Shopping malls throughout the world….Final photos from Managua Nicaragua…

The adorable costumed girl waved when she spotted us with a camera at the Metrocentre Mall in Managua, Nicaragua.

“Sightings from the Veranda in Costa Rica”

Sun setting behind the mountain

We’ve learned a lot visiting shopping malls throughout the world.  Neither of us cares to shop. In our old lives, I couldn’t drag Tom to a mall for anything. Now that shopping is generally off our radar, he seems to find it interesting from a cultural basis.

The Metrocentre Mall in Managua is a popular destination for tourists.  It was located across the street from our hotel and a convenient spot to tour. We didn’t buy a thing.

What are we looking for?  It’s fascinating to see products and pricing in each country and shopping to purchase the various items. Often, we find what may be local middle-income shoppers and a wide array of tourists from all over the world.

These smaller stoves are found in many vacation homes throughout the world.

In our travels, we’ve discovered that tourists love shopping. Many have a mentality that shopping is one of the motivators for visiting certain parts of the world, especially those known for great bargains.

Prices are high in electronics stores in Nicaragua and Costa Rica instead of what we’ve paid for such items in the US.

A faction of tourists isn’t aware (or perhaps they are aware) that many products sold at tourist shopping venues are often “knock-offs,” which may or may not be quality versions of the pricier originals. But, even these are snapped up by tourists. Locals are seldom seen making purchases at knock-off shops.

We giggled when we enter the store, “As Seen on TV.”  I guess Costa Rica isn’t that far away after all.

We’ve often noticed cruise passengers disembarking the ship at various ports of call, wheeling empty suitcases ready to be filled with locally designed and made wares, trinkets, clothing, and art. 

Here are a few of our links to shopping in a few countries:

3/6/14  Shopping in the souks in Marrakech Morocco Shopping malls in Paris

7/21/15  Shopping mall in Trinity Beach Australia

Years ago, when we occasionally traveled, I suppose I wasn’t much different than other tourists. It was fun to purchase gifts for family and friends and odds and end clothing and household items for myself. Tom would have nothing to do with any of it.
A tall Christmas tree was being decorated in the mall.

When we decided to travel the world in 2012, we explained to our family members that we wouldn’t be purchasing trinkets for them or our grandchildren that we discovered throughout the world. None of our adult children had room in their homes for useless decorative items. Nor did we want our children purchasing gifts for us at Christmas and our birthdays.

This store was packed with Halloween products.  We were there on October 29th with only two days to go for the big event.

Thus, we mutually agreed we’d only buy gifts for our six grandchildren, all purchased and shipped in the US. Our grandchildren especially enjoy gift cards to be able to buy digital equipment and games. As they get older (the eldest is 17), gift cards are the only sensible purchase.

Visitors standing in a long queue to get into the Western Union store.  Inside the store, dozens were seated in chairs awaiting their turn.

Since we’ve recently replaced all of our clothing while in the US this past summer and recently purchased all of the required attire for Antarctica from Amazon, we’re set until we return to the US for a visit in 2019.

The mall has two primary levels, which included a movie theatre.

When we return to the US, we’ll replace any worn items. In the interim, we have enough to last until that time.  We’re very cautious in laundering clothing to ensure nothing is ruined or shrunk in the wash. We prefer to hang many items outdoors to dry and, in most vacation homes throughout the world. We seldom have a clothes dryer.

This is a robot-type ride for kids.  Note the popular global clothing store in the background, originating from Italy.

Wandering through the Metrocentre Mall in Nicaragua was reminiscent of malls in the US with many familiar store brands, kiosks, and food courts. Although these types of malls are less attractive to us than the shopping areas in remote parts of the world, it’s always interesting to peruse the products offered in other countries.

We stopped to drool over baked goods, purchasing none.

As for grasping the pricing, as soon as we arrive in any country, we quickly learn the foreign exchange rate in comparison to US dollars, allowing us to make sensible decisions when grocery shopping or making any other types of purchases. 

Several small Halloween kiosks were set up for kids.

This morning we were both up and out of bed by 5:30 am. I’ve already made most of tonight’s dinner, one of our favorites, Low Carb Chicken Pot Pie. Over these past weeks, we’ve made a point of cooking our favorites when we know we won’t be cooking for 80 days once we leave Costa Rica in 15 days. 

Wow! The departure date is coming up quickly. We’re savoring every moment in Atenas, Costa Rica.

May you savor your day!

Photo from one year ago today, November 7, 2016:

Our ship docked in Darwin, Australia, for the day. Here is the downtown area of Darwin with office buildings, restaurants, and shopping. For more details, please click here.

Traipsing around the town…Why visit Atenas?…

This morning when I perused through our photos to see what to post, I stumbled across this funny photo showing my hands and camera in the rearview mirror while taking the photo of this rug vendor walking along the street. Vendors don’t pester passersby, asking only once if interested.

“Sightings from the Veranda in Costa Rica”

Cattle sheltered under the shade of a massive tree during a sunny morning in Atenas.

Walking through the town of Atenas is quite entertaining. The endless array of shops lining the streets, many worn and tattered on the exterior but bustling with energetic business on the interior, creating a fascinating peek into the daily lives of “Ticos,” the acceptable and unoffensive nickname for the locals.

Few tourists are to be found when walking through the town although it’s reported there are about 1500 expats in Atenas of its population of about 5000.

Although an older comment, this quote from a contributor on TripAdvisor provides a reasonable explanation about Atenas. We can’t imagine it’s changed much over the past six years. (See selection below this photo).

A sign was announcing at the Patron Saint Festivities from October 14 through 24. 
Re: Things to do around Atenas
Atenas is a quiet town, authentic Costa Rica, and it could be used as a home base.
Many “well-to-do” Ticos who work in San Jose choose to live there and commute. Kind of like folks living in CT and commuting to New York in the USA.
No crime to speak of, lots of farms, some great locally grown coffee. The area produces five different varieties, only 3 of which are exported (they save the best for local consumption)
I dig it. I used to live in a bustling tourist town here. When I left the coast, Atenas is the town I moved to for a time. I was looking for a city that had zero tourism and found it. I then bounced over to Grecia, but now live in between the 2.
IMO an interesting choice but a good one. No tourist crowds, down-to-earth pricing compared to towns more tourism-oriented. Not much in the way of local attractions, Poas mentioned by ex-beachers is probably one of the closer ones, the metal church in Grecia is something to see and not far away, also there is a great little central park full of green parrots in the town center of Atenas. 
If you are looking for an authentic Costa Rican experience, then it is a good choice.

