WALKING PATHS of My Parents

Like I think nearly all the kids of my generation my Father used to tell us about the long country miles he walked to school in all kinds of weather and indeed his generation were naturally walkers much more than mine, though I walked to school too! Just in a town! 🙂 But of course no photos of him walking. But these two photos of my Mom give a sense of the walking in their age . . .

Mom Walking to School with Cousins & Neighbors Edwin & Harlan Hunt Jr., 1931.
Continue reading “WALKING PATHS of My Parents”

Costa Ricans Live Longer Than Americans. What’s the Secret?

As a kid some pushy boys would challenge you with “I double-dog dare you to . . .” do whatever outlandish thing they thought I or someone else was too scared to do. Well the linked article below in The New Yorker Magazine is a very long article (taking time to read), but if you are really interested in the health of people wherever you live, then I “double-dog dare you” to read the whole article! 🙂 I believe you will be impressed!

It tells the story of a doctor almost my age from Atenas, Costa Rica (my current home town) who revolutionized Costa Rica’s health care system to make it arguably one of, if not the best in the world by blending public health and medical care. It’s a life-changing story for Costa Rica! And it could be for rich, self-centered countries like the U.S. who need to quit fearing “socialism” and start thinking about what is best for ALL the people and not just the RICH few as it now works in the states. I applaud The New Yorker for this excellent article! May America soon wake up! And thanks to Steve for bringing it to my attention! 🙂

COSTA RICANS LIVE LONGER THAN US. WHAT’S THE SECRET?

¡Pura Vida!

Adventure by Chicken Bus

Members of the ARCR (Association of Residents of Costa Rica), an organization formed to help expats get to and live better in Costa Rica get a subscription to the bimonthly magazine El Residente and I hope this link to the March/April 21 issue works for non-members! 🙂

The first main article in this issue is titled “Adventure by Chicken Bus” which is actually one chapter of a book by the same title, this chapter about the Canadian family traveling Central America while homeschooling is specifically about their efforts at helping Costa Rica save the endangered sea turtles on our east coast. A great story for nature lovers and wildlife preservers that will make you want to visit Costa Rica.

At the end of the story is a link to the book by this family’s mother and school teacher, Janet La Sole, Adventures by Chicken Bus, An Unschooling Odyssey Through Central America. Be sure to check out the tab “Chapters Gallery” which summarizes the chapters and where all they traveled through pretty much every country of Central America. Amazing! And they were backpacking with two young girls! That’s her book website. If you want to purchase, go directly to Amazon.com Adventures by Chicken Bus.

And in case you don’t know, “Chicken Bus” is the nickname for the small, rural, cheap buses (Used U.S. school buses painted bright colors) found all over Central America for cheap rural or out of the way places of travel. We do have big, modern buses in Costa Rica between major cities and towns and major tourist attractions, but these are common all over rural Central America and yes, they do carry their chickens on these buses. 🙂

¡Pura Vida!

“Costa Rica Culture” by 7 “Kids”

Back in May 2018 I reviewed here and told about the Costa Rica made movie “Güilas” the title of which is the Costa Rican slang word for children like American English “Kids.” The movie is actually seven short stories about seven different kids, each in a different one of the seven provinces of Costa Rica thus visually showing many parts of this beautiful country and its varied cultures by my favorite Costa Rica Photographer, Sergio Pucci (I use one of his CR Calendars every year for his beautiful photography!). This is one of the best movies I’ve ever seen anywhere and is definitely the best one on the culture of Costa Rica! Well worth $10 USD from Vimeo!

One of the 7 Stories:

One of the seven short stories – this in the Caribe, Limon Province.
Continue reading ““Costa Rica Culture” by 7 “Kids””

La Fortuna Waterfall with Friends

I use Walter’s Transportation for all my surface trips with Walter driving sometimes and other times one of his drivers, Cristian, takes me. Because Walter had shoulder surgery Cristian took me last Monday and brought me back today (Sunday). He asked my permission to bring his wife and daughter with him on the return trip and I was delighted to have them! A child makes going to a waterfall even more fun! 🙂 And I know . . . I’m actually a child too! 🙂

The Feature Photo is my driver Cristian and his family at the middle overlook. The gallery below has different views of the falls and the stream below the plunge pool which is safer for families with children to swim, while teens & young adults go into the plunge pool. Both too cold for me! 🙂 But many of the young seem to enjoy it, including Cristian’s daughter who is wading in last photo below. CLICK image to enlarge or start a manual slideshow:

This makes Waterfall Number 43 that I have photographed so far in Costa Rica and I will be adding it to my “Arenal Volcano Area Waterfalls” sub-gallery of my Waterfalls CR Gallery.

