A Weekly Blog Post?

A Change in the Blog . . .

I am thinking about a purpose and need for this blog, my goals, and what the 20 to 100 actual readers per day want to see here.  (Tell me!)

As I re-evaluate the blog I see it in danger of becoming a personal journal, more about me than my original purpose of “How to Retire in Costa Rica” or now about “Being Retired in Costa Rica.” My retirement hobbies of travel, birding and photography don’t speak to all, but that’s a given.

Beginning this coming weekend, my new “trial approach” is to post only one weekly, quality article on Friday, Saturday or Sunday (flexible day).  I will seek to:

  1. Use fewer/better photos with a gallery link for those wanting more.

  2. Try for shorter, easier to read posts. This is already too long!   🙂

  3. Try to include some “inspiration” though not always my purpose.

  4. Try to improve my photography so one photo says it all!

Please Give Your Input  —  Reader Survey

Use the Comments box below or email saying:

  • Keel-billed Toucan on my Terrace

    What subjects you would like me to include?

  • What you think of a weekly approach?
  • Do you read this for information or photos?
  • Are your interests (1) Retirement in CR?  (2) Costa Rica in general?  (3) Nature photography?  (4) Travel?  (5) Birding?   or  (6) Keeping up with me?

If your prefer a private message click Contact on top menu to email me.

 ¡Pura Vida!

Describing My 2014 Journey Here

This week’s death of Nature Poet Mary Oliver (1935-2019), and article about her in Washington Post, plus reviewing her poems led me to her “Journey” which in some ways describes what I was unable to describe in my 2014 “Decision Process” I called it then, of getting away from the depressing world of conservative Middle Tennessee, the clouds of a failed marriage and subsequent loss of family, branches and stones in my path of a vocational “calling”  manipulated by power-hungry “rulers” ending unceremoniously first in 1999 and finally by 2002 in unplanned early retirement. In a daze . . .

I’ve always tried to “make lemonade out of lemons” and I turned my retirement into an adventure of nature travel and photography as much as I could afford, including visits to all 54 state parks in Tennessee with a book about that, A Walk in the Woodsalong with many other nature/travel books and my growing nature photo gallery. But I was still looking for something else.

Moving from the vibrant life of rowhouse living in downtown Nashville to a suburban “Independent Living Retirement Home” was still not what I was looking for.

It was to commune closer with nature, to travel in natural exotic places that my limited income could not afford, then suddenly it hit me, why not move to one of the nature places in which I love to travel and just live there?

With only 2 family members left and no grandchildren, it was easier for me than some people to make such a life-changing move! And now I see it described in a new way in this poem by Mary Oliver:

The Journey

One day you finally knew

what you had to do, and began,

though the voices around you

kept shouting

their bad advice–

though the whole house

began to tremble

and you felt the old tug

at your ankles.

“Mend my life!”

each voice cried.

But you didn’t stop.

You knew what you had to do,

though the wind pried

with its stiff fingers

at the very foundations,

though their melancholy

was terrible.

It was already late

enough, and a wild night,

and the road full of fallen

branches and stones.

But little by little,

as you left their voices behind,

the stars began to burn

through the sheets of clouds,

and there was a new voice

which you slowly

recognized as your own,

that kept you company

as you strode deeper and deeper

into the world,

determined to do

the only thing you could do–

determined to save

the only life you could save.

~Mary Oliver

¡Retired in Costa Rica!

¡Pura Vida!

Central Park Squirrels

Variegated Squirrel – La ardilla centroamericana (Sciurus variegatoides)

 

Yeah, I know, that’s what old men do – watch squirrels in the park!  🙂  But I haven’t done that until recently and snapped a few shots with my phone camera. These are called Variegated Squirrels in English, the most common squirrel all over Costa Rica. I hope that in the future I will sit in the park more whether watching people or squirrels or just relaxing or reading. It is a good place to be! To be in nature and to be in community. And eventually we will have a newly remodeled park which will necessitate more photos!   🙂

Note that we also have a lot of birds in the park also with parrots coming to the tops of one group of palms at one particular time of year and we also have had some Montezuma Oropendola nests in another part of the small park. I’m hoping they keep the trees with the remodeling!

Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.

~John Muir

Rough translation of sign in park:  “Celebrate your life, take care of nature”

¡Pura Vida!