This is our kind of town, quiet, attractive, friendly and filled with a variety of treasures that easily keep us entertained and engaged (including many birds) during this extended 113-night stay. 

In almost every case, when we chose an extended stay over 90 days, we encounter visa issues.  We’re inclined to avoid such extended stays when possible. But, when we opt for an extended stay, we do it for a reason, often to accommodate the next leg of our travels.

However, the time spent here has definitely been worth the hoopla of having to leave in nine days to fly to Nicaragua to get our passports stamped. Besides, with our five-year anniversary on October 31st, we’ve usually done something special to celebrate…a mini vacation…a special night out, etc. The two-night stay in Managua will fill the bill.

Don Juan Pharmacy where I purchased a bottle of contact lens solution for US $20, (CRC 11,401) usually priced at around US $7.95 (CRC 4,932).

We’ll be back at the villa on the 30th, most likely staying in and celebrating here at the estate on our actual anniversary date on October 31st. It will be easy to celebrate in this outstanding property which far exceeds any five-star hotel we’ve seen to date. 

Would other travelers be content in this small town? Yes, in many ways. Its central location makes it a good base for sightseeing and if one enjoys traveling on mountainous roads the scenery is exceptional as we’ve shared in many posts. 

Atenas is conveniently located near the airport. There are seven hotels listed in Atenas, at this link with more in surrounding areas, some modest and unassuming and others more deluxe (none are five-star rated). Most are well under US $75 (CRC 42,752) per night. 

We’ve heard parrots may be seen in the trees in the park.  We’ve visited several times to no avail.  We’ll keep trying.

There are 39 restaurants listed in Atenas which may be found at this link. These restaurants don’t work for my way of eating but for most, they’ll be ideal with fresh local ingredients and flavors commensurate with local tastes and customs.

Of course, for those interested in the privacy and convenience of a vacation/holiday villa, nothing can beat this exceptional home with three large bedrooms, each with an en-suite bath, plenty of storage space, ceiling fans, and ultra-comfortable beds and bedding. We love the “screening room” with a large flat-screen TV, surround sound, and comfortable seating.

The granite and stainless steel gourmet kitchen with a second “clean up” kitchen is over-the-top with every imaginable amenity and kitchen tool and gadget.  Well, I could go on and on but most of you have read our comments in past posts about how much we’ve loved this property and location.

Nothing is as pleasant as a blue sky during the rainy season.

The downsides are few in this area. However, if dancing until dawn is your “thing” you may be better off staying in the “big city” of San Jose which has every type of nightlife one can imagine.

Although there are a number of clothing, souvenirs and “sports” shops in town in the area, if shopping is high on your list of priorities, a trip to San Jose would satisfy even the most enthusiastic shopper. Atenas lacks in this area.

Also, for the more extended stay, one must consider that its best to arrive in Costa Rica with every possible item you’ll need during your stay. Prescriptions cannot be mailed into the country, although non-narcotic items can be purchased at several pharmacies without a prescription. Keep in mind that brand names and many ordinary doses for many things are impossible to purchase.

There are many tall trees at the central park.

Shipping supplies into the country will result in long delays due to customs with high tariffs on items that may not be worth shipping into the country with the added expense. From what we’ve been able to perceive to date, Costa Rica is very protective of what enters their land for a few primary reasons.

One, they don’t want any hazardous products entering their country possibly affecting the delicate ecological system. Two, they prefer to sell locally grown and manufactured products offered by their vendors. Three, they can collect taxes on locally sold items.

As a result, expats, used to shopping on Amazon, for instance in their former lives, may become frustrated knowing they have to return to the US or their home country to load up on supplies. 

A water fountain at the park.

We particularly understand these restrictions when we realized I’d run out of my one of my regular prescriptions (I take three) while we were here when unable to purchase an alternative in any close proximity to the original dosage. Thus, I am spreading what I have left, missing one pill every fourth day to no ill effects so far. This plan will get me to Florida where my prescriptions will be waiting in our box of supplies at the hotel.

I could go on and on about Atenas and add more information over our remaining days in Costa Rica until we depart on November 22nd. For those considering moving to Costa Rica, we’ll discuss more on this topic in future posts.

Have a lovely day! 

Photo from one year ago today, October 19, 2016:

In Bali, a large visitor came to call after high tide during the night. Check out those eyes! For more photos, please click here.

How much have we spent on groceries in Costa Rica thus far, as compared to other countries?

Rest Ding Wong restaurant next to a souvenir shop and next, a salon in Atenas.

“Sightings from the Veranda in Costa Rica”

A parasitic plant was growing from a tree in the yard.

As soon as we upload today’s post, we’re heading to town to shop for a few items from the pharmacy and a huge grocery list for the market. We haven’t grocery shopped in 10 days, making “Mother Hubbard’s cupboard” quite bare.

With only 37 more days until we leave Costa Rica, we’ve begun to consider the items we’ll need to last until we then. Also, we’ll be gone for two nights at the end of the month for our visa stamps, leaving us with only 35 days of food and supplies required to last.

A chicken crossing the road.

After all these years, we’ve become adept at these calculations, leaving behind basic staples such as spices, a few canned goods, paper products, and laundry soap for the staff or the next occupants.

Groceries haven’t been as low cost as one would expect based on the “press” about Costa Rica as being a “cheap” place to live. In some ways, it may be more costly for us than others when we buy organic/grass-fed when possible. 

But then, we don’t eat breakfast, lunch, or snacks and don’t buy sodas, alcohol, or cleaning supplies other than laundry and dish/dishwasher soap. Tom’s been eating fruit but has decided to stop after today to lose the five (2.27 kg) pounds he’s gained since we arrived. 

It was roads like this that cause landslides on the highway during Cyclone Nate a few weeks ago.

He’d like to lose about 10 pounds (4.5 kg) before the upcoming cruise in 38 days. After all, we’ll be aboard ship for 30-nights when the food options are tempting and readily available.  He never overeats on a cruise but adding ice cream, sugary desserts, and alcoholic drinks certainly contribute to weight gain. 

Neither of us can afford to gain weight, or our clothing won’t fit. That would be a costly and frustrating dilemma, especially since we just purchased all the dresses for the Antarctica cruise in our regular sizes. That, too, would be a fiasco. Nothing is more uncomfortable than wearing clothes that don’t fit.

Corn growing wild along the guardrail.

