Saturday, December 31, 2016
Saturday, December 24, 2016
Wednesday, December 14, 2016
Monday, December 12, 2016
Saturday, December 10, 2016
Sunday, December 4, 2016
Friday, November 25, 2016
This blog recently crossed a threshold of over 100,000 page views from over 24,000 individual visits and 115 identified countries. It appears that the average visitor looks at about 4 pages. The latest country is Tanzania in Africa.
Meanwhile, I have prepared a list of the top five noteworthy locations in the world from where a visit to the blog has occurred. These are my choices. Others might have different criteria. The third, fourth and fifth place choices are not in any necessary order. It depends on your sense of humor but from my point of view the first place choice beats all and the second place choice is a close competitor. Click on “Map” or “Wikipedia” for more information on any location.
5th place: somewhere in the Cameroon, Africa (May 21, 2013)
The precise location in Cameroon is unknown. The connection was probably a satellite connection. This country was the first country in Africa from where a visit was received. The only continent from where a visit has not been received is Antarctica.
4th place: Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, Canada (April 14, 2016)
Until the visit from Cambridge Bay, visits to the blog had been received from all 10 provinces and 2 of the 3 territories in Canada. Nunavut was the third territory after the Northwest Territories and the Yukon. Now, at least one visit has been received from all provinces and territories in Canada.
3rd place: Huntington, West Virginia, USA (February 7, 2014)
Until West Virginia, visits to the blog had been received from 49 of the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. The visit from Huntington provided the missing link. Visits have also been received from the following U.S. constituents: Guam, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, not to mention the U.S. Armed Forces Europe, Canada, Middle East and Africa, and the U.S. Armed Forces Pacific.
2nd place: Empire, Nevada, USA (June 29, 2016)
Ghosts! Lance and I have driven through and stopped in Nevada a number of times. But, neither of us had ever heard of Empire, Nevada. On the Internet, we were surprised to see it described by Wikipedia as a "ghost town". Is my blog being visited by ghosts? I will need time to think about this.
1st place: Hell, Nord-Trondelag, Norway (June 7, 2015)
It is one thing to attract a visit from a ghost. Ghosts are harmless. It is quite another to attract a visit from Hell.
Wednesday, November 23, 2016
Sunday, November 13, 2016
Monday, October 31, 2016
Friday, October 28, 2016
If a medication we require is not available from Caja, we try the local pharmacies (farmacias). A prescription is not usually required - it depends on what the drug is I assume.
A couple of weeks ago, one medication I wanted was nowhere to be found in any of the Atenas farmacias so we drove to Farmacias San Gabriel, located at the Rio Grande gasoline station (estacion gasolinera) entrance. There, Dr. Ernesto helped me out. He speaks excellent English, far better then my Spanish!
They didn't have what I wanted in stock but he said he would order it and deliver it to me the next day. The following morning, he phoned me to see if we were at home and within thirty minutes Dr. Ernesto himself drove up to our house with my medications - and no charge for the delivery! I paid him cash (exact change, please) because they are not yet set up for accepting credit cards outside of the pharmacy.
Needless to say, we were very, very impressed with Dr. Ernesto. I highly recommend Farmacias San Gabriel. In future, I can place my order via e-mail which is a plus for us because we don't live that close to this particular drug store.
Hours: Monday to Thursday: 8am to 9pm Friday to Sunday: 8am to 10pm
Thursday, October 20, 2016
Wednesday, October 19, 2016
Sunday, October 16, 2016
Costa Rica has essentially two seasons ... dry and wet .. roughly six months each. Wet (and beautifully green) from about May to November, and dry from November to May ... with some variations. The dry season is the high season for tourists from the frozen northern climes.
Coming from the Pacific Northwest (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada), we don't mind rain at all and, in fact, embrace our rainy days here ...
This does not mean it rains for days on end for six months. For four or five months of the green season, mornings and early afternoons are sunny and maybe, perhaps, rain might fall later in the afternoon. I am only referring to where we live in the Central Valley and at our elevation.
These recent days, for us at our elevation, we are experiencing rain earlier in the day. I hung our wash out this morning before 8:00am but the sun and winds were not in alignment and so some of my laundry did not totally dry. We hung the still damp things inside the house and will put them out on the line again tomorrow.
Some people have clothes dryers here that they use carefully because electricity is expensive.
