When my 17 year old son Brandon and I left for vacation in Costa Rica last August, I was quite explicit with him about what might happen during the 11 days ahead.
"Brandon," said I "we're going to have great father-son bonding during this trip, but there will be occasions I may seek out the company of a woman or two."
"I understand, Dad," offered Brandon. "On trips like this there's always women 58 years old or more, kinda desperate, looking for ...."
"No, no, no, Brandon! I've still got it for the babes! And if something should happen, well, there may be a few times you'll have to fend for yourself."
"Got it, Dad," replied Bran. "I'll be cool."
Our first stop was Tortuguero on the Caribbean coast. This place isn't just off the beaten path, it's off the beaten lagoon. You get there via a long bumpy drive to an even longer boat ride up an Amazon-like river, and when you finally get there, the there you get to is a scenic but highly remote collection of smallish villages and hotels along a very rustic waterway.
"Very Apocalypse Now, Bran, don't you think?" I remarked as I began stumbling off the boat.
But Brandon wasn't there. I saw him off a ways down the dock, talking to an affluent-looking family consisting of mother, father, young brother, and smoking hot brown-haired teen-aged daughter!
I completed stumbling into the arms of the hotel greeting party consisting of the hotel manager and a couple of irate iguanas. "They're from Spain," Brandon said as he ran over to me, "and the daughter Claudia is just my age!"
That night Brandon and I went on a Turtle Nesting Tour, a very special experience in which one gets to view a 300 pound Green Sea Turtle climb up on the Caribbean Sea beach, lay hundreds of eggs, and skedaddle back into the sea before being eaten by a 350 pound Green Sea Turtle predator.
"This may be the closest I get to nesting this entire trip," I began to realize sadly.
"How do you say in Spanish 'Would you like dinner tonight?' " Brandon asked the turtle tour guide.
The next evening I enjoyed an authentic Costa Rican dinner alone in my television-less, air conditioning-less lizard-enriched hotel room followed by a stroll to the hotel bar, which had closed at 8:00 P.M.
Very Apocalypse Now. Very little nesting.
"Sorry, Dad," said Brandon as we next morning boarded the boat to begin chugging our way out of Tortuguero, "but we'll do lots more together now!"
And during the next few days we did indeed manage some fine bonding experiences --- kayaking, zip lining, swimming in a waterfall --- all sandwiched in though they were among Brandon's numerous and varied interactions with diverse folks from locales around the world, many of whom were of the young and female persuasions.
I on the other hand proved to be about as popular in Costa Rica as a Donald Trump press conference announcing plans to build a 1,ooo room hotel and casino in the center of the Arenal Rainforest. Finally in our next to last stop in Monteverde I did manage to connect with a couple of sisters from Cincinnati who regaled me at length with tales of quilting during the Roosevelt Administration, although I'm not sure which of the two such named Administrations they were actually referring to.
Our last port of call was the lovely beach resort of Manuel Antonio on the western Pacific coast. It's loveliness for me, however, was somewhat marred by my being laid low by a travel malady I am sometimes prone to which is known in technical medical circles as "I'd Sell My Soul to the Devil for a Poop!"
"Brandon," I said, turning my head slightly as we sat as one of the resort's three pools, "think I'll go take a walk and try to..."
But Brandon wasn't there. I saw him a few deck chairs down sitting shoulder to shoulder with a smoking hot blonde teen-aged daughter! (of someone)
"Go right ahead, Dad, I'm fine here."
I walked the grounds, swam in each of the resort's two other swimming pools, gritted my teeth like Kirk Douglas in Lust for Life, and finally, when a long awaited sense of opportunity presented itself, returned to the room.
"Dad!!! Umm, can you come back another time?"
"No, I can't! For a couple of reasons, the main one of which is:
DON'T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT!"
Afterwards, Brandon and the young woman, one Lucia from Italy, mostly hung out at the pool or at the beach. I mostly hung out in the bathroom.
"Know what I liked best about Costa Rica, Dad?" Brandon said as we settled in on the first of our two flights back home.
"I'm not sure, but I'd guess it was either Italy or Spain?"
"Nah, neither of those. It was the things we did together, whenever we could."
Well, if I can't be the Costa Rica Casanova myself, at least I'm happy I was able to bond with the genuine article.
And better still, to get to live vicariously through him as well ....
All the Costa Rican sex I can handle!