“New” Chairs

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.  🙂

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Sometimes when you are “quarantined at home” the little things make a big difference!   🙂   Social distancing from my house in tropical Costa Rica . . .

I enjoy the small things.

~Michael Buble

🙂

¡Pura Vida!

See also the photo galleries of my house:

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!

Indigenous woman?

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.” 

~Francis Bacon

¡Pura Vida!

 

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

🙂

My Spanish Classes

My mornings are spent at Tico Lingo Language School where I am not up to speed with the classroom of students in their 20’s for 4 hours a day so they placed me with a private tutor for 3 hours a day which of course is better for me. The featured photo is of my Professora Ana. Below are more photos of the house converted into a school and where I spend my mornings this week. It is a trial week for me to see if this kind of immersion language study will work for me. If so I will continue more later.

At Tico Lingo

 

Art in the School

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They are all tourist souvenir art work, and yes, if it were me I would stretch those fabrics tight and mount them level, but that is not my job! And the high school and college kids who are most of their customers couldn’t care less!   🙂

Today after class I went to lunch at a different Soda for another Casado with one of the 20-somethings in the other class (to where he wanted to go) and he treated me! He acted amazed that an 80 year old was doing this. So? He ate fast and took an Uber to see his Costa Rican girlfriend called a “Novia” here. I walked around downtown again today and stopped for an ice cream cone, then walked back to my student boarding house where I make this post!   🙂   Tomorrow is a bigger treat as I go to Toucan Rescue Ranch in the afternoon.

And of course I have a “Trip Gallery” of photos from this week, titled:

2020 February 22-28 — Heredia for Spanish Immersion

 

¡Pura Vida!

FYI:     Costa Rica Is The Second Best Destination In The World For Foreign Investment In Tourism

 

Tico Casa & Heredia Central

I had a great dinner last night with Vera and Daniela off and on with others out – it was arroz con pollo or chicken and rice with a typical Tico breakfast this morning of Gallo Pinto or beans and rice with egg and coffee and bread and a big plate of fruta and glass of juice! I ate breakfast with Jose, I neat young guy from a little village an 8 hour bus ride south of here near the Panama border. He works for a robotics company and goes to the university in night school for more robotics skills. Lots of different things are manufactured here in Costa Rica and there are some really sharp young people here!

If there is any downside of a boarding house it is sharing the bathroom with many other people. No wait for my shower this morning, but after breakfast before leaving for school I could not brush my teeth because it was occupied. It is all part of “being family” or sharing which is ultimately a joy!   🙂

I had a good morning at school today followed by a tour of downtown Heredia with lunch at the Central Mercado, a typical lunch plate called a “casado” which is your choice of meat and an assortment of vegetables, rice and salad served for lunch everywhere in Costa Rica, like what Mamma would serve you at home. The word “casado” literally means “married” and implies that if you are married this is what your wife will serve you for lunch.  🙂  I will report on the school tomorrow and Wednesday I’m going to the Toucan Rescue Ranch for another interesting experience. Never a dull moment! Even when learning!

Casa de Garcia

A 4-bedroom Boarding House Apartment

 

Heredia Central

CLICK AN IMAGE TO ENLARGE

And of course I have a “Trip Gallery” of photos from this week, titled:

2020 February 22-28 — Heredia for Spanish Immersion

¡Pura Vida!

Artistic Bike Rack?

I was in Alajuela briefly this morning and noticed something I hadn’t before, what now appears to be an older, broken Bike Rack in front of Banco Nacional. And maybe the curving red pipes spelled something with the middle letter(s) now missing? It reminded me of the art contest we had many years ago in Nashville for artistic bike racks like this that were placed all over town and I guess with the hope of more people using their bikes to help with climate change. The problem there, like here, is that it is dangerous to ride your bike on public streets the way a few people drive their cars, plus here the streets are too narrow! I really wanted to be a bike-rider when I moved here, but quickly decided it not wise/safe for an old man. Thus I walk!   🙂   And never wanted a car here!  Blue Zone people walk a lot!   🙂

Well, just another image from Alajuela, my provincial capital, across from their Central Park opposite the Cathedral.  (All Banco Nacional buildings here are placed across from every town’s Central Park opposite the central Catholic Church. Hmmmm.  Is that some kind of philosophical statement? Or what?)

For more Alajuela photos, see my Alajuela Photo Gallery. And if you live in Costa Rica — travel, walk, and look a lot! There’s a lot to see!   🙂

¡Pura Vida!

Xandari Scenery

Okay – my last post for Xandari! You may get tired of seeing photos from there, but hopefully they reveal why it is one of my favorite hotels in Costa Rica! I never tire of it and hope to keep going back! And like other great places, the friendliness and helpfulness of the people there is one great reason I may not have mentioned much! And that has nothing to do with my photography library being there – they treat everyone like royalty! I highly recommend Xandari Costa Rica anytime you are here and need a hotel near the airport or better yet for a luxurious nature experience over a longer period of time. You need several days to hike, see, photograph, and do all there is to do in this hotel!

