Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Endless Summer

Costa Rica is about half way between the Tropic of Cancer and the equator. The Pacific coast is warm all year round but there is a wet and dry season. It's hot every afternoon at this time of year and rarely rains. From April-May until around November it rains pretty much every afternoon, sometimes in torrents. The tourist authorities euphemistically call that the green season.

Big slap in the face getting back to work this week. Editing and posting time is limited so I'll pare down the content. This scene is a couple of hundred meters down the beach from the condo where we stay, as sunset approaches.      

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

STL DPB On The Road - Mystical Torment

We visited someplace near Tamarindo that was new to us, La Senda (the path). It sounded interesting but turned out to be not so pleasant. In fact, Mrs. C characterized it as torture.

Two European women have developed this new-age-y, sort of mystical place not far out of town. There is a labyrinth (as opposed to a maze), about 3 km long with the path marked by cacti. It’s supposed to be designed around energy centers and sacred numbers, if that's your cup of tea (it's not ours). After a very cramped van ride from town, one of the owners gives an introduction and leads you to the labyrinth. 3 km is a long way after a day in the heat! The walk starts just before sunset and it’s dark by the time you finish. No one tells you to bring a flashlight. If I didn’t have one on my phone it would have been hard to get out safely. The whole thing was quite exhausting. We had to maintain a forced march just to get out, despite our fatigue. The experience reminded me of one of Ellie's favorite kid songs.

The second photo is one of the owners giving her explanation, but it could be a preview of the headache that awaited us. Then the inexorable march began. There was a pause at the first, um, vortex, where a woman played singing bowls - nice, but stereotypical. Visitors were invited to meditate (never a bad idea) or to make expressive paintings. After this short break the slog resumed.

Later, they served dinner to the visitors at one long table. Pretty good food but the table conversation with interesting people was better. Someone asked Mrs. C what her favorite part was. The exit, she said.   

Monday, February 26, 2018

STL DPB On The Road - A Parade In Liberia

After our walk around in Liberia we found that there was a local festival starting. Not sure what it was about but there was a parade at noon that Friday. Worst possible light and fill flash wasn't up to the job at a distance. Still, it was a lot of fun. Some of the horses are trained to prance, almost to dance. Note the Los Angeles car wash and parking lot. This is Costa Rican cowboy country.     

Sunday, February 25, 2018

STL DPB On The Road - People in The Market

The power was out here last night for about four hours during the time I usually edit photos. We were lucky to find a small restaurant that had a propane stove where we could get carry out dinner. These pictures were difficult to work with because  the vendors all had green translucent awnings over their tables, creating a color cast that was beyond my Photoshop skills.

Some people were cheerful, others not. It was hot and the market wasn't very busy. The boy in the second picture is wearing a variation on a St. Louis cardinals cap.

Home late tonight. Long layover in Miami. May get more editing done. There is more to see.   

Saturday, February 24, 2018

STL DPB On The Road - Farmers Market

We took a tour yesterday of Liberia, a city of 57,000 and the capital of the province, Guanacaste. It has a Walmart now. (Sigh.)

One of the highlights was a walk through the farmers market, bursting with color and unusual flavors. We don't know what the things in the top picture are. I think the second has plantains, not bananas. More to come.       

Friday, February 23, 2018


Note carefully the horizontal shape at the bottom of the first picture. The snowy egeret doesn't seem worried.

We took a day trip with a guide yesterday to Palo Verde national park, including a long boat ride on the Rio Tempisque, the principal waterway in the area. If you will pardon an overworked phrase, the place is teeming with wildlife. These guides have amazing vision and experience, picking out things I could never see on my own.

We'll do a few birds today. I lost track of all the names. The second one is a boat-billed flycatcher. One of the other two could be a dag nabbit bootie shaker for all I know.

Many thanks to my photography patron saint, Bobbi Lane, for suggesting a work-around for using the Fuji until the problem is fixed.     

Thursday, February 22, 2018


Costa Rica is a good place to do nothing if you are a visitor. Not so much for the locals, who work hard to take care of us.

