A “Like” from the Author

My review of The Adventurer’s Son got a “Like” from the author, Roman Dial. I finished the book and liked it much even if sad. A guess all of us who venture into the wilds realize the dangers but still go because of the great joys! I would have guessed that in Corcovado he most likely would have died from a deadly snake bite and would never have guessed from a tree falling in a storm – but such are the surprises in the wilderness and in life and death. And I’m glad it was not “foul play” from a bad human as some had thought throughout the story. It was an emotional read.

SEE ALSO: NPR Interview of Author: A Father Recounts His Search For The Son Who Vanished In Costa Rican Wilderness  – There is a short written summary and a 37 minute audio at this link.

Father-son in Bhutan

Guess I’ll now go back to a safe and easy Agatha Christie read now!   🙂

 

¡Pura Vida!

RETIRING TO COSTA RICA: ONE EXPAT COUPLE’S STORY

One of the many retirement blogs is titled “This Retirement Life” and the writer Dave Hogan, a financial planner, just took the Caravan Tour of Costa Rica which I highly recommend for a 9 day overview of the whole country as a tourist first, before you start the serious work of planning on living here.

After doing the Caravan Tour Dave stopped in to San Ramon to interview my friends Paul and Gloria Yeatman who have done the excellent blog “Retire for Less in Costa Rica” for the last ten years along with a healthcare tour of Costa Rica and are slowing down now, about to phase out their monthly blog post that I highly recommend to all couples considering retirement here and I will likewise recommend the book they are soon putting together by the same title, in addition to Gloria’s CR Cookbook already available!   🙂

Read this great Interview with Paul & Gloria Yeatman on the Retirement Life blog. If you are considering retirement anywhere outside the U.S., it will help you with the big picture from another first-hand experience! And get to know a couple who did retirement as well or better than anyone I know! Enjoy!

 

“It is better to live rich than to die rich.” – Samuel Johnson

¡Pura Vida!

Retired in Costa Rica

My Spanish Classes

My mornings are spent at Tico Lingo Language School where I am not up to speed with the classroom of students in their 20’s for 4 hours a day so they placed me with a private tutor for 3 hours a day which of course is better for me. The featured photo is of my Professora Ana. Below are more photos of the house converted into a school and where I spend my mornings this week. It is a trial week for me to see if this kind of immersion language study will work for me. If so I will continue more later.

At Tico Lingo

 

Art in the School

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They are all tourist souvenir art work, and yes, if it were me I would stretch those fabrics tight and mount them level, but that is not my job! And the high school and college kids who are most of their customers couldn’t care less!   🙂

Today after class I went to lunch at a different Soda for another Casado with one of the 20-somethings in the other class (to where he wanted to go) and he treated me! He acted amazed that an 80 year old was doing this. So? He ate fast and took an Uber to see his Costa Rican girlfriend called a “Novia” here. I walked around downtown again today and stopped for an ice cream cone, then walked back to my student boarding house where I make this post!   🙂   Tomorrow is a bigger treat as I go to Toucan Rescue Ranch in the afternoon.

And of course I have a “Trip Gallery” of photos from this week, titled:

2020 February 22-28 — Heredia for Spanish Immersion

 

¡Pura Vida!

FYI:     Costa Rica Is The Second Best Destination In The World For Foreign Investment In Tourism

 

Life-changing Reads

Back in 2015 in a Post titled My Library I told you a tiny bit about the life-changing book I had just read titled Pay It Forward, by Catherine Ryan Hyde, about a little boy’s school project to change the world that actually did. And it was made into a movie that I cannot get here. If you have never read it, I encourage you to! I had learned about it from reading another book by her titled Electric God which was very good, just not as great at Pay It Forward!  

Well, recently I have finished two more books by Catherine Ryan Hyde that also can be life changing for some people: Stay, about another boy, age 14, who helped three people in his life not commit suicide and thus changed his world, their world and the world of hundreds of other people.

Then tonight I finished my 4th book by her titled Heaven Adjacent. It is about a workaholic, divorced attorney woman whose best friend was also a workaholic saving for a “good retirement” when she suddenly dies of a stroke. Rosie realizes in the loss of her friend that money is not what was needed for real life. She then does an irrational thing, telling no one, she walks away from her law firm, driving to a tiny rural area in an adjacent state, buys a tiny little farm house, planning to live the rest of her life in quiet solitude away from the mad rush of the city, work, family and search for money. (Kind of like me coming to Costa Rica.) But you could never imagine the life-changing adventure her bizarre action creates. You have to read it to see!   🙂

Catherine Ryan Hyde novels are too emotionally moving for me to read any more for awhile. But I will eventually read more.

Now back to escape novels by Agatha Christie (I’m working on completing all the Poirot mysteries now) and then I have pre-ordered the book coming out next month The Adventurer’s Son, a memoir about the National Geographic Explorer’s son who came to Costa Rica after me as a college-age young man and hiked alone into the magnificent Corcovado National Park (one of my favorite places here) never to be seen again. I read news reports for a short time, then nothing. Now I will get the full story or as much as his father knows. Another possible life-changing book and very close to home for me!  🙂   Much better than TV!

 

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¡Pura Vida!

My Photos in an Art Gallery

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.

¡Pura Vida!

Xandari 2018-Enchanted by Nature
Just one of 29 books in the library!
Brilliant Book cover
And the other one about Xandari!  Plus all of my other Costa Rica photo books!

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!   🙂

All Over Costa Rica!

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!   🙂

See links to the photo galleries of the 20 National Parks & Reserves I have already visited  or for all of my travels over Costa Rica browse through the family of galleries:

Costa Rica Trips (80) which is the best collection of my photos here!

 

“My wish is to stay always like this, living quietly in a corner of nature.”

~Claude Monet

¡Pura vida!

The Old High School – Still a Place of Learning!

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!    🙂

Locations of UNED across Costa Rica! Continuing Adult Education!

 

“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

¡Pura Vida!

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?   🙂

¡Pura Vida!

Happier Than a Billionaire?

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.”

I’m on her mail list for an occasional email or blog post (read her first book), but she has several other channels of communication as a tech-savvy young adult with loads of followers! And several books available both electronically and on paper which have not been exactly my style, but interesting! Her latest book sounds like her most practical one yet and thus I decided to mention it for you to check out as a possibility if considering a move here.  Happier Than A Billionaire: Picking a Town, Finding a Home, and Creating a Budget in Costa Rica is available at:  https://www.amazon.com/Happier-Than-Billionaire-Picking-Creating-ebook/dp/B07ZDK9XQJ/ref=zg_bs_159973011_4?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=YGV6NM5FEVPW770HY0A2   both for Kindle and in paperback format.

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.   🙂

¡Pura Vida!

Hacienda Guachipelín – THE BOOK

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!   🙂

https://www.blurb.com/b/9712481-hacienda-guachapel-n

Or click the book cover image below to get there:

¡Pura Vida!

 

“…and then, I have nature and art and poetry, and if that is not enough, what is enough?”
― Vincent Willem van Gogh

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday Morning Contemplation

Saturday morning on the terrace!

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  Anasazi indigenous 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!    🙂

 

“To gaze is to think.”

~Salvador Dali

¡Pura Vida!