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! 🙂
All the Schools Prepare for Independence Day 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
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.
Here is the schedule of Christmas Festivities at Central Park Atenas with the stage being on government property across the street this year with park being remodeled. Lots of music and a lanterns parade at night plus more with vendor booths set up on the outer edges of the park — remodeling not stopping the Christmas Spirit in Atenas! It will be HAPPY, HAPPY as always and I’m sorry I will miss it this year again as I am traveling for Christmas (Which is a very Tico thing to do!). 🙂
And they just added some more activities for Christmas:
If you click the above image it is larger in its original location
And that is the official Atenas Community fiestas. Every church has at least one Christmas Eve service and the big catholic church multiple masses both days. Many Tico families have 1 to 2 weeks vacation and travel to a beach, usually the week between Christmas and New Years (when most businesses are closed).
Expats vary a lot in what they do. Several always go home to the States, Canada or Europe for Christmas with family. Some have family come here. And the “Snow Birds” came here for their Christmas or multi-months escape from snow and cold weather. Our Expat “Men’s Club” (misnamed) went yesterday (the 16th) to San Ramon for a Dinner Theatre Christmas Madrigal Old English Show or something like that. I went this year and reported yesterday.
Then there’s me – like a real Tico now, I’m going to the beach again but will spend most of my time in the forest at and near Manuel Antonio National Park in a private wildlife refuge and resort called Si Como No, which in español literally means “Yes, of course,” or “Yes, why not?” indicative of the positive spirit of life here in Costa Rica! And I will photograph birds of course! ¡Pura Vida!
Considering a move to Costa Rica? If so, and you find online research confusing or overwhelming, then read this Christopher Howard article on All Over the Map Syndrome. Although he is a little arrogant, he still has the best relocation tour of Costa Rica and his tour combined with the ARCR Seminar is one of the best ways to filter through the onslaught of information you may be finding. I credit those two events with properly preparing me for my successful move here along with a positive attitude and an already established love of the Costa Rica Culture and nature places. Before you move here, visit several times (consider the fun Caravan.com Costa Rica tour) and then go on his “Live In Costa Rica Combination Tour” coupled with the ARCR Seminar and you will be much better prepared. People who just come and try to figure it all out when they get here are usually in the 40% who end up going back to the states, Canada or wherever “home” was before. “Be Prepared!” 🙂
Sometimes the people watching the parade are the most interesting thing seen! 🙂 The family portrait above tells a story, I think! And of course the children are always the most photogenic! This slideshow is my last on this year’s Independence Day Parade. See if you can find the 4 people with eyes glued to their device screens (2 are above). Cell phones dominate people around the world! 🙂
And next year I’m adding a new parade by going to the Caribe during Carnival! I’ll photograph the smaller one in Puerto Viejo and not the big one in Limon where I’ve heard it can be dangerous. I don’t want to lose my cameras again! (I was at the Puntarenas Carnival Parade my first year here when my camera bag was snatched from a sidewalk cafe.) But anyway, more parades coming!
¡Larga vida a Costa Rica!
Slideshow: Independence Day Parade Atenas – Audience
It is the one patriotic parade of the year so of course it has to have lots of flags! From the primary school through high schools are flags here and though no good pix, there were some with adults representing the Fire Department and Red Cross. Here’s a few of the students with flags in a short slideshow:
The children were the main part of the parade this year with respect to the teens. They are taught that this is a historical event and thus most are dressed in historical clothing for the parade. And of course kids are cute and make good photos, so enjoy the slide show of kids in the parade and later will be a post of the audience which includes a lot more kids.