Christmas ’22 at CITY MALL

The closest shopping mall to me is City Mall in Alajuela across the highway from the San Jose Airport, the largest mall in Costa Rica and second largest in Central America (Panama has a bigger one). Like all malls everywhere, everything is more expensive than at little local stores, but it is still popular, especially with the younger generations! I go two or three times a year for things I can’t get anywhere else and to see the new Christmas decorations. I went last week for my annual photo wall calendar by CR Photographer Pucci in the big and wonderful bookstore “La Librería Internacional” and some Avery Labels at Office Depot. 🙂

Christmas 2022 at CITY MALL Alajuela, Costa Rica
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Morning Vista . . .

. . . is one I never tire of and though the same, it is slightly different every morning with changing light, sky, clouds and foliage. I am so thankful to live retired in a tranquil little farming town in what might be the most nature-centered and ecology-minded little country in the world! We use 99% renewable electricity and are slowly but steadily moving towards electric cars and buses and have more than 25% of the country’s land set aside in reserves or national parks and we still plant trees! Pura vida!

View from my terrace every morning at breakfast + birds & butterflies! 🙂

¡Pura Vida!

View GALLERY: From My Roca Verde Terrace

Neighborhood Boa Constrictor

Walking back from town yesterday I saw a guy trying to catch a big snake with a broomstick out by the small apartment complex’s garbage basket (Canasta de Basura). He was obviously experienced and quickly caught the large snake and conveniently stopped for me when I pulled out my cell phone for a photo. I’m guessing that it is his pet Boa that had escaped and could have soon found a home in one of our gardens nearby. 🙂 But no worry! They are non-poisonous and live on small mammals, birds and even other reptiles which they squeeze to death and swallow whole. Hmmm.

There are several varieties of Boas and after researching online I think it is this one described by Wikipedia as: Boa imperator or Boa constrictor imperator (in common usage) is a large, heavy-bodied, non venomous species of snake, of the boa genus, that is commonly kept in captivity.”

I have photos of several types of Boas from 6 different locations in Costa Rica, both wild and captive in my Boa Constrictor GALLERY. One shot here for the emailed blog announcement followed by 3 others from yesterday’s serendipity snake experience . . .

Boa Constrictor, Atenas, Alajuela, Costa Rica
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6 Damsel-Dragonflies

That last Friday morning butterfly hike also yielded 6 different species of Damselflies & Dragonflies and I spent hours trying to positively identify them without success! So I just decided to present them without identifications which I really hate doing, but I got only two “probable” IDs! Frustrating! And more difficult than identifying butterflies and moths for me! 🙂

Here’s one for the emailed version and all 6 in a gallery to follow . . .

And all were seen and photographed on Calle Nueva, Atenas, Alajuela, Costa Rica last Friday, 28 October.

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When not raining . . .

. . . it is the greenest time of the year during our “Rainy Season,” May-November in the Central Valley of Costa Rica or most of the middle of the country with rain every afternoon for 2 to 4 hours. While the Rainforests along both coasts have rain year around and are always very green and likewise the Cloud Forests high in the mountains. By the middle of December the rain will taper off to nada where I live and we will see no more rain until next May (and I have to water the garden). Though I will travel some to places where it does rain! 🙂

The Green Hills of Atenas, Central Valley of Costa Rica, yesterday before the rain – seen from my terrace.

“Green is the fresh emblem of well founded hopes.

~Mary Webb

¡Pura Vida!

See more in my Costa Rica Vistas GALLERY.

Yesterday’s Parade

Yesterday, 15 September, was Costa Rica’s Independence Day Celebration nation-wide including here in Atenas. I worked into the night processing my many photos and selecting choice ones for my photo gallery titled in Spanish this time :

2022 Desfile del Día de la Independencia, Atenas

Here’s my favorite portrait of one of the two UTN Cowboys on horses followed by just 2 photos from each of the 8 sub-galleries in the above gallery (including one with the above guy’s horse) . . .

See his horse in one of the following photos!
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Xandari Trip Gallery

I do an online photo gallery (or galleries with the sub-galleries) and the gallery for my recent little two-night stay at a favorite place is now up at https://charliedoggett.smugmug.com/TRIPS/2022-Aug-31-Sept-2-Xandari-Resort-Alajuela

Or you can just click this first page image and get there!

The highlight of this little trip was the large number of butterflies seen and photographed with 29 species having useable photos for the gallery. And I am still trying to catch up with posting all my butterfly species on butterfliesandmoths.org! 🙂 Butterflies rule! 🙂

¡Pura Vida!

Xandari Flowers – Works of Art

Over the years here my favorite flower gardens have been the ones at Xandari because of (1) the large variety of species, (2) their placement in forest settings with architecture that is colorful and complimentary to flowers and (3) the additional wild flowers you can find on the forest trails. Earlier this year I found their match on variety of flowers at Guayabo Lodge near Turrialba, Cartago, though not arranged or laid out in as beautiful a surroundings as Xandari. And for some reason, this year Xandari seemed to have fewer flowers, especially in that front garden trail along the entry road, but certainly enough for me to make a lot of “flower art!” 🙂

One photo for the email announcement and then a gallery of some of my favorites from this short two-night stay at Xandari Costa Rica. Enjoy . . .

Flowers are works of ART at Xandari Costa Rica!
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Last of Xandari Butterflies . . .

. . . and I think one of these 9 is actually a moth, but I can’t find an ID. The immense variety of butterflies and moths here in Costa Rica can be overwhelming at times but is also one of the joys of being here! 🙂 It depends on which website or book you read, but with more species still being discovered here, some say there are now 1,500+ known species of butterflies and over 12,000 species of moths (not all identified), so it is not surprising that I can’t find an ID for everyone I photograph. 🙂

And as is my practice, one photo here for the emailed announcement of this post, followed by a gallery of all 9 final butterflies (maybe 2 are moths) from my visit to Xandari Costa Rica last week. I may still share some other photos from that very unique hotel in Alajuela and then back to nature shots around where I live for the next two weeks before my Caribbean trip the 19th of September. Pura vida!

Blue-vented Mimic-White
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