Surprising Vista at Xandari

By using my new 600mm telephoto lens instead of my usual Samsung Phone Camera for a vista from the hilltop resort Xandari, I zoomed in on the Alajuela Cathedral with Central Park to the right and the bigger surprise, at top edge of photo is an American Airlines plane landing or taking off at the San Jose International Airport in Alajuela! Luck of the timing on the plane and sorry that the blog template crops off part of the plane, not so in my original photo (see in gallery).

Below is another shot in same direction from the same restaurant with my phone camera to help you see how much I was able to zoom in and crop a little!  🙂  The cathedral is on the left side of the city that you see between the restaurant and the mountains. My last day at Xandari, Wednesday, Walter picked me up and we got my internet order package 5 blocks east of the Cathedral, ate lunch 2 blocks north of the Cathedral, then drove 24 km (15 miles) west to Atenas where I live. My small world!   🙂

Looking south over Alajuela, Costa Rica (& San Jose Airport) from Xandari Resort. I stood in this same spot for the Cathedral-Airplane photo, just zooming in!


¡Pura Vida!

See my Trip Photo Gallery:  2018 Xandari Resort

Xandari costa rica   (their website)

Retired in Costa Rica

Alajuela Today

Alajuela City Christmas Tree in Juan Santamaria Park – BIG!
 And yes, overcast, windy, and cold for us in the 60’s!
 Alajuela, Costa Rica

 Alajuela, Costa Rica 

Variegated Squirrel, Central Park
 Alajuela, Costa Rica

Cathedral of Alajuela with staff working on incomplete Christmas decorations
The manger scene parts were outside and not assembled yet.
 Alajuela, Costa Rica 

The touristy look of my photos today is because I was showing Alajuela to a newcomer to Atenas and he learned how to ride the bus to Alajuela today and saw downtown for first time. And we had lunch at Jalapenos Central Restaurant where a British friend in Atenas walked in and joined us. Fun! My other reason for going was to return a Timex Watch to the Alajuela Walmart where they said they would send it to be repaired within 15 work days or by first of next year. If not repaired satisfactorily they will refund my money. Fair enough (cheap watch). With a cell phone I don’t have to have a watch, but got it for the quicker convenience of seeing the time. If not repaired, I will not replace it.

My photo gallery on Alajuela

Zarcero – The TOWN/AREA

Farming Hills Surround Zarcero
 Zarcero, Costa Rica

Farming Hills Surround Zarcero 
 Zarcero, Costa Rica

Farming Hills Surround Zarcero 
 Zarcero, Costa Rica
Church & Central Park Topiaries are in Center of Town
 Zarcero, Costa Rica

They were setting up for a carnival/fiesta this day
 Zarcero, Costa Rica

Repaving Main Street
 Zarcero, Costa Rica
Cogwheel or Assassin Bug (Arilus carinatus)  
 on Steps of the Church 
 If I had a side view, the dotted line on his back 
 would be the top of a half-cogwheel. Cool!
 Zarcero, Costa Rica

This trip was made by public bus for about USD $4 
with some cellphone photos made through bus window.

 “Trip Gallery” now on my gallery site: 12 October – Zarcero
Or if you like the unusual bug above, see my:  Other Insects
And for a sneak preview of tomorrow’s post, see my trip gallery: 
Cuban Dancers doing “Swan Lake” in Costa Rica
Coming soon: Visit to Naranjo by next week  
  & in November Villa Blanca Cloud Forest.
From the traveling retiree in Costa Rica!
¡Pura Vida!

“I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. 
I travel for travel’s sake. 
The great affair is to move.” 


Basilica of Our Lady of the Mercedes 
 The primary Catholic Church in
 Palmares, Costa Rica
One of very few in Costa Rica of stone, built 1894-1914

Basilica of Our Lady of the Mercedes
 Palmares, Costa Rica 
Palmares Central Park is Partly a Tropical Garden
 Palmares, Costa Rica

Unlike a lot of towns’ central parks
 Palmares, Costa Rica 

But also has the traditional sidewalks, benches & band shelter
 Palmares, Costa Rica 

Some high school kids came dressed for a church festival
 Palmares, Costa Rica 

Including their band!
 Palmares, Costa Rica  

Palmares is a 50 minute bus ride north from Atenas over one of the most winding mountain roads near us and a beautiful drive through something like the Appalachian or Ozark Mountains to this cowboy town where the biggest Tope (horse parade) happens once a year. It is much bigger than Atenas with 31,000+ plus people.

This was my “practice” bus ride here and then on another bus for the shorter ride to San Ramon where I am going by bus in November to be picked up by the staff of Villa Blanca Cloud Forest Resort which is north of San Ramon. 
I’m getting better at bus travel and even made a last minute change today. Aeropost sent me an email saying my CPAP supplies were ready to be picked up in Alajuela. So instead of returning to Atenas from San Ramon (through Palmares), I got the direct bus to Alajuela for my package, ate lunch at Jalapeno Central Restaurant and then my regular Atenas bus back home. 
I was particularly impressed by the bus station for one bus company in Palmares. See photo below. 
Terminal Buses Carbachez 
 Palmares, Costa Rica 

This reminded me of the nice one I used in Turrialba. There are many competing bus companies in Costa Rica and they build their own terminals, not shared with other companies. Think of the old competition between Greyhound and Trailways in the states. This station is for Carbachez buses. Had I come here on one of our CoopeAtenas Buses, I would have gone to a different terminal that is not as nice. And I left from a third terminal to go to Alajuela. It was clean, but smaller and not as nice as the one above. 

