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Sunday, May 31, 2015

Fourth Year Anniversary

On May 31, 2011, we landed in Costa Rica at 8:30 pm to begin our new life.

We had never set foot in this country before this date. Our plan was to see what we thought of living here and, if it didn't suit us, we would simply move on.

Four years later, we are still here and enjoying every day. Living in the tropics is so different from a ten day holiday. I can't imagine returning to a northern climate now and Costa Rica is so rich in so many things.

We have made lots of friends and we count Ticos amongst them. We are completely happy with the decision we made and would not have missed this adventure for anything.

Here's to many more years of adventures.

Bird of Paradise



Thursday, May 28, 2015

A Rare Heat Wave

We have lived near the town of Atenas in the Central Valley of Costa Rica for nearly four years. In all that time and until just recently, we never encountered any single day when the combination of air temperature and humidity produced a "feels like" temperature of over 100 °F (37.8 °C). "Feels like" temperatures of over 100 °F are not uncommon in the Atlantic and Pacific coastal regions, but are rare in our region of the Central Valley (elevation ~ 2760 ft. / 840 m.)

In all of last year, the hottest daytime air temperature where we live was 92.1 °F (33.4 °C). The hottest daytime "feels like" temperature (also known as the "heat index") was 94.1 °F (34.5 °C).

But, in late April of this year, there was an abnormal increase in humidity. On two successive days, the air temperatures were around 90 °F (32.2 °C), but the "feels like" temperatures climbed above 100 °F, the maximum being 101.0 °F (38.3 °C). The spike in the following chart illustrates the occurrence of these unusual conditions.


Even the Ticos (native Costa Ricans) were complaining. Nevertheless, and perhaps partly due to some acclimation, and avoiding any serious exertion, we remained quite comfortable without air conditioning. During the peak temperature part of the days, our house remained relatively cool as the result of good built in cross-breeze ventilation (a very important feature of any house where you might choose to live in Costa Rica).

In any case, a two day heat wave with high humidity is nothing like a one week, two week or more heat wave as can occur in eastern Canada and the U.S. during the summertime. Another distinction is that our heat wave was limited to daytime heat. During the nights, there was significant cooling. Sleeping was comfortable - again without any need for air conditioning.

For those interested, the "heat index" equations for calculating "feels like" temperatures based on air temperature and humidity can be found here.



Monday, May 18, 2015

Another Walk into Atenas

Today I attempted another walk to Maxi Pali, a grocery store close to Atenas. Yes, I know this store is owned by WalMart and universally hated. But they do have some good prices on some things and it is a bit closer to where we live, so I am not going to apologize for shopping there now and again. Ninety-five percent of the time I spend our colones at locally owned groceries right in Atenas.

I said "attempted another walk" because the previous three times I was offered rides by friends, neighbors and one of our taxi drivers who saw me walking and opened their car doors to me ... and thanks to them for that!

Today I walked alone ... sort of. About half way to my destination, I heard "beep beep" from a car going by. It was Jorge, one of our taxi drivers going the opposite way. We waved. At the checkout counter at Maxi Pali, I heard, "Deanna, Deanna!". It was Mario, Jorge's father in law, shopping in the store. We waved, asked each other how we were (this is important here, very good manners).

Finished checking out my groceries and called Jorge to pick me up at Maxi Pali. I don't even have to say who I am anymore ... I think my phone number is programmed with my name into the taxi drivers' phones.

Jorge is learning English very fast and we try to help each other out with Spanish and English.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Banana Bonanza

Last weekend, two of our banana trees fell over during a rain storm. Unbeknown to us, one of the trees had a large bunch of bananas on it. The bunch had completely detached from the tree so we hauled it down to our house .... they are very heavy.

Here's what we got, still unripened.

With some difficulty because of the weight, we managed to hang it up and the bananas will ripen. Sometimes it seems like it happens all at once and there is no way we can use all of them. Today, two were ripe at the bottom. A fresh picked banana tastes so much better then the ones we used to buy in grocery stores in Canada.

We'll be sharing some of these with our neighbors.