And a Birthday Dinner!

I got lots of attention all day yesterday but the biggie was dinner with a birthday cake and singing of Feliz Cumpleaños. Plus they decorated chair with flowers and gave me a bouquet of flowers to take back to my room in the tree tops! And I will eat more birthday cake today!

Bouquet taken back to my room.
Head Chef or Kitchen Manager posing with me.

¡Pura Vida!

Maquenque Birthday Attention

They are giving me a lot of attention today for my birthday and I expect more tonight for dinner. Plus, starting last night the lodge went from one customer (me) to 12 over the weekend and they are spreading the word among the other guests, so I’m almost getting too much attention! 🙂

And because of Covid19 I’m wearing my mask when not eating and declining the group activities like the boat wildlife tour today. Playing it safe!

¡Pura Vida!

Rainforest Fireworks

Instead of traditional 4th of July fireworks I am enjoying the colors of parrots and toucans this weekend. I’ve photographed over 65 species of birds so far, so still way behind on presenting them all and decided to show just the two categories most foreigners consider the most colorful here! Enjoy my tropical fireworks show as a slideshow of 10 photos.

Maquenque Parrots & Toucans

Happy 4th of July!

¡PuraVida!

Central Park Renovation Update

It’s been awhile since I’ve reported since not much obvious work has been going on except for 2 to 4 men most days working on this one radial sidewalk from the central kiosk to the northeast corner of the park since January. It has taken much of 5 months with 7 more sidewalks to go, it may be awhile before the renovation is complete!    🙂

At least I’ve learned that the sidewalks will be concrete rather than the old brick sidewalks, which at first was disappointing for the historical look, but they are definitely going for a modern look and concrete will also be more practical and cost less I would imagine and the younger generations everywhere definitely prefer modern. There is a trough down the center of the sidewalk which will probably be used to hide electrical wires, since the storm drain is a bigger pipe already buried under all this.

I like the two half circles off this walk with built-in seating for groups to assemble or people in general to visit. And not only are there built-in seats in the circle, but all the sidewalk walls are at sitting level, meaning there will be a lot more seating than the old park benches have provided. And that fits the purpose of bringing people together and the new modern look of the park too! I like it! When finished, the Central Park will really be the center of life in Atenas!

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My date on this is March 30, so from this point to below in 2+ months, though they really started here in January of 2020. A long time for one sidewalk with 2 seating areas!

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Entrance from the NE corner of park across from POP’s Ice Cream. Brick is city sidewalk.

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There are two of these sitting areas off this radial walk.

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This is same as above seen from the other direction.

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The other sitting area is closer to center of park and has steps & wheelchair ramp. Tarp is workers’ for rain and sun during this construction.

 

“Parks and playgrounds are the soul of a city.”
― Marty Rubin

 

The Architect Plans Facebook Page has been taken down or the old link doesn’t work now. Sorry.

See my Central Park Renovation Photo Gallery  with chronological photos of the progress.

¡Pura Vida!

Firsts of 2020

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Tropical Kingbird

This bird (above & at right) is a Tropical Kingbird (click name for more about him).   He is the first one photographed on my terrace this year,  at breakfast, January 1, 2020.

-o-

Just three weeks before I visited Tapirus Lodge in Braulio Carrillo National Park Christmas Week, David Attenborough and a BBC film crew visited the same lodge and park! I have trouble keeping up with all his documentaries, but hope I see whatever he filmed there!   🙂   Maybe it is part of his new “Green Planet” Series which is being filmed all over Costa Rica?

-o-

Zarcero Community Band was the first & biggest band in the Atenas Christmas Parade I featured in a December 21 Post and was one of the featured bands in the Rose Parade January 1, 2020!  In different costumes of course! See also my Christmas Parade gallery.

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Zarcero Costa Rica Community Band & Dancers performing here in Atenas Christmas Parade, also performed in The Rose Parade, Pasadena, California.

 

And a video of the band in Pasadena’s Rose Parade:

 

Costa Rica – The Happiest People on Earth!

¡Pura Vida!

 

 

Christmas Parade!

“The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.”

~Will Ferrell, ‘Elf’

And that is what they do in the annual Christmas Lights Night Parade in Atenas with participants and viewers coming from other “pueblos” (towns) surrounding Atenas including the large Zarcero Community Band which marched in the Rose Parade earlier as well as smaller, rural bands and dance groups. Colorful, long, and loud!

A terrific Christmas Fiesta that continued after the parade with live music & food in the partly remodeled Central Park Atenas until midnight! Since I can hear the sound system from my house, it meant I was delayed going to bed last night!   🙂   And for some of us . . .

“The world has grown weary through the years, but at Christmas, it is young.”     ~Phillips Brooks

Atenas Christmas Parade 2019

 

For more photos see my Christmas Parade 2019 Photo Gallery!

