Thursday, April 30, 2009
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Monday, April 27, 2009
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Friday, April 24, 2009
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Monday, April 20, 2009
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Yesterday I showed a billboard with a photo of this model to advertise a housing development. Here is another use of the same advertisement, except the ad is on the back of the shuttle bus that runs between the Garden Plaza shopping center and hotels and resorts in Tamarindo.
Here is a photo of what the rest of the bus looks like. It is a shuttle bus that takes people back and forth from hotels and resorts in Tamarindo to the Garden Plaza Shopping Center, which is at the entrance to town and, unlike most of the shops in Tamarindo, is not in walking distance from the center of town.
Friday, April 17, 2009
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Monday, April 13, 2009
If this does not fit your image of what you expect a municipal airport to look like, please keep in mind that you are in Central America, not the USA, Canada or Europe. It is actually quite an accomplishment that Tamarindo has an airport with regularly scheduled service on two domestic airlines.
Although Tamarindo is Costa Rica's most popular beach resort (as described by Forbes Magazine), it is still a small town. There was no church until last year. There are no traffic lights and no gas stations. How many towns can you think of that have an airport but no traffic light or gas station?
The airport is located on private land, owned by the Tamarindo Diria Resort, which is the largest hotel in town. (One of our two condos is located on the grounds of the Tamarindo Diria Resort.) If you think it is odd that an airport is on private land rather than municipal land, I should also add that the nearest municipal government is in Santa Cruz, which is about 20 minutes away.
Most people who visit the area fly to the international airport in Liberia, which is about an hour away. The government is building a new terminal in Liberia to handle the grown of air traffic there, as there are about 50 non-stop flights each week from the USA to Liberia. It is also convenient to fly to San Jose and then take a one-hour domestic airline right to Tamarindo. The Tamarindo airport is located just 5 minutes from the center of town.
Before you conclude that domestic air transport in Costa Rica is modest, let me give you this teaser. Tomorrow's post will reveal that a Costa Rica airline is the first in the world to accomplish something that is beneficial for everyone, everywhere, and that will be copied by airlines worldwide.
Sunday, April 12, 2009
I took this photo from the small plane that we flew from Tortuguero to San Jose, which I showed yesterday. My photo tomorrow will continue the air travel across the country from the Caribbean coast to the local airport in Tamarindo on the Pacific coast.
My wife and I sometimes visit cemeteries when we travel. They are a window into local culture. The monuments are art.
Do you have a favorite cemetery? Ours is the Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires. No other cemetery comes close. It is a city of sculpture. It most famous occupant, Eva Peron, has one of the more modest family mausoleums.
San Jose has a metropolitan area of more than 2 million, which is approximately half of the population of the entire country. The next largest city in Costa Rica is only about 100,000. While tourism is the number one industry in the country, San Jose is not a major tourist destination. After all, ecotourism and beaches are the attraction for visiting Costa Rica. Many tourists fly into the airport in San Jose and head to the surrounding central valleys, or north to Monteverde or Arenal, or over to the Pacific Coast, which is the most popular tourist destination.
The greater San Jose area is a popular location for retirees from the USA and Canada because it has a wonderful climate all year because its elevation. San Jose has attracted major investments by U.S. computer companies who have located manufacturing facilities there due to the lower cost of operations and the availability of a well-educated, skilled workforce. Some people refer to it as the "silicon jungle."
Saturday, April 11, 2009
I took the aerial photos that I showed at the beginning of this series several weeks ago from this plane as we left. It was raining, which is not unusual for an area that gets 200 inches of rain per year.
In the future days I will show the airport in Tamarindo, as we return to the Pacific Coast. I will also tell you something about a Costa Rican airline that is unique in the world.
Friday, April 10, 2009
I have been showing photos of Tortuguero on the Caribbean coast for the last few weeks. I post this photo as a way to summarize the area before saying goodbye. Tomorrow I will show you how we left, then I will return to showing photos of our sunny Pacific coast area around Tamarindo.
Thursday, April 9, 2009
He was very still, lurking below the water's surface, waiting for a bird or other prey to come near.
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Eyelash pit vipers sound especially scary because they are found in exotic tropical jungles. Actually, pit vipers are the type of snakes to which most of the poisonous snakes of the Western Hemisphere belong. They are found from Canada to Argentina. Rattlesnakes, copperheads and water moccasins of the USA and Canada are types of pit vipers.
They get their name of pit vipers because they have a pit that is sensitive to heat between their eyes and nostrils. While most snakes lay eggs, pit vipers give birth to up to 20 live snakes, about .3 meters (1 foot) long, complete with fangs and venom.
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
My Traveler's Wildlife Guide book on Costa Rica says "Few short term visitors to Costa Rica encounter a poisonous snake because most are well camouflaged, secretive in their habits, or nocturnal and, therefore, they are really outside the scope of this book." Well, I was in Tortuguero for only a few days, and this is what we encountered.
