One reason I was happy that Xandari would house my library of Photo Books is that the entire hotel is an art gallery with art literally everywhere, inside and outside. It was built by an Artist/Architect and his wife an Art Teacher. In another post I will display the art in my villa this time – different every visit!
The above stained glass window is in the reading room of the lobby and my photo books are on a book shelf at the entrance to that reading room. In earlier Tennessee days I tried to sell photos at art fairs calling them “Nature as Art” which fits this arty nature retreat very well. I’m happy to be a part of Xandari!
Today was my very full day with an early morning birding hike with excellent guide Jose and a lovely couple from England, followed by breakfast and a tour of the only Starbucks-owned coffee farm in the world which I will tell you more about later, then an afternoon late lunch, relaxation massage, a desert at dinner time and I’m ready for bed! With lots of photos to process tomorrow, my last full day here.
To see all of my Costa Rica Photo books, go to My Bookstore at Blurb where you can preview any of the books for free electronically! Best if viewed in full screen mode of course! 🙂
I was thinking of doing a Costa Rica Map on a cork board with map pins showing where I’ve been – which is a lot more places than most people I know here among both Ticos and Expats. Then suddenly in my electronic mailbox appears an email from Google Maps titled: Google Maps Timeline 2019 Update. Yep, it included the feature photo map above and some other stuff that seems to go back to 2015, my first year here when I began traveling Costa Rica. It seems I approved them tracking me (my cell phone) back then and this is what I get! Should I be afraid of Google or send them a thank you note? 🙂
The big red blob in the middle is the space between Atenas & San Jose that includes Alajuela and all the places I go there including the big SJO Airport. I cannot explain the red dot in the Pacific Ocean, but if you study the map more you will see the large green area in the south-southeast above Panama that has no red spots for my visits. One main reason is that it is the Talamanca Mountains, much of which is indigenous reserves with no public roads going through there plus protected national forests not allowing travel. My May trip will put me on the Western edge of that area at Chirripó and my visit to the Bribri Yorkin Reserve had me on the eastern edge. And that is it! 🙂 So just 17 more parks/reserves to go! 🙂
After 37 national parks & reserves are visited, I will do a photo book like I did with all of Tennessee’s State Parks in my photo book A Walk in the Woods Through All 54 Tennessee State Parks. There are technically only 28 national parks here! But the nine reserves count as equals and for my nature photography purposes especially, so I’m saying 37, with only 17 more to go! I don’t have a car which slows me down a little! But I will get there! 🙂
So what does a community do with an old high school building when it is replaced? This old high school in Atenas, Costa Rica was replaced many years ago but is still educating some of the same people as an adult education university extension school. We now have two public high schools, one a college-prep high school (Colegio Liceo) and the other a technical high school that prepares one for a job at graduation (Colegio Técnico).
The old high school building was recently repainted and I think looks nice sitting across from Central Park or on opposite corner from the main Catholic Church. It houses UNED, UNIVERSIDAD ESTATAL A DISTANCIA or “Distance University” with 45 locations across Costa Rica (see map below)!
Already one of the best educated countries in the world with free education through college, Costa Rica continues to educate its adults and make life better for everyone here! Just one more thing that makes it such an amazing place! 🙂
“There is no end to education. It is not that you read a book, pass an examination, and finish with education. The whole of life, from the moment you are born to the moment you die, is a process of learning.” –Jiddu Krishnamurti
FUN NOTES ABOUT THE PHOTO: At the corner waiting to safely cross the street is a mother with baby in stroller and primary school child in tow – a common – typical scene of this family-oriented community where almost all children walk to and from school and the younger ones with a parent.
Behind the little family is one of several “street sweepers” in Atenas who literally sweeps the streets with a push broom and picks up with a dustpan. He also empties the little street trash bins like the one beside him in the photo above. Or see my old 2015 Street Sweeper Post on this blog. 🙂
And lastly at this central point in Atenas, corner of Avenida 0 and Calle 0 you can see how much traffic there is in the middle of the day! Of course there is more at times, but generally this is a very tranquil town with more walkers than car drivers and friendly at that! Such a contrast to the big city noise and traffic of San Jose & Alajuela or the rude, tourist-congested beach towns! A peaceful little coffee farming town in the central valley of Costa Rica with the slogan of “Best weather in the world!” “Mejor clima del mundo!” Why live anywhere else? 🙂
If you have been researching a move to Costa Rica you have certainly run across Nadine’s series of books, all prefaced with “Happier Than a Billionaire!” She and her husband are one example of the young adults fleeing that evil empire to the north of here and their stories here represent somewhat different and somewhat similar reasons for moving to Costa Rica and the lifestyle chosen compared to the larger group of us Americans down here who are “Retired in Costa Rica.”