Since we arrived in Costa Rica 76 days ago, our grocery bill is a total of US $2,364.05 (CRC 1,349,700).  We’ve only dined out once (for lunch) since we arrived, and I never ordered when nothing on the menu worked for me. 

This averages US $31 (CRC 17,699) per day, higher than we’ve spent in most countries since the onset of our travels, except for Hawaii, where we averaged US $47 (CRC 26,834) per day. Even in Australia, known to be expensive, we averaged US $32 (CRC 18,270) per day.

In South Africa, we spent an average of US $21  (CRC 11,990) per day. Do you see why we’re looking forward to spending less in Africa, upcoming in four months?  Yes, it was almost four years ago, and prices undoubtedly will have increased but most likely not more than 10% or 20%.

We continue in the rainy season, keeping vegetation lush and green.

We’re glad we’ve saved all of these stats on our master spreadsheet. It’s exciting and informative to review expenses in other countries as the years fly by.

Of course, this doesn’t factor in the cost of dining out, which we frequently did in South Africa. Surprisingly those meals rarely exceeded US $25 (CRC 14,273), including drinks and tips. We rarely dined out in Kauai, Hawaii, when the cost for a good meal, with taxes and gratuities, was usually exceeded US $80 (CRC 45,675).

A small business along the highway.

At some point in the future, we’ll share a detailed analysis of the cost of groceries and dining out, including all the countries in which we lived. However, this may not be relevant to most travelers when my dietary restrictions play a considerable role in both groceries and dining.

Again, as we’ve experienced many times in the past, we won’t be cooking a single meal from November 22, 2017, to around February 10, 2018 (when we expect to arrive in Africa), for 80 days. We’ll be dining out during the 31-nights in Buenos Aires, during travel days, and on the two cruises, 30-nights and 17-nights.

With daily heavy cloud cover and rains its seldom it’s evident in the distance.

I surprise myself with literally no anxiety or concern over “what I’ll eat” dining out each day.  Somehow, it manages to work out well, which is especially easy on cruises. In Buenos Aires, I’ll happily dine on those famous Argentinian steaks with a side veg and salad every night if necessary. Most likely, Tom will do the same.

Soon, we’re out the door to shop. We’ll have the taxi driver drop us off in the center of town so we can walk on this gorgeous sunny morning enjoying the surroundings, taking photos, and saying “Hola” or “Buenos Dias” to those we pass along the way.

When visiting local businesses, parking is at a premium.

Happy day to YOU!

Photo from one year ago today, October 16, 2016:

Crab prints on the sand on the beach in Sumbersari Bali. For more photos, please click here.

The realities of daily photo sharing…A reminder of the USA in Alajuela Costa Rica…

Much of the produce at the Central Market in Atenas appears to be imported when it’s perfectly shaped and mostly clean. At the feria, the Friday Atenas Farmer’s Market, the produce seems to have been “just picked” with excess leaves and insects still on them. That’s the produce we prefer to buy.

“Sightings from the Veranda in Costa Rica”

The gnarly trunk of a tree in the yard.

In a perfect world, we ‘d have new and exciting photos for each day’s post. But, in the “real” world that’s simply not possible for us. If we only posted once a week or once a month, it would be easy. 

Our commitment and desire to post daily make this type of objective ridiculous. We’d have to be out sightseeing every day to accomplish such a feat. And like many others, we embrace a pleasant day to day life, it just happens to be in different countries every few months or more frequently during specific periods.

Produce shop in the Central Market.

When locals encourage us to see “this and that” in their country, we smile and say we look forward to seeing many of their homeland’s unique features. We often say, “We are enjoying “living” in your country and relishing its customs, culture, and way of life, although it doesn’t necessarily mean we go sightseeing all the time.

As you live in your homeland, do you go sightseeing all the time…or ever, for that matter? I can’t recall the last time we went sightseeing in Minnesota where collectively we both spent most of our lives (Tom a native; me a transplant in my early 20’s). 

Various meats are hanging in the refrigerated window. In many countries, we’ve seen meat hanging in the window without any type of refrigeration.

Sure, a Minnesotan might take out-of-state visitors to see the Mall of America or Minnehaha Falls. But, once the visitors are gone, it’s back to the usual activities of everyday life.

For us, there are specific sites we’re anxious to see while taking photos to share—some much more than others. But, more so, it’s the serendipitous situations we encounter along the way that provide us with the most excitement and intrigue; the people, the wildlife, and jaw-dropping scenery and vegetation.

 There are a few butcher shops located in the Central Market.

A few days ago, having the rental car, we’d considered driving to the beach. However, with stormy days predicted for each of the five days we had the car, it made no sense to go for four hours (round trip) to get to a beach. 

How many photos of white sand beaches have been posted here over these past five years? Most likely well into the hundreds. Spending more time living in beach towns than anywhere else in the world, one sandy beach photo is not unlike another to our readers.

Costa Rica is getting ready for Christmas.

Don’t get me wrong, and we love beach scenes. But, I also love living near a beach or on an oceanfront property as we have on many occasions, comparable to our time in Bali (four months total) living on the coast in a gorgeous villa such as here in Atenas.

Although Atenas doesn’t have ocean views we’re totally content with the lush views of the Central Valley, the rapidly changing weather conditions, the birds, the sounds of barnyard animals and the easy lifestyle.

In the center of “downtown” Atenas, another farmers-type market is open during the week and Saturdays. Again, there are shops, restaurants, and plenty of produce. We walked through the entire mart but didn’t purchase a thing.

Besides living in a gorgeous home with every possible needed or desired amenity, it is exceedingly comfortable to stay in on the days we don’t have transportation nor a desire to get out. But, isn’t that like all of us? 

Of course, we all know people who are constantly on the go, planning every moment of their day and evening when they’re not working or engaged in obligatory tasks. I often wonder if those people are running from quiet time and their headspace. But I could be wrong.

A discount store in the Atenas village.

We find those quiet times enriching, refueling us for our next out-and-about adventure, sightseeing tour, or drive to the countryside. For us, it’s about balancing our lives with that which we love to do at any given time, whether it’s a lazy afternoon rest on the veranda, a conversation laden hour in the pool, a tour of a popular venue, or watching another episode of Mad Men in the evening.

It all matters.  With so much on the horizon, we’re finding the slow lazy lifestyle in Costa Rica rather appealing. Two months from today, we’ll be boarding the Celebrity Infinity for yet another 30-night cruise which will be the beginning of a year of considerable excitement and photo ops.

As we entered the PriceSmart store, it reminded us of shopping in Costco in our old lives.

