Finished All Poirot Stories

Way back whenever I first started reading Agatha Christie books, it was always paperbacks. Then I got a Kindle and read so many more electronically – until I got to the last two books or stories about Hercule Poirot (33) and when I downloaded the last two of his mysteries, neither would open up on my Kindle (the only 2 books I’ve ever had trouble with electronically).

So the cumbersome effort of calling Amazon Help and finally getting a live person then the wasted time of several efforts to make the books load, none of which worked. And finally given credit for the electronic books which they removed from my bookshelf. Soooo . . . to complete my goal of reading all the Poirot books (including that book of short stories), I order the last two books she wrote as paperbacks – back to how I started his stories! Poetic justice to modern electronics! 🙂

Agatha Christie’s last two Poirot books.

And bear in mind that this is not as easy to happen with a U.S. company when you live in another country! But finally I receive and finish the last in the Poirot series, Halloween Party and Curtains, and of course enjoyed these old-world England stories as much as the first two back whenever.

I’m still experimenting with other types of books that sound good or I think I may like – most of which I don’t. And if I don’t enjoy a book after a few pages or chapters, I now just quit reading it. Like I just started reading (again) All God’s Creatures Great and Small and then remembered that I had tried it once before and just did not enjoy his detailed description of birthing a calf with his arm up inside the womb of the cow and will probably drop this book again. I report on most of my book reading through Goodreads.

Along with Poirot, I did read some of Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple books and may next try to finish that shorter series. Of course I saw most if not all of the TV series “Murder She Wrote,” based on the Miss Marple books, but that is never the same as the books. The same with the TV series on Poirot.

When on my only trip to London, I did get to see Agatha Christie’s play, The Mousetrap, the world’s longest running play. Cool! A great British experience!

And I’m afraid my reading will be slowing down now with only one good eye. Though I can read for short periods with my left eye uncovered, it soon starts burning and watering and I cannot continue long. One-eye reading is possible but not as good and soon that eye gets tired too. Just one of the many side-effects of my cancer and the loss of a facial nerve. You just do the best you can with what you have in life. 🙂 And at 80 I no longer expect all of my body to work perfectly! 🙂

¡Pura Vida!

Adventure by Chicken Bus

Members of the ARCR (Association of Residents of Costa Rica), an organization formed to help expats get to and live better in Costa Rica get a subscription to the bimonthly magazine El Residente and I hope this link to the March/April 21 issue works for non-members! 🙂

The first main article in this issue is titled “Adventure by Chicken Bus” which is actually one chapter of a book by the same title, this chapter about the Canadian family traveling Central America while homeschooling is specifically about their efforts at helping Costa Rica save the endangered sea turtles on our east coast. A great story for nature lovers and wildlife preservers that will make you want to visit Costa Rica.

At the end of the story is a link to the book by this family’s mother and school teacher, Janet La Sole, Adventures by Chicken Bus, An Unschooling Odyssey Through Central America. Be sure to check out the tab “Chapters Gallery” which summarizes the chapters and where all they traveled through pretty much every country of Central America. Amazing! And they were backpacking with two young girls! That’s her book website. If you want to purchase, go directly to Amazon.com Adventures by Chicken Bus.

And in case you don’t know, “Chicken Bus” is the nickname for the small, rural, cheap buses (Used U.S. school buses painted bright colors) found all over Central America for cheap rural or out of the way places of travel. We do have big, modern buses in Costa Rica between major cities and towns and major tourist attractions, but these are common all over rural Central America and yes, they do carry their chickens on these buses. 🙂

¡Pura Vida!

A Reward for Sharing

One of my new favorite lodges in Costa Rica is El Silencio Lodge at Bajos del Toro in my own province of Alajuela, north of San Ramon in the cloud forest mountains where there are many waterfalls. I was there last September and as I frequently do, I made a little 7X7 inch photo book about my experiences there, sending them a copy plus one each of my general birds and butterflies books for their other guests to enjoy. When the owner came down from San Jose and saw the books he was so impressed that he told the staff to offer me two free nights in this luxury lodge.

Well, of course I accepted the offer and will add-on two more nights at my cost for a great 5-day visit the middle of February! 🙂 If you want to see a free electronic preview of the book online, click the title here: El Silencio, Touching Souls, inspired by a quote from Mother Teresa:

We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature – trees, flowers, grass- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence… We need silence to be able to touch souls.

~Mother Teresa

¡Pura Vida!

Or you may like visiting my “Trip Gallery” on 2020 September El Silencio Lodge.

Books I Read in 2020

Thanks to Goodreads that provided me with the above images and the list of books I reported to them as having read during 2020, most with a book review. I thought that by the time this blog post was scheduled, I would have finished my current book by Barack Obama, A Promised Land, that is not among the above images, but I was too busy at Arenal to read as much as I expected, meaning it will go down as a January book. And then there are others I’m “working on.” 🙂

I’m not a heavy reader because I tend to be a “doer” of adventures more a reader of adventures, plus I have a sometimes uncontrollable urges to “to create,” mainly with my photos. But I still love to read and no longer go to movies or watch TV. I currently have Netflix Costa Rica mainly for the documentaries and occasionally an old movie, though not as many titles available here as in the states, thus watch just occasionally. I no longer subscribe to any cable TV. So, when not photographing or creating something with my photos, I like to read Agatha Christie mysteries and select non-fiction books such as the Obama book.

