Learning to speak a little Spanish in town...Nature along the way...

Check out those ears.  They certainly were flicking back and forth when we stopped to say "hola!"
"Sightings from the Veranda in Costa Rica"

If you look carefully, you can see the butterfly atop this cracked piece of fruit lying on the ground that I shot when I just happened to look over the railing for photos for this feature.  We've seen more butterflies in Costa Rica than we've seen anywhere in the world.  
Yesterday morning Henry arrived at 11:30 am to take us into town.  We had four stops in mind including the pharmacy, the cell phone store for more data and calling, the health food store for more almond flour and organic nuts, and the Supermercado Coopeatena for groceries.

Last week we'd tried the warehouse-type MaxiPalil but it didn't seem to have as much variety as the Supermercado Coopeatenas.  Between both major markets in town we still can't find whole cream, parchment paper, and imported cheeses. 

In Costa Rica, there are certain cheeses, types of queso, that the locals use that aren't necessarily good for snacking.  We tried a few different brands of Gouda and Edam but they didn't taste quite right.  Also, they all have a thin layer of paper under the wax covering that's difficult to remove.

We love cows and all barnyard animals as our long time readers are well aware.
Since we only eat one meal a day usually about every 24 hours, a little cheese plate after dinner is a nice touch.  We're not doing so well in that department right now.  Instead, I purchased a few types of organic unsalted nuts at the health food store which I'm having instead of the cheese.  Tom doesn't seem to mind picking off the bits of paper. I have no patience for that.

We entered the pharmacy looking for some over-the-counter meds for my continuing gastrointestinal issue and were surprised to find an armed guard at the entrance who opened the door for us.  Upon entering, the pharmacist and other staff were behind windows with steel bars to secure the inventory, comparable to those found in banks of yesteryear.

This was a first for us.  I contemplated taking a photo but knew there was no way it would have been allowed so I didn't ask or take out the camera.  The pharmacist spoke a little English and together with my sketchy Spanish, we managed to communicate well.
Could this be a mom and her calf?
Afterward, we headed to the Macrobiotica Health Food store where they now knew us.  They speak no English but I've since learned "harina de almendras" which translates to almond flour and also, "nueces" which is "nuts."

Oh, dear, I won't bore our readers with the Spanish words we're learned nor will we start writing in Spanish but, I'm determined to learn as much as possible while we're here when South America is on the horizon. 

Although, surprisingly slightly more than half the citizens of South America speak Portuguese.  We tried learning that language while we were in Madeira, Portugal in 2014 and never got much further than "obrigado," which translates to "thank you."  In every country, the first words we make a point of learning is "thank you." 
A fence around a property on the way to the village.
Tom is still messing up his "gracias" (Spanish) and "grazie" (Italian) from summer of 2013 when we lived in Boveglio, Tuscany, Italy for three full months. 
He always makes me laugh when he says "grazie" here in Costa Rica but the locals seem to get it.  Then again, he was still saying "grazie" (from habit) when we were in Kenya which followed Italy.  

It's not easy learning a new language at our ages.  We realize how beneficial doing so is for our aging brains, along with all the other morsels we learn each and every day, all stimulating to the ancient neurons in our heads.

After the health food store, we had to find where we could recharge the free Movistar (yes, that's spelled correctly) SIM card we were given at the appliance and furniture store when we first arrived.  We didn't want to run out of data using the SIM when we drive the long distance to the dentist on Monday.  That would not be good. 
A newer building at the end of the tiny strip mall we entered for the "Pharmacia."
They don't us "Maps" here in Costa Rica.  Instead, they use an app called "Waze."  Hopefully, this will help us get to where we're going on Monday, a 45 minutes drive from Atenas. 

On Monday morning at 10:00 am we'll be meeting the rental car guy outside at the cafe at the Supermercado Coopeatena who apparently speaks English.  From there, we'll take the car and find our way to the small town where the large dental clinic is located with nine English speaking dentists.

We imagine visitors may come from the US to this clinic for dental work when prices are considerably lower than in the US and other countries.  We'll let you know how it goes after our appointment, with photos, of course.

Recharging the SIM card was painless when the rep spoke a little English and was able to reload data and calling on the card for US $17.37 (CRC 10,000).  We have no idea how much data or calling we have but at least it should be enough for next week when we have a car for five days.

Most of the buildings in town are old and well-used but not nearly as much as we've seen in many other parts of the world.  It feels safe in the village and we can freely walk from one location to another.
From there the trip to the market went fine.  We got most items on our list now that we've excluded items we know they don't have available.  Henry waited for us in the car during each of these trips and helped us load the bags into the trunk when we were done. 

Once back inside the gated neighborhood, Henry promptly stopped when he heard me squeal with delight when I spotted the two cows close to the road as shown in today's photos.

Back at the villa before 2:00 pm, we put everything away while we spent the remainder of the day preparing dinner and researching.  I spent some time in the outdoor Jacuzzi which was lovely.  No complaints here.

Have a pleasant day!

Photo from one year ago today, August 15, 2016:

While in Phuket, I was recovering from the injury to my spine and wasn't able to get out much, although we had a rental car.  However, we did tour some sites including the Phuket Seashell Museum.  For more photos, please click here.


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