I have serval more “significant” falls I want to add to my collection before I publish a Costa Rica Waterfalls book, but maybe in the next year or two! 🙂

“Playing together in nature is as much about us as it is about the child. Children get to celebrate and be themselves, while we are reminded of our inner child – the essence of who we are.”

~Nicolette Sowder

¡Pura Vida!

Central Park Renovation Update

It’s been awhile since I’ve reported since not much obvious work has been going on except for 2 to 4 men most days working on this one radial sidewalk from the central kiosk to the northeast corner of the park since January. It has taken much of 5 months with 7 more sidewalks to go, it may be awhile before the renovation is complete!    🙂

At least I’ve learned that the sidewalks will be concrete rather than the old brick sidewalks, which at first was disappointing for the historical look, but they are definitely going for a modern look and concrete will also be more practical and cost less I would imagine and the younger generations everywhere definitely prefer modern. There is a trough down the center of the sidewalk which will probably be used to hide electrical wires, since the storm drain is a bigger pipe already buried under all this.

I like the two half circles off this walk with built-in seating for groups to assemble or people in general to visit. And not only are there built-in seats in the circle, but all the sidewalk walls are at sitting level, meaning there will be a lot more seating than the old park benches have provided. And that fits the purpose of bringing people together and the new modern look of the park too! I like it! When finished, the Central Park will really be the center of life in Atenas!

20200330_103218_001-WEB
My date on this is March 30, so from this point to below in 2+ months, though they really started here in January of 2020. A long time for one sidewalk with 2 seating areas!
20200602_104801_001-WEB
Entrance from the NE corner of park across from POP’s Ice Cream. Brick is city sidewalk.
20200602_104901_001-WEB
There are two of these sitting areas off this radial walk.
20200602_104944_001-WEB
This is same as above seen from the other direction.
20200602_104925_001-WEB
The other sitting area is closer to center of park and has steps & wheelchair ramp. Tarp is workers’ for rain and sun during this construction.

 

“Parks and playgrounds are the soul of a city.”
― Marty Rubin

 

The Architect Plans Facebook Page has been taken down or the old link doesn’t work now. Sorry.

See my Central Park Renovation Photo Gallery  with chronological photos of the progress.

¡Pura Vida!

Grieving the Downfall of America

I envision Jesus weeping over Jerusalem in Matthew 23:37-39 and Luke 19:41-44, and wonder:  Has He already given up on the United States? Or is He still crying and hoping? Or maybe rolling his eyes in hopelessness? 

I grew up assuming I was in the greatest country in the world. I was told so repeatedly as a child and was proud of being born on the fourth of July! I enjoyed the patriotism of Boy Scouts, flags, school programs, marching bands and the holiness of church. That was while growing up. Then I became a cynical adult, progressively seeing more of the under-belly of that “don’t Tread on Me” snake, the self-centered hypocrisy of leaders, even in church, and was becoming disillusioned. Today, living in another country, it is embarrassing to admit that I’m an “American” – though the title rightfully belongs to more than just the states; to all of north, central and south Americans. (That’s another issue!)   🙂

I believe that the Racist & Fascist Republican Party and their immoral idiot president are destroying what is left of an already failing “great nation.” They promised to “Make America Great Again” and now . . .

MAGA is the . . .

1. GREATEST PLACE ON EARTH FOR RICH PEOPLE with the biggest inequities between rich and poor in the world and constantly getting more so as Republicans continue to give tax breaks to the rich that the poor and middle class must pay for and do everything they can to keep the poor and racial minorities from voting. Great? No, pitiful!

“An imbalance between rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics.”     –Plutarch

 

2. GREATEST RACISM in the world with a white supremacist president they fully endorse and mimic while calling KKK and killer cops “good people.” I’m not sure if racism is the country’s “original sin” as some say, but it is something real leadership would help the country to come face to face with and correct! It is a major factor in the downfall of the states, while Republicans show much more concern over the looting of millionaire businesses than the murder of an innocent, unarmed father. Not Great! Pitiful!

“At the heart of racism is the religious assertion that God made a creative mistake when He brought some people into being.”         – Friedrich Otto Hertz

 

3. GREATEST AMOUNT OF VIOLENCE IN THE DEVELOPED WORLD with so-called “Christians” embracing the NRA, Tea Party, international warmongering, the military industry, and the political party that kills in every realm while supposedly championing “Right to Life” so they can control someone else’s body. Why is the hypocrisy not obvious to them? Why do they look the other way as gun violence in America increases almost daily along with police violence? Trump cheered the gun-toting demonstrators against life-saving pandemic closings but says to shoot those who demonstrate for justice. Why do they accept money from NRA and the war industries to continue promoting violence daily in America and war overseas?  Greatness? No! It is selfish power and control like the fascists of Italy or Nazis of Germany. Great? God help us!

