The Beautiful in Life

I always receive much inspiration from every walk up the hill behind my house . . .

Parroquia San Rafael Arcángel Church, Atenas, Alajuela, Costa Rica seen from hill behind my house.

The Beautiful in Life

The beautiful in life…
Some talk of it in poetry,
Some grow it from the soil,
Some build it in a steeple,
Some show it through their toil.
Some breathe it into music,
Some mold it into art,
Some shape it into bread loaves…
Some hold it in their hearts.

~Bernard Meltzer

¡Pura Vida!

See my photo gallery of the main Catholic Church in Atenas.

And/or the WEBSITE of Parroquia San Rafael Arcángel

Note that I’m not a Roman Catholic but this church is the only one in Atenas that inspires me to seek God – whether photographing from a distance like above or up close from Central Park or going inside their beautiful sanctuary to just sit quietly and pray. I’m inspired by the architecture, the ambience, the tranquility, the beauty, their music and even the church bells ringing! I thank God for this Catholic Church!

Another Summer Concert & Health Notes

Friday and Saturday (after I’ve gone back to Atenas) the hotel is hosting another concert weekend featuring Debi Nova singing on Friday night from the stage in the swimming pool! Since the Ministry of health is not allowing public venue concerts because of Covid, the hotel gets around that by renting rooms with balconies overlooking the swimming pool, priced by quality of view! 🙂 And a max of 4 to a room. The above link on hotel’s site has photos of earlier concerts with people watching from balconies and below is this Friday’s singer Debi Nova . . .

Debi Nova

There won’t be a crowd of thousands but a fun experience for a lot of young adults I’m sure and a tiny boost to one of the many hotels suffering from the Pandemic lack of tourists. Below are my photos of the setup as it looked on Thursday and I won’t be here to photograph the concert. 🙂 . . .

Continue reading “Another Summer Concert & Health Notes”

Empty Nest

It could be either good news or bad news, and I hope good news! I just read that a baby Yigüirro can fly at one week of age (they were older) and are usually independent by three weeks old, thus, even if motivated a little early by the noise and lights of a rock concert Saturday night, I think they flew away and are safe somewhere.

Below is what the nest looks like mid-day Monday from Room 407 and the second photo what it looked like mid-day Friday from the same Room 407. The concert was Saturday night with the band only 30 meters away. so if the birds were still there then, the band could certainly have been their motivation to “grow up” and fly away. 🙂 I hope so! We will probably never know. But still glad I left my “nest” before the concert! Or I might have tried to fly away too. 🙂

Empty Nest Monday Mid-day
Full Nest Friday Mid-day

Other Birds at Best Western San Jose

¡Pura Vida!

Balcony Concert Tonight

I am missing the final concert for the Summer (May begins Winter here). It is the last in a series of hotel concerts called “Summer in the city – From your balcony” or really “Verano en la ciudad – Desde tu balcón” with a Covid-safe Rock Concert at my Best Western San Jose Hotel and they’ve been doing it once a month since January or December. See the hotel’s website photos & videos of the concerts.

The only way you can see/hear the concert is to rent one of the 150 upstairs rooms with balconies overlooking the pool and watch the concert live from your balcony! Pretty cool ideal that helps both young adults have fun during the pandemic and a struggling hotel with no tourists and almost no customers fill several rooms at an advertised “special price” of $61 USD (more than I’m paying) with a limit to 4 per room/balcony. Tonight, Saturday, May 8 is this month’s concert and the final one in this summer series.

Friday before I left I snapped these cellphone shots of them setting up the stage over one end of the pool. This month American Express is the sponsor.

The stage under construction Friday.

And more photos . . .

Continue reading “Balcony Concert Tonight”

Adventure by Chicken Bus

Members of the ARCR (Association of Residents of Costa Rica), an organization formed to help expats get to and live better in Costa Rica get a subscription to the bimonthly magazine El Residente and I hope this link to the March/April 21 issue works for non-members! 🙂

The first main article in this issue is titled “Adventure by Chicken Bus” which is actually one chapter of a book by the same title, this chapter about the Canadian family traveling Central America while homeschooling is specifically about their efforts at helping Costa Rica save the endangered sea turtles on our east coast. A great story for nature lovers and wildlife preservers that will make you want to visit Costa Rica.

At the end of the story is a link to the book by this family’s mother and school teacher, Janet La Sole, Adventures by Chicken Bus, An Unschooling Odyssey Through Central America. Be sure to check out the tab “Chapters Gallery” which summarizes the chapters and where all they traveled through pretty much every country of Central America. Amazing! And they were backpacking with two young girls! That’s her book website. If you want to purchase, go directly to Amazon.com Adventures by Chicken Bus.

