Wednesday with The Lehning’s!

The Lehning’s and Charlie at El Restaurante La Carreta, Atenas, Costa Rica

Finally I get a photo of Tim & Joan Lehning with children Hank, Maggie and David plus me included thanks to our friendly waiter at La Carreta. Tonight, Wednesday Dinner in town at one of my favorite restaurants. 

This morning they did not have breakfast at their hotel (long story) and so I met them at El Balcon del Cafe in town for breakfast at another favorite cafe. Then we walked for about two hours through town seeing what life is like in a small coffee farming town including Joan finding a couple of items she needed at my pharmacy, Don Juan Farmacia. We walked by shops, through the central farmer’s market, bus station, by two schools two parks, through a Catholic Church and on to my house. There my friend Michael had lunch just about ready where we feasted on catered Tico Mexican food: Aztec Soup, Quesadillas, cheese sticks, chicken sticks, nachos, chips and salsas, and assorted drinks. It was fun and I think they like my house and my new cook! And gardens!
Just for their arrival today, my neighbor and artist friend Anthony Jeroski finished the bird nest for my garden that lovingly holds the glass egg created by another artist friend in Nashville, Kevin Hunter. It goes well with the bird sculpture at the opposite end of the same garden. Is my garden developing a theme?
After the kids got a little swim in before the afternoon rain, they rested and met me at La Carreta for dinner and the group photo. Then we walked a block over for ice cream at POPS. A fun and tasty Wednesday with the Lehning’s! It was a joy to have them stop by after their Machu Pichu and Costa Rica surfing trips! Tomorrow morning their taxi picks them up at 4 for the trip to airport and return to Nashville. Thanks for the visit guys!  It was great fun having you! Another good memory in Costa Rica!
Pura Vida!

Kevin Finds it Difficult to Leave Costa Rica

Kevin Hunter with Sloth at San Jose Airport

Kevin reluctantly poses by The Tico Times sloth statue in the San Jose Santamaria Airport. This was right before I said goodbye and he entered the security line and I had to leave. We were already told that his 2:25 flight was delayed to maybe 3:30 or later. Well the last I heard it was not leaving until after 6 PM for Miami, missing his Nashville connection of course, and American Airlines has him spending the night in Miami and getting home around noon Tuesday. “Tico Time” often refers to things here not starting on time and it seems that American Airlines has fully integrated into the Tico Culture! Sorry Kevin! It was probably some computer’s fault!  🙂

And by the way, The Tico Times and one other internet CR newspaper (The Costa Rica News) is about all the news I read here. The U.S. news is too depressing (and embarrassing) and I have even quit looking at PBS Newshour downstreaming, upstreaming, whatever! PBS and BBC are still the only decent news sources on TV, but it is now the negative and stressful news itself I refuse to get involved with. Pura vida! And . . . After 17 days with a rent car, I am even more convinced that I don’t want to get a car! Too stressful again! My next visitor may have to see Costa Rica with me on foot, by bus and taxi.  🙂  Costa Rica is trying to “Save the Americans,” but is it too late?
And by the way, our Howler Monkeys are really active this evening – wish I knew how to record them and share their noise with you! They hollered most mornings and evenings while Kevin was here and recently started doing it during the night. Cool!

Alajuela & La Garita

Museo Histórico Cultural Juan Santamaría, Alajuela, Costa Rica
Kevin’s kind of museum! And a country without an army finds
all forts to be historical! This is across from the central plaza.
Alajuela Plaza Cathedral

Church of the Agony, Alajuela

We stop in La Garita at a plant nursery called a Vivero in Costa Rica
Kevin enjoyed shooting flowers there

We also tried to find a sugar cane mill we had passed earlier in the week, but failed to get on the right country road. So missed that photo op!

Wildlife Morning

White-faced Capuchin Monkey behind our hotel on the beach before breakfast.

Kevin with two monkeys behind him, not posing!

We said “Goodbye” to Manuel Antonio Beach and went to breakfast.
And while eating breakfast we see . . .
Striped Flycatcher from breakfast table

Cherrie’s Tanager seen from breakfast table

Striped Basilisk seen from breakfast table. 

Then we drove back to Atenas with stops in Quepos, Jaco, and Tarcoles to help Kevin find those last minute souvenirs and gifts for Robbie. Though the one by Crocodile Bridge is good, I found a new favorite gift shop with locations near both Jaco and Tarcoles. I will take future visitors to one of these locations:

With two locations, one near Tarcoles and one near Jaco, and
the best overall selection I’ve seen in one place plus a woodwork collection
that rivals or beats the shops in Sarchi.

Kevin’s visit is helping me to get prepared for future visitors and where to go for specific things that interest you or whoever else comes for a visit. I will of course continue to refine my “tour.”   🙂

Atenas Coffee Farm Tour

Gabriel (our Juan Valdez) teaches us about the natural way to grow coffee at
El Toledo Coffee Farm, Atenas, Costa Rica
Beans go through roasting machine to become
either light, medium, or dark roasted.
We tasted each and chose our favorite before knowing which roast.
The coffee farm pet Olive-throated Parakeets got my attention of course!
Then a traditional Tico Lunch of beans, rice, veggies, salad, plantains, fish
In Sarchi, Kevin got a taste of the rainforest after photographing
some of the colorful oxcarts made here along with furniture, etc.
A typical Costa Rican Oxcart made in Sarchi
Sarchi Church
Tico family in front of Grecia Church
Made of metal in Belgium in 1800’s
and reassembled in Grecia!

We got a little further away from Atenas today and will go even further tomorrow as we head for Poas Volcano and La Paz Waterfalls.

Kevin and Motmot Arrive in Atenas!

Kevin Hunter arrived today for his visit and brought good luck to my birding at the apartments. We went down to the river to see waterfall and howler monkeys and found a Blue-crowned Motmot, my first at the apartments! Thanks Kevin!

Blue-crowned Motmot
Hacienda La Jacaranda, Atenas, Costa Rica

Blue-crowned Motmot
Hacienda La Jacaranda, Atenas, Costa Rica

Kevin works on an email under the watchful eye of
My Apartment Nude

Kevin had a safe and uneventful trip to Costa Rica with his flight arriving 30 minutes early, but I checked online and knew and was there early to welcome him. We had a Tico lunch at La Carreta, walked around the central park and beautiful catholic church and he went with me for some business at ICE concerning my cell phone. Then to the apartments, settling in, going down to river to see the Mantled Howler Monkeys and the Blue-crowned Motmot. Then back up the hill to watch two Social Flycatchers chase a cat away from the tree they nest in. Then I served a tropical fruit plate for a lighter dinner with Robbie’s oatmeal cookies and some banana bread I got from an Atenas bakery. Then we both hit the computers.

The Social Flycatcher that chased the house cat in our front yard
Hacienda La Jacaranda, Atenas, Costa Rica