The Little Theatre Group of Costa Rica, which Atenas Expats often travel to San Jose to see perform, came to Atenas today, performing for about 70 of the Atenas Men’s Club at the Barons Resort atop Vista Atenas after a fine lunch by Barons. Here’s just 4 shots to depict the experience:
“Fault Lines,” a comedy by George Sapio
You can see and download these 4 photos full-size in my Gallery.
I regard the theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being.
The other morning before breakfast I just walked through my garden using my cell phone to snap a few happy sights. This slide show of 14 shots shows just one reason I like Costa Rica so much – year-around! 🙂
I decided that if I could paint that flower in a huge scale, you could not ignore its beauty. ~Georgia O’Keeffe
Yep! School year starts in February after an almost two month summer vacation. Both the public primary school and the high school started today, 6 February and while walking to town early this morning it was obvious! The majority of students walk to school with nearly all primary school kids walked by their mother or a grandmother. Rural kids living outside of Central Atenas ride a bus to school and a very few kids have parents with cars that drive them to school. But even with fewer cars, it’s a massive traffic jam. Click image to enlarge.
From my years in Nashville, TN USA I remember the unique “Bag Lady” she was often called as a seemingly homeless beggar living on the streets of downtown Nashville and always carrying one or more bags full of who knows what? I’m sorry I never got to know her or her story.
I was reminded of her when I first saw Carmelina in downtown Atenas, walking the streets barefoot in what appears to be a very simple and maybe dirty old dress and sometimes carrying a plastic bag. I have often wondered about who she is, how needy, if anyone cares for her, etc. And I’ve always wanted to photograph her but too embarrassed to ask and not wanting to offend her.
Well, I just found this beautiful photo of her on a local Atenas Facebook Page in Spanish (photo by Patricia Salazar) with lots of comments about Carmelina, mostly as an inspiration to people here for years. Check it out and if you don’t read Spanish, right click and then click “translate to English” to see about 80 different comments about Carmelina, one of the most unique persons in Atenas who in her poverty is always helping someone else, attending most services at the Catholic Church, attending all funerals with a little gift for the family, and many other acts of kindness. . . Christlike?
These two retired Americans are the featured band every Friday night at a little Tico restaurant in Atenas Central at the CATUCA. They do mostly Country-Western Music (in English) and it just so happens that they live on either side of me in Roca Verde, one in the rent house to my left and one to the right.They never knew each other until they Retired in Costa Rica – just one more positive thing that can happen when you retire here! 🙂
And for those new readers who don’t know from my earlier reports, in Atenas we have a large country-western band of about 8 to 10 people, all American retirees from both California and Nashville TN who call themselves Flashback playing “oldies” at many events, fiestas, fundraisers and occasionally at different bars and restaurants. They were here before me, so been at it at least 4 years or more and are popular with a lot of the other retirees here. The link is to their Facebook Page.
This week’s death of Nature Poet Mary Oliver (1935-2019), and article about her in Washington Post, plus reviewing her poems led me to her “Journey” which in some ways describes what I was unable to describe in my 2014 “Decision Process” I called it then, of getting away from the depressing world of conservative Middle Tennessee, the clouds of a failed marriage and subsequent loss of family, branches and stones in my path of a vocational “calling” manipulated by power-hungry “rulers” ending unceremoniously first in 1999 and finally by 2002 in unplanned early retirement. In a daze . . .
I’ve always tried to “make lemonade out of lemons” and I turned my retirement into an adventure of nature travel and photography as much as I could afford, including visits to all 54 state parks in Tennessee with a book about that, A Walk in the Woods, along with many other nature/travel books and my growing nature photo gallery. But I was still looking for something else.
Moving from the vibrant life of rowhouse living in downtown Nashville to a suburban “Independent Living Retirement Home” was still not what I was looking for.
It was to commune closer with nature, to travel in natural exotic places that my limited income could not afford, then suddenly it hit me, why not move to one of the nature places in which I love to travel and just live there?
With only 2 family members left and no grandchildren, it was easier for me than some people to make such a life-changing move! And now I see it described in a new way in this poem by Mary Oliver:
As I continue to build my website “Retired in Costa Rica” I continue to add blog posts, photo galleries, and “static pages” (undated) about Costa Rica and about me, my travels and stories. This week I’ve added under TRAVEL a new NORTH AMERICA page, Canada and a new CENTRAL AMERICA, Costa Rica sub-page, Atenas.