Wednesday, October 12, 2016
Our friend and neighbor didn't forget us though. Sharon stopped by our house this past weekend with this for us:
Included in the pretty bag were Sharon's homemade muffins and brownies - what a treat. The card reads, "Dear Diana and Lance, Happy Thanksgiving to you, our wonderful vesinos (neighbors), con abrazos (with love), Sharon and Diogi". Diogi is Sharon's Border collie that we have cared for from time to time.
I must not forget the USA Thanksgiving, since Sharon is from Washington State. She might like some British Columbia Nanaimo bars. We live in the best neighborhood with wonderful neighbors.
Wednesday, October 5, 2016
Sunday, October 2, 2016
Friday, September 23, 2016
Wednesday, September 21, 2016
Thursday, September 15, 2016
The farole parade is held on the evening of September 14 - homemade lanterns symbolizing the original freedom torch. On September 15th, there are parades all around the country, with marching school bands. Further information can be found in this article by the Costa Rican News.
Here are some photos I took of some Independence Day celebrations in our Atenas park, on Wednesday, September 14.
Wednesday, September 7, 2016
Sunday, September 4, 2016
Our septic tank was overdue for a cleaning and that was an interesting process to observe. Now we know where the septic tank is located.
Yesterday, our gardener Byron was here and he finished up just as a storm moved in. The rain was quite intense with lots of lightning and thunder so he stayed until it eased off and he could get back up the mountain to his home. I hope he managed to hitch a ride because he was carrying a heavy, professional style weed wacker, a can of gasoline, and a backpack with his protective clothing in it (face mask, leather apron, harness for the weed wacker). In Costa Rica, a lawn mower would not work on the mountain sides.
As we were sitting outside, the power went off - probably due to a circuit breaker being hit by lightning as we heard a "pop". We also felt a small earthquake. Our cat had zoomed off somewhere once Byron started working. Cat (that's what we call him) eventually came home once the storm passed but he was quite wet. Not much of a problem in a tropical climate as the rain is warm.
Since we were having a cold Asian noodle salad for dinner, the lack of electricity wasn't much of a problem and it came back on after a few hours.
One of my orchids is flowering - the scent is incredible and the flowers are weirdly wonderful.
Thursday, August 25, 2016
Where: Hotel Colinas del Sol, Calle Boqueron, Atenas, Costa Rica (600m east of the high school gym, 100m east of the Roca Verde gate).
The show runs from Saturday, August 27 (2-7pm) and Sunday, August 28 (2-5pm), 2016. Hope to see you there!
|"Moona Lisa" - 31.5"x31.5", acrylic on gallery wrapped canvas.|
Photo reference courtesy Pam Utton.
|"Painted Lady" - 35.5"x35.5", acrylic on gallery wrapped canvas.|
Photo reference courtesy Linda Gorchinsky.
|"Pork and Coffee Beans" - 31.5"x31.5", acrylic on gallery wrapped canvas.|
Photo reference courtesy Patricia Anne Jones.
|"The Goat" - 31.5"x31.5", acrylic on gallery wrapped canvas.|
Photo reference artist's own.
|"Tranquilo" - 35.5"x35.5", acrylic on gallery wrapped canvas.|
Photo reference courtesy Gloria Navarro-McDermott.
Sunday, August 21, 2016
This will be our second show and is being held in honor of Gordon Balter, our friend and the visionary who recognized there was a lot of talent in the Atenas area. He was the one who gathered us together and organized our first show.
Here is your invitation:
Thursday, August 11, 2016
Monday, August 8, 2016
Gordon Balter was the visionary who recognized that the small town of Atenas, Costa Rica, had a lot of creative artists who should be brought together and encouraged to put on an art show. This we did in 2014 to great success thanks to him.
Gordon was also our good friend and neighbor. So, in Gordon's memory, we artists have gathered together again for our second show.
This year, the featured artists are Al Alexander, myself, Harriet Sheppard, Jocelyn Farguhar, Sheila Nelson, Julianne Jones and Jan Yatsko. Our work is varied with no two artists doing the same kind of art.
We hope to see many of you at our show.
Saturday, July 30, 2016
Friday, July 29, 2016
We are hardly going to leave our adopted town and country to move elsewhere because of this one robbery.
About two weeks ago, a spate of home robberies started in our neighborhood of Vista Atenas. We were the second house to be hit and we lost my cell phone, my camera and my iPad and Lance's computer.
