SYW: Shopping, Drawing, Questionable Music, & Awful Jobs

I really like the questions Melanie has presented in Share Your World this week! So here goes!


In your opinion, what do you buy way more of than most people? I asked my husband what he thinks I buy too much of, and he said “nothing.” And in truth, he has to convince me that it is OK to buy something I really want but I am reluctant because it’s expensive. I often want to buy some new clothes but I don’t really need them and I think it’s wasteful of resources to buy excessive amounts of anything. I should shop at resale shops!

Which workers have the worst jobs?
The jobs most Americans won’t do, but are much in demand, are often done by the lowest paid workers. They do the drudge jobs, including working in fields of large agricultural farms, bending over in the hot sun for long hours; cleaning toilets; factory work where there is dangerous machinery or an assembly line processing meat products (separating the organs and guts from the ‘good’ meat). These jobs are stressful, have long hours, and no job security. Here is an interesting article about the worst jobs in America: What are the worst jobs in America?

Opinion.  John Cage is a composer who composed a piece named 4’33” for any instrument. The performers are instructed not to play their instrument for four minutes and thirty-three seconds. Is this music or is this art?  A combination of the two?   Neither, it’s stupid.  Your opinion?
I have seen this “performed.” I thought it was weird. In college I had some music nerd friends who really got into this avant-garde type of music. John Cage was a preferred composer among these people! But not for me!

How good are you at drawing? I am pretty good. I have been drawing all my life. I’ve only recently started learning how to paint. But drawing is still my forte. Here are some of my personal favorites, ranging from 1973 to 2022!

Which one do you think is the oldest? (Some of them are dated.)

GRATITUDE SECTION (as always optional)

Feel free to share one amazing thing you’ve experienced (any time frame).

Travel – each trip more amazing than the one before. I was amazed on my first safari, seeing wild animals roaming free, and no further than a few yards from us! They amazed me with their natural behavior and their antics – a mother cheetah playing with her cub, elephants playing in the water, lions and giraffes mating. There’s nothing that can compare with being among these creatures who share the earth with us.

Cheetah mom & cub, Ndutu-Serengeti, Tanzania

On the other hand, I was also amazed – gobsmacked! – by visiting the ancient Egyptian monuments and realizing that they have endured thousands of years! The famous pyramids and sphinx were created over 4,000 years ago and yet they still stand! And visiting tombs and monuments where I got to see beautiful artwork – carved on pillars and walls of monuments, sometimes with the paint still visible, and the beautiful, colorful artwork in the ancient tombs. I just find it so amazing that these things have endured for more than 3000 years and we can still visit them. The Ancient Egyptians did create these tombs and monuments to last for “millions and millions” of years, but thousands is already very impressive!

From the tomb of King Ramses VI, Valley of the Kings, Egypt. Photo credit: Mohammed Fathy.

Thursday Doors: Walking Tour of Regensburg

July 2-3, 2019

We arrived in Regensburg by bus, where our new ship was waiting for us. We had been on the Viking Gefjon up until our arrival in Nuremberg, but the ship could not proceed south on the Danube because of a broken lock! So a sister ship, the Viking Sigyn, which was coming north, became our new home for the rest of the trip. All the passengers on each of the ships were transferred from one ship to the other, retaining the same stateroom number. Although the staff was different, our activity director, Alex, made the switch with us.  Because of this unusual situation, we arrived in time to do some exploring along the waterfront in Regensburg before it got dark, and we stayed docked there overnight.

For Norm’s Thursday Doors, please join me on a walking tour in the medieval center of Regensburg! Founded by the Romans in 179 CE, it is one of Germany’s oldest towns and is the 4th largest in Bavaria. Its original name was Casta Regina, which means “Fortress by the River Regen.” It was lucky to be spared major bombing during WWII, so many of its medieval structures remain intact.


The stone portion of this wall is the original from medieval times.


Our guide shows us what remains of this town gate – the dark colored areas are what still exists from the original structure.


More of the (reconstructed) medieval wall that surrounded the town.


Entrance to Villapark, 1.5 hectares, which was planned and begun in 1856-57 and was restored in 2013-14 according to the original plan.

The 12th century old stone bridge was used during the Crusades on the route to the Holy Land.