Also google her name or slogan “Happier Than a Billionaire” to learn of more books which tell her story and to find her other channels of communication. If you are a young adult moving here (more and more are showing up even here in Atenas!) then you will benefit from following Nadine on Facebook or some other way. 🙂
The book is finished with 4 new lifer birds for me and now I’m off to other creative activities. Remember – you can PREVIEW the book electronically (flip through the pages) for free at my bookstore by clicking on this link and then each page to turn a page. Fun! And best seen in full screen mode! 🙂
Sleep late – breakfast on the terrace – wandering mind.
Bible reading – Jesus’s exorcism of demons.
No Washington Post on my Kindle because no WiFi – CableTica (my internet & cable TV provider) told me Tuesday they had a problem with all current routers and would come install a new one Saturday afternoon, that’s today! With better service! And cheaper!
And it was only a 5-day wait! 🙂 Plus I will get to practice my Spanish when the cable guys come! As I did with the 2 confirmation calls which I was told in advance that if I did not understand, just press “1” at the prompt – I only understood “uno” and pressed it! 🙂
Gazing out over my vista above – what are the people in those other houses doing? Who are they? Then the tranquility of this place takes over – a vulture glides serenely overhead while the chatter of chachalacas in a neighbor’s tree draws my attention before flying off – bringing sudden quietness – stillness for just a moment.
A truck load of topsoil breaks the stillness and is soon followed by the garbage collector who stops at my “canasta” (basket), tossing the trash bags into the truck as I wave a friendly greeting to them! Soon followed by a “moto”(motorcycle) with a young man headed to work at someone’s house up the hill, possibly as a gardener or handyman?
My thoughts go back to the Kindle in front of me with no newspaper – So I decide to read a chapter or two of my current adventure book (occasionally read instead of an Agatha Christie mystery): Thunderhead by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. I was notified of this book because I gave a positive review of another Preston book also about archaeologists, and closer to where I live, The Lost City of the Monkey God, where they search in nearby Honduras up a crocodile-infested river for a different lost city. Terrific book!
Thunderhead is about a female Santa Fe archaeologist and her team that just floated to the end of Lake Powell, Utah (reminding me of my 2012 float trip there) and are riding horses up a canyon looking for an Anasaziindigenous people city called Quivira. In both books the lost cities are rumored to be “cities of gold” with many indigenous myths of protection and dangers at entering the impossibly hidden cities. And already Nora has been warned by animal-skin clad humans. And my reading is constantly interrupted . . .
The low whir of a coasting bicycle passes by as another young man coasts down the hill toward our development’s exit gate.
Amidst my book reading, I go inside to look up something on the internet through my laptop’s cable connection (no WiFi remember) and find the power is off! Wow! Life in the tropics! (But power came back on in about 30 minutes.) Oh well – not that important! I don’t even remember what I was looking up! 🙂
My neighbor starts up his diesel RV motor which he likes to “warm up” (rattle, rattle, rattle) before leaving on his one or two trips a day, to the gym for exercises or to the super Mercado. He’s generally more of a “homebody” than me! 🙂 And beyond my understanding, he never travels around Costa Rica to see all the beauty and adventure! 🙂
After he roars out the gate it is peace & quiet again and back to reading and thinking about my fortunate life in this little lost corner of the world. Gazing around at my tropical plants and flowers, I realize that my friends to the north now have flowers freezing, trees changing color (which is nice!) but then losing all their leaves while I enjoy the flowers, greenness and unique plants in my year-around garden! Pura vida! Suddenly the bright song of a bird in my strangler fig tree changes my focus and woefully I can’t identify what bird.
By now I’m trying to jot down these random thoughts/activities from my breakfast and morning time on the terrace. Just a tiny sample of a couple of hours for someone “Retired in Costa Rica,” the title of my blog &website with a large collection of photos. Check out the “Gallery” of photos since “a picture is worth a thousand words! ” 🙂 And they show my Costa Rica best of all! 🙂
I thought I might walk to town before the cable guys come between 12 and 5 pm today. But more likely I will just hang out here in the peace & quiet – Now that the diesel has rumbled back into my neighbor’s carport. 🙂
AND . . . uh oh! The cable men are here early – before 12! Todo en español – difícil! But I now have WiFi again + more megabytes they say + more channels on my TV with some new cheaper plan than what I was paying for before! Go figure!? ¡No entiendo esto! ¡Pero pura vida!
