Christmas Celebrations in Atenas 2018

Here is the schedule of Christmas Festivities at Central Park Atenas with the stage being on government property across the street this year with park being remodeled. Lots of music and a lanterns parade at night plus more with vendor booths set up on the outer edges of the park  — remodeling not stopping the Christmas Spirit in Atenas! It will be HAPPY, HAPPY as always and I’m sorry I will miss it this year again as I am traveling for Christmas (Which is a very Tico thing to do!).     🙂

And they just added some more activities for Christmas:

If you click the above image it is larger in its original location

And that is the official Atenas Community fiestas. Every church has at least one Christmas Eve service and the big catholic church multiple masses both days. Many Tico families have 1 to 2 weeks vacation and travel to a beach, usually the week between Christmas and New Years (when most businesses are closed).

Expats vary a lot in what they do. Several always go home to the States, Canada or Europe for Christmas with family. Some have family come here. And the “Snow Birds” came here for  their Christmas or multi-months escape from snow and cold weather. Our Expat “Men’s Club” (misnamed) went yesterday (the 16th) to San Ramon for a Dinner Theatre Christmas Madrigal Old English Show or something like that. I went this year and reported yesterday.

Then there’s me – like a real Tico now, I’m going to the beach again but will spend most of my time in the forest at and near Manuel Antonio National Park in a private wildlife refuge and resort called Si Como No, which in español literally means “Yes, of course,” or “Yes, why not?”  indicative of the positive spirit of life here in Costa Rica! And I will photograph birds of course!   ¡Pura Vida!

¡Feliz Navidad!

 

Considering a move to Costa Rica? If so, and you find online research confusing or overwhelming, then read this Christopher Howard article on  All Over the Map Syndrome Although he is a little arrogant, he still has the best relocation tour of Costa Rica and his tour combined with the ARCR Seminar is one of the best ways to filter through the onslaught of information you may be finding. I credit those two events with properly preparing me for my successful move here along with a positive attitude and an already established love of the Costa Rica Culture and nature places. Before you move here, visit several times (consider the fun Caravan.com Costa Rica tour) and then go on his “Live In Costa Rica Combination Tour” coupled with the ARCR Seminar and you will be much better prepared. People who just come and try to figure it all out when they get here are usually in the 40% who end up going back to the states, Canada or wherever “home” was before. “Be Prepared!”     🙂

New Kindle Today & Two Book Reports

That’s my new Kindle Fire HD 8 above beside a real book I’m also reading. It is my second Kindle ever and 1 inch taller which does make the print a little larger and easier to read, but there are some things I don’t like as well as on my old 5-year-old Kindle. First, the cover is simply not as good and does not stand up on my dining table as well as the old one. Inside it is more complicated and confusing to use electronically for this old man – beginning to show my age? But I will get used to it and love it eventually.  🙂

The Strange Juxtaposition of Two Books I’m Reading

DIGITAL ON KINDLE: The Seven Storey Mountain  

Written in 1948, this is the autobiography of a spiritual mentor whose writings I like and who is of the same generation of my parents, Thomas Merton. He describes his “coming of age” as an adult and discovering who he really is from first the adventures of life and then the spiritual dimension of life and at 68% through the book (Kindle tells you that)  he is still struggling with what his vocation will be but even more so with his relationship with God. Been there, done that!  🙂

REAL PAPER BOOK FROM FRIEND: The Gringos Hawk   (not available digitally)

I’m only about a fourth of the way through this hardback book which is also an adult coming of age autobiography of a young man of my generation this time, published in 2001. Not as spiritual as Merton’s, yet more adventurous as American Jon Marañon ends up in southern Costa Rica on the Pacific Coast (where I love traveling) and as a 23 year old buys a tract of land on the coast at a bargain price. Then the problems and adventures begin dealing with government regulations, local farmers, and even a “witch” along with illnesses, injuries, etc. And that is as far as I am in the story now. But it is the kind of thing I too might have done in the 1960’s if I had not been, like Thomas Merton, highly motivated by what I considered a “calling” from God. Young men struggling with who they are!

I will report back when I have finished both bios and how I am relating to them then. It is funny how I identify with both guys of two different generations and two different worlds and somehow ended up reading both stories at the same time.    🙂

Remembering Eugene Peterson

Christianity Today has 3 good articles about one of the few great Christians of my generation, Eugene Peterson, who recently died:

Ministry Lessons

Eugene Peterson Competed His Long Obedience

Eugene Peterson: A Monk Out of Habit

I guess his translation of the Bible called The Message is the biggest influence he had on me and my life, by far my favorite version of the Bible, but his book A Long Obedience in the Same Direction ranks pretty high up there also. My spiritual focus for many years now has been on the spirit of God working inside me and in the lives of all followers of Jesus. It is where we find hope for this pathetically sinful world. Thus the title of my “spiritual page” on this site  “His Spirit.”

This Presbyterian minister reminds me in some ways of my favorite Catholic Monk, Thomas Merton, whose autobiography I am currently reading, The Seven Storey Mountain. They are real people allowing “His Spirit” to control their lives as they relate to virtually everyone as Christ would. In some ways it reminds me of my youth ministry days and the simple WWJD phenomenon (What Would Jesus Do?), only much deeper and almost mystical as we are led by His Spirit!

I worked my entire adult working life for Southern Baptists, the largest of the Evangelicals talked about so much today and experienced the spiritual decline of a church, denomination and the broader “Evangelicals” as they became political with a focus on power, money, and the control of other people rather than allowing “His Spirit” to work through them as the voices of Jesus. They seemed to have chosen a self-seeking Republican Party instead and their self-centered leaders. It saddens me because in earlier days I experienced His Spirit working through Southern Baptists. Now they give us Donald Trump and racist Republican leaders. It is one of the reasons I moved my retirement to Costa Rica to avoid such poison that now seems to affect a whole nation if not the whole world. Scary! We need more Eugene Peterson’s!

 

DiosArte

Translation of the above art:  “Give Jesus more room in your life.”   And my post title “DiosArte” is simply Spanish for “GodArt.”

My young friend Jason Quesada liked this FB page (DiosArte) and I liked the interesting and youthful art made by a Catholic young person here. Creativity is used in many ways in Costa Rica! Check out his colorful Facebook Page:

DiosArte

 

 

¡Pura Vida! 

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!  🙂  

                                                                            -o-


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. 

-o-
THE TRUMP OF COSTA RICA? SAD!
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

Palmares

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!   🙂

-o-


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.