These snakes have hollow fangs that inject venom in their prey. The venom attacks the nervous system, causing paralysis, then respiratory failure. The most dangerous and feared pit viper is the Fer-de-lance. They are more aggressive than other snakes and are more likely to strike and attack rather than retreat when approached. There is a story of a railroad worker in Honduras who was bitten by a Fer-de-lance at work and was carried home. His wife tended to his wound. He died within two hours and she died the next day because she had a cut on her hand from cooking and the little bit of venom from touching his wound that entered her cut was lethal.
Sorry, I did not get in closer for a tighter shot. I did maneuver around the snake draped across this branch, and tomorrow I will show a photo of this snake from another angle and will give more information about pit vipers. I know that I am in dangerous territory when I write about snakes. I risk that my son, Stuart, who knows a lot about snakes and other reptiles (and has a snake in his Scottsdale condo), will probably leave a comment correcting the details of whatever information I try to share on this website.
Monday, April 6, 2009
So, why are they called poison dart frogs? The second photo illustrates the answer. I took this photo in the Amazon, not Costa Rica. We don't have indigenous peoples like that in Costa Rica, but this shows native Yagui tribe members demonstrating the use of poison darts. The natives wipe darts on the skin of a poison dart frog, put the darts in one end of a blow gun, then blow the darts to hit monkeys and other targets up in trees. The poison attacks the nervous system and causes the target to fall from the tree.
Please indulge me for a poison dart story, as I enjoy sharing a little humor at my wife's expense. The villagers above in the Peruvian Amazon made handicrafts for sale to visitors who hiked to their village. My wife bought several items, including a short blow dart gun. She carried it around with her all day. It was on her lap as we took the boat back to our lodge. After showering and getting ready for dinner, she picked it up again in our room and was going to blow on it just for the heck of it.
She brought the mouthpiece of the blow gun towards her mouth and just before it would have touched her lips, a giant beetle the size of a tangerine crawled out of the mouthpiece. She let out a scream that was heard by everyone throughout our lodge, indoors and out.
She dropped the blow dart gun on the bed, with the giant beetle crawling across the bed. She continued to scream, and of course it was my instinct and duty to rescue this damsel in distress. Using my skills from playing baseball as a child, I grabbed the blow gun and used it to whack the beetle off the bed. The beetle flew across the room, hit the wall with a thud, fell to the floor, and, to our surprise, started walking like a boxer who is knocked down but gets back up for more.
I then grabbed a shoe, dove across the bed and pounded the beetle to a pulp. After our adrenaline subsided to human levels, and after answering the questions from everyone else in our group about what was going on in our room that caused my wife to shriek so loudly, I had a few questions for her. The dialogue went something like this:
"Julie, when you were carrying this blow gun around all day, did you look through it and see daylight."
"I looked through it, but it was dark."
"Did it occur to you that a device that was made so that you put a dart in one end and blow it out the other end should be something that you can see right through, and that if it was dark there must be something inside it?"
Although my wife is really smart and quite well accomplished professionally, she answered, "No. That thought never crossed my mind."
I replied what our friends surely were thinking: "It must be a blond thing."
Sunday, April 5, 2009
Tomorrow, I am posting another photo of a poisonous animal, with a story that will share a little humor at the expense of my wife.
Saturday, April 4, 2009
I take photos such as these for my mother-in-law, who is a fanatical, obsessive dog lover. When I travel, I try to take some photos of dogs for her, usually with a close up of the dog and a second shot that shows the dog in its environment so that it can be identified as being in a particular country. My mother-in-law has several photo albums on her coffee table of dogs around the world.
Friday, April 3, 2009
For the next two days, I will show other photos with a dog, followed by several days of poisonous animals.
Thursday, April 2, 2009
Most birds in the heron family will live in monogomous pairs, with the male bringing sticks to the female, and the female building the nest. Both will sit on the eggs, which are laid with 3 to 7 at a time. The eggs take between 16 and 30 days to hatch, and both parents feed the chicks for 35 to 50 days until they can leave the nest and take care of themselves.
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
You can see ants crossing along the branch, including one ant carrying a leaf. Better photos of leaf cutter ants and their dirt mound are below.
Leaf cutter ants do not eat the leaves that they carry back to their nest. They feed the leaves to a fungus that they cultivate underground and the ants eat the fungus. I have a mental image of an underground blob that looks like Jobba the Hut being fed leaves, with ants gnawing around its edges.
Leaf cutter ants know what types of leaves the fungus likes, and what types of leaves are poisonous to the fungus. Sometimes in the forest there are so many leaf cutter ants carrying leaves that it looks like the ground is moving.
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