Porta Praetoria – another section of the original medieval wall

I could totally relate to this sign! 😀
Cobblestone street in the “old town.”
This building is called “Goliath House” due to the painting on the side. The Schindlers (of Schindler’s List fame) lived here at one time.
Patrician building – the patrons, or rulers, of the town would build a tower that was the highest in town. A new patron would build a taller tower. These towered buildings would house the city government – the rathaus, or town hall. This pink tower still stands but it is not the most recent. It is now used as a student dormitory!
Here is a wonderfully delicious doorway to walk through!
Lots of construction was going on in the old town when we were there.
Looking across a street (with limited access due to construction) at two doors for the “price” of one! Probably noisy at the time for the inhabitants of nos. 3 and 5!
Take a little rest or…
…shop for jewelry and pet a friendly dog!
This is Neupfarrkirche, built on the site of a destroyed Jewish synagogue after the Jews were expelled from the city. It is now an evangelical church.
King Maximillian had protected the Jews but when he died in 1519, the town destroyed the synagogue and drove the Jews out. Inside the church is an exhibit about the church’s history and the Jewish community of Regensburg.

The townspeople also destroyed the Jewish cemetery after the expulsion of the Jews. Some of their gravestones have been incorporated into walls.DSC01681
A Jewish community developed in Regensburg again when they were allowed to return in 1669 but they were not able to dedicate a new synagogue until 1841. It was demolished in 1907 for fear of collapse and another synagogue was built on a different site in 1912 when the Jewish population had grown to about 600.  The synagogue was destroyed in 1938 during Kristallnacht by the Nazis. A new synagogue has been under construction since 2018.

This is a “stumble stone” that tells the name of a person who lived here, that died in one of the Nazi camps.
Another No. 3!
We reached the Domplatz, site of the Cathedral of St. Peter.
20190703_111422.jpgThe Gothic Cathedral of St. Peter was built in the 1200s using whatever materials they had, so it is a patchwork of sandstone and limestone. Here you can see this “patchwork.”
20190703_111208The spires were not added until 1868 on the order of King Ludwig I, whose statue is in the Domplatz.

Under the cross in front is St. Peter in a boat.
Here’s a close up (you can see that Peter is holding an oar!):
The cathedral’s doors

The Cathedral of St. Peter has the largest hanging organ in the world.
Pope Benedict came to the cathedral during his tenure as pope.
Inside the cathedral are beautifully vivid stained glass windows, a number of statues and religious relics.

Continuing on our walk in the old town, there were many doors to admire.
Such colorful souvenirs for sale!

This is the entrance to a restaurant.
Altes Rathaus – old town hall (notice the patrician tower!)

Regensburg is a cultural center and has an opera house. This bodega serves wine and tapas. The mural is from the opera Carmen, the theme of the bodega. Carmen was staged here at one time.

The drinking age here for wine and beer is 16. To buy hard liquor or cigarettes, you have to be 18. If you want to purchase cigarettes from a vending machine like this one, you have to insert your ID for verification.
There is even a golf museum in Regensburg!
We entered a little church, Stiftskirche St. Johann

Regensburg is considered one of the top destinations to visit in Germany. Its medieval center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Sources for this post:
Author’s notes from July  3 visit
Regensburg on Trip Advisor
Attractions in Regensburg 
Wikipedia, Regensburg
Wikipedia, Regensburg Synagogue

A Photo a Week Challenge: Stacked

Nancy Merrill’s photo challenge A Photo a Week this week has the topic stacked.

Stacked crates – Fares Island, Egypt20181231_092102d
Stacked date palm reeds (leaf ribs), Fares Island, Egypt
Stacked stones on a wall, St. Simeon Monastery, Aswan, Egypt
Stacked boxes, Hebron Handicrafts, Jericho, Palestine
Stacked bags of spices, Naschmarkt, Vienna, Austria
Stacked jeans, Second Time Around Sale at First Congregational Church, Des Plaines, Illinois, USA

December Squares: Ugly Sweater Time!

Becky is hosting her December Month of Squares with the subject time. It’s that time of year to attend holiday parties – get out your “ugly Christmas sweater!”

Wearing “ugly Christmas sweaters” to a holiday party has become an American holiday tradition. So much so that now stores are marketing ugly sweaters and other garish items of clothing. Today I saw “ugly” clothing for sale while shopping at Meijer, such as this skirt covered with colorful shiny bows with a golden garland fringe.
Maybe you would prefer to attend the party dressed in a Santa suit.

And here it is, the classic “ugly sweater!” (This is my favorite!)
I can’t help but include, in a nod to my Jewish family members, my stepdaughter at her bridal shower with a special gift: an “ugly” Hanukkah sweater!
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Getting Our Kicks On the Way Home (Day 9, Part 1)

June 16, 2018

We headed toward home today, but there was plenty to see on Route 66 along the way. We had picked up a free guidebook – Illinois Route 66 Visitors Guide – the previous evening.

