Oxcart Parade 2018 Atenas

Rural Families is always the focus of Atenas’ Annual Oxcart Parade, last Weekend of April.
 Atenas, Costa Rica
Here a teen is the “Boyero” (Oxen Master) with sis in cart and Mom & Dad Walking behind
Atenas, Costa Rica

One of the many colorful Oxcart Wheels
Oxcart Parade, Atenas, Costa Rica

A few Oxen are entered into the contest without carts, some by older children or teens
I guess it is like FFA in the States or other programs to help budding farmers.
Atenas, Costa Rica
Last year our local University provided Latin Dancers – This year a team of ropers!
Oxcart Parade, Atenas, Costa Rica

The university campus on the edge of Atenas is one of the many UTN (Universidad Técnica Nacional), this one focusing on farming with students coming from all over Latin America as possibly the best agricultural school in Latin America or at least the best in Central America. They are good about participating in major local events like this – good neighbors! Good citizens! We like our student farmers at UTN!

Though I’ve seen them before, I always enjoy! They’re good!
Oxcart Parade, Atenas, Costa Rica
PEOPLE! You will have to go to my online gallery to see my interesting people shots.
And there are always some very interesting and colorful people! 
Oxcart Parade, Atenas, Costa Rica

I know that I still post too many photos for a blog, but I have so many more interesting photos I want to share, thus it has to be on the photo gallery: 2018 Oxcart ParadeI’m working on it now and will try to finish today or tomorrow. Takes time!

This gallery is a part of my section called PEOPLE & FIESTAS. And of course there are other sections like BIRDS and TRIPS that pretty much document my 3 1/2 years in Costa Rica thus far and you can see them all at my SmugMug Gallery titled: Charlie Doggett’s COSTA RICA.

Enjoy photos of my 
¡Pura Vida!

Atenas Oxcart Parade Today!

And this small child stole the show as she led her toy oxen in pulling a toy oxcart!

In fact there seemed to be more of an emphasis on the children this year in what has always been a family affair to celebrate and remember the important part boyeros (oxcart drivers) played in the history of Costa Rica as the first land shippers of coffee and bananas to the two big port cities for shipment to the U.S. and Europe.

The parade still had the colorful oxcarts! And the big oxen!
And most included the whole family as usual. A Family farm affair!
But many were led by children this year as the Oxcart Leader or Boyero.

And a few even had young oxen!

While others had their hands full!

But all accepted their responsibility with pride! 
Goat Carts were in parade this year for the first time, led by kids of course!
Pun intended! 

And there are more Women Boyeros each year! 

And the whole time the Central Park is filled with tents, entertainers, arts & crafts, food & drink vendors, a playground, and plenty to do if you get bored with the parade.

A Rooster on Stilts!
and . . .

. . . and another on foot, representing Gollo, a big furniture/appliance store.

Someone leading the children in games before the parade started.
And of course all the food, drink, balloons, etc. available to buy! 

The parade always starts with police and horses, one carrying the
Costa Rica Flag:

Red, white and blue patriotism!

I watched the parade with 3 friends, Anthony, Jean and Carolyn and then afterwards we went to La Finca for pizza and pasta. A fun day! And if you want to see photos of the bigger oxen being led by men and other views, see my photos from last year’s parade at:  2015 Oxcart Parade  on this blog.

Another happy day in Costa Rica!

Atenas Climate Fair Started Today

Any Excuse for a Fiesta! Climate Fair celebrates our reputation here for
the “best weather in the world!” Mejor Clima del Mundo!
Friday & Saturday is a crafts & food fair with lots of live music including
big bands on the stage at night. I rarely go out at night.  🙂  Old man!

Daytime boring music with the old men playing the Marimba or . . . 

One of the small rhythm and brass bands playing traditional music.
The park is a lot livelier at night with rock, pop and lots of dancing. 

And midday Sunday is our famous annual Oxcart Parade which I will
see and photograph again this year. This is a photo from last year.

I can hear the high school marching band practicing tonight, so I guess they will be in the parade Sunday. And I can hear the lively pop music from the Central Park stage that attracts the young people and those who love to dance. There are lots of “happy sounds” around here most weekend nights and occasionally on a weeknight. 

