15th of September Post 2: BANDS!

Though the volume made you think there were more, there were only 4 full-size bands in the parade and they were mostly drums, since there are few teachers or classes for other instruments. They were scattered throughout the parade with several small ensembles in-between, like 3 to 8 persons with multiple instruments.  There were more flag bearers than band members. Bands are bandas in Spanish.

Banda Escuela de Musica is a community band for all ages (child-adult) that meets, learns and practices after school.
It includes my Spanish teacher, his son and son’s nanny, and another friend. I help raise money for their Panama trip.
Notice, like others, they are now all drums except for 2 saxophones and 3 xylophones called marimbas here.

I like their spiffy uniform shirts
which they are wanting to replace with “real” uniforms sometime.
It is a community activity requiring donated money not easily obtained.

It is an after-school, community music school that teaches how to read music,
how to play other instruments when they can be obtained, and the band will
add more instruments over time as they can. It could become big in Atenas. 

Banda de Colegio San Rafael is a suburban high school smaller than Liceo
but sharper looking uniforms. All drums because of lack of music teachers.

Ticos teens like to dress sharp and appreciate cool hats!

Banda de Colegio Liceo is the largest from the largest school with golf shirts
as uniforms and again mostly drums because of few music teachers. 
All drummers are cool and since nearly all of the band are drummers . . .
Boy! My band director would never have allowed sunglasses!  🙂
So maybe this is why Ticos are the happiest people on earth!?
They are followed by and overshadowed by the largest troop of flag bearers in the parade, also a part of Colegio Liceo.
More flag photos tomorrow! 

By now you may have learned that high schools are called “Colegio” in Spanish in Costa Rica. If not, that is your new Spanish word for today!   🙂

Unknown school with 8 boys on drums – what I was calling an “ensemble.”

Escuela Central Elementary School
As with the others, mostly drums with a few marimbas (xylophones);
smaller and less organized than high school bands.

Evangelical Dancing in the Park

Youth doing expressive movements to Christian music in Parque Central.

I walked through the central park (never called a plaza here like in colonial Latin America) on my way to the Super Mercado. At first I thought it was one of the many dance classes performing, but they were dancing to Christian music, so I assume it was one of the evangelical churches in town. As I passed back through on my way home this Saturday morning, a preacher concluded a prayer and began speaking. So it was definitely a church. Churches here are involving their youth in many different ways and this “expressive movements” to music is just one. The Iglesia Biblica I have attended some does this in some services kind of like First Baptist Nashville did when there. I have mixed feelings about it in worship or for outreach. It doesn’t appear to be natural or “real” praise of God, but something artificial that is taught or staged (to me). Many youth have natural rhythm and need a way to express it, so maybe this is a good way. Secular dancing of all kinds is very popular here with many public dances and many places to take dancing lessons.

I will continue to put Spanish words in bold red in this blog. I may also reference something in my new Spanish language blog, which is just about my efforts to learn Spanish. Today’s post in Aprendo Espanol en Atenas simply acknowledges Su Espacio and David Salas Costillo as my primary source of learning Spanish. In the future I will share my experiences trying to speak Spanish. 

New Blog in Español Added: Aprender Español en Atenas

No blog here yesterday. I am setting up another blog in Español because as my September 2 blog said, I really need to be using what I am learning with multiple Spanish learning efforts. Since I live alone and write a lot, it makes sense to write more in Spanish since I am not talking with people all day every day. It will be difficult and short for awhile, but hopefully will help my language learning! The title is Aprender Español en Atenas, linked here for your language experience. At least I won’t be so long-winded in a language I’m learning!  🙂

In my second post there I refers to a local book some university students put together on culture and language as the first in a series. This one on music, Dances of the Sun and Moon. I just reviewed it for Goodreads and basically a good idea for teens and young adults, but I will not be continuing the series. See my review for why.

My “Target Audience” for this English blog has been and will continue to be mainly friends and family in the United States, though stats show it is being read all over the world by about 150-200 persons a post!  🙂  It is about my retirement in Costa Rica and the other main audience is people who are thinking about retiring here which is a growing audience and by people already retired here!  🙂

The new Spanish blog is for Spanish-speakers, particularly in Costa Rica, whom I hope will help me in my journey to learn the language. It will NOT be a translation of this blog or visa-verso!

