Monday, February 22, 2010

Fiestas Sabana Larga! Ole!

For 3 days this past weekend, there were big festivities in Sabana Larga (an area 8 minutes drive from where we live).

Getting ready for the fiesta

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The fiestas started with a Tope Caballos (horse parade). It was supposed to start at 1pm in the afternoon but scheduling in Costa Rica is very loose so we waited for 2 hours for it to begin. (Interestingly, the Costa Ricans who came to watch the parade arrived at the exact late hour as if they own watches that are set to this alternate tardy time zone.)



Stopping for a beer during the paradeDSC_0020[1]

The center of the action


The ticket booth for purchasing tickets for the rides




Ceremony before the bull fighting

(commencement of which also started 1.5 hours late; nobody is in any rush in this country)



Buying some churros (which were so deliciously greasy)


Gabriel loved the fact that the guys holding onto dear life on the bulls wore hockey helmets.




Seeing bull fighting for the first time whet our appetite to head to the Calgary Stampede one day.

Hockey Night in Costa Rica

The Vancouver Olympics are taking place a mere 69 Km (43 miles) from our house in Victoria but we have missed so much of the action because there is zero coverage on TV in Costa Rica. All of the sports channels here cover Football (aka Soccer), Fútbol, and more Futebol. It is almost like the Winter Olympics are not taking place during these 2 weeks. Perhaps this shouldn’t be surprising since the climate of Costa Rica is not conducive to participation in winter sports. How many Winter Olympic medals have been won by a tropical nation? None.

Last night, it was Canada against the USA in hockey and I came up with a way to watch the game on the Internet. With our slow bandwidth, the experience was a bit painful but at least we got to enjoy a little bit of the Olympic spirit.

When our kids are old and grey, they will tell stories about how the Internet was once so slow that you couldn’t watch a TV program without it constantly pausing.


Saturday, February 20, 2010

Laughing Cow

Last year, we struggled a bit with the food options in this area of Costa Rica. Unlike the capital, San José, with its larger international population, Atenas doesn’t have any real selections of ethnic foods. We enjoy casados and gallo pinto but sometimes we need variety. And to add to the challenge, Mélanie and I are vegetarian and Costa Rican cuisine caters to the carnivore. If you are a chicken or a pig, you should stay far away from this country.

Now that the highway is open, we can more easily purchase ethnic and vegetarian options in the grocery stores in the outskirts of San José.

Middle Eastern


Veggie burgers


We have even found “La Vache qui Rie” to quench our needs for spreadable cheese. (This laughing cow is so popular worldwide that we have been able to find “La Vache qui Rie” in small towns in Vietnam, like Hội An.)


Bug of the Week

I don’t want to sound like a wuss but I nearly puked when the kids pointed out this bug on the screen door right next to our dining room table.


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Black Vultures

Vultures have the unfortunate reputation of being dirty. The truth is that they not only clean up everybody else’s mess by consuming carcasses that would otherwise encourage diseases and pests such as rats, but they also are meticulous in washing themselves, finding water to bathe in daily when they can. (Source)

These large black birds are often hovering ominously in the sky above our house searching for carrion and then stop to perch in the tree right in front of our deck.



Monday, February 15, 2010

Make sure you hit the pool

When we moved to Costa Rica 8 months ago, Gabriel was very nervous around water. I wouldn’t say that he was scared the way that he was when he was really little but he still lacked confidence.

In this hot climate, Gabriel spends an inordinate amount of time in water when he is not in school. He is now over his discomfort of swimming to the extent that we have to remind him that when he makes those kamikaze jumps into the pool, he needs to make sure that he lands inside the water and doesn’t overshoot the pool completely.


And speaking of pool, here are pictures of our two “sun princesses”.




Saturday, February 13, 2010


There is nothing like a homemade crêpe to Frenchify your Costa Rican morning.