One of the promotional websites about the Climate Fair and Oxcart Parade

15th of September Post 4: CULTURAL COLOR

The local agricultural technical school (largest in Central America) had my fave!
This is the traditional dress from post colonial days with men’s in next photo.
Students of Agriculture come here from all over the Americas, including U.S.
I can see some of the school farms used for SFS, Sustainable Field Service
We help improve agriculture all over the Americas!
Beautifully painted oxcarts are a long time tradition here. Two in the parade.

Riding barefoot is a doubtful tradition, though
maybe early youth did so.

Día de la Mascarada or “Traditional Costa Rican Masquerade” (31 October) originated as an adaption of Spanish Carnival. The local band, una cimarróna, strikes up a beat for the masked characters to dance or walk in a parade or fiesta. The next 5 photos are of the masked characters in this particular parade by a school or organization I did not catch the name of: 

A Fire Truck, Bombero, always leads off in every parade, this time
followed by a group of “Future Firemen of Costa Rica”
 or some similar name in Spanish.

Not sure how 3 younger teens got to skate in the parade,
trying to show off, but none of them exceptionally good!
I guess they see this as future or current culture!?


Surfer at Manuel Antonio Beach

And will the World Surfing Games (link to article in English) be held in Costa Rica in 2016? Only if someone comes up with $1 Million Dollars in next two weeks (see article) and it is doubtful the CR government will spend that much. But, after all guys, Costa Rica came away from this year’s contest with the most gold medals! (link to 2015 tournament page)

It is like the national sport for those who live on the Pacific coast and Jaco is considered one of the best surfing beaches in the world. Not my passion, but very interesting! Here’s a surfer shot I made at Manuel Antonio Beach last year in mild waves.

Pura Vida!   And tomorrow, my last installment of Fotographias de 15 de septiembre desfile: CARAS (FACES) – maybe the best parade post!  🙂

2 Month Anniversary: Bank Account & PO Box

Boyero Monument
A National Monument to the early years work of oxcarts and their drivers
It is on the old highway from San Jose to the beaches where many saw it
as they entered Atenas, home of the Annual April Atenas Oxcart Parade.
Expect oxcart photos in April!  🙂

I arrived in Atenas on December 24, 2014, two months ago today! I celebrated in two ways:

  1. I OPENED A BANK ACCOUNT at Banco Nacional to include a debit card and electronic banking. I get my debit card and electronic account connection tomorrow along with training in how to use both (“bring your laptop”). Neat! Never got training in the states! It took nearly two hours at the bank, my local lawyer with me, stacks of paperwork, plus I still have to provide proof of income which I was not told earlier. 
  2. I GOT A P.O. BOX at the Atenas Post Office which I now prefer you to use instead of the one I gave before arriving. It was the apartment’s PO Box and works, but the apartment management has to deliver mail to me which could be another delay :-)!  Below is the exact way the Post Office asks that you address letters to me. So you understand the strange order and double-Atenas: Atenas is a pueblo (small town) in the Canton of Atenas, in the District of Atenas, in the Province of Alajuela in the country of Costa Rica. And yes, they say put the postal code BEFORE the country name of Costa Rica. Mail did get to me with the other address form, so don’t worry. And I prefer that you not use the Miami address since letters are costing me $1.50 each and I have to travel to Alajuela (the city) to pick them up. And packages via Miami require an invoice to declare the customs value (or you send me a scan of invoice). I’m not sure yet how Customs and the Post Office work together here, but I will find out! Others do get packages via Post Office. The Miami address is perfect for my internet orders which may be the primary use and for some other U.S. businesses. The U.S. Post Office now has one international postage stamp (round) that costs $1.10 for any country in the world for most letter weights. Letters can arrive in one week or four weeks, who knows why?  UPS or FedEx packages will have to go to the Miami address for now until I learn how to get them locally. Here’s my new postal mail address
Sr. Charlie Doggett   (The P.O. put that “Senor” in front of my name! 🙂
Apdo. 441-4013
Alajuela, Atenas, Atenas
How’s that for an anniversary celebration? I forgot to take my phone this morning, so no photo of bank or post office yet, but I may add those tomorrow, as both buildings are revealing. 
And if you didn’t get MY PHONE NUMBER from an earlier post, it is still 011-506-8410-9916 with the 011 getting you out of the U.S., 506 the country code, and though some instructions say use a cell phone code, don’t – it is just the first four digits of the number. The above # should work. 
Well, not as pretty tonight as all the bird photos, but that is life!

