It continues to slowly progress even if not fast enough for impatient Americans! 🙂 The center circle (reddish steel) will be the actual stage and the big black circle is the covered part including audience covered seating. They have stopped work again this week so the city can have its annual Climate Fair and Oxcart Parade. They are using all of the space including a temporary round stage in the center. I’m not feeling great this week and opted to miss the festivities, so I will have no photos of the temporary use. Here’s also a photo of the safety signs for the workers on the site. Interesting. 🙂
I had a “bad cold” or actually allergies due to the wind still blowing dust. Got that licked with some good medicine and good advice (close windows when wind blows) from my doctor’s young intern whom I really liked. Then I got up the wrong way from sitting and “popped” my lower back and now dealing with lower back pain. Saw my physical therapist who recommends stretching exercises of course! 🙂 So I kind of dropped the blog for a week or so with lower energy than usual. Next trip is 2 weeks away. Resting now! 🙂
On a walk through Central Park Alajuela the other day I was captivated by a series of large pieces of art about familiar stories in different Spanish-speaking countries. I looked up the title of exhibit (en español) online and discovered that it is part of the XIV International Storytellers Festival sponsored by UTN here in Alajuela with storytellers coming from around the world to share stories in Spanish of course! 🙂
The following is the Google translation (not the best translator) of the short article online at this website:
Within the framework of the Senük Meeting, the Headquarters presented on Wednesday, January 30, a storytelling show as part of the XIV International Storytellers’ Festival Alajuela Ciudad Palabra (FICU).
The International Storytellers’ Fair included 130 artistic shows this year with the participation of 7 international guests and more than 60 national artists who performed at venues in the city of Alajuela, San José and Atenas.
The FICU is organized by the Alajuela City Word Association and the Regional Office of Culture of Alajuela, which is part of the Culture Directorate of the Ministry of Culture and Youth.
Precisely, the headquarters of the UTN was included for the first time, to host one night, the presentation of two outstanding storytellers, who made people laugh and amused the audience with their stories and occurrences: Wilmer Oconitrillo (Costa Rica) and Benjamín Briseño (Mexico).
Oconitrillo presented stories of the Costa Rica of yesteryear, interpreting the way of speaking of our grandparents, with the desire to rescue our roots.
For his part, Briseno, delighted the public with legends and stories that are told in the celebration of the Day of the Dead in Mexico.
The Festival Facebook Page has one post about this exhibition of paintings for the festival. I think I photographed all the large paintings about storytelling in different Spanish-speaking countries representing a favorite story in that country, displayed on trees throughout Central Park Alajuela. As always here, a photo in a gallery can be seen larger by clicking it, which is why I’m not doing as a slideshow:
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.
Sometimes the people watching the parade are the most interesting thing seen! 🙂 The family portrait above tells a story, I think! And of course the children are always the most photogenic! This slideshow is my last on this year’s Independence Day Parade. See if you can find the 4 people with eyes glued to their device screens (2 are above). Cell phones dominate people around the world! 🙂
And next year I’m adding a new parade by going to the Caribe during Carnival! I’ll photograph the smaller one in Puerto Viejo and not the big one in Limon where I’ve heard it can be dangerous. I don’t want to lose my cameras again! (I was at the Puntarenas Carnival Parade my first year here when my camera bag was snatched from a sidewalk cafe.) But anyway, more parades coming!
¡Larga vida a Costa Rica!
Slideshow: Independence Day Parade Atenas – Audience
It is the one patriotic parade of the year so of course it has to have lots of flags! From the primary school through high schools are flags here and though no good pix, there were some with adults representing the Fire Department and Red Cross. Here’s a few of the students with flags in a short slideshow:
The above photo is of the sign on the City Hall building (municipalidad). I was recovering from surgery and did not participate in the 5-day long weekend (Friday-Tuesday) celebrating the 150th Anniversary of Canton (County) Atenaswith the Pueblo (town) of Atenas the same age. Central Park was full of tents with food, crafts and venders plus a stage to present music groups several times each day with even the American retiree’s oldies band “Flashback” performing one afternoon. And for awhile there was a sign with pictures of the plans for a remodeled Central Park. I didn’t get a pix.
