Thursday, March 29, 2012

Birthday celebration for Janice

We just had a lot of fun and food at the the Italian restaurant! I have learned so much loving kindness from Janice over the years.  I am sure that's the case for all her family and friends.  All birthday wishes were from the heart, all hearts.  In Joshua's case, he expressed his happiness with his hearty appetite!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Beautiful sunset against the Pacific ocean

Bernice, a friend I made during the Costa Rica trip, is a retired French teacher.  She has been learning Spanish by listening to tapes.  I was able to practice the very limited few words I knew in Spanish with her.

It turned out that she loves sunset too.  So we watched the beautiful sunset together, and went shopping afterward. We are now keeping in touch after the trip.

This is a shot of me taken by Bernice on the terrace with the swimming pool and the Pacific ocean in the background.

The National Flower of Costa Rica - Guaria Morada

This beautiful orchid is the national flower of Costa Rica.
Costa Rica once was a kingdom of orchid built by nature. However, they were coveted by people because of their beauty. Now it's rarely to find any trace of them in the mountains.

It turned out that a group of horticulture experts from "Taiwan, working with the Costa Rica government and local flower growers, have transplanted the first group of successfully re propagated orchids to National Parks.

If I ever go back to St Jose, I should try to visit the Simon Bolivar National Zoo and Botanical Garden, which is located in its suburbs. It is the most popular outdoor classroom for local school children.  There are 145 varieties of flowers native to Costa Rica.  GCT did not arrange a visit to this Park for the group.  Too bad. 

Heliconia in Costa Rica

When in Costa Rica, we visited a tropical flowers plantation.  The owner, Don (Sir) Augustine introduced to us the decorative tropical flowers his plantation grows. These plants were harvested, cleaned, cut, and exported for exotic arrangements. Not only flowers, but also foliage are important for the arrangement.

This is the truck Don Augustine drove us to see his plantation:
 The red and yellow Heliconia:

This one held by Jean is mostly used to create bouquets;
The flowers were being washed , dried and packed in boxes;

A picture of Eric (the program director), and Don Augustine (one with the hat).
A farmer's house;

Cherry Blossom - Cerezo Blossome

Last Saturday Rosy and I took the metro to downtown DC to see cherry blossom.  There was some light rain, but it did not deter the crowd.  The blossom was beautiful.  I like it more when it is not too full.  Some pedals flaked off in the wind and landed floating in the Tidal Basin.  It was a delightful feeling shared with a cherished old friend.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The National Tree of Costa Rica

It is called "The ear tree", due to the shape of its fruits.  These guanacaste trees grow widely in the region of Guanacaste.  I was intrigued by some pieces of fruits dropped on the path from my hotel apartment to the swimming pool, and took some pictures to show Eric our guide.  Eric said "Ah, someone was not listening to my talk when I described this tree."  Oh well, hearing a piece of information hardly enables one to recognize a tree one has never seen previously.  But now I will always remember the guanacaste tree, which is the National tree of Costa Rica.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Some Wild Life

The wild life in Costa Rica is abundant and well blended (camouflaged) in with their environment.  We visited three main regions: Tortuguero, La Fortuna and Arenal Volcano, and the Palo Verde National park, where we saw quite many creatures.

We saw this huge crocodile sun bathing on the beach in Tortuguero:

We certainly saw monkeys in all regions:

We saw a couple of sloth in Arenal Volcano area.  they move ever so slowly on the branches.  It was said that they only go to bathroom once a month.  At the right time, they come down the tree and do their job on the ground, and cover up well their faces before climbing back up the tree.  Sloth comes in two toes or three toed.

Then I saw this cat at our lodge in Hotel Arenal Paraiso , whose head reained me of Xiao wha.  But the strips on its back is so uniquely different. 

Iguanas are everywhere.  Their colors are green, grey, brown, or rust, and blended so well with the environment.  they can climb anything.  I found two of them on the roof of the room I stayed in. 
 And we saw a lot of birds which I could not name the all.  And I was unable to capture any shot of toucan, scarlet macaw, or kingfisher, even I was able to just catch a quick glance of them at some moments.

And so many beautiful butterflies:

And I was able to get a fuzzy shot of the famous frog.  They are so tiny. We also found this bug on the ground but knoew not its name.