Celebrate Your Unique Talent Day (November 24): You may not be a basketball star or have the lead role in the school play, but you have a talent or two to celebrate. Maybe you can whistle every song on Taylor Swift’s new album. Or balance 27 stacked Legos on your fingertip. Whatever your talent, share it with friends and family today. 🙂 And I will continue to share my nature photography on this blog! 🙂
Here’s photos of 8 species of birds I photographed at Hotel Banana Azul which is fewer than usual like everywhere has been this year! And there are 10 photos because the male and female Scarlet-rumped Tanager look like 2 different species 🙂 and the juvenile Tropical Kingbird looks like a different species from the adult, so I included a photo of each. These 8 are all fairly common species all over Costa Rica except the Wood-Rail which is only in wetlands or coastal rainforests like the location of Banana Azul where there has always been a family of Wood-Rails living in their garden by their lily pond. Note that I saw 9 totally different species at Gandoca-Manzanillo (link to those bird photos) and a photo of only one bird at Cahuita but it was my Lifer this trip. 🙂 Thus in this trip gallery there will be a total of 18 species of birds this year, which is fewer than usual but not bad! 🙂 I always get a lot of photos in the Caribbean side of Costa Rica!
Today begins what has become almost an annual tradition of spending a week in the Southern Caribbean of Costa Rica, during September when this rainy rainforest has the least amount of rain. After trying a few other hotels, I’ve settled on Banana Azul as my favorite and it is right on the beach (one of the few!) in a favorite room with balcony overlooking the beach and hotel gardens. It is one of my most relaxing weeks of the year! This Puerto Viejo area is south, near the Panama Border and quite different from my other Caribe fave which is north of the port of Limón and in a great wetlands wildlife national park called Tortuguero.
I have just two morning bird hikes scheduled, one in the Cahuita National Park and the other in Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge. Otherwise I just “hangout” at the hotel and beach, walking both the beach and a forested beach road where last year I found a bonanza of butterflies! 🙂
Read on for some of my past creative endeavors from the South Caribbean of Costa Rica . . .
This past Friday was the 15th of September, Independence Day for Costa Rica, when in 1821 it shed the colonial rule of Spain. In this small but very significant little developing country, patriotism is big and almost everyone wears red, white & blue and many decorate their houses with banners and flags. I wore my national futbol (soccer) shirt, red, white & blue! 🙂
And almost every town of any size has a parade, usually featuring their local schools, and Atenas is no exception! 🙂 I have for several years now been photographing it most years (when not traveling) with galleries for those years included in my super-gallery: PEOPLE, FIESTAS & ARTS Costa Rica. Which of course now includes a gallery for this year’s 2023 Desfile del Día de la Independencia, Atenas. And here is a sample photo from each of the 7 sub-galleries in this year’s parade gallery . . .
Lots of meetings, government regulations, fees, expenses, rental space, requirements and limitations, plus how a cooperative will work together as one, all seem to make it complicated, but it is slowly coming together! 🙂 Thanks especially to Elisa & Margaret, the leaders of the group! We communicate with each other on a private WhatsApp page and now have a gallery FaceBook page (public) with not a whole lot for the public yet. 🙂 And we will be the location for this year’sJIT – Just in Time for Christmas Art Fair which uses the same FaceBook page as last year and is now set for December 8, 9 & 10, 2023. In Calle 2 Plaza Atenas!
TENTATIVEOPENINGS are a “soft” opening on October 4 and a “Grand Opening” on November 9 with the Christmas Art Show a month later, December 8-10. BUT, note that there are many things that could delay the first two dates, though Christmas Show is pretty solid! 🙂
Please Remember that Everything is Flexible now . . .
Meaning that the opening dates and the participants could change in the next month or two as we struggle to put everything together. But a very fine art gallery is coming to Atenas soon! 🙂
Today I received a phone call from the wonderful family that runs Maquenque Eco Lodge just checking on me and how my health is doing. They are so nice to me in every way and I count them among my best friends in Costa Rica. Then they sent me this photo of the table in their lodge lobby covered with my photo books that they continually thank me for and tell me how much their other guests enjoy them! 🙂 Just one more reason that I enjoy my retirement life photographing nature! 🙂
Calle 2 Plaza is under construction and could open within the next month or so! One of the 5 shops will now be a new Atenas Art Gallery, the name of which can’t be published until it is registered. So keep reading this blog for more information and see photos of the under construction Calle 2 Plaza and its flower murals below these first two shots . . .
An old friend from seminary and Miami days, Carlos Cobos, was in Costa Rica this past week on a choir tour with his wife Linda from their church in Conway, Arkansas. They had a “free day” Friday while their group was in a hotel in La Fortuna. So I went with my driver and we showed Carlos & Linda a few things in that part of Costa Rica that they chose from my list of options. The last activity was to see the La Fortuna Waterfall, but since it was pouring down rain by then, we did not do that, considering the steep climb down and back up from the waterfall in rain. But we did a lot of other things like the Butterfly Conservatory and Sky Adventure for lunch with views of volcano and Lake Arenal! You can see the photos in my photo gallery titled: 2023 July 21 – Day Around Arenal Volcano.
There are too many photos to share in a blog post, so I hope you will check out the gallery! The feature photo of a sloth is repeated below after this shot of the three of us on the Bogarin Trail in La Fortuna. Interestingly, we paid to see a sloth (and other wildlife) on this trail and did not! But later saw a sloth alongside the highway! 🙂 Luck!? We did see birds and other wildlife on the Bogarin Trail though, so not a waste of time! 🙂
Yesterday (July 9, 2023) I participated in a meeting of local artists with introductions and discussions on how we can increase local interest in the arts. It was held at the “Art House” downtown where a local couple give painting art lessons to all ages and are adding other teachers with different art skills, mostly Ticos participating there. The meeting was co-sponsored by the expat ladies who sponsor the “Just In Time for Christmas” Art Show each year. Plus a man was there who plans to open a little theatre in Atenas for plays and musicals, adding to the hopes for a growing “art community” in Atenas.
Those attending were about half Tico and half extranjeros or expats from all over the world. So it was a very interesting group and enjoyable to visit with after everyone introduced themselves with two interpreters available. Then we had a potluck brunch and visited with each other, when I particularly enjoyed a Tico young man and university student born in Atenas who is studying photography and he showed me his first photo books and shared about his work. Then near the end, Larry shared his drumming skills that led into a little impromptu jam session with others joining in. I am hopeful about the future of the arts in this small farming town! 🙂
Yes, I’m the funny-looking old man in the bright blue shirt! 🙂
My photo galleries relating to the arts in Costa Rica are mostly found in the folder labeled: PEOPLE, FIESTAS & ARTS Costa Rica with others in every trip gallery created because all lodges and hotels have art displayed! 🙂