On the final day a government program made the birthday official and on this auspicious birthday they presented their plans for a Remodeled Central Park that I have already presented in an earlier post where I referred you to the official Facebook presentationwith 18 drawings and photos. They say it will be done this year, the anniversary year, but it is August and no work has started yet. Of course it rains every day now, so if they wait until dry season, it will be started in December! 🙂 And thus may be completed in 2019. Maybe! It is being done by government officials remember! ¡Pura Vida! 🙂
Your have heard me brag about the tranquility and great weather of my little farming town of Atenas – and the “muy amable” or very kind people here. But one thing that many hyper and efficient Americans don’t always realize when they move to such an easy-going society, is that to be that way means everything andeverybody moves slower here! No rush! ¡Pura vida! To not adapt to this slower way means you will not be happy here. Always frustrated at the inefficiencies!
My example of this today is my efforts since Monday to pay my surgeon for the work he did. (No pressure from him.) I made arrangements in advance with my Credit Union in Nashville to move the needed money from Savings to Checking so I could easily pay with my debit card. Hospital payment was quick and easy as I had planned, but the doc requested to be paid separately. Okay.
The doctor comes in my room with his little portable credit card machine, saying he doesn’t like to wait for the hospital to reimburse him if I pay through them (the most efficient way), saying they sometimes take a full month to forward the money to him. Okay. He tries repeatedly and his machine doesn’t work or at least he blames it on the machine and not my card which had just worked for the hospital. He leaves and returns in a little while with a bigger machine he plugged into the wall (still dependent on hospital WiFi). And it did not work. He then says we will take care of it when I see him at his office later this week (Wednesday). It still did not work there. He then gives me his account number at Banco Nacional and asks that I just transfer the money to his account from my account – but that account (my SS check auto-deposit) is just for housing costs, so I still have to get the money from Nashville.
Thus Wednesday afternoon I go to the bank with my CU debit card and ask them to get the needed money from it and put into my local account so I can transfer it to the doctor’s account. Sure! The teller aims to please, and tries repeatedly (7 times – service is important!) and he continues to get “denied” or “acceso denegado.” I call Nashville and they raise the cash advance limit (I thought they had already done) and say everything else is cleared – it should work! It did not! I told the patient teller (not the long line of people behind me) that I would return tomorrow and try again. Lo siento señor, mañana es un día festivo, no estamos abiertos. And I reply, Hasta el viernes. Tomorrow is a holiday and we are closed. See you Friday. 🙂
Well, Thursday was Virgen de los Angeles day, (patron saint of Costa Rica) with only Christmas and Easter being bigger for Catholics here, when thousands make the pilgrimage to Cartago Cathedral to touch the black stone Maria. So nada yesterday! (Click above link to learn about the holiday.)
This morning I call the Credit Union again and make sure the card is good for a large amount of cash on this day and I’m assured it is. I go to the bank with teller lines going outside onto the sidewalk and street, more than an hour wait for a teller, so I tell the guard I need the “special services desk” and go wait nearly an hour for it, but those persons are more accustomed to “different” transactions like mine and I figured they could handle it better, maybe quicker, and once I finally got to a desk, it worked very smoothly, though taking another 25 minutes to do it! Remember – everything is slower here! Why rush? But she did go ahead and let me pay my monthly CAJA (public healthcare) with her and not have to go wait for a regular teller to do that.
Sooooo . . . an hour and a half at the bank, another chapter read in my latest book (which is so, so), my doctor bill is paid AND my monthly CAJA (public healthcare) bill paid! I breathed a sigh of relief and headed home for a more relaxed weekend! Pura Vida!
And, if you are wondering, the reason I didn’t use CAJA for the surgery, is that I would still be waiting to see a surgeon and I chose not to have patience for that! Choices and Patience! Retired in Costa Rica! 🙂 ¡Pura Vida!
My friend Jason Quesada now works in Jaco and is only in Atenas on weekends. Well, he was back this weekend and showed up at my house this afternoon with a friend and a birthday cake. We had a great time visiting and I enjoyed meeting a new local friend, Christopher, who is about as far along with his English as I am with my Spanish. Language learning! Wow!
It has been a nice week. Friday I had my teeth cleaned by a local Spanish-only dentist and Monday I go to a Spanish-speaking dermatologist. Then next Saturday I’m checking out a new exotic lodge called Xandri. Never a dull moment! ¡Pura Vida!