This English blog will continue to be what used to be my “Adventures” blog and “Nature” blog all in one. I’m including some “Spiritual” in this blog but may still restart or continue my old Spiritual Blog, “His Spirit Blog” since it is a more targeted subject and thus maybe audience. Not sure yet.

Pura Vida!

Starting New House with a Bang!

Blue-tailed Hummingbird

I was concerned that with not as many old growth trees next to my house there would not be as many birds, but not so! Shot this hummingbird from my balcony on my neighbor’s Powderpuff or Mimosa Tree (9 varieties of Powderpuff & 22 varieties of Mimosas in Costa Rica!) Two Kiskadees landed on my balcony railing yesterday but I didn’t have my camera ready! And today I was up the hill talking with my wonderful landlord when two Chestnut Mandibled Toucans landed in a neighbor’s tree and me again without a camera! I should have tried the cell phone but didn’t. 
Moved in Thursday morning. That afternoon a rep from Cable Tica came out and did the contract for internet & TV package. Today the techs came out and connected it and have it operating! That was quick for Costa Rica! I was expecting to wait a week or longer. I think I may like this company better that the bigger one used at the apartments and if my 8 mg of internet is not enough, I can pay to get even faster. So far so good. 
Woodcraft Paper Towel Holder
From Atenas Climate Fair
Last week I missed the horse show in Atenas and was determined to see at least part of the Climate Fair in downtown Atenas this weekend for Earth Week and the Annual Recognition of the historic Boyeros, oxcart drivers. Only walked through the vendors and arts and crafts yesterday (Friday). Today I spent a couple of hours there with minimum entertainment, but I had been looking for two days for a paper towel rack I could install under a kitchen cabinet and could not find one anywhere in town. Well, one of the craft booths had this cute cow paper towel holder which looks pretty good on my granite counter! 
The good music and big bands are all tonight downtown, but I’m just too tired to go back, but I can hear it since all my windows are open! And it is a big party with lots of music, dancing, and noise! Ticos know how to party and make music! All I got during the day was the usual Marimba music which is big among the older adults here and children dancing from a local dance studio. But I do have my cow paper towel holder and watched a lot of interesting people including the family with a pet pig. Here are a few of my cell phone photos from this afternoon: 
Central Park is a Fair this Weekend with rides, food, ice cream, artists & music
Like fairs back home, they attract young families here with even bouncy things.
Both children and youth represented a local dance studio. 
A disk jockey provided dance music for all.
And the ever-present Marimba Music for the older crowd! 
Family with a pet pig watching the children dance.

Tomorrow is the big day for daytime activities with Musica Cimarrona where dancers wear masks as an old traditional celebration which will be followed by the annual Oxcart Parade with oxcarts from all over the country parading through Atenas, home of the National Oxcart Driver Monument. I expect to get a lot of photographs!

Lilting Notes & Interesting Folks!

As I walked through Central Park after Spanish Class this morning, headed for the hardware store , I heard beautiful music in the air (like bells), not sure where it was coming from. Then on a corner opposite the park I discover this man playing his xylophone or marimba and the music made me feel happy! Atenas is such a simple and happy place with surprises around every corner!

Just making music on the sidewalk outside the Me Gusta Shop

Around the corner, at his usual spot, a fruit & veggie vendor.
Only 2 blocks from the Central Market, his biggest competition.
Though there is another guy at the next corner.  🙂
Nearer the market and the hardware store, my destination.

Yes, in Atenas some guys still
come to town on their horse.
Small town Costa Rica!
And watch where you step!

I also discovered the CATUCA today, but I will tell about it another day!  🙂  

MEDICAL INSURANCE
And oh yeah, I forgot to say that beginning March 20 I have Costa Rica Private Health Insurance which will last a year and hopefully by then I will have my CAJA or government insurance after I get my Pensionado Residency. One step at a time! And timing was good because my Medigap Policy was going up in price next month, like double! I’ll be cancelling it now! Medical costs is one area where I really do save money living here instead of the states – big savings! The only drawback on my private insurance here is that they won’t cover preexisting conditions for a year. But the government plan will  and for a lot less money! This time next year I will be on it.