SO YOU WANT to LIVE in COSTA RICA the Adventures, Trials and Tribulations of Settling in Paradise by Gary Davis – plumitapacifica.com

29 Sep

This is the continuation of a series of posts on my blog to promote the e-book SO YOU WANT to LIVE in COSTA RICA – which is a Guide to… the Adventures, Trials and Tribulations of Settling in Paradise… This is a guide book that will give you the kind of insider’s knowledge that you might wish you had before you made your decision to move or not move to Costa Rica.

Every blog entry will start with the appendix because that way when you read whatever else I have posted it will 1. make sense (I hope) and 2. give you a point of reference in case you realize you need to read something that is “archived”.  Because if you read every blog I enter you will have eventually read the whole e-book and won’t need to order it for $2.99 from Amazon or B&N.  All you’ll be missing are the photos that show what you might expect if you choose to undertake the Adventures, Trials and Tribulations of Settling in Paradise.

As I said, I will start each blog with the appendix so that the reader can reference important elements of the book to archived blogs.  The page numbers shown are the actual page they appear on in the book. Here is the Appendix – and these are all the nuggets and their corresponding page numbers:

Definition of “nugget” – 3, Doors & Windows – 7, Manufacturing – 11, Real Estate – 11, Shipping – 12,Maps, – 15, Corporations – 20, Traffic Cops – 23, Know basic Spanish – 30, Panama – 33, Roof Line – 42, Plumita Pacifica Web Address – 65, Getting the Best a Tico has to Offer – 84, Power Surges – 86, Liberia Airport – 88, Attitude – 104, Cellular Phones – 117, Newspapers – 18, Your Embassy – 137, Buying & Selling Cars – 154, Drive Slowly – 161, Arriving at the Airport – 168, Wages & Prices – 170, Undertows – 226, Life Ring – 230, Avoiding Customs Confiscations – 234, Driving Rules – 236, Walking in the City – 249, Purchasing Anything – 258, Buying Fresh Produce – 263, Bus Tickets – 272, to “Bribe” or not to “Bribe” – 313, Traffic ticket Prices – 315, Exiting the Country – 337

And just in case you’re interested… here’s the table of contents:

Introduction and Preliminary Comments – 3, My First Trip -15, Lost in Guanacaste – Playa Coyote – 20, Trust with a Child – 26, Lost in Panama – 29, Attorneys – 35, My Contractor – 38, My Security Guard – 61, My Toldo – 67, Getting a Land Line Phone and Internet – 76, A Cellular Phone – 115, A Country Doctor – 124, A Lesson Well Learned – 130, A Little Green Frog – 138, A Little Brown Frog and a Bat – 146, A “Murphy’s Law” Day – 153, Driving in the Rainy Season – 161, Drunk Drivers – 174, Fiesta del Toros – 185, Getting a Drivers License – 195, INS and a Minor Accident – 203, Lifeguards – 224, Passing through Customs – 232, Rules of the Road for Tico Driving – 236, San Jose – 241, Shopping and Making Tamales – 250, Taking the Bus – 272, Turtles in My Front Yard – 281, Untitled – 287, When it Rains it Pours (sometimes) – 294, She Found My Lot – 307, My First Traffic Ticket – 312, Ticket # 2 – 316, My Radar Detector – 318, Ticket # 3 (after a slow speed chase) – 324, A Christmas Parade – 338, Sex (the truth about ticos) – 343, Photo Album – 347, Appendix – 374

chapter 11

A COUNTRY DOCTOR

From the other stories you’ve read you now realize I live quite a ways from any kind of conventional medical care.  There is a small clinic in Veintisiete de Abril, the pueblo where the lady that made my toldo lives (seeMy Toldo).   It’s about 20km away and I’m not sure it’s even open every day and the doctor only shows up for appointments infrequently.

There are clinics in Santa Cruz (35km) and a hospital in Nicoya (75km).  But the good news is that if your ailment is not too severe you can go to a pharmacy for diagnosis and medications.   Santa Cruz is the nearest to me and I have discovered a pharmacy that is owned by an excellent pharmacist.   In C.R. the pharmacists are trained similarly to a physician’s assistant in the U.S.

