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Thursday, July 31, 2014

It's A Beautiful Morning

I walked into Atenas this morning and, along the way, admired a field full of fat cattle knee deep in grass, patted an orange cat, wondered if I should buy some jacotes from the roadside vendor, and tried to get two lazy hound pups to come over to me for a pat. Said "good morning" to lots of people.

Jacotes are small fruit that have a taste like a combination of apple, pear and mango. Didn't buy them this time.

After I finished my banking business, went to the newly opened "Crema y Nata" pasteleria which is right beside Pops ice cream shop. Both stores are kitty-corner to the park on Avenida 1. I had heard great things about their products and bought two small cakes to take home. Saw six bagels that I should have grabbed because they go fast. Crema y Nata also have a stand at our feria on Fridays.

Taxied home and had a wonderful swim in our neighbor's pool. It was like diving into a cool spring - so refreshing. Part of the pool was shaded by an enormous windmill palm and dragonflies were hovering and diving down to the water.


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Oncidium Orchid

Here is another of my orchids that recently came into flower. This one is an oncidium and it is growing on a slab. The inflorescence (flower stalk) is about four feet long. The flowers have a very light scent. The inflorescence was loaded with these little flowers (sometimes referred to as "dancing ladies" because of the way they blow up and down in the tropical winds).





Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Breakfast at El Balcón

We have had breakfast many times at El Balcón del Café y Bistro and it is always good. They also have lunch specials - check out the posted chalk board. You can also buy truly delicious cakes, pastries, sausages, bacon .....

El Balcón is owned by the very personable Melani and her staff is always friendly and helpful. They are located upstairs at Romacentro in Atenas Centro. Telephone 2446-8592.

Their omlette is really good ... loaded with all kinds of goodies. Sometimes we order an omlette and the French toast and then share. Lately, we've been having the cold mocha coffee drinks. Their hot coffee is excellent, very strong the way we like it.

Last Saturday, we went once more to El Balcón for breakfast. This time Lance ordered the Americano breakfast and I asked for the Tico breakfast. The Americano comes with a big plate of fresh fruit, eggs, bacon, and toast and the Tico with gallo pinto, plantano, cheese and eggs. All this for 6,500 colones ($13.00), not counting the tip we always leave.

It's nice sitting up on the second floor, looking down on Atenas, enjoying the tropical breezes and watching the world go by.

Cold mocha coffee drink.
Foreground: Tico breakfast, background Americano breakfast.
The view from El Balcón


Friday, July 11, 2014

Beautiful Butterfly

This lovely butterfly ("mariposa"in Spanish) landed on some of my art supplies the other day. I have a little studio set up outside and it seemed to be attracted to some of the colors of my supplies. It sat for quite a long time on this green art knife, wings slowing flapping up and down.

There are 3,000 species of butterflies and moths here in Costa Rica (18% of the world's butterfly species in our little country!). After finding that out, I decided not to try to identify this one but just enjoy the beauty and my good fortune in its decision to show off on my work table.

If anyone can identify it, would love to know what species it is.


Saturday, July 5, 2014

A Red, White and Blue Week

It's a red, white and blue day today in Costa Rica as the Netherlands faces the mighty Costa Rica futbol (soccer) team. In our town of Atenas, flags and banners are everywhere. Taxis are driving around with flags waving from them. People are dressed in Costa Rica t-shirts and the anticipation is palpable. Banco de Costa Rica has a big screen TV with the soccer games on so we can wait for our turn at the teller without missing anything. Everyone is very proud of how far this little country has come in the World Cup.

Even Scruffy is wearing his Costa Rican colors. His colors were also appropriate for Canada Day (July 1st), minus the blue. The Canadian flag is red and white.


Scruffy was also dressed appropriately for yesterday's American 4th of July celebrations.

Baron's Resort, #59 Vista Atenas, very kindly hosted a 4th of July BBQ. Guests brought a dish and Baron's provided the BBQ'd hamburgers, hotdogs and condiments. We had a great time, meeting old and new friends and enjoying all the food offerings. Thank you, Jerry. The setting is fantastic with amazing views.


Just one of the almost 360 degree views from Baron's Resort.
The glassed in pavilion.


Baron's Resort is in the same area we live in (Vista Atenas).

I decided to make red, white and blue strawberries to bring to the BBQ. Neighbor Rose Mary kindly drove me to the new AutoMercado on the Autopista (highway 27). White baking chocolate was nowhere to be found in Atenas but I found two packages at the AutoMercado. Strawberries were no problem ... they are so plentiful in Atenas. I bought 6 pints from the berry vender at 1 mil for 3 pints ($2.00). They were large and ripe.

The plan was to dip a red berry in melted white chocolate, then dip the bottom third in blue sugar. Cool, no? Well, the white chocolate package directions said I could melt it in the microwave. Guess what? White chocolate has a very low burn point and it reaches that in the microwave long before it has melted. There was no saving that first bar. I rigged up a double boiler and managed to get the second bar melted, but it never got to a really liquid stage. I made the blue sugar by mixing white sugar with blue food coloring - here it is called "colorante azul".

I used Lance as a taste tester for the first berry and I had one also. He said it tasted good, then said go look in a mirror at your tongue. Yup - all bright blue. No way we could serve these to anyone. Plan B - just dip the berries in what remained of the white chocolate and forget about a flag theme.

Here's what I ended up taking to the BBQ.

They were almost all gone by the end of the evening so all's well that ends well.


Thursday, July 3, 2014

Eyes on Costa Rica - Soccer/Futbol Update - July 3, 2014

This follows my blog entry in early April. The number of identifiable countries from where people have visited this blog is now over 100. The newest include Croatia, Georgia (the country, not the U.S. state), Moldova, Ukraine, Kuwait, Algeria and Fiji. Some of this is potentially interesting given the current politics in Europe.

All of this was before Costa Rica’s outstanding performance so far in World Cup soccer / futbol. According to the Internet, the "little" country of Costa Rica is attracting a lot of worldwide attention simply because of the sport. But, there is a lot more to Costa Rica than futbol.

GO! Costa Rica when it confronts the Netherlands on Saturday.