The Indignity of a Robbery

For the second time in 4 years living in Costa Rica I am enduring the disgrace of a robbery that simple precautions could have prevented. You may remember that the first one was during my first year here and I went with the local community band to photograph them marching in the Puntarenas Carnival Parade leaving my camera bag by my chair in a sidewalk cafe afterwards to experience its disappearance! Someone said that I paid my “Gringo Tax” by not protecting my bag in a very crowded place. Well, I’m paying it a second time this week.

1. I always leave my phone & Kindle on kitchen counter when home (or did)

It is the center of my house and I can hear the phone ring from there while anywhere else in my little house. And the Kindle is always there for me to put on the meal tray and take out on the terrace to eat every meal, my main dining companion! So a very convenient location. PROBLEM: In the center of the house those popular electronics can be seen by anyone “casing” my house from any of the windows except my bedroom and the bathroom. So a thief looking for an easy grab has found it with a quick glance into my house from driveway or anywhere else. So I will no longer leave them there.

In the photo I was in the office in that desk chair within 10 to 12 feet of the kitchen counter when items were lifted, plus my sunglasses are on that hall shelf near the door

2. I have not been locking my doors, seeing no reason.

About 8 pm I got up from my desk and went to the bathroom which is next to my outside door. I found the outside door was standing open and was puzzled with no wind yet to blow it open and I was sure I had closed it well. As I go back by the kitchen counter I discover the two electronic items missing and now know that I have been robbed silently within 10 feet of where I was sitting with my computer. At least my cameras were in that room with me and not touched nor the laptop computer! The door stays locked now!

3. Later I discover my “cool” reflective sunglasses missing also

Well, they make me feel younger if not look younger and they work and are cheap at only one mil, about $1.75. The photo is of the replacement pair I got yesterday after replacing my cell phone. And as soon as I discovered these missing, I knew it was a young man who walked in and took the 3 items quietly while I worked on my computer enriching my photo gallery with some 1998 Kenya Safari photos!  🙂  These are the kind of sunglasses young men in Costa Rica love to wear! Hope he enjoys them!

4. Further indignity – he/they tossed my Kindle!

Yep! the next morning my neighbor Jorge was out walking before me and he found my Kindle tossed in the drainage ditch near our gate. They evidently decided they could not get much if any money for a very worn, 5 year old small Kindle that can be purchased new for $49 and as leaving our property they just tossed it in the ditch. Glad it did not rain that night which would have ruined it for sure. But I was ready to replace it anyway. They say the battery lasts 3 to 5 years and you don’t get new batteries but just a new Kindle, so at 5 years it is about gone anyway. But still! Stealing it and then throwing it away!? My baby!  I’m incensed!   🙂

5. I reported and learned it was 3 young men who hit another house also that night and got away when discovered

I reported the theft to my landlord and the Roca Verde Homeowners Association and front gate guards who reported it to the police. And like some Americans, some of the Ticos here immediately blamed it on Nicaraguans (foreigners) rather than admit there is evil in all of us.

And life goes on despite the indignities we somehow must put up with occasionally! I am actually looking forward to a new Kindle that will be a little bit larger (1 inch) for my old eyes!  🙂  And I’m healthier now because I forgave whoever stole my phone and pray that they will be relieved of their poverty soon! Poverty is the real evil we need to focus on!   ¡Pura Vida!

For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. 

~Matthew 6:14-15

Trying out my new cell phone camera on my vista. Hope it is as good as the old one. Hard to tell here.

 

Butterflies in Home Garden

“There’s no place like home” for garden and butterfly photos, well . . .  some of the time. 4 simple shots right out my door, one morning. Click to see larger.

See my Butterflies & Moths Photo Gallery for a lot more butterflies!

¡Pura Vida!

