High School Graduation Last Night

My once-a-week maid’s daughter graduated from the public technical high school (Colegio Técnico Professional) last night and I attended. Nelyin has been a hard worker in school and helps her Mom a lot, even cleaning my house some weeks. I am proud of her and hope she doesn’t rush into a marriage too soon. She has no specific plans for now except to get a good paying job.

Note that this school does not use caps and gowns for the commencement service (just one for their official photos) but wear their regular school uniforms which for seniors is a different color golf shirt, orange for regular students this year while the night school students are wearing the blue shirts and are generally older. In fact, some of the night school students walked up for their diploma carrying a baby or small child. There was a total of about 60 graduates. December is the end of school year (calendar year) for all schools with summer break until February when new school year starts.

I apologize for the poor cell phone photos. This current phone was cheaper than the previous one and the camera is just not as good, plus the lighting was horrible in the gymnatorium. Two other retiree couples Mayra works for drove all of us in their two large cars. Me and my maid’s family have not cars!   🙂

For full size files of these photos go to the Graduation 2019 CTP photo gallery where you can download them.

“Your education is a dress rehearsal for a life that is yours to lead.”
—Nora Ephron

 

¡Pura Vida!

Christmas Poinsettias

People around the world buy these interesting tropical plants as an indoor natural Christmas decoration. I bought two last year and after Christmas decided to plant them in my garden so I would have my own outdoor Christmas Poinsettia this year since they are native to Central America. And surely you know that they do not have a flower but the top layer of leaves turn red around Christmas. Well, I kept watching mine in the garden as it got closer to December and now Christmas and MINE STILL HAVE NOT TURNED RED!

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So like any good internet user, I Googled it and found . . .

“The Poinsettia is a light sensitive plant. When you deprive the plant in its full leafing stage of light, the only chlorophyll used to turn the leaves green cannot be produced. As a result of this total darkness and lack of light, the only color that will be produced is red. This is called photoperiodism.”

~from the internet

I’ve seen red ones in other gardens here but this quote makes it sounds like I needed to cover them from the sun in my garden to get red. Then by reading further online in this article on How Poinsettias Turn Red, I learned that the two I bought from the supermarket last year are hybridized by nurseries as indoor plants and yes would have turned red if I had given then weeks of darkness. BUT, the ones in other gardens here that bloom are “wild poinsettias” which have somehow developed a way to turn their leaves red to attract pollinators. Wow! Nature is amazing and interesting! So . . . if I want them blooming in my garden, I need to get wild ones!   🙂   Oh well, I tried!   🙂

Now, to get my red, I bought two new ones again this year, one little and one bigger one and I now have Christmas red inside my house, just not in the garden!   🙂   But most importantly I’m trying to “live Christmas every day!”   🙂   And hope you are able to do that too! Be Merry!

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“Peace on earth will come to stay, when we live Christmas every day.”

~Helen Steiner Rice

¡Pura Vida!

Morning Intruder

Yesterday morning I had an intruder in my house during breakfast. The sliding glass doors to my terrace stay open all day when I’m here but I close the sliding screen doors except for during breakfast when I’m in and out a lot for coffee, etc. Yesterday for the first time a juvenile Chachalaca just like these two photos made earlier flew right by my breakfast table and into the house. (A youngster exploring!)

I went inside and hollered at him which just scared him further back into my bedroom. I then opened the other door, a regular door into my garden (for multiple exit options), then walked calmly into my bedroom to the opposite side as he went under the bed and back out the other side away from me, then immediately flying back outside through the big door.

Kind of amusing. He of course was afraid of me and the house, just a kid exploring! The only other bird to fly in has been a little Rufous-naped Wren inside my house which I made photos of then. This time I just wanted the chicken-sized bird OUT!   🙂

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He looked just like this flying through my house.

 

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Another juvenile in my garden earlier like the one who visited yesterday.  We have many families of these birds in Roca Verde. Fortunately none nest near me.

 

See my photo gallery of Gray-headed Chachalacas or my total BIRDS gallery.  🙂

 

I believe the world is incomprehensibly beautiful — an endless prospect of magic and wonder.

Ansel Adams

 

¡Pura Vida!

Typical Bus Cue

This is a typical line for getting on the bus to Alajuela or San Jose, at least at the times I usually board them in the mornings or returning in early afternoons. As a senior adult I could go to the front of the line but I don’t. That still feels like “breaking in line” to me. But I do use my residency card for my free passage to Alajuela or discount for San Jose (which I rarely go to – too big & noisy!).

The buses are comfortable, on time, and the price is right!   🙂   I am still very happy living without a car and I save money for more fun travel! Plus I read more books riding buses! What’s not to like?

“You can’t understand a city without using its public transportation system.”
― Erol Ozan

¡Pura Vida!

This Year’s Christmas Trees

Well – the ones I have taken the time to photograph in my normal activities of the last week or two. I failed to photograph a big one at the Alajuela Hospital and did not go to the Juan Santamaria Park for Alajuela’s biggest outdoor tree this year and the Atenas City Hall does not have a tree out front this year, though I included their ugly one in Central Park. But these photos give you an idea of the fact that Christmas is the biggest holiday of the year here in Costa Rica with decorations going up around Halloween (which is not celebrated here).

