I have been reporting on the very slow progress the city of Atenas is making on the renovation of our Central Park, but have not mentioned they are working a little faster on an improvement of two areas of the Sports Park in front of Escuela Central (the elementary school). They are installing roofs over the child-sized football (soccer) field AND over the adult-sized basketball court. I guess these shields from both sun and rain will help both sports to be used more by both school and the community at large.
“Do you know what my favorite part of the game is? The opportunity to play.” -Mike Singletary
Monday I returned to my dentist to see if the infection was gone so they can finish my root canal, stuffing it with something they get from a tropical tree. Unfortunately it still had infection though improved a lot and not painful, but I need more antibiotics and time. I wait 2 more weeks for it to be completed. Patience!
And when I arrived I witnessed this new sign (feature photo) taped to the front door that they now accept only emergencies, but they assured me that my infection is included in what the government accepts as “emergencies.” So I do get to go back in 2 weeks for what I hope is the last time! 🙂
Everything is different now with Coronavirus! The whole world is in a state of change!
They must often change, who would be constant in happiness or wisdom.
And if the virus caused you to cancel your Costa Rica vacation, try this very short 1 minute “Virtual Vacation” video clip. ¡Pura vida!
I got usable photos of 19 species of birds from my little one-hour walk yesterday morning, 6-7 AM, in the neighborhood on Calle Nueva, the little country gravel/dirt road that separates Roca Verde neighborhood from the adjacent farmland. Nineteen is not bad and as good as some longer walks I take when at expensive birding lodges! 🙂 PLUS, if my identifications are correct, I got 3 new species, “lifers,” for me, though I may get corrected by an eBird expert reviewer after I post them on eBird. 🙂 The new ones are Giant Cowbird, Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher and a Yellow-green Vireo.
This road and my own street uphill above my house always yield a lot of birds early in the morning. And I have another neighborhood further away that I intend to try for even different birds, a place my birding friend Margaret found to be good.
Saturday AM Birds
Tropical Mockingbird Juvenile
“Every bird, every tree, every flower reminds me what a blessing and privilege it is just to be alive.”
― Marty Rubin
Like Costa Rica’s emblematic Sloth, the people here are always smiling and prepared for come what may – even Coronavirus! Feature photois by the Sloth Rescue Ranch, not me, and from Tico Times. Read on to see how better prepared little Costa Rica is than the big ol’ USA and thus we will get over it quicker too! 🙂
Thursday’s Tico Timesedition reminded us of how better prepared we are than a lot of bigger countries for the pandemic, like our great university is already making emergency respirators for when/if needed at only $140 each! (You think the U.S. would ever do that?) People are ready to sacrifice financially for the 25 days we are closed to all outside tourists (and it will be much longer before tourism is back to normal–like by next winter we hope). Here are the specific articles this week in Tico Times about the pandemic’s affects on Costa Rica:
Well . . . that is sort of what it looked like this morning on my return home from birding on Calle Nueva (our nearby country lane). Birding was great but I still don’t have all the wild bird photos processed, so here’s the domesticated ones I saw! 🙂
Okay . . . not really new, but like new to me as my 5 year old rockers on the terrace had become faded by the sun to nearly white in color and the old cushions were dirty, ugly and too small. I threw the old cushions away and hired one of my very skilled gardeners to sand (even in the little grooves of the carvings) and re-varnish the two chairs on his own time (he had earlier painted 3 of my flower pots much to my satisfaction). I am very pleased with his work on these two matching chairs and their “new” look now. 🙂
Sometimes when you are “quarantined at home” the little things make a big difference! 🙂 Social distancing from my house in tropical Costa Rica . . .
P.S. I’m writing posts 2 or 3 days ahead now, but decided last night to add this postscript note that I hope to get up at 5:30 this morning and go walking for birds again on Calle Nueva, so look for that birds post in 2 or 3 days! A friend walked it yesterday morning and saw a parrot and a trogon. Hope I’m as lucky! 🙂 I am so blessed! Retired in Costa Rica!
Though we have fewer cases of the Coronavirus here in Costa Rica, our government has done a better job than many countries of educating people and keeping the number of cases low and thus as an “older person” I am staying in my house now (as recommended) except for these limited people contacts:
Supermarket – And I finally wised up to going when they are not crowded, like early morning.
Bank to pay 2 monthly bills and get cash at ATM (avoid Monday, Friday, & 1st)
Maid comes once a week and we keep our distance
Neighbor delivered Carrot Cake to several of us live-alone singles 🙂
And what keeps me from having “cabin fever” or boredom staying at home all the time? Well, that is easy to answer! I keep doing what I’ve always done since I retired in Costa Rica (minus the travel now):
What I Do Without Other People
(1) Birding that I can still do early mornings right here in my own neighborhood or even walk to other parts of Atenas away from the crowds solo as I prefer anyway.
