Thursday, April 30, 2009

Water slide

I have shown zip lines through the forest in the past (and will do so again), but I have not previously shown this water slide through the forest.  This is part of Buena Vista Adventure Park, near Rincon de la Vieja National Park.  

This water slide goes 1/4 of a mile (.4 km) through the forest, many times longer than the biggest water slide at any water park.  They give you a leather diaper-like thing to put on to protect your swimsuit from getting scuffed up while careening through the forest.  

Other activities to enjoy at Buena Vista include zip lines, horse back rides, mud baths, hot mineral baths, and, of course, lunch.  

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A monkey and my mother-in-law

This is a photo of a white-faced Capuchin monkey and my mother-in-law.  My mother-in-law is on the right.  (OK, I know, that was cruel and cheap, but she is used to my sense of humor and I think her computer is broken right now anyway.)  

Wildlife boat excursions are popular for visitors to Tamarindo.  The boat tour operators bring fruit for the white-faced Capuchin monkeys, and they will hop on the boat and take food directly from your hand.  In this case, the monkey reached out to touch and lean on Glenda's hand, even when she was not feeding the monkey.  

This photo was taken while on a wildlife boat trip on the Tempisque River at Palo Verde National Park.  I have previously posted some close up photos of the monkeys, which you can find under the index tab for monkeys.  I thought that this photo would give a perspective on what the wildlife tours are like.

By the way, to place my little joke at my mother-in-law's expense into perspective, I should add that she flew down with me to Costa Rica from the USA and my wife was supposed to join us the following day, but an emergency arose at work and my wife stayed back in the USA.  That left me -- oops, excuse me, that gave me the opportunity and pleasure -- of hosting my mother-in-law in Costa Rica for a week's vacation.  Just the two of us.  

I have travelled with her on other trips on which she has joined my wife and me, including about half of our honeymoon in France!  I never let her forget that, because it gives me license to have fun at her expense including, hopefully, on this website. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Diria gate and walkway

Here is a photo of the entire gate of which I showed the center section yesterday. This is the pathway from the main street along the beach in Tamarindo to the swimming pool area at he Tamarindo Diria Resort where one of our two condos is located.

Our condo in the Playa Langosta area of Tamarindo is located right on the ocean. Our condo at the Diria Resort has a nice view of the ocean, but guests who are thinking of renting the unit will often ask how far it is to the beach. The answer is that it is a walk of about 100 meters through the Diria Resort grounds. This photo shows the walkway, which is certainly a pleasant stroll. There is a security guard located right outside the gate to check for wrist bands to make sure that the people walking up are guests of either the hotel units or the condos.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Diria gate

As a follow up to the series of recent photos I have posted showing some signs around town, here is a photo of the central portion of a gate on the grounds of the Tamarindo Diria Resort.  The logo of the hotel, which is a pre-Columbian figure, is incorporated into the center of the gate.

As is evident from my commentary yesterday in which I mentioned the decline of the Native American population in Spanish colonial times, the remnants of pre-Columbian culture in Costa Rica is not great because of the huge decline of the Native American population under Spanish rule.  

In addition, the Mayan Civilization that left stone temples and artifacts in other areas of Central America did not extend as far south as Costa Rica, although some remnants of its influences have been found.  In my opinion, the Tamarindo Diria's logo seems to reflect a Mayan-influenced theme.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

German Bakery

Yesterday I showed a sign for the Paris Bakery.  What do you do if you want to compete with the Paris Bakery?  Well, I guess you would sell baked goods from the German Bakery.  

This is a photo of a delivery truck outside one of the convenience markets in Tamarindo bringing baked goods from a German Bakery, which is evidently located at the Liberia Airport, which is an hour away.   

I was reading a book about Costa Rican history recently and learned a little about baked goods in colonial Costa Rica.  In the early 1800's, bread was a luxury eaten only by the elite.  Corn was the grain used by most people, as it had many advantages over wheat.  Its yield was 10 times per acre, and it could be ground into meal at home, rather than taken to a mill to be ground into flour.  Corn could also be grown and harvested with a lot less labor than wheat, which was critical because of the shortage of labor.  In just 52 years from 1569 to 1611, the number of Native Americans in Costa Rica declined from 120,000 to 10,000.
The discussion about German pastries above reminds me of a bit of trivia that I learned during a visit to Copenhagen.  What Americans refer to as "Danishes" are in Denmark referred to as "Vienna pastries."  The breakfast treats were popularized in Denmark when they had a strike and they brought in bakers from Vienna.  I don't know if that is true or not, as maybe the tour guides just like to fool American visitors to see what we will believe.  After all, we were gullible enough to take pictures of that little mermaid statue, which in my opinion has to be the biggest over-hyped sight in Scandinavia, and maybe the world, but I digress.