Please bear with us as we present the photos we have on hand at any given moment. Many will consist of the continuation of tours we’ve done while here which we may have already presented in part, yet to be posted thus far. They may be out of any particular order and may not match the story of the day. Plus, some days the “Sightings from the Veranda” are limited.  We make every effort to find something new and different, but that’s not always possible.

Yesterday, we drove to the town of Alajuela to find the PriceSmart store (there are six in Costa Rica), surprisingly owned by Costco. We didn’t realize we’d have to purchase a membership to shop, but we didn’t hesitate to spend the US $35 (CRC 20,133.46) when we saw how many items we wanted to buy.

Wow!  Christmas decorations were already on display in PriceSmart.

Although most Spanish labels and all pricing were in Costa Rica colones, we managed pretty well.  Mostly, we were able to find cuts of meat and cheeses we hadn’t been able to find in Atenas. We spent US $395 (CRC 227,226) with enough protein to last several weeks. Luckily, the freezer is large enough to accommodate all of our purchases.

Most of all, it felt especially fun for us to be in basically what appeared to be a Costco store, here in Costa Rica.  The Kirkland marked packages of items brought back memories of our Costco store in Eden Prairie Minnesota where we often shopped. It was pretty enjoyable.

Goodness folks!  It’s still only September!

We scurried about when we returned to the villa bringing in all the items, many that didn’t fit into our yellow Costco bag or our Africa bag we carry with us throughout the world.  I put everything away while Tom hauled it in from the car. Isabel was still cleaning the house, so we hurried and put the perishables away, allowing her space to finish her work.

Tonight, we’re making one of our favorite meals, unwich (bread-less Subway-type) sandwiches, with a side of coleslaw and cooked vegetables. We haven’t had these since we made them at Richard’s home in Henderson Nevada in July. He enjoyed them as much as we always have. Also, Pricesmart had the gluten/sugar-free Boarshead meats and Provolone cheese, something we’d never find in Atenas.

Today, at noon we’ll head to the cafe at Supermercado Coopeatenas to return the car, grab a few items inside the market and return by taxi. No doubt it will be another good day.

May your day be good as well!

Photo from one year ago today, September 23, 2016:

Sunset reddened clouds are reflecting in our pool in Sumbersari Bali.  For more photos, please click here.

Yeah!…Rental car day…Out and about at last…More museum photos including some unusual items…

Juan Ramon was excited to show us this bottle with a marble inside.

“Sightings from the Veranda in Costa Rica”

Oranges growing in the yard. 

Soon, at 11:00 am, we’re picking up the rental car at the grocery store cafe. We’ll get most of the grocery shopping done, and then on Saturday, when we return the car, we’ll pick up a few more items to last until we rent the car again, nine days later.

This schedule is working well for us, leaving us stranded for only a part of each month. Also, we’re saving thousands of dollars in outrageous rental fees, insurance, and taxes while we’re continuing our strict budget during this period in Costa Rica.

A bucket and miscellaneous tools.

After today, we’ll have paid for the upcoming 30-night back-to-back cruises on which we’ll embark in 66 days.  Next month, we’ll pay the balance of the expensive Antarctica cruise at US $13,875 (CRC 8,003,794). 

A stone toilet for an outhouse.  Notice the corn cobs which were used in place of toilet paper.

At that point, we won’t have to pay for another cruise until January 1, 2019, for a cruise on March 24, 2019, which sails from Santiago, Chile, to San Diego, California. From there, we’ll spend some time visiting family in the US once again how the time flies! That’s only 19 months from now!

Push mowers.  We’ve yet to see a power mower being used in Atenas.

We’ll be jumping around a bit, but this schedule worked out best for us when we were determined to spend about a year in Africa beginning this upcoming February. 

Some heating equipment.

Shortly after we decide where we’ll travel after visiting the US in 2019, we’ll be posting a new itinerary. We continue to discuss our options, but the world is a huge place. At that point, we’ll have visited all seven continents and be returning to countries we’d yet to visit.

A small kiln is used for cooking.

Also, watching the world news on TV while in Costa Rica has convinced us it’s unlikely we’ll stay in many big cities where we’d be inclined to use public transportation, dine at outdoor cafes and tour popular tourist venues. The risks are higher in these areas than in more remote locations. 

Antique jugs and jars.

Every country has a “countryside” or outlying area packed with desirable vacation/holiday homes, and we have no concern over finding and booking extraordinary properties befitting our tastes and desires as we have over this past almost five years.

In the interim, we’re content in Atenas. We knew we’d be here during the rainy season, but there’s no way to avoid these types of situations when we’re traveling year-round. 

Coffee-making utensils.

With most of the rain occurring after 12:00 pm, we’ve managed to spend time in and around the pool as soon as we’ve uploaded the daily post. A day like today, which has started cloudy, almost always ensures we won’t see any sunshine today, putting a damper on the possibility of sightseeing.

Instead, we’ll shop for groceries, pick up a few items at the pharmacy and return to the villa. Putting away all the groceries is a time-consuming process when washing and preparing the produce can take upwards of an hour. I often wonder if it’s just me that takes so long. 

A potpourri of old tools and other items.

Do you spend an hour or more time prepping vegetables for the upcoming week? I’d love to hear from you.  I understand some shoppers may wash their vegetables as they use them. But, with dirt, excess leaves, and overgrown vegetation on many of the items, I can’t see the point of placing anything into the refrigerator until everything is washed, dried, and appropriately bagged.

Although we’ll still go to the Friday Atenas Farmers Market, we need to purchase enough produce today to last through the next four nights. With our way of eating, we go through tremendous amounts of fresh produce each week. 

An old-fashioned scale.

For example, for last night’s dinner alone, we used the following vegetables: onions, tomatoes, celery, cabbage, carrots, green beans, zucchini, bell peppers, and fresh garlic. This results in considerable time spent prepping the veggies upon returning from the market and subsequently chopping and dicing as needed for the specific meal—busy work.

With a taxi coming in 30 minutes to take us to Mercado Coopeatenas to get the car, I’m wrapping this up now. We’ll be back with more new photos again tomorrow. This week, regardless of the weather, we’ll get out and take new photos to share with all of you each day.

Have a pleasant day filled with happy surprises!

Photo from one year ago today, September 18, 2016:

Family gatherings on the beach in Sumbersari Bali amid the trash that rolls in with the tide along with trash left behind by locals and visitors.  Bali hasn’t yet embraced the concept of keeping its island and beaches less cluttered with garbage. However, a large portion of the beach trash is a result of that left at sea by others. For more details, please click here.