And a few buses between towns just stop at a bus stop on a main street, no terminal. For example: when I went to Tarcoles with Ed we caught our bus at a main stop on Ruta 3 highway going through town. You have to learn how to ride buses and there is a great website with schedules, though going through Palmares to San Ramon did not come from them! Got that locally! The site routed me through Alajuela which is longer. But then I came back that way anyway!  🙂
As a Senior Adult (Adulto Mayor). I rode 3 of my 4 buses free and the San Ramon to Alajuela longest trip was just 75¢ or half price! Buses are the economical way to travel here even if you pay full price!

Google Map of Atenas to Palmares  We went the shorter route, Hwy 135, but bus takes longer than car with many stops along the way!   🙂 

I did a Trip Gallery with these photos and two are also in my Costa Rica Churches gallery

New Graffiti Art in Sports Park

I watched teenagers painting on it one day and a week later it was done!
Parque deportivo (Sports Park)
Atenas, Costa Rica

I think it is an amazing work of art! Thanks to the youth of Atenas!
And a little closer! Both are cell phone photos, as most of my photos from walks in town.
Atenas, Costa Rica

I assume that maybe art classes in one of the two public high schools is doing all of these quality murals around town. This particular park is a hangout for kids of all ages, so very appropriate here!

Every artist dips his brush in his own soul,

and paints his own nature into his pictures. 

~Henry Ward Beecher

Children’s Soccer Game

Walking home from town I passed this children’s soccer game in the Recreation Park.
I was surprised that they had artificial turf! Just for “official” games in the dry season, I guess.
Not there other days.

New Graffiti on Skateboard Ramp

In the city recreation park in front of Central School Elementary is all kinds of recreation from soccer to volleyball that I’ve shown before. Well, the skateboard ramp just got a fresh coat of paint in the form of some new graffiti or public art that should please the skateboarders! Tuanis! Mae!  (Cool! Dude!)

Shot with my cell phone and cropped a little in the computer. I shared some graffiti a year ago that was not as interesting and the more distant shot of skateboard ramp is particularly less vivid! Most of the other graffiti shot last year is about the same with 2 or 3 small new additions on walls. 

Parque Juan Santamaria

Juan Santamaria statue in Juan Santamaria Park in central Alajuela, Costa Rica

Who was Juan Santamaria? See this short article on Wikipedia for more details about the drummer boy who set William Walker’s fortress on fire and led to the defeat of the crazy American trying to turn Central America into his slave farm. He had actually conquered Nicaragua, so our Alajuela guys is their hero too!  The San Jose International Airport is named after him as are a few other things in Costa Rica. He is the perfect national hero as a poor laborer of a single mother. And he died in his act of heroism in 1856. The history museum in Alajuela by Central Park is also named after him.

The central plaza of the Juan Santamaria Park

Colorful Alajuela sign at one end of the park near my x-ray clinic

Evangelical Dancing in the Park

Youth doing expressive movements to Christian music in Parque Central.

I walked through the central park (never called a plaza here like in colonial Latin America) on my way to the Super Mercado. At first I thought it was one of the many dance classes performing, but they were dancing to Christian music, so I assume it was one of the evangelical churches in town. As I passed back through on my way home this Saturday morning, a preacher concluded a prayer and began speaking. So it was definitely a church. Churches here are involving their youth in many different ways and this “expressive movements” to music is just one. The Iglesia Biblica I have attended some does this in some services kind of like First Baptist Nashville did when there. I have mixed feelings about it in worship or for outreach. It doesn’t appear to be natural or “real” praise of God, but something artificial that is taught or staged (to me). Many youth have natural rhythm and need a way to express it, so maybe this is a good way. Secular dancing of all kinds is very popular here with many public dances and many places to take dancing lessons.

I will continue to put Spanish words in bold red in this blog. I may also reference something in my new Spanish language blog, which is just about my efforts to learn Spanish. Today’s post in Aprendo Espanol en Atenas simply acknowledges Su Espacio and David Salas Costillo as my primary source of learning Spanish. In the future I will share my experiences trying to speak Spanish. 

Atenas Graffiti

It appears on an ugly wall behind the High School in first two photos, then on the concrete wall of a city park in front of the Primary School. It is the only graffiti I’m aware of and wonder if it was a school art class project?

A 4 or 5 shot panorama of wall behind high school that I walk by almost every day. There’s more beyond gate at right, next.
More behind the high school gym to the right of above image. 
The front of the high school however would never have graffiti. 
Wall on big city recreation park in front of primary school, more in next photo.
This park has soccer, basketball, volleyball, skateboard, and more recreation.

Though not all great art, it  too seems too well organized to be vandalism.
Note the skate board ramp is also painted with graffiti above & below.
Skateboard ramp in city park in front of Escuela Central.
“People say graffiti is ugly, irresponsible and childish… but that’s only if it’s done properly.”