December 24, 2020 is my 6 year anniversary here! But the first Christmas Card was sent before I left on Christmas Eve 2014 as a combination Christmas Greeting & Change of Address Card, thus 7 cards+ since I’ve designed two for some years. In fact, this is the second one for this year! 🙂
In an effort to include some Costa Rica Culture in my blog, I copied this from the Golden Gringo Newsletter, which is okay because he copied it from a local online newspaper! 🙂 He came here a year or so before me from the states as a retiree (younger than me) who chose to live near a beach and fishing place, Quepos on the Pacific Coast near Manuel Antonio NP. He’s a lot different than me, but I semi-follow his newsletter for his impression of things here.
And note that the original list below was most likely aimed at and/or written by young adult or teen Costa Ricans (Ticos) as a form of humor. But there is some real culture here! 🙂
Feature photo is mine of young adult Ticos in an Atenas parade (for a traditional look), but the copied stock photo above is more typical of young people here! 🙂 Below copied from Golden Gringo Chronicles:
“We’re Not the Happiest on the Planet for Nothing” 🙂
You had your first coffee before you were 5 years old. Your mom would mix it with extra milk so it wouldn’t taste so strong. She’s the reason you developed an addiction to it and now drink at least 3 cups a day. (But their also have been numerous articles in the press in recent years on the health benefits of coffee)
You don’t refer to someone as a person, you say “mae” (pronounced my). ‘Mae’ is everyone and anyone, either feminine or masculine (esa mae or ese mae). When talking to your friends, it’s not uncommon to hear the word mae at least 50 times in one conversation. (especially among teenagers, the closest modern equivalent to “mae” in English being “dude”)
You include partying in your monthly budget. It doesn’t matter if there’s nothing going on, you will find a reason to celebrate. You double your party budget if La Sele (the national soccer team) is playing that month. (in Covid times you can still watch the Sele on TV)
You don’t say 1000 colones, you say “un rojo.” (rojo, a “red” or un mil) In Costa Rica the 1000 colon bill is red in color (rojo in Spanish), so you denominate money as un rojo, dos rojos, diez rojos, and so on. For example, you say “I paid diez rojos for that ticket.” One million is “un melón,” just because it rhymes.
You use trees and house colors to give directions. From the mango tree, turn left and keep going 2 apples (blocks), it’s the third house on the right, watermelon color with a palm tree in the front. Street names — who needs them?
You know about Tico time. If someone says: “I’ll meet you at 4,” you know it probably means the person might be leaving the house at that time. Not proud of this one, but we Ticos are not exactly known for being punctual.
You say Pura Vida for everything. Used a hundred times a day to say hi, goodbye, thank you, you’re welcome, to express well-being, or to say something is good or nice, Pura Vida (pure life) is your mantra.
You eat tamales for breakfast, lunch, and dinner on Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Your mom makes a huge batch of traditional tamales for the holidays and you are responsible for eating half of them, it’s your duty.
You honed your salsa dancing and merengue skills in family reunions. Your aunt, uncle, mom, or cousin made you dance with them at all family gatherings. You might have hated it back then, but at least now you can dance.
You secretly speak Pachuca (street slang). Even though you might not use it often, you can speak it fluently. You know that tuanis means good, that mopri (a mix of the letters of primo) means mae, that the police are los pacos, your car is la nave watched over by el guachi, and your job is el yugo. En ‘toas…it’s good, mae!
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!
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!
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.
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!
“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.
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.
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?
“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 Atenaswith 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
“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! 🙂
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 Lodgewhich 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! 🙂
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 rompopehere!
Queques de Navidad
“Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.” ~Norman Vincent Peale