Surprising Vista at Xandari

By using my new 600mm telephoto lens instead of my usual Samsung Phone Camera for a vista from the hilltop resort Xandari, I zoomed in on the Alajuela Cathedral with Central Park to the right and the bigger surprise, at top edge of photo is an American Airlines plane landing or taking off at the San Jose International Airport in Alajuela! Luck of the timing on the plane and sorry that the blog template crops off part of the plane, not so in my original photo (see in gallery).

Below is another shot in same direction from the same restaurant with my phone camera to help you see how much I was able to zoom in and crop a little!  🙂  The cathedral is on the left side of the city that you see between the restaurant and the mountains. My last day at Xandari, Wednesday, Walter picked me up and we got my internet order package 5 blocks east of the Cathedral, ate lunch 2 blocks north of the Cathedral, then drove 24 km (15 miles) west to Atenas where I live. My small world!   🙂

Looking south over Alajuela, Costa Rica (& San Jose Airport) from Xandari Resort. I stood in this same spot for the Cathedral-Airplane photo, just zooming in!


¡Pura Vida!

See my Trip Photo Gallery:  2018 Xandari Resort

Xandari costa rica   (their website)

Retired in Costa Rica

Churches in Orosi Area

Paraíso Parroquia Nuestra Señora de la Limpia Concepción del Rescate de Ujarrás
Paraiso, Costa Rica

Iglesia de Loaiza de Cachi 
Cachi, Costa Rica

Iglesia de Cachi
Cachi, Costa Rica

Iglesia Catolica Palomo de Orosi
Orosi, Costa Rica

Iglesia de San José de Orosi  (1767)
Orosi, Costa Rica

Steeple of Iglesia de San José de Orosi  (1767)
Orosi, Costa Rica

The Oldest Church Building in Costa Rica, built 1580 – A National Historic Park
Las Ruinas de Ujarrás, Costa Rica
I sought to hear the voice of God and climbed the topmost steeple, 
but God declared: “Go down again – I dwell among the people.

~John Henry Newman
See all of my Orosi Trip photos in the TRIP Gallery: 2018-February 6-10–Orosi/Tapanti

Or my gallery Churches – Costa Rica          

The above is my last post from the Orosi trip.  
And a month before the next trip!  🙂  


I’m not a big fan of Nadine, the Happier than a Billionaire younger girl and her husband who moved here about a year before me and her making money off books about living here, but she has some interesting posts!. The above link is to her latest blog post and a “free” chapter from her next book. It is about “dawn” and includes a beautiful (if oversaturated) photo of a sunrise. Someone considering a move here might enjoy her blogs and website and even the books that are somewhat humorous tales of the couple adjusting to pura vida, changing locations, building a house, etc. 

It is getting harder for us Democrats to get away from Trump in Costa Rica!  🙂   The leading candidate for President here is another hateful Trump-type person, with his main platform being Anti-Gay Marriage and he is an Evangelical revival preacher! Sad! 
Political Cartoon in one Online English Newspaper

Sad because Christianity (especially evangelicals) already has the reputation of being bigoted people who hate other people who are different from them. I believe that attitude along with Trump and the horrible Republican Party is destroying the United States from the inside now, with obvious help from Russia! 

And yes, I hold NRA-financed Republicans responsible for the school shootings because of their continued refusal to pass basic gun controls and gladly allow a teenager to walk into a gun store and buy a military machine gun (unlike any other developed country in the world). The U.S, is the most violent and dangerous of all the developed countries in the world. No where in the world are people daily in danger of gun violence like in the states, and it continues to get worse. There are more legally owned guns in the states now than there are people! That is scary!
Nor are the immigration rules and attitudes as bad anywhere as in the states. Republicans will have a lot to answer for to God on judgement day! The U.S. is a very broken nation! Sad! Sad! Sad!

Zarcero – The TOWN/AREA

Farming Hills Surround Zarcero
 Zarcero, Costa Rica

Farming Hills Surround Zarcero 
 Zarcero, Costa Rica

Farming Hills Surround Zarcero 
 Zarcero, Costa Rica
Church & Central Park Topiaries are in Center of Town
 Zarcero, Costa Rica

They were setting up for a carnival/fiesta this day
 Zarcero, Costa Rica

Repaving Main Street
 Zarcero, Costa Rica
Cogwheel or Assassin Bug (Arilus carinatus)  
 on Steps of the Church 
 If I had a side view, the dotted line on his back 
 would be the top of a half-cogwheel. Cool!
 Zarcero, Costa Rica

This trip was made by public bus for about USD $4 
with some cellphone photos made through bus window.