Here’s a slide show of the book covers followed by a list of titles and authors. And note that in 2021 I plan to finish the entire series of Hercule Poirot mysteries with just 2 more to go! 🙂

My 12 Books This Year

Assuming I finish the Obama book which I’m sure I will. These are not in any particular order and I don’t remember exactly what order I read them, but most were good books. The sitting kills book was weak I thought and I was disappointed in the book on knowing God. The other 10 I recommend! The first 6 are non-fiction and the last 6 fiction – half and half! 🙂

  1. The Adventurer’s Son by Roman Dial
  2. How the South Won the Civil War by Heather Cox Richardson
  3. The Future We Choose – Surviving the Climate Crises, Christiana Figueres and Tom Rivett-Carnac
  4. A Promised Land by Barack Obama
  5. Sitting Kills – Moving Heals by Joan Vernikos
  6. Knowing God by J. I. Packer
  7. Heaven Adjacent by Catherine Ryan Hyde
  8. Hickory Dickory Dock by Agatha Christie
  9. Dead Man’s Folly by Agatha Christie
  10. The Clocks by Agatha Christie
  11. Third Girl by Agatha Christie
  12. Cat Among the Pigeons by Agatha Christie

Numbers 3 & 4 are my two favorite books this year with #7 my favorite fiction.

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies . . . The man who never reads lives only one.”

– George R.R. Martin

¡Pura Vida!

The Future We Choose

Book Cover

BOOK REVIEW that I posted on Goodreads today.

The best thing I’ve read about climate change in a long time and it’s not all negative because we do “Choose Our Future” collectively as a society and they even give us a possible “dream future” in Chapter 3, while Chapter 2 has a pretty realistic picture of where we will be in 2050 if we don’t act now and it is not a pretty picture!

Book Cover

There are a lot of practical things in this book like the 10 Actions each one of us can individually take and of course one of those is to vote and influence your politicians and other government leaders to take positive actions to green our planet before it is literally too late.

This is from the people who brought you the Paris Climate Agreement. If every human on planet earth read this book and did half the 10 actions we would be headed in the right direction!

Read this book and plant a tree to help save humanity!

¡Pura Vida!

Why I Make Photos . . .

“Practice any art . . . not to get money and fame, but to experience becoming, to find out what’s inside you, to make your soul grow.” ~Kurt Vonnegut

And that quote, I just found, describes exactly what I am doing with my photography, with this blog, and with me being “Retired in Costa Rica!” I am becoming, discovering and growing. Living in and focusing on nature is my idea of life now, “almost heaven.” 🙂

The feature photo of a Red-eyed Tree Frog in the hand of another nature explorer at Aguila de Osa Lodge, Drake Bay, is an example of what lights up my life! As is the frog on the cover of my latest photo book below, photographed with my simple cell phone at the Danta Corcovado Lodge, Los Patos Ranger Station, Corcovado National Park. Frogs are almost as dear to me as birds! 🙂

One of my most fun creations yet: Animal Faces.

My Photo Gallery

becoming, discovering and growing

¡Pura Vida!

Magical AFRICA

My last three years of working full time were in The Gambia, with visits to other West African countries like Senegal and Cote d’Ivoire. Plus I made three two-week long trips to Kenya & Tanzania that included two safaris in The Masai Mara, meaning I have a lot of Africa photos! 🙂

Thus I self-curated 139 photos for a beautiful little 7X7 inch photo book titled Magical AFRICA in 102 pages with the hardcover edition including premium lustre photo paper. This is my first book of Africa photos in my Blurb Bookstore and is a general “Portfolio” book.

Click the above linked title or cover image and as always, you can thumb through the book electronically by clicking on REVIEW and pages to turn them.

Another COVID19 benefit of being limited from much travel during the pandemic! 🙂

“One cannot resist the lure of Africa.”
– Rudyard Kipling

¡Pura Vida!

Pura Vida Butterflies: The Book

Earlier I released a coffee table book titled Pura Vida Birds as a celebration of coming up on my 6 year anniversary of being “Retired in Costa Rica” (December 24, 2020).

Then I started thinking about my second nature love of butterflies and just couldn’t resist doing a similar book with my photo collection of butterflies and moths, even though not as big as my birds collection. So here it is! More than 120 butterflies in brilliant colors in a 10×8 in, 25×20 cm book, hardcover or paperback book. It is titled Pura Vida Butterflies from the Retired in Costa Rica Blog. Check it out and thumb through the pages electronically in the free Preview available online. Just one more incredible thing about Costa Rica! 🙂

¡Pura Vida!

El Silencio Book Published

I’m happy to announce that the trip report photo book from my visit to El Silencio Lodge is finished and now available for you to preview electronically for free or order a copy if you like! 🙂 It’s 60 pages with 97 photos of a truly incredible place! See it in my Blurb Bookstore at https://www.blurb.com/b/10309436-el-silencio.

Feature photo is front cover and the back cover is below:

“God is the friend of Silence. See how nature — trees, flowers, grass — grows in silence . . .

We need silence . . . to touch souls.”

~Mother Teresa

¡Pura Vida!