I would never do what this man is doing. I've had a brush with melanoma and got past it, so I know better. Sure, this is part of why people come here but it's a pretty bad idea. Probably better to sit in the shade of an umbrella and watch the ocean.      

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Hardware Failure

My new Fujifilm camera, for which I had such high hopes, has been taken out of service. A few of the autofocus features just don't work and a couple of other things are malfunctioning. Looks like it needs warranty repair or replacement. I spent hours yesterday trying to troubleshoot it. No luck.

So it's my trusty little Olympus for the rest of the trip. Took it out with me to dinner tonight. We'll see what can do in the blinding sunlight tomorrow.  

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

STL DPB On The Road - We Never Tire Of It

We are not a couple who like to lie out on a beach, avoiding consideration of the co-pays for melanoma treatment. This is a sunny place, though, that is so beautiful we return again and again. This our tenth trip to Costa Rica and our eighth in the Tamarindo - Playa Langosta area.

Thanks to some wonderful people who own a beachfront condo, we have the benefit of the ocean and beautiful accommodations. If anyone is interested in coming here, we can put you in touch with the right people. You do have to book well in advance for this particular property. We have our week for February, 2019 reserved.    

Monday, February 19, 2018

STL DPB On The Road - Day To Night In Monteverde

Some people go on vacation to relax. We tend to beat ourselves up to get new experiences. Saturday was a good example. After we watched the hummingbirds at Selvatura Park, we hiked their mountainside trail with eight bridges across the canopy: up and down and through the treetops. In the rain. Not so good for the cameras.

Back to Hidden Canopy Treehouses for drinks, snacks and sunset. Then out for a night walk in the forest with the hotel's superb guide, who goes by Koky. He has Superman's x-ray vision, allowing him to find the tiniest bug in pitch blackness.

The day was exhausting. Now we are in Tamarindo.  I plan to do as close to nothing as possible today.    

Sunday, February 18, 2018

STL DPB On The Road - Hummingbirds of Monteverde

We are exhausted after walking up and down mountainside trails much of the day. Our first stop was a place called Selvatura Park, which has zip lines (not for us), an amazing system of trails and suspension bridges through the forest canopy (3 km with a serious uphill climb), and a hummingbird garden. 

Damn, these things are hard to photograph but I kept working the scene. There are probably twenty more of these I could edit. By the way, the spots in the first picture are raindrops. It was soggy.

Down to Tamarindo today to recuperate by the Pacific.               

Saturday, February 17, 2018

STL DPB On The Road - Cloud Forest

I took a lot of pictures yesterday but someone asked for a monkey, so a monkey he shall get (a capuchin, by the way). And a motmot bird for good measure.

Here in the mountains of central Costa Rica, it's always rather cool and misty.  I had to turn the wipers on while driving, even though the sky overhead was blue. This creates dense, rich forests full of wildlife and exotic flowers. Lots more of these to post but I need more time to edit.

Friday, February 16, 2018


Monteverde, Costa Rica, in the central mountains between the Caribbean and the Pacific. The wet winds from the east bring a constant mist that creates a cool weather cloud forest. The rough road up the mountains is a challenging drive but, although it was sunny, I had the wipers on most of the time. The mister runs almost constantly, creating an extraordinarily lush and diverse enviornment.

We are staying at what might be our favorite hotel in the world, the Hidden Canopy Treehouses. We were here on our last visit five years ago. Each room is, literally, a treehouse, up in the forest canopy with no one to look in at you but the birds. The pictures below were taken in the public lounge, where there are complimentary drinks and snacks every late afternoon. The direction of view is the same, with photos taken about an hour apart.

Into the jungle this morning.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

STL DPB ON THE ROAD - Versailles Nightly Photo

Hello from Miami, where we spent the night on our way to Costa Rica. We found out that the Little Havana district is close to the airport so we went to the city's best-known Cuban restaurant. It was big, busy, full of families and very Latin. I was proud of myself for mostly ordering dinner in Spanish. 

The food was more entertaining than memorable but it was fun for all. Where the name came from I don't know, other than there were a lot o fancy mirrors around the room. And why the hostesses were wearing these angel get-ups is beyond me.

And a nod of thanks to our friend Ciel de Quimper and her town.