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Hooded Mergansers

Friday, March 30, 2012

Hola!  Yesterday Bill & I took the bus into Grecia...
 Here's Bill...  waiting at the top of the lane that leads down to our hotel.
And the bus came pretty much on time...  this bus stop is the end of the line, so the driver takes a 10 minute break before heading back into town.

Grecia, the nearest town, is about 5 miles from our hotel.  The big attraction there is the metal church...

The material for this church was imported...  and the story goes that it was sent to the wrong location.  It is a long, narrow church...  quite beautiful inside...

This is the week before Semana Santa (Holy Week)...  these people are waiting to have their confessions heard...


 This is the main altar of the church...  I didn't want to go up close because of the Lenten activities going on.

As in most Spanish influence towns, there will be a plaza, usually right next to the church.  The plaza in Grecia is big and full of people.
I'm standing on the church steps looking into the plaza...  you can see the fountain, and some of the landscaping.   


 And now I'm on the opposite side of the plaza.  That purple flowering tree is beautiful.  I can't think of it's name...  sort of like jacaranda...  but that's not right.  I might look that up later....
The church also had beautiful gardens.  This green heron was waiting patiently for lunch to swim by.  Green herons are found in the USA, so you might be familiar with this bird.

I love going into the markets...  there were several right around the plaza.  One, a grocery store, the person who looked like the manager had on a shirt that said "WalMart". We've been in other "Wal-Marts" in Mexico, and while they really are Wal-Marts, they don't much resemble what we are used to in the States.

 Here, the currency is the Colon.  One dollar American = five hundred colons    We went to an ATM yesterday to get colons.  We got 5,000 colons.  I checked my bank on-line when we got back to the hotel and $98.63 + $1.00 fee came out of our checking.  (the $1.00 was the bank in Costa Rica charge).  It's fun looking at the cost of all the groceries...  well, it's fun just looking at the groceries!
 Most of the fruits and vegetables I know and use...  but there are always a few that I don't recognize.  Especially the fruits....  and it's funny...  I don't like papaya or mango in the States, but here it tastes different...  kind of like the difference between a hot-house and a home-grown tomato.
 Hot Sauce!  This grocery had all these different brands.  You'll find many of the brands here that you find in the States... Kellogg cereals, Scott paper towels, stuff like that....  but I'm always checking out the brands you don't find in the USA.  Hey...  they even had Old Milwaukee beer at one of the stores.  Funny thing about that...  that's what we used to drink when we lived in Ohio...  then we went on the road and couldn't find Old Mil west of the Mississippi...  then we went back to Ohio a year or so later and I couldn't stand the taste of it.  Guess I can re-educate my taste buds for Old Mil here ;-)
 These are tamales...  wrapped in banana leaves filled with a pork filling.  I wanted to buy some but we weren't heading back for a few hours so I'll wait for another time.
Okay Donna K....  this one's for you!  If any of you read "Travels in Therapy" blog, you'll know exactly why.  I couldn't resist! 

 We stopped in a bar/restaurant for lunch.  That's a bowl of cerviche ....  the glare off that polished table really obliterated the picture.  Darn!  I can't even read the label on the beer.  I can say that the cerviche was very good...  and so was the beer!
Bill can attest to that, too.

We'd about walked ourselves out and headed back to the bus station. 

It was pretty much like every other bus station we've been in no matter what country.  A real mix of people ....  all ages, all levels of economic well-being, lots of hustle and bustle...  and lots of waiting for the right bus.  There's Bill...  dead center....  fitting right in.  We'd bought a couple bottles of wine to take back to the hotel...  he was tempted to cradle a bottle in his arm and sort of slump over...  but we get in enough trouble without even trying, so he passed that up.

We caught the bus and headed back to the hotel.  It was only late afternoon by that time, so we had plenty of time to check out some of the birds that live right here.

 There were several Brown Jays squabbling in the brush in front of our cabin...  The brown jay can sometimes be seen down in the Brownsville, TX area, and many birders travel down there in hopes of sighting one.  Here they are quite common.... but I don't tire of seeing them.
The Clay-colored Robin is also found in the Rio Grande Valley in south Texas.  It is Costa Rica's national bird and although rather drab looking, it sure is prevelant in this area.  It has a lovely, "Robin-like song (what would you expect?) and we hear it constantly.

Another bird we hear ... but only at night...  is the pauraque.  It's in the goat-sucker (whip-poor-will) family....  and can drive you crazy with its repetitious call.  Last evening one was just outside the door of our cabin.  Bill has bird songs as an Ap on his Iphone.  He pulled up the pauraque call and held it up to the door.  That bird outside sure didn't like that...  he flew away...  real close to the door..  and didn't come back for several hours.  I forgot to buy a flashlight yesterday so haven't got a chance to see those eyes...  burning like red coals....  at night.

Today we're just going to stay around here...  the birding here is quite good.  We don't really need to go look for the resplendent quetzal or anything exotic as we haven't seen all the common birds yet.

I think tomorrow we're going to take a tour to Poas...  a nearby volcano.

So much to see and do!

That's All For Today....

6 comments:

  1. Beautiful pictures!
    well.... except for one nightmare inducing shot :)

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    1. I had to look back to see what you meant... I knew I hadn't included the picture of that BIG snake that tried to get into our cabin.... nor the picture of the... never mind... oh... the hog! Sorry.... just couldn't resist...

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  2. Sounds like you had a great first day mixing in with the locals. Those are some of our favorite experiences of traveling abroad.

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  3. That is an Imperial beer and my son loved it. I preferred Bavarian Beer, but all of the beer in Costa Rica is great. I envy you with your ceviche. we loved it so much in Costa Rica that my wife still prepares it at home even though it is 20 years later.

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  4. Hey, you're picking on me...not that I don't deserve it hahaha!! Loved the REST of the pictures. The markets are so colorful and the street scene, and the church. I love this type of blog with the pictures of how real people live and work and shop and worship. Thanks for the tour.

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  5. Thanks! I just this instant turned vegetarian.

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