Central Park Atenas

Yesterday I walked to town on a couple of errands, getting another butterfly at 3rd & 8th Ave garden enroute – accomplished my errands – heard some music and then saw the dancers in Central Park, dancing to the music of our town’s “Old Men” Marimba Band. It is almost like Covid is gone (though still giving booster shots) and a somewhat normality in this peaceful little coffee farming town. A few individuals still wear a mask, but generally none.

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Tricolored Sunrise

This morning it went from blue & yellow to gray & pink and then to a bright orange & yellow! All while talking to a new friend from North Carolina who is thinking about retirement in Costa Rica. 🙂 Nice morning!

Wednesday Sunrise, Hotel Banana Azul, Puerto Viejo, Limón
Wednesday Sunrise, Hotel Banana Azul, Puerto Viejo, Limón
Wednesday Sunrise, Hotel Banana Azul, Puerto Viejo, Limón

¡Pura Vida!

And my gallery: VISTAS, BEACHES, SUNRISES, SUNSETS Costa Rica

Yesterday’s Parade

Yesterday, 15 September, was Costa Rica’s Independence Day Celebration nation-wide including here in Atenas. I worked into the night processing my many photos and selecting choice ones for my photo gallery titled in Spanish this time :

2022 Desfile del Día de la Independencia, Atenas

Here’s my favorite portrait of one of the two UTN Cowboys on horses followed by just 2 photos from each of the 8 sub-galleries in the above gallery (including one with the above guy’s horse) . . .

See his horse in one of the following photos!
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Xandari Flowers – Works of Art

Over the years here my favorite flower gardens have been the ones at Xandari because of (1) the large variety of species, (2) their placement in forest settings with architecture that is colorful and complimentary to flowers and (3) the additional wild flowers you can find on the forest trails. Earlier this year I found their match on variety of flowers at Guayabo Lodge near Turrialba, Cartago, though not arranged or laid out in as beautiful a surroundings as Xandari. And for some reason, this year Xandari seemed to have fewer flowers, especially in that front garden trail along the entry road, but certainly enough for me to make a lot of “flower art!” 🙂

One photo for the email announcement and then a gallery of some of my favorites from this short two-night stay at Xandari Costa Rica. Enjoy . . .

Flowers are works of ART at Xandari Costa Rica!
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Irritating Noise = Back to Normal!

With the fading of Covid and mask-wearing in Atenas comes the welcome sounds of the old “life as normal” with concerts and fiestas in the park and our first parade in more than 2 years scheduled for next week, 14 & 15 September, to celebrate Independence Day which is 15 September. Usually there is the parade of lanterns made by elementary school children on the night of 14th and then the big parade with all the bands + mid-day on the 15th. We will see, but you know something will happen because from the side of my hill I can hear three different schools practicing their drumming daily, which they always do a couple of weeks before a parade! 🙂 I’m still searching for a schedule of events and may have to go by the city hall for that. 🙂 Here’s some photos of previous years bands drumming before Covid . . . a single shot, then a gallery . . .

Youth Drumming in Atenas, Costa Rica
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Forced Respite From Blogging

Well, it was just two nights away, one of my shortest overnight trips yet in Costa Rica, and I was planning on a blog post each night. But first it was Google Chrome, then MS Edge and finally Firefox browser that all refused to let me into my own website to post (and one other site) saying I was on an “unsafe connection (hotel Wifi) and that someone at my own website might steal by personal information including credit card numbers.” 🙂 Grrrrrrrrr.

So I just took a respite from the blog. No big deal. And here are the photos I was going to post that first night there (Wednesday) simply showing my room. The large rooms, or really spacious villas, plus the overall architecture is the highlight of Xandari Costa Rica for most guests, that and also the original art and statuary in every room and in the gardens. Then the first class restaurant and for nature lovers like me, a protected rainforest with 5 waterfalls and beautiful gardens around the buildings plus for other people, 3 pools and a Spa! It was a good respite and even though fewer birds this time (fewer all over Central Valley because of the strange weather this year), I photographed 5 or 6 birds plus more that 25 species (still counting) of butterflies with about 6 new or first-time seen species for me! Here’s one photo of one of the butterflies for the email version of the post, followed by a gallery of 6 shots from my room . . .