New Wall Mural Atenas Central

This vacant lot looks like it is being made into a parking lot and if so, parkers will have the colorful mural on one side of where they park. We don’t have a lot of parking lots in Atenas with the old-fashion expectation of parking on the street, but as we grow and more people get cars, parking lots are becoming a necessity. I’m repeating the image here since the use in the large header crops too much off the ends of my panorama shot, plus with photos inside the article you can click to see fullscreen:

And the meaning of the mural? I don’t try to interpret art. I just like that it is bright and colorful – representative of the spirit of Atenas!  🙂

-o-

And here is another positive article for retiring in Costa Rica from Christopher Howard:   Costa Rica is Still One of the Best Countries in the World for Seniors

¡Pura Vida!

New Coffee Shop in Town

Above Canario Supermercado is a new little coffee shop overlooking the entrance to Atenas Mercado Central, bus station, and a busy street for people watching. See photo above. Just this one visit today and it is now in my top three coffee shops (called cafeterias here). (1) Crema y Nada, (2) Cafeteria by the church, and now (3) Cafeteria above Canario. (If the last two have names, they are not prominently displayed, but most things here are described by location as I just did.)

One of my retirement joys these days is slowly sipping 2 or 3 mugs of coffee every morning after breakfast, with breakfast or like today, after my cereal breakfast I walk to town and have a pastry and cup of coffee downtown while people watching or finishing today’s Washington Post on the Kindle. This is what retirement is like for me when not traveling! And of course my favorite and most common place to enjoy morning coffee is from my own terrace as seen on this cloudy morning in the photo below.

My Terrace is My Favorite Place for Morning Coffee

 

Living the Dream

Retired in Costa Rica

¡Pura Vida!

 

Our Hidden Danger in Costa Rica

And for those who think I never have anything negative to say about Costa Rica (and I seldom do) I will admit that one thing here that scares me is the  Terciopelo, the Costa Rica name for what Americans call Fer de Lance snake (Bothrops asper).  (Click Terciopelo link for English article in Tico Times)  It is one of the most deadly snake bites in the world and unfortunately we have them living in my Roca Verde neighborhood. I know of two neighbors who have been bitten, both going outside in early morning barefoot (note that I will never do that). Both stepped on the snake (a sure way to get bitten!) and were rushed to the public clinic here for anti-venom shot and from there in ambulance to the public hospital in Alajuela for further treatment. They are both fine now, but it was a big scare for both with swollen leg and a lot of pain. One guy had an allergic reaction to the anti-venom and got extra allergy treatment for the hives it gave him.  See Wikipedia article on the snake.

Surgery Scheduled for Monday Evening

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?

“Getting old is not for sissies.”     ~Bette Davis

¡Pura Vida!

Retire Here on Less Than $30,000 a year!

One of the regular blogs I read is Christopher Howard’s Live in Costa Rica (he also does the best relocation tour) and his latest blog post quoted International Living Magazine on Costa Rica being one of the best places in the world to retire on less than $30,000 a year. Read his post or go to the online version of International Living and maybe find it there. And bear in mind that it is still true even with Costa Rica having the highest cost of living in Central America, but right now I don’t think you want to retire in any of the other Central American countries! (Panama being a sometimes exception.) I chose to retire in luxury in Costa Rica over sliding into retirement poverty in the U.S.

Description of 5 Locations in Costa Rica that Retirees Love in an International Living article.

Today’s photo is of a Rufous-tailed Hummingbird, the most common in my garden and possibly all over Costa Rica or at least in many of the places I have visited. They are aggressive and chase other species of Hummingbirds away from feeders and even “their” garden sometimes. Thus I have mixed feelings about them!   🙂    ¡Pura Vida!

Life is Good in Costa Rica!

Things are good in Costa Rica with a very stable democracy and a wonderful and progressive new president and we are the first country in the Americas to elect a black woman as Vice President! 

Ths and other things are discussed in my San Ramon retiree friends’ newsletter and in this edition they reprint their list of reasons for retiring in Costa Rica. I think you might enjoy it at link below.

Retire for Less in Costa Rica NEWSLETTER Current Edition:
http://retireforlessincostarica.com/retire-for-less-in-costa-rica-may-12-2018/

I basically finished my photo book on Arenal Observatory Trip today, but need to double check it and then wait for Blurb to announce a sale. In the meantime check out my TRIPS GALLERY on this trip to Arenal Observatory Lodge. 

