Movie Adventure & Rufous-tailed Hummingbird

Rufous-tailed Hummingbird, Atenas, Costa Rica

Photographed this little guy before breakfast this morning when I walked out and saw two hummingbirds flying in and out of my garden. I try shooting them in flight but very difficult! And as good fortune continues to smile on me, this Rufous-tailed Hummingbird landed on a flower. I guess they do have to rest occasionally! This is my 5th species of hummers to photograph in my garden, almost as many as the butterflies. I have a total of 13 species photographed in my Costa Rica Hummingbirds Gallery.  This milestone was before breakfast and my movie adventure today.

One of my neighbors, Anthony, is a single artist my age renting a house in the next compound. He and I got a taxi a little before 10 AM to go to the bus station without the sweat of walking there ($1 each). We took the 10:30 freeway bus that makes a stop by the Mall in Escazu ($2 each). We first bought our tickets from the computer kiosk with touch screen that didn’t always work, but finally got it to. Then we ate lunch at the American chain restaurant Chili’s next door to the theater. Same menu as in the states. 
We could have seen Jurassic Park for $8 but chose to go all the way with the 1:25 PM 3-D and DBOX, which is a special row of large, wide-aisle seats that moved and vibrated with some scenes in the movie. That was about $14.50 each. DBOX is not worth the extra cost, at least for this movie. Not as effective as the ones in Disney World. The movie is very well done but didn’t make good use of 3-D either, so really the $8 regular movie would have been just as good. And I hope this is the last in the Jurassic series, though they set up something at the end to help continue it. They are covering tired subjects and the story line is weak. But it was a good “first movie in Costa Rica” for me since the fictitious park is supposedly here (though filmed in Hawaii and Louisiana). 
I also learned today that there is an IMAX theater in San Jose and this would have been a good movie to see in it, though even more expensive. I will not go to theater movies as much here as I did in Nashville, but good to know how to do it and that the theater is as good or better than any I’ve seen in the states. All seats are nice, large, comfortable, and with drink holders. Good sound, screen, etc. 
Uneventful 25-minute taxi ride to “Coca Cola Bus Station” on the other side of San Jose in rush hour traffic for the only place to catch a return bus to Atenas (pricey $10 each!) and then our $2 each bus ride back to Atenas where we walked home before dark. An interesting day! And I meant to photograph the theater but forgot in all the busyness of doing it the first time in mostly Spanish. But movie was in English with Spanish subtitles. Whew! Big Day! We were home around 5:15. Tired.

And if you can’t add it up in your head, that is $15.50 each for all but lunch which was about $7.50 or $22 USD for the whole day. Not bad for being in Costa Rica! And it would have been less than $20 if we had been wise enough to choose the regular movie instead of 3-D DBOX.  🙂

“American Experience” in the Malls

Cell Phone Snap, Food Court, Multiplaza Mall, Escazu, Costa Rica

I’ve been here almost 6 months and haven’t been in a Mall until yesterday and again today. I did not shop in malls in the states, so why here? They are too expensive in the states, but you should see the prices here! Out of sight! But the rich (both Tico and Expat) who want the “American Experience,” love these malls, mostly near San Jose. The above Multiplaza Mall is in Escazu, a wealthy suburb of San Jose where our American Ambassador’s home is located. Yesterday I checked out International Mall in Alajuela near the airport. It is older and smaller, but only until November when the new one being built next door will be larger than Escazu’s Multiplaza AND claims it will be the largest mall in Central America with 300+ stores! 

Since I am not buying the $100 Levis or the $44 Columbia brand cap I liked, why did I go? Partly out of curiosity and partly to check out the multi-screen theaters in both malls, so Anthony and I can go see Jurassic Park next Tuesday. We want a 3-D with English sound track and Spanish subtitles. Their phones are recordings in Spanish. Scratch that! The websites are almost as difficult to follow. So I go talk to live people! Alajuela had only Spanish soundtracks during the day with their only English one at 9 PM – not for us old men! The Escazu theater staff told me today that the 1:25 afternoon 3-D show is in English with Spanish subtitles – just right for us. (Maybe a little help on learning Spanish through subtitles!) And we get a bonus! It is in a “DBOX” theater, meaning the seats will move, shake, vibrate or whatever with the movie, like Disney World! You will get a report Tuesday night. And the price of a ticket is about $8, meaning movies aren’t as overpriced as clothing, etc. 
So, you see, we don’t do without all the modern science things here! Plus I now have a new baby lizard in my living room and he mostly stays on the wall near the ceiling above the outside windows, waiting for insects! Wonder if they live in the Mall?
A Baby Lizard on wall by crown molding in my living room.
Sorry about bad photo, but I wouldn’t turn light on because it would scare him off.
In fact I tried getting closer and he scurried off! Costa Rica Insect Control!  🙂

Expat Party, A Comedy of Errors!

