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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Five Year Anniversary

How the time has flown. On this day five years ago, we first set foot in Costa Rica to make a new life and have a grand adventure.

We have never regretted our decision to pull up roots, downsize our possessions, and explore a country that we had never been to. The country, the people, the weather - everything suits us very well. We have more friends here then we had back in Canada. There are challenges - learning a new language for example. But these are the things that keep a person interested and involved in life.

It is wonderful to be able to explore a place at leisure, absorb the culture and get to know the people. Visiting somewhere for a week is not the same at all.

To those of you who read my blog, a big thank you for being with us on our journey. Here's to many, many more years together.

Here are some retrospective photos:

On the Amtrak Coast Starlight Express - Seattle to San Francisco. Champagne to celebrate.
At our hotel in San Francisco, early morning. Waiting for taxi ride to airport. San Francisco-Dallas-Costa Rica - May 31, 2011.
First meal in Costa Rica - breakfast at the Hotel Aranjuez, San José - June 1, 2011.


Sunday, May 22, 2016

This Week

We have now transitioned into the green, or rainy, season. This season will probably run until November/December when the dry season will start again and the land will turn brown. The dry season is also the high season, when tourists from the cold northern countries arrive here.

Meanwhile, we get to enjoy low hotel rates, vacant beaches, cooling rains, and verdent colors everywhere.

We had a sun shower this afternoon, so I put some of my under cover orchids outside to get some rain.
I put up a sunshade over our patio.


Sunday, May 15, 2016

Fifteen Minutes of Fame

"Fifteen minutes of fame" is described as short-lived media publicity. The expression is credited to Andy Warhol, according to Wikipedia.

I had my fifteen minutes of fame last week, when I was contacted by Rogin Ghasemzadeh, Production Assistant, Roundhouse Radio 98.3 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

I was asked if I would do an interview with Kirk LaPointe, on his morning show "Our City".

Rogin told me: "Every morning, Kirk does a callout to Vancouver expats living around the world about their experiences and influences they’ve taken away from Vancouver. We define an expat as anyone who has spent time in Vancouver, knows the city, and can compare the way of life here to the way of life elsewhere. We delve into issues that are top of mind in the place where the expat is now living. The interviewee functions like a casual, conversational correspondent, giving us a local's insight into how the news, or particular cultural events, are playing out in their area. For example, we might talk to someone in Washington D.C. about the American presidential race. We might talk with someone in Hong Kong about recent clashes in the streets with police. We might talk to someone in L.A. about the Oscars. The purpose of this segment is to take advantage of the collective insight of Vancouverites (or former Vancouverites) around the world & deepen the international dialogue on our show."

I, of course, said yes! We did the interview on Skype at 6:00am Vancouver time, 7:00am Costa Rican time. Since we are up and about normally by 4:00am, this was no problem for me.

Here is the interview on 98.3 Vancouver. I am on at around 3:00 minutes, unless you want to listen to the local Vancouver news.


Sunday, May 8, 2016

Street Vendors

My preferred way of helping people out is not to go through organized charities, but to give directly to the person or persons who are selling their products on the streets. I've bought toothbrushes, pens, fruit, vegetables and still warm chorreadas (thin corn pancakes) from vendors.

I enjoy the face to face interaction, get to practice a bit of Spanish, and meet the locals.

Today, a basket man came through our neighborhood with his homemade baskets. Our roads are quite steep in places so he was working hard carrying the pole loaded with baskets over his shoulders. He called out in Spanish what he had for sale, stopped at our gate and yelled "upe, upe" - the polite way of asking if the homeowner will come out.

According to Jack Donnelly, of Inside Costa Rica, "upe" comes from Nicoya, Guanacaste province, where people would make themselves known as benevolent visitors by saying, "Nuestra Señorita (Señor) la Virgen de Guadalupe". It was shortened over time to just the last syllable, upe. Presumably no evil doer would dare utter this holy name before assaulting a household.


Our basket vendor


The two baskets we bought. A good size - about 16" diameter.