Not at a seafood restaurant but in my garden! It’s English name is “Golden Shrimp Plant” and it is a beautiful heavy-bloomer year-around, at least here where we have year-around Spring! The last additions to my garden included one of these plants and I love it. Read about it on Wikipedia or since it is used in gardens in the states during warm weather, read more on this Master Gardener website.
“Hidden in the glorious wildness like unmined gold.”
― John Muir
He was showing an interest in one of my dried up flowers in the garden the other day and I have not found a name for him yet – just another interesting creation of God!
“Why should man value himself as more than a small part of the one great unit of creation? And what creature of all that the Lord has taken the pains to make is not essential to the completeness of that unit — the cosmos?”
― John Muir, A Thousand-Mile Walk to the Gulf
Or “Tree Trunks in the Rain!”which sounds like it could be a song or poem in addition to one of my “Nature as Art”experiments. I was sitting on my terrace watching it rain when I got the inspiration to photograph the wet tree trunks during the rain – and yes, they do look different when wet.
You could do this anywhere in the world with many different kinds of trees, so give yourself a “quarantine break” for a little creativity – try it!
This is the kind of thing I really expected to do more of in retirement and in this blog – so maybe I will now! 🙂
And oh yes! The rainy season has started! Good rains two days in a row! (Saturday & Sunday) My favorite time of year! And it is made even better because tourists don’t like to come when it’s raining! More peaceful! 🙂
Yellow Bell Tree
Strangler Fig Tree (1 of its trunks)
Unknown Landlord’s Tree
Small Decorative Date-Palm
Guarumo or Cecropia Tree
Big Royal Palm
Smaller Decorative Palm
“Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.” ― Martin Luther
At what I consider the biggest and best supermercado in Atenas, La Coope, you now have a 4-step procedure to enter the store due to COVID19. I’ll illustrate them with 4 photos:
Stand on X, 2 meters apart
Wash your hands!
Use spray bottle & paper towels on cart handle
If busy, wait in entry line for guard’s approval
The guard has a rope over the entry and tells you when you can enter. On a busy day like Saturday, as one person exits he allows another to enter. In all lines, including meat department, service desk, and checkout cashiers, you have these X-lines with people 2 meters apart (like the 6 ft. in states).
And as stated earlier, the cashiers have a Plexiglas shield between you and her/him and if charging, you slide your own card in and out of the machine; they don ‘t touch your credit card. (Now cash is another whole issue they don’t seem to have a solution for. But one of my friends actually washed all her cash in the sink – bills & coins!) 🙂 Money-laundering?
And only a small minority of us are wearing masks, but I don’t mind being different!
The Coronavirus Pandemic will give us stories to tell for the rest of our lives! 🙂
Some of our restaurants are providing “To Go” or “Delivery” services which the government now allows. I haven’t done it yet but will try to soon.
“Go to the bank looking like a bank robber!”
― Steven Magee
Like in other countries when the world-wide pandemic became obvious, even in well-prepared Costa Rica, there was a bit of “panic buying” of hand sanitizers and hand soaps, emptying the grocery shelves of both (plus I still can’t get Clorox or Lysol Wipes). So my grocer first filled the hand-soap shelves with “refill containers” of the most popular antibiotic hand soap made locally (Bactex). I got the limit of 2 per customer.
And then the following week they dug into their unsold Christmas items to bring out this “Christmas scented” antibiotic hand soap that evidently did not all sell last Christmas. 🙂 So of course I bought the limit of 2 per customer and now my very clean hands also smell like Santa Claus! 🙂
Naturally this week the shelves are now restocked with the regular antibiotic hand soaps we always had, so no real shortage, just a temporary panic wiping out of their stock, likely by a few neurotic American expats here. 🙂 And life continues in Costa Rica with hands as clean as we want them to be and even smelling like Christmas now! 🙂
See also the Tico Times Coronavirus Updatearticle from Thursday, including the shutdown of the country for Easter Week (a really big deal here!), cars driving on limited days based on the last digit of your license plate number, a map of where all cases are located in Costa Rica and the continuation of the CLOSURES of all “non-essential” businesses by government order – pretty much everything but grocery & pharmacy. We added 28 new cases of the virus this week, bringing our total to about 375 for the whole shut-down country.
“Quédate en casa” “Stay home”
“Life is ten percent what you experience and ninety percent how you respond to it.”
― Dorothy M. Neddermeyer
Because there is so much to write about now, I’m writing posts for several days ahead and these photos were made last Friday when I went grocery shopping after paying a bill at the Bank (which is also not normal and with fewer people, even on Friday).
