Next Week’s Adventure

Sometimes I think I’m the luckiest guy in the world! Being “Retired in Costa Rica” is simply perfect for me, even if I never left my little casita and garden in Atenas! But on top of that I get to continue exploring one of the most beautiful and ecologically diverse countries in the world! And next week it is to a place that not only have I not seen, but I am yet to meet anyone else who has been there! Even my driver will be going for his first time!   🙂

I urge you to watch their beautifully created introductory nature video to see part of what I will experience next week and also as an expression of why I love Costa Rica so much! Nature!       🙂

Just click the Macaw logo below to see it on YouTube. I’ll give you their website link further down.

This small eco lodge has only eight rooms and is recommended by National Geographic Society. I expect stellar service and food along with my full immersion in the wilderness! The video does not mention birding (I don’t do yoga), but they have birding guides and multiple options for birding with of course many trails I can explore on my own. And they will be my third lodge to visit that has installed Macaw Nesting Boxes, what may save a whole species from extinction!

My current approach to trips is to stay most of a week with birding in the mornings followed by relaxation and photo processing in the afternoon with a great evening meal and early to bed. Some places are more designed for my kind of schedule and I think this is going to be one of those! And may become one of my new favorites! Now explore their website by clicking the link below:

Macaw Lodge Website

As with most good lodges, there’s a lot to explore on their website as well as on their grounds, like their secret gardens and birding trails, their own waterfall with plunge pool swimming hole, their farm where most food I’ll eat is raised, unlimited birds, insects and other nature to photograph and much more! Six nights there will give me time to explore and discover another great getaway to which I already expect I’ll return! I love new discoveries!   🙂

Keep close to Nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.  ~John Muir

¡Pura Vida!

Evening Gardening

While I was out for dinner between 5 & 6 at Parrillada Androvetto Atenas for my weekly steak at the the place in Atenas with the best meats in my opinion, my gardener Cristian came to do the little job I had requested and then sent me a WhatsApp cellphone photo of his work since I was not there. Ahhhh! The joys of being “Retired in Costa Rica!”

red.anthurium.flowers-450x540On the back side of my house the tile sidewalk continues alongside a concrete retainer wall with a narrow flower bed totally in the shade. Much of what was there had died out and I asked for a re-planting, just some interesting green plants that grow in the shade (sombra). The first photo below is the one Cristian sent me and the second one I took from the other direction after I got home about 6:15 when it is dark here. (Both sunrise and sunset year-around here is between 5:15 and 6:15, meaning 12 hour days and 12 hour nights year-around.) I did have my garden lights on which helped with the photo.  🙂 And he not only put a variety of green and colored leaves but also included two flowers, two Anthuriums! Now the one bare spot I had to see when I walk through my garden is again beautiful and will “fill out” or “fill in” as the plants grow. Another beautiful rainy season in Costa Rica!   🙂

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The photo Cristian sent me of his plantings
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My photo from other direction in the dark with lights on.

“Flowers… are a proud assertion that a ray of beauty out values all the utilities in the world.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

¡Pura Vida!

 

P.S.

I recently discovered on our limited Costa Rica Netflix a fun BBC gardening show call “Big Dreams Small Spaces” with the famous English gardener Monty Don helping people turn ugly little yards into beautiful gardens of their dreams. A fun diversion! Check it out!   🙂

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology

For those who love birds and realize their importance in the future of planet earth, I hope you have already discovered The Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

It is from this institution or website that I have my best bird identifier, the free app available from your phone app store called:   Merlin

The basic app is for North American birds, but includes for many countries, like Costa Rica, a download for free of your country-specific birds. The quickest, easiest and cheapest way of identifying birds you see or photograph.

And participate in the research and learning about birds plus create your own checklist of birds seen through their online base program eBird (also with a phone app):

I have also starting taking online classes on their website, the first of which is free and introduces you to eBird, your personal online record of birds seen.

One of their latest award-winning documentary videos is is worth seeing just the free 2 minute preview:  Bird of Prey  about the rarest eagle in the world in the Philippines.

If you love and appreciate birds, I hope you will learn about and connect with

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology

¡Pura Vida!

Living with Bugs!

