It is finished and is the best summary of my most recent trip which you can thumb through electronically for free in my bookstore or click the cover image below:
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!
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!” 🙂
About 30 of us expat retirees in Atenas went north of here by charter bus to San Ramon (hour drive) where we were fed and entertained by a group of expat retirees in San Ramon. We had a very interesting experience of a 14th Century Madrigal Christmas Banquet with all our hosts in period costumes and a wide variety of entertainment with the excellent meal! There was chamber music while we ate plus afterwards period ceremony, stories, singing by our hosts and group singing of Christmas Carols (in English & Spanish!) by all making it a very special Christmas Dinner. THANKS TO THE EXPATS OF SAN RAMON! And to Tony & Rose Mary for putting it together! Gracias! 🙂
Madrigal Dinner Slideshow
Or to see each of the photos individually and larger, go to my 2018 Madrigal Banquet Photo Gallery where you can also download photos if you wish.
I rarely go at night, but did one night this week and saw their big tree which is mostly lights, plus lights on everything else including the manger scene, which is a little much for me. Oh well, Christmas is really BIG here! I mean really big! Gobs of celebrations and fiestas and music and church services and most get a whole week off from work and all employers are required by law to give a Christmas Bonus (for me to a maid and gardeners). Then everything is closed Christmas week and people travel, for some, their only vacation. Cultures are so interesting! Everywhere! 🙂 I’ll post a schedule of public celebrations tomorrow.
Christmas is a really big deal here in Costa Rica! And the week between Christmas is like a week-long holiday with most businesses closed and many Ticos on vacation at the beach. ¡Feliz Navidad!
Feliz Navidad de Supermercado La Coope
Income Idea for My Fellow-Retirees
Someone just wrote me asking that I share this link with you in case you are interested in renting out a room in your house while at home or renting out your whole house while traveling or otherwise away, using AirbNB. It might be a good idea for you wherever you live as tourists visit all parts of the world now. (NOTE that I am not doing this nor recommending it.) Here’s how:
Earlier I showed a photo of one side that was being painted as a mural, but had no idea it would become like this and it appears to be nearly finished. Click an image to see it larger and/or start a manual slide show:
Atenas is a small rural town where people expect to park on the street, but as it has grown and gained a lot of rich foreigners with multiple cars, parking lots are becoming necessary, though people everywhere are slow to adapt. This colorful place to park should help those not wanting to change and pay to park. It is colorful like our beautiful little town. See also the “old town” in the video below in the right column, titled “Atenas: Best Weather in the World.” A cool place to live!
This street I cross almost every day in Atenas ended at one street and across the vacant lots you could see it continued on the other side of that block. I wondered why they didn’t just continue the street or connect the two ends. Then one day more than a year ago they started.
First they graded the land on either side of the creek running down the middle of the block. Then they brought in a bunch of huge concrete culverts, placing two rows of them down the stream. Then covered those with gravel and dirt and more on top of everything until they finally black-topped a street where there was none. I figured they were finished.
No, they then added sidewalks on both sides of the street which is unheard of in Atenas. Still not enough! They built these beautiful stone walls above where the culverts were placed to make it look like a bridge. Finally (I think), they added ornaments, a 150th Anniversary Logo and a Municipal Council sign on the stone walls and someone else painted a mural on the wall protecting a house with a little sign saying “The Monkey Space.” I looked it up and found their Facebook Page as a gathering place for young adults wanting to volunteer in the community. Totally cool and another wonderful little spot in Atenas! What a cool town I live in!
Photos of New Street & Bridge
Click images below to enlarge or start a manual slideshow:
The other day I came across this youth group painting an environmental message on the sidewalk at one of the busiest corners in Atenas Central in front of a furniture store, across the street from Mercado Central and across another street from our University Extension campus.
They are painting messages on several well-traveled sidewalk corners in town too create ecological awareness (conciencias de ecologica) or awareness of global warming (conciencias de calentamiento global) for the people of Atenas. The youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow and their actions speak well for our future.
Atenas Youth Create Ecological Awareness
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
People from around the world study ecology at Costa Rica’s Earth University people who are changing the world for good (link is to English Language site)
Also a visitor’s English-Language Report on Costa Rica’s Earth University
Go as a Giant Costa Rica Avocado!
Image copied from Peter Parson’s Post on Atenas Costa Rica Info. Who says a costume has to be scary? (Though some health nuts might say this is.) But we have fun in Costa Rica! 🙂
10 Tips on How to Thrive as an Expat in Costa Rica (In case you are thinking about it? From the Yeatman’s at “Retire for Less in Costa Rica” website/blog)
The copyright laws are probably broken against Disney more than anyone here. They freely advertise with Disney costumes like this, Disney characters painted on signs, in store windows, etc. One sign painter even advertised that he did “Disney-like Signs.” 🙂
This Mickey Mouse was walking around Central Park Alajuela the other day talking to people in Spanish about something – but I doubt it was about Disney World or a Disney movie!