I want to acknowledge and thank those readers of this blog who have left comments during the past week or two, and apologize for not being able to respond to them, because I was traveling in Morocco until now.   

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Paris Bakery Pizza

Tamarindo may not be large enough to have even one traffic light, but we have two Paris Bakeries.  So what does this Paris Bakery advertise with their sign out front?  Pizza, of course.  

What could be more French than to sit in tropical Costa Rica, gazing at the palm trees swaying in the ocean breezes, and eating pizza. 

Friday, April 24, 2009

Surfboard fence

This fence could use a bit of tidying up, but I find it a curiosity that someone had the idea to make a fence out of surfboards.  My guess is that it must have been someone in the surfboard rental business, as it would take a lot of surfing to use up enough surfboards to make a fence.  

It is sights like these that show the difference between living in a real town and living in a master-planned resort community with a homeowner's association and architectural review committees that undoubtedly would have a "no surfboard fence" rule.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Surfboard sign

Today we return to my little series of photos of signs around town.  If you are in the business of renting surfboards and providing surfing lessons, what better way to advertise than to use a surfboard for a sign.   This is similar to the giant donut on top of the Randy's Donut shop near Los Angeles International Airport, for those people familiar with that commercial landmark. 

Tomorrow, I will show you what can be done with used surf boards.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


I seem to have fallen into a bit of a theme recently of posting photos of signs around town.  Before I bore everyone, I thought I should take a break and post a photo that is a reminder of why people come to Tamarindo.  What can be a better way to end a day than a Tamarindo sunset, with the silhouette of fishing boats against the crimson sky, reflected in the water skimming along the broad, gentle beach?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Turtle sign

Here is a sign north of town that warns people not to drive their quads over the beaches were turtles lay their eggs.  I like the dialogue by the baby turtle, who appeals to the conscience of the rider by pleading, "Dude, Please don't kill me."  I guess the authorities that placed the sign thought that if the quad drivers might not respect the authority of the sign, maybe they would obey the plea of a baby turtle who calls them a "dude."

The beaches near Tamarindo are important nesting sites for sea turtles.  Playa Grande, which occupies the north half of Tamarindo Bay, is within Las Baulas National Marine Park and is protected as the nesting site for the endangered leatherback turtles.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Zip line advertisement

I have been showing some signs around Tamarindo during the last few days, so I thought I would add this three dimensional advertisement.  What is the product?  Zip line excursions.  What better way to advertise zip lines than to string up a mannequin of  a person hanging from a zip line.  There is a sign hanging from his back side that advertises the zip lines.  

I have shown photos of real people on zip lines in the past, and will do so again in a couple of weeks.  I have been impressed with the safety of Costa Rican zip lines, as they use two cable connections.  I think it is also a good reflection on their safety consciousness that even this mannequin is required to wear a helmet.

This photo is at Witch's Rock Surf Camp, which is a popular spot for surfing lessions and other activities enjoyed by adventure seekers, such as nearby zip lines through the forest.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Nachos sign

Today we go to the other extreme in advertising.  Instead of a classy billboard with attractive people in sophisticated clothes like the last couple of days, this local restaurant advertises the size of its nachos by comparing them to the size of the customer's  buttocal area.  

Since I am an American, I can make the following observation without the risk of insulting my fellow countryman:  the restaurant had American tourists in mind when they created this appeal.  How do I know?  The sign is in English in a Spanish speaking country, of course.

A friend of mine who who stayed in our condo last year got such a kick out of this sign that he mentioned it in an email.  I guess the sign accomplished its purpose, as it attracts attention and causes the restaurant to be noticed and remembered, as least for the size of its nachos. 

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Bus billboard

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.  

I can imagine the dialogue between the model and her agent.  It probably went something like this:  "Hey, buttercup, I got a great gig for ya.  You wear an elegant, sparkly evening gown with spaghetti straps."

She might inquire:  "Swifty, where will my photo be displayed?  I want to make sure that it fits my image for sophisticated modeling jobs."

The agent would respond, "It'll be first class all the way, baby.  Your photo will be on billboards and magazine ads.  And there will be a giant photo of you plastered all over the back of a bus, with taillights coming out of your neck like giant moles.  It'll be great." 

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.

Tomorrow, I will show you method of promoting a business that definitely was not created by an ad agency.

Friday, April 17, 2009

More Madison Avenue

Yesterday I showed a billboard of the improbable scene of dark suited executives at the Tamarindo Airport. Here is another billboard in town that is eye catching. The Tamarindo Heights housing development has used striking models to promote its upscale image.  

