Patience is Costa Rican!

Your have heard me brag about the tranquility and great weather of my little farming town of Atenas – and the “muy amable” or very kind people here. But one thing that many hyper and efficient Americans don’t always realize when they move to such an easy-going society, is that to be that way means everything and everybody moves slower here! No rush! ¡Pura vida! To not adapt to this slower way means you will not be happy here. Always frustrated at the inefficiencies!

My example of this today is my efforts since Monday to pay my surgeon for the work he did. (No pressure from him.) I made arrangements in advance with my Credit Union in Nashville to move the needed money from Savings to Checking so I could easily pay with my debit card. Hospital payment was quick and easy as I had planned, but the doc requested to be paid separately. Okay.

The doctor comes in my room with his little portable credit card machine, saying he doesn’t like to wait for the hospital to reimburse him if I pay through them (the most efficient way), saying they sometimes take a full month to forward the money to him. Okay. He tries repeatedly and his machine doesn’t work or at least he blames it on the machine and not my card which had just worked for the hospital. He leaves and returns in a little while with a bigger machine he plugged into the wall (still dependent on hospital WiFi). And it did not work. He then says we will take care of it when I see him at his office later this week (Wednesday). It still did not work there. He then gives me his account number at Banco Nacional and asks that I just transfer the money to his account from my account – but that account (my SS check auto-deposit) is just for housing costs, so I still have to get the money from Nashville.

Thus Wednesday afternoon I go to the bank with my CU debit card and ask them to get the needed money from it and put into my local account so I can transfer it to the doctor’s account. Sure! The teller aims to please, and tries repeatedly (7 times – service is important!) and he continues to get “denied” or “acceso denegado.” I call Nashville and they raise the cash advance limit (I thought they had already done) and say everything else is cleared – it should work! It did not! I told the patient teller (not the long line of people behind me) that I would return tomorrow and try again. Lo siento señor, mañana es un día festivo, no estamos abiertos. And I reply, Hasta el viernes.  Tomorrow is a holiday and we are closed. See you Friday.   🙂

Well, Thursday was Virgen de los Angeles day, (patron saint of Costa Rica) with only Christmas and Easter being bigger for Catholics here, when thousands make the pilgrimage to Cartago Cathedral to touch the black stone Maria. So nada yesterday! (Click above link to learn about the holiday.)

This morning I call the Credit Union again and make sure the card is good for a large amount of cash on this day and I’m assured it is. I go to the bank with teller lines going outside onto the sidewalk and street, more than an hour wait for a teller, so I tell the guard I need the “special services desk” and go wait nearly an hour for it, but those persons are more accustomed to “different” transactions like mine and I figured they could handle it better, maybe quicker, and once I finally got to a desk, it worked very smoothly, though taking another 25 minutes to do it! Remember – everything is slower here! Why rush? But she did go ahead and let me pay my monthly CAJA (public healthcare) with her and not have to go wait for a regular teller to do that.

Sooooo . . . an hour and a half at the bank, another chapter read in my latest book (which is so, so), my doctor bill is paid AND my monthly CAJA (public healthcare) bill paid! I breathed a sigh of relief and headed home for a more relaxed weekend! Pura Vida!

And, if you are wondering, the reason I didn’t use CAJA for the surgery, is that I would still be waiting to see a surgeon and I chose not to have patience for that!  Choices and Patience! Retired in Costa Rica!   🙂   ¡Pura Vida!



Inside Basílica de Nuestra Señora de Los Ángeles Church

New Coffee Shop in Town

Above Canario Supermercado is a new little coffee shop overlooking the entrance to Atenas Mercado Central, bus station, and a busy street for people watching. See photo above. Just this one visit today and it is now in my top three coffee shops (called cafeterias here). (1) Crema y Nada, (2) Cafeteria by the church, and now (3) Cafeteria above Canario. (If the last two have names, they are not prominently displayed, but most things here are described by location as I just did.)

One of my retirement joys these days is slowly sipping 2 or 3 mugs of coffee every morning after breakfast, with breakfast or like today, after my cereal breakfast I walk to town and have a pastry and cup of coffee downtown while people watching or finishing today’s Washington Post on the Kindle. This is what retirement is like for me when not traveling! And of course my favorite and most common place to enjoy morning coffee is from my own terrace as seen on this cloudy morning in the photo below.

My Terrace is My Favorite Place for Morning Coffee


Living the Dream

Retired in Costa Rica

¡Pura Vida!


Our Hidden Danger in Costa Rica

And for those who think I never have anything negative to say about Costa Rica (and I seldom do) I will admit that one thing here that scares me is the  Terciopelo, the Costa Rica name for what Americans call Fer de Lance snake (Bothrops asper).  (Click Terciopelo link for English article in Tico Times)  It is one of the most deadly snake bites in the world and unfortunately we have them living in my Roca Verde neighborhood. I know of two neighbors who have been bitten, both going outside in early morning barefoot (note that I will never do that). Both stepped on the snake (a sure way to get bitten!) and were rushed to the public clinic here for anti-venom shot and from there in ambulance to the public hospital in Alajuela for further treatment. They are both fine now, but it was a big scare for both with swollen leg and a lot of pain. One guy had an allergic reaction to the anti-venom and got extra allergy treatment for the hives it gave him.  See Wikipedia article on the snake.

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

Waterfalls and Challenging the Ethnocentric Mind

Xandari Falls #4

Xandari is different and that challenges me to be different. One example is that more than in most places I am speaking Spanish with all the staff and they love it! They help me when I don’t know a word and they encourage me! When I walk into the dining room now they all come up and speak to me in español. I smile and we chat. It is a great feeling!

