This past Friday was the 15th of September, Independence Day for Costa Rica, when in 1821 it shed the colonial rule of Spain. In this small but very significant little developing country, patriotism is big and almost everyone wears red, white & blue and many decorate their houses with banners and flags. I wore my national futbol (soccer) shirt, red, white & blue! 🙂
And almost every town of any size has a parade, usually featuring their local schools, and Atenas is no exception! 🙂 I have for several years now been photographing it most years (when not traveling) with galleries for those years included in my super-gallery: PEOPLE, FIESTAS & ARTS Costa Rica. Which of course now includes a gallery for this year’s 2023 Desfile del Día de la Independencia, Atenas. And here is a sample photo from each of the 7 sub-galleries in this year’s parade gallery . . .
The new Central Park Playground has been finished and open for maybe two months and I’m just slow reporting on it. At first I reacted negatively to all the bright colors and what looks like cheap Chinese Plastic, but I think I mis interpreted! It is designed for younger Elementary School and Preschool kids and now I think it is perfect for them! And the artificial turf too! The other day I stopped by one afternoon after many kids would be out of school and it wasn’t raining and there was a lot of activity! It was fun for me to see the creativity of some kids using the space under the tree house or slide and climbing wall to gather as in their “clubhouse.” The hyper little boys had plenty to keep them busy and I noticed for older elementary kids maybe, there was a tic-tac-toe wall with changeable X’s and O’s. Clever! And as expected, the swings were the busiest. I tried not to get any closeup photos of children and their faces for their privacy, staying on the periphery for all photos. Here’s four . . .
And as I expected, it is very modern or contemporary and seems to be geared to preschool and younger primary school kids. My feature shot at top shows a young couple holding up their child to see the installation. Below is a shot of the workers installing the new play things and artificial turf which I guess is better than the gravel base installed earlier. 🙂 I made these shots yesterday and expect it to be several days before it is open for the kids to play on when I will make another cell phone shot of an active playground. 🙂 For new followers of this blog, this one area of the Atenas Central Park is just one of many very slow steps in this small town’s renovating the Central Park here for 3 or 4 years now. You can see all of my Park Renovation photos in the photo gallery: Remodeling Central Park Atenas.
With local activities returning after two years of none because of Covid, Atenas had only the second Tope (= horse show or horse parade). For years the city had stopped it because the horse people had been trashing the town with what was almost a drunken brawl. Well it started again just before Covid and with the pandemic over, is on again. And theirs is unique in that it is at night which supposedly allows for more participation. Well, my evaluation is not very positive. The first two dozen or more horses were ridden by serious horse people with well disciplined horses just before it became dark. Then as if queued by the darkness, hundreds of horses chaotically rode all over the streets, back and forth, with a large percentage of the cowboy wannabes drinking beer and other liquor handed them by people in the audience from their ice chests. There was no order and no particular beauty. I would personally prefer a tope in the daylight with no beer or other alcohol. But I don’t have to go next year and probably will not. I like the Oxcart Parade better anyway! 🙂
That’s one pix for the email announcement and online is a slide show of my poor quality night photos.
The park staff has finished everything for the playground quadrant except installing the new playground equipment which someone who knows says will be here in January. 🙂 Here’s the area of the playground with swings and monkey bars (or whatever) to go on that gravel area seen from two directions in these two photos.
REPORT ON THE RECENT ART SHOW: I sold more than a thousand dollars worth of photos when all was tabulated, much better than I expected! And I was even more pleased with how many local readers of my blog I have, with many showing up at the art show, and buying something and asking for my autograph in one of my photo books! It is nice to have your work appreciated, even when it is a hobby in retirement! 🙂
Last night, Friday, was the first annual Christmas Parade in two years thanks to the Covid Pandemic and the people came out for that and the fiesta in Central Park. I got too many photos to share on the blog, so just a sampling here and then please go to my:
I’ve divided the good photos into 4 sub-galleries which you can go directly to from the link on the 4 pix below representing the sub galleries. First a photo of the church just before dark and the beginning of the light parade, then the sample photos . . .
During the last few days of my walks around Atenas, Alajuela, Costa Rica I have been cellphone-snapping photos of Christmas decorations and the slideshow below this one shot is just a sample of many in homes and businesses. Ticos love Christmas! And it is in our Summer break from schools with graduations the middle of December and new school year starting in February. It’s also the time for family vacations with all the hotels full during Christmas, especially on the beaches. I had to make reservations for my Christmas trip a year ago to get a room at Arenal Observatory. It will be literally full! Tomorrow night (Friday) is our Atenas Christmas Parade and I’ll have photos in a Saturday blog post. A fun and happy time of year here!
One day they were digging a hole where the playground equipment will go and then another adding big rocks. I thought to myself that the rocks were to help with water drainage underneath dirt they will put on top of them. Then another surprise! They put gravel over the rocks which will help even more with the water drainage, but children playing on gravel? Well, it seems to be a very fine gravel which will not hurt the child who falls on it and of course grass could never grow on an active playground! So it is looking good and hopefully my next update will be photos of the playground equipment. I’m expecting something contemporary and hopefully it will not be concrete like everything else built so far! 🙂 Here’s three progressive photos for this report . . .
Well — still slow progress on Central Park remodeling. Yesterday they were finishing up two bench type seating along the sidewalk. These seats will face the playground equipment to be added in that open dirt area. With everything in the park remodeling so far being very modern or contemporary, I can’t wait to see what swings, monkey bars and other playground equipment will look like in a contemporary style! 🙂
These latest benches will be closer to the playground for those parents who feel they must keep a close watch on the smaller children. The circular seating area beyond that will be on the other side of the radial sidewalk running from the central kiosk to the southeast corner of the park. That seating is for parents of older children maybe? Or the one who aren’t “helicopter” parents. 🙂
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.