“A Lifestyle Thing” Returns

NOTE: I still plan on my first report from Chachagua Rainforest tonight, but for morning readers, this lifestyle report 🙂 . . .

Now you could call my bus-riding “cultural” or “simple living” or “green living” etc. But Saturday I road the bus to Alajuela again after almost cutting it out for 2 years because of Covid and the dangers of infection in such close quarters. For example, one of my old bus drivers died of Covid he caught as a driver to and from San Jose from Atenas.

But during this past Saturday’s bus trip I felt all the tension and stress caused by the fraudulent use of my debit card just disappeared and I vowed then that I would do this regularly again now. Covid is waning here and I’m feeling safer with all travel now, though I still consider my hidden jungle lodges safer than the cities! 🙂

Fountain in Central Park Alajuela.

First you must know that I have not owned a car since 2014 when I moved to Costa Rica and even though I rented cars a few times during my first 2 years here just for trips outside of Atenas, I soon discovered the joy of walking and taking buses and taxis and for awhile was taking bus trips all over the country. I now use a private driver for more of my trips (especially with Covid), but the more regular bus trips to Alajuela (and fewer to San Jose) will now continue while still wearing a mask. And as a senior adult, the Alajuela trip is free and to San Jose half price, like the equivalent of 75 to 80¢! 🙂

My Saturday Experience

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Park Sign at Night + Other New Views

Here are more views of the new Central Park Sign including a selfie and what it looks like at night and from behind! 🙂 My earlier reports on the sign did not include the finished product at night or from behind! 🙂

At night your eyes see the color of the art on the letters and thus not as bright as this white in my camera. And that white spot in middle of sun is yellow to your eyes, though still bright! 🙂
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The Park Sign

Sure enough, they finally uncovered the park sign last night at 7 pm in the rain without me! But I heard the fireworks go off right at 7 and knew that was the reason. They love to celebrate anything with fireworks here! 🙂

This morning on my way to my one breakfast out a week I detoured by the park for these 3 shots on my cellphone. I know the sun lights up at night and suspect the letters might, but won’t know until I go by there at night. I was not expecting the “little murals” on the letters since other parks in Costa Rica with their town name spelled out like this use solid colors like Alajuela’s red and Heredia’s also red. Thus Atenas is definitely unique in this way! 🙂

ATENAS murals depicting the coffee farming town.

I may describe the murals in more detail later, but in brief, the A: has our National Boyero Monument (Oxcart statue), T: the main Catholic church on the south side of Central Park, E: with three of several historic buildings, N: what appears to be lifestyle images, A: the historic and famous railroad bridge over Rio Grande and S: is their nod to the farmers with sugarcane, coffee and oxen.

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My Park Disappointment This Morning

I went early at 8:30 for what I understood would be an “unveiling” of the new ATENAS park sign and what they were calling a “dedication ceremony.” Nada! After nearly 2 hours downtown I picked up my photos I had left earlier to be printed across from the park and Sr. Chacón there told me that they would not unveil the ATENAS letters until 7 pm tonight (probably in the rain) and I will not go back! I was there mainly to get a photo of the Atenas sign, so I was disappointed! I walked home with my new photos and will maybe go tomorrow to photograph the sign.

!Then the only programming on the stage for the first two hours was the main Evangelical church here in town performing charismatic music like in a charismatic worship service and a hand full of vendors (more like a flea market) – both also disappointing to me. The stage will have more and different kinds of music throughout the day, which is what the city does with all of these all-day fiestas they sponsor, but after I learned the sign would not be un-covered, I got my photos and walked home. 🙂 I will photograph it tomorrow and post just that photo. 🙂

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Big Unveiling Tomorrow Morning

At 9 am tomorrow (Saturday 30 May 2022) the city is unveiling and “dedicating” the new entrance to Central Park Atenas, even though the renovations are not nearly complete nor will be for some time. They will remove the black plastic from the ATENAS sign and the park workers have been busy trying to get ready! They’ve laid some new grass in that area and have flower there to plant before tomorrow, plus they are taking down that ugly tin construction fence and are re-painting the white skirts around all the trees in the whole park. Plus tents are going up for the typical fiesta day vendors and when I asked at city hall the time of the ceremony (9am) they made sure I knew that there would be live music Saturday night! 🙂 Maybe we really are getting over Covid! Though masks are still required in all public places – even tomorrow! 🙂 And we still have to wash our hands upon entry to all businesses.