You can walk into the pharmacy, get diagnosed and purchase the type of medications on the spot that would require a doctor’s signature and a separate trip to a pharmacy in the U.S.   The medications are far less expensive in C.R. and there is no charge for the diagnosis.

The pharmacist I use here is an Asian lady named Lidia.   The few times I’ve needed her have, fortunately for me, coincided with a trip to Ca.   So not being sure about the accuracy of diagnosis and treatment the first few times, I’ve gone to the doctor in Ca. as soon as I arrive.   So far she has been right on!   Diagnosis and treatments have been 100% accurate.   My confidence in her is now such that I won’t bother with U.S. docs or meds if I don’t have to.  The first time I needed her I was pleasantly surprised to discover that her English is way better than my Spanish and since communication is very important in medical situations I’m doubly pleased.

However, as you have also read in some of my other journal entries, most ticos don’t have cars.   As inconvenient as medical treatment might be for me, imagine how it must be for the ticos.   And even though treatment seems like a bargain for me compared to the U.S. it’s not a bargain if you only earn $400 or $500 per month which is what the average tico earns.

 

SO YOU WANT to LIVE in COSTA RICA the Adventures, Trials and Tribulations of Settling in Paradise by Gary Davis – plumitapacifica.com

27 Sep

This is the continuation of a series of posts on my blog to promote the e-book SO YOU WANT to LIVE in COSTA RICA – which is a Guide to… the Adventures, Trials and Tribulations of Settling in Paradise… This is a guide book that will give you the kind of insider’s knowledge that you might wish you had before you made your decision to move or not move to Costa Rica.

Every blog entry will start with the appendix because that way when you read whatever else I have posted it will 1. make sense (I hope) and 2. give you a point of reference in case you realize you need to read something that is “archived”.  Because if you read every blog I enter you will have eventually read the whole e-book and won’t need to order it for $2.99 from Amazon or B&N.  All you’ll be missing are the photos that show what you might expect if you choose to undertake the Adventures, Trials and Tribulations of Settling in Paradise.

As I said, I will start each blog with the appendix so that the reader can reference important elements of the book to archived blogs.  The page numbers shown are the actual page they appear on in the book. Here is the Appendix – and these are all the nuggets and their corresponding page numbers:

Definition of “nugget” – 3, Doors & Windows – 7, Manufacturing – 11, Real Estate – 11, Shipping – 12,Maps, – 15, Corporations – 20, Traffic Cops – 23, Know basic Spanish – 30, Panama – 33, Roof Line – 42, Plumita Pacifica Web Address – 65, Getting the Best a Tico has to Offer – 84, Power Surges – 86, Liberia Airport – 88, Attitude – 104, Cellular Phones – 117, Newspapers – 18, Your Embassy – 137, Buying & Selling Cars – 154, Drive Slowly – 161, Arriving at the Airport – 168, Wages & Prices – 170, Undertows – 226, Life Ring – 230, Avoiding Customs Confiscations – 234, Driving Rules – 236, Walking in the City – 249, Purchasing Anything – 258, Buying Fresh Produce – 263, Bus Tickets – 272, to “Bribe” or not to “Bribe” – 313, Traffic ticket Prices – 315, Exiting the Country – 337

And just in case you’re interested… here’s the table of contents:

Introduction and Preliminary Comments – 3, My First Trip -15, Lost in Guanacaste – Playa Coyote – 20, Trust with a Child – 26, Lost in Panama – 29, Attorneys – 35, My Contractor – 38, My Security Guard – 61, My Toldo – 67, Getting a Land Line Phone and Internet – 76, A Cellular Phone – 115, A Country Doctor – 124, A Lesson Well Learned – 130, A Little Green Frog – 138, A Little Brown Frog and a Bat – 146, A “Murphy’s Law” Day – 153, Driving in the Rainy Season – 161, Drunk Drivers – 174, Fiesta del Toros – 185, Getting a Drivers License – 195, INS and a Minor Accident – 203, Lifeguards – 224, Passing through Customs – 232, Rules of the Road for Tico Driving – 236, San Jose – 241, Shopping and Making Tamales – 250, Taking the Bus – 272, Turtles in My Front Yard – 281, Untitled – 287, When it Rains it Pours (sometimes) – 294, She Found My Lot – 307, My First Traffic Ticket – 312, Ticket # 2 – 316, My Radar Detector – 318, Ticket # 3 (after a slow speed chase) – 324, A Christmas Parade – 338, Sex (the truth about ticos) – 343, Photo Album – 347, Appendix – 374