I greatly admire the lady with the big covered patio whom I understands gives parties regularly. That’s a great idea for us foreigners to get to know one another and create new relationships.

I got invitations to this one twice from two different sources. A widely distributed email and a call from a Tico friend with an invitation. She said our new apartment manager Hans was going and she would pick both of us up. That is when I decided to go. At least I would know two people when I got there.

The day of the party arrives and Anna calls to say that Hans can’t go because his security guard is off that night and he needs to be the security. And she will be late if she makes it at all (she never made it), but “It will be easy to find with a taxi” she says. They all know Calle Alvero (I asked her to spell it) and it is the black gate on the left and something about the end of the road. So, what the heck, it will be another adventure and I’ll just go on my own.

It is a BYOB and a snack, plus we will chip in 3 mil colones each ($6) for the pizza. No problem. I get my 3 liter bottle of Ginger Ale (the only non-alcoholic drink brought) and some pricey banana nut bread from my favorite bakery. I’m ready, so Anna and Hans will just miss eating the most wonderful banana nut bread and mixing ginger ale with whatever!

I call the taxi number saying “Necesito un taxi en Hacienda La Jacaranda, en barrio fatima, al lado de rio cajon.” Then I get the same reply as always, “En cinco minutos. Su nombre por favor?” They always say they will be here in 5 minutes and always want a name, which I guess is in case someone else tries to get my taxi? Strange thing is it actually takes right at 5 minutes every time! Small town!

I’m talking to Hans when the cab arrives and the driver doesn’t want to waste time, so I say a quick adios to Hans. Then I carefully read the address that Anna says every taxi driver in town knows. He gives me this questioning look. So I show it to him in writing on the back of an envelope. “Calle Alvareo” then added “Puerta Negra” for the black gate. He still looks puzzled and I thought that maybe this would be how I get out of going to this party that I had now lost enthusiasm for.  Then he says something like, “Oh . . . Calle Vareo.” I asked if near CoopeAtenas (which I had been told)? He responded “Si,” and we are on our way. We turn on a street near the Coope (remember that there are NO STREET SIGNS OR HOUSE NUMBERS!) and the first little house had a black gate but I said “No” and we kept going until we found a big black gate on the left near the end of the road.

We drive in the dirt driveway where there are several houses. I ask the lady at first house if this is Gail’s house? She says “No, go to the end of the road.” (so that is what Anna meant about end of road which is actually the end of their shared driveway) past other houses side-by-side in the same compound. The invitation said 5:00 but to be there before 6 if you want pizza. So I arrive at 5:45 and I’m the first one there! These expats already behave like Ticos! Fortunately Steve was right behind me, coming all the way from Sarchi! We talked and hung a white bed-sheet for Gail’s movie while others start arriving – maybe 20 total.

The first hour we stand around talking with drinks in our hands, sorta getting acquainted. Then she collects money for pizza and asks if meat or vegetarian. It arrives soon from La Finca, my favorite pizza place so far. Enjoyed the meal and table conversations. Everyone there was from Canada, U.S. or somewhere in Europe. One guy bragged about having three passports. Wow! Its all I can do to keep up with one! Another guy explains why his little Canadian-made jeep is by far the best 4WD vehicle to have in Costa Rica. Okay, I’ll make a note of that! Didn’t tell him I hope to never buy a car again. Another guy talked about spiritualism and how he went from a Pentecostal to a meditation guru. The guy from Sarchi says he is now moving to San Isidro del General in the Talamanca Mountains. Now that did interest me. That’s where I photograph the resplendent quetzal. Finally she announces that the movie is starting.

It is an Indie film winner from Argentina in Spanish with English subtitles. But she could not get the

Gail’s photo from last year’s movie party.

subtitles to work on her player nor could the 2 computer expert guys (every group has them). It seems she lost the remote for that machine and the guys say you can only go to subtitles with the remote. I watch about 15 minutes in Spanish of some criminal heist movie that I can’t understand. I go whisper to Gail how nice she is to do this, but I have a big day tomorrow and haven’t learned enough Spanish yet to follow the movie. She was fine with me going! Four others had already left! I walked the mile or so home (How would I order a taxi in Spanish to this non-address?) and then I had a nice rest of the evening. Sometimes it is harder to adjust to the expats than the Ticos!  🙂   Our parties at the apartment went better than this as did the expat potluck lunches from the little evangelical church. I’ll keep trying! And I do know several people here now! I also expect to become part of an ARCR birding group in the coming months.

See what an exciting social life I live?