Yesterday’s power outage…Taking advantage of having a car…Lots of sightseeing and photos…

During this rainy season, every blue sky is a treat.

“Sightings from the Veranda in Costa Rica”

During a pelting rainstorm, this gutter pipe, stemming from the villa’s roof to a portion of the lawn, was spouting like a fountain due to the powerful rains.

While preparing yesterday’s post, Tom heard a loud boom that sounded like a transformer blowing out. Indeed, seconds later, we lost power along with the WiFi connection.

A school we passed in a village as we drove through the mountains.

Rather than panic and rush to the store to buy ice to preserve the food in the refrigerator and freezer, we decided to give it some time to be resolved. Based on the reading on the clock, it came back about three hours later while we were gone on a sightseeing expedition.

The trees are painted to avoid rot and insect infiltration.  There’s some debate about the effectiveness of this technique, but we’ve seen this done in many countries throughout the world.
We’d planned to stop for ice on the way back, unsure if the power had come back on, but Tom suggested he’d run back out if we still didn’t have electricity when we returned around 5:00 pm.  Why buy the ice if we didn’t need it?
We encountered many old tiny houses along the way.

Instead, he suggested, once we were back inside the villa and found we had power once again, that we’d start accumulating plastic bags of ice to store in the bottom of the freezer for just such a purpose. 

The greenery everywhere is breathtaking.

During the last power outage, we didn’t have a car to drive to town to buy ice, but we managed for 10 hours without it. If we keep our supply, we won’t have to worry when this occurs again…and undoubtedly, based on two occurrences in two weeks, this will happen again.

Fences made with unfinished logs are commonly seen in Costa Rica.

I guess the most challenging part of being without power is being unable to complete and upload the day’s post, the apprehension as to how we’ll preserve our food, and the anticipation of spending the evening before bed in the dark.

The sunny morning allowed us to takes photos with expansive views of the valley.

Now that we’ve decided to do the five-day car rental every other week and compact our exploring and sightseeing into these small time frames, it’s less problematic when we may not always be stranded when there’s a power outage. Without a car, the lack of power seemed to add to the inconvenience.

It’s not unusual to see welcoming signs when entering an area.

After picking up the rental car on Monday morning, we’ve made a point of getting out each day. Today, we have enough new and exciting photos from this week’s activities to upload over the next month with the experiences we so enjoyed in the process.

A corner shop in a tiny village in the mountains.

Yesterday was such a unique experience. We may share that story and photos over a few days, beginning tomorrow. It was one of the best production/farming tours we ever experienced in our five years of world travel. We can’t wait to share it with all of YOU.

Fence making not entirely completed.

We’re sorry for yesterday’s lack of a post. We could see from the stats that many of our readers continued to see if we’d ever been able to add a normal-sized post. We’d hoped to get started on it early this morning but at 7:00 am, we were out the door and on our way to the Friday Atenas Farmers Market.

We won’t have a car again until September 18th, although we already have plans about what we’d like to do. A few days ago, we’d written how I wasn’t quite up to hiking. In the past two days on specific tours, we embarked on two strenuous hikes, although only one hour each. I managed pretty well and was pleased to be able to participate.

Every road is bordered by lush greenery.

In time, I’ll continue to rebuild my strength to handle the possible eight to 10-hour hike to see the gorillas in Uganda upcoming in about eight months. The best way to do this is to get out and walk as much as we can. We’re working on it.

Here’s the photo from this morning’s trip to the Farmers Market, including the cost:

Included in this morning’s farmers market shopping but not shown in this photo are two giant free-range chickens and a small bag of fresh turmeric root which I’ll use to make a tea. The total we spent for all the items, including those not shown, was US $48.50 (CRC 28,058).
Have a happy, healthy day!

Photo from one year ago yesterday, September 7, 2016: (Since there was no post yesterday, we’re including September 7 and September 8, 2016, year ago photos.  See below):

Each morning when we walked in Bali, we’d seen this huge pig, but they hadn’t been in a good spot for a photo when the yard is shrouded in greenery.  That morning, we had a chance to see “a pig in the mud.” We howled. For more photos, please click here.
Photo from one year ago yesterday, September 8, 2016:
This was a working well at the home of a local in the neighborhood in Sumbersari, Bali. Click here for more photos.

We’re here!…Power is back on after 10 hours…We’re off to the big city…More Atenas Friday Farmers Market…

When this sweet and friendly butcher at the Farmers Market spotted me with the camera, he willingly posed! The people of Costa Rica are approachable and warm.

“Sightings from the Veranda in Costa Rica”

A breathtaking ridge of low-lying clouds.

Two things are of most concern to us when there’s a power outage; one, that our food in the refrigerator and freezer will spoil, and two, the prospect of boredom at night in the dark.

Check out the size of those bananas!

We can easily entertain ourselves during the day by playing cards, chatting, sunning and swimming in the pool.  But, once darkness falls, life without power is daunting.  Our phone batteries are usually dead by dark, and thus we’re unable to read online books, and our laptops may only have enough juice to watch one to two downloaded shows or one movie.

Last night would have been incredibly annoying in the dark had the power not come back on at 1:00 pm yesterday. As it turned out, my laptop, which contains all of the downloaded shows, was dead when I attempted to fire it up when the power returned.

Some vendors offered handmade crafts.

Somehow, on Saturday night, the plug-in came loose, totally draining the battery. We wouldn’t have been able to watch a thing or…to transfer a show to Tom’s laptop. Thank goodness we got the power back yesterday.

These handmade shoes were beautifully made.

In the realm of things, none of it’s a big deal. We could be like the folks dealing with floods and devastation after massive Hurricane Harvey over these past days. Who are we to complain?

Then again, with us humans, it’s all relative. We each live in our moment in time, and although we may feel empathy for those less fortunate, we do tend to get caught up in our own “dilemma of the moment.”

Handmade candles.

Besides the 10-hour power outage on Sunday and the resulting lack of WiFi, which doesn’t work without power, the three sinks in the kitchen had begun leaking on Saturday night to the point where we can no longer use them. Julio is coming today to make the repairs.

These perfectly shaped tomatoes may have been imported, which we’ve discovered is not unusual at markets throughout the world. Instead, we purchase a big bag of uneven, less perfect tomatoes, as shown below.

Luckily, we already had last night’s meal prepared, which required reheating the meat for our taco salads.  No worries there.  We’d have managed even without power when the gas range still worked, power or not.

