Christmas Eve Dinner Around the Pool

Christmas Dinner with New Friends in Tambor 

Tambor, Costa Rica

Horderves, wine, soup or salad, baked turkey & dressing or mahi mahi, scalloped potatoes, green vegetable medley, pecan pie alamode. A wonderful meal and great company! The pecan pie was made with Karo Syrup just like my Mama’s by the owner’s wife. Delicious!

The lady at front right is my birding guide Ruth (today & Tuesday) and her husband Larry at front left is our driver. Jimmy is back center and Ruth’s daughter Ellie (Elizabeth) just graduated from high school and is going to the university to study medicine and eventually become a neurologist. There are a lot of ambitious young people like her in Costa Rica, even in small towns like Tambor (much smaller than Atenas!) Great people everywhere I go! Even most of the Americans!  🙂


All of my meals here are outside around the pool 
Tambor Tropical Resort
Tambor, Costa Rica

from Tambor Tropical Resort

My trip gallery for this trip: 2017 Christmas Week Tambor Bay 


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!

Enjoying Retirement in Costa Rica
My 2014 Selfie at Trogon Lodge, San Gerado de Dota

Christmas Eve Anniversary! One Year in Costa Rica!

Merry Christmas from my Terrace where I added Poinsettias to a potted palm.
A cell phone selfie.

And the poinsettias, well, they grow in some people’s yards! Year around!
And most of the people are loving and Christ-like year around. Always Christmas!
And I have been here a full year on Christmas Eve!
It is home now! Pura Vida!

AND TONIGHT I DID WHAT I WAS TOO SICK TO DO LAST CHRISTMAS EVE! I went to the Christmas Eve Candlelight Service and Lord’s Supper at Iglesia Biblica:

It started with some from the Spanish congregation singing two Christmas Songs in Spanish. Beautiful!
Then with the help of screens, we sang Christmas Carols, most with one verse in English & repeated in Spanish. Nice!
In between the carols the English pastor read portions of the Christmas story from Luke.

We ended with candle-lighting and singing of Silent Night.
Then to fellowship hall for punch and Christmas Cookies plus visiting.
I decided tonight to start attending regularly again, even though I still don’t care for praise bands
or all the Wednesday night Bible studies (too complicated to explain).
But I need the Christian fellowship!

And now that I am home it is noisy with Christmas eve celebrations around town. There are two competing concerts or singers plus fireworks. And last night it was a soccer match celebration. These are partying people here! Any excuse will work for a party!  🙂

I Wish You A Happy Christmas!

“It came without ribbons! It came without tags!
It came without packages, boxes or bags!
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before!
‘Maybe Christmas’ he thought, ‘doesn’t come from a store…
Maybe Christmas perhaps… means a little bit more!'”
– Dr. Seuss

Church Possibilities in Atenas

“Atenas New Community”

About 4 or 5 blocks from my apartment in Atenas is a non-denominational Bible Church Iglesia Biblica Atenas

They have Sunday morning services in Spanish language that I’ll attend.

Iglesia Biblica Atenas

Connected with it is an English-speaking Atenas New Community with Bible Study on Tuesday night and English Language Worship on Wednesday evening in the same building.

Both the Tico church and the English speaking community are somehow affiliated with LifePoint Church in Plano, TX and the English leader, Steve Lucas, was formerly on staff at that Plano church. The auditorium above seems to be used for Spanish on Sunday morning and English on Wednesday night.

40 minutes away in Escazu is the large, English-speaking International Baptist Church if I really get in the mood for a larger North American style Evangelical Church, though I expect to stay close to Atenas at first.

International Baptist Church
Escazu, Costa Rica

Click the links to each church above to see what I have to look forward to. The two in Atenas just have Facebook pages, but IBC has a full website and busy program. Christian fellowship and worship is important to me. I may try others I discover in Atenas.

And oh yes, I have already been invited to the Atenas New Community Christmas Eve service in English if I get in and settled in time. I am to arrive at airport at 2:00 and service is at 5:30 – so we’ll see!   🙂

No Record! and No Excess Luggage! :-)

Another Species of Toucan, I photographed in 2010 in Braulio Carrillo
Click photo to enlarge

So one more needed document obtained today from Nashville Police pretty quickly and easily for $13. The Costa Rica officials will like the red ink rubber stamped declaration “No Record” below the colorful Metro Police logo. I’m good to go on that!

This was easy too and a free flight with air miles, except for tax I had to pay! And I decided on Christmas Eve to be there for the holiday and get away from what could be Christmas blues here. In Costa Rica everyone makes tamales for Christmas, a long time tradition! I’ll expect some! Plus I may get to see some colorful Catholic Church celebrations on Christmas! Plus I need to get rid of all by stuff before Christmas anyway, so Christmas Eve seemed to be the best time to leave with an empty house. And hey!  I got great seats in front of the business class cabin on both flights! That is almost like first class (row 7 with bigger seat & more leg room). I will be flying in style through Miami on American Airlines. Another momentous Christmas for me!

But the hope that I could take 6 to 8 suitcases to carry my beginning stuff, is not going to work out. There is a max of 5 suitcases, but the escalating cost may mean only taking two and shipping other stuff. 1st bag is $25, 2nd bag is $40, 3rd bag is $150, and the 4th & 5th bags will be $200 each! So much for a free flight! I’m hoping air freight will be cheaper and plan to start with quotes from DHL which was my shipper from The Gambia, but will compare with FedEx and maybe find a freight company that will send footlockers. UPS is not in C.R.

I will wait until next week before I try following up on their promised letter. Then I can stay focused on getting rid of stuff. So far, everything is falling together pretty quickly and easily.