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!

Thanksgiving Dinner at Neighbor’s

At Margaret & Dario’s house on top of one of the Roca Verde hills with the assistance of Susan and Fred, 26 of us had a huge American-style Thanksgiving dinner with Turkey, Ham and Beef Brisket along with more vegetables and salads than I can list after gourmet appetizers and Champagne, followed by a course of exotic cheeses and then deserts. Each of us brought a dish of something and a bottle of wine. It was a feast fit for a king and even though I only ate breakfast beforehand, I feel stuffed (Thursday night after dinner) while I write this.

Thanksgiving is not a Tico holiday, but the Ticos who came sure enjoyed it!  🙂  Margaret and Susan are the high-energy, highly organized leaders of the Roca Verde neighborhood and put this together.

SORRY MY CELLPHONE PHOTOS ARE NOT GOOD which I will blame on the lighting and I didn’t even try to get the group photo by the pool because it was dark, raining and the light worse. But we had a lot of fun with a great meal and I have two new couples-friends!

Margaret’s Group Photo on Facebook.

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“I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.”

~Psalm 9:1

¡Pura Vida!

Vacant Lot Flowers

“There is poetry among the wildflowers’.”
― Rachel Irene Stevenson

Sure! I look for nature everywhere! And noticed yesterday morning when I left the Coffee Shop that the vacant lot across the street had this mass of yellow swished across it. Wildflowers!

Beauty is where you find it!  And those trees are kind of nice too!   🙂

“Wildflowers are the stuff of my heart!”
― Lady Bird Johnson

¡Pura Vida!

 

Too Much – Too Early!

“Too much, too early” is what I’ve been saying about the commercialization of Christmas since I was in high school I think – A long time!   🙂   And one of the unfortunate things about Costa Rica is the adoption of this Christmas Commercialization starting at Halloween. I have not bothered to photograph the many Christmas trees in the supermarket and smallest little shop to the malls and American chain stores this year, not to mention in the Public Hospital, city halls, etc. It is everywhere here now – too much like the United States which I guess is where some of our businessmen learn their trade!   🙂   We even have “Black Friday” Sales here even though Thursday is not a Thanksgiving Holiday here! Explain that!   🙂

I’m so glad that for my Christmas Week I am looking forward to a week in the forests of Braulio Carrillo National Park.   🙂

The featured photo today is of the welcome sign right here in my neighborhood, Roca Verde, which some will see as wonderful seasonal cheer, and sort of is, while others will see it as cheap commercialization. Lord help Costa Rica not to become too Americanized! But keep the spirit of Jesus in Christmas which I commend the Catholic Church here for celebrating Jesus so well at Christmas (even at home)! While I am closest to God now in nature and will commune with Him in the forest again this year for Christmas. But I will have an American-style Thanksgiving Dinner with like-minded expat friends here this Thursday. So, Happy Holidays!   🙂

Christmas Previous Years – I’m Not a Scrooge!   🙂

DECEMBER 21-27, 2018 – Si Como No Resort, Manuel Antonio  (Photo Gallery)

DECEMBER 19, 2018 – Christmas in Costa Rica

DECEMBER 17, 2018 – Christmas Celebrations in Atenas 2018

DECEMBER 2017 – Christmas Week Tambor Bay   (Photo Gallery)

DECEMBER 1, 2017 – Christmas Trees in the Mall

DECEMBER 20, 2017 – Small Town Commercial Christmas Decorations

DECEMBER 17, 2017 – Festival de La Luz – Christmas Lights Parade

DECEMBER 23-27, 2016 – Selva Verde Lodge, Sarapiqui  (photo gallery)

DECEMBER 26, 2015 – Christmas in San Jose Photos

DECEMBER 24, 2015 – Christmas Eve Anniversary! One Year in Costa Rica!

DECEMBER 14, 2015 – Too Many Christmas Activities!  🙂

NOVEMBER 12, 2015 – Disgustingly Like the States (Christmas before Halloween!)

My Photo CHRISTMAS CARDS from Costa Rica   (photo gallery)

And for my favorite TV ad here commercializing family life for Christmas, see this hilarious short video ad:

Or try out 5 Spanish Christmas Songs that Are Not “Feliz Navidad.”

So yeah, Happy Holidays!

But it is still too much, too early!   🙂

“These temple destroyers, devotees of ravaging commercialism, seem to have a perfect contempt for Nature, and, instead of lifting their eyes to the God of the mountains, lift them to the Almighty Dollar.”
― John Muir

¿Pura Vida?

Gold-stained Satyr

Another new butterfly for me – a lifer? 🙂 This one was on my phone camera dated the day after returning from Arenal Observatory and I don’t remember where! It was on a concrete wall which could be a lot of places!   🙂

Though it has been reported in southern Texas, most websites show it in Mexico & Central America with a few in northern South America, particularly Ecuador. An interesting butterfly with a positive identification from websites and my best butterfly book, A Swift Guide to Butterflies of Mexico & Central America, Second Edition.

And  just like with birds it is always fun to add a new species to my collection. My photo gallery of Costa Rica Butterflies & Moths is I think the best one on the web now. Check it out!

 

Butterflies are God’s confetti, thrown upon the Earth in celebration of His love .    

~K. D’Angelo

¡Pura Vida!