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Sunday, July 26, 2015

Amazing Bugs

Look at this!


This insect was floating in the pool the other day, still alive, and we fished it out so it could dry off. It was gone about half an hour later. It is absolutely amazing looking and we have never seen anything like it.

So I turned to my friend, Claudia, who is a protozoologist and also a fellow artist here in Atenas. She also lives part of the year in Saintes, France, and her blog posts from there are so interesting to read. As usual, she solved our insect query in short order and here is what she said:

" It's a Hemiptera, a "True Bug", belonging in the insect group called "Planthoppers". They all look a bit like plants, one way or another. This one, a Fulgora laternaria, is called peanut-headed bug or alligator bug. It's harmless, no teeth! Just a sap-sucking snorkel-mouth. What looks like big, black eyes are just dots to scare potential predators."

So thank you, Claudia, and thank you peanut-headed bug for showing us yet another fantastic creature of Costa Rica.


Sunday, July 5, 2015

D.o.g.'s Squeaky Toys

We are currently dog and house sitting for our neighbors. D.o.g. is a young, active border collie and very smart.


She has lots of toys and they turn up all over the place. We throw them for her and they get buried in bushes, or she drops them and then forgets about them. Up until yesterday, she had been playing with quiet toys. Suddenly, she rediscovered a green squeaky ball and fell in love with it all over again - squeak, squeak, squeak, squeak ......

Eventually we had to hide it for our own sanity. She looked and looked and finally decided it was in a closet. It wasn't but we did discover a brand new squeaky chicken still in its plastic wrap. Bonanza! squeak, squeak, squeak, squeak ....

I want you to enjoy our experience along with us, so here is a video I made:



We have come up with some ways to hide these toys:

Chicken in the freezer
Chicken on the BBQ

The only location that stumped her was the freezer. She sniffed out all the other hiding places.


Friday, July 3, 2015

A Busy Couple of Days

A few days ago we were taking groceries out of the back of our neighbour's SUV and left the hatchback open but didn't notice. You guessed it, the battery became dead as a doornail. Jorge, our favorite taxi driver, was called and came to the rescue but he couldn't get the battery to take a charge from his taxi. Nevertheless, struggling with the inadequate tools we had to offer, he managed to pull the battery from the SUV and take it away to a shop somewhere in Atenas. Overnight, the shop managed to recharge the battery and Jorge brought the charged battery back first thing the next morning. He also brought proper tools for quickly reinstalling the battery. Over protestations from Jorge, Lance gave him 20,000 colones, about $40. This included dealing with not only the battery problem but also ferrying me around to buy more groceries, etc.

When called upon, we are well cared for by Jorge. If you plan to spend any amount of time in Costa Rica, it is important to establish friendships with the Ticos and not to squirrel yourself away in some gated community where all expectations are like those in your homeland.

With the battery charged, I was able to drive into Atenas, take out USD from the ATM to pay our rent at Banco de Costa Rica. Then I walked to the Correos (post office) and mailed a card to my mother, walked up to the vet's place and bought a bag of kibble for the dog "D.o.g.", went to the shop where you can pay bills or add colones to a cell phone and added one mil each to Sharon & Gordon's cells (we're looking after their house and D.o.g). One mil is about $2 and covers about three months of basic cell phone service in Costa Rica.

While doing these errands in Atenas, I encountered and had to say hi and hugs to various taxi drivers other than Jorge who have been missing me since we have our neighbour's SUV for the time being. One (Rodrigo) even quizzed me on my Spanish as he is often wont to do ("what color is your house?"). Then to the Coope to buy some groceries and finally home. I even made oatmeal cookies today. Needed two swims after all that. Oh and I also did a wash so we have clean bedding again.

Walked down to our house to check on it and water my orchids. Hotdogs for dinner tonight, not much work. Thursday is Meriam's day to clean here so we try to keep out of her way and just go down to our house. She arrives around 0700 and works until about 1:00 pm or so with unbelievable effort.

It's exhausting living down here.