Orange-striped White by my terrace.
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Mystical Flower Reappears in a Kindness

About a week ago I passed by “the flower lady” house where I’ve gotten several new butterflies on her zinnias (now gone) and discovered as I looked through her fence that she had the Red Vein Indian Mallow flower I reported on from Guayabo Lodge in Cartago Province in , my first sighting of this magical lantern-like flower, and my favorite new discovery at Guayabo. I phone-snapped the above two shots at the flower lady house.

Then 3 days ago I was walking back to town with my neighbor Steve, and as he is a gardener I wanted him to see this flower. I was pointing to one of her only 5 or 6 blooms when her husband snapped out something he thought was funny in Spanish that I didn’t understand and she just walked over to the shrub, picked the flower I had pointed to and came over handing it to me. I felt terrible that she picked one of her few blooms but it was the common Costa Rican courtesy to do that because I praised her flower. I walked home carrying it gently and decided it best to just float in a bowl of water since it is a hang-down lantern-type flower. Another of the many cultural surprises I’ve had here. 🙂

It is prettier on the shrub, but here it is floating in water on my kitchen counter!

Since my Crown of Thorns pot plant on the patio died, I’m going to see if Cristian & Alfredo, my gardeners, can get me this Abutilon striatum, Red Vein Indian Mallow, “Chinese Lantern” or in Spanish: Abutilon pictum, “farolito japonés” (Japanese Lantern) as a new pot plant on my terrace. Always something new to look forward to. 🙂

It originated in South America, Brazil and other countries and has adapted to tropical climates all around the world including Costa Rica and India (thus the English common name). It is an edible flower both raw and cooked and is said to be both sweet and astringent, whatever that means. 🙂

¡Pura Vida!

Playa Cativo Photo Gallery

It’s finally completed! And now I can focus on more photos here in Atenas and my garden, though I might still blog some more from Cativo that I haven’t shared yet 🙂 since probably few of you will actually go to this trip gallery linked below. 🙂

This was a better than usual trip and rainforest lodge, though maybe not in my #1 choice yet 🙂 — it’s so hard to compare nature lodges when all of them are so good and each have their own unique things that the others do not! 🙂 If you want to learn more about this lodge, check out their website with this link: Playa Cativo Lodge, Golfo Dulce, Costa Rica. And note that the night-shot of a cabin at the top of their first page is of the cabin I stayed in for a week. 🙂 One of my best cabins ever, anywhere!

This was the third of the 3 “new” lodges I tried this year and was definitely the best cabin of the three and possibly the best overall experience than those at Chachagua or Guayabo, my other two “first time” lodges this year, both of which I loved and enjoyed very much! And I would consider returning to all three! The Cativo food was gourmet like Chachagua’s and the girl guide I had, Alejandra, was one of the best I’ve had anywhere plus the dining room staff gave me one of my best birthday celebrations yet in Costa Rica when I turned 82 there! So, overall a very good experience! 🙂 But I recommend both of the other new lodges also plus my only new lodge of 2021, Bosque del Cabo near Puerto Jimenez, which rivaled this lodge in many ways though I was still to weak from cancer treatment to fully enjoy it.

To see my Playa Cativo Trip Gallery, click that linked title or the image of the first page below. Photos tell a lot about a place if you are considering a visit there! 🙂 And remember that you must travel to either Golfito or Puerto Jimenez and then the hotel arranges a taxi from airport to dock for a boat ride to the lodge. Or if you drive a car, like my Tico doctor friend did, they will suggest where to park it safely before your boat ride to the lodge.

¡Pura Vida!

Trips like this are one thing that make my simple retirement a constant adventure along with the wonderful people and tranquility of the little coffee farming town I live in between these trips. I own no car or house, living happily in a rental house and walking or using public transportation, including for these trips.

You can virtually experience all my trips and tranquil home life through this blog “Retired in Costa Rica” and/or the past trips in my Costa Rica TRIPS Gallery which of course has a sub-gallery for each of the 96 trips I’ve made to every corner of Costa Rica plus 2 to Nicaragua and 1 to Panama since moving here in 2014. This number of trips does include several day-trips but mostly multi-nights lodge trips which are the best of course! And for me, 6 nights somewhere is needed to both relax and experience everything! 🙂

¡Pura Vida!