On Saturday, when we went to Supremercade Coopeatenas, we waited at the outdoor cafe for the rental car #1 guy to pick up the car at 10:00 am after our five-day rental. (This morning at 8:30 am, taxi driver Henry picks us up to get rental car #2 near the San Jose airport).

These are the tomatoes we purchased.

While we waited, we met a lovely couple Pat and Jim, from the US, who owns a home nearby but happen to be returning to the US this week for an extended stay. Gosh, it was fun chatting with them. Their five years of experience living in Atenas were helpful to us. 

They even followed us into the market to show us where to find whole cream and unsweetened coconut milk. Yeah! The cream wasn’t located in a refrigerator section but instead was on a dry shelf in a shelf-stable container. The coconut milk was situated in the liquor section near the rum. Oh, I get it.  In three and a half months, we’d never have found those two much-needed items.

There are many apple orchards in the area.

While checking out, we met another lovely person, Sarah, who wrote down her phone number and whom we’ll call for a get-together in a few weeks. Her husband had just had surgery and needed a few weeks to recover before socializing. Most certainly, we’ll make contact.

Gorgeous flowers for that special occasion.

After the visits with the ex-pats, we purchased several kilos of organic chicken breasts and pork chops when the market was having its special Saturday sale. We filled our insulated bags to the brim, grabbed a taxi in front of the market, and were back to our villa a little after midnight.

We purchased six heads of this lettuce for our big daily salads.

With no car over the weekend until we pick up the rental this morning, we felt a bit stranded on Sunday, exacerbated by the lack of electricity. If we’d had wheels, we could have gone into town to buy bags of ice to keep the food cold. 

Instead, we dumped all the ice from the ice maker into a large cooler and added all the perishables from the refrigerator. Everything survived, and the frozen meats in the freezer stayed frozen. 

More locally grown fruit.

I’d prepared a short post yesterday to inform our readers that we weren’t able to post. I’d considered doing the post in the afternoon. Still, after changing my usual morning posting routine, I decided against it and took the rest to re-organize after the power outage and get caught up on a few tasks.

Now that we’ll have a car, we have many exciting tours on the horizon. Please stay in touch as we continue to share them with all of you.

Have a wonderful day!

Photo from one year ago today, August 28, 2016:

The elaborate sign at the entrance to the Muay Thai Kickboxing facility down the road from us. Many nights we can hear the activity. For more photos, please click here.

A small Farmers Market with a big punch!…Wow!…

This is, by far, the largest carrot we’ve ever seen. We couldn’t stop laughing over the size of this!

“Sightings from the Veranda in Costa Rica”

Last night’s violent thunderstorm was one of the worst we’ve seen.  Check out our video from the veranda.

As mentioned in yesterday’s post, we were out the door by 7:00 am to get to the Atenas Farmers Market which is highly regarded by locals, expats, and tourists who have the opportunity to spend time in this cozy community.

Check out the size of these radishes!

Although the market wasn’t huge like Rusty’s Market in Cairns Australia, the largest we’ve ever seen, it was diverse in a way that piqued our curiosity as well as sending us on a shopping spree to partake and savor many of the fine products offered by local farmers and vendors.

There’s something magical about visiting farmers’ markets throughout the world. It gives us an inside view of the foods the locals consider most likely to provide them with sales but also indicates those products they use in their day-to-day lives. 

These, too, are some of the enormous carrots we’ve seen.  The others in the bin are typical full-sized carrots.

Indeed, some of the non-food items, mostly local crafts and handmade goods, are expensive and often rightfully so, based on the quality workmanship and attention to detail we often see exhibited. 

The produce, both fruits, and vegetables are reasonably priced. We purchased a wide array of food items from quail eggs (a first for us), to homemade Italian sausage. 

CRC 1000 is equivalent to US $1.75. Prices are very reasonable at the Atenas Farmers Market and the organic products are excellent. We’ll be returning every Friday morning from here on.

Lately, as mentioned, with Tom finding he can eat fruit without gaining weight or suffering ill effects (lucky Tom), we purchased apples, bananas, and watermelon. 

We hadn’t purchased a watermelon since living in the US. Once he finishes the cut pineapple that’s in the fridge, I’ll cut and seed the watermelon for him. Much to our delight, this villa has numerous large Tupperware-type containers that will work perfectly. 

Many local farmers bottle their own products such as this spicy sauce and bottles of honey (to the right).

Unlike the US, none of the watermelon grown is seedless. Whenever I’ve cut watermelon with seeds, I’ve permanently removed every source, which I’ll do again. The hard part will be to avoid snacking on it while preparing it for Tom. Indeed, my mouth will be watering over the watermelon although I won’t take as much as a taste.

There are 18 grams of sugar is one typical sized slice of watermelon, equivalent to 4.5 teaspoons of sugar, with 21 grams of carbohydrates. When consumed, the body doesn’t perceive the fructose in the fruit any differently than it would if one downed the sugar it contains in teaspoons. Research is now coming to the forefront to substantiate these facts about the dangers of sugar in any form, fruit and starches included—enough about that.

The last time we saw dragon fruit was in Australia. 

As we walked through the rows in the farmers market before we put anything into our grocery cart, we had a hard time deciding where we’d purchase such items as tomatoes, lettuce and purple onions. Each stand looked lush and ripe with its variety of succulent produce. 

It was easy to determine that the produce was organic when we discovered bugs and worms as we handled the products when making our selections.  Also, the uneven shapes and sizes further exemplified that few, if any chemicals were used in growing these products. They reminded me other organic produce we’ve purchased from farmers in countries throughout the world.

These red beets are enormous.  I love beets but they contain too much sugar for my way of eating.

Back “home” a few hours later, with Isabel still here engaged in her usual cleaning frenzy, we monopolized the kitchen while we washed, prepared and bagged the clean produce. 

We always eyeball the baked goods but never purchase any.  These buns looked delicious.

She usually cleans the kitchen last so we had plenty of time to get everything under control and put away. I chopped tomatoes, lettuce, and purple onion for last night’s taco salad dinner. 

Within an hour we were done in the kitchen allowing time to finish posting yesterday’s story and photos and uploading it close to our usual time. I’d prepared part of it prior to leaving the house making the completion easy and less time-consuming.

These red hairy-looking fruits are rambutan. Atop the rambutan is an adorably decorated squash.

