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Saturday, March 24, 2012

Bug Day

One day last week turned out to be a Bug Day. Lance was sitting outside on the patio, working away, when he said to me, "What is this?"

My first response was going to be, "Well, it's a branch stuck on your paper". On closer inspection, it turned out to be, we think, a walking stick insect - the brown variety.

Here's another picture of the same insect:

It was so delicate and beautiful.

Hah! we humans think we are the only important species on this planet ... I think not.

Then, to top off Bug Day, this little moth landed on my computer ...

He/she looks just like a fallen leaf. I now know how to capture the flying insects that land in our casa and let them fly free outside.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Save A Forgotten Equine

The good people at S.A.F.E. (Save A Forgotten Equine) in Monroe, Washington, have asked me to donate one of my horse paintings for their HeART of the Horse Dinner and Silent Auction, May 12, 2012.

I'm so flattered that they asked me and the painting is underway as I write this. You can see more of my horse and cattle art here.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Cafe Cultura, Atenas

Cafe Cultura is a newly opened restaurant, situated on the east side of the park or, to put it another way, if you were standing in the park facing the church, the restaurant is on the left.

Six of us had lunch there today and I highly recommend this restaurant. They serve breakfast, too, which is a big attraction for me. Lots of menu choices. They have an extensive list of smoothies, teas and coffee drinks.

The inside of the restaurant is very nicely decorated. We decided to eat outside in the large walled courtyard at the back. It was so nice sitting at our table, shaded by trees with a good breeze blowing. I had no idea that all this quiet outdoor space exists behind the shop facades on this street. You really have to just walk into businesses to find out what is going on, because often you cannot tell only by looking at the outside of the building.

Between us, we ordered a chicken Caesar salad, a Greek salad, lasagna with house salad, pasta with salmon and a Cuban sandwich. Everyone said their choices were very good, ditto with the smoothies. Mine was made with coconut water, watermelon and carrots. The plate presentations were very attractive. Oh - the lemon pie - try it, try it. One of our group said the pecan pie is really good also.

Our server liked to take all the food orders first, then the drink orders. I'm not sure if alcohol is served here.

This is a great place for a leisurely meal. On the way out, the chef told us they are going to serve a brunch this Saturday - reservations are needed. Not only that, he said he can offer Thai food! He just needs to know ahead of time if it's something off the menu.

Well, I know what I want to do - get a group together and go for Thai food. They close at 7:30 pm but can stay open later if needed.

Here's the important info: owners: Marcial Rodrigues and Osmin Gonzalez. Phone number 2455-0081. Open Monday to Friday 9:00 am to 7:30 pm and the same for Saturday. Closed Sunday. They also do take-out and catering. Visa and Mastercard accepted.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Tortuga Island

This past Saturday, we went on a tour to Tortuga Island. This tour is offered by Varso Travel in conjunction with Gloria and Paul Yeatman of Retire For Less in Costa Rica.

For the very reasonable price of $64 each, an air conditioned shuttle bus picked us up in Atenas at 0700 and drove us to Puntarenas where our boat was waiting to depart at 0800. I think there were about 30 total in our group, which included Ticos, with 19 coming from Atenas. Without the shuttle bus, the price is $54 each but it was so nice not to have to drive oneself to and from Puntarenas.

Tortuga Island lies on the southern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula, in front of the Curu Wildlife Refuge and is a tropical island paradise with white sand beaches.

Our bilingual crew were great - very knowledgeable and safety conscious. We were provided with information about each of the different islands we passed, the bird and sea life we were seeing. A thrill for all was seeing pods of dolphins close by the boat, leaping out of the water and playing in the boat's wake.

Snorkeling was included with all equipment provided. The sea this day was calm and the water crystal clear. We could see multi-colored tropical fish swimming everywhere. I wish now I had tried the snorkeling but figured the ocean was no place to start - a swimming pool would be better for a first try and I want to get my own equipment. One of our crew dived and brought up different sea creatures for us to touch and look at. Of course, everything was put carefully back into the ocean.

Motored on to Tortuga Island - a stunningly beautiful setting with white sands, palm trees and turquoise waters. Our crew started preparing fruit appetizers and lunch on the beach. Water, sodas and iced tea are included. We had several hours to swim or explore the island. We were asked not to take anything - no shells, no coral - and to leave nothing behind.

We left around 3:00 pm, I think - nobody was really keeping track of the time. All too soon, our boat trip was over and we landed at the dock in Puntarenas, where our shuttle bus was waiting for the hour long drive to Atenas.

I highly recommend this tour - we had a wonderful time and I think that was the farthest south in Costa Rica that we have been so far.

Beach towel


I've never seen a starfish like this one

Swam here - so beautiful. That 4 master in the background is for hire.

Lunch - rice, salad, BBQ chicken and tortillas. Fresh fruit was served for appetizers.