The Spanish word “Mirador” is translated to English as a lookout point, vantage point or viewpoint to see a “vista” which in several languages is a view or sight. With a 2.5 km hike up the hill or a 4×4 jeep ride from the Hotel Savegre you can see the hills on the other side of the Savegre River that runs through the hotel property. After our hike through the cloud forest, we saw the views and then like sissies, rode back down the mountain in the jeep! :-) I did walk it the last time I was there! :-) Here’s five photos below or see them in the gallery: Savegre Mirador.Continue reading “Savegre Mirador”
After the jeep ride up the mountain (yesterday’s post) going past the mirador (Spanish for a vista overlook platform), we stopped at the trailhead for multiple trails. Me and the 3-generation Tico family chose the shorter trail through the forest down to the Savegre Mirador. Just one experience here, so be sure to see the others in the Hiking the Pioneers Trail Photo GALLERY.
And for more pix on the trails at Savegre, click the linked blog post below titled “Trails and Trees” where Marino Chacón (a different son of the founder than this year) took me on a longer trails hike for the early morning bird hike back in January 2021, just the 2 of us.
And if you don’t read Spanish – no problem! It’s a photo book! With only the title and introduction in words! 🙂 Preview every page by clicking the cover image below or going to: https://www.blurb.com/b/11661183-el-encanto-de-las-hojas
I’ve been working on all my wildlife galleries to have both English & Spanish Common Names as the titles and the Latin Scientific Name in the subtitles as I did first with birds. The one exception is that I cannot find a single easy source of Spanish Common Names for the butterflies & moths! So I’m still working on those, though they do all have both the English common name and the Latin scientific name. But still, I’ve seen no other wildlife photo galleries with this much helpful information. 🙂 I’ve completed the following categories except the Reptiles and Spanish on the butterflies, so almost finished! 🙂
CLICK a Gallery Name below to see it:
- Birds of Costa Rica (360+ species)
- Butterflies & Moths of Costa Rica (212+ species)
- More Insects in Costa Rica (82+ species)
- Mammals in Costa Rica (33+ species)
- Amphibians in Costa Rica (50+ species)
- Reptiles in Costa Rica (50+ species)
- Crustaceans in Costa Rica (6+ species)
- Fish in Costa Rica (1 species) 🙂 Well, I don’t have an underwater camera. 🙂
A SPECIAL BLOG POST FOR MY SUBSCRIBERS CONSIDERING A MOVE TO COSTA RICA!
Occasionally someone will ask me such things as “Are you glad you moved to Costa Rica?” or “If you had it to do over, would you do it again?” or “Do you miss the States?” or “When are you coming home?” or “Have you ever wished you had moved to a different country?” or “If you had it to do over again, what would you do differently?”
The short answer to all but the last question is that I absolutely love Costa Rica and have never once missed the United States nor doubted it was the right thing for me! And I have not gone back, having no reason so far. Anyone who reads my blog regularly knows why this is true for me and that Costa Rica is a perfect fit for my love of nature. But before I tell you the one thing I think I did incorrectly, a quick summary of what I did correctly . . .
What I Did Correctly Before My Move Here
If you go back to the beginning of this blog in June 2014 you will see that I was pretty meticulous about the details of a move to another country and fortunately I had had the experience once before when I moved to The Gambia, West Africa for 3 years. I followed all the websites’ and individuals’ suggestion of doing my “due diligence” (a popular phrase then) which simply meant lots of research on living retired in Costa Rica and the details of doing it legally, successfully and learning what it would take for me to be happy here, etc. ad infinitum! I did that! (Except not thoroughly enough with the language part!)
Plus I traveled here 4 times before moving and checked out other countries online and in the case of Panama, visited them 3 times (a reasonable option). Plus my last trip here before moving was to take the “Live in Costa Rica Tour” sandwiched on either side of a two-day conference by ARCR on all the details of a move here, residency options, legal stuff, both private & public medical services, shipping stuff here, getting a lawyer to help, etc. And on that same trip I hired a local lawyer who specialized in expat residency and began my residency application which was made easier with still some time still left in the states so I could personally secure all the needed legal documents that would have been much more difficult trying to get from here!
So, Then What Would I Do Differently?
Just one thing! I would have made learning to speak Spanish fluently my JOB ONE! Though I had two brief classes in Nashville, I was a slow learner and not using it there, so to accomplish that . . .
I should not have made finding a place to live the first task, as I did, but I should have enrolled in an Immersion Spanish Language School for the first 4-6 months (in another town since there is not one in Atenas) where they provide a cheap rent living with a Tico family that speaks only Spanish plus daily language classes and local tours in Spanish. Younger people might accomplish this in 3 months to some degree but a slower-learning old man like me needs more time and I’m just guessing on the 4-6 months. I tried one of these immersion schools for one week in Feb. 2020, just before Covid hit us big here, and it was very helpful, just not for a long enough time. It would be harder now while paying higher rent for my more permanent housing. But I’m going to talk to them again and may try additional weeks periodically with follow-up classes on Zoom or Skype. My current teacher is not moving me forward fast enough and nor is Duolingo! I’m ready for a change in my language learning! 🙂 I will report on any change made and what progress if any I make. 🙂
So, my only regret about being “Retired in Costa Rica” is that I am still not fluent in Spanish – though I am immensely better than when I arrived here! 🙂 I speak more Spanish than maybe many of the other American expats (some don’t even try.) I do great in restaurants and traveling 🙂 and okay in the supermercado and other shopping, but I could do better and cannot handle much over the phone. Taxistas help me, so I am better there than on the public buses and the free public medicine that I should be using more is one place I can’t manage with my slow, simple Spanish – that and some casual conversations, especially with strangers, though it helps when a marketer calls on the phone that I can honestly say “Lo siento, no hablo español.” 🙂 Stay tuned for updates!
