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Monday, September 28, 2015

Feria Verde

This past Saturday, a group of about thirty Atenas folks went to the Feria Verde (green market), a weekly organic outdoor market in the Aranjuez area of San José.

Many thanks to Tony for organizing the trip, which included our own air conditioned bus with an affable driver. Everyone met at the central park in front of the Catholic church in Atenas and we left at 0830. The weather was perfect.

On the way to San Jose via ruta 27, and we returned the same way. You can see myself and Lance in the driver's rearview mirror!
Approaching one of the toll booths.

It took a while for the driver to locate the feria, which turned out to be located in what might have once been a quarry. He dropped us off as close as he could, and told us where to meet the bus at noon.

It was a long way down .... lots and lots of winding steps, some with handrails, some without.

About half way down the stairs.

Well, this is one interesting market. The atmosphere is early 1970's. There were lots of organic fruits and vegetables for sale, plus breads, chocolate, cheeses, smoked fish, condiments, munchies such as kale chips, live plants, seeds, coffee and so on. There were booths selling delicious smelling food. I can see having breakfast or lunch here. You can also buy leather goods, clothing, carvings, whistles and drums and a myriad of other goods.

Several vendors were beating drums and blowing whistles. One fellow also had bells wrapped around one leg to accompany his drum beating.

Some feria instructions, apparently. Something about dogs and grocery bags.
Coffee stand.
An art drawing class.

We bought a maduro chipotle cheese from Quesos El Chupulun Los Angeles de San Ramon .... it is excellent. I can't find a web site for them.

Two condiments went into our basket from Deli Artesana - a jar of pesto and a jar of delicia enchilada. Really, really good products. The delicia enchilada is spicy and would be wonderful spread on bread or crackers.

We bought two bars of chocolate from CariBeans, one called Thai Coco Curry and the other Heat Wave - Chile Cayena. CariBean is the first bean-to-bar chocolate company on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica. We shared the Heat Wave bar this morning .... half a bar is enough at one time because the chocolate flavor is so wonderfully intense. Totally different from chowing down on a commercial chocolate bar. Looking forward to trying the Thai Coco Curry tomorrow. If you get a chance, definitely buy these bars.

We have learned to bring along a small cooler with an ice pack when we go on outings like this, so in went the cheese and chocolate bars.

We were finished at the feria long before the twelve noon bus pickup time so we and our friends Diane and John decided to taxi into San José, close to where our restaurant was, and poke around Chinatown.

Lance walking all the many steps up to the top road, carrying our little cooler.
Stopped for a pause on the stairs. This is a typical Tico neighborhood. Don't be fooled by the outside of the houses ... the interiors could be really nice.
River running behind the houses.

We flagged down a taxi and were soon in the Chinatown area. Lance and John decided to sensibly sit on a bench and wait for Diane and myself to do our shopping. I had a list of Asian products I wanted to buy. Some of the stores we had been to in the past have closed but we did find one still open under a Chinese restaurant. No signs - you would never know it was there - it's located down an indoor alley way and sort of behind construction fences. Anyway, I managed to get several kinds of frozen dim sum wraps, frozen dumplings, hoisin sauce and fermented black bean sauce.

The frozen items pretty much filled out our little cooler and, even then, we had to leave one item out but it froze again okay in our home refrigerator freezer.

Time for lunch! The group was going to the Tin Jo restaurant but Lance and I were craving dim sum so we opted to eat at Don Wang, which is right next door to Tin Jo and has a dim sum menu. Also, they open at 1130 and Tin Jo opens at noon.

Diane and John joined us at Don Wang for half an hour. The icy cold beers were very welcome! Meanwhile, I filled out the dim sum order sheet. I can highly recommend the dim sum at this restaurant. Since we arrived early, we had the place to ourselves. Service was fast and our dim sum selections were excellent. At noon, Diane and John left to join our group next door.

About half way through our lunch, a storm came in. Lots of lightning and thunder and sweeping floods of rain. Don Wang has a koi pool in the restaurant with a skylight overhead. The skylight leaked and lots of rain blew in. They had someone there to clean everything up. It was so nice to sit there, eating dim sum, listening to the rain beating on the tin roof. The day before, there was intense flooding not far from this restaurant.

Rain falling outside Don Wang Restaurant.

Then it was time to leave - still raining outside. We went next door to Tin Jo where our original group was just finishing up their appetizers. Rather then sit there for another hour watching others eat, we decided to take a separate bus home to Atenas. Taxi to the Coca Cola station, and our bus was ready to leave in about twenty minutes.

We had a great day.


Thursday, September 24, 2015


I have a number of orchids blooming right now. They are the species phalaenopsis, also known as phals or moth orchid. Very easy to look after. They bloom regularly without a lot of fussing. In our climate, they live outside all year as do all my orchids. This is the orchid most commonly seen in stores and garden shops and given as gifts.

In contrast, I think I have just lost my miltonopsis to a virus and and the two vandas I bought at an orchid show about two years ago are just recovering from what I think was a virus. I drenched them with a fungicide and that seems to have halted the fungus progression. I hope so because they were a splurge money wise.

I obtained a lot of my phals by pilfering them from neighbors. When I see an abused orchid, I just confiscate it from them! Vista Atenas Orchid Rescue ....

Here are a few photos of my phals currently in bloom.


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Dog Sitting

We recently completed a three month dog and housing sitting assignment for our neighbors. Their house is right next door to ours so we were able to keep an eye on our house and, quite often, Lance went down there to work and to make sure everything was okay.

Here is the lovely dog we cared for. Her name is Diogi and she is a border collie ... very smart, very affectionate and lots of fun.

Every night, she slept under our bed or on her bed next to ours. We spoiled her lots. Since we are early risers (up and about around 4:00 am), she became used to an early breakfast. I cooked for her (potatoes, rice, all kinds of different vegetables, and some protein) plus she had her kibble too for a good nutritious mix of food.

We have our breakfast around 7:00 am which consists of soft boiled eggs and toast and/or tortillas. It wasn't long before Diogi was also having a soft boiled egg. Lance is the egg cooker and Diogi always hung around the kitchen waiting patiently for her portion.

Diogi's toys .... she adores squeaky toys and has them in all shapes and sizes. We'd throw them for her and off she would run to retrieve them. Except now and then they would fly down one of the steep hillsides and into the bougainvillea bushes. Here is a video of Lance trying to retrieve one for her.


Our neighbors have a pool and I made full use of it.


Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Costa Rica Bomberos and "Thriller"

On Wednesday, September 4, 2015, more than fifteen San José bomberos (firefighters) gathered in the capital city to perform a flashmob dance of Michael Jackson's "Thriller" in front of the Jade Museum.

I think they did a great job.

You can see them here.