(2) Blogging started becoming a regular thing for me back in 2014 before I even moved here as I focused then on the decision-making of such a move and now it is my replacement of many failed attempts at journaling, plus I actually have regular followers now and enjoy helping others who are considering retiring in Costa Rica, plus it is still a report to family and friends back in the states who want to keep up. Its a fun and creative outlet! 🙂
(3) Life History Recording (very slowly in the background) as it becomes much of the undated portion of my blog/website, the way WordPress blogs/websites have been organized from the beginning (dated blog & undated “static” pages). And in some ways a part of this history is my . . .
(4) Photo Gallery which was originally going to be pages of this WordPress website, but because of the future potential problem of using too much memory and slowing down access, and me not liking their gallery templates that well, I chose to use a photo gallery specialist at a separate address with a link from my site menu where I can put the full-size photo files (WP wants me to “web-size” photos). Though it is only a click away from my website/blog Home Page, it is actually located on a different server where I have a plan with unlimited space, thus putting all of my important photos, both historical and current on it. And I’m still working on the historical part! 🙂 Hey! I have thousands of photos made just since 2000 and still picking through them for the best to put in the gallery. And oh yes, I chose SmugMug.com as the best looking and easiest to use of the many options today! (Having tried Flickr & Pbase.) And from my gallery you can even order prints or wall art of any of my photos! 🙂
(5) Spanish Lessons Online now! No people contact there! 🙂
(6) The heaviest people contact I’ve had in the past was in almost monthly trips to lodges all over Costa Rica. I postponed two trips, one next week to San Gerardo de Dota and my May trip to San Isidro del General, which had included going on public bus (not healthy now). After that I’ve planned a July birthday trip to Manquenque Lodge in a tree house room as I turn 80 and things will have to get pretty bad for me to miss that! 🙂 I’m using my personal driver to get there and its in “the middle of nowhere” jungles where there should not be any virus. But I wait and see! 🙂
“At this point, it is believed many of the world has come in contact with the virus. And for that reason, we all have to experience social distancing and self-quarantine at various levels.”
RAIN — RAIN — a real rain with a lot of water yesterday afternoon, not the little sprinkle we had on the 24th. This is good news! The gardens and trees will love it and maybe the rainy season is starting early this year – we will see. But at least I don’t have to water for a few days now! 🙂
I still find it hard to show rain in a photo, so I won’t share my effort. But this is a big deal because there has been no rain since early December and we sometimes have to wait until May! I am not living in a rainforest, even though nearby. The Central Valley is in between the cool/wet cloud forests and the hot/wet/humid rainforests, thus our claim of “the best weather in the world” needing no a/c or heat ever here! But we do have rainy and dry seasons and it is still considered “tropical.” 🙂
“El gorjeo” or “tweeting” or “chirping” is what many of the birds are doing every morning now and earlier than usual, before sunrise! But none of the birds are singing as much as the Clay-colored Thrush or Yigüirro it is called here (feature photo), the National Bird of Costa Rica. Yigüirros have started their pre-rain singing earlier this year, which is usually in April. This chirping is why it is the National Bird with tradition saying they are calling in the May rains or the “green season” as it is called by many here. Hopefully this earlier singing means the rains will come earlier! Listen to a recording of song 🙂 And soon the wind stops blowing which is almost constantly now. I AM READY FOR GREEN SEASON! 🙂
In one sense it is a little like “Spring” in the north, but maybe a backwards spring as we move from hot-dry-windy to daily rains, cooler temps, greenness & more flowers. It is a tropical paradise that most tourists miss because they want to avoid rain. 🙂 But most of us who live here prefer it to the “dry season.”
“Don’t let the rainy season deter your visions of outdoor adventures! This is Costa Rica’s most beautiful time of the year, when every landscape explodes in vibrant colors, with blooming flowers and blossoming fruit trees, not to mention cooler temperatures.” ~costarica.com
Friday I went to Alajuela early for my appointment at the government hospital to get an appointment scheduled with my Cardiologist in Nov-Dec for my annual checkup (yeah, its weird to have an appointment to get an appointment), plus I had a package to pick up at Aeropost and a couple of items to get at PriceSmart.
Wow! I had not been to Alajuela since the Coronavirus scare hit and it has nearly as many cases as San Jose as the second largest city (and my provincial capital by the way). EVERYTHING WAS DIFFERENT!