As with the people dressed in dark suits in yesterday's photo of a bilboard, I doubt that there are many women in Tamarindo who are wearing dresses like the one you see in this photo.

I don't know why, but seeing a model like this in Tamarindo reminds me of a story that a long-time resident told me.  He said that before the tourist boom in the last 10 years, Tamarindo was a quiet place and rich men from San Jose used to keep their mistresses in  Tamarindo for visits.  I do not know if that is true or not, although he told me the story while in church, so that may increase the reliability of the story.

Tomorrow, we will show an improbable further development of this little advertising series. In fact, I think I will lead up to a photo in a couple of days that is the opposite of the high-class, image advertising that I have been showing. I will show a sign that is so low-brow that a friend of mine who stayed in our condo last year actually mentioned it to me in an email, so I took a photo of it.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Tamarindo Airport, Madison Avenue Style

I have shown some photos of the Tamarindo Airport recently. Here is a billboard promoting the airport. You will see that Madison Avenue has nothing on Costa Rica for creating advertisements that project an attractive and sophisticated image for a location.

The typical traveller arriving at the Tamarindo airport is a tourist in shorts and a tee shirt. The Tamarindo Diria Resort, which owns the airport land and adjacent golf driving range where this billboard is located, evidently did not want to show typical tourists in their billboard promoting the airport.  Instead, they showed a smartly dressed businesswoman and businessman, and two guys who look like body guards.

I don't think I have ever seen anyone in Tamarindo wearing a business suit. If anyone in Tamarindo did wear a suit, it would certainly not be a dark suit like you see in this advertisement. If I were ever to see a suit in Tamarindo, I would expect it to be a seer sucker or light khaki summer suit. It would be the type of suit that you would see in an old James Bond movie being worn by a sweating older guy in a tropical locale who briefs James Bond on what the bad guys have been up to in that location, about a day or so before the guy gets killed.

Sorry to inflict you with my stream of consciousness planning for these posts. We have gone from the airport in Tortuguero, to the airport in Tamarindo, to the billboard for the airport in Tamarindo, and I think tomorrow I will develop the billboard advertisement theme a little more.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tamarindo Airport food service

Two days ago, I talked about how the Tamarindo Airport is small.  Nevertheless, it is not without its amenities. Do you want a snack at the airport? Well, there is food service available. Here it is. A cooler for drinks and a rack of snack packages.

At the small Tamarindo airport, there are no long lines. No long walks. No concourses with signs to direct you to the right gate. No moving sidewalks.  No luggage carousels.  And you need not worry about missing the flight announcement. You will hear your plane pull up in the airstrip right in front of the small open-air terminal. The total distance from the parking lot to the plane is about 50 meters.

When you arrive at the airport for a departing flight, the same airport attendant will greet you, will take your bag, check your ticket, go out on the runway to meet the arriving flight, load the bags onto the plane, and handle the boarding process. He is a sky cap, ticket counter clerk, baggage handler, gate agent, and runway worker, all in one. In between flights, you might find him practicing his soccer (football) on the little grassy area next to the terminal.

The person in this photo is my son Stuart, as we wait for the flight of my other son, Taylor.  Taylor flies in to Tamarindo because he lives in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and he makes flight connections through San Jose.  Stuart, my wife and I fly to the international airport in Liberia, about an hour drive from Tamarindo.  It was the development of direct flights from the USA to Liberia a little less than 10 years ago that caused the tourism and real estate boom in the northwest Pacific coast area of Costa Rica, called Guanacaste.

Tomorrow, I will show you a "Madison Avenue" version of the Tamarindo Airport.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The world's first carbon-neutral airline

Readers of this blog may remember that I have previously described how Costa Rica is on pace to be the world's first carbon-neutral nation by 2021. So, it should perhaps not surprise you that Costa Rica already has the world's first carbon-neutral airline.

What is the name of this environmentally-friendly airline? Quite naturally, it is Nature Air. This is a photo of one of their planes at the Tamarindo Airport. Nature Air became carbon-neutral in 2004 by reducing its emissions and offsetting 100% of its emissions with reforestation and other environmental initiatives. It is certified carbon neutral by both Costa Rican and international environmental auditing authorities.

Here is a link to the airline website page that describes its environmental program:

Tiny Costa Rica met its goal of planting 7 million new trees last year. It has preserved more than 25% of its land for national parks and nature reserves, more than any other country. But the frogs and butterflies of Monteverde are continuing to migrate to higher elevations because of the effects of global warming elsewhere.

