A Hotel for Feeding

If one must stay at a hotel for a long period of time, it helps to have several dining options. And that is one of the reasons I chose this over 2 other hotels within walking distance of radiotherapy. There are 3 restaurants within the hotel or attached and up to 4 more within walking distance. Read on for my comments & photos of the 4 I’ve experienced so far . . .

Continue reading “A Hotel for Feeding”

Illegal Buffet?

Sorry that you got a false email notice of this post two days ago! In short, this old man is sometimes technologically challenged! 🙂 I often schedule posts a day or so ahead and when the scheduling calendar popped up I clicked the 4th and entered. Whoops! I had just clicked the 4th of December! 🙂 I quickly changed it to the 4th of January, but alas, the auto email had already been sent out. 🙂

Since March and the first arrival of COVID19 in Costa Rica, the government Health Ministry prohibits buffet service in restaurants. But I guess that does not include ants eating a spec of food together on my terrace! 🙂

These tiny black ants are eating a tiny spec of something: food, fruit, flower, other insect or I’m not sure what on my terrace, right in front of my rocking chair. I just had to photograph them! 🙂

Ant Buffet on my terrace.

If all humans disappeared today ,the earth would start improving tomorrow. If all the ants disappeared today ,the earth would start dying tomorrow.

~David Suzuki



And more photos from Arenal & Caño Negro are coming! I’m still organizing photos! 🙂

¡Pura Vida!

Last Day at Hogar de Vida

Letty “cutting in” along the floor as we continued painting the Baby House.
Hogar de Vida, Atenas, Costa Rica

Finally a photo not showing children’s faces as we again played with the Toddler House.
Hogar de Vida, Atenas, Costa Rica

Our “last supper” as a mission team to
Hogar de Vida, Atenas, Costa Rica

Then we celebrated Larry’s birthday with a Passion Fruit, Pineapple & Coconut Cake
inscribed with “Feliz Cumpleaños Larry” Happy Birthday in Spanish.
Hogar de Vida, Atenas, Costa Rica

The Gnuse family. Matt is missionary director of the home.
Hogar de Vida, Atenas, Costa Rica

You will hear more about this fantastic children’s home, what we did there and future mission trips to Hogar de Vida.     Or see their Facebook Page. 

A Fantastic Place!

Simple Pleasures 1: Thursday Night Dinner

I’ve been eating on the front porch lately, watching the world go by!
My old favorite was the side garden porch & inside you smell fresh bread!
So wherever you sit you will find enjoyable food! Buen Provecho!

Thursday night from 5-7 is my second Spanish class at Iglesia Biblica, just a half block from one of my favorite restaurants, El Balcon del Cafe, so . . . I started going an hour early for a very early dinner or late lunch at 4:00 with usually the day’s special. The couple who run this place are German but only a few items on the menu are German, and it is all very good! They are also a bakery with some of the best fresh bread and cakes in town, maybe tied with my other favorite bakery, Crema y Nata.

One of my two favorite fish plates in town is here a wonderful whole Corvina (Sea Bass) smothered in a white wine sauce that makes the fish melt in your mouth. And my favorite dessert here or maybe anywhere in town is her Queque Manzana con Helado (Apple Pie Alamode).

Her daily specials are usually gourmet recipes and always healthy, with or without a fruit bebida (drink). Tonight’s was an absolutely delicious steak or special cut of beef (beef not served much here) with her special German pan-fried potatoes and one of her scrumptious salads! No need for dessert tonight! I look forward to Thursday evenings and the surprise gourmet dinner before Spanish Class. One of the many simple pleasures I enjoy in Costa Rica.

Buen Provecho! The equivalent to the English “enjoy your meal!” or the French “bon appétit!” And believe me! I enjoy most of my meals here! For a light lunch snack I had some of my homemade guacamole with plantain chips to carry me over to dinner. My guacamole is from local fresh avocados and other veggies (I add fresh squeezed lime juice, onions, peppers, herbs, and tomatoes) and it is actually another one of my “Simple Pleasures.”  As is my usual breakfast of a bowl of 4-5 fruits with whole-grain cereal and nuts.   🙂 Charlie

There is no love sincerer than the love of food.~George Bernard Shaw (1856 –1950) 

My Health Improves in Costa Rica!

At my target weight now!
First time in 30+ years!

