I was thinking of doing a Costa Rica Map on a cork board with map pins showing where I’ve been – which is a lot more places than most people I know here among both Ticos and Expats. Then suddenly in my electronic mailbox appears an email from Google Maps titled: Google Maps Timeline 2019 Update. Yep, it included the feature photo map above and some other stuff that seems to go back to 2015, my first year here when I began traveling Costa Rica. It seems I approved them tracking me (my cell phone) back then and this is what I get! Should I be afraid of Google or send them a thank you note? 🙂
The big red blob in the middle is the space between Atenas & San Jose that includes Alajuela and all the places I go there including the big SJO Airport. I cannot explain the red dot in the Pacific Ocean, but if you study the map more you will see the large green area in the south-southeast above Panama that has no red spots for my visits. One main reason is that it is the Talamanca Mountains, much of which is indigenous reserves with no public roads going through there plus protected national forests not allowing travel. My May trip will put me on the Western edge of that area at Chirripó and my visit to the Bribri Yorkin Reserve had me on the eastern edge. And that is it! 🙂 So just 17 more parks/reserves to go! 🙂
After 37 national parks & reserves are visited, I will do a photo book like I did with all of Tennessee’s State Parks in my photo book A Walk in the Woods Through All 54 Tennessee State Parks. There are technically only 28 national parks here! But the nine reserves count as equals and for my nature photography purposes especially, so I’m saying 37, with only 17 more to go! I don’t have a car which slows me down a little! But I will get there! 🙂
The clear skies from my terrace on today, December 1 (feature photo above), hint at what the next 5 months could be like as the rainy season slows down and stops for no rain in the Central Valley Dec-Apr. But like weather everywhere, there are sometimes exceptions and as a gardener I happen to like rain! 🙂 Either way, I will adapt!
The above shot is a single shot on my cell phone.
Below is a composite shot on big camera yesterday with clouds.
This Article Title link is to an old newspaper article that still holds true today as the government here is not yet ready to spend billions of dollars on a new airport (25 minutes west of Atenas) which would be in a lower, flatter, larger valley of farm land for much greater expansion than the current international airport in Alajuela (45 minutes east of Atenas) which is basically land-locked with expensive developments, though closer to the capital of San Jose. The new one would be closer to the Pacific Coast beaches and resorts.
The debate will probably never end (seen in responses to above article) and it will never happen until both the president and the legislature make it a priority which they still have not done. I expect to die before it actually happens, if ever, and it really doesn’t matter that much to me. 45 minutes is close enough to a major airport! 🙂
And a “Profile” is on the CAPA Center for Aviation website.
Plus I’m happy with the new Domestic Terminal (my photo gallery) at the current airport, since my only flights now are short hops within Costa Rica on little local planes with Sansa Airlines. So if you’ve heard there will be a new San Jose Costa Rica International Airport, don’t expect it before 2030, if ever, unless you want to donate money to the government to build it and maybe get your name on it! 🙂
I think I forgot that they are on the Caribbean Slope – east of continental divide (their rivers flow into the Atlantic) meaning November is maybe the rainiest month! 🙂 As soon as the plane got out of Central Valley over the mountains it was raining and hasn’t stopped since. But I love the rainy season in general and have had some great experiences in the rain, like at Esquinas Rainforest Lodge, so I scheduled all my birding hikes and will do the best I can even if under an umbrella! 🙂 Funny thing is I tried to book this trip for Christmas week and they were already full nearly a year ago. I’m thinking about booking for Christmas 2121. 🙂
The best photos in this post (I think) are the “Plane Shots.” Enjoy and expect some wet reports this week!
I decided early in my visiting of Costa Rica to not live in the big capital city of San Jose because I wanted a more tranquil retirement life than most big cities can provide in their, busy, hectic, crowded, expensive and sometimes dangerous ways.
My first choice was always to live in the woods away from everything, but that would require an expensive 4WD car which I early decided I would do without plus in many cases it is actually more expensive, plus generally no where near the needed shopping and medical care a retiree needs.
Thus the “happy medium” or compromise location of the “Central Valley” of Costa Rica within easy bus or other transportation to the best shopping and medical facilities in the country (like most retirees to CR), yet still a somewhat easy trip to escape into the national parks and forests of Costa Rica which has worked well for me. And nature in the far corners of Costa Rica continues to be my focus. 🙂
BUT . . . sometimes there are fun reasons to visit the big city and especially an old, historic and artsy Latin-American city like San Jose (see my Trip Galleries below). Christopher Howard also explains it well in one of his latest blog posts:
And in that article you can see why I love the many parks in the city, plus the architecture, a tour I made of just the old colonial churches, the arts, the many museums, art in general and as shown here, as an example, some of the many public art sculptures in San Jose:
Short-term contemporary exhibit in front of the cathedral
The Atenas Expats Men’s Club had another trip Saturday and I participated, the first time in several months. A bus load of us traveled to San Jose for a lunch stop at El Rodeo and then the afternoon at a portion of the two-day International 2018 Costa Rica Open Dance Fest, an annual event and contest (like “Dancing With the Stars”) that attracts contestants from most of the Latin American countries and the United States. We saw just a small portion or about 3 hours worth.
