Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Getting Ready For Work.

School Supplies, School, Color, CupAfter a summer of travel, I've got two days to get everything purchased and packed before I head back to work.  I live out in the village where I teach so I cannot travel home.

This year I did something different.  I went over and bought some strips of colored hair I can clip in my hair so I don't have to color the hair but those strips are in purple, blue, and pink.  I've decided I can be slightly wild and crazy at work.

I usually stock up on specialty items such as eye drops, floss, shampoo and conditioner, and other personal items because you can't always get those out in the village.  Most villages have at least one small convince type store filled with everything from food to hardware, to clothing.  Unfortunately, many of the items carried tend to be rather expensive.

Anything frozen is extremely expensive because it has to be airfreighted out and that costs money.  Even fresh fruits and vegetables have to be shipped via plane so again the cost can be higher than in the city.  I get used to paying about $1.00 per banana or $4.00 per pound for carrots which are never that high in the city.

Even if the stores carry an item, they may not have the color or the brand you want.  I've seen hair dye out in the small stores but they only carry one or two colors but not in the color the kids want. I always bring my shampoo and conditioner with me because they never have the one I use.

It's a challenge living somewhere with very limited choices.  I can overcome many of them by ordering from stores such as Wad-Mart or Target or even getting it on-line.  The other issue I have right now is managing to get all the things I want including fresh fruit and vegetables to bring with me when I fly out.

One of the smaller airlines just put a limitation of one suitcase per person before you have to pay extra and that one suitcase cannot go over 50 pounds.  I am hoping I'll be able to send my two suitcases out without the charge because I'm starting on another airline that is one of their partners.

I arrive Friday to my new job and new living situation.  I'm hoping I find my bedding the first night so I don't have to sleep with my coat.  My stuff has already been shipped out there but it is just going to be a pile I have to sort through.  I don't even know if I have my own apartment or if I'm sharing.  Usually people get around to telling you but sometimes they don't so you just find out when you get there.

Tomorrow I'll be back to regular topics but I spend most of yesterday sleeping and catching up on sleep after working hard over the weekend in California.  Sorry I missed yesterday but as I said, I slept most of the day away.

Have a great day.  Let me know what you think.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Educational costuming

 I just spent the weekend attending a fun event. It is a gathering of costumers who share information and techniques to each other.  The special guest was the lady who created all those wonderful outfits on Miss Fishers Mysteries from Australia.

I spoke on the history of nursing outfits and on future fabrics in addition to teaching a hands on class on making your own appliqu├ęs.

There were things on hand sewing, wearable electronics,  3 dimensional printing, making and fitting all sorts of clothing. There was a Friday night show recreating something from the USO.  On Saturday night, they had a gala or fancy dress dinner and dance with so many beautiful outfits.  Then they had the Sunday afternoon fancy tea filled with light food and entertainment.

This year, they had things done by professionals in the fields of film, television shows, theater, and similar fields so aspiring costume designers would have an idea of what they could face as they tried to enter the field.  I thought this was a great idea.

In addition, people came from all over including New Zealand, England, and Austria.  Everyone had
so much fun because you had the option to dress up in something historical or you could wear regular
 clothing.  I saw some wonderful outfits.

I included a couple of pictures to share with everyone.  I am flying home right now. I will be a bit late with tomorrow’s entry.  I did not post over the weekend due to being so busy and tired.  Enjoy

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Odds and Ends

One thing I'd see quite often were small musical groups who played in the pedestrian parkway.  The gentleman in front with the long cylindrical instrument danced all over the place as he played it.  One day, when I passed the group, there were couples dancing in the street having fun.  They also had a basket for people who donated money to them.

Currently, this building is a theater but originally it was associated with the military.  I believe he indicated it was the first barracks or something similar before it became a theater for operas and shows.  The outside sign advertised the coming of Madame Butterfly.  This is located by the huge Cathedral.

This is where the military moved to from the first building.  There are bullet holes in the side from the civil war that happened back in the 1940's.  According to the tour guide, the president in office in 1948 didn't want to give up his position to the newly elected candidate who had served immediately before him.  The rich convinced the president and the army to keep control but the rightfully elected president and his people overthrew them and he took control.  Then he abolished the military and established a large police force.  The bullet holes in this building are from that brief 40 day revolution in which 2000 people died.  This building is now a national museum and people are proud they do not have a standing army.

The president eliminated the army and used the money to establish free education including college, free medical, pensions, and wanted to make sure that everyone had a job.  The guide told us that the government encourages small business owners which is why there are few large businesses.  The building above with the yellow top is the state insurance company to whom people pay about 9% of their monthly earnings.  In return, they get free medical and a retirement pension.  

What you see in the above photo is the new congress building being constructed.  Right now, the lawmakers are meeting in several different places and this building will put them all in one place.  there is another building being built off to the right, just past the edge of the photo.  That building is going to be the new Supreme Court building.  They hope to finish both within the next year.