¡Pura Vida!

Christmas Time

“And we are better throughout the year for having in spirit, become a child again at Christmas time.”     ~Laura Ingalls Wilder

And that is what I am doing again for this Christmas! Tonight (Friday) I watch the Christmas Lights Parade in Atenas which is always beautiful and colorful.  (Feature Photo is 2017 Atenas Parade)   I missed the parade last year while on a trip. That means that tomorrow, Saturday, I hope to report on the parade with photos, though it could be mid-day before I can get that many photos processed!   🙂

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Then Sunday morning I leave for the mountains where I will be spending the week at Braulio Carrillo, our second largest national park in Costa Rica at the Tapirus Lodge which I’m hoping was a good choice since my first choice (Arenal Observatory) had no vacancies a year ahead of this Christmas Week! (I now have them scheduled for Christmas 2020! Tapirus is operated  by Rainforest Adventures which seems to emphasize the young with zip-lining and white-water rafting much more than bird-watching (but I am becoming a child again!) – so we will see! But at least I will be in the forest – me gusta mucho!    🙂

¡Pura Vida!

 

Christmas Cakes! ¡Queques de Navidad!

I know, the Spanish dictionaries will say “tortas de Navidad” or “los pasteles de Navidad” but Costa Rica has its own Spanish and we call cake “queque” here!   🙂

My favorite bakery here is Crema y Nata and they got an order this year for 40 Christmas Cakes for a corporate Office Christmas Party in San Jose. I snapped a few shots of my friends there preparing some of the 40 cakes. Also there are some shots of the patio dining area where I have coffee and sometime breakfast at least twice a week. In addition to their Christmas Cake which is okay (like a spice cake with icing, fruit on top & nuts inside–not as good as Corsicana TX fruit cake in my opinion) they have the best eggnog I have ever tasted in my life – very rich! Called el rompope here!

Queques de Navidad

 

“Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.”     ~Norman Vincent Peale

¡Pura Vida!

¡Feliz Navidad!

This Year’s Christmas Trees

Well – the ones I have taken the time to photograph in my normal activities of the last week or two. I failed to photograph a big one at the Alajuela Hospital and did not go to the Juan Santamaria Park for Alajuela’s biggest outdoor tree this year and the Atenas City Hall does not have a tree out front this year, though I included their ugly one in Central Park. But these photos give you an idea of the fact that Christmas is the biggest holiday of the year here in Costa Rica with decorations going up around Halloween (which is not celebrated here).

Of course the trees in the little country town of Atenas don’t match the huge ones in Alajuela’s big City Mall – but it is all in the spirit of the biggest fiesta of the year. And the funny thing to me is that the Ticos who can afford it here go to the beach Christmas Week! Pretty much everything except supermarkets and pharmacies are closed Christmas Week – and I too travel, but not the beach this year!    🙂    Stay tuned for my “Christmas Mountain Forest Adventures” coming 21-27 December!   Retired in Costa Rica Five Years as of this Christmas Eve! 

Christmas Trees 2019

“City sidewalks
Busy sidewalks
Dressed in holiday style
In the air
There’s a feeling
Of Christmas…”

~Silver Bells

 

¡Feliz Navidad!
¡Pura Vida!

Charlie in Costa Rica

A Special Atenas Taxista

A taxi driver here is called a taxista and there are all ages and all kinds of taxistas with virtually all in Atenas being very friendly and very helpful. I don’t call just one driver, but the dispatcher and get a different one most times plus in the line downtown I always accept whoever is first in line – just seems fair! And most of the taxistas know me now and some mimic my southern drawl in saying my address (which many know)“Ciento cinco Roca Verde por favor.”  Of course I don’t notice me saying it any different than them!   🙂

Occasionally I get this one man who is one of the oldest in one of the oldest cars and the only one who is always playing Mexican Music on his car radio and enjoys being kidded about it. Well, the other night I got him after eating at Poco Loco and I told him again that I like his happy music! (Pleased him!)

Since the route he chose went right by Escuela Central (public elementary school), I asked if he would slow down or stop for me to photograph their Christmas tree at night. (I’ll include in a future post.) He stopped. Then when we later got to my house and I was getting out, he said, “Whoa, whoa! Necesita fotografié mi decoraciones.” He took me to the back window of his taxi for this elaborate manger scene packed full of many farm animals across the back shelf of his car along with Christmas balls and tinsel. Not a good photo with street light above, but an interesting story & man!    🙂

Merry Christmas!

¡Pura vida!

BONUS CHRISTMAS STORY (Link)

How did a continent go from shooting birds every Christmas to counting them? Discover the Audubon Christmas Bird Count – a holiday tradition that has transformed bird science. And maybe participate this Christmas?   🙂