1st, to get to the hospital early enough for shorter lines, I took the 6:30 AM bus, which is usually packed with people going to work, shopping, appointments, visits, etc. There were just 5 of us passengers on the bus – scattered out one to a seat. And at the entrance to bus was a bottle of hand sanitizer.
2nd, as the bus arrived in Alajuela I could immediately see a difference with fewer cars and people – some streets like a ghost town!
3rd, no wait for a taxi with few people there to use them.
4th, when I got to the hospital, there were few people out front as I was expecting by now, but I wasn’t expecting to be turned away! When I got to the door a guard was stopping everyone and I showed him my cita(appointment paper) and he rattled off several things rapidly that I did not fully understand but I think he was basically telling me “no” that “all appointments not emergencies are canceled.” Bottom line, he would not let me in! 🙂
I got there early on purpose to avoid a long wait, yet I still expected to spend an hour or more. But I spent only 5 minutes there and it was now about 7:20 AM, with Aeropost not opening until 9 and PriceSmart at 9:30. Ugh! Oh well, I drank no coffee at home that morning and had only a bowl of cold cereal, so I took my time walking about 8 blocks to the nearest McDonald’s for breakfast.
5th, I entered the biggest MacDonald’s in Central Alajuela with only one other customer inside! Like the bus, they had hand sanitizer at the counters. I took my time with ham & eggs and lots of coffee while reading the Washington Post. At about 8:30 I began the 6 block walk to Aeropost, getting there 10 minutes before they opened officially.
6th, at Aeropost I only waited a few minutes before one of the clerks, who recognized me through the glass (I’m a regular), came out with my little package, so I did not even have to be one of their limit of 3 customers inside the store – see sign below. And the bright red & green sign reflected backwards in their window is a MegaSuperMercado, a downtown chain-supermarket across the street! The English translation of their home-made sign: “Maximum 3 customers within the branch.” In what they call a “branch office.” That is also the feature photo and the recommended “Social Distancing” to help stop the spread of the virus. Costa Rica is doing its part one little business at a time! 🙂
7th, Because of the time I saved from the hospital rejection, I had about 30 minutes before PriceSmart even opened, so I just walked the 12 or so blocks to PriceSmart which opens at 9:30. This is one way I get my exercise! 🙂 And in so doing, I walked by Alajuela Central Park which, like the one in Atenas, is closed with yellow tape wrapped all around the whole block:
8th, at the entrance to PriceSmart (our store like Costco or Sam’s Club) they not only had a bottle of hand sanitizer, but specifically asked me to please use it while the lady wiped off the handle of my push cart. But unlike everywhere else I had been that morning, they were full of people and at opening time! Full with long check-out lines! And still some crazy bulk-buying by the panicked!
I actually don’t like this store which is too expensive, too large a quantity of things, and not consistent in their stocking; BUT they usually have about 5 or so items I cannot get anywhere else – things I really like. (Another option might be at AutoMercado, an American-styled supermarket specializing in American brands, but their location is not as handy for me as PriceSmart, as a bus rider.)
When I got out of PriceSmart it was a little after 10, meaning I had just missed the 10 o’clock bus! In the mornings the return buses only run on the hour (tho every 30 minutes in the afternoon), so I just slowly walked the 6 blocks to the bus stop for Atenas and still had time to read a little of my new mystery book before it left at 11. Oh well, another morning is gone! But hey! I’m Retired in Costa Ricaand this kind of virus-influenced inconvenience is simply part of my daily adventure! Its what you do when you are retired in Costa Rica! 🙂
“An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered.”
― G.K. Chesterton
Maybe – or maybe not – just art that my second dentist (Ureña) likes or maybe a relative made. He has these in his lobby and 3 appear to be the same indigenous woman from behind but in different clothing and accessories. Whatever the story behind them, my first impression was good and I snapped photos with my phone. The other appears to be an early migrant from the Caribbean Islands to the Caribbean (Atlantic) Coast of Costa Rica, where most of the Afro-Costa Ricans live and have roots in Jamaica or other Caribbean Islands, originally brought here by Spaniards to work their banana and other farms. We have the largest Jamaican population outside of Jamaica. 🙂 Anyway, I think it is good art and I enjoy art!
“The job of the artist is always to deepen the mystery.”
And a local sense of humor at Tico Times Digital Newspaper:
Since all the people are staying at home, the native animals are reclaiming our Costa Rica parks, even Jurassic Park! 🙂 Or is that the lake in downtown San Jose’s Sabana Park?
Native animals return to Costa Rica as coronavirus forces humans indoors The Tico Times – Mar 21, 2020