“We lose eight children and teenagers to gun violence every day. If a mysterious virus suddenly started killing eight of our children every day, America would mobilize teams of doctors and public health officials. We would move heaven and earth until we found a way to protect our children. But not with gun violence.”
― Elizabeth Warren

 

4. GREATEST IMMORALITY IN THE WORLD! Republicans and evangelicals support an adulterous president who averages 15 documented lies a day, brags about sexually assaulting women, name-calls worse than any spoiled brat, encourages violence and hatred, demonstrates bigotry daily, has caused the death of thousands more because he would not accept the world pandemic and do something early, and well, the list has no end with so much immorality in the White House and the Republican Senate that it is nauseating. And to think that some of these hypocrites used to call themselves “The Moral Majority.” Ha, ha!  Greatness? Not in my book!

“How can one be well…when one suffers morally?”
― Leo Tolstoy

 

5. GREATEST FAILURE OF HEALTHCARE SYSTEMS IN THE DEVELOPED WORLD. Oh? You like it? Then you must be rich! Like almost everything else in the U.S. it is for only the rich and about money – with Republicans helping insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies and for-profit hospitals get richer by the day and if you are rich, money can buy you almost everything, even good healthcare! While the poor, most middle class and the elderly without money suffer or do without. And they are still trying to destroy the one Affordable Healthcare Act the government has provided in years. The private healthcare system that rules in the USA is a disgrace to the country and just one more of the reasons I left. 

“America’s health care system is neither healthy, caring, nor a system.”
― Walter Cronkite

 

6. GREATEST ANTI-DEMOCRACY “DEMOCRACY” IN THE WORLD!  The whole Republican philosophy of governing is for select rich people to rule and keep the poor and the minorities under their thumb. They’ve continued that in so many ways as they support the most autocratic and self-centered president in the nations’s history – a true fascist and racist. And in their unfair ways of making the judicial system political, and their systematic ways of suppressing the public vote they thumb their noses at the people. They believe the country should be run by the rich plantation owners and the poor people be damned! While in my opinion, so-called “leaders” like Trump, McConnell and Barr belong in jail.

“The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerated the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than the democratic state itself. That in its essence is fascism: ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or any controlling private power.”
― Franklin D. Roosevelt

 

7. GREATEST ANTI-ENVIRONMENT COUNTRY IN THE WORLD! Totally ignoring global warming and the huge climate crisis that will destroy much of the world we know today is almost a requirement to be a Republican and especially a Trump supporter.  You must support the destructive oil and energy companies but never the health of the earth! 10 to 20 years from now some of you will look back on this time and wish you had taken a different attitude. The climate crisis is real and destructive! Your children will pay for your sins.

“We are the first generation to feel the effect of climate change and the last generation who can do something about it.”   

~Barack Obama

 

8. GREATEST ISOLATIONISTS OF MODERN HISTORY and maybe all history! We used to be the world leader and now the USA has become the selfish rich kid, building a wall around himself as we pull out of WHO, UN, NATO, the Paris Agreement, etc. ignoring our friends and becoming a more selfish or self-centered nation. And you wonder why the U.S. has little respect around the world? It used to be different, even with some Republicans . . . 

The United States will not retreat from the world, and we will never surrender to evil. America rejects the false comfort of isolationism.
― George W. Bush

Yep! That’s MAGA! If you like that, then, by all means Vote Republican! 

But if you want to save America from its selfish self before it is too late, vote Democrat at every level of government! This November election may be the most critical ever in our history! Please vote Democrat!  Save the U.S.!

Un-immersed

Is that a word?   🙂   Well, anyway, I finished my week of Spanish Language Immersion and can say that it was very good or helpful! The most effective language immersion class/living is when one does it for two months straight or longer, then you are more or less fluent, people tell me. If I had my move to Costa Rica to do over, I would have scheduled the first two months in language immersion, but I didn’t – so I will keep up my plodding along here in Atenas with a tutor two hours a week along with relating to locals in Spanish and I may go back to Heredia for some more one week experiences in the future. We will see. It is not as expensive as my birding trips but nor is it as much fun!   🙂

The featured photo is from my breakfast table back home in Atenas this morning (got in last night) with that pretty pink-blooming tree on the horizon. It is always good to “get back home” after a trip. And in a lesser sense, I still have a type of language immersion living in Atenas, just not in my house! Though I guess I could talk to myself in Spanish!   🙂   I use only Spanish here with taxistas, at the supermercado, mostly in restaurants & other business and with my tutor – so not bad – but still not quite like the full immersion of this past week.