So what I’m saying is that if I had learned to speak Spanish fluently that first year, the rest of my 8 years would have been so much easier and more fulfilling!
That’s what I would have done differently!
Okay, maybe one other little thing that was not a problem when I first moved, but recently my small Credit Union in the states that I’ve been a member of for 45 years has had difficulties getting a new debit card to me quick enough or wiring money, where a larger international bank would be better equipped to serve me overseas. And I have to have a U.S. bank because my pension checks require that for auto-deposit. I’m still managing and have shifted some of my savings to my Costa Rica bank, but that is one other little detail that one considering a move here needs to straighten out, preferably before the move! 🙂
And by the way, the U.S. Social Security is more accommodating than my other pension sources, as they deposit directly into my Costa Rica Bank Account. And it was easy! I just went to the U.S. Embassy’s SS Window in San Jose and they took care of it immediately with that very next check arriving here! 🙂 Plus that became my “proof of income” for the residency application. 🙂
My walks to town or “Central Atenas,” as they call it here, always includes passing the house of a family that plants many flowers, including a zinnia garden at least twice a year. As I walk by I often pull out my cell phone and snap a butterfly or flower. To show my appreciation of these who take the time to plant flowers, I made a little 20-page photo book of the butterflies I photographed over the last year in their garden and will take 3 copies to them as a Christmas gift once the books arrive. You can preview every page of the book for free by clicking the front cover image below or go to this address and click the word “Preview” then each page to see the next: https://www.blurb.com/b/11328129-jard-n-de-mariposas
Of course it’s in Spanish. That’s the language of Costa Rica! 🙂
About a week ago I passed by “the flower lady” house where I’ve gotten several new butterflies on her zinnias (now gone) and discovered as I looked through her fence that she had the Red Vein Indian Mallow flower I reported on from Guayabo Lodge in Cartago Province in , my first sighting of this magical lantern-like flower, and my favorite new discovery at Guayabo. I phone-snapped the above two shots at the flower lady house.
Then 3 days ago I was walking back to town with my neighbor Steve, and as he is a gardener I wanted him to see this flower. I was pointing to one of her only 5 or 6 blooms when her husband snapped out something he thought was funny in Spanish that I didn’t understand and she just walked over to the shrub, picked the flower I had pointed to and came over handing it to me. I felt terrible that she picked one of her few blooms but it was the common Costa Rican courtesy to do that because I praised her flower. I walked home carrying it gently and decided it best to just float in a bowl of water since it is a hang-down lantern-type flower. Another of the many cultural surprises I’ve had here. 🙂
It is prettier on the shrub, but here it is floating in water on my kitchen counter!
Since my Crown of Thorns pot plant on the patio died, I’m going to see if Cristian & Alfredo, my gardeners, can get me this Abutilon striatum, Red Vein Indian Mallow, “Chinese Lantern” or in Spanish: Abutilon pictum, “farolito japonés” (Japanese Lantern) as a new pot plant on my terrace. Always something new to look forward to. 🙂
It originated in South America, Brazil and other countries and has adapted to tropical climates all around the world including Costa Rica and India (thus the English common name). It is an edible flower both raw and cooked and is said to be both sweet and astringent, whatever that means. 🙂
Siglo XXI Radioterapia, the private clinic that treated me post-cancer surgery asked if they could interview me on camera as a way of helping future patients understand a little more of what they will go through. So I did and it is now on YouTube with me speaking in English and of course they added Spanish Subtitles. I’m always embarrassed to see and hear myself on a video, but if it helps even one other patient face the treatment, then more power to them! 🙂
And that book in the feature photo can be previewed free at True Grit in my bookstore.
Many of my walks to town are up this street by the Sports Park (Calle 0) and on one corner across from the park this bearded man and his dog are always there with his truck selling mostly plantains and bananas and occasionally some other fruit or vegetable, but always lots of plantains! Many people grow them in their yards and they sell cheaply in all the markets, so I can’t help but wonder how he makes a living selling something we have an over-abundance of here? Plus us foreigners prefer bananas over plantains which are larger, tougher and must be cooked to eat. Often served with a traditional breakfast here.
And if I spoke better Spanish, I would try to interview him and write his story for the blog, but though my Spanish slowly improves, I’m not up to that kind of conversation or interview yet! 🙂 And I didn’t even want to ask him if I could photograph him up close, so the below photo of him is from half-a-block away on my cell phone and the second larger image simply a crop of the first! 🙂