Since no pharmacy in Costa Rica has surgical masks in stock, I am now using a bandanna tied around my mouth and nose when I go out such as to bank or supermarket. Bank employees have masks and rubber gloves (secret source?). My supermarket has now built a Plexiglas shield between the cashier and the customer (they can’t get masks either) and if I use my credit card I must insert it in the machine myself and then remove it, all for the protection of their employees which I really appreciate!
PLUS the next person in line must stay behind the black line (6 ft. from the cashier). People are taking the pandemic seriously here (except for a few Expat American Republicans here who are still saying it is exaggerated! Lord save us from Republicans, a minority here among expats, thank goodness!) and because Costa Rica takes it seriously, we have fewer cases here and fewer deaths. And businesses are working hard at protecting both employees and customers. Plus many businesses are closed now which is sad for those employees, but the government is helping them some. We must stop the spread of Coronavirus!
Note of explanation for below: The photo of my cart behind the black line has a sign which indicates it is a line only for the elderly, handicapped and pregnant women (just like the banks have always had, but new here). The black line is as close as the next cart should be to the cashier (caja).
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” – Dr. Seuss
Well, another butterfly, the feature photo, that is difficult to identify and different from most because it was so small, about the size of my little finger’s fingernail or in U.S. currency about the size of a dime. Seeing an enlarged photo makes it seem to be one of the large category of “Brushfoots,” maybe more specifically one of the fritillary or crescents or tanmarks by the designs, though I have never seen one this small. No positive ID in my big book of butterflies yet. Let me know if you think you know! 🙂
THE ROOT CANAL
Thursday I saw my root canal specialist. She drilled into the hurting tooth (through a bridge) to find that it was very much infected because someone in the states had started a root canal but did not finish it and then went ahead and put a bridge on that tooth. So much for the trust I thought I had in my dentists in Nashville.
She packed it with antibiotics for a week and this Thursday I will get the infection-free root canal. The total cost for treating the infection and doing the root canal is the CR Colones equivalent of U.S. $220. Root canals in the states are between $900 and $1,800 and in my case one was never completed, even at the very high prices. Glad I’m in Costa Rica now! 🙂
A very social-able country is now practicing “social distancing” which is a challenge! 🙂 No more of that kissing cheeks or even hand-shaking which seemed funny when the very friendly bank guard elbow-bumped me the other day! 🙂 But the virus is spreading very slowly here and only in the capital and its suburbs now.
I just emailed my hotel in San Gerardo de Dota about my mountain adventure beginning March 30 to confirm that I’m still coming and get an assurance from them that they are still open. Tourism is being greatly hurt here by this virus and the limited travel since most of our tourists are from out-of-country. So I think they may appreciate that I’m still coming! And if not many there, easier/safer for me with my “social distancing!” 🙂
“Wherever you go becomes a part of you somehow.”
― Anita Desai
I possibly have more photos of this species of bird from my yard than from any other location, though I have seen them all over Costa Rica. It is a large chicken-sized bird that usually moves in flocks, but this one was solo at breakfast this morning in my Guarumo or Cecropia Tree (Wikipedia article).
When together as a flock they chatter a lot and thus the fun nickname here of “Chachalacas” for a group of people chattering or all talking at the same time. 🙂
There are two types in Costa Rica, this Gray-headed Chachalaca (link to Neotropical Birds site) found only in Central America from Honduras to the beginnings of Columbia, and the rarer Plain Chachalaca found here only in parts of Guanacaste (our Northwest Province) which I am yet to see or photograph.
On the Neotropical Birds site be sure to listen to their calls which is what wakes me some mornings! 🙂 And for more of my photos of this bird, both in my yard and other Costa Rica locations, see my photo gallery Gray-headed Chachalaca. Another one of my tropical friends here! 🙂
A chattering Good Morning from Atenas, Costa Rica!
This morning I prayed for Nashville, Tennessee which was devastated last night with a major overnight tornado.
For those who don’t know, I lived in Nashville for about 37 years (1977-2014, minus 3 in The Gambia) and lived in two of the neighborhoods hit by the tornado last night, Germantown and Hermitage, thus the destruction is very real to me plus I knew people in other areas hit bad, like East Nashville.
But I also know Nashvillians and that they will work together to get through this and be a stronger community because of it. Yet still, I send my sympathies to the many families who lost loved ones last night (19 at last report seen). Washington Post Article on Storm.