For anyone considering retirement or otherwise living in Costa Rica, be forewarned that you must learn to live with the 300,000+ species of insects here on this land bridge between North and South America (with insects from both continents!). The featured image at top is of two “Jewel Bugs” or “Metallic Shield Bugs” I photographed in Corcovado National Park. Below photo I made this morning of a “Leafcutter Ant” on my terrace carrying a flower petal (bougainvillea) instead of a piece of leaf, which is common.

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Leafcutter Ant on my Terrace this morning.

Many of the insects that pester me seem to come in waves; like just before rainy season the little long-winged fliers that dropped or left their long beige wings all over my bathroom, or the first two weeks of rain was the invasion of houseflies (which Deep Woods OFF doesn’t seem to affect!), and right now there are hundreds of tiny little black & green beetles on the walls, around the lights and all over me! I even got one going down my ear the other night – ugh! They don’t bite, but a bother! Too small to photograph.

My biggest deterrent to the many kinds of bugs are the Geckos that live in literally every room of my house and I think eat most types of insects. From my first day here I have tried to photograph the larger insects (some are just too tiny) and you can see my collection in the gallery named INSECTS CR under OTHER WILDLIFE in the main gallery. There are more than 100 species of insects in my gallery and especially interesting or unusual are those in the sub-gallery Other Insects, like the above Jewel Bugs, many of which I have not been able to identify. And all of which serve a purpose in the cycles of life. Of course the most popular sub-gallery is Butterfly & Moth (81+ Species).

A Break From Blogging

For regular readers, I assume you have noticed several days without a post. Sometimes I just doesn’t feel like writing and/or in this case got focused on my old photos again as I am slowly adding them to my galleries, particularly the Pre-Costa Rica TRAVEL  galleries. It is a slow and labor-intensive process that eventually I will complete. I uploaded all of my international trips first and now working on USA trips from the most recent going back. Then comes the most, Tennessee travels. And most of these are after my retirement began at the end of 2002. I have been blessed to have seen so much of the world and get to know so many cool people!

20190604_111253[1]-A-WEBSunday afternoon I was a part of the Board of Directors meeting for the local children’s home, Hogar de Vida. The rest of the board seemed surprised and appreciative that I am the first person to include the children’s home in my will. But I am not a very good board member because I am not fluent in Spanish, in which all business is carried on!  🙂

Living Slow

Otherwise I am “Living Slow” as my sloth T-shirt says!

 

A fast approach tends to be a superficial one, but when you slow down you begin to engage more deeply with whatever it is you’re doing. You’re also forced to confront what’s happening inside you – which is one of the reasons why I think we find it so hard to slow down. Speed becomes a form of denial. It’s a way of running away from those more deeper, tangled problems. Instead of focusing on questions like who am I, and what is my role here, it all becomes a superficial to-do list.

— Carl Honoré

How to start a slow living lifestyle.

¡Pura Vida!

 

“3 Little Things”

Yesterday morning as I started to walk to town it was raining, thus I took a taxi. So I had to walk back from town since that is my only exercise here! With only a tiny sprinkle occasionally, I enjoyed these wet “3 little things” along the way and here are my shots of one day’s “eye candy” in little Atenas, Alajuela, Costa Rica.

Wet Passion Flower in someone’s yard
Nasty Storm Sewer Waterfall along the way – But sort of pretty!   🙂
Central Park Progress? They keep welding more pieces to the future band shell. But now the rainy season will slow progress even more. In the meantime my landlord has nearly completed a whole house! 🙂   Our government at work! Slowly!    🙂 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clouds & Rain

May is the beginning of “Rainy Season” in the Central Valley of Costa Rica including Atenas and this year there has been more rain and clouds than I remember having my previous four Mays and most agree, while the real “oldtimers” say this is just the old normal for the first month of rainy season. So . . . whatever! Things are fresh and green all over Costa Rica right now and it is my favorite time of year and though locals call it “Winter,” most also prefer this time of year too. And less gringos too!  🙂  Just a shower every afternoon and some early mornings or at night which I like for sleeping!   🙂

The top photo is a panorama of 4 shots with my 600mm telephoto lens and below is the less-focused snap of Atenas Central on my cell phone, both from my terrace at breakfast this morning.

