Other Wildlife at Tarcoles this Week

Brown Basilisk or Jesus Christ Lizard
Tarcoles River, Costa Rica

Brown Basilisk or Jesus Christ Lizard
Tarcoles River, Costa Rica

American Crocodile
Tarcoles River, Costa Rica

American Crocodile
Tarcoles River, Costa Rica
Green Iguana
Tarcoles River, Costa Rica

Spiny-tailed Iguana or Black Ctenaura Iguana
Tarcoles River, Costa Rica

As always on this blog you can click a photo to see a larger version on black background.

Yeah, it is possible to sometimes see a monkey, sloth, coati, agouti, bat or other mammal, though no longer frequent on Tarcoles. People population growth reduces the animal population everywhere!

You can see all of the photos from this day trip at  2017-13-April Tarcoles Float Trip  gallery

Or see my photo collection of OTHER WILDLIFE in Costa Rica  or BIRDS separately

And for Easter I have yet to see a rabbit here, though one website says there are 3 species of forest rabbits. The more common agouti twitches his nose like a rabbit, but he’s actually a rodent!  🙂

Easter is purely a religious holiday here officially almost equal with Christmas in importance but purely for the focus on Jesus, not spoiling children with candy. (They spoil them other ways!) I’ll try to get some photos to share from the Easter Mass Processional tomorrow which is big deal everywhere. It used to be a “Dry Week” with no alcoholic beverages sold nation-wide, by law! Now it is up to local communities and is not enforced in the dry cantons.

Click this  One tourist guide to being here for Easter (Semana Santa or Holy Week) with a list of other major holidays included. It is important to know before visiting here because many Ticos travel for many holidays, especially this week, and especially to the beaches, meaning the highways are literally bumper to bumper. It took us twice as long as usual to get to Tarcoles Thursday because of this. I would never go to a beach during Semana Santa (Holy Week). Think Spring Break!

Don’t Do This!

Don’t do this while Driving!
But don’t worry. I wasn’t driving. Stopped for construction, motor off!
But this photo did not really show the backed up traffic I was in.

And Don’t Be in a Hurry while in Costa Rica!
After getting around the construction I was anxious to get around
the slow moving cars and big trucks and started passing them . . .

But do you see that double yellow line on that straight stretch of road. I guess it means the authorities don’t want anyone to pass on the mostly two-lane highways like this. So . . . I was one of 6 cars stopped in not a “speed trap” but a “passing trap” by el policia with a very serious lecture in Spanglish about the dangers of passing when there is a yellow line (There’s almost always one) and that if he writes the ticket and it goes to court it will cost me the equivalent of USD $600! But if I promise to drive more safely he will settle for $100 cash. Well, I learned in West Africa to never mention bribery or tangle with a policeman and so folks, I chose $100 over $600 even if what he said may not have been true, I do know that going to court would be a nightmare! 

I took my time the rest of the way, taking 4.5 hours to go 117 km, with one bathroom/snack break and of course the construction break! 🙂  That highway in the photos above is Costa Rica Highway 1, The Pan American Highway, linking all the countries in the three American Continents! 4 lanes would cost too much! And they do keep the pot holes filled with constant construction work AND they are building a partially controlled-acessed 4-lane segment with overpasses through the area’s big city and provincial capital of Guanacaste, Liberia, north of where I turned off for Monteverde. 
Then off Highway 1 to Monteverde was uphill all the way and about half a narrow gravel road with one lane bridges over the streams. Reminds me of Arkansas in the 1940’s and 50’s! “The Good Ol’ Days!” Remember? So I learn another lesson the hard way! Slow Down!
Now I thought Atenas was a country town and it is! But Monteverde is, well, more country! Most of the city streets are dirt or gravel (there’s a difference folks!). But the main drag through town is paved which helps reduce some of the dust. But I like my first night’s lodging, a cabin in a little 8 acre forest with lots of birds and nature. And the butterfly garden and dinner place was good, which I will tell about in a separate post. Tomorrow I move to another set of cabins with the birding club where they did not have room for me tonight. 