First stop was Old Chain of Rocks Bridge, which we had visited the previous evening (see my previous Getting Our Kicks post). For those traveling the route in this direction, you may wish to stop at a nearby site in Granite City, the Lewis & Clark State Historic Site Interpretive Center at 1 Lewis and Clark Trail in Granite City (618-251-5811). This state-of-the-art interpretative center is located at the winter camp area of the Lewis & Clark Expedition. There is a 55 ft. full-scale replica of the expedition’s keel boat, and this site is the starting point for the National Lewis and Clark Heritage Trail.

Back on East Chain of Rocks Road, you can see the Luna Café in Mitchell at 201 East Chain of Rocks Road (618-931-3152), which was built in 1924, two years before Route 66 was established. Supposedly this café was frequented by gangsters like Al Capone.

If you’re in the mood to exercise and appreciate nature, Horseshoe Lake State Park at 3321 Highway 111, Pontoon Beach, IL has a 4-mile self-guided nature trail on Walker Island in Horseshoe Lake and is ideal for bird-watching.

Collinsville has a number of attractions, but the most interesting one, in my opinion, as well as the most extensive is Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site & Interpretive Center. We didn’t go there on this trip but had been there in 2013. Archaeological digs are still taking place at this UNESCO World Heritage Site, and they make use of volunteers during the summer.
1387This is the largest historic Native American settlement north of Mexico. Monks Mound is the largest prehistoric man-made earthwork in the Americas.
Cahokia in its heyday had a population of over 30,000 – bigger than Paris at that time! It may have been a ceremonial center, attracting pilgrims from all over North America.


View from the top of Monks Mound

The interpretive center is worth exploring before you roam the hiking trails that take you to several earthen structures. There are about 80 mounds in the park covering 2,200 acres, but the city was originally quite a bit larger.


The trails allow you to explore the site and learn about the meaning of the mounds.

There is also a “wood henge” – a circle of wooden posts aligned with the solstices and equinoxes, which are marked with white stripes.

This video shows the entire wood henge.

Also in Collinsville is the world’s largest catsup bottle! The Brooks Catsup Bottle Water Tower at 800 South Morrison Ave. stands next to Route 159 and is 170 ft. tall. It was built in 1949 to advertise Brooks old original rich and tangy catsup. Talk about kitsch – how could we have missed this? We must have been anxious to get home!

While you’re there, take a little time to explore Historic Downtown Collinsville. This well preserved historic district has quaint shops and beautiful architecture. Pick up a self-guided tour to see the highlights.

Up the road, you can stop at 201 East Market St. in Troy, IL (the Chicago Tribune newspaper building) to check out the Transportation Mural. 

Edwardsville, Illinois’ 3rd oldest city, on the 1930-1940 spur of Route 66, has several historic districts, including downtown, the St. Louis historic district, built in the late 1800s has homes that represent different architectural styles, and the Leclaire Village historic district just south of town which also includes the Edwardsville Children’s Museum and factory buildings which now house Lewis and Clark Community College. The Wildey Theater downtown was built in 1909 and has recently been renovated. The 1820 Colonel Benjamin Stephenson House at 409 Buchanan Street is the oldest brick building in Madison County. There are tours given by costumed docents who represent the Stephenson family. Our brochure said  that Cleveland-Heath, a restaurant at 106 North Main Street, offers one of the best dining experiences you could ever have.

Continue up the road to Mt. Olive, home of the Mother Jones Museum (215 East Main Street) and the Union Miners Cemetery and Mother Jones Monument at 700 North Lake St. Mary (Mother) Jones was a labor union activist, born in 1830 in Ireland. Her family emigrated during the potato famine. She founded the Social Democratic Party and helped establish the Industrial Workers of the World. Known as the miner’s angel, she died in 1930 and was buried in the Union Miners Cemetery alongside her “boys” – fellow members of the United Miners Workers.

Eight miles further up the 66 is the town of Litchfield, IL, which has several attractions, including the Ariston Café (413 North Historic Route 66)…
…and Jubelt’s Bakery, at 303 North Historic Route 66, a third generation family owned business which has been in Litchfield since 1952 and on Route 66 since 1982. If you hungry for more than pastries, Jubelt’s has a full menu of soups, salads, burgers, sandwiches, dinners and fresh bakery items.