 “Trip Gallery” now on my gallery site: 12 October – Zarcero
Or if you like the unusual bug above, see my:  Other Insects
And for a sneak preview of tomorrow’s post, see my trip gallery: 
Cuban Dancers doing “Swan Lake” in Costa Rica
Coming soon: Visit to Naranjo by next week  
  & in November Villa Blanca Cloud Forest.
From the traveling retiree in Costa Rica!
¡Pura Vida!

“I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. 
I travel for travel’s sake. 
The great affair is to move.” 

Zarcero – The CHURCH

Iglesia de San Rafael 
 Zarcero, Costa Rica

Iglesia de San Rafael 
 Zarcero, Costa Rica

Iglesia de San Rafael 
 Zarcero, Costa Rica
Iglesia de San Rafael 
 Zarcero, Costa Rica
Iglesia de San Rafael 
 Zarcero, Costa Rica

Iglesia de San Rafael 
 Zarcero, Costa Rica
Iglesia de San Rafael Carnival Setup
 Zarcero, Costa Rica

 “Trip Gallery” now on my gallery site: 12 October – Zarcero


Basilica of Our Lady of the Mercedes 
 The primary Catholic Church in
 Palmares, Costa Rica
One of very few in Costa Rica of stone, built 1894-1914

Basilica of Our Lady of the Mercedes
 Palmares, Costa Rica 
Palmares Central Park is Partly a Tropical Garden
 Palmares, Costa Rica

Unlike a lot of towns’ central parks
 Palmares, Costa Rica 

But also has the traditional sidewalks, benches & band shelter
 Palmares, Costa Rica 

Some high school kids came dressed for a church festival
 Palmares, Costa Rica 

Including their band!
 Palmares, Costa Rica  

Palmares is a 50 minute bus ride north from Atenas over one of the most winding mountain roads near us and a beautiful drive through something like the Appalachian or Ozark Mountains to this cowboy town where the biggest Tope (horse parade) happens once a year. It is much bigger than Atenas with 31,000+ plus people.

This was my “practice” bus ride here and then on another bus for the shorter ride to San Ramon where I am going by bus in November to be picked up by the staff of Villa Blanca Cloud Forest Resort which is north of San Ramon. 
I’m getting better at bus travel and even made a last minute change today. Aeropost sent me an email saying my CPAP supplies were ready to be picked up in Alajuela. So instead of returning to Atenas from San Ramon (through Palmares), I got the direct bus to Alajuela for my package, ate lunch at Jalapeno Central Restaurant and then my regular Atenas bus back home. 
I was particularly impressed by the bus station for one bus company in Palmares. See photo below. 
Terminal Buses Carbachez 
 Palmares, Costa Rica 

This reminded me of the nice one I used in Turrialba. There are many competing bus companies in Costa Rica and they build their own terminals, not shared with other companies. Think of the old competition between Greyhound and Trailways in the states. This station is for Carbachez buses. Had I come here on one of our CoopeAtenas Buses, I would have gone to a different terminal that is not as nice. And I left from a third terminal to go to Alajuela. It was clean, but smaller and not as nice as the one above. 

And a few buses between towns just stop at a bus stop on a main street, no terminal. For example: when I went to Tarcoles with Ed we caught our bus at a main stop on Ruta 3 highway going through town. You have to learn how to ride buses and there is a great website with schedules, though going through Palmares to San Ramon did not come from them! Got that locally! The site routed me through Alajuela which is longer. But then I came back that way anyway!  🙂
As a Senior Adult (Adulto Mayor). I rode 3 of my 4 buses free and the San Ramon to Alajuela longest trip was just 75¢ or half price! Buses are the economical way to travel here even if you pay full price!

Google Map of Atenas to Palmares  We went the shorter route, Hwy 135, but bus takes longer than car with many stops along the way!   🙂 

I did a Trip Gallery with these photos and two are also in my Costa Rica Churches gallery

Goodbye to a Good Friend

Garden Art by Anthony

This morning at about 4:00 I said goodbye to my next door neighbor Anthony who has been a special friend this last year, as he was when he lived on the other side of me during my first few months in this house (before he traveled to Spain & Morocco for 9 months). He is the single artist guy, about 8 years younger than me, who is still driven to create. He did my garden art sculpture I’ve shown before and a painting I promised not to publish. You will have to visit me to see it – another contemporary bird!

Though Costa Rica is a great atmosphere for creativity, it is not the easiest place to get lots of different art supplies, especially for his clay and tile work. So he is moving back to the states, not to his native Indiana, but to an art community in Chicago where he can get everything he needs to create including many customers which he also needs at this particular point in his life. And he plans to take classes in a world renowned tile art school there.  So I wish Anthony the best of life in lakeside Chicago and a fabulous new career as an artist in the states.