Why “No Me Gusta San Jose Driving”

Why I don’t like driving in San Jose? It is a big, busy, congested traffic city! Especially on Friday afternoon when I had my last doctor appointment and these photos were shot through bus window on Route 1. Downtown was actually more bumper to bumper but I didn’t think to snap a shot there. It took an hour and a half to get to Atenas at 4:30 where during the day it is sometimes just 45 minutes to drive the 38 miles. 🙂   In addition to people leaving work early on Friday, many in the city go to the beach for the whole weekend making it nearly bumper to bumper all the way to Jaco. To facilitate this, the main highway/freeway, Ruta 27, has all lanes going west for a couple of hours Friday afternoon and all lanes going east for a couple of hours Sunday afternoon as they return. Interesting!

Just one more reason I do not have the high expense of a car and get around by bus, taxi or walking: healthier, cheaper, and less stress! And I can get the occasional rent car for a trip or when I have guests.

AND Costa Rica is STILL One of the Best Places in the World to Retire as now reported by U.S. News & World Report with above link to a Live in Costa Rica Blog article. Or go directly to the U.S. News & World Report Ranking of Costa Rica for Retirement. 

¡Ciudad, Pueblo, Bosque, Montana o Playa
Costa Rica es Pura Vida!

¡Me Gusta Mucho!

Rewards of PatienceI

The Clouds are Colorfully Lit Most Nights
But only for a minute or two – for those who patiently wait see it.

Hundreds of parrots fly over each evening.
Maybe patience will give me a good photo some day!
Hoping one will land in a nearby tree!

I’m pretty sure these are Sulphur-winged Parakeets, the size of parrots.


And my patience with Banco Nacional has started to pay off today. The first time I went I was second in line and quickly got to Ricardo who said I must have my real Passport not the photo copy I carry in my wallet. So I walked home to get it and when I got their I found it in my laptop case which I had with me at the bank! Grrrr! Old man forgetfulness? Ricardo told me to come back at 12:30 PM which I did and was again second in his line. (The line for cashiers had 37 people moving from chair to chair towards the front. Funny to watch!) But Ricardo didn’t get back until nearly 1:30! But I now have a local Debit Card in my wallet. The reason I had my laptop was that I was told he would train me in using the online banking. BUT, he said first I needed to go to one of the cashiers and buy a “token” (300 colones or 60¢) which appears to be some kind of electronic fob. I was not getting in the Monday line of 37 people, so will try tomorrow. (Monday & Friday are busiest days at bank.) Then I will take the token to Ricardo and he shows me how to do online banking on his computer. He said to not bring my laptop. Whew! It looks like it may take more than two weeks to have opened a bank account here, but there will be advantages! And tomorrow I get to play musical chairs!  🙂
In my Saturday report of the Tope de Mercedes or Horse Parade, I don’t think I told you that all the advertisements for the Tope said 12 Noon. So I show up before 11 to get a good spot along the road. It was sort of like the Gambian Wedding that started two and half hours late. Nothing was happening except the setting up of beer tents in the futbol field. I asked someone and he told me that it sort of starts at 12 but that the parade would not start until about 1:00. So I went home and returned at 12:30. The parade actually started at 3:30. I sat on a wall across the street from the Mercedes Catholic Church, watching them get ready for a wedding that (you guessed it!) started at 3:30 with people dressed in their finest trying to drive cars around the horses, let family out at church, and park the car who knows where down the road. I told a friend that was a sign of a lack of planning for the wedding. She pointed out that it was bothering me more than the people it really affected! 🙂 And that was not to mention the lack of any traffic control with cars actually driving around horses in the parade and parking along the side of the road making it one lane. Relax Charlie! Tico Time!
Will Costa Rica make me patient? Sometimes I doubt it, but after three years in Gambia I was much more relaxed and used to delays. So maybe a little more time here will mellow the control freak!

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.