So much is blooming with the beginning of “Dry Season” or our Spring and Summer that as I prepared breakfast this morning I decided to take my camera around the garden for few shots before eating, AND, as maybe God intended, two birds got into the photo areas while I did this. I live in a beautiful garden! 🙂
Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land. ~Song of Songs 2:12 NIV
The Flowers — Click to Enlarge
Crown of Thorns
Tibouchina or Princess Flower
Porterweed, a type of Verbena: Stachytarpheta
Torch Ginger or El bastón de emperador
Peacock Flower, Dwarf Poinciana & other names for Caesalpinia pulcherrima
One reason for choosing the “Central Valley” area to live in my retirement in Costa Rica was the weather and more specifically Atenas is the weather, which averages around 72° year around and a National Geographic article writer once stated that Atenas has “the best weather in the world.” Thus on the back of all our buses is the slogan: “Viste Atenas – Mejor Clima del Mundo.” (Visit Atenas – Best Weather in the World) No one here has air conditioner or heater in their house! I sleep under just a sheet or one blanket with all my windows open, year around. Header photo is view from my house terrace.
For example, today’s AccuWeather forecast has Atenas with a high of 79° and low of 64°: https://www.accuweather.com/en/cr/atenas/111860/weather-forecast/111860 I formatted it for U.S. English and Farenheit temps but if it comes up Spanish and Centigrade you can change at top of page. Compare that to the U.S. weather forecast! (Rain, snow, ice) Or here to other expat communities like cold & rainy San Ramon and Grecia or hot & humid coastal areas or smoggy San Jose .
I enjoyed visiting the ocean Christmas Week, but would not want to live there because it is very hot and humid year around. But some prefer that. And most expats who move to the coast have air conditioning in their house, a big additional expense, year around! Plus generally everything else is much more expensive there (think tourist prices) AND they are further away from the best medical care and the best shopping options.
Christopher Howard today posted on his “Live in Costa Rica” Blog an article that says even more than this about the weather here:
Here is the schedule of Christmas Festivities at Central Park Atenas with the stage being on government property across the street this year with park being remodeled. Lots of music and a lanterns parade at night plus more with vendor booths set up on the outer edges of the park — remodeling not stopping the Christmas Spirit in Atenas! It will be HAPPY, HAPPY as always and I’m sorry I will miss it this year again as I am traveling for Christmas (Which is a very Tico thing to do!). 🙂
And they just added some more activities for Christmas:
If you click the above image it is larger in its original location
And that is the official Atenas Community fiestas. Every church has at least one Christmas Eve service and the big catholic church multiple masses both days. Many Tico families have 1 to 2 weeks vacation and travel to a beach, usually the week between Christmas and New Years (when most businesses are closed).
Expats vary a lot in what they do. Several always go home to the States, Canada or Europe for Christmas with family. Some have family come here. And the “Snow Birds” came here for their Christmas or multi-months escape from snow and cold weather. Our Expat “Men’s Club” (misnamed) went yesterday (the 16th) to San Ramon for a Dinner Theatre Christmas Madrigal Old English Show or something like that. I went this year and reported yesterday.
Then there’s me – like a real Tico now, I’m going to the beach again but will spend most of my time in the forest at and near Manuel Antonio National Park in a private wildlife refuge and resort called Si Como No, which in español literally means “Yes, of course,” or “Yes, why not?” indicative of the positive spirit of life here in Costa Rica! And I will photograph birds of course! ¡Pura Vida!
Considering a move to Costa Rica? If so, and you find online research confusing or overwhelming, then read this Christopher Howard article on All Over the Map Syndrome. Although he is a little arrogant, he still has the best relocation tour of Costa Rica and his tour combined with the ARCR Seminar is one of the best ways to filter through the onslaught of information you may be finding. I credit those two events with properly preparing me for my successful move here along with a positive attitude and an already established love of the Costa Rica Culture and nature places. Before you move here, visit several times (consider the fun Caravan.com Costa Rica tour) and then go on his “Live In Costa Rica Combination Tour” coupled with the ARCR Seminar and you will be much better prepared. People who just come and try to figure it all out when they get here are usually in the 40% who end up going back to the states, Canada or wherever “home” was before. “Be Prepared!” 🙂