This is the cultural plaza for people to provide music, dances, and all sorts of fun things.  Its just next to the National Theater, the Grand Hotel, and above the Museum Or or Gold Museum.  The tour guide said all sorts of cultural activities happen here.

This is my last post on Costa Rica.  I have enjoyed my visit and I plan to go back some day to check out the other side of the country.  I read where Costa Rica is rated number one for happiness in Latin America and twelfth world wide for happiness.  The only issue I had was that my Spanish is quite limited but that didn't stop me from managing to enjoy myself, shop, or communicate.   If you know any Spanish, brush up on it before you go.

By the time you read this, I'll be in Los Angeles at a conference where I'm presenting on two topics.  I hope you enjoyed the series on things to see in Costa Rica.  There is so much more to see but I didn't have time and that is one reason I need to go back.

Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Lankester Botanical Garden.

The Lankester Botanical Garden is named for Charles Lancaster, man who lived and created this garden for himself.  He spent many years, photographing orchids and other flowers.  When he died in 1969, his family decided the property should be used by other so several groups got together and arranged for the University to take it over in 1973.  Today it is known as one of the foremost research facilities in the world.

This display of orchids is just inside of the entrance.  The botanical garden has over 1000 species of orchids here.  Most of the orchids re epiphytes which grow on trees without causing them harm.  Most orchids bloom once a year.

Costa Rica grows over 1,500 species of orchids out of 30,000 species found world wide. The garden grows both regular sized and miniature species all are so different from each other.

Some are what we think of when we hear the world orchid while others seem so different.

The garden has several small bodies of water with lily pads, running water that cascades down small falls, and all sorts of plants.

Sprinkled through the gardens, there are several stands of bamboo ranging from the size of those in the above picture to a strand with bamboo 4 inches in diameter.  The larger ones made a musical sound as they swayed in the wind.

One part of the garden is dedicated to cacti and succulents.  They have plants from both America and Africa.  There are also cactus plants from the Costa Rican rain forest in here too.

I have no idea what type of plant this is but I thought it was pretty.  Its quite small and on the ground, hard to see if you didn't look down.

The flowers are members of the Zingiberales.  Zingiberales consists of 8 different families of tropical plants such as the bird of paradise, ginger, bananas, and others.  I noticed that some of the colors were pinkish and others were yellowish.

I found lots of these beautiful pink bananas sprinkled throughout the whole garden.  The plant that produces these bananas is not very tall and the stalk goes up instead of hanging down like in the regular banana.

Again, I have no idea what type of plant this is but I thought it was beautiful.  I strolled through the 11 hectare place snapping pictures and enjoying things.  

I found these at the bottom of another plant.  Then look almost fake in that they don't have the sharp distinctive parts most flowers have.  

According to the tour guide, the pineapples that we eat are actually the flower of a specific bromide.  I thought the pineapple was the fruit of the pineapple plant but I am not a botanist.  I could have spent more time, just enjoying it but we only had a bit longer than an hour to wander through the place.  

This facility is known throughout the world for its work on orchids and other plants.  Each year, new material is published with the latest scientific findings.  Scientists come here to research and learn more.

The botanical garden also had a grassy area with picnic tables in a shaded area where families were enjoying their lunch and children played.  If you go to Costa Rica and get a chance to visit the garden, please visit it.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.

Tomorrow, I'll share some things that didn't fit anywhere else and then I'll be back to normal.  Have a great day.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Gold Museum in San Jose

We got to go into this relatively new museum which is built three levels below the street, under the culture plaza, near the National Theatre.  When you go in, all backpacks are required to be put in a locker but purses are allowed through.  You have to go through a metal checking machine just like those you see in the airport.  You go through after you empty your pockets of all metal coins, keys, etc.

The Gold Museum is a museum that celebrates the indigenous population's historical and current art.  Many of the items in the museum are made of gold while others are made of ceramics.

The lowest floor tells the history of the people and how they turned gold into finished products.  There are certain repeating themes such as frogs, birds that gold is made into again and again.

Here are more artifacts made out of gold.  Each of these were made with simple tools.  Some of these were used for bringing good luck, while others were used to heal, and others brought rain.  Each one had a specific job.

In addition to using gold, they used copper and this display shows what the copper looked like in the raw and in the finished product. 

On the middle floor, they had a video on the indigenous population, their beliefs and their determination to keep their identity.  Out of the eight groups, two have lost their language because they were the first ones who had contact with the Spanish.  The Spaniards when they arrived, built stores which doubled as schools to teach the natives Spanish before converting them to Catholicism.

The museum has dioramas of what they looked like and how they did things back them.  Above is a picture of a warrior with his large ear hoops, gold torque,  chin decoration, and gold bands around the arms and legs.  They have a display of those chin decorations, some look more like fishing hooks or wall hooks.

There are also lots of statues showing men, women, children, and stylized creatures that played a part in their lives.  

Half the second floor also displays current work by famous indigenous artists.  Some of the paintings are very modern while others are vivid.  Most of the styles I saw were very modern but very powerful.  The top floor where we entered showed a bunch of medallions for the military or public that were produced over the years.