This time I’m asking you to go to my photo gallery on the event:
Monday 30 July. Yep! That does seem different, evening instead of morning, but that is the way it is (and maybe when an operating room was available at the small private hospital). And the doctor said the sooner we do it, the less damage will be done to the tendon and the sooner I will be without pain. And instead of using the main Hospital Metropolitano in downtown San Jose we are going to one of their 4 suburban campuses, the only one with an operating room. It is in the Lindora barrio of Santa Ana which is on “my side” (west) of San Jose just off our “freeway,” Ruta 27, and about 30 minutes closer than the downtown hospital campus, especially during rush hour, thus easier and quicker for both me and my driver whom I’ve already scheduled.
I am to be there at 5PM, with the surgery scheduled for 7PM to 8PM with one hour in the Recovery Room and return home soon after 9PM. That should be a good way to get sleepy for bedtime! Ja, ja, ja, (español for ha, ha, ha) 🙂 though the anesthesia is only local.
He says my activities can be normal in a week to 10 days though I will have 5 weeks of physical therapy (2X a week), the hardest part one U.S. friend said. But I did cancel or postpone my August trip to Sarapiqui, which I now have rescheduled for next May. Before then I will be a new man who will try harder to not fall off the bed or on the rough sidewalks of Alajuela! It’s just that time of life! 🙂 No cane yet and hopefully not soon! But maybe needed someday?
The play this time was actually 4 monologues titled “True Reflections” written by British Playwright Alan Bennett and acted by 4 professional actresses from England living here. They covered 4 serious subjects about aging with both seriousness and that subtle British humor. Very well done as they dealt with alzheimer’s, death of spouse, change in living situation, and a sort of an affair.
This was my 3rd time to see one of the Little Theater plays and all have been exceptionally well done or very professional. It is one of the regular “trips” for our Atenas expat’s group.
Orosi Scouts in Cartago (through a dirty bus window) These five teens are Scouts from Orosi who rode the bus with me to Cartago, for an event I imagine. Girls and boys are all in the same Scout program here, wearing bright blue shirts & navy pants + scout neckerchiefs. But note the two girls and one of boys have on jackets because it was in the 60’s farenheit this morning. And yeah, that is very cold here! And they got off the bus earlier than me is why the bus window shot. Cartago, Costa Rica
“Coca Cola” Bus Station in San Jose It is on the site of an old Coca Cola bottling plant and thus the name. I waited only about 10 minutes for this bus to load and no wait in Cartago! But the bus from Cartago went to the Lumaca Station and I took a taxi to here which was another 10 minutes! Note the row of pay phones, a disappearing sight, even here. San Jose, Costa Rica
Most working people in Costa Rica travel by bus rather than by car (only rich people have cars) and thus it is a good way to get to know people and culture here, not to mention the language! I used my rough Spanish a lot this week since not too many in Orosi cater to English-only North Americans.
It has been a good week and both bus trips were good and fairly easy. My biggest learning experience on this trip was that I will try to avoid B&B’s in the future. First because I prefer to have a “built-in” restaurant and/or close to good restaurants. Second, she had 3 big dogs and 2 cats and thus almost no birds and the animals hovered a lot when I was out of my cabin, wanting my attention. Plus she did not mop the bathroom the whole 4 nights I was there and provided only one hand towel and the one knife in the kitchen was not sharp enough to cut the peeling on all the fruit she provided for my breakfasts. Not my favorite lodging in Costa Rica, but the birding and local tours were great and I have a lot of photos! The Orosi area is a beautiful and great place to explore AND bird!
Pattern of the Crowded Flying out of San Jose Airport in December I snapped this shot of a very crowded neighborhood. Should I have titled it “Pattern of Poverty?” The roofs don’t say except that they are very close together. San Jose, Costa Rica
Photos like this remind me that the world is packed with people and not all live beautiful or happy lives, even in Pura Vida Costa Rica. Though I think poor people do better here than in maybe most other places. The First Baptist Nashville group coming here on mission trip to Hogar de Vida will be serving beautiful children who were removed from their parents because of severe abuse or other problems, maybe from a neighborhood like this one.
See my photo gallery on San Jose which includes the prettier sites.