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!

Park Benches Replacement?

In my continued “updating” of the progress on Atenas Central Park Renovation I noticed today that they seem to be working on the sidewalk to the church first and one side has a little concrete wall at sitting level which could easily replace all the many park benches that used to line the sidewalks. An interesting and practical change if they do it on all 8 sidewalks radiating from the center. And when vendors set up along the sidewalks during fiestas, they won’t need folding chairs behind their tables, but can sit on the wall.  🙂

I didn’t know if all sidewalks will have these walls, so I just checked on the official   Facebook Page presenting the remodeling  and sure enough they will! Like continuous park benches throughout the park to bring more people together!

And don’t forget that I have a Renovating Central Park Atenas update photo gallery with all the photos I’ve posted on this blog. You can visually see the progress, even if slow.  🙂   What was once said to be finished by Christmas 2018 will possibly be complete by Christmas 2020!   🙂

“Land forests are the coral reefs of the ocean of air.”
― Steven Magee

¡Pura Vida!

Oktoberfest

“Willkommen zum Oktoberfest.”

Yesterday a bus of load of about 30 persons “Retired in Costa Rica” boarded a charter bus in Atenas for a German Restaurant in downtown San Jose, Paulaner München, for a great German meal including roast chicken, knockwurst, kraut and my favorite – apple strudel! We were also entertained by a Latin-flavored Costa Rican “German Band” complete with fake leder hosen!   🙂   And many of our group of retirees danced with the band, especially one couple who really know how to dance as shown in the feature photo. She even tried to teach the group to dance the polka with moderate success!   🙂    And who says old people don’t have fun?

Oktoberfest Costa Rica

 

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. . . .   AND the beer for many in our gang! 🙂

¡Pura Vida!

Baile folklórico – Historical village dancing

Independence Day activities sometimes start early and they did today in front of the city hall across the corner from my bank which had 20+ people waiting for only one working ATM. Pura vida! I got to watch the dancing while I waited and make a few cell phone photos, though lower quality, zoomed in from a half block away. The people are always as interesting as “the show,” thus two little slideshows which is my substitute for the parade I will miss tomorrow.

See my photos of previous parades in  People, Fiestas & Arts Gallery.

Waiting & Watching

 

Dancing

Happy Independence Day Costa Rica!

¡Pura Vida!

 

Preparing for Sunday the 15th

All the Schools Prepare for Independence Day Parade

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Escuela Central, the large main Public Elementary School’s band practices for Sunday’s parade. 

The high school bands have been practicing too with the same monotonous drum beat that it seems all the bands use. Note in the photo above two interesting facts that tell about the culture or a small town:   (1) The band director is almost a kid himself, first job out of college as a low-paid music teacher in rural elementary school.  (2) All the girls play a xylophone and all the boys play a drum, either snare or bass.   🙂   I regret that I will miss this year’s parade, but I’ve seen it several times!   🙂

My Friday Night Treat

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Every Friday night I have my one steak a week at Parrillada Androvetto which has a big platform deck overlooking the surrounding hills and the Public Cemetery above. Tonight the clouds hung low on the hills, but still no rain. Yes, it is now a semi-drought for rainy season. Met a nice young couple at Androvetto from Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. I like the “Small World” effect of living in Costa Rica!

Whale-Watching Starts Sunday

Sunday morning I fly to Palmar Sur and check in to the Cristal Ballena Hotel  in Uvita for the week where I will go Whale Watching on Monday for the first time in my long life and if satisfied (get whale photos) I will use the rest of the week to photo birds and a very special Nauyaca Waterfalls one day.  I drove through Uvita on the 2014 Relocation Tour and have flown over its famous “Whale’s Tail Beach” in my photo below from a Carcovado trip.

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My hotel is in this little South Pacific town and the whaling boat will probably deport at Dominical, a nearby larger town. The waterfall is up the mountain & birds everywhere!

🙂

Retired in Costa Rica

¡Pura Vida!

Welcome to Puerto Viejo!

I like this new welcome video Banana Azul has commissioned for its website! It’s casual nature kind of depicts the casual nature of the place that is popular with young American Backpackers staying in hostels, as well as more traditional tourists like me. Be sure to click the “Full Screen” Icon in lower right corner while watching:

I will be doing another personal post later as I share my arrival here! Though the featured photo at top is mine showing how American advertisers are welcome to spend their money here! Ha, ha!    🙂

¡Pura Vida!

An Adventure of Beauty

“When the destination becomes gracious, the journey becomes an adventure of beauty.”

-John O’Donohue

One week from today I return to the Costa Rica South Caribbean (Atlantic Coast South of Limón) for my 5th trip there, not counting 3 other visits to the North Caribbean (North of Limón or Tortuguero NP).

I’ve been “mulling over” (That’s a late 1800’s English idiom meaning “to think about” or “to ponder.”) what my photography focus would be this time (see previous focuses below–mainly birds!). I originally thought I was going during Carnival week, but got the dates confused (It’s the last week of October not August) so Carnival is no longer the theme for my photos and ultimately a photo book.  🙂   Here’s my previous South Caribe galleries & books:

Browsing Blurb’s Bookstore travel and art photography books (for ideas) I came across the above quotation by John O’Donohue in a book and decided next week’s destination is such a “gracious” place (both the Hotel Banana Azul and the Caribe) that the friendly, loving, kind graciousness of the place will make it truly an “adventure of beauty!” So now my mind is running in a thousand directions of how I can photograph that gracious beauty!

Of course there’s the beauty of nature as my sunrise photo above from another year depicts. The graciousness of the people there presents opportunities for grand portraits or activity shots. While the graciousness of the sea, or the forest, or the wildlife, or the plants . . . oh my, oh my – the destination becomes so gracious!

Soon I start my next adventure of beauty!  ¡Pura Vida!   🙂

 

I arise today Blessed by all things, Wings of breath, Delight of eyes, Wonder of whisper, Intimacy of touch, Eternity of soul, Urgency of thought, Miracle of health, Embrace of God. May I live this day Compassionate of heart, Clear in word, Gracious in awareness, Courageous in thought, Generous in love.”

~John O’Donohue

¡Pura Vida! 

One Step at a Time Park Remodeling

This morning I noticed that the builder’s screen was removed and the new concrete floor was being washed down with a water hose (even though it is raining today). It is taking shape and according to the architect drawings that outer ring of pipes/steel will have some kind of roof on it to protect at least part of the audience for concerts. And the bandshell roof will be painted with some kind of art, I hope the oxcart wheel version!   🙂

One step at a time is all it takes to get you there.

~Emily Dickinson

14 August 2019 Update

And to see all of my Central Park Remodeling Photos, there’s a gallery!   🙂   With dates on each stage of course!

¡Pura Vida!

Birthday Color!

Last night before dinner we were treated with a double rainbow! This morning the maids brought me a new bouquet of flowers with a “Feliz Cumpleaños!” greeting. And I have already enjoyed 4 fresh strawberries dipped in chocolate for my birthday! Plus the staff sang Happy Birthday in English to me at breakfast!

AND . . . this was my guided bird-hike morning with the most interesting birds being the mother & juvenile Crested Caracara (rare find) who landed in the same tree as the Yellow-headed Caracara did the other day!    🙂

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Rainbow  —  el arco iris
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Tropical Flowers from the Hotel Gardens in my room
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Crested Caracara adult & juvenile, Xandari Nature Resort, Costa Rica

“I like this place and could willingly waste my time in it.” 
― William Shakespeare

🙂

Xandari Nature Resort

¡Pura Vida!