I really enjoyed the bottom floor with the explanations of how these people of long ago made their objects.  The number of objects was phenomenal and I could have spend a lot more time there.  I hope you enjoyed the few pictures I shared with you.  let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Semi-Busted Trip

I signed up for a tour of three things including three volcanoes that are side by side but when we got up there, they were surrounded by fog, mist, and wind.  I took a picture to show you what we could see.  The problem is, the volcano is about 3400 meters high and its where the weather from the San Jose side meets the weather from the other side and its very unpredictable.  The day before, it had been raining but the day before that, it rained.  In addition, the park closes at 3 PM so they have to go in the morning.
We stopped at the Basilica de Los Angeles which is a very important church located in Cartaga, Costa Rica.  It was originally built in 1639 but was partially destroyed in an earthquake so it was rebuilt to what it is today. 

We did not go in because there was a service on at the time but I took a picture of the inside.  This current building was completed in 1939.  In the middle at the very front is a small representation of the Virgin Mary with Jesus said to have been found by a girl in Cartaga long time ago.  

This is a picture of a damn built by the government to hold the water so they can make electricity.  The guide said all power in Costa Rica is made by water power, wind, or geothermal and uses no coal or gas.  They are proud of this.

This is another photo of the "lake" formed by the dam.  It is quite large and absolutely beautiful.

This restaurant is where we stopped for lunch.  We ate on the patio, over looking the "lake" from the damn.  It was such a beautiful site.  We had a typical Costa Rican meal of beans, rice, salad, plantains, potatoes, and one of three meats.  It was so delicious and not overly spicy.  It was enjoyable.  They also served coffee using the traditional coffee makers so each person got their own cup of coffee brewed individually.  

This is a picture of the Costa Rican Coffee maker.  Every person had one in front of their setting.  I've even seen these used to make a pot of coffee.  The coffee gets better after each use I'm told because the white bags get darker with each use.  The restaurant also grows its own coffee in the land around it.  The coffee is quite good.

This is some of the countryside we passed.  Much of the land is planted with coffee, potatoes, onions, lemons, and all sorts of fruits and vegetables.  Even the land that is on the side of hills is used but they use a terracing type of planting.

This is a very narrow bridge over one of the rivers.  It is only one vehicle wide and so traffic has to stop and wait for someone to finish crossing.  Although there is a traffic light there, no one seems to pay attention to it and just does their own thing.

This is a bridge over a river taken from the bus as we crossed.  The river was quite large.

Tomorrow, you'll see pictures from the botanical garden.  I love going through botanical gardens and loved this one.  One thing about Costa Rica, is that you will see all the usual American stores such as Kentucky Fried Chicken,  McDonalds, and Walmart but you'll see more smaller stores and eating establishments.  The idea is for as full employment as possible so they encourage the smaller businesses.

Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Sunday, July 21, 2019


Moon Landing, Apollo 11, Nasa

Celebrate Man's First Steps On The Moon.  When will we go back!

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Friday, July 19, 2019

National Theater.

On this tour, we stopped by the National Theater but this time we got to go inside it rather than just remaining in the lobby.  Just a recap in that it took 7 years to build and cost about $1,000,000 to complete a theater that will seat 1140 people.  This theater has one thing most theaters do not have.

The chairs on the main floor of the theater, just in front of the stage are removable.  When they need more of a stage then you see there, they take out all the chairs on the main floor before going underneath and using a bunch of people they make the floor rise to the level of the stage.  The mechanism requires people to push bars around and around which makes other things move that raises the stage.

The theater has three levels in addition to the main floor.  The highest level is where the cheapest tickets are.  Originally, only those with money could afford to go and to make sure the unwanted would not come in, they made a rule that you had to have shoes.  The poor did not have shoes so even if they could find the money, they could not have gotten in.

This is a picture of the ceiling.  The picture was hand pained in Italy, rolled up and shipped all the way over to Costa Rica before it was installed.  

This bank note which is out of circulation has a copy of the picture found on the ceiling of the theater just above the waiting area to go into the presidential stall or into the waiting room.  This is the Italian interpretation of Costa Rica.  It is noted that all the workers have shoes which they would not have had.  The women are wearing something they would not have worn and many are much paler than they would have been.

This is a copy of the painting on the ceiling.  You can see it is essentially the same, just a bit darker.

This is the room where the rich mingled and enjoyed time together before the performances and during intermission.  There is a piano, sculptures, places to sit comfortably.  None of the poor were allowed in here.

There are two small rooms, one on each side of the salon.  This is a picture of the one where men gathered to carry out business, smoke cigars, and be away from the women.  The other room, is about the same size but it is where women would have congregated.

This theater is still in use even today but in between times, tours bring people through to see everything.  The lobby has four statues in a Grecian style representing dance, music, comedy, and tragedy.  

The only changes made to the theater over the years is the installation of water and electricity, otherwise it is exactly as it had been when it opened in 1897.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.