I photographed this Monday after Spanish Class and my bus ride to Alajuela, picking up a package at Aeropost, taking taxi to Walmart, then walking the half mile to the City Mall for lunch and a couple of items in shopping. I usually ignore this particular public art, but somehow it struck me today. On this same boulevard past the Mall is a red letter “a” (the little A) and the word “Alajuela” under it, which reminds me of the large red letters in Juan Santamaria Park spelling out “Alajuela” and that someone is trying to coordinate at least some of their public art. Interesting! ~Charlie
|This one has blue elves and a train!|
There are more than these two trees at City Mall Alajuela, but these are a sample of how into Christmas people are here. Every store is of course decorated better than the others and people are starting to decorate their homes. Christmas is in the air and Christmas Carols playing everywhere, more in English than in Spanish! In Atenas our Christmas Art Festival is 14-16 December with the Festival of Lights Parade the evening of 16th. It’s really a big deal!
|And Poinsettias grow in our yards! 🙂|
|I like to include breakfast at La Casita del Cafe with a view to the ocean.|
|I also took John to Zoo Ave, City Mall, La Garita plant nurseries,
house hunting (his main goal), and lots of restaurants! 🙂 4 days here.
I did not know John from my many years living in Nashville but met him on the Chris Howard Relocation or Living in Costa Rica Tour in 2014. We have kept in touch since. He is not able to retire yet, but plans to come here when he does and is starting to invest in rental property here for his future income. Like Reagan, his favorite place was sitting on my terrace.
|Catedral de Alajuela seen from
Juan Santamaria Park
Even though I have rental car, I really don’t like to drive in the big cities and wanted Reagan to experience how I get to town and walk around in the old, simple city of Alajuela – more crowded and dirty than Atenas and with more old buildings. So we rode bus to town where we walked and took taxis to and from the mall. He did not particularly like it until we got to the modern City Mall
|Juan Santamaria Statue
Alajuela, Costa Rica
|Main entrance to City Mall, Alajuela, Costa Rica|
|Reagan in the City Mall Food Court
Where he finally got to eat at McDonald’s!
Follow Reagan’s Blog for his view of his visit here!
A STAR WARS Christmas Present . . .
|Me and Jason with BB-8 at theater.|
One of my Spanish language helpers, Jason Quesada in Atenas, has so far not accepted payment by the hour, just lunches, etc. So for his Christmas gift, regalo de Navidad, I took him with me by bus to Alajuela to see his first ever Star Wars movie. Hard to imagine not having the background of 6 previous movies, but he enjoyed it and I guess the plot kind of stands alone with me giving him a little background on who some of the characters are and a little of what happened in the past.
The new theater is nicer than any I have been to in the States! I bought our tickets electronically with a credit card at kiosk out front not knowing what “Premier” meant, but I chose it because the sound tract was in English with Spanish subtitles. I’m not yet ready for the one with Spanish voices dubbed in.
VIP TREATMENT IN LUXURY!
Well we were both shocked! When we gave the ticket taker our tickets he did not point or give directions to our theater but personally escorted us to the Premier door and introduced us to a hostess.
We entered the VIP private lounge area with restaurant as well as usual movie snacks and luxurious seats around little tables and a bar with bar stools. We were given a menu with a great selection including alcoholic drinks and told we could take the menu to our seats and they would come take our order. Shucks! We had already gotten popcorn and cokes at the regular people snack stand in main lobby. So we decided we might eat lunch in the lounge after the movie.
Then our hostess led us up a short flight of stairs to the Premier Balcony with giant lounge chairs with electronic controls to lift the foot rest or lean back and a little fold out table for food in addition to the built-in drink holder. Wide aisles and lots of space for the recliners! She checked on us twice during the movie to see if we needed anything. Wow! I can’t wait to go back and order from my seat or eat lunch during a movie! But lunch in the lounge after the movie was great too! This is livin!
See also Christianity Today’s online article titled: Why We Get Religious About ‘Star Wars’
|They claim it is 80% finished or maybe occupied, but did not look it to me.|
|You cannot drive up to front entrance yet because road is not finished!|
|The entrance road coming soon!?
The street in front is bumper to bumper cars!
But they are widening it, in time. 🙂
|Some Chinese tourists get photos
in front of one of many Christmas trees!
Once I got past this entrance tree I somehow forgot to make any more photos. So I will show the inside the mall another time! It is very large with stores for about anything you could possibly want. The prices were not as bad as I expected, but still expensive. The food court is large and has a good variety, but my friend wanted Taco Bell, so we did! (Somehow it seems wrong eating American Fast Food in another country!) But it was good, even though they serve french fries with every combo! ???
