martes, 2 de mayo de 2017

Daily Life

Daily Life in Paradisiacal Costa Rica:  Public Transportation (May 24th, 2017)

Having a job right downtown San José and having the need to travel to different areas of Costa Rica forced me to use public transportation – aka buses. 

            At first, I really didn´t want to since I´ve driven a car for a very big portion of my life.  However, doing the math – in other words, being objective and keeping track of the daily number of kilometers driven plus knee problems due to long traffic jams, brake problems, and so forth – made me turn my eyes to the possibility of traveling by bus. 

            It took me a while to learn which streets to walk by and which ones to avoid, but so far I haven´t had any problem at all. 

Now I can say that I do enjoy riding the bus.  There are days that I have to take six buses in total, so it is better to start enjoying the rides, right?

Nevertheless, there are still a few things that I still need to get used to:

  1 / Ticos like bus windows closed:

It doesn´t matter if it is raining or not, wherever you look, Windows remain closed.  OMG!!!  But why???  Here you can see a few pics of how hot it gets on the bus because of the steam you see on the windows. 

Do they think that a draft will make them catch a cold??? Do they think that rain water will wet them and make them sick???

I guess they don´t know yet how important fresh air inside a bus is. Anyway, what I do is that I respectfully ask the one sitting by the window  to open it just a little bit and problem solved.

2- Priority  seats:  

 Unfortunately, many people – not pregnant, disabled, or old – take them and then refuse to give it to a person in need.  They usually use the “sleeping technique,”  which means that when a senior citizen, pregnant woman, or disabled person comes onto the bus, they pretend they are sleeping so nobody bothers them.  Can you believe it? 

I found this sign in Internet.  I guess it would be important to add it on our buses too:
Very rarely bus drivers shout “anybody,I need one seat for…..”
Now, I have to say that last week I was really impressed to see 2 people that gave their seats to an older person – gray haired – and a pregnant woman.

Kudos to them!!!

3-Move over!!!:

Well, all seats are taken and people continue getting on the bus.  Why do all of them want to be near the bus driver? 

They start literally piling up in the front of the bus.  A very few people make the decision of attempting to cross the congested aisle to go to the back.  That is what I usually do.  It makes sense, don´t you think?

4- The Aisle Seat:

Why is it that when there are two seats – side by side – available,  people usually take the aisle seat and forget about the window seat.   Yep, this comment is for you.  If you get on the bus, take the window seat.  That way, the aisle seat will be available and traffic on the bus will flow faster.

OMG!  Please be mindful that there is somebody else behind you!!!   There is plenty of leg space without reclining your seat (top picture below).

However, see what happens when somebody reclines his/her seat (bottom picture below).

See how tiny it gets.  Well, just imagine somebody with a backpack on his/her lap and riding a long ride on that bus.   Painstaking!!!

Well,that is what happened to me. Please take a look to what this inconsiderate man did today in the morning:

Now, what is it that I like about riding the bus?  Well, various reasons, being the following the most important:

1- It gives me time to either continue reading my favorite book, chat with the person sitting next to me, or listen to music (of course, using my earphones).

   2-In the morning it gives me the chance to see hardworking Costa Ricans going to work, showers taken and wearing clean and well-pressed clothes, and in the evening, see them come back after a day at work.

    3-It takes me everywhere in Costa Rica for a very reasonable rate.

4- It helps me contribute with my carbon footprint.

There are a few problems here and there.  We just have to be mindful that my rights end where the other person´s rights start. 

Oh yes,  life in paradisiacal Costa Rica is great.  Pura vida lifestyle, baby!

Daily Life in Paradisiacal Costa Rica:  Roaring Volcano

     One Sunday morning we were heading downtown Grecia when we saw a group of people standing in the middle of the street taking pictures.  They were, I thought, taking photos of the clouds.  However, when we parked our car -- because we needed to find out what was going out -- somebody said, "it is an eruption."

     Well, well, well, it was the Poas Volcano and it was not a cloud but a plume.  We thought about going to the volcano, but no no, too dangerous.  Not a good idea.  Anyway, the Poas Volcano National Park is closed.

     Anyway, we decided to get the closest we could, and that is how we ended in Poasito.

