Reading the Classics

Montage of “Overlooked Classics” from Christianity Today
One of the things I am doing as a retiree in Costa Rica is reading more than maybe ever before and adding the old classics to my list. To me this goes along with walking for my healthy lifestyle and sure beats anything I can find on TV! 
I am currently reading Daniel Defoe’s novel Robinson Crusoe which is a great adventure as well as an experience in history and geography. Of course it is a novel, but they sailed down the African coast right by The Gambia where I spent 3 years of my life, and after his time in Brazil where I’ve been on a mission trip, he was on a ship that crashed on a little island somewhere near Trinidad and Tobago in the south Caribbean, where my first tropical adventure outside Mexico took place as a Brotherhood Commission Consultant starting Royal Ambassador work on that tropical island with a missionary. 
Reading excites your imagination and helps you relive real life experiences while giving knowledge, adventure, entertainment and a vision for creativity. I love it! Already downloaded for more Kindle reading are Steinbeck, Plato, and another Agatha Christie! (Maybe I will eventually read all of her mysteries!) 
Living in a rainforest small town doesn’t have to be boring! (Unfortunately a few American expats find it so.) And reading is as much of an adventure as the trips I make! Which, by the way, my next trip is to the base of Volcano Turrialba for birding at Rancho Naturalista, the first week of July as my birthday trip!  ¡Pura Vida!      ~The happiest retiree in the world!  🙂

2nd only to Canada in Healthcare!

HEALTHIEST COUNTRY IN LATIN AMERICA & 

SECOND IN ALL THE AMERICAS AFTER CANADA!   

If considering Costa Rica as your place of retirement, you will be pleased with the results of the latest World Health Organization study on both the health of the people and the quality of the public healthcare provided, especially in regards to premature deaths. (Click above title for article.)  Or see World Health Statistics 2017 from the WHO.
Panama was in second place with regard to fewer premature deaths in Central America (In case you are considering Panama, which was my second-ranked choice for retirement). And in the WHO survey Costa Rica ranks 19th healthiest country in the whole world! Glad I live here now! 🙂
¡Pura Vida!

empinado o inclinado (Steep!)

The steep hill I walk up every day!
It’s just outside the Roca Verde gate.
At least 45 degrees!
HEART HEALTHY!
Atenas, Costa Rica
Going downhill is easy! Calle Boquerón o Avenida 8
Atenas, Costa Rica

New Photo Gallery Under Construction

For many reasons I decided to move all my Costa Rica photos into a new photo gallery outside my old PBase gallery which for now I will keep for “history” or pre-Costa Rica photos as is. After checking out several possibilities, I chose SmugMug.com as the host and I am working on a new gallery there that will be formatted more like a website I am calling:

Screen Print of Home Page  –  GO THERE NOW!

Please be patient. It is a long way from finished since I have to upload and label each individual photo one at a time. But I think you will like it when finished! You can simply BROWSE as on any website, but also with a powerful search engine you can SEARCH for and bring up all photos for say one place name or one bird, etc. In the case of birds, they are listed alphabetically by the English name, but with SEARCH you can get a lot of other combinations.

The GALLERIES of photos are organized first in FOLDERS by subject or theme such as “Birds” or “Vistas.”  In each gallery you can click the button SLIDESHOW for the best full screen viewing of those photos. Or PASS YOUR CURSOR OVER PHOTO FOR TITLE & LOCATION. Then at the bottom of each photo and top of each gallery is a button labeled BUY that takes you to a multitude of sizes and mediums to order a copy of the photo, from a regular 4×6 print or large wall hanger to a greeting card. Fun!
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Changing the subject:

Interesting Article: Expats Moving to Costa Rica Discover Healthier Lifestyles!

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.

OTHER HEALTH FACTORS:

  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