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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Always Keep Your Camera By You

I missed a nice photo opportunity the other day because I left my camera at home. We were driving past the Atenas church and were stopped because a multi-wedding was leaving the church and walking across the road to the park.

We saw about five different newly married couples walking to the park and there may have been more before we arrived. The park was all dressed up with white tents, decorations and music.

Each couple was followed by their attendants and as they entered the park, everyone clapped. The brides looked lovely in their long white dresses and the grooms were handsome in suits. The priests followed at the end.

What a great idea - multi-weddings - saves a whack of colones.

Afterwards, we were strolling through the Atenas centro market and noticed a fellow selling hand carved oxen pulling painted carts. I bought two of them, one small and one larger. He did a lot of work making them and the price was very reasonable. The oxen have wheels on their hooves so the whole rig can be rolled along.

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Trail of the Oxcarts

The other day, I finally went and took photos of the Atenas boyero monument. This iron statue is situated on the right side of highway 3, about 1.6 km before the turn into Atenas.

This monument is dedicated to the hard work of the boyeros. Highway 3 is the old oxcart trail that used to lead to Puntarenas.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Rat Race

I got my mitts on a North American style women's magazine this week. You know the type (if you are a woman) - "favorite family dinners", "easy decorating ideas, "15 ways to avoid colds and flu", numerous articles on style, family, health, food - it never ends. This and many other similar magazines come on the market every month, if not more - and they aren't cheap.

It was exhausting reading it - so much so that I was thinking about it while trying to get to sleep last night. I used to enjoy reading these magazines but never was able to achieve everything they told me I should be doing or saving or creating or wearing or baking or decorating or gardening or entertaining .... and so I always felt a bit as if I never measured up to what I was supposed to be.

And that is truly dreadful. Imagine believing that magazines should tell us how to be and how to live our lives. They are fine for the odd recipe or cleaning tip now and again or just for amusement when sitting in the dentist's office waiting for your appointment.

So I started thinking about how my life now in Costa Rica differs from my life in Canada. I buy clothes at Ropa Americana, a few things at the Multi-Plaza in Escazu, and I've also ordered clothing on line, which has worked out well. And I get family and friends to mule me down things we need.

I need bathing suits and shorts, cool tops, nice sandals, pretty cotton dresses, but not the latest suit design. I don't need winter clothing, spring clothing, fall clothing. I don't have access to actual English magazines - they are available in Spanish but I'm not up to that level yet and that's a good thing in this case.

I brought a few cookbooks with me, and bought a Costa Rican cookbook here, so I can make just about anything that is tasty and healthy. Not hard to do with the food available here. On line recipes number in the millions I think so no lack there if I want to look up Asian recipes. Oh, and by the way, I can buy my beloved Asian ingredients in San Jose.

Our rental house is furnished and clean, we have banana trees and mangoes, fabulous neighbors. I take Spanish lessons once a week and yoga/pilates/pool exercises twice a week. We have friends from all over - some are already here, some are on their way down, quite a few are Ticos. We have friends here from Germany, Canada, the USA, Brazil and Bolivia. The weather is terrific. Many social activities are available - our friends in San Ramon organize Beach Days.  Lots of local and excellent restaurants. It's fun to shop in Atenas and interact with Ticos and Ticas. My ears are becoming used to hearing more than just the English I grew up with. I am learning about different customs and foods.

My point? I don't have to live the trumped up life of magazines any more.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Fitting In

Atenas is starting to feel like our home town now. This past Sunday, we were in Atenas and enjoyed the Sunday brunch at Kay's Gringo Postres.

Then, while walking back to Atenas Centro, one of our gardeners honked his car horn at us as he was driving by. A minute later, one of our taxi drivers honked and waved at us as he was driving by.

A bit later, we went into the market in Atenas Centro to pay our CAJA health insurance (go figure that one out) and on our way out, Roberto from Remax stopped to shake our hands, say hello and ask how everything was going.

Today, Friday, we were in Atenas again and I noticed how busy and full of people our little town is. Friday is feria (market) day, so lots of people were walking around with carts and arms full of fresh produce, eggs, etc.

In Canada, it seems like people drive to big malls, shop, drive away and that's it - no real interaction with anyone. Of course, it might be different living in small Canadian towns and perhaps the same friendliness still exists there - at least I hope so.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Atenas Music Concert

Last Sunday, were were invited by our neighbors Mike and Alina to a music and choir concert put on by the Atenas School of Music (Escuela de Musica de Atenas). Alina sings in the choir.

The Atenas School of Music is next to the bus depot (the one where the buses park and have repairs done, not where we board the buses to Alajuela, San Jose, etc.). It's set back a bit from the road and the building is owned by the municipality.

The program included student soloists and the music school choir. The Director and tenor was Ono Mora Norori, who is currently pursuing his music career with an emphasis on teaching. His voice is amazing - so strong and powerful.

Unfortunately, the Cuban percussionist, Saidel Dominguez, was unable to attend as scheduled.

The program began with seven soloists and then the choir sang. My favorite was "Luna de Xelaju", a very popular Guatemalan waltz. They also sang the Japanese traditional "Sakura", a song about cherry blossoms.

All the singers were accompanied by the Russian pianist, Alissa Gorodenski.

You know, for such a small town, Atenas has some amazing talent. Some of the singers were young and had been singing since they were kids, some were older and getting back to singing. All were very good.

After the concert, food prepared by the local women and volunteers was available for purchase - the proceeds going to pay the pianist. There were different yummy desserts (thanks for the cake, Mike!), tortillas stuffed with cheese, and sodas and iced tea.

We enjoyed the concert very much and look forward to the next one.