One of my new favorite lodges in Costa Rica is El Silencio Lodge at Bajos del Toro in my own province of Alajuela, north of San Ramon in the cloud forest mountains where there are many waterfalls. I was there last September and as I frequently do, I made a little 7X7 inch photo book about my experiences there, sending them a copy plus one each of my general birds and butterflies books for their other guests to enjoy. When the owner came down from San Jose and saw the books he was so impressed that he told the staff to offer me two free nights in this luxury lodge.
Well, of course I accepted the offer and will add-on two more nights at my cost for a great 5-day visit the middle of February! 🙂 If you want to see a free electronic preview of the book online, click the title here:El Silencio, Touching Souls, inspired by a quote from Mother Teresa:
We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature – trees, flowers, grass- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence… We need silence to be able to touch souls.
This morning I received a WhatsApp Voice Message with the above photo from Rodiber, my guide at Monteverde last month. He was thanking me profusely for the autographed copy of my Monteverde photo book for himself, Costa Rica Expeditions (who service this hotel) and the hotel Monteverde Lodge & Gardens. The girl in photo is one of the several front desk persons who were all very helpful to me during my stay. I sent two copies of book, one for my guide and one for the hotel to use at front desk, in lobby or in their little loaner-library of books for guests.
Since I make a book for most of my trips or the first trip to a lodge, I usually send two books like this. I just concluded my second trip to Selva Verde Lodge and right now not planning a second book. Their two guides on my first visit plus the front desk got copies of my 2016 Selva Verde trip book.
I really enjoy surprising my hosts in thanks for a good experience with the little photo books – not something they expect nor receive from other guests. This is the first one to send me a photo with their thank-you note. A surprise for me now! My response was the typical Costa Rican response to a “Thank You!” which is ¡Con mucho gusto!“With much pleasure!” Ticos are such beautiful people! 🙂
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!
One little corner of the mall just outside the theater with one of about 6 3-story Christmas Trees. No shopping for me today. They have finished widening the street out front which helps traffic! The snow park is open outside and an amusement park is on the roof with a giant Ferris Wheel seen as you drive up. Amazing! It is the largest mall in Costa Rica and second largest in Central America. (One in Panama a tad larger.)
On the bus ride home I told Jason I really meant to get all 6 of the previous Star Wars movies and watch before seeing this latest sequel. But Netflix does not have and the down-streaming ones on Amazon.com are $16 each (if you order all 6) plus their site said they would not work on my browser if I understood the crazy information right. So I gave up. Jason asked, “Did you try our video store across from the ball fields?” I hadn’t, so we walked by it on our way home from the bus station. This young man has everything! He had all 6 at about the equivalent of $1.15 each but it would be a few minutes because he had to make copies of number 5 & 6. We waited and I expect to enjoy on my computer the whole Star War series now! Legal? Well. . . just a friend giving me a copy of his DVD. 🙂 Reminds me of the video stores in The Gambia! And we will see what the quality is like.