     Poasito is a beautiful place.  It is totally service oriented, lots of restaurants, bakeries, soditas, souvenir stores....

     We stopped at the free hummingbird garden and at the souvenir store that is decorated soooooo nicely.   We went inside to take pictures, of course.  

Hummingbird Garden

Souvenir Store

If the souvenir store owner has paint and brushes, he might give you permission to write a nice message on the wall too.  He has a hydrangea garden too.  Awesome!  After that, we stopped at Freddo Fresas, which is across the free hummingbird garden, to have a strawberry milkshake and a corn tortilla with sour cream.  Of course, there are other tasty treats too.

   Well, yes, this is life.  Living in paradiacal Costa Rica is great.  Pura Vida lifestyle, baby!

Daily Life in Paradisiacal Costa Rica:  Insects

     Jungle everywhere, right?  That is what we like.  Definitely!  Well, there are insects too and thousands of them.

    They are red and hard workers.  Such hard workers.  It seems we cannot get rid of them.  Red ants.  Thousands of them. First in the backyard, then in the house, now in the backyard and the front yard, and the house.  OMG!  What is going on????

   We do love nature, but ants or "zompopas" in Spanish, you can go elsewhere.  

     They already ate two of our citrus trees.  The picture below is from a friend's papaya tree whom we visited today.  His yard --front and back -- is teeming with leaf-cutter ants.  

Have we tried anything to get rid of them?  Well, almost everything I guess because we still have them. 

   Is life still great in paradisiacal Costa Rica?  Of course, and we are still up to the challenge.  Pura Vida lifestyle, baby!

Daily Life in Paradisiacal Costa Rica: Joyous Rain!

(What are thee giving us?)  

     The rainy season is here, and, thus, there is greenery everywhere you look.  Grass that once was dry is now green.  Plants that withered because of the scorching dry season days are now in bloom.  Everywhere you turn, lush gardens abound.

     Our garden is a witness to the wonders of Nature too, and colorful toucans and motmots often stop by and visit for a few minutes.  They love to perch in many of our trees.  Some other birds, like robins, are busy building nests too.

     I sometimes feel blue when I have to leave home and drive downtown to run errands because I'm leaving behind this little piece of personal heaven.  Luckily, my drive is also very picturesque, natural fences down our road, sugar cane plantations on the way to Coopevictoria.  My Heart Leaps Up, as William Wordsworth wrote.

     Can this idyll be an eternal ride?

     Screech!  Bam!  Boom! This is my car going into a POTHOLE!!! Oh, no!  I keep on driving a little farther and again, Screech! Bam!  Boom!           Is it another pothole?  Well, kinda.  It is a POTHILL!!!!

     Which one is better? Well, neither one.  My car wrecks every time it encounters one.  Well, potholes and pothills are an indirect result of the heavy rains and a direct result of inefficient municipalities and incompetent road repair and road construction companies, which in Costa Rica can be narrowed down to just one company.

     Grecia is the town where we live and we love it.   The only black spot so far has been the horrendous road to Coopevictoria. OM!  It's hole after hole and pothill after pothill.  

     When is it going to be fixed?  Well, in 2016 they said  April 2017.   Well, April is gone and still no new and well built road to Coopevictoria.

     I sometimes wonder if things go the same way in other countries.  I have heard it is the same in Montreal.  Ha ha!!!  

     Life is still great in paradisiacal Costa Rica.  It is Pura Vida lifestyle, baby!

Daily Life in Paradisiacal Costa Rica:  Listening to the Radio

     Music is a very important part of life.  When I get on the bus, there is music.  When I go to a restaurant, there is music.  When there is a game at the stadium, there is music.  When I study, there is music.  When I work, there is music too.

   I love to listen to the radio.   There is a radio show that I have been listening for about thirty some years:  Tres Patines y la Tremenda Corte.  A Cuban comedian with his friends that always end up in jail.  It starts at 5 am and it is great.  It makes my morning drive more pleasurable.

