Tiny Park Update – BIG A

The slow renovation of the Atenas Central Park is at least in progress again. Yesterday I noticed this BIG “A” perched on the concrete wall they just completed. I’m guessing that they will spell ATENAS across the top of that wall with big letters like parks in both Alajuela and Heredia have with their town names spelled in parks. 🙂

¡Pura Vida!

My photo gallery of Atenas Central Park Renovation

Central Park Update

Well, everything stopped two weeks before Christmas and seems to have only recently gotten back up to speed with Christmas lights still strung overhead. No hurry! Tranquilo. ¡Pura vida!   🙂

What they seem to be working on mainly now is what I call the “Sitting Walls” along all 8 of the spoke-wheel sidewalks from the center kiosk. By around Christmas or the end of December they finished those walls on the walkway to the church, the feature photo. I’m assuming that the sidewalks will be more brick-pavers like now and as shown in the architect drawings – none started yet.

They are now working on the opposite side of park at the NE corner on the sidewalk with the most slope to the lowest point, thus under which the main storm water drain pipe will flow and has already been installed or buried.

CLICK A PHOTO TO ENLARGE

Looking at the Architect Drawings, I see that some of these “Sitting Walls” will have to have gaps or openings in them to get to the exercise activities, playground areas, picnic tables, etc. I’ll record how that develops!

And the 4 photos above have been added to my Central Park Remodeling Photo Gallery showing the only time line of progress on the park renovations.

¡Pura Vida!

Surrounding Central Park

I thought it would be interesting to show all the businesses and institutions that face the four sides of Atenas Central Park. So today I walked around all these trees facing out and photographing each establishment, starting with the church and going counter-clockwise. South side, east side, north side and then west side.

The city recently thinned out the trees & painted bases & benches.
Atenas Central Park, Costa Rica

SOUTH SIDE OF PARK

Catholic ChurchSouth Side of Park, Facing North, (which doesn’t match stories about
Costa Rica churches facing west so worshippers face east to Jerusalem)
Atenas Central Park, Costa Rica
EAST SIDE OF PARK 

La Cafeteria – The Coffee Shop
Plus 3 other shops in corner building across from church
Atenas Central Park, Costa Rica

Tribunales de Justicia, Court House
Atenas Central Park, Costa Rica

Photography Shop 
Atenas Central Park, Costa Rica

Discount Groceries  (Chinese store)
This is in location of what was the largest Bar/Restaurant in Centro
But a lack of business and illegal activities closed them down.
Atenas Central Park, Costa Rica

A Dress Shop 
Atenas Central Park, Costa Rica

A busy Bakery on left + 3 little shops
Bakery is only place to get coffee at 5 AM + Bus Stop is there!
Atenas Central Park, Costa Rica

And the next corner is an expensive Young Adult Clothing Shop
 Atenas Central Park, Costa Rica


NORTH SIDE OF PARK

POP’S Ice Cream & Bar Punga 
Atenas Central Park, Costa Rica

Unknown Office Building & Shoe Repair Shop 
Atenas Central Park, Costa Rica

Mattress & Bedding Shop 
Atenas Central Park, Costa Rica

A Lunch Only Soda 
Atenas Central Park, Costa Rica

Florist Downstairs & Apartment Upstairs 
Atenas Central Park, Costa Rica

Banco Nacional – My Bank
The other 2 banks are about a block away and notice
the long line at the ATM at left, typical everywhere here.

Pizzeria Olivera – The most popular Pizza for Ticos. 
Most expats prefer the thin crust pizza at La Finca a block away.
Atenas Central Park, Costa Rica
WEST SIDE OF PARK

City Hall 
Atenas Central Park, Costa Rica

I think it is an addition to the City Hall – Brand New!
Atenas Central Park, Costa Rica

Women & Children’s Clothing + Fabrics & Patterns to Make Your Own 
Atenas Central Park, Costa Rica

University Extension Classes Here 
Atenas Central Park, Costa Rica

Clothing Store & Pharmacy
The center of town at Calle 0 and Avenida 0
Atenas Central Park, Costa Rica

One block down that street above to the right is the other big commercial area with the Central Market, Bus Station, 3 furniture stores, hardware store, 3 super markets, many clothing shops, gift shops, office supply, and our best discount store El Rayo, like a big dollar store in the states with cheap Chinese stuff. There is actually more shopping going on there than around Central Park. Maybe a post on that someday.

You can get most things you really need here, just not always American brands. The rich Americans who can’t adapt to other cultures drive their big cars to Alajuela and San Jose where there are shopping havens like being in the states. The Escazu suburb of San Jose is the “little USA” for shopping and dining. I don’t like that but do get a few things I really like at Alajuela Pricesmart or Walmart and very rarely at the big City Mall in Alajuela. All by bus and taxi.

