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Monday, May 22, 2017

Cat Goes To The Vet

Last week, we took Cat to Dr. Solano for a general checkup and vacinations. As far as we know, he has never had vacinations. We know nothing of his history because he just appeared one day at our house over a year ago.He was unneutered so we had that done shortly after he appeared. It was our intention to find a permanent home for him but - hah! - of course he had other ideas. So, since it appears a cat now owns us we decided he needed a checkup.

Dr. Solano is an excellent vet here in Atenas. His telephone numbers are 2446-6646 and 2446-6068. He also has a cell phone: 8995-8585 and email: His office is located 100 meters east of the ICE office (ICE being the acryonm for Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad - the Costa Rican government run electricity and telecommunications services provider).

Cat (the name that has stuck) was very unhappy in the carrier and the short taxi ride but was a good boy while being examined by Dr. Solano and his assistants. This is a cat that is outside all day, hunting and lolling around in the grass/dirt so he had fleas and no doubt worms. He stays inside at night. He needs to lose some weight so we have him on a calorie reduced diet now. Dr. Solano said Cat is built larger then most Costa Rica cats.

The treatment Cat received was: deworming, flea treatment (Frontline Plus, I think, or similar), Felocell and Leukocell shots, and feces exam. The total cost, including the consultation, was 48,050 colones - about 96.00 USD. We also bought 1.5 kg of weight reduction kibble for 9850 colones (19.00 USD) and a product to spray on furniture to kill any fleas. Pet food in Costa Rica is pricy because it is imported.

Here is the dewormed and flealess version of Cat:


Monday, May 1, 2017

On The Buses

Last week, we rode a morning bus from Atenas to San José. We had breakfast at Soda Tapia, La Sabana, a diner from the 1950´s, that serves typical Costa Rican food for a good price. Every time we have been there, there have been lots of customers sitting inside and outside. The menu is a two sided piece of paper with all the menu items on it (in Spanish) and you check off what you want.

We both had the ham and cheese omlette which came with fried plantains and a couple of slices of toasted bread. We also each ordered a fruit drink made with mora (a species of blackberry). We always enjoy eating at Soda Tapia - the service is attentive and meals come quickly.

Later on, we took a taxi to the Coca Cola bus station. You have to specify which station you want so, for us, we tell the driver "Coca Cola para Atenas". There used to be a large Coca Cola plant here, long gone, but the name remains. We were quite early for the next Atenas bus but there was a bus to Orotina about ready to leave so we hopped on it. The Orotina bus makes a stop in Atenas - just tell the driver that's where you will be getting off because the fare will be less.

I made a video of part of our ride home to Atenas.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Vacuum Cleaner

This is the vacuum cleaner we bought for an excellent price from a couple who were leaving Costa Rica - about three or four years ago, I believe.


I can't remember the exact price we paid for this vacuum and also a large size slow cooker .... maybe around $50 USD. This is the way to buy stuff in Costa Rica ... people come and go all the time here and when they leave, they want to get rid of their things and prices are very good.

So this Electrolux has faithfully worked for us over the last few years .... sucking up cat hair, bugs, volcanic ash and more. But last week, it lost it's sucking power and it was time to take it to the appliance hospital.

One thing I have learned about living in a Spanish speaking country, when my Spanish is so so, is to Google translate what I want and write it out on a card or, in this case, on masking tape. In this photo, I have my name, telephone number and the problem: "sin succion", no suction. We went to Electro Atenas, across from the park and very close to the Santa Clara bakery. They had repaired our blown out TV a couple of years ago for a most reasonable price. When I dropped the vacuum off with them, they asked for a 5,000 colone deposit (about $10 USD).

The "29173" is their order number. I received a phone call the next day saying (I think) that the vacuum was ready to be picked up. We went there the day after, picked up the vacuum, and there were no extra charges beyond the 5,000 colone deposit. We went home, plugged in the vacuum and .... it worked! 

Today I cleaned our house from top to bottom, volcano ash and all.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Easter Sunday, 2017

Happy Easter Sunday, everyone. I pulled some prawns out of the freezer to thaw this morning, thinking that we would have them for dinner. I quickly put them back in the freezer when our neighbor Rose Mary came to our gate with a present of lots of cooked ham slices. Big thick slabs of honey ham ... so that's our dinner for tonight, along with roasted Greek potatoes and a vegetable. Thank you, Rose Mary!