And now I’m off to type this blog post – different from most – maybe boring – ruminations? – Saturday morning on the terrace! 🙂
Yesterday I hired Walter to drive me to the three hotels within an hour and a half from my house to deliver the photo books I made about the three hotels: Jaco-Carara Birding Hotels. (Click to preview the book.)
I visited these 3 hotels in March, June and July this year and because they are all in the same area of Costa Rica near Jaco Beach and Carara National Park I decided to do one photo book instead of three, thus the title and combination of photos. A nice book if I do say so myself, with a large variety of coastal and forest birds and other wildlife plus the best sunset photos yet and an interesting sunrise photo I used for the front cover. Check out this book about Punta Leona Hotel, Villa Calletas Hotel and Macaw Lodge by clicking the above link. An electronic “Preview” is free!
Walter picked me up at 10 am and I was home by 3:30 pm which included a super lunch at Villa Calletas which the book notes as the best of the three for food (according to me)! 🙂
Why would I spend as much money on delivering 3 copies of the book as I did on printing them? Because I’ve had 2 hotels not receive their book through the mail and most of all I’m passionate about making nature photos and sharing them, especially with the people who helped me make them and love the nature of their surroundings as much as I. One young hotel employee was thrilled to see his work surroundings depicted in a photo book – his smile alone made the trip worthwhile! 🙂
“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.” ― Mother Teresa
The latest trip book is completed, a short & simple photo book of 36 pages for only $19 which is low price for a photo book + order by 10 September and get 40% off with discount code: SEPTEMBER4T
Banana Azul is maybe my most relaxing hotel in Costa Rica or certainly the Caribbean, thus I focused on the tranquility of nature there with several sunrise photos along with birds and other nature! 🙂 Click this link or the cover image below to see a FREE PREVIEW electronically of all pages of the book. As always, full screen mode is better for photos! 🙂
“When the destination becomes gracious, the journey becomes an adventure of beauty.”
One week from today I return to the Costa Rica South Caribbean (Atlantic Coast South of Limón) for my 5th trip there, not counting 3 other visits to the North Caribbean (North of Limón or Tortuguero NP).
I’ve been “mulling over” (That’s a late 1800’s English idiom meaning “to think about” or “to ponder.”) what my photography focus would be this time (see previous focuses below–mainly birds!). I originally thought I was going during Carnival week, but got the dates confused (It’s the last week of October not August) so Carnival is no longer the theme for my photos and ultimately a photo book. 🙂 Here’s my previous South Caribe galleries & books:
Browsing Blurb’s Bookstore travel and art photography books (for ideas) I came across the above quotation by John O’Donohue in a book and decided next week’s destination is such a “gracious” place (both the Hotel Banana Azul and the Caribe) that the friendly, loving, kind graciousness of the place will make it truly an “adventure of beauty!” So now my mind is running in a thousand directions of how I can photograph that gracious beauty!
Of course there’s the beauty of nature as my sunrise photo above from another year depicts. The graciousness of the people there presents opportunities for grand portraits or activity shots. While the graciousness of the sea, or the forest, or the wildlife, or the plants . . . oh my, oh my – the destination becomes so gracious!
Soon I start my next adventure of beauty!¡Pura Vida! 🙂
I arise today Blessed by all things, Wings of breath, Delight of eyes, Wonder of whisper, Intimacy of touch, Eternity of soul, Urgency of thought, Miracle of health, Embrace of God. May I live this day Compassionate of heart, Clear in word, Gracious in awareness, Courageous in thought, Generous in love.”
From expansive beaches to overpowering vistas and sunsets dotted with colorful tropical birds – my newest photo book captures the magic of where I live as well as any! With it my photos show the adventure of birding in three hotels just an hour from Atenas — Punta Leona Resort, the Macaw Lodge and my recent visit to Villa Caletas, all with easy access to beaches, Carara National Park and Tarcoles River plus each having their own private forest reserve and trails. Nature at its best! All in one beautiful photo book!
You can preview the entire book electronically online at: