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.
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! 🙂
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!
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!
“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! 🙂
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
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! 🙂
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 . . .
Today I finished reading the Kindle electronic version of How the South Won the Civil War by Heather Cox Richardson. Below is my Goodreads book review in case you are not one of my friends on Goodreads who will get it there.
This excellent, professionally written history book is so accurate and thorough that about 10% of the pages are footnoted references to other history books and sources. Every American should read this as it clearly shows how the government philosophy of pre-civil war slaveholders eventually became the “movement conservatives” and the Republican philosophy of governing by oligarchy.
In plain English that translates to how they still want a few elite, rich, white men (plantation owners) to control and govern everyone else. Thus from Andrew Johnson (yeah, it started with a Democrat) and the post civil war plantation owners through the “independent” cowboys of the West to Barry Goldwater, Ronald Reagan, the Bushes and the now ultimate White Supremacist, Donald Trump, the Republican Party helped the South win the Civil War by demanding that their elitist white men run the country their way only and the rich continue to get richer while the poor continue to get poorer and the country continues to be a racist white supremacist nation.
It is a very truthful and sad commentary on the United States and why so many people continue to believe the lies of Republican leaders. The people who most need to read this book will not because of their prejudices and thirst for control and the future of “the greatest democracy” is at stake in this election. ~Charlie Doggett
The “4” can mean my 4th trip to Xandari or the 4th Gallery on Xandari or the fact that I was there for 4 days this time! 🙂 The featured photo is on my walk to the restaurant from my villa.
It is a magical getaway every visit and I tend to photograph many new things or the same things in different ways each time, like this time I didn’t even hike to the waterfalls but spent more time with flowers & butterflies and a feature on the bamboo forest. So if considering a visit to Xandari, check out each of my photo galleries from 4 different trips there with 4 different perspectives:
2020 August 21-24 – A Weekend Retreat during a World Pandemic with masks & solo activities in nature. Most butterflies & flowers this time.
2020 January 12-16 – Five days when I installed my photo books library and photographed all kinds of nature with more birds than above.
The subtitle of my newest travel book is “When you look through the eyes of a child” describing how I tried to present this photo-travel book on Maquenque Eco-Lodge and Reserve. Yes – it is in Spanish this time but for you English-only people, don’t worry! All the photo captions are in both languages and the poem from which I got the subtitle is also in both languages, and here it is in English:
“Everything seemed possible, when I looked through the eyes of a child. And every once in a while; I remember, I still have the chance to be that wild.” ― Nikki Rowe
It’s a photo book with 141 photos, including photos of the 61 species of birds I got this visit. THE ELECTRONIC PREVIEW IS FREE, so go to this link or click the cover image below and you can see all 92 pages of the book for free! Of course full-screen is best for photos! 🙂