Pretty Bird, Nasty Place & Bad Photos

Walking to the supermarket Monday morning I crossed one of these “seasonal streams” or THE NASTY PLACE, a storm sewer creek where unfortunately some locals dump their “gray water” (sink & bath/shower water) which is always whitish from the soap, especially with the hand-washing emphasis these days.   🙂   There is no public sewage in little Atenas with everyone’s toilets going into their private septic tanks that work better without the abundance of “gray water.” Houses like mine have the gray water going into a “root-system-looking” group of pipes deep into the ground where the water goes through holes in the pipes and soaks down through dirt and rock purifying it before it gets to the underground aquifers, from which come our well-water or drinking water.    🙂   TMI?

As I crossed over the “bridge” (street over a concrete culvert or pipe) where the city is bulldozing to widen the road or bridge at that point (extend the concrete pipe), I see a Lesson’s MotmotTHE PRETTY BIRD, fly up from the stream to a tree and I quickly grab my cellphone for a photo at quite a distance and thus the herewith BAD PHOTOS!  Yes, I know that I could carry my big camera with me everywhere I go, but just don’t find that very comfortable or convenient (especially in the supermarket) and settle for what I can get with the cellphone camera. And it is okay for buildings, people, or even flowers which let me get closer than the bird will!   🙂

Anyway – that’s my story! And I’m sticking with it! And I apologize if you find the part about “gray water” objectionable!   🙂    ¡Así es la vida!  That’s life!

Look closely in upper left corner for the Motmot on a dead tree limb.
Just consider this “cellphone pixelation art.”   🙂

¡Pura Vida!

Cell Phone Garden

The other morning before breakfast I just walked through my garden using my cell phone to snap a few happy sights. This slide show of 14 shots shows just one reason I like Costa Rica so much – year-around!     🙂

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I decided that if I could paint that flower in a huge scale, you could not ignore its beauty.       ~Georgia O’Keeffe


¡Pura Vida!


And oh yeah! My flower galleries:  Flora & Forest

The Indignity of a Robbery

For the second time in 4 years living in Costa Rica I am enduring the disgrace of a robbery that simple precautions could have prevented. You may remember that the first one was during my first year here and I went with the local community band to photograph them marching in the Puntarenas Carnival Parade leaving my camera bag by my chair in a sidewalk cafe afterwards to experience its disappearance! Someone said that I paid my “Gringo Tax” by not protecting my bag in a very crowded place. Well, I’m paying it a second time this week.

1. I always leave my phone & Kindle on kitchen counter when home (or did)

It is the center of my house and I can hear the phone ring from there while anywhere else in my little house. And the Kindle is always there for me to put on the meal tray and take out on the terrace to eat every meal, my main dining companion! So a very convenient location. PROBLEM: In the center of the house those popular electronics can be seen by anyone “casing” my house from any of the windows except my bedroom and the bathroom. So a thief looking for an easy grab has found it with a quick glance into my house from driveway or anywhere else. So I will no longer leave them there.

In the photo I was in the office in that desk chair within 10 to 12 feet of the kitchen counter when items were lifted, plus my sunglasses are on that hall shelf near the door

2. I have not been locking my doors, seeing no reason.

About 8 pm I got up from my desk and went to the bathroom which is next to my outside door. I found the outside door was standing open and was puzzled with no wind yet to blow it open and I was sure I had closed it well. As I go back by the kitchen counter I discover the two electronic items missing and now know that I have been robbed silently within 10 feet of where I was sitting with my computer. At least my cameras were in that room with me and not touched nor the laptop computer! The door stays locked now!

3. Later I discover my “cool” reflective sunglasses missing also

Well, they make me feel younger if not look younger and they work and are cheap at only one mil, about $1.75. The photo is of the replacement pair I got yesterday after replacing my cell phone. And as soon as I discovered these missing, I knew it was a young man who walked in and took the 3 items quietly while I worked on my computer enriching my photo gallery with some 1998 Kenya Safari photos!  🙂  These are the kind of sunglasses young men in Costa Rica love to wear! Hope he enjoys them!

4. Further indignity – he/they tossed my Kindle!

Yep! the next morning my neighbor Jorge was out walking before me and he found my Kindle tossed in the drainage ditch near our gate. They evidently decided they could not get much if any money for a very worn, 5 year old small Kindle that can be purchased new for $49 and as leaving our property they just tossed it in the ditch. Glad it did not rain that night which would have ruined it for sure. But I was ready to replace it anyway. They say the battery lasts 3 to 5 years and you don’t get new batteries but just a new Kindle, so at 5 years it is about gone anyway. But still! Stealing it and then throwing it away!? My baby!  I’m incensed!   🙂

5. I reported and learned it was 3 young men who hit another house also that night and got away when discovered

I reported the theft to my landlord and the Roca Verde Homeowners Association and front gate guards who reported it to the police. And like some Americans, some of the Ticos here immediately blamed it on Nicaraguans (foreigners) rather than admit there is evil in all of us.

