Costa Rican Creature

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We took a tour in Limon, Costa Rica.  During the walking portion, the guide pointed out this creature.

We love the bright turquoise and black spots on the amphibian.

It reminds at home we are usually always rushing to our daily destinations and thinking about our to do lists for the day. We are so preoccupied we don’t pay attention to our surroundings.

This frog is a Poison Dart Frog or Poison Arrow frog. It is very beautiful.  The tour guide warned us to be careful not to get poisoned by this creature.

Link about Costa Rican Frogs

This is reminder that things which are attractive can also be harmful for us.  We all are attracted to beautiful things.  But things of beauty may be expensive by what we have to spend to obtain.  They also can be costly depending on the consequences of possessing or seeking the attractive object or being.  Beauty is good to admire. Wisdom is understanding if that beauty will cause us future harm.  Appreciate beauty and understand if that beauty is pure or has hurtful consequences.

 

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Experiencing Cartagena, Colombia

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One of the ports we stopped at was Cartagena, Colombia during our Princess Panama Canal cruise.

We decided not to book a tour from the ship and explore on our own.  After determining which cab or van would give us the best deal to go and see Old Town, we found a nice driver with a van to take us.  His name was….

We only had a few hours to see this section of Cartagena.  One passeger requested to see the big Catholic church in this area.

We drove past the big wall around the Old Town, and the van maneuvered around the busy roads to get us into this area.

We were able to walk thru the square to go to the church.  Of course there are many vendors seeking to sell souvenirs to us.

Once I started walking, a woman had a bag of coffee candy.  I bargained and got an extra dollar off. I quickly bought the candy.  When we tried the candy at home about a month later, it turned out to be the one of best coffee candy we ever had.

We loved walking quickly thru these streets as seen above. The architecture was so interesting as well as the different colors of the building.  The golden dome of the church is in the horizon.

We loved the character of Cartagena’s old town and the architecture designs .

 

Costa Rican Thick Hide Caiman

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During our Panama Canal cruise, one of the ports on our itinerary was Limon, Costa Rica. We saw this caiman on our river boat excursion cruise.

Its scales make their skins stiffer and are less valuable compared to the alligators and crocodiles.  Caimans are small sized crocodilians with an average maximum weight between 13 to 88 lbs. Their average length is between 6.6 to 8.2 ft. long.

Link to Wikipedia where we found this Cayman info

Caimans are nocturnal creatures.  They typically spend their days hanging out in the sunshine, just as we encountered this one.

It is interesting the caiman’s scales and outer hide are stiffer than that of an alligator’s. There is also a distinctive pattern in the caiman’s hide.  The caiman’s outer scales have calcium rivets in the center of each scale.   Scales in general protect the creatures as they move over the ground. It also helps to the creature to retain moisture in the hot humid weather.

Caiman leather products are cheaper since the leather is stiffer than alligator or crocodile products.

The caiman needs the thicker “skin” to protect itself from the elements of its environment.

We should try to learn a lesson about developing a thicker skin to protect ourselves too. Do we get upset and angry over things to the extent it is also upsetting our ability to function?

Here’s an example where a thicker hide would have helped avoid expressing anger and disappointment by punching out a door.  See the link below for the story about SF Giants pitcher, Hunter Strickland, who was so upset he injured himself.

Can we find a way to develop a thicker skin to preserve and protect ourselves from ourselves? Can we try to be like the cool caiman basking in the sunlight in the water even with our failures, disappointments and difficulties?

Bleacher Report – Hunter Strickland’s Surgery for his Hand Injury after punching a door

Have You Seen a Sloth in the Costa Rican Jungle?

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We enjoyed viewing this Sloth in the jungle on a river boat ride near Limon, Costa Rica.  We took this excursion while on a Panama Cruise.  It was enjoyable to search for the wildlife as we sailed in the boat.

This sloth looks like it is smiling at us and was perfectly posed.

What can we learn from this sloth?

  • Sit back and relax – we don’t need to be constantly on the go
  • Smile no matter what are circumstances are. Worrying is not going to solve our problems
  • Take time to enjoy our surroundings
  • Be happy and content

Hope this will encourage you to take photographs to be reminders of valuable lessons.

 

 

Caribbean Princess going through the Panama Canal

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We had a wonderful time going on the Caribbean Princess ship to the Panama Canal.  We went in the beginning of April for a 10 day vacation.  We booked in February and got a better deal booking closer to the departure date.  My wife invited a few of our friends to come.  After my mugging at Candlestick Park, she felt there is security being with our friends.

