Everywhere in the world governments are slow to fix potholes in roads. This Tico found an interesting way to reprimand our government here in Costa Rica. Just use the potholes for flowerpots! 🙂 I love it! In your face government people, “these potholes’ are in front of my house!” They are on the gravel extension of Avenida 8 in Atenas where I walk sometimes and find things to photograph. This is one of the more interesting photos to me. 🙂
In an effort to include some Costa Rica Culture in my blog, I copied this from the Golden Gringo Newsletter, which is okay because he copied it from a local online newspaper! 🙂 He came here a year or so before me from the states as a retiree (younger than me) who chose to live near a beach and fishing place, Quepos on the Pacific Coast near Manuel Antonio NP. He’s a lot different than me, but I semi-follow his newsletter for his impression of things here.
And note that the original list below was most likely aimed at and/or written by young adult or teen Costa Ricans (Ticos) as a form of humor. But there is some real culture here! 🙂
Feature photo is mine of young adult Ticos in an Atenas parade (for a traditional look), but the copied stock photo above is more typical of young people here! 🙂 Below copied from Golden Gringo Chronicles:
“We’re Not the Happiest on the Planet for Nothing” 🙂
You had your first coffee before you were 5 years old. Your mom would mix it with extra milk so it wouldn’t taste so strong. She’s the reason you developed an addiction to it and now drink at least 3 cups a day. (But their also have been numerous articles in the press in recent years on the health benefits of coffee)
You don’t refer to someone as a person, you say “mae” (pronounced my). ‘Mae’ is everyone and anyone, either feminine or masculine (esa mae or ese mae). When talking to your friends, it’s not uncommon to hear the word mae at least 50 times in one conversation. (especially among teenagers, the closest modern equivalent to “mae” in English being “dude”)
You include partying in your monthly budget. It doesn’t matter if there’s nothing going on, you will find a reason to celebrate. You double your party budget if La Sele (the national soccer team) is playing that month. (in Covid times you can still watch the Sele on TV)
You don’t say 1000 colones, you say “un rojo.” (rojo, a “red” or un mil) In Costa Rica the 1000 colon bill is red in color (rojo in Spanish), so you denominate money as un rojo, dos rojos, diez rojos, and so on. For example, you say “I paid diez rojos for that ticket.” One million is “un melón,” just because it rhymes.
You use trees and house colors to give directions. From the mango tree, turn left and keep going 2 apples (blocks), it’s the third house on the right, watermelon color with a palm tree in the front. Street names — who needs them?
You know about Tico time. If someone says: “I’ll meet you at 4,” you know it probably means the person might be leaving the house at that time. Not proud of this one, but we Ticos are not exactly known for being punctual.
You say Pura Vida for everything. Used a hundred times a day to say hi, goodbye, thank you, you’re welcome, to express well-being, or to say something is good or nice, Pura Vida (pure life) is your mantra.
You eat tamales for breakfast, lunch, and dinner on Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Your mom makes a huge batch of traditional tamales for the holidays and you are responsible for eating half of them, it’s your duty.
You honed your salsa dancing and merengue skills in family reunions. Your aunt, uncle, mom, or cousin made you dance with them at all family gatherings. You might have hated it back then, but at least now you can dance.
You secretly speak Pachuca (street slang). Even though you might not use it often, you can speak it fluently. You know that tuanis means good, that mopri (a mix of the letters of primo) means mae, that the police are los pacos, your car is la nave watched over by el guachi, and your job is el yugo. En ‘toas…it’s good, mae!
Like the hills yesterday, I never tire of trying to get a better photo of the Atenas Central Catholic Church, especially from the Roca Verde hills, so here’s another one! 🙂 The official name (en español) and website link is Parroquia San Rafael Arcángel.
The cluster of palms in front of the church is the Central Park which has been closed since March because of the pandemic, as has the church for large crowds, just open for solo prayers and small groups distanced and masked. Costa Rica has taken the pandemic seriously with national mask and distancing required, no large gatherings and strict restaurant rules, though unfortunately many restaurants have closed permanently for a lack of business. A sad time for many people world-wide. But the central church is still a symbol of hope for many. And fortunately Costa Rica has fewer cases of COVID19 than any other Central American country.
And some trivia . . .
