San Isidro de el General, Costa Rica

We rented a car to check out the Pacific side of the mountains and take a day trip to the coast.

Today is a quiet day. We went for a walk, I worked on my Spanish, read a little and now am on the computer. It rained hard for a couple of hours. I don’t mind that at all.

We are staying at an Airbnb house up on a ridge. The valleys on either side are beautiful!

Bramas in the field.
Those fields on the mountain at center right background are probably 70 degrees. Incredibly steep and not uncommon here.


Great Books to Read

I think that most of us are readers so I thought I’d give a shout out about some books that I loved and ask for more suggestions from you. Not everyone is going to love the same book/type of book but I’m looking for a list of really well written books. I also read some light mysteries and romance but they are more escapism than something to really savor. So send your comments with one or more books, author, genre, and what you liked about it.

And if you don’t already know about it, you can get a daily suggestion of ebooks, many of them free, all of them low prices from There is no cost to sign up and you choose your genres when you do register. Books come from Amazon.

  • The Wiregrass Pam Webber A coming of age story
  • Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet: A Novel Jamie Ford Heartfelt story about relationships
  • The Lion is In: A Novel-Delia Ephron, Fiction, Great story although it starts off slowly…keep with it; you will be glad you did.
  • Alex & Me: How a Scientist and a Parrot Discovered a Hidden World of Animal Intelligence–and Formed a Deep Bond in the Process Irene Pepperberg This is a true story and the title says it all. Much more interesting that I expected it to be!
  • Before the Fall-Noah Hawley Fiction/Mystery Well developed characters, plot twists
  • The Color of Heaven (The Color of Heaven Series Book 1) Julianne MacLean Fiction that you want to be true. Very comforting story about loss.
  • Summers at Blue Lake Jill Althouse-Wood Fiction, Coming of age story…I can never get enough of these.
  • The House on Olive Street Robyn Carr Women’s Fiction, 3 women come together after the death of their fourth friend.
  • We Never Asked for Wings: A Novel Vanessa Diffenbaugh Great character development of a teenage boy.
  • The Language of Flowers: A Novel Vanessa Diffenbaugh Again great character development in this fictional book. A woman who is the product of the foster care system discovers how she can help others.
  • The Secret Life of Bees Sue Monk Kidd Fiction A young woman discovers the truth to the past.
  • The Memory Keeper’s Daughter:A Novel-Kim Edwards Great story.
  • Kindred Octavia Butler Fictional novel about a black woman who goes back and forth between the present and times of slavery
  • Americanah Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Life and love for a Nigerian couple
  • The Gardens of Kyoto: A Novel Kate Walbert A woman coming of age in the shadow of WWII 

And if you want to be notified of new posts, send me an email ( and I will set you up and you will get an email with login information.

No Eggs By The Dozen In Costa Rica

I don’t know about other Latin American countries but I can tell you that you don’t USUALLY buy eggs by the dozen in Costa Rica. You buy them by 10 or 15 or 30. Or sometimes by weight. We’ve seen them by the dozen once!

Growing up in the United States, I never thought about it. Always by the dozen, sometimes you could find 6 and sometimes 18 or 24. Not sure what else is sold differently yet except of course they are metric so they sell produce by the kilogram. That means when you go to the farmers’ market to buy fruits and veggies, they are priced by the KG and at least the one we went to didn’t let you buy anything but by that unit so when I had picked some tomatoes and they didn’t add up to a KG, they added some more to the bag. (Maybe the math is too complicated??)

My friend Dell Manners had sent me an email with a number of maps in it. One of the most interesting one to me is how many countries are NOT on the metric system:

    Map from Wiki

What’s keeping us from making the change????????

Mona the Mono

If you know any Spanish you know that nouns are feminine (ending in “a”) or masculine (ending in “o”). The Spanish word for “monkey” is “mono” so “Mona” is a great name for this female primate.

Mona is a Common Marmoset which is indigenous to Brazil. She is owned by the owners of Finca Soley who rent the property out to Isa and Milton. Marmots are small and weigh about 9 ounces. More general info here.

Mona lives in a mesh cage about 6 feet wide, 8 feet tall and 4 feet deep She is allowed to run free around the patio (she is not supposed to go into the house but has been known to do so), roof, gutters, etc. during the day.

Mona appears to be healthy and happy in her “old” age of 12. She frequently races around in the cage, jumping from perch to perch with ease, even doing back flips. Her agility and accuracy are really amazing to watch.