And one of my many reasons for liking it is the beautiful scenery I have grouped here in two categories. As always, click a photo to see it larger and then you can return or take the option to see the photos in that gallery as a manual slide show. Enjoy!

Xandari Vistas

 

 

Xandari Trails & Grounds

And in case you wondered why no flowers here, I did a Xandari Flowers post last week or for those from all my trips there, see the photo gallery Xandari Flowers. 

“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.”     ~Rachel Carson

¡Pura Vida!

Xandari Costa Rica    (hotel website)

For the photo report on my latest and third trip to Xandari see my CR Trips Gallery 2020 Xandari Nature Resort, AlajuelaNOW READY! And includes for the first time my visit to the Starbucks Alsacia Coffee Farm.:

Photo gallery of my latest visit to Xandari Resort

Or if researching Xandari, see photos from my 2 earlier trips in both galleries and in books:

2019 Xandari Birthday Week Celebration:  GALLERY   –or–   BOOK

2018 July Xandari First Visit:   GALLERY   –or–   BOOK

 

My Xandari Villa

My third time to visit one of the most expensive hotels that I like in Costa Rica gives me a third different and bigger room/villa. I rarely show this many photos of a room, but because it is unique, I decided to this time along with the Art in My Villa, yesterday’s post.

This “room”  is called a “King Junior Suite” meaning just one king size bed in multiple rooms or spaces, a large suite or villa. They call all their rooms villas because most are in separate buildings and all are large.

From the lobby and restaurant main building, you walk through the gardens on a beautiful winding, paved path to the entrance of #5 in this case:

Private Entrance Compound

Kitchenette by front Terrace

 

Living Room

 

Valley-View Terrace

 

Bedroom

 

Bathroom

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Shower behind blue wall overlooking private garden. Toilet in separate room behind me.

This exceptional hotel is just 20 minutes from the San Jose Airport, thus a starting and ending location for many international tourists coming here, like the people I visited with this time from England, Germany, France, Canada and the U.S.

Yet they are immersed in a tropical rainforest with hiking trails, 5 waterfalls on the river, wildlife, both wild and cultivated flowers, a small farm for the kitchen, a wonderful Spa and restaurant. Some things are worth paying more for!   🙂   I do this occasionally here while other times I “rough it” in the wilderness to be closer to nature. I like both experiences! And the way Xandari combines both luxury AND nature! Plus now they house the Charlie Doggett Photography Library!   🙂   That alone makes the visit worthwhile!   🙂

Luxury is attention to detail, originality, exclusivity and above all quality.
~Angelo Bonati

¡Pura Vida!

Xandari Costa Rica

Art in My Villa

Yes, the rooms at Xandari are actually villas or little houses, even for one person! My one-bedroom villa was larger this time and as big as my house in Atenas, with smaller kitchen but everything else bigger – but I will share photos of that tomorrow.

Now, here are some cell phone shots of most of the art displayed in my villa. Most date back to another era of art when the original artist-owners, the Broudy’s (now deceased), built the place. It is kind of a mixture of “folk art,” maybe “hippie art,” woodcraft, stained glass, pottery, and some other styles I can’t label – just unique and colorful and thus, along with the immersion in nature, gives this place its own personality.  And remember, this is just the art in my one room out of thirty-something rooms/villas (many bigger)! Plus art in the gardens & restaurant!   🙂   And I realize that a lot of people today will not like this art, but I find it refreshing & creative!   🙂

One Villa’s ART

“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.”

~Thomas Merton

Xandari Costa Rica

¡Pura Vida!

My Photos in an Art Gallery

One reason I was happy that Xandari would house my library of Photo Books is that the entire hotel is an art gallery with art literally everywhere, inside and outside. It was built by an Artist/Architect and his wife an Art Teacher. In another post I will display the art in my villa this time – different every visit!

The above stained glass window is in the reading room of the lobby and my photo books are on a book shelf at the entrance to that reading room. In earlier Tennessee days I tried to sell photos at art fairs calling them “Nature as Art” which fits this arty nature retreat very well. I’m happy to be a part of Xandari!

 

Today was my very full day with an early morning birding hike with excellent guide Jose and a lovely couple from England, followed by breakfast and a tour of the only Starbucks-owned coffee farm in the world which I will tell you more about later, then an afternoon late lunch, relaxation massage, a desert at dinner time and I’m ready for bed! With lots of photos to process tomorrow, my last full day here.

¡Pura Vida!

Xandari 2018-Enchanted by Nature
Just one of 29 books in the library!
Brilliant Book cover
And the other one about Xandari!  Plus all of my other Costa Rica photo books!

To see all of my Costa Rica Photo books, go to My Bookstore at Blurb where you can preview any of the books for free electronically! Best if viewed in full screen mode of course!   🙂