa Rican and Panamanian beers, I've mostly avoided it - I've had one or two cold ones, but usually I switch back to Diet Coke quite quickly, or enjoy one of the local fresh fruit smoothies with water instead. Or if we've had brownie, we've had it as dinner instead of after. The real rescue point, has been that all those activities mentioned above add to up a lot of leeway - I don't think there's been a day when I've not been able to book some form of activitiy points, even if it's just been strolling round town for an hour exploring, or a walk on the beach, or lugging those flipping packs around when we're on the move and travelling.
And I'll tell you something else - those packs weigh a ton!!!! My main pack was actually a very meagre 14.5kg fully packed, with another 5kg or so in my smaller day-pack - but with one on your front and one on your back, you feel like a fully-laden pack pony ... which is to say pretty much flattened. So it was with constant relief (and surprise) that I kept being reminded that my two packs together still weighed less than the amount I've lost so far!
Another funny thing, was that after my plateau for the last 6 months, when I frequently felt frustrated that I was having to track food and make an effort, I very quickly got to the point whilst we were away that I was actively looking forward to coming home, just so I could control what I was eating and have access to healthy foods again, and the absolute freedom to eat what I want to eat when I want to. Oh the irony! I can't believe how much I missed vegetables whilst I was away - the Costa Ricans do like to do carbs, carbs and carbs, with carbs and maybe some fish or meat in their cooking. Chicken would come with rice, chips, and the beans they love so much. I can't wait to eat stir-fry and fresh soups again!
So anyway, that's me. When I finally went to bed last night, I properly crashed out - I woke up at 11am this morning after 10 hours of pure dead-to-the-world deep sleep. I'm feeling a lot less groggy now, and ready to start some of the dreaded washing and tidying, and make some soup for lunch in a bit. As I'm currently jobless, my timetable's a bit all over the place this week. I need to get back into a regular UK sleep-cycle as soon as possible to get past the jet-lag, and I want to make the best use of my time this week anyway. I've got a meeting with my recruitment consultants this afternoon in Bristol, and then a job interview tomorrow afternoon. Lots to keep me busy!
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