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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Mangoes, Papayas, Chestnuts from the Fire ....

Okay, we don't have papayas or chestnuts - from the fire or elsewhere .... but we do have mangoes! Many, many mangoes ... Lance took a picture of our mango tree -

The photo shows just a small portion of the fat, ripe mangoes that make me feel guilty every day. I've baked mango bread, made mango smoothies, I've given mangoes to our gardener, to our friends and neighbors, strangers who pass by on the street. Animals are enjoying them too - birds and insects - and those are only the ones I can identify.

Mangoes are dropping from the tree, rolling down the hill and crashing into the pergola.

Such a bounty of food Costa Rica gives us.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Bug Day

It must be that time of year in Costa Rica - bugs and butterflies galore. Here are some recent bug visitors to our house:

I almost choked when I saw this huge-eyed bug hanging off my lap top computer early in the morning. It just kept staring at me. I managed to get it outside.

This bug is amazing! It was hanging around on our passion fruit  vine. It seems to be wearing maritime flags on it's  back and it's feet.

Another cool bug.

And regarding butterflies, they often fly into our house and then I am able to cup them into my hands and release them outside. Today I captured a butterfly I have never seen before  - I think it was a species of glass wing butterfly - wish I had taken a photo. It was so beautiful.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Antanos Restaurant, Atenas

I've been meaning to write about this restaurant for a while now. We've eaten there three times - once for lunch, and twice for breakfast.

Antanos is situated 150 m. east of Banco de Costa Rica, not far from the northeast corner of the central park, and across from Pure Life Development. If you don't have your compass with you, just ask someone!

The restaurant is on the main floor of one of the few wooden houses in Atenas, built in the 1800's I believe. The restaurant menu gives the history of the building so be sure to read it. Also note the tiles both inside and out. The inside tiles are original. Apparently the house was home to a tile company at one time and I think the outside tiles are from that period.

The food is very good and so is the service. It's nice to sit in one of the rooms with the breezes blowing through the open windows. They have African violets growing on some of the window ledges (my sister Mady will like this).

Omelette with toast

One of the rice dishes

Yum! this was mine, all mine.  Couldn't finish it all and I had to ask for "para llevar",  (to go).

The portions are generous, the ingredients are fresh, the prices are very good. We had breakfast there yesterday (Saturday) and I ordered the omelet with vegetables and it is packed with big chunks of vegetables and included toast and jam. You can also ask for a tortilla instead of toast. There were four of us and we all ordered a grande sized fresh fruit drink. You can practice your Spanish when ordering.

Final price for breakfast on Saturday: 8,000 colones for two people, or about $16 CAD.  When we left Canada, we were paying $30 for two typical breakfasts at major chain restaurants and if we wanted to order something extra, like our grande sized fresh fruit drinks, I bet they would cost an extra five bucks each .... and the fruit wouldn't be all that fresh most of the year.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Run Free, Li'l Lizard

I wasn't home this morning when it happened, but Lance was. He said heard a commotion in the kitchen involving Genny and when he went to investigate, the lizard had come out from under the refrigerator and taken refuge behind a cabinet.

Lance shut Genny in another room, opened the patio door and the lizard made a beeline (lizardline?) for freedom. We hope it doesn't have serious injuries. I know lizards can regrow tails (and limbs?) but I'm sure they can't reconstruct their torsos.

And that's your good news for Monday!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Refrigerator Lizard

Today Genny caught another lizard outside. I saw it happening and rushed to shut the two open doors to the outside.

Too late - she carried it in and dropped it. It ran towards the refrigerator and not the open door - natch. We  shut Genny in another room and pulled the 'fridge away from the wall. Fortunately, it is one of the small models so it's very easy to shift around.

We could see the lizard and tried to manoeuvre it out with chopsticks but it wiggled in deeper. Then I thought - what if we move the 'fridge to the patio door, motor side out,  and maybe it would see the outside and leave by itself.  I don't think it did - it seems to have shoved itself up into a space on the bottom of the appliance.

We couldn't leave the refrigerator unplugged for too long so back it went to it's spot. I don't know how badly injured the lizard might be ... will it eventually come out or die there? I'll lay odds that, if it does come out, it will be in the middle of the night, Genny will hear it and there will be a great kerfuffle in the dark with us trying to turn lights on, crashing into stationary objects, with Genny running around.

If it dies there .... well, ugh. Do lizards smell?

One positive thing - we got all the dust bunnies from under the 'fridge cleaned up and the floor and walls washed.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

One Year Anniversary

I meant to write this entry on May 31st but we've been so busy!

We arrived in Costa Rica at 8:30 pm, May 31, 2011. Funny how the exact time sticks in my head. I remember how I felt when the plane's wheels touched the runway - we had actually arrived after all the planning and work.

Tortuga Island

Yesterday we were in San Jose and stopped at the historic Gran Hotel for an early light lunch at their outdoor terrace. We were commenting on how San Jose is so much more familiar to us one year later and we can find our way around easier. By the way, the Gran Hotel serves very tasty ham croissants that come with a small side of fries. If I were staying overnight in San Jose, I'd like to try this hotel. It's right across from the National Theatre and near a lot of other attractions.

But I digress. We celebrated one our year anniversary Thursday night with friends at Gregos Video Bar on highway 3 just outside of Atenas. We usually sit outside on the covered deck, push a bunch of tables together and enjoy the company and the food. On Thursdays (or Thirstdays), if you buy beer and keep your receipt, the following Thursday you will receive the same number of beers free. I think this also applies to certain other alcoholic drinks.

So, looking back on our first year - it has been wonderful and we are very happy to be here. We have so much more of Costa Rica to explore. Much more to learn, more people to meet, different terrific foods to try.

My advice to those thinking of moving here: learn Spanish; embrace the Costa Rican culture; try as many food items as you can; eat at the sodas; always be polite; shop local - both the shops and the products; stop comparing Costa Rica unfavourably with your home country; ride the buses; learn patience; use the taxis; have fun; smile lots; learn about the flora and fauna; appreciate every day where you are.

Pura Vida!

Oxcart Parade, Atenas