chapter 10 continued

Well, for most people, the story would end here.  But this is Costa Rica, where nothing is as your North American expectations would have it.  The phone was ultimately stolen (see A Lesson Well Learned), which in the states is a hassle, but here it is much more than a “hassle”.  I bought a new phone from a store in Santa Cruz, which is the town closest to P. Junquillal, went through all the ICE hassles, but discovered, after some experimentation, that the model I bought had a very short “talk time” battery life.  I would need to charge it two times per day because, as I found out later, the manufacturer only rated the battery life at one and a half hours of talk time and about 24 hours of “standby” time.  And in C.R., where calls are dropped by ICE frequently and other weird anomalies occur, an hour and a half can go by without getting much said.  So I went back to the store, where the owner had assured me that the phone had a six month guarantee, to exchange it for another phone with more talk time.  After some “interesting” conversation he agreed to exchange it.  He only needed me to bring in the phone, charger and manual (and the original box but I talked him out of that because, of course, that was long gone).  Two days later I was back with the required items (see Driving – Rainy Season to understand why it took two days for me to get back).  Much to my chagrin, the store was locked up tight with official signs plastered all over it by the municipality that it had been closed by them for some violation of the law!

I have the feeling that this story may be continued.

Yep, continuation.  A week or so later I’m in Santa Cruz again and decided to go by the store and look more carefully at the signs the municipality had posted.   Good grief!  They don’t say what the violation was but they do say that it was an offense punishable by from four months to five (5) years in prison.

Guess I won’t hold my breath hoping to exchange this piece of sh.. I mean… phone any time soon.  I went and bought a car charger for it since, of course, it dies when I’m nowhere near my house.

SO YOU WANT to LIVE in COSTA RICA the Adventures, Trials and Tribulations of Settling in Paradise by Gary Davis – plumitapacifica.com

26 Sep

This is the continuation of a series of posts on my blog to promote the e-book SO YOU WANT to LIVE in COSTA RICA – which is a Guide to… the Adventures, Trials and Tribulations of Settling in Paradise… This is a guide book that will give you the kind of insider’s knowledge that you might wish you had before you made your decision to move or not move to Costa Rica.

Every blog entry will start with the appendix because that way when you read whatever else I have posted it will 1. make sense (I hope) and 2. give you a point of reference in case you realize you need to read something that is “archived”.  Because if you read every blog I enter you will have eventually read the whole e-book and won’t need to order it for $2.99 from Amazon or B&N.  All you’ll be missing are the photos that show what you might expect if you choose to undertake the Adventures, Trials and Tribulations of Settling in Paradise.

As I said, I will start each blog with the appendix so that the reader can reference important elements of the book to archived blogs.  The page numbers shown are the actual page they appear on in the book. Here is the Appendix – and these are all the nuggets and their corresponding page numbers:

Definition of “nugget” – 3, Doors & Windows – 7, Manufacturing – 11, Real Estate – 11, Shipping – 12,Maps, – 15, Corporations – 20, Traffic Cops – 23, Know basic Spanish – 30, Panama – 33, Roof Line – 42, Plumita Pacifica Web Address – 65, Getting the Best a Tico has to Offer – 84, Power Surges – 86, Liberia Airport – 88, Attitude – 104, Cellular Phones – 117, Newspapers – 18, Your Embassy – 137, Buying & Selling Cars – 154, Drive Slowly – 161, Arriving at the Airport – 168, Wages & Prices – 170, Undertows – 226, Life Ring – 230, Avoiding Customs Confiscations – 234, Driving Rules – 236, Walking in the City – 249, Purchasing Anything – 258, Buying Fresh Produce – 263, Bus Tickets – 272, to “Bribe” or not to “Bribe” – 313, Traffic ticket Prices – 315, Exiting the Country – 337

