Finished The Two Towers + Reasons to Move to CR

I have finished reading the Lord of the Rings books through Tolkien’s original 4th book or the published second of three big books, Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (Wikipedia) and I have watched the second of the three big movies, The Two Towers Movie (Wikipedia), which again doesn’t follow the book exactly but as with the first is very well done and accurate or very close to the book. Though I had read the books before, I had forgotten how long they are and how much detail Tolkien includes in every chapter, almost overwhelming at times, but of course is a super story like none other! I’ve now started the 3rd or final installment, Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King book.

Just finished both book & movie.

16 Reasons Why You Should Move to Costa Rica

Last week Christopher had an article in Tico Times on Why Not Move to Costa Rica and this week he shares the converse of reason you SHOULD move to Costa Rica! 🙂

¡Pura Vida!

Fellowship of the Ring

I finished both the book and the movie and I think Jackson was more true to the book with this movie than he was with The Hobbit movie. He put the death of Boromir at the end of this story rather than at the first of the next one like the book, which is really where it belongs or fits the best and he presented the passing of Boromir more poetically than Tolkien, so I liked this movie as much as the book which is different for me. 🙂 Now I’m reading The Two Towers which I remember little about.

¡Pura Vida!

The Hobbit Re-read

“I’m going on an adventure!”  said Bilbo Baggins

~JRR Tolkien in The Hobbit

Only great books deserve “re-reading” and The Hobbit (Wikipedia link), the 1937 published book by JRR Tolkien, is certainly one of those! I just finished reading it again on my Kindle and of course discovered “new stuff” not in my memory! He pretty much introduces a new character or creature in every chapter and then brings them all back together for the epic “Battle of Five Armies” at the end of the story.

Cover of The Hobbit on Kindle.

I will not write a full or formal review but just share some first impressions and personal feelings on the re-read of a favorite book, which I followed by a re-watch of the 3-movies version of the book . . .

Continue reading “The Hobbit Re-read”

Many Beautiful Things

Surely I’m describing Costa Rica and I could be . . . though this time it is the title of a documentary biography I found on my new streaming service, Curiosity Stream, that replaced Netflix for me, permanently this time with a whole year of streaming costing less than one month of Netflix (a stripped down version for Costa Rica).

The full title of this bio is Many Beautiful Things, The Life and Vision of Lilias Trotter. (Link to Wikipedia description) In brief, she was one of the world’s best unknown painters in water colors (late 1800’s to 1928) who was befriended by John Ruskin, the leading art critic of the Victorian era who promised to make her the “greatest living artist” in England. She repeatedly turned him down while continuing to paint beautiful nature scenes and landscapes simply to praise God.

Continue reading “Many Beautiful Things”

“Costa Rica Culture” by 7 “Kids”

Back in May 2018 I reviewed here and told about the Costa Rica made movie “Güilas” the title of which is the Costa Rican slang word for children like American English “Kids.” The movie is actually seven short stories about seven different kids, each in a different one of the seven provinces of Costa Rica thus visually showing many parts of this beautiful country and its varied cultures by my favorite Costa Rica Photographer, Sergio Pucci (I use one of his CR Calendars every year for his beautiful photography!). This is one of the best movies I’ve ever seen anywhere and is definitely the best one on the culture of Costa Rica! Well worth $10 USD from Vimeo!

One of the 7 Stories:

One of the seven short stories – this in the Caribe, Limon Province.
Continue reading ““Costa Rica Culture” by 7 “Kids””

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

Some time ago I canceled my cable TV subscription and used the money for stronger internet service through which I occasionally watch a documentary or older movie from the Costa Rica version of Netflix (fewer titles than in the U.S.). Tonight (Wednesday) during my dinner of a pulled pork sandwich and cole slaw from Atenas Poco Loco (“To Go” or “Para llevar” here), I watched the BBC/Netflix movie The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, based of course on the book by the same title available from Books. I was so touched by the movie that I felt compelled to recommend it or the book written by the boy himself as a now adult engineer.

Having lived in The Gambia West Africa for three years, I of course related to almost everything in this excellent true story of a 14 year old boy in Malawi who had to drop out of school and help the family farm because they could not afford the school fees. In the midst of a common African drought the boy sneaked into his old school library and learned about windmills and thanks to his old science teacher’s device to generate electricity with the moving bike wheel he adapted it to a homemade windmill that generated enough electricity for a small pump to pump water from the well and irrigate the drought-stricken farm. I saw the life-changing effects of windmills in The Gambia too.

A moving family story with authentic African culture, scenery, and hardships. When I returned from The Gambia I often said that every American should live for 3 years in Africa to see what the real world is like. Well, this movie or book will give you a taste! I highly recommend it.