And in case you don’t know, “Chicken Bus” is the nickname for the small, rural, cheap buses (Used U.S. school buses painted bright colors) found all over Central America for cheap rural or out of the way places of travel. We do have big, modern buses in Costa Rica between major cities and towns and major tourist attractions, but these are common all over rural Central America and yes, they do carry their chickens on these buses. 🙂

¡Pura Vida!

“Costa Rica Culture” by 7 “Kids”

Back in May 2018 I reviewed here and told about the Costa Rica made movie “Güilas” the title of which is the Costa Rican slang word for children like American English “Kids.” The movie is actually seven short stories about seven different kids, each in a different one of the seven provinces of Costa Rica thus visually showing many parts of this beautiful country and its varied cultures by my favorite Costa Rica Photographer, Sergio Pucci (I use one of his CR Calendars every year for his beautiful photography!). This is one of the best movies I’ve ever seen anywhere and is definitely the best one on the culture of Costa Rica! Well worth $10 USD from Vimeo!

One of the 7 Stories:

One of the seven short stories – this in the Caribe, Limon Province.
Continue reading ““Costa Rica Culture” by 7 “Kids””

Tico Youth Making Fun of Themselves

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:

10 SIGNS YOU WERE BORN AND RAISED IN COSTA RICA


This gem appeared in the Costa Rica Star newspaper recently and GG thought it was interesting . . .

“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!

¡Pura Vida!

And for more photos of people & culture + art, see my People, Fiestas & Arts Gallery.

The Happy Wanderer

It was my favorite song growing up, or at least while in Boy Scouts and hiking a lot, which we sang as a group then (Boy Scouts love the “Ha, ha, ha, ha” part), now I only sing when alone. 🙂

“The Happy Wanderer” (“Der fröhliche Wanderer” or “Mein Vater war ein Wandersmann”) is a popular song. The original text was written (in German of course) by Florenz Friedrich Sigismund (1791–1877). It was made famous by the Obernkirchen Children’s Choir, in Germany named Schaumburger Märchensänger. ~Wikipedia (for more info) + Lyrics below.

Off and on I threaten to write a biography of just words – stories, feelings, and challenges (unlike my current photo biographies of mostly pictures) and when done I hope to call it “The Happy Wander” which describes much of my life (even during the difficulties) and especially now being Retired in Costa Rica! Tomorrow I will tell you about my next planned wandering – it’s to a new place for me next week, but for now enjoy the lyrics of my favorite song, then go hiking! 🙂

The Happy Wanderer

I love to go a-wandering,
Along the mountain track,
And as I go, I love to sing,
My knapsack on my back.

Chorus:
Val-de-ri–Val-de-ra-
Val-de-ri–Val-de ha ha ha ha ha ha
Val-de-ri–Val-de-ra.
My knapsack on my back.

I love to wander by the stream
That dances in the sun,
So joyously it calls to me,
“Come! Join my happy song!”

Chorus:
Val-de-ri–Val-de-ra-
Val-de-ri–Val-de ha ha ha ha ha ha
Val-de-ri–Val-de-ra.
My knapsack on my back.

I wave my hat to all I meet,
And they wave back to me,
And blackbirds call so loud and sweet
From ev’ry green-wood tree.

Chorus:
Val-de-ri–Val-de-ra-
Val-de-ri–Val-de ha ha ha ha ha ha
Val-de-ri–Val-de-ra.
My knapsack on my back.

High overhead, the skylarks wing,
They never rest at home,
But just like me, they love to sing,
As o’er the world we roam.

Chorus:
Val-de-ri–Val-de-ra-
Val-de-ri–Val-de ha ha ha ha ha ha
Val-de-ri–Val-de-ra.
My knapsack on my back.

Oh, may I go a-wandering
Until the day I die!
Oh may I always laugh and sing
Beneath God’s clear blue sky!

Chorus:
Val-de-ri–Val-de-ra-
Val-de-ri–Val-de ha ha ha ha ha ha
Val-de-ri–Val-de-ra.
My knapsack on my back

My Boy Scouts pages tell you when and how my wanderings all began! 🙂

Photo Galleries of my Costa Rica TRIPS (6+ years of wanderings here)

Photo Galleries of Pre-Costa Rica TENNESSEE Travel (Every state park & lots more)

Photo Galleries of my Pre-Costa Rica WORLDWIDE Travel (17 countries & most U.S. states)

“Oh, may I go a-wandering
Until the day I die!
Oh may I always laugh and sing
Beneath God’s clear blue sky!”

🙂

¡Pura Vida!

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!

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!

20200330_103218_001-WEB
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!
20200602_104801_001-WEB
Entrance from the NE corner of park across from POP’s Ice Cream. Brick is city sidewalk.
20200602_104901_001-WEB
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.
20200602_104925_001-WEB
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!