I just ran across one of our local Realtor’s “Top Ten Reasons Expats Retire in Atenas” that I thought you guys thinking about retiring here might be interested in. Of course this guy is trying to sell you property, so read it through that filter! And he particularly markets to wealthy Americans.
And if you haven’t seen the latest Atenas PR video, it is not commercial:   Atenas

Caring for Nature

Celebrate Your Life
Care for Nature

I recently noticed this sign nailed to a tree in Central Park Atenas below some air plants. Costa Ricans are known for celebrating and enjoying life! And the country is a haven for nature unlike most others. Maybe someone put this sign here to educate the youth who hang out in the park a lot, since many of them are more interested in things than nature. As a nature-lover I’m glad to see it anyway.

The government and tourism leadership are working to make Costa Rica one of the “greenest” tourist countries in the world. Maybe now they will work harder on educating the local people concerning littering and misuse of things like the greywater I wrote about earlier. There is not much they can do about volcanic ash, but at least it is fairly rare with some volcanoes erupting only every 400 years. All of these little environmental concerns are important because together with the daily destruction of forests by man’s hunger for wood, land, and “progress,” we are systematically destroying the world that God made for us. The “care for nature” is still minimal in our world, even in Costa Rica. May we all celebrate life by caring for nature!

Now this good news as it was reported in “Costa Rica Insider” one of the newsletters I get:

100% renewable energy

More exciting news recently out of Costa Rica. The country’s electric utility company, ICE (Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad) announced that during the first 75 days of 2015, the country had been running completely on renewable energy resources—with no burning of fossil fuels needed to generate electricity. The primary source is hydroelectric (Lake Arenal was actually created to power a hydroelectric plant), followed by geothermal (all that volcanic activity underground comes in handy), wind, and a good bit of solar, too.
Costa Rica has set an ambitious goal of being completely carbon neutral for its power generation by 2021. And it already generates more than 90% of its power on average through renewable sources.
Ticos and expats are psyched. And the achievement has also attracted attention from environmental watchers and media organizations from around the world.

“We cannot think too highly of nature, nor too humbly of ourselves.”

Charles Caleb Colton (1780-1832)
 

 

“What we are doing to the forests of the world is but a mirror reflection of what we are doing to ourselves and to one another.” 

 

― Chris Maser, Forest Primeval: The Natural History of an Ancient Forest

 

 

Central Park is the Center of Atenas

Central Park Atenas, a cell phone 3-photo panorama from Gelly’s Jardin Restaurant

This view is from Gelly’s restaurant facing east. Don Tadeo’s Bar & Restaurant faces the park on the opposite side, facing west, a vista place to eat on both sides! The Atenas Catholic Church is to the right, facing the park from the south side looking north and on the north side is Banco Nacional facing south. On the southeast corner is the Courthouse, called Tribunal, and northwest corner the City Hall. On the northeast corner of the park is POP’S Ice Cream Shop while southwest corner has Pizza Olivera.

The Post Office is a half block west of the back side of the church or block and a half from the park. Another block and a half from the park is the Bus Station, Taxi Stand, and Indoor Farmers’ Market open all week. And this doesn’t count all the many little shops, Sodas, a hardware store, two small supermarkets, a dollar store kind of place, good office and school supply store, and more restaurants as the circle widens. Plus the electric company and phone company two blocks off the square, as is my spanish class, the bigger supermarket, etc. 
And realtors don’t understand why I want to stay close to the Central Park? Each realtor has a house they just know I will love, but I have to pay more for it, get a car or spend more on taxis! I’m now 5 or 6 blocks away and that is far enough to! This is the way towns used to be built! I sometimes feel like I’m living back in the 1940’s or 50’s with this town, and likewise when washing dishes by hand, hanging laundry outside in to dry, and walking everywhere! I love my new retro-life! And I love being near the center of Atenas! Think I’ll stay! And if the apartments don’t work out for any reason, I’ll take an apartment or little house near the city center without the view! 

Lunch at Park Again & Two New Birds!

Looking out the Open Air Window of Don Tadeo’s at lunch Saturday,
Central Park is always a hub of activity for locals

I tried Don Tadeo’s Sports Bar and Grill for lunch yesterday and had a really good lunch of their day’s special, Lasagna and Salad, plus enjoyed watching these girls climb the tree and many other people socializing in Atenas Central Park, from teenagers stealing kisses to old men sitting and talking. It is what small town life in Costa Rica is.

I did not post this yesterday because our internet service was down until about noon today because some employee did not turn something on when needed. Management of the apartments is the biggest blip in my tropical paradise, but a new manager has been secured from Holland and hopefully he will be efficient! Patricia, the girl I’ve been working with, has already been let go. I wrote a letter to the new management with my issues and what it would take for me to sign a long-term lease. We will see. 
Now for yesterday’s birds, both new and Thrush from my front balcony with Wren seen from back balcony in a Mango Tree. As always, click to see larger image. And in my photo galleries there is one titled Birds Photographed at Apartment if you want to see all the birds I’ve photographed from my balconies, up to 12 now! This was something I had hoped for about the apartments, but the reality meets my expectation even if not Macaws or Toucans! For even more birds from Costa Rica and all of Central and South America, see the bigger gallery Central/South America Birds. and soon I will create a gallery for all of my Costa Rica Bird photos separate from these.
Clay-colored Thrush, formerly known as Clay-colored Robin

Rufous-naped Wren

Went to church this morning and the novelty has worn off. I’ve got to improve my Spanish a whole lot quick to fully worship and learn from the sermon. But I will keep loving the people! Today was the day that early and late services were combined into one at 9:00 AM and always two hours long! Today I slipped out quickly at end of service and walked to Central Park again and today ate by myself at Antano Restaurant, some great rice with vegetables and shrimp.

