Playa Pan Dulce

One of several beaches below the rainforest lodge last week, this one is the “Surfing Beach” or where the surfers hang out. The beach name translates to English as Sweet Bread Beach, which I won’t try to explain now. 🙂 I liked Matapolo Beach better because the Scarlet Macaws hung out there! Or the hotel’s beach at the end of Pacific Trail shown earlier.

Playa Pan Dulce

I’ll just do a slide show of the 5 shots of Playa Pan Dulce . . .

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Morning Waterfall Hike, Almost

This morning was to be my last “organized hike,” called the Primary Forest, led by scientist Phillip who did last night’s night hike, scheduled for 8-11. At 8 one of the employees came out and apologized that Phillip called in sick and that the hike was canceled for today. “No problem,” I said, “I wanted to go down the Pacific Trail and low tide is this morning, just right!” The guy in charge asked me to wait a minute. He made a call and then said he would be right back. He came with one of the gardeners with a name that sounded like Aniavey, and said, “Now you can practice your Spanish!” 🙂 The Nicaraguan was wearing a sheathed machete. The guy in charge said, “I simply cannot let you go down that trail alone, especially all the way to the waterfall! After you go down the very steep trail, it’s another mile hike including up another hill. I did not get incensed and thanked him for his concern, still not knowing what I was in for. And thinking I didn’t really need help. 🙂

The Old Man and His Hiking Guide

Wow! It was a steep trail with 500 steps carved into the side of the mountain and in moments my knees and legs were killing me. About halfway down or a little more, my knees gave way and I crumpled to the ground. My helper came to my rescue, helping me up and I sat on one of the steps. He took his machete out, going into the forest to cut a little sapling for a brand new hiking stick and I was soon ready to go, just slowly. But I had already decided I would go only to the beach and not all the way to the waterfall, which relieved Aniavey. And by the way, the return trip back up the hill, all 500 steps, was much easier on my knees and legs, just slowing my breathing! 🙂 On the hike we saw 3 kind of monkeys: Howler, White-faced Capuchin and Spider Monkeys!

Here’ s 4 shots and I don’t know why I didn’t photograph the trail or steps?

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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!

Cows Upon A Hill

To describe part of my walk last Saturday morning early, I found this nice poem:

Cows Upon A Hill

There is nothing I like better
In the sunrise of the day
To see cows on the hill
It’s the perfect time to pray

~Marilyn Lott

The Costa Rica University Systems has a special agricultural university campus on the edge of Atenas and these cows I frequently see and like to photograph are a part of that student farm on the next hill over from mine. 🙂 Students study here from all over Central American as the best of Latin American agricultural schools! And they learn a whole lot more than just our local coffee farming! 🙂 And next door to where I live!

Cows Upon A Hill, Atenas, Alajuela, Costa Rica

See all four Photos . . .

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Trees by the Meadow

I’ve often shown the meadow my terrace overlooks and the mountains beyond but maybe not as much of the trees that surround the meadow. Here’s four telephoto shots from my terrace of just trees:

“If you would know strength and patience, welcome the company of trees.”

― Hal Borland

¡Pura Vida!

For more tree photos, see my Flora & Forest Galleries or the Trees Gallery.

Pre-Rain Walk

It was cloudy before the rain (better for my radiation-damaged skin) but I could see, hear and smell the rain coming. Soon after I was back from my “Country Lane” Walk, our afternoon shower started which has become regular now, meaning that the rainy season has really started, after severa false-starts. 🙂 The above feature photo is from my terrace with rain in the hills behind Atenas Centro and soon it came all over. I never tire of trying to make a photo of those hills which are never the same. This one is a 4-shot panorama.

One of my favorite shots from the walk . . .

Cacti along the entry wall of Hotel Colinas Del Sol.

And four more shots from the walk + . . .

