Black-faced Grosbeak – A Lifer!

I decided to share the birds photographed just one at a time and this one first because it is a “lifer” for me or the first time I have ever seen or photographed it! Certainly not my best bird photo, but many of mine are just for ID and to show I’ve seen that species. On my pre-breakfast guided bird hike we saw maybe 22 species (some not sure of ID) and I got photos of 13 of those plus one more in front of my cabin for a total of 14 species photographed and identified. Of those I will share only the ones that I have decent photos of over the next week or two of Chachagua reports.

Black-faced Grosbeak, Chachagua Rainforest Hotel, Alajuela, Costa Rica.
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Arrival at Chachagua Rainforest

We had to go to two different UPS offices in San José, but finally got my new debit card and were off to the forests! When I got to my cabin after treating my driver to lunch, I laid in the hammock and almost went to sleep. Did not explore much before the afternoon rain started, but here’s shots of the river swim hole and hot springs, both near my room or cabin and then some shots of my cabin.

The boardwalk between swim hole and hot springs on side of a hill.
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“A Lifestyle Thing” Returns

NOTE: I still plan on my first report from Chachagua Rainforest tonight, but for morning readers, this lifestyle report 🙂 . . .

Now you could call my bus-riding “cultural” or “simple living” or “green living” etc. But Saturday I road the bus to Alajuela again after almost cutting it out for 2 years because of Covid and the dangers of infection in such close quarters. For example, one of my old bus drivers died of Covid he caught as a driver to and from San Jose from Atenas.

But during this past Saturday’s bus trip I felt all the tension and stress caused by the fraudulent use of my debit card just disappeared and I vowed then that I would do this regularly again now. Covid is waning here and I’m feeling safer with all travel now, though I still consider my hidden jungle lodges safer than the cities! 🙂

Fountain in Central Park Alajuela.

First you must know that I have not owned a car since 2014 when I moved to Costa Rica and even though I rented cars a few times during my first 2 years here just for trips outside of Atenas, I soon discovered the joy of walking and taking buses and taxis and for awhile was taking bus trips all over the country. I now use a private driver for more of my trips (especially with Covid), but the more regular bus trips to Alajuela (and fewer to San Jose) will now continue while still wearing a mask. And as a senior adult, the Alajuela trip is free and to San Jose half price, like the equivalent of 75 to 80¢! 🙂

My Saturday Experience

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Park Sign at Night + Other New Views

Here are more views of the new Central Park Sign including a selfie and what it looks like at night and from behind! 🙂 My earlier reports on the sign did not include the finished product at night or from behind! 🙂

At night your eyes see the color of the art on the letters and thus not as bright as this white in my camera. And that white spot in middle of sun is yellow to your eyes, though still bright! 🙂
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People Watching in Quiet Town

I occasionally have a morning coffee and pastry in a little café upstairs above Canario Supermercado which is in the row of businesses across the street from the Atenas Central Mercado or the “every day farmers’ market” and bus station. Saturday sees this street packed with people but on a weekday morning it was quite tranquil!

I drank my coffee by a glass window overlooking the street and Central Mercado and the main taxi stand in town. It reminded me of a similar place in Serrekunda, The Gambia where I did the same thing but with larger throngs of people to watch. 🙂 Here’s 4 photos at different times during my coffee break . . .

A lady crosses the street after visiting the many shops on this side of the street.
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The Park Sign

Sure enough, they finally uncovered the park sign last night at 7 pm in the rain without me! But I heard the fireworks go off right at 7 and knew that was the reason. They love to celebrate anything with fireworks here! 🙂

This morning on my way to my one breakfast out a week I detoured by the park for these 3 shots on my cellphone. I know the sun lights up at night and suspect the letters might, but won’t know until I go by there at night. I was not expecting the “little murals” on the letters since other parks in Costa Rica with their town name spelled out like this use solid colors like Alajuela’s red and Heredia’s also red. Thus Atenas is definitely unique in this way! 🙂

ATENAS murals depicting the coffee farming town.

I may describe the murals in more detail later, but in brief, the A: has our National Boyero Monument (Oxcart statue), T: the main Catholic church on the south side of Central Park, E: with three of several historic buildings, N: what appears to be lifestyle images, A: the historic and famous railroad bridge over Rio Grande and S: is their nod to the farmers with sugarcane, coffee and oxen.

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My Park Disappointment This Morning

I went early at 8:30 for what I understood would be an “unveiling” of the new ATENAS park sign and what they were calling a “dedication ceremony.” Nada! After nearly 2 hours downtown I picked up my photos I had left earlier to be printed across from the park and Sr. Chacón there told me that they would not unveil the ATENAS letters until 7 pm tonight (probably in the rain) and I will not go back! I was there mainly to get a photo of the Atenas sign, so I was disappointed! I walked home with my new photos and will maybe go tomorrow to photograph the sign.

!Then the only programming on the stage for the first two hours was the main Evangelical church here in town performing charismatic music like in a charismatic worship service and a hand full of vendors (more like a flea market) – both also disappointing to me. The stage will have more and different kinds of music throughout the day, which is what the city does with all of these all-day fiestas they sponsor, but after I learned the sign would not be un-covered, I got my photos and walked home. 🙂 I will photograph it tomorrow and post just that photo. 🙂

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Pleasant Surroundings

It is fortunate indeed to have neighbors who maintain their property so that all around them are in pleasant surroundings! 🙂 This is just one of the pleasant views uphill from my simple little “casita” rent house in Roca Verde. In spite of recently complaining about a favorite tree removed for a house under construction now (by my landlord), I generally have very pleasant surroundings where I live in the Roca Verde development of Atenas, Alajuela, Costa Rica known by it’s slogan “Mejor Clima del Mundo” or in English: “Best Weather in the World!” 🙂 A subjective opinion of course! 🙂

Another view uphill from my house.

¡Pura Vida!

Browse my CR Flora & Forest Galleries.

Big Unveiling Tomorrow Morning

At 9 am tomorrow (Saturday 30 May 2022) the city is unveiling and “dedicating” the new entrance to Central Park Atenas, even though the renovations are not nearly complete nor will be for some time. They will remove the black plastic from the ATENAS sign and the park workers have been busy trying to get ready! They’ve laid some new grass in that area and have flower there to plant before tomorrow, plus they are taking down that ugly tin construction fence and are re-painting the white skirts around all the trees in the whole park. Plus tents are going up for the typical fiesta day vendors and when I asked at city hall the time of the ceremony (9am) they made sure I knew that there would be live music Saturday night! 🙂 Maybe we really are getting over Covid! Though masks are still required in all public places – even tomorrow! 🙂 And we still have to wash our hands upon entry to all businesses.

Here’s 5 shots made yesterday (Thursday) that indicate they are preparing for tomorrow!

The focal point sign will be unveiled tomorrow morning.
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A Graffiti Replacement

Possibly the best piece of art in all the graffiti around town and definitely my favorite was the one with a big human eye that I’ve shown here before and repeat below. Unfortunately it had been abused by less talented graffiti artists or kids painting over it and the other day I noticed it has now been totally painted over. I guess that is one thing a graffiti artist has to expect at some times, and of course the new one doesn’t even compare in talent, but at least it is fresh. 🙂

New Graffiti on Restrooms Building, Sports Park, Atenas
This is what it replaced.

And a closer up view of my old favorite graffiti . . .

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