Bird of Paradise Flower

Bird of Paradise Flower (Wikipedia link). It’s another of the many flowers in the hotel garden and this one was not included in my first flower post from here. Though they can grow in gardens here, I rarely see them. Some have one small plant in a pot (like at Xandari), but this hotel has a flower bed full of them with many blooming right now. First time I’ve seen this many together. Another plus for this hotel.

Bird of Paradise Flower, Best Western Plus, San Jose, Costa Rica

And finally, Rainy Season has started in the Central Valley, first week of May like normal. You may remember that I thought it was starting early this year with multiple rains the first week of April, but that was a false start with little more until now! 🙂 “Rainy Season” (May to November) is also called “Green Season” here and it is my favorite time of year, plus fewer tourists, since northerners like to come when it is cold & snowy up north and is the “Dry Season” here (December-April). See more flowers in my Flora & Forest Galleries.

¡Pura Vida!

Crimson-fronted Parakeet

Yes, they look like parrots and are as big as some parrots, but are officially parakeets. We have this Crimson-fronted Parakeet (eBird link) and an orange-chinned one in Atenas and I have photos of them at my house and on a nearby country road, but they are usually higher up the hills and always in the tops of the trees, generally in flocks. Very difficult to photograph. See my other photos in my Crimson-fronted Parakeet Gallery.

Here they are in the top of the hotel’s big tree and even from the 4th floor they are hard to photograph as they come through just before sunset in poor light, snacking on the berries before going uphill to their night roosting tree. A colorful addition to this colorful garden!

Crimson-fronted Parakeet, San Jose, Costa Rica

And more photos . . .

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And more awards for Costa Rica! We rank #1 in Latin American and #5 in the world, after Norway, Finland, Sweden, and Denmark in the 2021 Press Freedom Index. Check out that link on the “Reporters Without Borders” website. Meanwhile the arrogant USA ranks 44th while one of its political parties fights against freedom of the press, calling them “Fake News.” Sad.

¡Pura Vida!

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 . . .

Continue reading “My World From Above This Week”

Woodpecker Helps ID Tree

Though I was planning to ask the gardener at the hotel Monday after I arrive, I’m satisfied that I have now identified “the big tree” at Best Western San Jose. First, my driver Walter told me that he was pretty sure it is a “Laurel de la India” tree (“Indian Laurel” in English), I decided to research it online. One of the sites had a photo of its seasonal yellow berries and I said to myself, “That is it!” I then checked my photos of a female Hoffman’s Woodpecker (eBird link) and sure enough, the same berries and leaves in both photos. Tree positively identified! 🙂

Female Hoffman’s Woodpecker in the Indian Laurel Tree

In this age of the internet, I again find that different websites have different information on this Indian Laurel Tree, also called a Ficus microcarpa on some websites, but if you look up the Spanish name, Laurel de la India, they call it a Ficus benjamina which would be Benjamin Ficus in English or a first cousin to the other Ficus, but still a little confusing. 🙂

Laurel de la India or Indian Laurel — Ficus microcarpa or Ficus benjamina.

And, if you are really into trees, see my Costa Rica Trees photo gallery.

¡Pura Vida!

This Dove is all over the garden . . .

Just as common as the Yigüirro ( CR national bird) I showed yesterday from the San Jose Best Western Garden, is this White-winged Dove (eBird link). He/she (male/female identical) seem to be in every part of the garden and maybe fly around more than most of the other birds. And yes, he is common in my garden in Atenas also, but now I’m focusing on birds seen in San Jose! 🙂 Though posting this from Atenas over the weekend.

White-winged Dove in the big tree

And three more dove photos . . .

Continue reading “This Dove is all over the garden . . .”