The fastest way north to Springfield from there is I-55 (the 1930-77 realignment of Route 66), which bypasses the meandering historic route. Get off the I-55 at Auburn, take Route 66/State Hwy 4 to Curran and Snell Rds. Here you find a 1.5 mile segment of the original route, constructed of hand-lain brick and completed in 1931. We drove on this Historic Brick Road which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
We bypassed Springfield, because we’d been there a few years before, where we visited the classic Cozy Dog Drive-In at 2935 S. 6th St. (Business 55/Historic 66).

The last weekend of September, Springfield hosts the International Route 66 Mother Road Festival in the downtown area, which attracts thousands of Route 66 aficionados from all over the world.

Of course, there are many worthwhile sights in Springfield, including the state capitol, the Old State Capitol, the Lincoln Home National Historic Site, Lincoln’s Tomb and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. We had visited all these places several years before.

In McLean, IL (I-55 Exit 145) you will find the McLean Depot Train Shop/A Home on the Road Interpretive Statue at 200 East Dixie Road, which is a full line train hobby shop; the statue pays tribute to the Dixie Truck stop across the street.

We didn’t stop at the train shop, but instead continued 4.5 miles further to Funks Grove, home of Funks Grove Pure Maple Sirup, at 5257 Historic U.S. 66. This shop sells various maple syrup products, including maple candy and syrup flavored with bourbon, which we bought a bottle of! Debbie and Mike Funk continue this family business of four generations, since the town was founded in 1824. Sirup is correctly spelled this way to distinguish it from sugar-based syrup.


Our purchases loaded into the backseat of my Prius, we continued up the 66 to Lexington and Pontiac, which are the subject of another post!

Kwaheri*, Tanzania!

Feb. 13, 2018

Our last day in Tanzania was spent in transit. We had a nice breakfast at Ang’ata Camp and bid farewell to the staff. A group photo was taken, while the drivers packed the vehicles with our luggage.

2-13 group photo at Ang'ata Camp, Serengeti

Group photo including some of the staff at Ang’ata Camp, Serengeti NP

2-13 Toyota Land Cruiser loaded with luggage

Our drivers were very efficient packers – both vehicles were loaded to the hilt!


Our expert drivers from High Peaks Expeditions, Livingstone and Elias!

We were headed toward the Serengeti NP Visitors’ Center and the airport, where we would catch a flight back to Arusha (one hour flight vs 9 hours by car!).

Along the way, once again on the dirt roads in the park, we saw more animals:
Lovebirds in an acacia tree
SONY DSCMale cheetah – he’s filled his belly so he’s not hunting now!SONY DSCLots of impalas, including this beautiful maleSONY DSCTopi and zebraSONY DSCVervet monkey in an acacia tree
The tree the monkey was in was full of puffy white seeds or blooms.

Time allowed for us to observe another hippo pond. There were two males either fighting, or play fighting.

We arrived at the Visitors’ Center with a little time to look around. The Visitors’ Center is built around a kopje (rocky outcrop), so that we saw hyraxes very close up (not only in the rocks – they ran along all the paths and sunned themselves on a deck). From there, we also had a view of the Serengeti Plain beyond.



SONY DSCI spotted this colorful lizard basking on a sunny patch of rock.
2-13 lizard at Serengeti NP Visitors CenterThere was a collection of animal bones, which David (our guide) identified for us.2-13 David with animal bones at Serengeti NP Visitors CenterThere were also metal sculptures of a lion and a dung beetle.

The airport was practically next door to the Visitors’ Center and this is where we parted company with some members of our group who were staying in Africa and visiting other places. We saw the plane the rest of us would be returning to Arusha on – an 18-seater!
20180213_121249The pilot greeted David warmly – old acquaintances, apparently. When she boarded after we were all strapped in, she warned us to expect a bumpy ride, as it was very windy that day. I had been nervous about this flight, so this news didn’t calm me down!

In fact, though, the ride was unexpectedly smooth and we were able to look down at the places we had traversed – the landscapes were beautiful!


Serengeti Plain


Serengeti – wooded areas with rivers



Maasai villages


Maasai compounds



Mountain that was once a volcano (not Kilimanjaro)


Lush green – looks like the rim of Ngorongoro Crater, although that was off to the right.