If an airline, government, and people of Costa Rica can make such progress in environmental preservation, then surely other nations, especially the wealthier industrialized countries, can do the same. What to you say, rest of the world?  Will you follow Costa Rica's leadership in showing that we can save our planet?

Monday, April 13, 2009

Tamarindo airport

Here is a domestic commuter airplane taxiing down the runway at the Tamarindo airport. If you click on the photo to enlarge it, you will see the cows grazing on the airport grounds.

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

San Jose Cemetery

This is what I think is an unusual aerial photo of a crowded cemetery in San Jose, Costa Rica's capital and only major city. I invite you to click on the photo to enlarge it, and you will see that it is indeed a jam packed collection of above-ground tombs and gravestones.

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

Flying out of Tortuguero

There are no roads to Tortuguero. We arrived by boat, and we left by plane. Although the domestic airlines do provide service to the small landing strip at Tortuguero, we took a small chartered flight. This is my wife getting on board.

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

Tortuguero jungle

This is a typical scene of the jungle in the rivers, canals and waterways that surround Tortuguero like a maze. You can get an idea of the lush plant life and biodiversity for which Costa Rica is famous. There are 10,000 species of plants in tiny Costa Rica (which is the size of Switzerland or West Virginia).

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

Caiman head

We will transition from the photos of a poison reptile during the last two days to another reptile. This is a close up of the head of a caiman. I apologize that the photo is not sharper, but he was lurking in a shadowy area of a river in a dark area of the jungle. You can see the vertical slit of his eyes.

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 viper

This is another view of the eyelash pit viper we encountered in the tropical jungle. We stayed a safe distance, so I did not try to get a closer photo of his head.

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

Eyelash pit viper

This is a deadly poisonous eyelash pit viper. Usually when visiting Tortuguero, visitors see wildlife from the safety of boats that cruise the waterways. If you venture on foot into the tropical jungle, you may see scenes such as this eyelash pit viper.

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

Poison Dart Frog

Here is another a poison dart frog. Similar to the blue jeans poison dart frog I showed a few days ago, I zoomed in from a distance. Poison dart frogs eat ants and mites. Because their food is so small, they spend a long time during the day foraging for food. As a defense while exposed to predators, they have toxic secretions on their skin.

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

Man and dog, river and Cerro Tortuguero

I showed this dog yesterday, so I thought I would show this photo of the dog and his master today. This is the main boat dock in the town of Tortuguero. Looking down the river, you can see in the distance the most prominent landmark in the area. It is called Cerro Tortuguero. It is a mound 110 meters (360 ft.) high in an area that is otherwise flat and very close to sea level.

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

Toucan tire planters

This is another photo of the little park in downtown Tortuguero, which is the same location as the giant toucan statues I showed a few days ago. These are hanging planters with ferns growing in them. The planters are made out of used tires, and they are shaped into toucans. How environmentally sensitive to recycle tires into planters. How creative to slice up the tires into the shape of toucans, complete with tail feathers.

I know there are readers of this site who enjoy dog photos, so I am also posting a second photo to show a closer view the dog. The dog will also make an appearance in tomorrow's photo, with a very different background.

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.

I began taking dog photos for her when she joined my wife and me for 10 days in the middle of our 3-week honeymoon in France. (I know, that is strange.) I started noticing that no matter where we were, my mother-in-law would not be taking photos of the major sights, but would be taking photos of dogs. She is probably the only tourist who neglected to take a photo of the Eiffel tower and barely looked at it because there were dogs to be photographed in the area. It was painful to watch her take photos of dogs at long distances, without a telephoto, that I had to take up the challenge to take some good dog photos for her.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Park ranger's dog

On March 16, near the beginning of the series of photos on Tortuguero, I showed a photo of the park ranger's boat dock entrance station. One of the readers, Brattcat (who publishes the Brattleboro, Vermont Daily Photo), left a comment about a dog that was visible on the boat dock in the background of the photo. I therefore decided to add this photo to the pictures I intended to post so that readers could get a better look at the dog who greets visitors on boats entering the waterways of Tortuguero National Park and who keeps the park ranger company.

For the next two days, I will show other photos with a dog, followed by several days of poisonous animals.

Thursday, April 2, 2009


This is another typical Tortuguero scene, with water, a dense jungle, and an egret. Egrets like to stalk their prey at the water's edge. Egrets and herons make up the heron family. There are 58 species of herons, 15 of which live in Costa Rica.

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

Ant Crossing: April Theme Day

The Daily Photo first-of-the-month Theme Day for April is "yellow." I wanted to choses a photo that is expressive of Costa Rica, so I selected this "Ant Crossing" sign from the butterfly farm at Monteverde.
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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