This cruise goes into the Panama Canal and turns around to go back out.  It does not go from the east to west as some other cruises do.  One of our friends opted to not go on a tour off the ship when we arrived at the canal.  Instead, she got up early at 6 am to watch as the ship entered into the canal.  She watched for a few hours as the ship moved thru the canal.

The rest of our group took a tour of the old and new Panama Canal.  Passengers can only get off the ship if a tour is purchased.  This photograph was taken at a look out point to see the workings of the canal.  It was fun to watch our ship being towed by a small tug boat.  It is a reminder how the small things in life support the big things.

Taking pictures during a tour on a vacation can be a challenge to compete for a spot with other tourists and time constraints.  Fortunately, we did not have any time constraints at this lookout point.  We could not return to the ship until it was docked as it slowly traveled thru the canal to exit.  So there was a lot of time to enjoy the ship traveling thru the canal.

It was a challenge to get a good position to take the ship and to push my way thru the other tourists.  Position is everything for getting a good photograph.  There were lots of excited visitors at this lookout point watching this cruise ship makes its way thru the canal.

How can you get a good position?  Look at the different spots and use your camera to view the prospects of the picture.  Realize there is more than one ideal spot.  Be flexible and creative.  Then move quickly or wait around for the people to move to get your spot.  Patience and fast maneuvering is the key.  Don’t get upset as I did when I lost a spot. Good photography is being flexible and shooting fast from various spots.

I’ll be sharing more tips to get good photos that you do not need to “touch up”.  Also I will be sharing lessons learned from our vacation.

It Will be Nice when the Saint Francis of Assisi Statue Sees the Light of Day Again

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Back Lit Statue of Saint Francis of Assisi was photographed in front of Candlestick Park in the late 1980’s. The steel and concrete statue by Ruth Wakefield Cravath was  moved from the ballpark when it was torn down in 2015. It was put in storage in Oakland and will be refurbished. The new location for installing the statue is to be determined. The statue was installed at Candlestick Park in 1973 after the project to add seats and enclose the stadium for the 49ers.

Mass Transit to Candlestick Park Back in the Day

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This was the Double Decker Escalator which was going up to the main concourse area at Candlestick Park. I remember going to Candlestick Park a long time ago and marveling at the escalators there. They were extremely impressive in moving large amounts of people to and from the parking lot to the stadium concourse areas. They were very reliable as I don’t remember them being broken for any SF Giants or 49’er games I went to back then. They transported us quickly to the concourse levels so we could get our food before the games started. It is too bad all six of the escalators were torn down when Candlestick Park was flattened.

The image was photographed using color film with a 35mm Canon camera mounted on a tripod utilizing a slow shutter speed to get the blurred effect of the people moving.

Candlestick Park’s Eye Catching Red Exterior

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Candlestick Park had a very distinctive exterior look because of the support beams, light standards, and the red color. The support beams and light standards were painted dark green in the 1990’s. Candlestick Park was visible from US 101 for over a mile away before it was torn down. It was torn down in 2015 but it is still strange when driving down US 101 and seeing an empty space where it used to be.

I hope they will create a Candlestick Park museum on site when they build up the area in the future. There is so much history there and a lot of stories to tell.

The Back of the Bleachers at Candlestick Park in 1993

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Welcome to the backside of the bleacher section at Candlestick Park. This was the first year that they added these metal bleachers behind the left field fence. The photograph was taken on Opening Day at Candlestick Park with the SF Giants playing the Florida Marlins in 1993. I was standing in the old General Admission area which was no longer used for seating for the SF Giants from 1993 until the Giants moved out after the 1999 season. During the 1990’s, the stadium crew made improvements to Candlestick Park such as adding seats for the 49’ers and adding a better out of town scoreboard for the Giants.

Out with the Old, In with the New at Candlestick Park in 1993

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I was walking around Candlestick Park on Opening Day for the SF Giants on April 12, 1993. I was looking at the old General Admission area in front of the scoreboard next to the new General Admission bleacher seats on the right. The new bleacher seats got you closer to the field but there were less seats and there were no seat backs compared to the old general admission area that had the standard Red Chairs. The new metal bleacher benches also got pretty hot on warm days and cold during the cool night games.