After 6 months in Costa Rica I decided to buy bathroom scales for fear I was gaining weight instead of losing or staying at a healthy level. After all, I have been eating a lot here and learned that Ticos have a sweet tooth like me. Who can resist Tres Leches or Coconut Flan? So at the Alajuela Walmart I got a nice looking glass scales similar to what I had in Nashville. I bring it home and weigh for a pleasant surprise! I am averaging between 173-175 which is what the charts say I should weigh for my height, etc. 173-175. In the morning I am closer to 173 and by night closer to 175. I tried to reach that in the states all of 2014 but usually stayed between 180-185, which was better than the 200 pounds the year before!

One of my favorite dinners is a green salad with Avocado
slices (a whole one this time but sometimes a half), a big 
glass of water and a fruit fresca made from pulp concentrate
this time, but sometimes fresh fruit in blender – yummy! 
And sometime I add a dash of bottled Sangria or 7up. Salad is
seasoned with fresh-squeezed limon and herbal seasoning in 
that little shaker bottle at top. 1 slice of whole grain toast and 
a little guava marmalade for the last bits of toast not finished
with the salad. Reasonable dessert! Some days I have saltine
crackers with either salad or soup. I do cook chicken, fish, and 
some pork with vegetables and/or salad. Eating out less now.
I’m doing okay with homemade veggie soup and gallo pinto
a special Costa Rican seasoned beans and rice, and I’ve always
done great scrambled eggs as a messed up omelet!  🙂 And 
unless after dark, I eat all meals outside on my balcony. 
Which I think is also a healthy addition to my life! And that
black book is my Kindle Fire, my companion for most
meals! I’ve read more than 20 books in 6 months!  

To what do I contribute this? The same two things most people do, eating and exercise. I eat more fresh fruits an vegetables here than I did in Nashville, even living for 10 years across the street from Nashville Farmers’ Market. We have no American fast food restaurants in Atenas! Nada! Now, I can get a burger, pizza, or fried chicken from some Tico restaurants, but rarely do; only pizza or a good hamburguesa. I haven’t had fried chicken in many years! Don’t like it anymore, though popular here, especially with the young. I’m also learning to eat more sensible sized portions most of the time though some restaurants don’t help there, but now I’m eating at home more and that helps.

The best thing to happen to me exercise-wise was to decide not to buy a car, though the temptation pops up every once-in-a-while. I walk almost everywhere in town and when I take a bus to San Jose or Alajuela I walk most places when I get there. I’m averaging 3 to 6 miles every day. Part of the key there is “every day.” If I get a large order of groceries, then I take it back by taxi for about $2, but I’m learning to grocery shop little at a time every-other day which gives me more exercise as I can carry smaller loads and I have fresher stuff!

Walking 3 to 6 miles every day is maybe the healthiest thing
I do or at least equal with eating better. And yes I mostly walk
in sandals, but sometimes tennis shoes. My dress shoes may 
never get worn here! Tennis shoes are hot and sweaty! That
leads to athlete’s foot, so sandals better in the tropics for me, 
except for some hiking and even some yard work.   

I am still debating a bicycle which would be quicker than walking and still be good exercise. The two negatives are the one big “killer hill” between Roca Verde and downtown AND the narrow streets with sometimes sloppy drivers of cars. It could be dangerous! Peligroso! So I keep walking!   And probably will not get a bike.


  1. I have Costa Rican Private Health Insurance and got to cancel that expensive U.S. Medigap insurance. A big savings!
  2. I have a private practice doctor who speaks good English. (Sorry! Meant to get a photo of her office with an ambulance out front. Her assistant is an EMT, so they can come get me if they need too!)  🙂 I have heard that most of the government doctors speak English too when I eventually go on that program next year. But hope I’m speaking Spanish by then!
  3. Hospitals are all highly rated throughout Costa Rica at half the U.S. prices! Everything from heart surgery to cancer treatment is done here with great competence. I feel secure.
  4. Few weather extremes in our Atenas “perfect climate” which contributes to good health.
  5. Less stress than in the States and not having a car helps with that even more!  🙂 Actually, driving here is the most stressful activity I have done and it can be as stressful as in the states, though maybe people get used to it. Well, opening a bank account was a little stressful, but I’m getting used to bureaucratic paperwork now and to just “go with the flow!”
  6. Surrounded by nature. My cure for everything!  🙂
  7. A relaxed, laid-back culture helps one to slow down and “go with the flow.”
  8. I have slowly tapered myself off the drugs U.S. doctors gave me, first to sleep at night, I’m now using simple, healthy herbs to help with sleep. I get that from one of the local Macrobioticas or health-food (supplements) stores here. Feeling better and sleeping as good! Also stopped all the allergy meds and doing fine without them! (Sorry! Meant to get a photo of my favorite Macrobiotica at the Central Market.)
  9. But eating healthier and walking a lot are still the main reasons for my better health here. I turn 75 Saturday and expect to live a whole lot longer here!  🙂

SOMETHING NEW: I’m finding it harder to write without using some Spanish (or Costa Rican) words. So you will know, I am going to try and put all Spanish (Costa Rican) words in red. Tell me if that is distracting or helpful. 