It happened, we dealt with it and we move on. Thanks to our good friends and neighbors, we have the use of borrowed computers for the time being. I have replaced my cell phone and we'll be doing the same with our other electronics.
What I want to focus on here is our interaction with the Atenas police and the Costa Rican judicial system. The police arrived at our house within ten minutes of our call to them. We were told to file a report with the OIJ (Organismo de Investigacion Judicial) the very next day. A report (denuncia) needs to be filed with them before they can start an investigation, enter your property, take fingerprints, etc.
My interview with the OIJ was very positive. I had a translator with me (thank you so much, neighbor Margarita). I have a copy of our denuncia with all details, including serial numbers of computers, etc. The OIJ people are very professional and took us seriously.
The OIJ team were then able to arrive at our house that same day and dusted for fingerprints and took photos of the point of entry into our house. I had to have my fingerprints taken the next day to distinguish mine from the perp's.
Our community has banded together to deal with our present crime problem. We have met with the mayor of Atenas, the chief of police, the head of OIJ and have come up with workable community solutions.
Not to say the problem has been completely solved ... but at least we are working together and we are a tight knit community.
Sunday, June 26, 2016
As I was doing the prep work for our dinner tonight - I like preparing our food ahead of time as much as I can - it occurred to me that much of our dinner was due to our connections here in Costa Rica.
Tonight we are having lentils with sausage and kale. The jalapeño sausages are made by Marcial Artavia, Sperone Italian Sausage, here in Atenas. He sells them at our feria every Friday.
The kale was given to me by our friend and neighbor, Sharon (owner of the famed dog Diogi). Sharon also gave us a bag of lettuce and a yummy quiche which we had for dinner the other night. All bought at another feria (farmers' market).
The onions, garlic and carrot that go into this dish came from the markets in Atenas. So as I chop and cook, it is nice to know that so much of what we are eating here in Costa Rica is local.
Thursday, June 16, 2016
I've always been intrigued with orchid plants. I had a collection when we lived outside Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. When we decided to move to Costa Rica, I gave them all away.
Orchids in Costa Rica are very inexpensive to buy, compared to Canada. Plus, they are so easy to look after. They can stay outside all year around, they don't need greenhouses or special treatment.
I do have to watch out for fungus problems, but I have a spray for that.
Here are photos of one of my favorite orchid plants.
|Two flower stems from one orchid, covered in these small flowers.|
|My "orchid tree". Convenient to have them in one place.|
This isn't my entire collection. I have others on windowsills and hanging in other places.
Tuesday, June 14, 2016
We are about a month and a half into the green (or rainy season). The mornings start out sunny and warm and I try to get my laundry done early and out on the line to dry. Everything has really greened up.
Today, we taxied into Atenas to have lunch with our friends Carol and Paul. We ate at Restaurante Antaño and, as usual, we had good food and good service.
Back home and now it is just a bit after 5:30 pm - we had rain earlier - now we are covered in cloud. Sounds from the neighborhood are muted.
Tuesday, May 31, 2016
How the time has flown. On this day five years ago, we first set foot in Costa Rica to make a new life and have a grand adventure.
We have never regretted our decision to pull up roots, downsize our possessions, and explore a country that we had never been to. The country, the people, the weather - everything suits us very well. We have more friends here then we had back in Canada. There are challenges - learning a new language for example. But these are the things that keep a person interested and involved in life.
It is wonderful to be able to explore a place at leisure, absorb the culture and get to know the people. Visiting somewhere for a week is not the same at all.
To those of you who read my blog, a big thank you for being with us on our journey. Here's to many, many more years together.
Here are some retrospective photos:
|On the Amtrak Coast Starlight Express - Seattle to San Francisco. Champagne to celebrate.|
|At our hotel in San Francisco, early morning. Waiting for taxi ride to airport. San Francisco-Dallas-Costa Rica - May 31, 2011.|
|First meal in Costa Rica - breakfast at the Hotel Aranjuez, San José - June 1, 2011.|
Sunday, May 22, 2016
We have now transitioned into the green, or rainy, season. This season will probably run until November/December when the dry season will start again and the land will turn brown. The dry season is also the high season, when tourists from the cold northern countries arrive here.
Meanwhile, we get to enjoy low hotel rates, vacant beaches, cooling rains, and verdent colors everywhere.
|We had a sun shower this afternoon, so I put some of my under cover orchids outside to get some rain.|
|I put up a sunshade over our patio.|