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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Asian Fusion Dinner

A few weeks ago, we went to an Asian fusion dinner catered by Vamos Gourmet International Cuisine and held at Kay's Gringo Postres ( Vamos Gourmet is owned by Dom and Angela Najab, born and raised in Toronto, Canada. Their web site is They live in our town of Atenas. Telephone numbers are 8658-6465 and 8659-0430. International: 647-722-6307.T

The menu on this occasion was Vietnamese cold rolls, Korean style beef, Thai coconut basil chicken with jasmine rice, and banana chocolate wontons. Everything was delicious.

Please go to Dom and Angela's website and have a look at their catering menus ... I saw some creations that I would love to taste.

Korean Style Beef and Vietnamese Cold Roll
Thai Coconut Basil Chicken with Jasmine Rice
Banana Chocolate Wontons


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Chachalaca Chorus

A little early evening musical provided to you by the chachalaca birds visiting our backyard, Vista Atenas, Atenas.


Insects in Costa Rica

One of the things I wondered about before moving to Costa Rica was the prevalence of insects and how they would impact our life. One hears and reads all sorts of things before arriving here.

Readers of my blog from it's inception know that we had had never travelled to Costa Rica before moving here. Instead, we had done about fifteen years of research on line and talking to people before making the decision to give it a try. Our attitude is: "If not now, when?"

In the almost two years we have lived here, we have had just one scorpion in the house, and it was a small one at that. The ebbs and flows of nature and climate bring the insect world into our lives. Right now, the tiny "no-see-ums" are bothering my husband but not me as much.

This does not mean we cannot sit outside because we can .. all day and all year long. I remember days in the awful humid summers of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, before the advent of air conditioning, and the mosquitoes were unbearable ... and so was the humidity. My husband, Lance, can tell you all about the insect life in Alberta in the summer.

I've been bitten by ants here and that hurts for a bit. We use repellant products and ointments to put on any bites. About once a month, we spray around the perimeter of the house as a precaution. All the mercados carry insect sprays so they are readily available.

We have yet to experience the army ants that apparently will march right through a house and do a thorough job of cleaning up other insects, food crumbs, etc. Maybe we never will. Heck, if a bunch of ants want to clean my house for free, I'll happily go out for a few hours and leave them to it.

So, for us, insects have not been much of a problem but this applies to where we live. It could well be, and probably is, different in other parts of Costa Rica.

One thing for sure, I've seen some absolutely beautiful insects here.


Saturday, January 26, 2013

Meet Scruffy

This little dog has sort of adopted our neighbours and the neighbourhood in general.

He just appeared one day, with a limp which gradually improved. He has decided that he will bunk out at our neighbour's house but still visit all the surrounding houses for food. He shows up at our gate just about every day, with that adorable little face cocked to one side and tail a'wagging, waiting for his biscuit rations.

He has now acquired the name "Scruffy" which suits him - his coat is quite wiry. He is not neutered but is a very polite fellow and loves being around people. He pays cats no mind and never barks except to alert.

I wonder where he came from.


Friday, January 25, 2013

My Pineapple - Week Two

Another week has passed and little "Ani" continues to do well. It is about two inches high.



Friday, January 18, 2013

My Pineapple - Week 1

Each time I buy a fresh pineapple, I cut off the top. Then I scrape away any flesh at the cut point, remove about an inch or so of the bottom leaves, and put it outside on a window ledge so the base can thoroughly dry. After about a week, roots can be seen winding around the bottom stem and the area is nice and dry with no rot.

I then put the pineapple top into about an inch of water and the roots plump up nicely. There does not seem to be any urgency in planting the top as long as the water level is maintained.

Some pineapple tops that were planted in the green, or rainy, season were lost to rot but others did okay. They don't like a lot of wet. Today I planted three more tops.

Ta da! This week I noticed a tiny pineapple emerging from one of the first tops I planted .... this is quite amazing to me, a person brought up in northern climates. Pineapple came in cans or imported whole, so they were pricey. I used to look for Costa Rican pineapples in the Vancouver, B.C., area markets once we knew we were moving here. Now here we are, right where those same pineapples originate.