Eating Very Well!

View from my table at Gelly’s for lunch one day last week. 

Today I had a most wonderful (and different) Chicken Salad for lunch at El Mejor Clima del Mundo (The Best Climate in the World) Bar & Restaurant while a friend had a drink and we talked. ($6) The other day I ate with two of my Canadian friends at Bella Italiano and found a second place for a great pizza! Would you believe, there are at least 4 pizza places here, though Bella Italiano also has pasta and other foods. Sunday I ate at La Carreta for their special “Hamburguesa” that includes the works plus ham and two cheeses!  I can eat lunch for $5 to $6 easily, but sometimes splurge for more. Deserts are still my downfall! And these wonderful “Batidos” or Smoothies like guanabana, pineapple, mango, papaya, strawberry, blackberry! Always made with fresh fruit in a blender.

Not always, but most days I eat lunch out with breakfast and dinner at home. I do not cook much, but eat healthy. Breakfast is a bowl of fruit and nuts with some healthy cereal. I have many different things for dinner with Dagwood sandwich, fruit plate, and loaded omelet three of my favorites plus the homemade soup I’ve made once. I always have in my frig several fresh fruits like pineapple, papaya, some kind of melon, some kind of berries, apples, bananas and I buy bottles of pulp to make my own guanabana and mango smoothies. I’ve gotten some whole mangos that were ripe, but it is still a little early for the big harvest. I eat well!
Starting to get into a fairly regular routine, slowing down, and reading a lot! I’ve read two books on living simple, two spiritual books, started my 2nd John Grisham novel and my 3rd Chronicles of Narnia book. Yeah, I usually am reading multiple books at one time which gives me a lot more variety in life. I still don’t watch TV much just like back in TN. I do have Netflix with VPN so I can get all the stateside titles, but have only watched 2 movies so far. Birds and sunsets are more fun!
Stay healthy and be happy! Pura Vida!   -Charlie

I’m “Sleeping On It”

When friends ask if I’m going to Costa Rica, I say “I’m making myself sleep on it for a week before I begin the paperwork, but I’m pretty sure I’m going.” The tour was very helpful both for what we saw and getting know the other 16 people who may move to Costa Rica. Our very knowledgeable guide, Chris Howard, mentions me and tells about our tour eating in his blog post today: LIVING AND EATING IN COSTA RICA which you might enjoy reading. The food was great with wonderful views at most meals!

View from Atenas

One of the couples on the tour with me had come to “try it out” for 4 to 6 months before they totally move to Costa Rica. They did a better job of apartment hunting than me and are now living for at least four to six months at Hacienda La Jacaranda in Atenas.  (click to see how nice it is – they don’t allow copying their photos)

My driver did not “have time” to take me to Atenas which was one of the places I wanted to see apartments. I’m sorry, because I really like the look and feel of this place and they have a waterfall on property! And it is a 5 minute walk to the central plaza, groceries, bust stop, etc. An office for printing from my laptop, gym, pool, and more! So it will be one of the first places I will look when I return or might trust my friends recommendations and try to make a reservation in advance for the last week of December or first of January when I tentatively see myself going to live without moving furniture yet (if ever). It doesn’t have to be permanent, but a great start on my newest adventure! Pray that I make the best decisions and that God is in on whatever I do. That’s important to me!

Colonial Church facing Central Plaza, Atenas 

Central Plaza, Atenas

And oh yeah! National Geographic says Atenas has the best year-around climate in the world! It gets to a high of 80 in the day and a low of 60 at night, all the time. Great sleeping without a/c and great daytime activity weather.

Meeting and Eating

The two day seminar is over, my head is full and maybe spinning, and we went out to eat again tonight. There are some fabulous restaurants here in San Jose and back on the beach. Tonight I had El Chicote Salmon Steak with veggies followed by the best Coconut Flan I’ve ever eaten! Didn’t photograph tonight’s food, but here is one from Jaco. Tomorrow we begin the two-day Central Valley Tour which is probably where I will start out if I do move. The seminar has been brutally honest and I now know how difficult it can be to make the move – meaning the decision is not made yet! We leave at 7:30 in the morning for another full day, so off to bed! (Hoping the guys singing in the bar will finish soon!)  Pura Vida! On Friday night!

A Shrimp Salad
Someone ordered in Jaco Beach.