Arriving in Arusha, we were taken to the Kibo Palace Hotel, where we were assigned day


Arusha clock tower

rooms – this was a luxurious hotel, unlike the accommodations we had been used to! Our safari lodgings had better views though! Even so, we were greeted the same way as we had at each accommodation: People saying, Karibu! (welcome) to us, giving us hot towels to refresh ourselves and small glasses of fruit juice.
We had a three course luncheon on the patio of the hotel’s restaurant. Service was not fast – which was not expected, but I was getting antsy: I was anxious to take a shower and have time to spend at the craft market as we had been promised.


Dale and I, along with two others from our group, walked to the market, about six blocks away.  We had a very successful shopping trip! I bought a skirt, a “dashiki” shirt, pants with an elephant print, and another pair of shorter pants. We also bought Tanzanian coffee and souvenirs for our kids.

The market was large, with a labyrinth of alleys lined with shops. At each one, whether we went in – or even showed interest – or not, the vendors called out to us, “Lady, please come in! We have just what you are looking for!”  Some of them were more aggressive than others, and I felt bad having to say no to any of them! But actually, many of the shops had similar merchandise, so once I’d bought something, I didn’t want to buy more of the same thing. The vendors would observe what we’d bought at the shop next door and immediately hold up a similar item from their shop, waving it at us and imploring us to come in and buy something at their shop, too!  We were always polite and smiled, as David had reminded us to be; sometimes we’d stop and chat with this or that vendor. I noticed sewing machines at several of the shops that sold women’s clothing. When I was looking at a pair of pants that was gathered at the ankles, I expressed that I didn’t really want that style. Immediately, the vendor would offer to take out the elastic and before I could refuse, she was hard at work removing stitches!

Back in the hotel room, we both took showers and charged our phones and tablets. We logged into the hotel’s WiFi to update our friends back home on our travels, posting photos on Facebook.

Although I took several pictures in Arusha, I lost them all when I lost my phone!  Late in the afternoon, a driver was hired to take us to Kilimanjaro Airport, an hour’s drive away. One other couple from our group was with us, because they were taking the same flight to Amsterdam, where we would part company. We had a quick dinner/snack with them in the airport, and they rushed off to the waiting area, even though they had more than two hours before the flight was due to board! Dale wanted to follow them, so I grabbed the food I had just been served “to go”, gathered up my camera bag, mini purse, and backpack and followed him.

It was an overnight flight and I didn’t notice until we were about to arrive in Amsterdam that my phone was missing. We searched the whole area around our seats and the flight attendants did an additional search as they were cleaning up, but it was not found!

in Amsterdam we had a long layover, so I went online on my tablet. There was an email from Sprint to confirm that I had changed my password on Feb. 13 in Tanzania, which of course I had not done! I called Sprint and had the phone blocked so that whoever picked it up would not be able to access my data. Theft of cellphones is rampant in Tanzania, but I don’t think it was stolen – I think in my rush to leave the restaurant at the airport, I left it behind or it fell out of my purse and someone picked it up.

Usually Google uploads my photos automatically so they can be accessed anywhere, but for some reason, it had not done that the entire time I was in Tanzania. So I lost a lot of photos. Fortunately, my best photos were on my camera and I was also able to retrieve the ones I had posted on Facebook.

I bear no ill will toward Tanzania or the Tanzanian people due to the loss of my cellphone (and my Fitbit, as I noticed later also). I LOVED my time there and would gladly go back. In fact, I’ve already done research on other safaris in Tanzania and other countries in southern Africa!

Safaris get into your soul. Seeing all those animals in the wild and getting close up photographs of them was amazing. Taking the time to observe animal behaviors in their natural environment. Admiring the beauty of the land. Appreciating the welcoming friendliness of the Tanzanian people.

I don’t think I can go to a zoo again for a long, long time.

*kwaheri – good-bye in Swahili

ASANTE SANA, TANZANIA! I hope to return someday…

A Walk in the Clouds

March 29, 2017                                 Costa Rica

Today we were going to take “A Walk in the Clouds.” It was to be a hike in the cloud forest, crossing several suspension bridges and seeing hummingbirds and butterflies.

Our guide’s name was Cristian, or Cris as he preferred to be called, and our driver was Gustavo. On our one hour plus ride into the mountains on narrow switchback roads, expertly navigated by Gustavo,  Cris told us a lot about his country. I found myself feeling saudades* being back here, and how strange it was to be here for only one day!

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Cris asked us what is the first word that comes into our minds when we think of Costa Rica. No one answered right away, so I shouted out “Pura vida!” Cris explained this phrase which has become the motto of Costa Rica. It is about the love of life and optimism that people here have. Cris showed this by his enthusiasm and appreciation for the beauty of Costa Rica’s many ecosystems. He has an advanced degree in ecological science so he is very knowledgeable about native plants and folk medicines.