Of course the trees in the little country town of Atenas don’t match the huge ones in Alajuela’s big City Mall – but it is all in the spirit of the biggest fiesta of the year. And the funny thing to me is that the Ticos who can afford it here go to the beach Christmas Week! Pretty much everything except supermarkets and pharmacies are closed Christmas Week – and I too travel, but not the beach this year!    🙂    Stay tuned for my “Christmas Mountain Forest Adventures” coming 21-27 December!   Retired in Costa Rica Five Years as of this Christmas Eve! 

Christmas Trees 2019

“City sidewalks
Busy sidewalks
Dressed in holiday style
In the air
There’s a feeling
Of Christmas…”

~Silver Bells

 

¡Feliz Navidad!
¡Pura Vida!

Charlie in Costa Rica

Virgen de las Rosas

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When on the hill, Ruta 3.

Back in 2017 I did a post titled Holy Week is Approaching in Atenas that included this photo (at left) of the locally made statue of the Virgen de las Rosas.

Until about a year ago it was sitting on this hill (photo below) east of Atenas along Ruta 3 but so far away you could hardly see it (the white spot on top of hill). At some point the property owner decided he did not want it on his property anymore with people climbing over his fence to see it, so the parish took it down, freshened it and added some color and installed it in the church yard by Central Park Atenas – the feature photo at top. Or for better photos:

On the Facebook page for Parroquia San Rafael Arcángel, Atenas, Costa Rica there is a photo album for the Virgen de las Rosas created after it was moved to the church with much better photos than mine!

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The former location of the Virgen de las Rosas (white spot on top of hill)

¡Pura Vida!

A Special Atenas Taxista

A taxi driver here is called a taxista and there are all ages and all kinds of taxistas with virtually all in Atenas being very friendly and very helpful. I don’t call just one driver, but the dispatcher and get a different one most times plus in the line downtown I always accept whoever is first in line – just seems fair! And most of the taxistas know me now and some mimic my southern drawl in saying my address (which many know)“Ciento cinco Roca Verde por favor.”  Of course I don’t notice me saying it any different than them!   🙂

Occasionally I get this one man who is one of the oldest in one of the oldest cars and the only one who is always playing Mexican Music on his car radio and enjoys being kidded about it. Well, the other night I got him after eating at Poco Loco and I told him again that I like his happy music! (Pleased him!)

Since the route he chose went right by Escuela Central (public elementary school), I asked if he would slow down or stop for me to photograph their Christmas tree at night. (I’ll include in a future post.) He stopped. Then when we later got to my house and I was getting out, he said, “Whoa, whoa! Necesita fotografié mi decoraciones.” He took me to the back window of his taxi for this elaborate manger scene packed full of many farm animals across the back shelf of his car along with Christmas balls and tinsel. Not a good photo with street light above, but an interesting story & man!    🙂

Merry Christmas!

¡Pura vida!

BONUS CHRISTMAS STORY (Link)

How did a continent go from shooting birds every Christmas to counting them? Discover the Audubon Christmas Bird Count – a holiday tradition that has transformed bird science. And maybe participate this Christmas?   🙂

¡Feliz Navidad!

Wishing you the best through the holidays and a Pura Vida New Year! 

~Charlie

I will be slowing down the next two weeks, but still posting some on the blog, as I prepare for Christmas Week at the Tapirus Lodge,  in Braulio Carrillo National Park, one of our largest and wildest parks in Costa Rica. New adventures, new photos all the time!   🙂   Retired in Costa Rica! THANK YOU for following my blog!   ~Charlie

¡Pura Vida!

 

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Red-legged Honeycreeper, Maquenque Eco-lodge, Boca Tapada, Costa Rica, January 2019.

And check out my Photo Gallery if you haven’t recently – Its “My Costa Rica!”  🙂

Golden Orb Spider

She was in my garden today and the first time I have ever seen a web by one of these Golden Orb Spiders that was actually gold in color, though hard to see in the photo. I assume that is how they got their name, but most of the webs I’ve seen in the past with them looked no different from other spider webs, dirty white. Nice to see a “golden” one!   🙂

“The spider’s web: She finds an innocuous corner in which to spin her web. The longer the web takes, the more fabulous its construction. She has no need to chase. She sits quietly, her patience a consummate force; she waits for her prey to come to her on their own, and then she ensnares them, injects them with venom, rendering them unable to escape. Spiders – so needed and yet so misunderstood.”
― Donna Lynn Hope

Check out my More Insects CR (65+ species) for more interesting bugs in Costa Rica!  🙂

¡Pura Vida!

Park Benches Replacement?

In my continued “updating” of the progress on Atenas Central Park Renovation I noticed today that they seem to be working on the sidewalk to the church first and one side has a little concrete wall at sitting level which could easily replace all the many park benches that used to line the sidewalks. An interesting and practical change if they do it on all 8 sidewalks radiating from the center. And when vendors set up along the sidewalks during fiestas, they won’t need folding chairs behind their tables, but can sit on the wall.  🙂

I didn’t know if all sidewalks will have these walls, so I just checked on the official   Facebook Page presenting the remodeling  and sure enough they will! Like continuous park benches throughout the park to bring more people together!

And don’t forget that I have a Renovating Central Park Atenas update photo gallery with all the photos I’ve posted on this blog. You can visually see the progress, even if slow.  🙂   What was once said to be finished by Christmas 2018 will possibly be complete by Christmas 2020!   🙂

“Land forests are the coral reefs of the ocean of air.”
― Steven Magee

¡Pura Vida!