Monday, March 29, 2010

Look before you leap

The route from our house in Atenas to Jacó passes over the Tárcoles River. It is often stifling hot in that part of the country and it might be tempting to go for a little swim in the river until you spot the sunbathers.


Many, many crocodiles. (I couldn’t fit them all into the picture without a wider lens.)



If that is not enough of a deterrent to stop you from going for a swim, keep this in mind:

The river is the most contaminated river in Costa Rica, carrying much of the sewage from the central towns and cities. The river's watershed drains approximately 67% of Costa Rica's untreated organic and industrial waste and is considered the most contaminated river basin in the country. It was also affected by a leak of 400 thousand litres of diesel fuel by the state-owned Costa Rican Petroleum Refinery in 2000 which further damaged the ecology of the river and its immediate surroundings.


Monday, March 22, 2010


Costa Rican street signs that you don’t see in Canada.



At our children’s school, there is a sign indicating an iguana crossing along the path to the playground. (As if that is going to save the iguanas from being trampled by all those eager little feet headed to the monkey bars.)

Fish Babies

We found Gabriel’s fish motionless at the bottom of the tank last weekend. It was sad to say goodbye to one of our fish but the following day, the kids were so excited to discover 3 baby fishes in the fishbowl. We didn’t even know that Naimah’s fish was a boy.

Here’s a picture of Mummy fish (Léah’s) with one of the babies.


Wednesday, March 10, 2010


We visited the church in Grecia with Mélanie’s aunt, Michèle, who came to see us in Costa Rica for a week and a half.


Gabriel and Naimah weren’t interested in touring the church so they kept themselves busy collecting mangoes in the park in front of the church. At that age, they can really entertain themselves with anything.

Gabriel scouting for mangoes

(Aside: Gabriel refused to cut his hair for awhile because he liked Zac Efron’s style. When I told him one night that our dove might make a nest in his fluffy hair, he decided to have it cut the next day.)

DSC_0055[1] ZacEfron_RollingStone[1]

Naimah collecting as many mangoes as she possibly can in her little arms


Naimah pleased with her harvest


Reviewing the quality of their findings



Sunday, March 7, 2010

Metal Church

Grecia, which was once named "the cleanest city in Latin America”, is a short drive from Atenas. The city is famous for its church made entirely of pre-fabricated steel plates painted red and imported from Belgium in 1897.

According to an urban legend, the church was donated by some foreign country, and sent to Greece as a gift, but was wrongly shipped to Grecia. However, history records clearly show that order, shipment and construction of the temple were a coordinated effort of Grecia’s population, Catholic Church and Costa Rican government in the Late 19th century.


Corteza Amarilla

During the five months of the dry season, from December to April, most of the trees lose their leaves to conserve their humidity. However, for a brief time, the golden pompons of the corteza amarilla dot the landscape.



Friday, March 5, 2010

White-winged Dove

We started with a cat, then a rooster, then a dog, and then some fish. It feels like we are gathering animals for our very own Noah’s Ark. It is therefore fitting that our latest addition is a dove.

A local nearly ran over this baby white-winged dove while it was crossing the road right in front of our home. He brought it to us so that we can take care of it.



At this young age, the baby dove doesn’t know how to eat or drink on its own. His beak has to be held open to give him water and grains to eat.



We don’t have a real cage so we improvised for now with an upside down garbage bin.


I was thinking we should name the dove “Stevie” for Stevie Nicks but the kids settled on “Snowflake”.

Just like the white winged dove…

Sings a song…

Sounds like she’s singing…

Whoo… whoo… whoo

        - Stevie Nicks (“Edge of Seventeen” lyrics)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Climbing Rooster

Can roosters climb trees? This one-time big city boy didn’t even think they could fly. I discovered that they do fly (at least short distances) which was a relief because when I found our annoying rooster, I thought he had climbed the tree.

Now I can’t chase him away because that tree is hanging over the cliff. Smart.

I was on the phone with someone at work this week who was sitting in the office in downtown Montréal and they asked me if there was a baby crying in the background. “No”, I replied, “just my rooster”.