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It took 80 minutes or so to get to our destination. Before splitting up into two groups, we had a little time to do some shopping at the inevitable tourist store.

We were split into two groups because there were 39 people on the bus and there cannot be that many on the trail at the same time. The groups, one led by Cris (our group) and one led by another local guide, had to go in reverse order because only a maximum of 25 people were allowed to be on the trail at one time – the vibrations of so many footsteps scare the animals.

The first stop on our hike was a hummingbird feeding station. The tiny birds fluttered about rapidly, rarely stopping on a feeder long enough to get a good picture. I did get a few, but I think the best was a short video of the hummingbirds’ activity.

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KODAK Digital Still Camera

We then began a hike into a nature preserve with four hanging bridges. The trail itself was challenging due to the number of steps down we had to take. There was a taut cable – a railing of sorts – that followed the path and we all had bamboo walking sticks. These helped a little but nothing can really alleviate my arthritic knees so I felt unsteady. (I remember being in Costa Rica in July of 2004 when I was more agile and had no problems with places like this. It had rained every day, so I was glad that it isn’t rainy season now, or we’d be slipping in mud!)

At the end of our descent during which Cris told us about various plants, a stream rushed below and on a hillside coming down was a trickle of a waterfall.

KODAK Digital Still Camera


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This trickle of a waterfall would be a gushing of water in a few months, during the rainy season.

KODAK Digital Still Camera

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Dale with his walking stick on one of the hanging bridges


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According to Cris, this is a species of orchid! Costa Rica has about 1,300 species of orchids.



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Panama Cruise C 341Then the path wound upwards and we stopped along our ascent to see some interesting plants, including the “walking palm,” whose roots form a mass aboveground at the base of the tree.


The ‘walking’ palm

As the old roots die and new ones take their place, the tree actually ‘moves’! In many years’ time, it will have moved about half a foot! Cris also pointed out a ficus tree with its light colored bark and spreading base.



KODAK Digital Still Camera

A ficus tree


We didn’t see any animals except birds, including a mockingbird – no monkeys!

We continued our climb and ended at a butterfly garden. Cris said they’d be attracted to us, because they can detect salt and sweet and might land on us to partake of our sweat! There was a butterfly that somewhat resembled the large blue morpho of the Amazon rainforest. This one, however, was smaller and its blue disappeared when it posed and closed its wings. The back of the wings provides good camouflage because they are mottled brown and black with a large circle resembling an eye on each side.

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Cris said about a group of yellow butterflies flying together that when they fly in a line like that, it is males chasing females! Another pretty butterfly was a small black one with orange spots.

KODAK Digital Still Camera

On the way back, Cris asked us if we knew the three top industries of Costa Rica. Surprisingly, coffee is NOT the most important industry.  In fact, bananas are actually a bigger export than coffee. Here are Costa Rica’s 3 top industries:
1. Technology, including medical devices, which provides 30,000 jobs and most managers are women; and Intel, which is a big corporation here.
2. Tourism
3. Agricultural products: sugar cane, bananas, coffee, orchids and pineapples

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Someone on the tour remarked that we hadn’t really walked “in the clouds.” I explained that the highest elevation ecosystem is called a “cloud forest” with its own species. You can’t tell that now, because it’s hot and dry now, but in the rainy season, it’s much cooler in the higher elevations and with the amount of moisture in the air, you do feel as though you’re walking “in the clouds.” (Actually, quite literally, you are.)

KODAK Digital Still Camera

Our final stop was at a shopping center/restaurant called El Jardín. In the back were beautiful landscaped gardens. 20170329_143506


The exterior walls of the shops and restaurants were brightly painted with colorful murals of scenes and animals typical of Costa Rica.

We had fifteen minutes there, to sample Costa Rican coffee and liqueurs and take pictures or shop. I spent only about a minute looking at the gardens – unusual for me – because I was shopping! I was excited to find Café Britt products! I bought coffee (not Britt – too expensive!) and Britt chocolate covered guava. Also a small package of white chocolate covered coffee beans, which Dale and I snacked on. By the end of the day, they were gone!

We returned to the port of Puntarenas and the dock leading to our ship, where we encountered women dressed in feathered costumes who were dancing to the beat of a percussion band.



Church in Puntarenas



KODAK Digital Still Camera

Looking back on the port of Puntarenas from the ship

*saudades – a Portuguese word expressing a deep longing or nostalgia, a feeling of sweet sadness