The house he was in, next door in this same compound, has already been rented and soon I will meet my new neighbor and see what adventures that will bring! And very soon I could be greeting a new landlord, as the whole compound is for sale. I met one lovely couple moving here from Houston who are considering the purchase. They are originally from Louisiana and we hit it off when they visited as “fellow southerners.” It seems that people know immediately when I speak that I’m from “The South.” Wonder why?

We will see what happens. My current French Canadian landlords will still be in Atenas part time in a smaller house, with their main house being built on a Pacific Coast beach north of Jaco. And the now vacant house on the other side of me (Richard’s casita) has a couple moving in for two months that I met through my blog and the local evangelical church, Iglesia Biblical. Change is maybe the most consistent part of life! And it always brings new experiences and new friends! Pura vida!   🙂


The Greatest Threat to the Church Isn’t Islam – It’s Us
Hoping non-subscribers to Christianity Today can get to this linked article by a Nigerian Christian. In many ways Africa is where Christianity is strongest today and there are many things Americans could learn from our African brethren! This article is a good example.

Hotel El Convento, León, Nicaragua

Hotel El Convento, León, Nicaragua
My one night in León was in what was one time a convent. The courtyard.

The atmosphere of an old Spanish Colonial
Catholic Convent was evident throughout.

An old prayer altar?

Convent is adjacent to San Francisco Church with this Entrance Sign.
Church is pictured in the church post.

All of the hotels Tours Nicaragua has arranged for me have been excellent in every way. They are the only way I will ever travel in Nicaragua!

And don’t miss my Nicaragua Birds photo gallery for 98 different species!

San Ramon, Costa Rica

This is the second post for today, Saturday, about the town separate from the healthcare tour.

San Ramon is higher in the mountains than Atenas, meaning
it gets much colder and rains more. It rained this morning & in 50’s.

San Ramon’s beautiful Catholic Church facing the Central Park,
like every town in Costa Rica.

They also have a boyero or oxcart driver monument like Atenas.
I like our Atenas metal one better. This one is on church grounds.
Like every town’s Central Park, you will find children playing, old people talking,
teens texting, talking or smooching, and a generally happy, tranquil place.
There is a band-shell for musical programs.

San Ramon is quite a bit larger than Atenas with more businesses and traffic, something in-between Atenas and Alajuela. I do not like it as well as Atenas because of the weather (colder and wetter) and the more crowded conditions. They do have a University campus which is a plus and a couple of museums we don’t have, but I think I will stick with my more walkable small town. Both are very “Costa Rica” in nature with wonderfully friendly people. They have a few hundred expats living there where we have over a thousand in and around Atenas.

The other post today about healthcare tour has more photos of San Ramon and yesterday’s short post has photo of tour group in front of Mural on La Posada Hotel where I stayed.

Evangelical Dancing in the Park

Youth doing expressive movements to Christian music in Parque Central.

I walked through the central park (never called a plaza here like in colonial Latin America) on my way to the Super Mercado. At first I thought it was one of the many dance classes performing, but they were dancing to Christian music, so I assume it was one of the evangelical churches in town. As I passed back through on my way home this Saturday morning, a preacher concluded a prayer and began speaking. So it was definitely a church. Churches here are involving their youth in many different ways and this “expressive movements” to music is just one. The Iglesia Biblica I have attended some does this in some services kind of like First Baptist Nashville did when there. I have mixed feelings about it in worship or for outreach. It doesn’t appear to be natural or “real” praise of God, but something artificial that is taught or staged (to me). Many youth have natural rhythm and need a way to express it, so maybe this is a good way. Secular dancing of all kinds is very popular here with many public dances and many places to take dancing lessons.

I will continue to put Spanish words in bold red in this blog. I may also reference something in my new Spanish language blog, which is just about my efforts to learn Spanish. Today’s post in Aprendo Espanol en Atenas simply acknowledges Su Espacio and David Salas Costillo as my primary source of learning Spanish. In the future I will share my experiences trying to speak Spanish. 

Iglesia La Soledad

Iglesia La Soledad, Alajuela
A Simple Elegance

And a young church for Costa Rica!
Many are dated to the 1500’s!

When I took Anthony for his going away lunch at his favorite restaurant in San Jose (Tin Jo), we saw this nearby church and made a brief visit. In Latin cities there is a church in almost every barrio or neighborhood. This is one of those. A simple beauty that I like and part of my “Costa Rica Churches” photo collection that is bound to begin soon!  🙂

I never weary of great churches. It is my favorite kind of mountain scenery. Mankind was never so happily inspired as when it made a cathedral.
~Robert Louis Stevenson