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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Lusty Iguana Love!

The old saying “Time flies when you’re having fun” sure seems to fit our lives here. Or at least that’s the excuse I’ll give for my limited posts of late. The days seem to whiz by, full of big and little adventures. Take this morning’s walk, for instance. As we strolled along a side street of modest Tico houses, just ahead of us I saw a large crested iguana apparently basking in the sunlight on a concrete driveway. We had stopped so I could snap a photo when I noticed another smaller iguana in the culvert beside the driveway looking up at him. Quietly we moved to the other side of the street so as not to disturb them. As we stood watching, we noticed the big guy exhibiting unusual behavior: bobbing his head and seeming to preen himself. Suddenly we got it! It was “iguana love” in action. His movements were clearly directed at his lady friend below, who eyed him adoringly, if such an emotion can be attributed to iguanas. I started to take a video of their activities but a Tico on a bicycle rode by and scared them into the gutter beneath the drive.
Another reason I’ve been blogging less is that much of my writing time and energy has been devoted to a weekly column on retirement in Costa Rica which I started doing for an English-language website, Although unpaid, the project does provide me with motivation to research some of the issues facing expats who are considering relocating here. In addition, I am compiling information for seminars Layne and I hope to offer next summer when we are in the United States. At least we plan to do a few “pilot project” versions of workshops on “Retiring in Costa Rica on Social Security,” which, of course, is what we ourselves have done. If you or someone you know might be interested in coming to a seminar, drop me an email and we’ll notify you of the schedule when we figure it out. You can find my email at the top of this blog page.

One of my recent columns in The Costa Rica News was on the numerous micro-climates in Costa Rica. We feel like Atenas has just about the perfect one for us -- warm enough to welcome a swim or to sunbathe but breezy enough to be refreshing. If we get out early for our walks, the air is invigorating and pleasant and the evenings cool down so that I often need a light jacket if we stargaze from the front patio. But just up the mountain from us are several other towns with sizeable expat communities. Grecia, Sarchi, Naranjo and San Ramon are larger cities that are only a thirty-minute to an hour drive away from Atenas but all have considerably cooler climates. Some friends here in Atenas moved from San Ramon for just that reason; they found it to be much too chilly, cloudy and during the rainy season they felt utterly drowned by the heavy downpours. Even now, looking from our front yard up the hill toward these towns, there are clouds hanging over the higher elevations while here we are enjoying gorgeous blue skies.

Yesterday I had occasion to travel up the mountain to Grecia, the closest to Atenas, where a meeting of expats was being held. The U.S. Consul General Paul Birdsall was scheduled to appear to answer questions and explain what the U.S. Embassy does and what services it offers to Americans living here. Our friends Sally and Leonard were interested in attending and they have a car so off I went with them to listen and take notes for possible use in my column. It was being held at the Galeria Restaurant, a few blocks from downtown, and a place well known for fine food. Some thirty-five to forty Gringos were present, including several of us from Atenas. Although Mr. Birdsall’s prepared remarks on the structure of the Embassy, numbers of personnel, services offered and such, were somewhat dry, the discussion livened up once he opened the floor to questions. From complaints about the grammatically-challenged signage at the Embassy and questions regarding the new Costa Rican immigration law, to uncertainties about the effect of the U.S. health care reform legislation on citizens living abroad, queries about changes in the tax law and concerns about the dispute with Nicaragua over the northern border of Costa Rica, the dialogue ranged over many issues of interest to expats. We were glad we went!

On the return trip, Leonard stopped the car so I could take pictures of the gorgeous orange and yellow trees now in bloom around the countryside. We are told the orange-blossomed plants are not native to Costa Rica but they have certainly made themselves at home as we can see acres of them in bloom across our distant view.

Not only is the weather perfect here today but we are also being serenaded by some live and lively Latin music from up the hill at the pool and rancho. Our landlords are having a little party and the bongo drums and enthusiastic male voices are a delightful accompaniment to our sunny afternoon. Although I’m sure we are welcome to join them, so far we are staying down in our apartment to allow them the undisturbed use of their entertainment area. However, since Eduardo did extend the invitation this morning as he gathered limons for the fiesta, perhaps later in the afternoon we’ll grab a beer and join the festivities. Pura Vida!

1 comment:

  1. Yeah, I have the same problem with the blog. Motivation seems to escape me more regularly as life in paradise continues to fill my time. :)

    What is the low-down from the Consul General on the effect of the new health care law on ex-pats? Originally the bill had an exemption for us, but I think now we have to buy (useless) health insurance when it goes into full effect. Ironic indeed when you are living in C.R., yes?