She eats fruit that the caretaker provides and bugs that she finds while she is out and about.

Very territorial, once when one of the dogs chased one of the cats up a post where Mona was sitting, Mona promptly chased the cat down! It happened so fast I didn’t see it but Dan told me about it.

Mona’s voice can be pleasant or extremely high pitched and shrill but fortunately she doesn’t have a lot to say. You can hear her voice in the first 3 seconds of this video.

Courtyards in Nicaragua

The Garden Cafe. Good food at reasonable prices. The tables are under the roof to the right and left of the photo. This courtyard seemed unusual as it had more plants and dirt than any others we saw.

Courtyards are a necessity in Nicaragua (and should be elsewhere as well). The air in the courtyard flows into the rooms which surround it and help to keep the temperatures tolerable.

All of the courtyards that we saw were full of lots of plants and sometimes a fountain or pool. They were very pleasant to see and to sit in.

My only question about this practice is that it means that the majority of all land is covered by impervious cover (concrete, asphalt, buildings, etc.) so I’m not sure how much of an issue rainwater runoff is.

Here are just a few of the many ones we saw. In the pictures we took from the bell tower, you can see that almost the only plants you see come from the courtyards.

Animals on the Road In Nicaragua

Pigs on the road.

In another post I briefly talked about animals on/along the roads in Nicaragua. They may be tethered or may roam freely. I’m told that the owners keep an eye on them and bring them back in every night. Theft is not an issue according to the guide who talked to us about them.

Here are just a few of the animals that we saw roaming freely. I didn’t have a chance to get a picture of the cow in the middle of the road as we were riding in a vehicle but it didn’t want to move until the driver honked the horn! Here are just a few animals we saw on the road.



Shipping a Package to Costa Rica

We are finding out the Costa Rica is very big on bureaucracy and paperwork. In Nicaragua I could purchase generic xanax and ambien over the counter…in fact the xanax was under the glass of the front counter. Not sure the rules on those drugs in Costa Rica but I can tell you that supplements are very strictly managed.

I ordered 4 supplements which I can easily purchase at Natural Grocers and most any health food store. I used eVitamins, an online store with a good reputation that knows how to ship to Costa Rica and what can be shipped…or so they said. They apparently didn’t include the itemized invoice which was easily remedied.

Finding where the package was held was not easy and took several attempts. I have actually seen my package and have a photo of the items AND paid my import fees. But I have to get permission from the Minister of Health to get the supplements. That required a trip to a different place.

Once I got to the Ministerial de Salud building and finally got to the right office I was given a form to complete which wanted to know what the products were for and found out that I need a prescription from the doctor which is less than 3 months old! (And I had to write a short letter requesting that I get approval to receive the items.)

I got the RX in less than a day and made another trip to the Ministerial de Salud (I tried to see if I could just fax the papers/forms but couldn’t get anywhere with that…may have been partly a limitation of my Spanish but I don’t really think so since the word “fax” is the same in English and Spanish).

At this point in time I paid a little over $50 for shipping from the US, $70 plus tip and lunch for almost all day use of a driver I met via Uber, and about half that again for the second trip with one more trip needed. It takes 1-30 days to get approval (as of 6/6 I am on day 8). I could pay for one way of the fare for someone to fly here from Houston and bring things to me!

I could let the package be returned to the US; I’ve been able to get a couple of the products (Bach Rescue Sleep spray and a lesser strength Vitamin D-3) at a local GNC store but that doesn’t help with the other two products, one of which has been prescribed for me by 2 different physicians over the last 6 or 7 years so I know I need it and I am now out of it.

So if you are thinking about coming to visit, let me know; I’d love for you be bring me some products. I’ll happily reimburse you and promise not to take up much luggage space. Of course if you are reading this blog I’d probably love for you to come visit anyway.

Will other countries be different? Who knows? I haven’t been successful in finding out rules in advance for a given country. Stay tuned…


Nicaraguan Art-Humor?

During one of our outings while we were in Nicaragua we went to a nice market in Catarina which is near Granada. The place was clean, neat, and not crowded while we were there. You could purchase all kinds of things there, including art work. I got a kick out of the ones below. These folks know how to multi-task!

Other artwork we saw in a restaurant at Charco Verde Reserve and other places can be seen here. You can see that the style is somewhat similar. A few of the images are just to show you who the artist is.