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AccuWeather Forecast for Atenas – centigrade temps of course!  🙂

Weather Channel 10-day Forecast for Atenas  – both fairly accurate

 

The best thing one can do when it’s raining is to let it rain.

~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

¡Pura Vida!

Surprise WhatsApp Message Today

MonteverdeThis morning I received a WhatsApp Voice Message with the above photo from Rodiber, my guide at Monteverde last month. He was thanking me profusely for the autographed copy of my Monteverde photo book for himself, Costa Rica Expeditions (who service this hotel) and the hotel Monteverde Lodge & Gardens. The girl in photo is one of the several front desk persons who were all very helpful to me during my stay. I sent two copies of book, one for my guide and one for the hotel to use at front desk, in lobby or in their little loaner-library of books for guests.

Since I make a book for most of my trips or the first trip to a lodge, I usually send two books like this. I just concluded my second trip to Selva Verde Lodge and right now not planning a second book. Their two guides on my first visit plus the front desk got copies of my 2016 Selva Verde trip book.

I really enjoy surprising my hosts in thanks for a good experience with the little photo books – not something they expect nor receive from other guests. This is the first one to send me a photo with their thank-you note. A surprise for me now! My response was the typical Costa Rican response to a “Thank You!” which is ¡Con mucho gusto! “With much pleasure!” Ticos are such beautiful people!     🙂

Art must take reality by surprise.

Francoise Sagan

¡Pura Vida!

Art is 1 Reason for San Jose Visits

I decided early in my visiting of Costa Rica to not live in the big capital city of San Jose because I wanted a more tranquil retirement life than most big cities can provide in their, busy, hectic, crowded, expensive and sometimes dangerous ways.

My first choice was always to live in the woods away from everything, but that would require an expensive 4WD car which I early decided I would do without plus in many cases it is actually more expensive, plus generally no where near the needed shopping and medical care a retiree needs.

Thus the “happy medium” or compromise location of the “Central Valley” of Costa Rica within easy bus or other transportation to the best shopping and medical facilities in the country (like most retirees to CR), yet still a somewhat easy trip to escape into the national parks and forests of Costa Rica which has worked well for me. And nature in the far corners of Costa Rica continues to be my focus.   🙂

BUT . . . sometimes there are fun reasons to visit the big city and especially an old, historic and artsy Latin-American city like San Jose (see my Trip Galleries below). Christopher Howard also explains it well in one of his latest blog posts:

Why Expat Retirees Shouldn’t Ignore Costa Rica’s Capital

And in that article you can see why I love the many parks in the city, plus the architecture, a tour I made of just the old colonial churches, the arts, the many museums, art in general and as shown here, as an example, some of the many public art sculptures in San Jose:

 

See my photo gallery San Jose     and/or

My SAN JOSE TRIP GALLERIES: 

San Jose Tented Production of the Cirque du Soleil

¡Pura Vida!

Selva Verde Sarapiqui Gallery

The trip photo gallery is completed! You can see my photos of this latest birding trip at:

https://charliedoggett.smugmug.com/TRIPS/2019-May-9-15-Selva-Verde-Lodge-Sarapiqui

Or click this print screen image of the gallery:

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And how about my earlier visit to this same hotel with even more birds? See the TRIP GALLERY:  2016 December 23-27 – Selva Verde Lodge, Sarapiqui   or click the print screen image of that earlier gallery:

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Same Lodge  –  Two Visits!

See also the LODGE WEBSITE

¡Pura Vida!

Boat Safari

On Saturday, my 3rd day here I chose to do the boat tour of part of the Sarapiqui River and part on the Puerto Viejo River. When I was here before in a December it was one of my best places for a large number of bird, but this time, like everywhere else in May, there were not as many birds. But it was still a good tour and a nice young couple from Austin, TX also in Selva Verde Lodge went on the same tour with me plus about 5 others on the boat. Here’s my photos in three categories:

Birds on the River

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Other Wildlife on the River

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Boat & River Shots

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“Have you also learned that secret from the river; that there is no such thing as time?” That the river is everywhere at the same time, at the source and at the mouth, at the waterfall, at the ferry, at the current, in the ocean and in the mountains, everywhere and that the present only exists for it, not the shadow of the past nor the shadow of the future.” 
― Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha

 

¡Pura Vida!