“Extreme poverty anywhere is a threat to human security everywhere.”

— Kofi Annan

¡Pura Vida!

Saw Güilas movie again today

Boy in another story “Amor de Temporada” – Fun!

 I went back to Alajuela today (Friday) to see the movie Güilas a second time. It is soooooo good! It is fabulous art and photography! It is seven stories about kids, one in each of the seven provinces of Costa Rica making it almost a travelogue movie and it is very entertaining, very funny, and very delightful as all kids are! My favorite movie of the year already!

And for those here in Costa Rica, I have decided that my favorite of the seven is “Cabin in the Watta,” a delightful story of a boy and girl in the Caribbean of Costa Rica at Puerto Viejo going fishing and bringing their catch back to Mama who runs a little Soda (small restaurant) where they help cook the fish and little plantain cakes and then share it with an old man  who then plays his banjo and sings the rhythmic caribbean song Cabin in the Watta. Plus it has the best nature photography!
If you haven’t already, see the Güilas trailer, you will like!
And unfortunately good films like Güilas are not filling the theaters and are getting pushed out by all the violence and superhero films from America like Avengers starting next week or soon and today was the first day of the newest Star Wars movie. I tried doing a selfie in front of the theater promotional display, then a friendly Tico offered to take my picture which was better. Not sure if I will see this movie, but a fun photo: 
Old Charlie Doggett with the Young Han Solo & Chewy!
Cinemark City Mall, Alajuela, Costa Rica

Güilas – “Kids”

The newest “Made in Costa Rica” Movie is Güilas by Tico artist/photographer SERGIO PUCCI.
In pure Spanish “güilar” is “to guide” – In Costa Rica slang, “güila” = kid or child
This is a collection of 7 stories of 7 kids, one from each of the 7 provinces of Costa Rica
I saw at Cinemark Cinema, City Mall, Alajuela, Costa Rica

TRAILER & Guilas Making Of:


Tico Times Article in English:

First La Nacion Article (with videos):  (use your translator to read in English)

Second La Nacion Article (with videos):  (use your translator to read in English)

“The intention of the film is to highlight Costa Rican identity through the experiences of these kids, with an infancy full of games and mischief, outside in the fresh air,” said Editorial PUCCI in an email this week.

Wow! A beautiful movie! You know how “coming of age” movies are usually big in the states and also funny kid movies – Well Sergio Pucci took that concept plus the beauty, variety and adventure of Costa Rica  combined into a 7-part (7 stories) about the 7 Provinces of Costa Rica through a day in the life of a child in each of these very different provinces. Magnificent! The photography, the kids, the country, the real life growing up experiences, the cultures and the color.

If you live in Costa Rica, this is a must-see movie! And if not, well watch the arts theaters, specialty TV, or maybe on DVD someday soon. Of course it is in español, but the stories speak a universal language making the words almost unnecessary!

¡Pura Vida!

My First Movie in Spanish (all the way through)

Today I saw the new Jungle Book movie in Spanish, El Libro de la Selva (click for a trailer)

It was very good with real animals animated – how do they do that?
Nothing is as good as Disney’s original cartoon films, but this comes close!
It is better than the earlier life-action movie version and yes, I understood most of it!

I went by myself as most of my adult friends don’t go to children’s films and most gringos wouldn’t see one in Spanish! Plus I wanted to try the VIP “Premier” theater again where I sat in a huge recliner and had waitresses bring me food and drink. Pretty cool!  🙂  And oh yeah, two days ago I downloaded the book Jungle Book on my Kindle and read it first. That helped! It is just a few short stories in a bigger book of assorted jungle and animal stories by Rudyard Kipling including another favorite of mine, Rikki-Tikki-Tavi. Wow! I’m really enjoying life! Like a little kid!  🙂

My homework assignment for tomorrow morning’s Spanish class was to write a sentence or two on what has been the best day of my life. I wrote that it is always today! Then told about going to this movie! Here’s the uncorrected version before taking it to class tomorrow:

El Mejor Día en Mi Vida

El mejor día en mi vida es hoy. Siempre ha sido. ¡Yo he tenido muchos buenos días pero yo vida para hoy! Y nuevas experiencias. Pero para la tarea (removed unnecessary “yo”) ha sido ayer (removed unnecessary “es”) mi mejor día, porque he visto una película en español, El Libro de la Selva. He entendido lo suficiente para disfrutar. He leído el libro primero!

Okay, the red shows the editing that was done to my work in class. Not major changes but representing the kinds of mistakes I continue to make. This is work! 

VIP Star Wars in Costa Rica!

 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.

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 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.

See also Christianity Today’s online article titled: Why We Get Religious About ‘Star Wars’