I recommend the experience and really liked the folks at Tico Lingo which I recommend, though I can’t compare it to any of the many other such programs here or in other countries. My uncle and some friends had good experiences at a similar program in Antigua, Guatemala while I have known others to do it in various places in Mexico – thus there are many opportunities if you are interested! And remember that living in a local home that speaks only Spanish is maybe just as important as the several hours of class work in the school.   🙂   AND using the language when you leave!  🙂  And I just now found one website that compares 18 such schools mostly geared to youth also wanting a beach experience and it doesn’t even include Tico Lingo, but if interested check out: Language Schools. My relocation tour stopped at two of these schools for quick introductions and there are more than these!

Speaking in Spanish with other students was also helpful. I was at a lower level than the one group class during my week, thus I had a solo class or 3 hours of personal tutoring each morning which was definitely best for me, but I did go out to lunch with some others and practiced with them a little, though it’s too easy to relapse into English with other Americans!   🙂

20200228_120542_002-A-WEB
They have “Graduation” every week! Me with my certificate & Profesora Ana.

20200228_133029_001-A-WEB
And as I left my home for the week 4-year-old Daniela said “adios” to me!

 

And of course I have a “Trip Gallery” of photos from this week, titled:

2020 February 22-28 — Heredia for Spanish Immersion

 

“The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.”
~Ludwig Wittgenstein

¡Pura Vida!

 

 

Tico Casa & Heredia Central

I had a great dinner last night with Vera and Daniela off and on with others out – it was arroz con pollo or chicken and rice with a typical Tico breakfast this morning of Gallo Pinto or beans and rice with egg and coffee and bread and a big plate of fruta and glass of juice! I ate breakfast with Jose, I neat young guy from a little village an 8 hour bus ride south of here near the Panama border. He works for a robotics company and goes to the university in night school for more robotics skills. Lots of different things are manufactured here in Costa Rica and there are some really sharp young people here!

If there is any downside of a boarding house it is sharing the bathroom with many other people. No wait for my shower this morning, but after breakfast before leaving for school I could not brush my teeth because it was occupied. It is all part of “being family” or sharing which is ultimately a joy!   🙂

I had a good morning at school today followed by a tour of downtown Heredia with lunch at the Central Mercado, a typical lunch plate called a “casado” which is your choice of meat and an assortment of vegetables, rice and salad served for lunch everywhere in Costa Rica, like what Mamma would serve you at home. The word “casado” literally means “married” and implies that if you are married this is what your wife will serve you for lunch.  🙂  I will report on the school tomorrow and Wednesday I’m going to the Toucan Rescue Ranch for another interesting experience. Never a dull moment! Even when learning!

Casa de Garcia

A 4-bedroom Boarding House Apartment

 

Heredia Central

CLICK AN IMAGE TO ENLARGE

And of course I have a “Trip Gallery” of photos from this week, titled:

2020 February 22-28 — Heredia for Spanish Immersion

¡Pura Vida!

Arrival at My Hostess House

One Tico family picked me up at the airport and took me to la casa de Doña Vera Garcia with a hardy welcome from a very energetic & talkative 4 year old Daniela. Her father, Daniel, was working late tonight at the shoe store in the nearby Mall. There are 2 other boarders here, college-age Tico boys from smaller towns going to trade schools here in Heredia, a very big suburb of San Jose. The students went out and will eat here later as many Ticos do, but I ate at about 6:30 (late for me) and talked the best I could with Vera in my malo español.

The small apartment complex where they live became more lively as it got dark and people came home from work with little Daniela running in and out of the house and relating to all the neighbors and many coming in our house visiting; a close, friendly community, like a big family with everybody talking, in Spanish of course, and usually much faster than I can understand. And who knows where the college boys went? But first, one of them helped me get on the WiFi which Vera didn’t understand. And I settled down in my private room working on my computer. It is much cooler here than in Atenas and noisier because we are near downtown Heredia. I’ll be in bed soon. Hope I can sleep. Big day tomorrow!

 

And of course I have a “Trip Gallery” of photos from this week, titled:

2020 February 22-28 — Heredia for Spanish Immersion

 

¡Pura Vida!