Nest of Baby Yigüirros

I knew when I saw that huge tree outside my room that I would have a good chance of seeing birds even though it was windy much of this first week, but finding a nest of baby birds is always an extra treat. First I saw this Yigüirro (local Spanish name) or Clay-colored Thrush (English name) flying into the joint of a sawed-off limb on the tree. After further examination through my telephoto camera lens, and several shots of only the mother sitting on the nest, I managed to get a few shots of the babies’ open mouths and then watch the mother regularly return with food for them. Fun. I’ve asked the hotel to keep me in a room by the tree next week and beyond so I can continue to watch this little family grow. 🙂

Mother Yigüirro feeding her babies.
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A Hotel for Feeding

If one must stay at a hotel for a long period of time, it helps to have several dining options. And that is one of the reasons I chose this over 2 other hotels within walking distance of radiotherapy. There are 3 restaurants within the hotel or attached and up to 4 more within walking distance. Read on for my comments & photos of the 4 I’ve experienced so far . . .

Continue reading “A Hotel for Feeding”

Finished All Poirot Stories

Way back whenever I first started reading Agatha Christie books, it was always paperbacks. Then I got a Kindle and read so many more electronically – until I got to the last two books or stories about Hercule Poirot (33) and when I downloaded the last two of his mysteries, neither would open up on my Kindle (the only 2 books I’ve ever had trouble with electronically).

So the cumbersome effort of calling Amazon Help and finally getting a live person then the wasted time of several efforts to make the books load, none of which worked. And finally given credit for the electronic books which they removed from my bookshelf. Soooo . . . to complete my goal of reading all the Poirot books (including that book of short stories), I order the last two books she wrote as paperbacks – back to how I started his stories! Poetic justice to modern electronics! 🙂

Agatha Christie’s last two Poirot books.

And bear in mind that this is not as easy to happen with a U.S. company when you live in another country! But finally I receive and finish the last in the Poirot series, Halloween Party and Curtains, and of course enjoyed these old-world England stories as much as the first two back whenever.

I’m still experimenting with other types of books that sound good or I think I may like – most of which I don’t. And if I don’t enjoy a book after a few pages or chapters, I now just quit reading it. Like I just started reading (again) All God’s Creatures Great and Small and then remembered that I had tried it once before and just did not enjoy his detailed description of birthing a calf with his arm up inside the womb of the cow and will probably drop this book again. I report on most of my book reading through Goodreads.

Along with Poirot, I did read some of Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple books and may next try to finish that shorter series. Of course I saw most if not all of the TV series “Murder She Wrote,” based on the Miss Marple books, but that is never the same as the books. The same with the TV series on Poirot.

When on my only trip to London, I did get to see Agatha Christie’s play, The Mousetrap, the world’s longest running play. Cool! A great British experience!

And I’m afraid my reading will be slowing down now with only one good eye. Though I can read for short periods with my left eye uncovered, it soon starts burning and watering and I cannot continue long. One-eye reading is possible but not as good and soon that eye gets tired too. Just one of the many side-effects of my cancer and the loss of a facial nerve. You just do the best you can with what you have in life. 🙂 And at 80 I no longer expect all of my body to work perfectly! 🙂

¡Pura Vida!

Not a Mummy – Me in a “Mask”

I promised somebody I would show what my daily process of a few minutes looks like, as pitiful as I look shirtless. One of the young technicians made these three (requested) shots of me screwed to the table for the radiation treatment. I show up each morning by 11:45 and I’m walking back to the hotel by 12 noon usually. Quick and mostly painless (though the mask is really tight on my face). It appears more scientific than human, but believe me, the staff are all so friendly and nice and do their various jobs very proficiently. And they all shift to English when I walk in, though not their native language. Amazing! And I use my elementary Spanish with them as I am able, though not necessary here like at the public clinics and hospitals.

One outside person told me that this clinic is equal to Mayo Clinic in the states for Radiotherapy. I feel like I’m in very good hands. My radio doctor will conference with me every Tuesday until finished and work with me on any side effects, etc. And a nurse is always there plus other doctors always in the building. A very professional place that in fact does remind me a little of being in the Mayo Clinic with my brother Jerry, just not as big! 🙂

Notice the Screws holding me down with the mask.
Feels like being a mummy! 🙂
Everything must be perfectly lined up for radiation in the right places.

Are we having fun yet? Sure!

3 Days Down and 30 More to Go!


¡Pura Vida!