Chili Fiesta

Billboard at entrance and in town advertising Atenas Chili Fiesta.

This gringo-sponsored fund-raiser for Hogar de Vida children’s home is in its 8th year and a big help for the Christian home for abused and abandoned children in Atenas, down the road from my apartments. The chili cook off is a major event of the day, but as a parking and traffic cop I did not get to taste, vote or participate in the chili, the multiple concerts or the many vendors, games, raffles, bingo, etc. But I’m glad I got to be a volunteer helper and thoroughly learn one more Spanish phrase, “Directo y a la derecha.” (Straight ahead and to the right.) as I sent people to the parking lot or “parqueo.”

I did get a lunch break and tried Costa Rica BBQ Pork with coleslaw and baked beans, none of which is like we had in Tennessee, but good. The slaw was tangy and delicious, the beans so so, the BBQ sauce sweet and good, and the pork very good.

Since I don’t have photos of the fiesta activities, here’s some of traffic, oxcart at entrance, and flowers in a yard next to the Sabana Larga (fairgrounds and bull fight/rodeo arena). I’m tired, since I worked two shifts, but it was a good day and glad I helped! 

A Motorcycle Club Came to the Fiesta
And a lot of those dreaded Rich American’s SUVs.
The Famous Painted Oxcarts Add Color to Many Events Here
Most Are Made & Painted in Nearby Sarchi Village
And lots of taxis at left!
Red Ginger Flowers Along One of the Perimeter Roads I Worked Today.
In someone’s yard! I frequently photograph yard flowers.

This is one of, if not the biggest gringo event in Atenas each year. Though a lot of Ticos participated in producing it and attending, it was definitely a gringo event with Texans trying to dominate the Chili Cook Off and old white people in charge of everything. I finally met a lady from Nashville, Tennessee yesterday, my first to meet from anywhere in Tennessee. Fun! But I’ve already forgot her name! And I’m probably known for more for my accent than anything else here, at least among the gringos. At events like this I see people I know from all my circles now: the apartments, church, Spanish Class, and local Tico friends. So it was fun to be in the middle of it and start becoming a part of the Atenas community! There is a good chance I will stay here long-term.

Sticker Shock Twice Today! And Carretas!

Sarchi is just 21 km (25 minutes) north of Atenas and where these famous
painted oxcarts (carretas) are made, plus it’s the furniture making capital of Costa Rica
where I will buy furniture if I ever move to an unfurnished apartment.
I made this photo in Sarchi in 2010. Soon I’ll photograph the Atenas Oxcart Parade.

Today was another big step in my process of moving to Costa Rica. I sent the required documents for my Pensionado Residency application to my Costa Rica attorney. He will soon begin the application process so maybe I’ll have my residency by next summer. Today it brought some sticker shock at DHL. First, to send the stack of papers I’ve talked about earlier (Birth Certificate, Police Background Check, Social Security Letter, and U.S. Embassy Registration) by Registered DHL Express Courier, it cost $71. What?! Well, it is a very important package, that must get there safely, not get lost, and I spent almost that on getting the contents. Soooo, I just rationalized my acceptance of it!  🙂

My second sticker shock came when I asked the DHL man how much it would cost to send a 50 lb suitcase to San Jose, Costa Rica (thinking it would be cheaper than excess baggage on the plane). We estimated suitcase measurements and punched it all in his computer at 50 lbs. to find it would cost around $1,400! Wow! And I thought American Airlines excess baggage was expensive! I will check at least one other shipper, but it looks like I will move to Costa Rica with whatever I can get in 5 suitcases. I wanted to simplify my life and this will actually help me do that as I prioritize what is important and what I can live without. This fun adventure continues! And thanks to Robbie for this cool quote:

One way to get the most out of life is to look upon it as an adventure.”— William Feather, American publisher