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Friday, October 30, 2015

Tropical Evening

Here we are having dinner outside at the tail end of the green (or rainy) season. The rain is pouring down. Most of the day was sunny. But at just before 5:30 pm, it is pitch dark.

Dinner is a bowl of red bean soup with vegetables. I cooked the dried beans in the slow cooker a few days ago. Bags of dried beans are a great value. You can add all kinds of spices to make them taste how you want.

I added fresh cauliflower to our bean soup, along with toast and cheese on the side. The rain is easing off now, but the temperature is still cool.


Sunday, October 25, 2015

What Are "The Tropics"?

In Costa Rica, we are said to be living in the “tropics”. Maybe yes, maybe no. But, conditions in the “tropics” are not what many people imagine or, in some cases, would like to believe because we are here and they are not. Critics try to remind us of how hot and uncomfortable it must be, and they are sadly wrong.

Although we live near the equator (9 degrees north), our location is at an altitude (~ 2750 feet / 840 m.) where conditions are quite different from the combined heat and humidity which can be encountered at lower altitudes (beaches on both coasts for example). I have tried to say it on various occasions - we have not needed either air conditioning or heating to feel comfortable. And we come from the great white north (Canada) which many outside Canada falsely imagine to be a desolate snowy landscape year round.

Where we live in Costa Rica, and throughout the year, daytime temperatures are rarely stifling hot and humid as in the eastern U.S. and Canada during the summer. Overnight low temperatures are cool and sometimes require a sweater or jacket if you get up in the early morning. Extreme high dry heat as in the southwestern U.S. is unheard of.

The only caution is not to obliviously march around outdoors in the direct rays of the sun in Costa Rica. Carry an umbrella or wear a big hat not only to occasionally block the rain but also to block the sun (which is much more frequent than the rain). Don't forget your sunglasses and sun block.

The above is quite different from the conditions that you may encounter at touristy ports and resorts on the Pacific and Caribbean coasts in Costa Rica. If you are not acclimatized, and if air conditioning is not provided, then you may suffer dearly. You will be in what you have always imagined to be the “tropics”.

Atenas, higher elevation

At one of the Pacific beaches.


Saturday, October 17, 2015

Twizzlers and Art Supplies

This has been a bounteous week for us. Our friends Tom and Lee returned from a trip to the U.S.A. and brought us a package of Twizzlers and a new mouse for Lance's computer. We can't find Twizzlers here so they are always a treat.

As you can see, their bag of Twizzlers is almost empty:

Next, my friend Rosa from Vancouver Island, B.C., arrived yesterday for her first visit to Costa Rica. Her friend Shannon was with her. We met today at AntaƱo's for coffee and Rosa brought me new art supplies. She bought them for me at Dick Blick's in Portland, Oregon. I emailed her my order then paid her back via PayPal. The Golden brand of acrylic paints, very high end artist's quality, is simply not available here. I've been unable to find decent hanging wire either so all of these supplies are most welcome.

Rosa is a glass artist (Fantabulous Glass) and you can view her beautiful work here.

And .... Rosa also brought three packages of Twizzlers! What timing - just when we were down to our last few.

"Muling" is a common way of getting products from Canada and the U.S.A. that are unavailable here.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Saturday Morning in Atenas

I was long overdue for a haircut so drove into Atenas bright and early this morning. On my way to Banco de Costa Rica to use the ATM, I met Carlos - one of our taxi drivers. Hugs of course and he said he hadn't seen me for a while. I think I explained adequately in Spanish that I had the use of a vehicle for a week and would see him soon.

We've been house and cat sitting since last week - eight cats - and the subject of another post for another day.

Walked past the strawberry truck and the lady there recognized me and we said our hellos. Today I decided to try Ingrid's Hair Design because they were open. Ingrid's is on the same street as the correos (post office) and quite close to it. A very nice shop and I was welcomed in by Ingrid Quesada (phone 8622-2619).

There were a couple of ladies ahead of me but I didn't have long to wait before being called into another room. There my hair was shampooed and conditioned with some great smelling products. Hair is washed and rinsed with cold water here and it feels so good, especially if one has been walking around in the tropical sun.

I had a good time just being there - five women speaking rapid Spanish and laughing and enjoying each other's company. I have a bit of Spanish and Ingrid has a bit of English and between us she gave me the perfect cut for my hair, which is wavy and thick. She didn't try to straighten it. She left it at chin length, thinned it out a bit and coaxed the waves into shape in no time. It's a cut I can easily handle, perfect for the beach or the pool.

Final price: 6,000 colones (about $15.00 Canadian). Ingrid also has a selection of bags and jewelry for sale.

Walking back to the car, I stopped to buy three pints of strawberries from the berry lady (1,000 colones - a steal). Time to head home but first a quick stop at the Coope grocery where I met several people that I know. Atenas is a place where you can make friends easily, slow down your life and just enjoy it.


Friday, October 2, 2015

Cat Sitting

Renown dog sitters (us) will now be cat sitting - eight of them.

Okay - Inky, Hoops (aka Hoopy), Harry .... um, ah .... Webster, Harvest, Billy .... let me think ... oh yes, Marcus, and Ali (aka Uncle Al).

Who goes out and who stays in, who has the run of the house? Who eats what and where? Who cuddles? Who attacks? Who sleeps where?

Written test tomorrow.