And I was having so much fun on my anniversary day of December 24 that I forgot to mention it in the blog post that night or celebrate. You may remember that I had Christmas Eve Dinner Around the Pool with Friends. It was that night three years ago that a taxi brought me and 5 suitcases from San Jose Airport to Atenas (late plane meant arriving after dark) to Hacienda La Jacaranda Apartments where I lived my first 4 months in Atenas Costa Rica. On this anniversary I was too busy to even think about it! 🙂 “The past is prologue!” Maybe I will have a celebration when I’ve been here 5.5 years on my 80th birthday. 🙂
And earlier that same happy day I saw my first King Vulture in the wild and got a photograph! Along with a juvenile King Vulture and other birds and wildlife on what my guides called “Raptor Ridge” on a hill above the Tambor Bay beach resort where I was staying. It was a great day! And the day before I got to release 12 baby Olive Ridley Turtles into the Pacific Ocean, so why would I think about it being my 3-year anniversary of living here? 🙂
Well, a lot has happened in three years and I’m quite at home here now, loving life in a little mountain coffee-farming town, learning to speak Spanish, though very slowly! Trying to have as many Tico friends as gringos and maybe more now!
My passion is finding and photographing some of the over 900 species of birds here along with other nature photography and the thrill of traveling Costa Rica. I have learned to travel as the locals do on buses to anywhere in Costa Rica, though I am a sissy old man who sometimes goes to the far away places on a little local plane, Sansa or Nature Air. Some of my Tico friends say I’ve seen more of their home country than they have and I probably have. I try to go somewhere new every month or two and of course report on these trips in progress on my blog (here) as well as in photo galleries in what I call Charlie Doggett’s COSTA RICA. And I even have a series of photo books on many of the birding lodges and national parks I have visited. I can’t get rid of the desire to create something! It is fun to me! And I do none of it for money (it actually costs me) but as my fun hobby.
I have Pensionado Residencia with the government health plan called CAJA (better than Medicare) and I am settling in for the rest of my life here with paperwork done for my body to be donated to the University of Costa Rica Medical School. I am not active in church but attend a little Bible Church here some, trying to avoid the right-wing Americans that also attend some, most only on the one Sunday a month with English translation. My goal this year is to attend mostly on the Español only Sundays.
I have volunteered service to the Angel Tree project, three schools, my language school, and most recently led an after school club at one high school which I talked about 2 blog posts ago. I am trying to integrate into the community without becoming a catholic or marrying a Tica! 🙂 That is quite feasible.
I am overall healthy for a 77 year old (though walking a lot slower now believe it or not). I get plenty of rest and exercise walking everywhere. One of my best decisions was to not buy a car! Good for my health and budget! I eat well, sleep a lot, and I am very happy in my new home. So with this little summary, I place a marker down at my three-years point of living in Costa Rica. None of us know how long we will live, but I’m expecting many more years of adventures in Costa Rica! ¡Pura Vida!
“I like people that enjoy life, ’cause I do the same.”
Two years ago today (on Dec.24, 2014) I boarded a plane in Nashville with 5 suitcases and a one-way ticket to Costa Rica. (I’ve since learned the airline was not supposed to sell me a one-way ticket since I wasn’t a legal resident of CR yet. But anyway, I got here late and the taxi driver drove me in the dark up the winding mountain road (Ruta 3) from airport to Atenas and the inefficient Dutch owner/manager of the apartments Hacienda La Jacaranda was not ready for me, thinking I was not coming until January. His girlfriend had to clean an empty apartment for me before I could move in and the adventure began!
Today’s Boat Captain/Guide, Luis
Two years later I’m on my umpteenth birding trip, this time to Sarapiqui and what some have told me is one of the best birding spots in Costa Rica. Well . . . I’ve only been here a day and a half, but it has not yet proven to be one of my best! Most of the birds I’ve been able to photograph have been at the feeder outside the dining room and only a fraction of what I can see in 2 hours on the Tarcoles River or a short time at San Gerado de Dota or Rancho Naturalista.
I was hopeful about the birding river boat trip this afternoon, but some new friends told me they saw only 4 birds on yesterday’s boat trip, so expecting the worse, I went. Well I saw about 12-15 bird species including a yellow-throated toucan, so very good for me and better than today’s morning walk, though not like Rio Tarcoles. But my guide here, Evon, is trying to schedule me an early morning boat trip for Monday when I’m likely to see a lot more birds. Hope it works out!
Tomorrow, Christmas Day, I do morning and afternoon walks and maybe will see a lot more. The lodge on the river is nice and I’m enjoying my stay here; resting, birding and meeting some very interesting people, especially today a couple from Ireland who also lived in The Gambia once like me.
Didn’t use my cell phone camera much today, but above is a shot of by boat captain and guide Luis and below a couple of shots here at the lodge.
Violet-headed Fairy Hummingbird In the gardens of Selva Verde Lodge Sarapiqui Maybe the only bird shot on my cell phone. Shooting into the sun is not good on any camera!
Orchid Blooms In the gardens of Selva Verde Lodge Sarapiqui near my room.
I heard that we will have the option of tamales for dinner tonight which is a big Christmas tradition in Costa Rica. I’ll tell you tomorrow on Christmas Day.
MERRY CHRISTMAS or Feliz Navidad!
Charlie Enjoying Retirement in Costa Rica My 2014 Selfie at Trogon Lodge, San Gerado de Dota