Retired in Costa Rica

Walking Over my “Jungle Hill” This Morning

I love walking by the gardens of my neighbors
Roca Verde, Atenas, Costa Rica

Lots of flowers are always blooming, like this Bougainvillea
Roca Verde, Atenas, Costa Rica 

This morning a toucan flew into that top tree
Roca Verde, Atenas, Costa Rica

I got as close as I could and zoomed in with only my cell phone camera
Roca Verde, Atenas, Costa Rica
Yellow-throated Toucan
I then cropped in further at home and mainly have just a silhouette, oh well.
My 300mm lens would have done better, but always hard as they usually stay high in the trees.
Roca Verde, Atenas, Costa Rica

A view of central Atenas from above a different house than I’ve shown before (125).
Roca Verde, Atenas, Costa Rica

And another neighbor house on top of hill I don’t think I’ve shown before.
Roca Verde, Atenas, Costa Rica
Before I moved to Costa Rica, I said that I would never live in a rich gated community, so I need to be careful about using that word “never” since after 4 months of searching for a rental house I could afford that also met my needs, this is where I found it! And since most of these big mansions have “casitas” (“little houses” like mine) that they rent out or use for “mother-in-law cottages” or servants, I am certainly not alone living among the rich as a renter and 40% of the owners here are Ticos, so not just all foreigners. Plus it is the only really nice development like this within easy walking distance of Central Atenas; in fact most realtors say Roca Verde is in “Central Atenas” (loosely defined). 
With the Atenas public water system having many shutdown problems and unfulfilled promises from politicians, we are fortunate to have our own water system within Roca Verde that is almost never down, and if that is not enough, my landlord has his own private well and pump right here on our lot!  🙂  That is a bigger deal here than it may sound! I always have good water and good pressure. 
My landlord is one of the best and even though he has this property for sale, it hasn’t sold yet and that can take years here! A German man visited 2 days ago as a prospective buyer and assured me I could continue renting at the same price if he becomes my new landlord. I am not worried. My landlord, Jean-Luc, was also the developer of all of Roca Verde and with his partner in charge of the development maintenance, etc. until this year when a new homeowners’ association took over and they seem to be doing a good job so far and have even increased the security of the property. If you drive in the front gate to visit me, expect to show your ID and have your trunk inspected upon leaving and they may even call me to verify that you are really coming to see me. Interesting. 
I think I have already shared reasons for choosing the “Central Valley” as my place to live, like medical and shopping proximity, plus from here I can easily travel on my many adventures to parks and forests all over Costa Rica and further into Central America. And it will be easy to expand my travels into South America later. As “the next best place to heaven,” Costa Rica is the perfect place for me to live the final years of my life before the real heaven. ¡Perfecto!


¡Pura Vida!

Red Passion Flower

Red Passion Flower
This is same family as the more common purple passion flower which we
also have here in Costa Rica. Several neighbors have this red variety, 
and like the purple one is also a vine that can take over other plants.
Atenas, Costa Rica

See my photo gallery, FLORA & FOREST for many more tropical flowers here. 

Hillside Vista

On a walk over my hill today, not quite to the top, a different view.
Roca Verde, Atenas, Costa Rica

Click image for larger view.

And see my photo gallery of Vistas in Costa Rica & neighboring countries.
¡Pura Vida!

Neighbor’s View of Atenas

Atenas as seen from higher up the hill from me in the morning fog.
This nice photo was made by Tom & Jessica, here for a couple of months on their trip around the world.
See their blog   http://www.worldwidewaftage.com/  Like most places you pay more for better view!
Of course they zoomed in on the church with camera – they aren’t this close!
Atenas, Costa Rica
Maybe call my view toward town “more natural” with more trees than even houses & no church.
I am barely on the side of a little hill while the other view is from twice as high & zoomed more!
Atenas, Costa Rica

BLOG STATS

I have now written more than 1,000 posts that have received more than 100.000 pageviews online from more than 20 countries. I guess there is a lot of random viewing of blogs by some people. 🙂

 

That Spot of Color is Joy!

Can you see it? In the fork of the guarumo tree on the distant hill. Red-orange.
It is a spot of color I see every time I walk out on my terrace and it brings a smile.
It is an African Tulip Tree I’m glad a neighbor planted!
Roca Verde, Atenas, Costa Rica

It is a tree like this one by our front gate in Roca Verde, African Tulip Tree, native of Africa
and brought here as an ornamental tree for yards that adds new color to the many natural colors here.
Roca Verde, Atenas, Costa Rica

And a little closer. 