And just in case you’re interested… here’s the table of contents:

Introduction and Preliminary Comments – 3, My First Trip -15, Lost in Guanacaste – Playa Coyote – 20, Trust with a Child – 26, Lost in Panama – 29, Attorneys – 35, My Contractor – 38, My Security Guard – 61, My Toldo – 67, Getting a Land Line Phone and Internet – 76, A Cellular Phone – 115, A Country Doctor – 124, A Lesson Well Learned – 130, A Little Green Frog – 138, A Little Brown Frog and a Bat – 146, A “Murphy’s Law” Day – 153, Driving in the Rainy Season – 161, Drunk Drivers – 174, Fiesta del Toros – 185, Getting a Drivers License – 195, INS and a Minor Accident – 203, Lifeguards – 224, Passing through Customs – 232, Rules of the Road for Tico Driving – 236, San Jose – 241, Shopping and Making Tamales – 250, Taking the Bus – 272, Turtles in My Front Yard – 281, Untitled – 287, When it Rains it Pours (sometimes) – 294, She Found My Lot – 307, My First Traffic Ticket – 312, Ticket # 2 – 316, My Radar Detector – 318, Ticket # 3 (after a slow speed chase) – 324, A Christmas Parade – 338, Sex (the truth about ticos) – 343, Photo Album – 347, Appendix – 374

chapter 10 continued

Now, ICE is an interesting animal, as you will read in Getting a Land Line Phone and Internet, but at least I think I can now make and receive calls and way cheaper than my rent-a-phone.  But one of the first things I discover is that it won’t allow me to make calls out of the country.  It literally took four months before someone told me I had to go to ICE and request that service.   So I do (sixty minutes down the god awful road, wait in line, yada yada), then one day a few weeks later I get a text message from ICE in Spanish and someone translates it for me… I have two days to pay a deposit for the long distance privilege or my phone will be shut off.   

Sixty minutes down that rough dirt road again and up the two little red steps later (see Getting a Land Line Phone and Internet ) and I can talk to my family in California. 

Now, you would think that since I at least have a cell phone it would make the wait for a land phone line easier, right?

Wrong.  Because even though the phone works pretty well in most of the places I have tried to use it, although reception is spotty at best and you are constantly getting dropped or not able to access the network at all, it does not receive a signal anywhere on my lot!  So I can’t use it the one place I spend most of my time, at home.  To make a call I’ve discovered two places where I get a good signal, the Guacamaya lodge and bar Junquillal.  Nice places to make calls from.  Friendly people, beer, and food… what more do I want?

SO YOU WANT to LIVE in COSTA RICA the Adventures, Trials and Tribulations of Settling in Paradise by Gary Davis – plumitapacifica.com

25 Sep

This is the continuation of a series of posts on my blog to promote the e-book SO YOU WANT to LIVE in COSTA RICA – which is a Guide to… the Adventures, Trials and Tribulations of Settling in Paradise… This is a guide book that will give you the kind of insider’s knowledge that you might wish you had before you made your decision to move or not move to Costa Rica.

Every blog entry will start with the appendix because that way when you read whatever else I have posted it will 1. make sense (I hope) and 2. give you a point of reference in case you realize you need to read something that is “archived”.  Because if you read every blog I enter you will have eventually read the whole e-book and won’t need to order it for $2.99 from Amazon or B&N.  All you’ll be missing are the photos that show what you might expect if you choose to undertake the Adventures, Trials and Tribulations of Settling in Paradise.