Today, Friday, I spent 4 hours from 7-11 at the Feria (Farmers’ Market) trying to get people to take an angel from our Su Espacio Angel Tree. We gave out 24 and still have nearly 50 left with only one week left to get sponsors. David thinks they will go fast this week. If some are not taken, we have plenty of money to buy gifts for them, BUT someone has to go shopping for them! We’ll see what happens. I may get another job.
This afternoon (Tuesday) I went to Walmart in Alajuela and on my way back to the bus station my taxi drove by the above mall that opens tomorrow (Wednesday, 11/11). Traffic was terrible and it isn’t even open yet! The road in front is being widened but of course they are not finished with the road yet (sounds like the states). My driver said there is a big fiesta planned for the grand opening tomorrow. I enjoyed his characterization of the mall as “Gringo Landia” or Gringo Land. You can be sure the gringos here will certainly support the place! At least the rich ones, which is a bunch! And just in time for Christmas!
Shopping at any level is a bit of therapy for my medulla oblongata.~Theophilus London
INTERESTING COSTA RICA NEWS TIDBIT:
|In October every year Atenas Catholics celebrate the city’s Patron Saint
San Rafael Arcángel or Saint Rafael the Archangel (link gives details)
It began Friday night with dancing and the carnival on church lawn below
and continues through Mass on 25 October. I hope I haven’t already missed
the masquerade dance which is usually part of it. Last night was just carnival.
I’m guessing next Friday and Saturday nights will be bigger, especially 24th.
|Lots of food booths and kiddie rides like these little cars on street by church|
|Tilt-a-whirl and Ferris-wheel of course for older kids & trampoline for smaller|
|algodón de azúcar or Cotton Candy at most fiestas
along with many kinds of pastries including meat-filled
|And of course a merry-go-round with cute horses is necessary!
Everything here is very family-oriented, conservative and inexpensive.
You guys at First Baptist Nashville can just think of this as their version of your “Fall Festival” for the children. It just lasts longer here! I don’t often go downtown at night much, but hope to go again and maybe catch the masquerade dance, probably next Friday or Saturday night.
- X-RAYS EVALUATED by my doctor indicate I have twin babies, Dr. Candy joked with me, baby bone spurs on each heel. For now she has prescribed a pill to take as needed and soak the sore foot (my right one now) in ice water to relieve the pain. If it gets worse she will send me to a specialist who will give an injection in the heel that sometimes helps. Last resort is surgery, a long way down the path if ever for me.
- RUFOUS-COLLARED SPARROW in my house again the other day. Before I got him chased out (waving a towel) he pooped several times on floor and once on my bed’s blanket (time to wash anyway). Funny thing is the same day I got an email from Bonnie Meriwether suggesting I get a screen door. I’m considering that if the landlord approves, although this is still a rare thing and the insects and lizards cannot be kept out. My sliding glass door does have sliding screens which I close at dark, but usually leave open in day since I twice walked through those screens. An open house is just the way it is done here by everyone.
- HABLO ESPAÑOL MAS AHORA (I speak Spanish more now) but still a long way from fluent or even good conversations. It is very slow learning for me and part of the reason is I live alone and don’t socialize enough with Spanish-speakers. I always try to talk about the weather or traffic with taxi drivers in Spanish, order in Spanish in restaurants, and communicate somewhat in other businesses and the bank. Of course the Spanish Class is Spanish-only now and a friend from it will spend time with me “practicing” when I request or schedule, like the time I had him over for pizza. Poco a poco (slowly, slowy).
- MORE RAIN THIS WEEK like it is suppose to be in “Rainy Season” with even more than last week getting rain every afternoon and most nights which is really nice for sleep! Old timers say there is no way to get enough rain to make up for the dry winter and dry season starts in November or December.
- My taxi in Alajuela drove by the new CITY MALL under construction and scheduled to open
Architect’s Drawing of Main Entrance
A 45 minute bus ride away for me.
in November, the largest mall in Costa Rica and 2nd largest in Central America! And Alajuela is already where I go to shop, so I’m ready! While my rich friends drive to San Jose or Escazu shopping where it is more difficult for me on the bus. City Mall already has a Facebook Page, You Tube Videos, and a bunch of pictures plus lots of articles online and in local papers and magazines. It will have a parking garage for 2,600 cars and is the largest mall ever built in Central America in one stage. Panama has one that was later enlarged that is now larger. Our current largest mall is in the Escazu area of San Jose and will really have a lot of competition now. Alajuela is closer to me and easier to get to by bus than San Jose, so I’m glad, though . . . I am really not a mall shopper where everything is more expensive and even more so here. But I may go to their cinema! 🙂 Or to look for a hard-to-find item. Or to eat in one of their restaurants!
A nation’s culture resides in the hearts and in the soul of its people.~Mahatma Gandhi