The purest and most thoughtful minds are those which love colour the most. 
John Ruskin

See my photo gallery:  Flora & Forest

New Neighbors & Normal Weather

The cow and her growing calf were removed (sold?) and these four brought into pasture in front of my house.
The fourth is a brown cow on right edge of photo. Sorry I couldn’t talk him/her into joining group.
The abundance of rain has given a bumper crop of grass!
Roca Verde, Atenas, Costa Rica
There’s nothing like sitting back and talking to your cows. 
~Russell Crowe
And finally weather is back to “Normal” with clear skies in the morning!  
View from my terrace this morning at breakfast.
 Roca Verde, Atenas, Costa Rica
What I call “normal” weather during the rainy season is sunshine and clear skies in the mornings and early afternoons with showers in the late afternoon or evening. Perfect! We’ll see if we get the showers today. For the last few weeks we have had tropical storms come in first from the Caribbean and then this week from the Pacific, meaning clouds and threat of rain day and night. Being inland we did not get the heavy rains both coasts got, though we got a landslide from Nate’s rains, just on the edge of Atenas. 

Good Morning World

Squirrel Cuckoo
My Garden, Roca Verde, Atenas, Costa Rica

Two mornings in a row for breakfast and he gave me a better pose this morning. Plus in only one shot did all 5 tail feathers show like this, so I’m particularly pleased with this one! It happened just as the fog lifted on a beautiful morning in Atenas!

And on my walk downtown today I got a shot of the church I’m pleased with, but I’m holding it for another day. It is so enjoyable to just walk through this tranquil little town every day! And I often stop in a little shop for a cup of coffee and a rollito de canela (cinnamon roll). This is living!
Breaking News:
Atenas is one of the safest cantons (counties) in Costa Rica according to statistics!  
How encouraging to someone who lives here!  (right click to change article to English)

From Behind the Big Rock: African Tulip Tree!

From behind the big rock at Roca Verde entrance
you see the red-orange flowers of our African Tulip Tree.
Atenas, Costa Rica

African Tulip Tree
Zooming in on another tropical tree that blooms for about one month.
Atenas, Costa Rica

I walk about half a mile up a steep hill to Chef Dan’s house 2 or 3 times a week for one of his gourmet meals for dinner. Monday I had Shrimp Alfredo with side salad and Italian bread. Tonight I walked up the hill for Curry Chicken Salad Wrap with side salad and mango chutney. I eat pretty well most of the time to be living in the rainforests of Central America!  🙂

I begin my ascent at this big rock near the front gate and of course come back by it on my way home for this view. The front side of the rock is often covered in moss, thus the name “green rock” (roca verde).
This big tropical flowering tree is by the guard house at the front gate but you see it better from behind the big rock! It is a native to Africa but planted in many tropical areas including Costa Rica as an ornamental tree. The scientific name is Spathodea campanulata or commonly called African Tulip Tree. What’s really neat about all the tropical trees with beautiful blooms here is that they nearly all bloom in different months, so that we almost always have some tree blooming somewhere in Costa Rica! What will I see next week in the Caribe?

For other blooming trees in Atenas, see my Walking Atenas photo gallery

Or for the whole country, see my larger Flora & Forest photo gallery

-o-
PEAK OF RAINY SEASON
Rainy Season, el invierno, winter, or “Green Season” is at its peak in Central Valley in September and October when we get the most rain, typically 6-8 hours a day, mostly in late afternoon and evening. Great for sleeping! November is the “shoulder” month or when it tapers off and by December no rain for 6 months! Sad to me. I prefer the rainy season! Not only is it greener and cooler, but fewer American tourists!  ¡Tranquilo!   🙂

Another interesting phenomenon in rainy season is that while Sep-Oct are the heaviest rains in Central Valley, it is also the time when the Caribbean gets the least amount of rain! Thus I always plan my trips there in Sep-Oct!  🙂   Also note that both coasts are coastal rainforests which get rain year around, even when it is not rainy season here. I would like living there for that but not for the always hot and humid condition of the beaches. (Though the NW corner called Guanacaste is the desert area and pretty dry year around.) So I think the Central Valley is the best place to live with easy access to the whole country and the best overall weather! In fact the PR slogan of Atenas is “el mejor clima del mundo” or “the best weather in the world.”

One realtor’s take on it: 
And the Canary Islands also claim the best weather in this interesting video:
But that is the other side of the world! Different continent!