Visiting another town in Costa Rica...Naranjo...Chatting with friends on Skype...


 Basilica Nuestra Senora de las Piedades is one of the most beautiful Catholic temples in Costa Rica, unique in its Renaissance style, was built between 1924 and 1928.
"Sightings from the Veranda in Costa Rica"
Colorful flowers are blooming throughout the villa's grounds.  Ulysses takes great care to ensure everything is perfectly groomed.
Naranjo is the capital city of the canton of Naranjo in the province of Alajuela in Costa Rica. It is also the name of the district that includes the city. The district of Naranjo covers an area of 25.75 km² and has a population of 19,760.

We visited Naranjo last week when we had the rental car hoping to see this well-known Catholic church.  Upon arrival, we discovered the church was temporarily closed due to renovation.  Instead, we wandered around the center of town and the local park, observing yet another community filled with friendly people.
Many towns in Costa Rica have Central Parks such as this in Naranjo.
From this site
"The town of Naranjo, settled in 1830, was originally known as “Los Naranjos” (the Orange Groves) due to the abundance of orange trees in the surrounding area. Although the name has been shortened and the amount of orange trees lessened, this city of 35,000 has remained an important agricultural hub for Costa Rica.

Set at the base of the Espírito Santo Hills in Costa Rica’s gorgeous Central Valley, the area surrounding the town is stippled with farms growing all kinds of crops– plantains, corn, tapioca, coffee, rice, beans, sugar cane, tobacco, and beef, to name a few.
On a recent road trip, we visited the town of Naranjo to see this church, the Basilica de Naranjo.
The coffee plantations are perhaps the best represented, and plantation tours are becoming increasingly popular among tourists. This fertile area is drained by the Grande Colorado, Molino, Barranca, and El Espino rivers, and, at an elevation of 3,398 feet (1,036 meters), the temperature is a consistently cool 68° F (20° C).

Each year a large festival honoring of the Virgin de Lourdes brings in visitors from all over the country to Naranjo. Additionally, there is an attractive baroque-style church in town that is worth checking out.
Many local citizens travel on foot to get to around town when cars are expensive and bus service is limited.
Capital city of the canton Naranjo in the Alajuela province, Naranjo is 27 miles (44 km) from San José. The town of Sarchí, renowned for its abundance of fine handicrafts, is 3 miles (5 km) west. The road north leads to Ciudad Quesada and the Northern Lowlands, and is one of the country’s most picturesque drives. Other popular destinations, including Monteverde, Arenal, and Guanacaste, can be reached from here as well."
The warmth and friendliness of the people of Costa Rica are evident wherever we may travel.  They often smile when walking past us and many often say, "hola or Buenos Dias". 

Interesting architecture.
There's no doubt in our minds that in many countries locals can determine that we're Americans.  I'm not sure if there's an "American look" but we must have it since even before we speak, it's often presumed. 
Speaking of friendliness, after spending nine weeks in the USA this past summer and after seeing many of my girlfriends, I simply couldn't go back to our lives of world travel without staying more closely in touch.
The clock is the correct time.
In these past two months since we left the US,  I've had the opportunity to speak with four of my long-time girlfriends on Skype.  No words can express how enjoyable this has been.  Yesterday, I spoke to my dear friend Colleen, who worked for me 35 years ago in real estate.
We've stayed in close touch by email and Facebook these past years.  In 2013, while on a cruise in the Caribbean I was able to visit her in person when she lived on the island of St. Thomas for many years. 
The municipal building is located across the street from the Central Park in Naranjo.
I was always impressed how she'd left her life in Minnesota behind to live on the exotic island for decades, never knowing at the time, that we'd do something similar.  Over those many years, we easily stayed in touch by phone and later by email.  
We'd hope to see the interior of the church but it was closed due to renovations.  Mass is held outdoors on the grounds of the basilica.
However, we hadn't talked since we visited St. Thomas on April 17, 2013, when St. Thomas was a planned port of call during the cruise.  Click here for our post from that date.  She's since moved to Florida. 
We talked about the many hurricanes she experienced over the years in St. Thomas and the worry and concern she shared with other Floridians over the recent devastating hurricanes.  Fortunately, her current home weathered the storm well and all is fine and good for her.
This historic outdoor altar is where church services are held while the church is under construction.
Tom walked with me to the center of town where Colleen and I planned to meet and went back to the ship on his own.  Later in the day, he met me at a nearby fountain and walked back with me to the ship.  It was wonderful to see her then and equally wonderful to chat on the phone yesterday.
Typical roadside scene.
We promised to stay in touch by phone in the future providing we have a good enough Wi-Fi signal.  Recently, with other friends I've done the same, spending time every so often chatting on Skype or now, Facebook's own free voice chat module. 

My sister Susan and I have been talking every week, Julie less often and other family members as their schedules allow.  In today's world, we've found talking on the phone is less of a priority to younger generations when social media and texting play such a bigger role. 
Cattle near the road on a small farm.

Today, we're staying in.  We haven't been able to use the pool for many days due to heavy thunderstorms with lots of lightning throughout most of the day.  Of course, it's still the rainy season (aka green season) which continues from May to November but we're making the best of it, never letting the rainy days get us down. 

We're content.  We hope you are too!

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Photo from one year ago today, September 27, 2016:
We lounged in this (one of many) cabanas overlooking the sea at Puri Bagus Lovina, in Bali with iced tea in hand and books to read on our phones as we continued the five-day process at the nearby immigration office to extend our visas.  For more details, please click here.

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