This morning at 10:00 am we’re meeting the car rental guy at Supermercado Coopeatenas, to drop off car #1. Afterward, we’ll arrange a taxi to return us to the villa where we’ll be stranded over the weekend. On Monday, we’ll take a cab to San Jose to pick up car #2 which we’ll keep for our remaining time in Costa Rica.

Tom checked out the cafe in the Farmers Market.  He’s always on the lookout for donuts.

So far, after last night’s wild thunderstorm, the sun is shining and the day is lovely. May you have a sunny and bright day!

Photo from one year ago today, August 26, 2016:

Chalong Bay in Phuket.  For more Thailand photos as we wound down our time in the country, please click here.

Continuing photos from visit to Zoo Ave in Costa Rica…Off to Friday morning Farmers Market…Back tomorrow with photos…

This was a first for us, seeing red bananas, which are supposedly sweeter than yellow bananas.

“Sightings from the Veranda in Costa Rica”

We were in awe of this view from the veranda when the afternoon clouds roll in each day.

This morning at 7:00 am, we took off for the Atenas Friday Farmers Market. A few weeks ago, we attempted to visit the market in the early afternoon, only to discover the times posted online were incorrect. Its correct hours of operation are from 6:00 am, closing at 1:00 pm, Fridays only.

We’d heard this was a familiar spot to meet ex-pats and locals;  buy produce, flowers, and spices, and get the natural feel of the energy of this small town with a population of about 5,000, with 27,000 in the entire district of Atenas.

Isabel and I couldn’t figure out what type of fruit this is.

Tomorrow, we’ll be back with photos from the Atenas Farmers Market. Although we’d grocery shopped on Tuesday, purchasing most of our needed produce and other items, we made a list of a few things we’d buy at the market to last over the weekend until we shop again for next week. 

We hope to redo our grocery shopping day to Fridays, enabling us to purchase all of the produce at the Farmers Market. Most of the produce is locally grown and organic when shopping at the local grocery stores, although not explicitly certified in Costa Rica from what we tell thus far.

We were disappointed not to get a better photo of this sloth. Nevertheless, they are fascinating animals commonly found living in the trees in the jungles and forests of Costa Rica.

This weekend we plan to make one of our favorite dishes, taco salad, using grass-fed ground beef, lettuce, olives, onion, tomatoes, avocados, and homemade taco seasoning. I often add hard-boiled eggs to my salad and a little homemade salad dressing.

It’s now 10:00 am, and we returned from the Atenas Farmers Market about two hours ago, loaded up with goodies we’ll share with photos in tomorrow’s post. It was a great market!

Another failed attempt at a sloth photo when we were trying to shoot through the fence.

Once we returned, we found Isabel, our cleaner, chatting with Ulysses and just about ready to enter to clean our villa.  She has a key and doesn’t need us to let her in. So, loaded up with our fruit and vegetable(Tom’s been eating some fruit since we arrived) and other foods, we hustled to get indoors to wash the produce, put everything away, and start the pot of meat cooking on the stove for tonight’s taco salads.

We wanted to hurry and get out of the way to allow Isabel space to clean. But, this house is so big, it would be hours before she’d get near the kitchen. So, busily, both Tom and I got to work washing, drying, and dicing vegetables for the salad. What a treat it is that there’s a salad spinner here. We hadn’t had one of those since Trinity Beach, Australia, in the summer of 2015.

This Giant Bamb0o tree, as shown in the two photos of us, was no less than 4 meters in diameter.

Finally, we got the meat cooked, and it’s now cooling in the refrigerator to be reheated later for dinner.  We love hot taco meat topped with melted cheese atop the other salad ingredients. In addition, two ripe avocados are waiting to be sliced that I’d left out to ripen these past few days.

While we were gone, we downloaded season eight of Master Chef, another bit of mindless drivel we enjoy from time to time. Part of the simple pleasures of our daily lives includes a day just like today. 

Tom is standing next to the Giant Bamboo tree to gain a perspective of its massive size.  The vegetation at Zoo Ave was almost as interesting as the wildlife.

We were out the door at 7:00 am to head to the Farmers Market. We took tons of photos and spoke to many locals in our very choppy Spanish as best as we could. We’re prepared, chopped, and diced vegetables for a beautiful dinner tonight, somewhat befitting Costa Rica’s style of food. 

At the moment, the sun is shining with rain predicted, as always, in the afternoon. Around noon, I’ll call my sister Julie in California to wish her a happy birthday and then, shortly after, call my sister Susan to remind her to contact Julie. Since Susan had a brain bleed six months ago due to a severe fall, her memory isn’t quite so good anymore, and I’ve made a point of calling her to remind her of important events.

I used repellent at the facility but did get a few mosquito bites but indeed not as many as expected on the hot, humid day.

Oh, we all must grab what we can from life, living it to the fullest, embracing every single moment to fill our hearts and minds with good thoughts and great memories.  Our lives are but fleeting moments in the realm of the space and time of the world around us. Grab it all. Treasure it…for as long as we can.

Photo from one year ago today, August 25, 2016:

BBC news photo of earthquake rubble as rescuers search for victims of that week’s 6.2 catastrophic event. See details below. For our post about this disaster, please click here.

A dream kitchen adds to the experience in Costa Rica…

The end of the island with the sinks has a stepped-down countertop with a shorter barstool.  This spot is ideal for sitting and chopping and dicing or sitting for a quick meal.
“Sighting from the Veranda in Costa Rica”
Two more birds perished from hitting the glass wall in the veranda. It’s heartbreaking to witness these while sitting right here.
These two pigeons flew into the glass at precisely the same moment and died immediately from what we could tell. Ulysses, the groundskeepers removed them to prevent the vultures flying overhead from stopping by.  Audubon Society approved stickers on the glass,s but they don’t deter the birds entirely. Although our friends/property owners, Bev and Sam, stated the stickers have helped considerably. Crashes and two deaths since we arrived.

Today, we’re rushing a bit. At 11:00 am I have a phone conference with our accountant in Nevada and shortly after, we’re heading to the popular local Farmers Market in Atenas that occurs every Friday.

This “Caterer’s or Baker’s” extra kitchen includes a newer model dishwasher, coffee maker, toaster oven, toaster, microwave and number varying sizes of plastic containers with lids.  Plenty of kitchen towels and supplies are in drawers and cabinets below. Tom rinses the dishes here and then fills the dishwasher.

Up and out of bed by 5:30, I did our laundry (the cleaner does the bedding when she comes tomorrow), made the bed and tidied up the house (as we do each morning). Tom emptied the dishwasher which we run every other day to save on power. 