Most Catholic Churches face west so worshippers are facing east towards Jerusalem. I haven’t put a compass to it, but have been told that is the case here. In Costa Rica it is also tradition for most central parks to have the central church on the east side of the park and on the west side of the park, opposite the church, is a Banco Nacional, the main national bank in Costa Rica. That is the case in Atenas and Alajuela I know and in many other towns when I’ve thought to check. Hmmmm . . . is that elevating money? Sounds more like the U.S. 🙂
Well, maybe TMI – too much information! But I find it fascinating living in a culture that I did not grow up in and thus notice little things like these and I love living here! For more pix of just Atenas, see my Atenas Galleries and CR People, Fiestas & Arts (mostly Atenas).
“Let the villages of the future live in our imagination, so that we might one day come to live in them!” ~Mahatma Gandhi
I never get tired of photographing the hills across our little valley and just keep trying to make a different image or view of the same hills I see daily. I would prefer them without the cell phone towers, but the modern society would argue that they are absolutely necessary! 🙂 Debatable! 🙂
On yesterday morning’s walk this was one of the few birds seen and the only one that really interested me, a Fiery-billed Aracari, maybe a young adult or older juvenile because he seemed smaller than many of the others I’ve seen. This one was just 3 doors up from my house and solo which is unusual. I’ve had them on my terrace only once and they are known as a Pacific coast only bird, though Atenas is just an hour drive from that coast. The very similar Collared Aracari is considered an Atlantic Coast or Caribbean-side bird and he too comes into the Central Valley sometimes. Read more about this one on the e-Bird Fiery-billed Aracari page. And/or see my Fiery-billed Aracari Gallery with the best shots made on my terrace the one time they came. This bird is in the toucan family (a smaller cousin) and almost exclusively found in Costa Rica with a few in Panama along the Costa Rica border, also on the Pacific side only.
“What I saw was just one eye In the dawn as I was going: A bird can carry all the sky In that little button glowing.
Never in my life I went So deep into the firmament.”
Not only does one create his/her own happiness but also the world in which you want to live. When I moved into this fairly new rent house it had the basic trees and shrubs but I immediately planted a garden and added other plants around the yard and that now big Cecropia tree that appears in so many of my photos.
Another one of those early plantings was a row of palms outside my two bedrooms to gain additional privacy from the street that my bedrooms face, howbeit down a steep hill through lots of other trees and flowers and my big Strangler Fig Tree. It was not only for additional privacy but for the feeling that I live in a forest as seen from any of my windows and doors. Yes – we can create our own world! That is what I was trying to show in an earlier post: My Windows – My World, and back then the above bedroom window feature photo was different with an indoor palm (at right). I have to change pot plants occasionally because this window gets minimal sunshine! 🙂
And because it also changes a lot, there’s another earlier post titled Kitchen Window View. I love being surrounded by nature, the main art in my house along with some of my nature photos.
“Nature is the art of God.”
“Just remember life is all an illusion…..
it’s your creation and you can dismantle it and re-create at will.”
An article in Tico Times on how Canada and U.S. Citizens can win one of 15 free trips to Costa Rica for 2 people each. Just write a brief article or statement on an “Essential Person” to you during the pandemic. The 15 best will be published and you get the free trip! 🙂
Yeah . . . that’s sort of how I get it – every morning at breakfast – from a slanted, sideways view (obliquely) with the distant hills lit first, then part of the town and then it reaches my tiny patch of wildness. Kind of fun – makes me smile – and it’s a great way to start a day! 🙂
The feature photo is of sunrise over Atenas as seen from 105 Roca Verde yesterday morning. The sun is rising from behind a hill to my far right, thus not hitting me yet, but it soon will! 🙂 Our world can be magical!
My Vistas Gallery has lots of different kinds of sunrises & sunsets – all of which are fun! 🙂
“There’s a sunrise and a sunset every single day, and they’re absolutely free. Don’t miss so many of them.”
“Practice any art . . . not to get money and fame, but to experience becoming, to find out what’s inside you, to make your soul grow.” ~Kurt Vonnegut
And that quote, I just found, describes exactly what I am doing with my photography, with this blog, and with me being “Retired in Costa Rica!” I am becoming, discovering and growing. Living in and focusing on nature is my idea of life now, “almost heaven.” 🙂
The feature photo of a Red-eyed Tree Frog in the hand of another nature explorer at Aguila de Osa Lodge, Drake Bay, is an example of what lights up my life! As is the frog on the cover of my latest photo book below, photographed with my simple cell phone at the Danta Corcovado Lodge, Los Patos Ranger Station, Corcovado National Park. Frogs are almost as dear to me as birds! 🙂