And life goes on despite the indignities we somehow must put up with occasionally! I am actually looking forward to a new Kindle that will be a little bit larger (1 inch) for my old eyes!  🙂  And I’m healthier now because I forgave whoever stole my phone and pray that they will be relieved of their poverty soon! Poverty is the real evil we need to focus on!   ¡Pura Vida!

For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. 

~Matthew 6:14-15

Trying out my new cell phone camera on my vista. Hope it is as good as the old one. Hard to tell here.


Day 2 San Jose, Churches & Lost Phone

Churches in the order seen, walking 6+ km, found only 6.
If door unlocked or even cracked open (1st one) I shot inside.
Iglesia de Barrio Mexico
San Jose, Costa Rica


Iglesia de Barrio Mexico Inside 
San Jose, Costa Rica


Iglesia de la Merced 
San Jose, Costa Rica


First Baptist Church
San Jose, Costa Rica


El Carmen Iglesia 
San Jose, Costa Rica


El Carmen Iglesia 
San Jose, Costa Rica


El Carmen Iglesia 
San Jose, Costa Rica


Catedral Metropolitana 
San Jose, Costa Rica


Catedral Metropolitana 
San Jose, Costa Rica


Parroquia Nuestra Senora De La Dolorosa 
San Jose, Costa Rica


Parroquia Nuestra Senora De La Dolorosa 
San Jose, Costa Rica


Iglesia de la Soledad 
San Jose, Costa Rica


Iglesia de la Soledad 
San Jose, Costa Rica

With some backtracking this was probably more than 6 kilometers of walking on the hot sidewalk and even with good shoes and two pair of socks, my feet were hot when I returned. I also photographed some other beautiful old building and one colorful modern art painted building. I will share these another day and maybe some people or other shots. Now I collapse. Tired.

I had it in my pocket at breakfast and I thought when I got in the taxi to go to the furthermost church to start the walk back. After photographing the church with my camera I reached for my cellphone and it was not there. I was going to use a new guided tour app on it. That didn’t happen! Fortunately I had printed the map from the app and followed it (but still missed 2 churches). Over the next three hours I asked 6 different people (police, taxistas, and a hotel clerk) to call my number, hoping someone would answer. Nada! Finally I had the hotel clerk call Kolbi/ICE who has my phone contract and I canceled it temporarily. They said that when I get a new phone I can reinstate the same phone number. I’m guessing it slid out of my pocket in the taxi this morning, but who knows? Some Tico today got a very good Samsung Galaxy 4 cellphone. Now do I get another good one or just a cheap one? Kolbi is not open in Atenas until Monday morning for the contract, though I could buy a phone somewhere else before then. So time to think about it! Cry. Cry. Then move on! That’s life! Pura Vida!

My Photo Gallery of Costa Rica Churches has more church photos if interested, and the San Jose gallery has more photos of San Jose.


Government Red Tape

I spent a total of about 45 minutes on the phone today with Medicare who is part of the reason Cigna HealthSpring can’t easily disenroll me from my Rx policy, though I think it could have been done in April if they were on the ball. Disenrollment has to be during enrollment periods for Medicare and the next enrollment/disenrollment period for Medicare is October 15 to December 7. Basically, Medicare (after talking with 3 people and the last spending time researching) told me I have to wait until October 15 for disenrollment in the Cigna HealthSpring Rx plan. So I call back in about a month. At least there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel. And why didn’t Cigna know this?

All the calls meant I had to buy more time on my Sim Card for the cell phone. As a non-resident, I can’t get a monthly phone bill but must use the pay as you go sim card on my cell phone. I do it over the internet with an easy system called Mobile Recharge. But still something else to do! 

Walking Snaps Today

Walking by Alajuela Cathedral this morning
I was struck by this beautiful flowering shrub.
Cell phone snap

Walking through Atenas later today, I caught this Blue-crowned Motmot
with my cellphone in someone’s yard. I did have to crop in a bit on this one.

It was a very busy day today and I did not get everything accomplished that I intended, but did get a lot done. Tomorrow Cristian and his crew come to finish my garden and add some trees and shrubs to my yard. You will probably hear about them tomorrow! And eventually I will get around to making and showing some photos of my new house. A busy two weeks!

By the way, Trip Advisor, for which I write reviews, has just published its “Top 10 Beaches in Central America” list and 8 of them are in Costa Rica! Or see the actual Trip Advisor site listing where you have to hit the arrow to scroll through the photos of each beach.  Makes me want to reconsider living at a beach, but probably not! 🙂  Beaches are hotter, more humid, and more expensive for living. I can get to a beach in 2 hours or less any time I want to.

Interested in the Nicaragua Canal? Click to read the latest news and how construction has begun.