The over-sized oven is perfect for us as well as the double door refrigerators with water and ice dispenser on the door. What a treat!

I continued to find household tasks to accomplish while Tom happily watched last night’s Minnesota Vikings pre-season football game using the GamePass app and the HDMI cord for the 80″ TV screen while drinking his morning coffee. (I’ve yet to have coffee when we haven’t been able to find real whole cream. I wonder what Costa Ricans use to make whipped cream desserts). 

We’ve noticed a ton of readers reading our site in Costa Rica. Can anyone near Atenas suggest where we can purchase real full-fat cream (whipping cream, unsweetened), the real deal, not Cremora or a powdered chemical laden alternative? Gosh, I’d love a cup of Joe.

This island includes a new model four-burner self-igniting gas range, wine cooler at left end, bucket with kitchen utensil and Chicago Cutlery knife block. Both islands have granite counter tops.

It’s hard to believe we have both a dishwasher and a clothes dryer, luxuries we’ve lived without most of this past almost five years. In our old lives, we took such conveniences for granted.  Now, we almost use them hesitantly after all this time of managing without them.

There’s no doubt, they both save considerable time although I never minded hanging the clothes outdoors and Tom never complained about washing the dishes by hand. 

There’s every sized bowl, plate, and glass we could possibly need or want.  Check out the huge pot on the top shelf.  That’s been sorely lacking in most vacation homes.

Over these past 11 days since arriving in Atenas, we’ve come to appreciate the many fine features in this property while accepting the reality that many of these are truly luxuries that we won’t have available to us in the future, at least not quite in the same way. So we’d better not become spoiled!

Today’s photos include not only those for the main kitchen but also the additional cleanup kitchen aka, Baker’s or Caterer’s Kitchen, now found in many higher end houses as well as in some old kitchens of decades past, often referred to as a “pantry kitchen.” 

There are actually two center islands in the kitchen. This island includes three barstools and a double sink with instant cold/hot water dispenser.

See this article below I spotted in an online magazine:

A Second Kitchen for Dirty Dishes

First, it was two ovens, then two dishwashers, we knew it wouldn’t be long before a high-end home genius somewhere said, why not two kitchens? From Long Island to LA, the two-kitchen trend—called a Bakers’ or Caterer’s Kitchen—is creeping into high-dollar homes to contain the cooking chaos. For as little as $15,000, homeowners can add additional “closed” kitchen space to their “open kitchen.” Some are pantry-sized with minimal appliances, like the secondary draft kitchen in one North Dallas home created to vent while cooking Indian cuisine. Others are larger than the main kitchen itself, decked out with granite slabs, custom cabinetry, and top-of-the-line appliances.
“The main kitchen has become co-mingled with the family room,” says Tatum Brown Custom Home’s Mark Danuser. Kitchens today are equipped with televisions, fireplaces, stools, and sofas. As a result, the room is sometimes overcrowded and it’s almost impossible to, well, cook in. Tatum Brown has built three Dallas custom homes with what Danuser calls “hybrid kitchens”—second kitchens that do double duty as the craft room or caterer’s kitchen. His high-end buyers love them.

Yes, we do love this extra kitchen which is larger than many of the galley-type kitchens we’ve had all over the world.  I particularly recall the tiniest of them all, the kitchen in Diani Beach, Kenya.  Click here for the link to the house photos which includes two photos of that tiny kitchen which is much smaller than the “Caterer’s Kitchen” in this villa in Costa Rica.

In many kitchens that were larger than in Kenya, many were lacking in equipment such as in the first house in Fiji which we discovered had no oven at all. So the owner, Mario, went out and purchased a counter top oven for our use during the three months. 

We squealed with delight when we noticed the whisk, the garlic press and the stainless steel measuring spoons in upper left corner.  There’s even a meat thermometer!

We can’t imagine functioning well without an oven for a three month period when many of our meals and side dishes require some baking or broiling. Unfortunately, not everything can be cooked in a peeling Teflon pan (yuck). At times, we’ve asked for a better quality pan or even purchased one ourselves which ultimately, we left behind.

Another area of concern in most vacation homes is the lack of mixing bowls. Oh my goodness, we’ve had kitchens that didn’t have a large enough bowl to toss dressing for a salad for two. We often tossed salads in tin foil pans we’d purchased to use for baking when no baking pans were available either.

As for knives…yikes…I’ve cut myself more times than I can count using dull and unpredictable knives when each day I usually spent most of my cooking prep time in chopping and dicing, a by-product of making lots of fresh produce and unprocessed foods. 

We were so excited when we saw this egg slicer, the first we’ve had to use in years! There is even a peeler and micro plane. We’ve been carrying around a peeler, measuring cup and turner all these years.

But, dear readers…not here in La Perla! This kitchen practically has every imaginable kitchen tool, knife, bowl, pan, gadget and major appliance. There’s even a wine cooler built into the kitchen cabinets! 

And, of course, there’s the second kitchen where Tom can be busy loading the dishwasher contained therein, while I scrubbing down the sink and counters with hot soapy water every night after we eat. 

A few nights ago I got distracted for a short while and hadn’t yet wiped up the granite counter tops and the sink. Around 7:00 pm when I finally wandered into the main kitchen to do my part of the cleanup, three giant bugs jumped up out of the sink aiming for me. 

Oh, good grief. I didn’t scream. I’m preparing myself for Africa once again…no shrieking, no screaming. Instead, I grabbed a paper towel and scooped them  out of the sink and squeezed the paper towel until I was sure they were “gone.” Then, I threw them into the trash and scrubbed my hands in hot soapy water.

Wine cooler in the kitchen at the end of one of the two center islands.

Sorry, bug lovers, I can’t quite get a fix on the type of insects although I’m much more compassionate about most of Mother Nature’s creepy crawlers. We often scoop up insects we find indoors with a broom and dustpan and send them outdoors where they belong.

Anyway, back to La Perla’s kitchen…need I say? It’s divine and I’m finding cooking our daily meals easier and more delightful than its been in years.  Thanks to Bev and Sam for their creative ideas, tasteful design and well-stocked kitchen which these travelers are appreciating more than most (since we cook much more than tourists who typically stay a week or two).

Soon we’re off to the Farmers Market and we’ll be back with more new photos tomorrow. Also, more La Perla photos will continue in days to come.

Have a happy weekend!

Photo from one year ago today, August 11, 2016:

No disrespect intended here when Tom wanted to illustrate the size of this statue while also making me laugh at his copycat antics. For more photos from Phuket Thailand, please click here.