Here’s 5 shots made yesterday (Thursday) that indicate they are preparing for tomorrow!

The focal point sign will be unveiled tomorrow morning.
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Teens in the Park More Now

Though masks are still required in all public places, rebellious teens often shed them after school and are now socializing after school in Central Park. The other day I sat on one of the concrete benches around the modern circular Kiosk and watched some high schoolers getting together around this and other areas of the park. Here’s 3 shots of teens and 1 of a little kid . . . 🙂

High School Students after school in the park! In front of the ugly construction fence.
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A Little More on the Park

Well, with the park employees themselves having to do all the work on the Central Park remodeling, I guess Atenas will just have to resign itself to a multi-years effort that will continue to have slow reveals like this. 🙂

I snapped these two cellphone shots last Friday, 22 April 2022 of the guys working on another sidewalk in the northwest corner and they have another little social circle completed along with places to plant flowers (we all hope)! Maybe when they finish all the sidewalks they will plant flowers and open this corner to reveal what now looks like a multi-colored ATENAS sign. Read about it first on this blog! 🙂 Here’s the 2 images from last Friday , , ,

Making another sidewalk in the northwest corner of Atenas Central Park.
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Cleaner View of Sun Sculpture

A truck and other equipment partially blocked this view from the corner in the other post. This is a cleaner view, even if taken over a construction fence. 🙂

Sun Sculpture seated between the E & N of ATENAS letters under black plastic.

I’m assuming the sun is representative of the city slogan “Mejor Clima del Mundo” which in English is “Best Weather in the World.” 🙂

¡Pura Vida!

See all photos in gallery: Remodeling Central Park Atenas.

Sun Sculpture in the Park!

I think it was the same day I posted the recent park update that they added an electrified SUN sculpture to their concrete structure. I know it is electric because my taxi drove by it on the way home from dinner Saturday night and it was lit up a bright yellow! 🙂 Kind of shocking in a small country town, like a gas station sign downtown! 🙂

I got some daytime photos this morning and I plan to go back tonight to get a night photo before posting this, if still lit behind the construction fence. I hope they don’t cheapen the park with too much “neon” color and lights. I suspect now that the ATENAS letters will be lit up also, in their bright red color. I guess it will add to the party spirit of the many fiestas, concerts, festivals, dances, etc. that will take place in the park after Covid! I just hope the new, very modern park does not eliminate all of the quiet, sophisticated places in nature that it has had. We will see! Maybe a little of both! 🙂 If it helps people interact, then that is good! 🙂 And recently lots of people are using the park as it is while still wearing their masks! There’s always a group of old men talking and after school a lot of both children and teenagers.

Adding “El Sol” or the Sun to Central Park Atenas.

And more photos . . .

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Central Park Entrance Plaza?

In today’s “tiny update” on the renovation of Atenas Central Park, I’m revealing something that I suspected earlier but was not in the architect’s drawings. This northwest corner of the park is the first park sighting visitors will have if they come into Central Atenas from Highway 3, Alajuela or anywhere north of Atenas (thanks to one-way streets) and is thus a good spot to welcome visitors to Central Park at 0 Street and 1st Avenue. Those coming from Highway 27, the beach/San Jose expressway will see the park first on the other side by the central Catholic Church on Central Avenue (0 Avenue) at 1st Street.

In my first photo you see that lines lead from the corner to a concrete structure of steps/seats that could seat a whole tour bus load of tourists for a group photo. On top of that, now covered in black plastic wrap, are six large cutout letters spelling A T E N A S. From my peek on the other side they are a bright red that look like plastic or metal from a distance. And if you look closely in the photo you see that along the top of the concrete structure, carved into it and painted white, is the promotional slogan of Atenas, “El Mejor Clima del Mundo.” or in English: “The Best Weather in the World.”

Incidentally, this corner of park is across the street from the city hall! 🙂 One taxi driver told me it was the fault of the current mayor that the park is progressing so slowly. 🙂 I think it is because of a lack of money and thus all work is being done by city employees, usually just 2 or 3 workers at a time. Covid affected every budget and every activity!

Hopefully there will soon be a lot of landscaping in and around this corner feature! It will certainly be the most photographed corner of the park! 🙂

Entrance Plaza on NW Corner of Atenas Central Park.

Read on for two more photos of the above from behind . . .

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