So, every Friday I will post a photo of our baby pineapple and we'll watch how it progresses.

Week 1



January in Atenas


Bougainvillea and clean laundry.


Guarianthe aurantiaca in bloom


I found this caladium growing on the side of the road - now it's mine


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A Bit of Levity

We can always use some silliness now and again and so I wrote this "poem" while spending time in one of my favourite places.


"My hammock is so fabulous - it really is superb. It ought to have a sign that reads, "Do not disturb". It sways with every passing breeze - and as I'm lying in it - I think of rain and snow and ice - enjoying every minute. I will not share my hammock, it is for me alone. Time slows down, cares drift away ... and for that I won't atone."


Saturday, January 12, 2013

New Mexican Restaurant in Atenas!

Five of us recently ate lunch at the newly opened Mi Casa Es Tu Casa, situated on highway 3 across from the old Coopatenas supermercado parking lot. The building used to be a hamburger stand.

I'm sorry I did not get the name of the owner - he's nice and affable. I understand he is from Northern California. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner and closes at 9:00 pm.

As soon as we were seated, we were served complimentary large fried tortillas accompanied by four different salsas, each one varying in hotness and all good. At the moment, the restaurant does not have a liquor license but is planning to get one soon. An icy cold beer would go really well with this kind of food.

I ordered the shrimp burrito - it was excellent. The portion sizes certainly are generous. The Aztec soup was pronounced very good as well. You must try the homemade vanilla and macadamia nut ice cream with caramel sauce - so creamy!

Total cost for five lunches - including four sodas, a coffee and four ice creams - 23,000 colones ($46). All of us agreed we would be going back here soon.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

New Map of Atenas

The new third edition of the Atenas tourist map is now available at the very reasonable price of 1,500 colones or $3.00.

Many thanks to Marietta Arce (publisher of "Atenas Today", 8395-3923) and Logan Thompson (Parrot Eyes Enterprises, 8888-6505), for all their hard work in creating the map. It is very professional looking and includes lots of useful telephone numbers, besides the maps of Atenas and surrounding area.

You can see a much larger version of the map in the central park. Apparently it is the first time this has been done and I was told that San Ramon will be doing the same thing next. 

Logan did a super job integrating my painting "Simbolica de Atenas" on the front of the map.

The map front

The big map in the central park

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Christmas in Atenas

I've mentioned in a previous post how the holiday season differs in Costa Rica then what we experienced in Canada, for us anyway. No more running around in crowded malls trying to find overpriced gifts. Apparently, if you ask a person what they received the previous Christmas, they won't remember.

For us it was all about friends, food and having fun. The cookie exchange hosted by neighbours Rose Mary and Tony was a huge success. My contribution was Nanaimo bars.

The cookie table
They weren't kidding
It was delicious

We had Christmas Eve dinner with our Canadian friends, Diane and John, at their lovely home.

Happy group
Thank you both for the delicious ham dinner and great company. On our way home, I left my camera in the taxi. I phoned Mario the next morning and he drove all the way to our house and delivered my camera - on Christmas Day!!! Don't ever say a bad word about Ticos in my presence. Just before Christmas Day, Jorge gave us a big wrapped basket of different kinds of fruit with a nice card. It was from both him and Mario, they share driving the same taxi.

On Christmas Day, our neighbours Alina and Mike invited us for dinner with them and Mike's mother, Patricia, visiting from North Carolina. Another feast - this time turkey. We were sent home with turkey for sandwiches the next day, and homemade cookies and candies.

I haven't yet uploaded the photos I took at their house so will post them on another blog entry.

We also went to the Festival of the Lights in Atenas with friends. The parade started just after dusk, with lighted floats and school marching bands from all over. I took photos and made a video and lost both somewhere on my computer. Maybe they will eventually turn up.

Now it is a brand new year - Feliz AƱos Nuevo to everyone!