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Saturday, November 29, 2014

This Country Called Costa Rica

Today is Saturday, November 29, 2014. We arrived in Costa Rica on May 31, 2011. We have lived here for three years and six months. Many things have transpired since our arrival.

We arrived here with six suitcases and our elderly cat, Genny. In the suitcases were clothing and a lot of electronics. For some odd reason, I also brought a lot of wooden chopsticks with me.

The chopsticks we still have. Genny has gone. She had a great few years here. The clothes we brought with us have mostly deteriorated and are near to being tossed, or have been tossed.

The electronics are still working!

That is the past. The present and future is this - we are living in this amazing country. We have made so many friends - both Ticos and other expats. Our calendar is full with any number of activities. Our social life is amazing.

We love where we live - in the small farming community of Atenas in the Central Valley. We are slowly learning Spanish. I walked into Atenas this morning and was offered a ride from a fellow expat while part way there .. and he had nothing but good to say about his life here. I could only agree.


Friday, November 28, 2014

Lastest Painting

Just finished a painting of our neighbor's Border Collie whose name is D.O.G. (aka Deeoogee).

She is a beautiful dog. Typical Border Collie - very active, very smart. Sometimes I dog-sit her and we always have a good time. She is holding in her mouth the gift we gave her last Christmas.


This painting is acrylic on canvas stretchers. You can see more of my work here:


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Where Is a Cat When You Need One?

I was lying in my hammock about half an hour ago, swinging back and forth and reading John Lescroart's book, "The Suspect" (excellent).

Out of the corner of one eye, I saw a little creature running into our house. We keep the front and back doors open all day for the lovely breezes but they are not screened.

At first I thought it was a little lizard but this one was round, furry and brown haired, with a tail. It seemed too small for a rat but ....

"Lance, shut all the doors to the other rooms", meaning especially "shut the door to our bedroom!". I don't know if this creature has left the premises or not.

Barney and Goobio, get down here now! We need a rat sniffing cat pronto! So much for sound sleep tonight.


Thursday, November 13, 2014

My Lucky Day

Yesterday morning, I decided to walk into Atenas to see if my order from Art Depot had arrived at the bus station. I had placed the order yesterday, over the phone, and they popped it on a bus going to Atenas from San José for minimal extra cost.

Just before I left, a car pulled up to our gate with a parcel for me. This was the order I had placed with the company Royal Palm Interiors for a quart spray bottle of a product called Concrobium Mold Control. Royal Palm are the Costa Rican distributors of Concrobium. They use it a lot because they are situated in Uvita, Zona Sur, where mold is a big issue.

We're trying it out because it apparently eliminates mold and mildew, prevents mold growth and kills musty odors. It actually destroys the mold spores and lays down a protective barrier that prevents mold growth. This was lucky because we have a number of areas and items with some mold problem and I didn't want to delay treating them.

I had just walked to the corner of our road and Routa 3 when one of our neighbors stopped and offered me a ride. This was lucky because it was starting to feel hot from the sun and I was thinking I should have left earlier.

Leticia dropped me right in front of the bus station - some more luck. Thank you, neighbor!

My luck was holding - my Art Depot order was ready for me to pick up.

I decided to walk to the Coopeatenas Supermercado from the bus station and, along the way, I met one of our taxi drivers - Mario. Always nice to see our friends. Three minutes later, another taxi driver friend of ours, Diego, pulled up and asked if I wanted a lift to the Coope (not very far and no charge). So perhaps meeting Mario gave me the luck to be right at the spot where Diego was driving by.

It's always good luck to meet friends and I met four of my fellow Atenas Artists Association members at Coope.

Wait! There's more! The BBQ chickens were cooked and ready to buy. So many four leaf clovers on one day.

My good luck streak was still holding. Diego had gone into the grocery store and not left so he was there to drive me back home.

At the Coope checkout, I was given a ticket to fill out for a raffle they are holding. Maybe I'll win. I read the other day about a couple in Costa Rica who bought raffle tickets from two neighborhood boys to raise money for their school. They bought tickets to support the school, with no thought of winning or what the prize was. Guess what? They won! The prize - a live pig!

That might not be so lucky.


Sunday, November 9, 2014

The Feria at Alajuela

On Saturday, November 1, 2014, we went with our friends Diane and John to the Plaza Ferias (farmers' market) in Alajuela.

This map shows the shortest route between Atenas and the market. Part of the route (Ruta 27) is a toll road. For more detailed information about this route and two alternative routes which avoid the toll, go here.

The complete address for Plaza Ferias is given as Avenida Central Juan López del Corral, Alajuela, Costa Rica. However, for easiest access to the main parking lot, it is better to drive along Avenida 4 Concordia and not along Avenida Central which appears in the close-up below.

Concepcion which appears in the lower left corner of the first map on Ruta 27 is near where a landslide occurred on the day we went to Plaza Ferias.

Diane on right snapping photos


Pejibayes, palm tree fruit. Beautiful color. Must be cooked. Delicious with a bit of sour cream on top.


This feria is very large and was packed with people buying their weekly fruits, vegetables, breads, cheese, seafood and meat. The seafood selection was excellent and, of course, Costa Rican chicken is really good.

On the far left of the market, clothing and other sundry items are for sale. I also saw pots, pans and perfumes. Lots of vendors offer free samples of their fruit - juicy melons, papayas and pineapples. We wandered up and down each aisle, buying what took our fancy. The beets I bought were excellent and the carrots sweet.

Cebollas (onions)
Lance manning the cart.
Oranges on the left, bananas and plantains on the right.
John gets a turn at cart pushing.


On the way out, I bought two thick corn tortillas stuffed with ham and still hot.

We had a fun day. All of us enjoy exploring new places. I have to say I would not make a special trip back to this feria because our own Atenas feria has mostly all the same products - it's just not as big. Besides, we like to support our locals.

Getting back to the landslide, I should add that it normally takes about one half hour to drive to the market from Atenas. However, because the landslide on Ruta 27 (which is a major freeway to the Pacific Coast) occurred before we started home, the trip back took over two hours because of massive traffic jams caused by traffic being diverted through Atenas.