Park Renovation Progress?

Hard to prove it by me. They just keep welding pieces of metal on what will be the “Kiosk” or Bandshell and now they are trimming and taking out some trees, so that speaks to more of the garden renovation. We will see. It was originally going to be completed by the end of 2018 and now I think they will really have to speed up the work to get it done by the end of 2019!    🙂    I made these two photos yesterday, so up-to-date June 16, 2019!

The city has  a Facebook Page presenting the remodeling with architect drawings of what they expect it to look like – The New Central Park Atenas. Click on one of their pictures to enlarge it and begin a manual slideshow of the new park.

Are they pruning the old trees or will they be removed?

¡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!   🙂

Garden Butterflies

 

I embrace emerging experience. I participate in discovery. I am a butterfly. I am not a butterfly collector. I want the experience of the butterfly. 

~ William Stafford

See my Butterfly & Moth Gallery

¡Pura Vida!

How Costa Rica Retirement Helps Me Avoid Alzheimer’s. . .

This morning’s Washington Post has this very revealing article: Ditch the GPS. It’s ruining your brain.

20160414_104320-A-WEBI have always been a map person and my first two years here I rented cars for most of my trips, but found that my old habit of using maps did not work well here because the actual highways, roads, streets and houses/businesses are mostly not numbered or labeled, therefore not relatable to a paper map. Thus I always got a rent car with a GPS included that works great here and many locals prefer the free WAZE on their cell phone. But it removes your brain from the challenge of getting somewhere as the article above suggests.

Now that I walk everywhere in town, I use my brain instead of GPS to get around using landmarks like a true local. (Yeah, with cell phones you can walk with GPS too! I don’t!), Here are some typical Atenas directions using landmarks:

  1. MY HOUSE: Take the street that dead ends into La Coope Gasolinera south until it ends at Avenida 8 (locals still call it Calle Boqueron), then left about 300 meters to the Roca Verde main gate on the right. Inside the gate go straight about 150 meters to the 3rd gate on the left, 105 Roca Verde (which is labeled).
  2. SPANISH LESSONS ATENAS: From Central Park Atenas take the street behind the main church west about 250 meters or 150 meters beyond Pali Supermercado to a house on the left before the Lions Club and Police Station, in front of Veterinario Occidental. There is a “Spanish Lessons” sign on the gate.
  3. OR MY LOCAL LAWYER: 100 meters south and 75 meters east of Justice Court. (Most know the courthouse, but I can add that it is at corner of Central Park near church.)

And of course all of these directions exercise my brain even more when I try to give them in Spanish!   🙂   Yep, I’m very slow at learning Spanish but learning another language is another good deterrent to Alzheimer’s! And as a walker in town it is amazing how many cars stop and ask me directions to something, usually in español. Mental exercise!   🙂

Another simple health advantage to retiring in Costa Rica!   🙂

-o-

 “Remember what Bilbo used to say: It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”

– JRR Tolkien

Electric Cars in Costa Rica?

Those considering retirement here who are also ecology-conscious will be interested to know that Electric Cars are in Costa Rica and available for those who can afford the sometimes higher cost (though one Chinese Electric Car sells for just $15,000!). For details on prices and availability see this Live in Costa Rica Blog article:  EXPAT RETIREES AND ELECTRIC VEHICLES.

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AND THESE RECENT TICO TIMES ARTICLES ON ELECTRIC CARS IN COSTA RICA:

April 4, 2019:  Costa Rica announces charging grid for electric vehicles   34 charging stations to start off with in a tiny country is not bad! More are being added!

Dec. 29, 2018:  Clean energy leader Costa Rica turns attention to electric cars

¡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!

Living Among Trees

My January week at Maquenque Lodge was special in many way, especially because I lived in a treehouse for a week – well I recently realized that I almost live in a treehouse in Atenas, on the side of a hill with trees and treetops surrounding me! It is beautiful with their myriad of birds singing, movement by the breezes, and my “galleries” for photographing birds! They are the most valuable thing about my little rental cottage:

For in the true nature of things, if we rightly consider, every green tree is far more glorious than if it were made of gold and silver.

~Martin Luther

From My Kitchen & Living Room:

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Trees all around! The same from my office, bedroom and even bathroom!   🙂

 

Entering My Favorite Room, the Terrace:

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Where I eat, read and relax, surrounded by trees.

And 2 “Gallery Trees” for Photographing Birds

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Cecropia Tree I planted 4 years ago – the perfect open bird perch!
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Ficus or “Strangler Fig Tree” is the bird’s favorite “Hiding Place.”

¡Pura Vida!

Crimson-fronted Parakeets

My breakfast treat on my terrace this morning was this pair of Crimson-fronted Parakeets passing through on their way up the hill – most usually fly over rather than stop. They first started pecking into the trunk of my big palm but the Clay-colored Thrushes with a nest in that tree chased them away to my neighbor’s big palm where I made these photos. Here’s just 5 of many shots made:

Crimson-fronted Parakeets

 

I still get more excited by the more colorful birds like these.

“Color is a power which directly influences the soul.”

~Wassily Kandinsky

You might also enjoy the other birds in my BIRDS Photo Gallery

¡Pura vida!

Sundown

Sundown is a nice, quiet time at my house in Atenas, Costa Rica. Winding down for a good night’s sleep and a great tomorrow!

My casita or “little house” at sundown.

To watch a sunset is to connect with the Divine.

Gina De Gorna

¡Pura Vida!