And I now look forward to my June visit to Boca del Toro, Panama on an island in the Western Caribbean, my first trip of 7 days since moving here. More time means not only seeing and doing more but more relaxation!

¡Pura Vida!


Tree Frog HAIKU

Haiku poem on photo made at Tortuguero, Costa Rica.
 by Charlie Doggett

Check out my Haiku Photo Gallery for more like this. Expect a book eventually!  🙂

Or if it is the frog you like, see my Amphibians Photo Gallery for many more.

-o-

Retire in Latin America?

And for those thinking about retiring somewhere in Latin America, I agree with Christopher Howard’s evaluation of the latest ranking from International Living magazine which I used at first but do not trust as they invest in property in places like Ecuador, then push it as the best place to retire. If you are even thinking about the possibility of retiring “south of the border,” you will find this article by Christopher Howard helpful:
INTERNATIONAL LIVING ERRONEOUSLY RANKS LATIN AMERICAN COUNTRIES FOR RELOCATION

I am thoroughly convinced that I made the right decision, not only with Costa Rica but also a small town in the Central Valley. But I am not pushing retirement here because I think there are already too many Americans here! Nor am I encouraging you do it like me, because we are all different with different goals. That said, I will be glad to answer questions or give my opinion about concerns you may have about retiring here or anywhere in Latin America. The economics depend on your lifestyle as do the specific location (beach, mountain, valley, city) and also the kind of services you require. I have visited Panama & Nicaragua twice each and like them both. Nicaragua wins on cost of living, while Panama is more developed and Americanized which is one thing I don’t like about it, though even it has a lower cost of living than Costa Rica. My best economic decision was to live without a car! Easy to do in Costa Rica! ¡Buena suerte! 

P.S.
And oh yes, the question of do you have to learn to speak Spanish? The simple answer is “No.” But the many gringos who do not stand out like sore thumbs. You cannot fully enjoy the people and culture nor function effectively in the business, government and medical worlds here without speaking Spanish. I am a slow learner, but determined to learn and I get by in most situations, with fluency my long-term goal. And that is saying a lot for a 77 year-old! 🙂  Long term?  🙂

How I Know I’m in Costa Rica

Peacock photographed at Rescate Animal Zooave – More about it tomorrow.

ELEVEN REASONS I KNOW I’M IN COSTA RICA

  1. The first week I used the washing machine and microwave with my Spanish-English Dictionary in one hand!
  2. People write emails of concern when I go 4 days without a blog post. (And Thanks!)
  3. I use Google Translate to write out questions and directions for bus drivers and taxi drivers before I leave for a trip! And still they don’t always understand me!
  4. Then when I still get lost or have trouble finding my bus stop there is always a friendly Tico to help me out. Like today a worker from Zooave stood out front with me to make sure I got on the right bus back to Atenas – Then when the bus zoomed by without stopping, he called the cab for me since after an hour I was tired of waiting. Still don’t quite have Tico patience yet!
  5. I’m averaging about 5 miles of walking per day with much of it uphill and feeling great!
  6. Have I mentioned that everything is in Spanish and I am still in Beginner 1.1 Spanish? Unlike the tourist towns where it pays locals to know English, a farming community has no motivation to learn English. (Can you imagine a farming community in Tennessee learning Spanish because a few migrant workers live there?) So communication is still the biggest challenge!
  7. I’m eating more fresh fruit and veggies than ever in my life and feeling great!
  8. I’m in shorts and T-shirt all day every day while sleeping under a comforter with the windows open at night.
  9. I already have two visits from Nashville scheduled on my calendar and I’ve only been here 4 weeks! And I’m excited about both! Though a little nervous about the first group that includes two Nashville restaurant owners who want me to take them to one of my little farm town restaurants. But . . . I think they’ll like it!   🙂
  10. The word I hear most often from the maintenance man here is “manana.”
  11. Today a letter was slipped under my door addressed to “Senor Charles Doggett, Apartado #3.”
I gave up on my Iolo System Mechanic support for my latest malware problem and went online to Geek Squad (since my new computer came from Best Buy with the geek service – I used Live Chat since calling them even with an 800 # is an international call.). They were wonderful! The poor guys spent 3 hours on my computer but everything is back to normal again. Think I wills stay with Geek Squad! And renew after my one year free subscription expires!
I’ll catch you up some more tomorrow and hey! Life is still good!