This weird holiday may be related to an old custom. In the early 1900s, putting a piece of bedsheet or nightshirt in the larder (food-storage cupboard) was supposed to bring plentiful food. After refrigerators replaced larders, the tradition shifted to pillows. Give it a try, and perhaps the fridge will be stocked with your favorite foods.
Another fun and silly holiday from an article in the Washington Post — April 12 – National Grilled Cheese Day! And maybe I will make my favorite combination of Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese Sandwich (just like Mom used to make)! 🙂
Half the fun of eating a grilled cheese is slowly pulling apart the halves to watch strings of the gooey cheese stretch and finally break. You may appreciate that cheesy reveal even more if you make it yourself. Ask an adult to help you master this lunchtime classic.
This was my fourth time to visit Arenal Observatory Lodge (link to lodge website) and the second time as my annual “Christmas Getaway!” The first two days we had a lot of rain & wind unlike the other Christmas visit and I thought it was not going to be a good place for Christmas this year, but then Christmas Day was a bright blue-sky, sunshiny day and we had a mixture of weather my remaining 4 nights there, and though I initially thought I didn’t see as much wildlife, I actually did pretty good with 27 species of birds and more butterflies and “other wildlife” than before! So – No big toucans or monkeys! I had a lot of other wildlife and some of my best frog photos plus more butterflies! 🙂
Also, I had less energy than on the previous trips here (cancer recovery is slow) and I scheduled no early-morning guided bird walk like usual, so to have 27 birds on my own is okay! 🙂 And I will be sharing those bird and butterfly photos in future days on this blog when I finally get them organized.
So . . . YES!I continue to rate Arenal Observatory Lodge as one of the best places in Costa Rica for birds and for my nature fix AND also for the lodge services with an excellent room and gourmet food, surrounded by one of the largest rainforests in the country! And yes, it is not cheap, but worth what you pay in my opinion. Superb guides, the best of other services, plus the best maintained wilderness trails that are featured below in this post, a birding tower, a big waterfall, and more birds, butterflies and trails than almost anywhere else! So yes – I will return to Arenal Observatory Lodge! But next time I’m going in May again, for the beautiful sunsets over the lake every night, and maybe monkeys then! 🙂 I think the sun moves further south this time of year, putting the sunset behind the mountains, but in May, it’s right over the lake! 🙂
Below is a Gallery of some rainforest trails at Arenal Observatory, then links to the photo galleries of my other 3 previous visits with a comparison of birds and other wildlife photographed. 🙂
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 . . .
The carnival people arrived in town yesterday and started setting up for the central Catholic Church’s Patron Saint (San Rafael) Fiesta which, with donated food and entertainment on a stage in church parking lot, plus daily Bingo will all raise a little bit of money for the church. And the cheap carnival rides? Well I can’t see how anyone makes money off those, but evidently they do! 🙂 One set-up shot here followed by a 6-shot gallery of the carnival people setting up things in the street in front of church.
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! 🙂
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¢! 🙂
I occasionally have a morning coffee and pastry in a little café upstairs above Canario Supermercado which is in the row of businesses across the street from the Atenas Central Mercado or the “every day farmers’ market” and bus station. Saturday sees this street packed with people but on a weekday morning it was quite tranquil!
I drank my coffee by a glass window overlooking the street and Central Mercado and the main taxi stand in town. It reminded me of a similar place in Serrekunda, The Gambia where I did the same thing but with larger throngs of people to watch. 🙂 Here’s 4 photos at different times during my coffee break . . .
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. 🙂
That’s the restaurant now, not the large reptilian lizard! 🙂 But to me the food is still just “so-so” or mediocre. My second try was with nachos that I thought a young-adult oriented restaurant would do really good, but they had no chicken nachos that day and the beef was tough or hard to chew and stringy, catching in my teeth. They again asked me how was the food and I told them, so maybe they will improve? Plus, this time I walked all the way to the back of the long restaurant and out into their patio which is obviously the most popular section. It is beautiful with a cool outdoor Costa Rica mural and a statue of an iguana! Pleasing environment! 🙂 Fun, youthful restaurant! And tourists will like too!