As the linked video below suggests, change is not easy. Change can be overwhelming like these 5 waterfalls here at Xandari. But wow! It’s wonderful as the college student show in the video. Thanks to Retire for Less in Costa Rica for sharing this video first!

¡Pura Vida!

See my Trip Photo Gallery:  2018 Xandari Resort

Xandari costa rica   (their website)

Xandari Room – Art Gallery in Nature

My room at Xandari Resort Costa Rica is like an art gallery sitting in a garden or surrounded by nature. Here’ two slideshows to explain; first is views of each part of my room or rooms – more like an efficiency apartment. Second is a slide of each piece of art placed somewhere in my room or rooms, including three outdoors.

The original owners or developers of Xandari were an architect and his artist wife. They included an art studio here where students came and created the art that is all over the property including each villa or room. Later I will show some of the art that is outside in the gardens around the buildings. It is one of the most unique places I have ever been and a lot of birds too!  🙂


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To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts.

~Henry David Thoreau


¡Pura Vida!

See my Trip Photo Gallery:  2018 Xandari Resort

Xandari costa rica   (their website)

The Birthday that Won’t Go Away!

My friend Jason Quesada now works in Jaco and is only in Atenas on weekends. Well, he was back this weekend and showed up at my house this afternoon with a friend and a birthday cake. We had a great time visiting and I enjoyed meeting a new local friend, Christopher, who is about as far along with his English as I am with my Spanish. Language learning! Wow!

It has been a nice week. Friday I had my teeth cleaned by a local Spanish-only dentist and Monday I go to a Spanish-speaking dermatologist.  Then next Saturday I’m checking out a new exotic lodge called Xandri. Never a dull moment!   ¡Pura Vida!

Tengo 78 Años Hoy

That is how we say it in Costa Rica español,  Tengo 78 años hoy, translated “I have 78 years today” on July 4, 2018. No particular celebration today, I will wait until the big 80! 🙂 Then a big party!

Super Hamburguesa & My Kindle! Before the Pecan Pie Alamode dessert!

This morning I bought a pecan pie (possibly my favorite dessert) at my favorite bakery, Crema y Nada, and vanilla ice cream at my favorite supermercado. That will serve as my birthday cake after eating my favorite hamburger to go from Donde Bocha this afternoon. Then I will post this with photos of both treats.

And yes, it has been a great birthday! Thanks for the kind messages of feliz cumpleaños!  (happy birthday!) from people here and in the states! It was a wonderful, relaxed day! I have a friend visiting this weekend and otherwise I keep slowly building the new website as I find time. So much information to add!

Güilas – “Kids”

The newest “Made in Costa Rica” Movie is Güilas by Tico artist/photographer SERGIO PUCCI.
In pure Spanish “güilar” is “to guide” – In Costa Rica slang, “güila” = kid or child
This is a collection of 7 stories of 7 kids, one from each of the 7 provinces of Costa Rica
I saw at Cinemark Cinema, City Mall, Alajuela, Costa Rica

TRAILER & Guilas Making Of:


Tico Times Article in English:

First La Nacion Article (with videos):  (use your translator to read in English)

Second La Nacion Article (with videos):  (use your translator to read in English)

“The intention of the film is to highlight Costa Rican identity through the experiences of these kids, with an infancy full of games and mischief, outside in the fresh air,” said Editorial PUCCI in an email this week.

Wow! A beautiful movie! You know how “coming of age” movies are usually big in the states and also funny kid movies – Well Sergio Pucci took that concept plus the beauty, variety and adventure of Costa Rica  combined into a 7-part (7 stories) about the 7 Provinces of Costa Rica through a day in the life of a child in each of these very different provinces. Magnificent! The photography, the kids, the country, the real life growing up experiences, the cultures and the color.

If you live in Costa Rica, this is a must-see movie! And if not, well watch the arts theaters, specialty TV, or maybe on DVD someday soon. Of course it is in español, but the stories speak a universal language making the words almost unnecessary!

¡Pura Vida!

Oxcart Parade 2018 Atenas

Rural Families is always the focus of Atenas’ Annual Oxcart Parade, last Weekend of April.
 Atenas, Costa Rica
Here a teen is the “Boyero” (Oxen Master) with sis in cart and Mom & Dad Walking behind
Atenas, Costa Rica

One of the many colorful Oxcart Wheels
Oxcart Parade, Atenas, Costa Rica

A few Oxen are entered into the contest without carts, some by older children or teens
I guess it is like FFA in the States or other programs to help budding farmers.
Atenas, Costa Rica
Last year our local University provided Latin Dancers – This year a team of ropers!
Oxcart Parade, Atenas, Costa Rica

The university campus on the edge of Atenas is one of the many UTN (Universidad Técnica Nacional), this one focusing on farming with students coming from all over Latin America as possibly the best agricultural school in Latin America or at least the best in Central America. They are good about participating in major local events like this – good neighbors! Good citizens! We like our student farmers at UTN!

Though I’ve seen them before, I always enjoy! They’re good!
Oxcart Parade, Atenas, Costa Rica
PEOPLE! You will have to go to my online gallery to see my interesting people shots.
And there are always some very interesting and colorful people! 
Oxcart Parade, Atenas, Costa Rica

I know that I still post too many photos for a blog, but I have so many more interesting photos I want to share, thus it has to be on the photo gallery: 2018 Oxcart ParadeI’m working on it now and will try to finish today or tomorrow. Takes time!

This gallery is a part of my section called PEOPLE & FIESTAS. And of course there are other sections like BIRDS and TRIPS that pretty much document my 3 1/2 years in Costa Rica thus far and you can see them all at my SmugMug Gallery titled: Charlie Doggett’s COSTA RICA.

Enjoy photos of my 
¡Pura Vida!

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!