Sadly, the only Easter present I had for Rose Mary was a bag of Lorsban, which is used here to destroy the vast underground ant colonies that cause so much damage. It's mixed with water (I think) in a pump type container with a wand that is inserted into the ground, and pumping action forces the chemical into the nests. We both use Byron as our gardener and he had used some of Rose Mary's supply on our ant nests so we wanted to replace it for her.


We had a lot of garden trash (basura del jardín) piled up waiting for removal, but we hadn't found anyone to do the job for us. This is what was at our front gate, the bags contain leaves, etc.:


And these bags were piled around the mango tree (the huge pile of dirt under the mango are ant hills):


A fellow on a moto stopped by this morning and eyeballed the mess and asked if we wanted it removed. We negotiated a price and this is how it was done:


He needed 5,000 colones up front to pay for gas for the truck that would be arriving, so we gave him that. We wondered if he or a truck would ever return and he was just collecting money in a novel way. But I had faith and, sure enough, in a couple of hours a truck showed up with him, another worker and a boss man. Unfortunately, the truck was not a top loader but a back loader so it made it difficult to shove everything in. If it had been a top loader, they could have compressed everything down. It was hot, dirty work. The boss man gave the orders and chatted with us. We had another round of negotiations:


Ignore "chilli jam" at the top - I think that was for some recipe or other. See the "cebolla morado"? That means "purple onion". Well, boss man noticed that part of our hedge had been stripped bare by leaf cutter ants and he told us to slice up a purple onion and scatter the pieces under the hedge. He said this would help deter the leaf cutters. I'll give it a try, can't hurt and no chemicals involved.

Anyway, they seemed happy to have the work, we were happy to have it done, and a round of handshakes and one kiss on the cheek finished the job.

Friday, April 7, 2017

April 1 to 7, 2017

This has been a good week. We've had two separate days of heavy rain - over an inch fell on each day. It has been so dry that it was much appreciated. We are going into our green season somewhat early this year compared to previous years.

Our new cedulas/Dimex (Costa Rican ID cards) arrived at our correos (post office) on Monday, April 3rd. They were supposed to be there on March 10th so just a little over three weeks late. We are legal residents for another two years.

We ordered two dinners again from Etnia Bistro Pub, delivered right to our door. This time we tried chicken saute with peanut sauce, cucumber salad with tzatziki, and pita bread - excellent.


A fellow artist is leaving Costa Rica and was selling some of his art supplies. I scored big time by buying this from him:


132 Prismacolor premier colored pencils, unused! All for only $60 USD. In Canada, just one of these pencils costs $2.20, so 132 Prismacolors would be $290.40 CAD! Now I have to learn how to use them.

I have quite a few orchids blooming right now:


Do you know what this is?


This is an orchid seed pod that burst open to release a gazillion tiny, tiny orchid seeds into the wind. They are almost like dust.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

First Rain of 2017

On March 14, 2017, just after 4:00pm, we had our first decent rainfall in months. I took this video of the cooling tropical rain falling after so many months of dryness.

Not a drop since then, at least at our house. Now that April is close, we hope to see more rain in the coming weeks. The landscape is very dry and brown right now.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Etnia Bistro Pub

Etnia Bistro Pub is the first gastro pub in Atenas. It is located just off ruta 3, across from the gasolinera de Coopeatenas. Camilo and Nicole are the owners and chefs.

They have added a new service - Etnia Express - dinner at home with the option of picking your order up yourself at their restaurant or having it delivered to your house for a very reasonable service charge. Every week Camilo sends me the menu for the following week. A quick email to him with my selection completes my order. He emails back telling me what time he will be at our gate.

Last week, I ordered two Caribbean curried shrimp dinners. Here is the menu for that week:

Here is our delivered order:


It was delicious, lots of flavors. Lance isn't a fan of cilantro but he liked it in this dish because it had just the right amount. I love anything with coconut in it and thought the rice was very good. There were plenty of shrimp. Also included were banana chips. Total cost for the two meals was 10,500 colones (about $19 USD). C1500 was for delivery right to our house by Camilo himself.

Here is the menu for the week of  March 28 to 31, 2017:

Treat yourself and order dinner - no cooking!