Came home and drank a Guanabana for desert. I buy the Guanabana (soursop) pulp at grocery store and mix it one part with three parts water or sometimes with milk for a really rich smoothie! It is a big green, spiny fruit with white meat inside that is usually used in a blender for yummy drinks. It is also known as the “cancer killer” in some circles for natural remedies.

Two New Birds & Balcony Shots

This afternoon I photographed birds from my front balcony for the first time. Got two repeats, Great Kiskadee and Scarlet Tanager but also two new ones, Blue-gray Tanager (you can see in aviary at Nashville Zoo Unseen New World) and tried again to photograph one of the several flocks of parakeets that fly over very fast every afternoon. Nearly impossible to photograph, but here’s a fuzzy image!

Blue-gray Tanager at Hacienda La Jacaranda, Atenas, Costa Rica

Someday maybe a good photo of these regular flyovers.
Today I was given an old and worn (like me) leather & wood rocker for my balcony like some of the other residents have. Now I don’t have to take one of my other chairs out for morning coffee and some evening sits. It is on the front balcony which is larger. The back balcony is the second photo and is longer but narrow with bamboo next to it and lots of other trees closer, making it the better bird photo spot. Also have a clothes line there, but usually use the rack on front balcony for the afternoon sun. In Costa Rica an electric clothes dryer is a rarity. We have sunshine every day, even in the rainy season! 

Rocking Chair for the retired old man! My front balcony.

Back Balcony where most birds are photographed.

Today after Spanish Class I tried a different super market, Maxi-Pali, which is a longer walk but has some things The Coopeatenas doesn’t and has cheaper prices on a few items. They also stock some Walmart house brand products, so guess who probably owns them? It is kind of like it was in the states, I’ll now probably use both some, but the closest is the easiest, so we will see. Also ate at another new restaurant for me that does not have a web presence and I just wrote the first review on Trip Advisor, so nothing to link to now, but that link is to my list of reviews and Olivera will be up in a day or so. It is Pizza Olivera, on the square or Central Park and they deliver, so I will probably use the delivery when Kevin is here. It was very good pizza I thought. I got a personal size Supreme and a liter tropical juice drink for $5. I will return! Like most restaurants here, the dining area is covered open air with views of whatever, this time Central Park with old men on benches, children running and playing, and a teen rolling slowly by on a skate board. Just an ordinary little farming town with lots of happy people! 🙂  It is still fun to be here and to be walking everywhere!

And oh yes, this morning after class I said “yes” to my first volunteer opportunity. I will be helping at the gringo-sponsored Annual Chili Cookoff and fiesta as a fund-raiser for the local children’s home. Some 3,000 people are expected. Don’t know yet what I will do.
Tomorrow is bus to San Jose and my appointment at the U.S. Embassy – hopefully getting the last document needed for my residential application. Never a dull moment yet! But I’m resting tonight!
Blessings to all who take the time to read all my ramblings! I’ll work on making this shorter! Promise!

Relaxing Day in Atenas

Central Park Atenas

I slept late and after breakfast walked to town for some items the Cooperative Super Mercado doesn’t have like a USB Cable extension and small wastebasket for my office, plus for the kitchen a paring knife, measuring cup and cutting board. Little towns have lots of little shops, so you just go around town looking and asking and sure enough I found everything I needed in three different shops and got to walk through our Central Park (at right) in the process. Then I grabbed three items at the Super Mercado and a lunch to go at Restaurante El Mejor Climate and then stayed home all afternoon, catching up on several things. Was planning a fruit plate for dinner, but a neighbor invited me for pasta with sausage and came back in later for a little saucer of fresh Papaya, Mango and Strawberries, a nice ending to a nice day!

And oh yes! I did get my appointment with the Social Security Office at the U.S. Embassy for Thursday morning which will be by bus this time! They were very nice on phone and told me where to get off the bus from Atenas to have the shortest and thus cheapest taxi ride to the embassy. So Spanish class tomorrow and then another San Jose bureaucracy adventure Thursday. 🙂 The fun never stops!

Plus, this afternoon I found the Costa Rica Classical Music Station, 96.7 FM, in case you are ever looking for it! I love it when a plan starts coming together! 🙂

As a daily walker through Atenas now, I have some locals who recognize me and we greet at each passing. This morning I walked by the house where an old man is usually sitting in the yard and we greet, but I didn’t notice him. He hollered “Hola” at me and I responded with “Buenos Dias!” A really friendly small town. And I daily pass houses with various tropical flowers like this Hibiscus I snapped with my phone this morning walking home.

Hibiscus in Atenas

The infrastructure is not great here, like a lot of small farming towns everywhere, but it is the people and relaxed, simple, happy spirit that makes Atenas a good choice! Plus the good weather helps too! Pura Vida! The new name for my website! Over the next year or so it will be transforming more I expect.