  On the way back from work, I have various choices and it always depends on how slow traffic is.   If I have been stuck in traffic for a while, it is time to relax then, and jazz does the trick.   Well, 95.5 is awesome.
99.5 Jazz

99.5FM (Radio Dos) has been my favorite for years.  Now, two of their DJs are native English speakers, and so their shows are in English.   From Monday to Friday from 6 am to 9 am, Margie is the host and from 5 pm to 7 pm you can listen to The Happy Hour with Evan. If I just started the car and are on my way home, so it is happy time, and I love to listen to music in English.  

Radio Dos 99.5 FM

  If there is a good soccer game, then Columbia 98.7 FM is the one, and if I am in the mood for "salsa," then Columbia Estereo 92.7 FM definitely rules.  BTW, live audio in each one of the links.

Columbia Estereo 92.7 FM

  Oh, yes, life is great in Costa Rica.

Daily Life in Paradisiacal Costa Rica:  Pizza in Grecia

     Being sort of brand new in the town of Grecia and being a pizza lover, of course, one of the first tasks in a new town is to look for a pizzeria.

    OMG!!!!! There are lots of pizza places here in Grecia, Alajuela.  Nevertheless, so far two of them are our favorite spots.

   Pizza Macho and Pizza x Metro are our choices so far.  

   It is always a great pleasure to go to Pizza Macho.  Its location is very convenient and there are always good parking places over there.  Service is quick and the pizza is awesome.  Its price is just amazing too.  A big "pizza suprema" can cost about six thousand colones (years 2016 and up to May 2017). Pizza Macho is located 200 mts North from the Municipality.

    The plan today Sunday, May the 7th, was to buy pizza at Pizza Macho, but there was a huge downpour downtown Grecia and the closest pizza was Pizza x Metro (by Davivienda).  Super attentive here too and totally customer service oriented.  We bought 1/4 meter focaccia and a Poderosa 1 meter pizza.  Well, they made a mistake in the order, so to fix it they promised they were going to deliver it to the house.  Definitely, about thirty minutes later they were knocking at my door delivering a super delicious focaccia.  They did deliver and we are in love with this pizza and pizza place too.


Poderosa Pizza

   Life in paradise is awesome!

Daily Life in Paradisiacal Costa Rica:  The Media

     Living in Costa Rica is great.  There is a little bit of jungle -- paradise -- everywhere you turn.  Not only that, but also the Costa Rican "pura vida" lifestyle impregnates the 51000 km2 where we live.  TV and newspapers, on the other hand, forget about the positive and focus on the negative.  That might be why we chose not to have cable TV and not to subscribe to any newspaper.  From time to time I check the daily newspaper online and from time to time we watch the gory TV news programs, though it is not our favorite to do.

    We do like to watch the positive news programs.  We are glad that there are two channels whose signals our rabbit ears perfectly get.  On Channel 7 it is a blast to watch "Mas que noticias" at 6:15 pm, with all the very young reporters whose joyful voices and positive interventions in each news report make life a little bit easier.  In addition to "+ q noticias", on Channel 11 we watch "Informe 11 Las Noticias." It is lots of fun to watch the notes on typical traditions and their informative reports.

    Now, my super favorite program, which is not a news program, but they have short notes on entertainment and, "De boca en boca."  OMG, there is a lot of laughter and positive notes in this show.  It is on Channel 7 too from Monday to Friday from 1:30 pm to 2:30 pm.  I love all the  hosts, especially Victor, a young fellow who is very clever in his remarks. 

    Life is great in paradise!  

Daily Life in Paradisiacal Costa Rica:  Our New Pet

    Living in paradisiacal Costa Rica is a life full of wonder.  Various colorful birds visit our garden every day.  Their colors, songs, calls, all is majestic.  Nevertheless, it comes with perils.  Birds, unfortunately, sometimes hit our windows.  Some of them get stunned for a short while and then continue their flight.  Others, sadly, die from the hard blow.

    Reading articles from Internet has not decreased our problem.  Printing hawk silhouettes and not cleaning the windows  have not helped either.

    We read that owls are their natural predators and looked for the right size bird for a while.  We found it at Epa last weekend.  So far no birds have hit our windows and we still see a few of them in our beautiful jocote tree, which means that the owl hast not scared them away.  We will keep you posted on how it goes and if you have a good recommendation please let us know.