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Take an Urban Walk with Me

These are some of the houses and businesses that are along my 650 meter walk every day from the hotel to Radioterapia Siglo XXI clinic for my radiation treatments. Bear in mind that in the early days this neighborhood, called Uruca, was a “suburb” of downtown San Jose, a 10+ minute drive away now.

A mostly residential walk.

As in most urban development, some residential slowly turns to business and this neighborhood is no exception. I thought some readers would enjoy seeing what urban houses in this part of Latin America look like today. As a point of comparison, note that Costa Rica tends to be more modern and less traditional than Latin countries like Guatemala and Mexico. On this walk there is only one old house that would be considered “Spanish Colonial” with the tile roof and high compound wall. I think the neighborhood is interesting, but to help you not be bored, it’s a fast-moving slide show 🙂

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My World From Above This Week

When I checked in the hotel yesterday I was kind of hoping they would put me in the same Room 109 again because I really liked it last week. But I was assigned 407 which is 4 floors above and one room left of last week’s room. Wow! I like it better!

I like looking at the world from above and these photos show that difference, but also I am closer to the top of the big tree where more birds hang out, like parrots! And yes, the first afternoon I got some or one, but that will be another post, maybe tomorrow! And look below at how much better the mother bird and babies show up from above! ¡Pura Vida! 🙂

From my room & balcony, 407.

See the mother bird with babies from above in more photos . . .

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Big Tree & Tropical Gardens

I am so glad I chose this Best Western Plus San Jose over the two other options, if for no other reason, for the beautiful surroundings. I’m including two galleries below, one of landscapes and one of flowers, with more about the hotel itself in another post. The feature photo is the big tree from the breakfast dining patio (also seen from my room) and the shot below is from the Jacuzzi.

View from the Jacuzzi
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Remembering 6+ Years in Costa Rica

A lot of American, Canadian and European retirees choose to spend their last years in the beautiful land of nature called Costa Rica. And I am amazed at how many of them get a house somewhere and just sit on the porch, leaving only for the many necessary functions including immigration paperwork, shopping, medical services, a few for church, etc. While some take an occasional trip to see other parts of Costa Rica, there seem to be only a very small number like me who have a passion for seeing every “nook and cranny” of this beautiful natural paradise. And wow! What most of these gringos are missing! 🙂

For more than two years of the past 6, I traveled to a different park, reserve, or nature lodge every month. Last year I decided to slow it down to one place every two months, then got even that slowed down with the Coronavirus Pandemic. While this year was scheduled for a trip every two months before the villain Cancer came into my life. Meaning only God knows how many more places I will get to visit or revisit as I have been going back to favorite places more lately. Either way I get to be immersed in nature, my passion!

One wall of my living room is covered with photos of birds I’ve photographed here and another wall behind my dining table has photos of me on adventures around the world from Africa to Tennessee with a metal print of my social media logo, meme, or “gravatar!” 🙂 And below that gravatar is a map of the many places I’ve visited in Costa Rica. I just updated that map including my anticipated trip to Bosque del Cabo on Osa Peninsula this July for my 81st birthday, the only “new” place this year. The rest of the year I have 2 or maybe 3 scheduled repeat visits to favorite places, assuming I will be able to travel: Caribe Puerto Viejo and South Pacific Uvita for sure with Tambor Bay a maybe.

Since I’m not sure how much more traveling I will get to do here in my final years paradise, I decided to share the updated map that is on the wall mentioned above. Here:

Places I’ve visited in Costa Rica over 6 years in no particular order.

And just for fun, here’s the Google map that shows where Google has tracked me going all over Costa Rica with the number of times. Of course the solid red blotch is the Central Valley where I live and they’ve tracked me moving around near home a lot! 🙂

Where Google has “tracked me.” This map is more than a year old. And I have no explanation for the dot out in the Pacific Ocean. A Google error I assume. I have not been that far away from land! 🙂

“Jobs fill your pockets, adventures fill your soul.”

~Unknown

¡Pura Vida!