As I said, I will start each blog with the appendix so that the reader can reference important elements of the book to archived blogs.  The page numbers shown are the actual page they appear on in the book. Here is the Appendix – and these are all the nuggets and their corresponding page numbers:

Definition of “nugget” – 3, Doors & Windows – 7, Manufacturing – 11, Real Estate – 11, Shipping – 12,Maps, – 15, Corporations – 20, Traffic Cops – 23, Know basic Spanish – 30, Panama – 33, Roof Line – 42, Plumita Pacifica Web Address – 65, Getting the Best a Tico has to Offer – 84, Power Surges – 86, Liberia Airport – 88, Attitude – 104, Cellular Phones – 117, Newspapers – 18, Your Embassy – 137, Buying & Selling Cars – 154, Drive Slowly – 161, Arriving at the Airport – 168, Wages & Prices – 170, Undertows – 226, Life Ring – 230, Avoiding Customs Confiscations – 234, Driving Rules – 236, Walking in the City – 249, Purchasing Anything – 258, Buying Fresh Produce – 263, Bus Tickets – 272, to “Bribe” or not to “Bribe” – 313, Traffic ticket Prices – 315, Exiting the Country – 337

And just in case you’re interested… here’s the table of contents:

Introduction and Preliminary Comments – 3, My First Trip -15, Lost in Guanacaste – Playa Coyote – 20, Trust with a Child – 26, Lost in Panama – 29, Attorneys – 35, My Contractor – 38, My Security Guard – 61, My Toldo – 67, Getting a Land Line Phone and Internet – 76, A Cellular Phone – 115, A Country Doctor – 124, A Lesson Well Learned – 130, A Little Green Frog – 138, A Little Brown Frog and a Bat – 146, A “Murphy’s Law” Day – 153, Driving in the Rainy Season – 161, Drunk Drivers – 174, Fiesta del Toros – 185, Getting a Drivers License – 195, INS and a Minor Accident – 203, Lifeguards – 224, Passing through Customs – 232, Rules of the Road for Tico Driving – 236, San Jose – 241, Shopping and Making Tamales – 250, Taking the Bus – 272, Turtles in My Front Yard – 281, Untitled – 287, When it Rains it Pours (sometimes) – 294, She Found My Lot – 307, My First Traffic Ticket – 312, Ticket # 2 – 316, My Radar Detector – 318, Ticket # 3 (after a slow speed chase) – 324, A Christmas Parade – 338, Sex (the truth about ticos) – 343, Photo Album – 347, Appendix – 374

chapter 10 continued

But I digress, so back to the cell phone adventure.  My attorney had armed me with all the corporate documents she thought I would need to, first, buy a phone and then take to the ICE office (that’s the initials of their telecommunications monopoly, which I still haven’t figured out what they stand for) and take my nap, err… I mean wait in line and have them install the chip that would allow me to use their service.  I have my phone now so I jump in a cab, because they seem to know where everything is, and soon I’m at the office.  I take a number, sit down, look at the electronic sign that tells me which number is now being served, look to see how many employees are actually helping someone (there’s usually one or two that have their heads down looking busy but not with a customer, like at the bank), there are three, I do some quick math, settle in for at least an hour, relax myself, let my head drop, take a nap (pura vida, tranquillo, what the heck, this is Costa Rica, I’m used to this by now), wake in about an hour and ten or fifteen minutes later my number is called.  

The guy looks over the corporate docs and asks me for a utility bill.  I don’t have a utility bill.  I don’t have a house to have a utility bill.  He asks me for an address.  The only address I have is in California and what the hell does he mean by “address” since there are none in C.R. (it’s true, as incredulous as it sounds, there are no functional addresses in C.R.)  He says “sorry, can’t do it”.  All this is in Spanish of course so it took way longer with all the repetition than it took you to read this.  I insist that my attorney told me I have everything I need to get a phone and a chip installed in it.  He looks consternated.  He gets up and disappears for a few minutes.  He comes back and says ok he’ll do it and I have my phone (meaning he installed the chip).  I didn’t bother to ask what made the difference.  I simply left the ICE office, thankful that I had a functioning phone.

SO YOU WANT to LIVE in COSTA RICA the Adventures, Trials and Tribulations of Settling in Paradise by Gary Davis – plumitapacifica.com

24 Sep

This is the continuation of a series of posts on my blog to promote the e-book SO YOU WANT to LIVE in COSTA RICA – which is a Guide to… the Adventures, Trials and Tribulations of Settling in Paradise… This is a guide book that will give you the kind of insider’s knowledge that you might wish you had before you made your decision to move or not move to Costa Rica.

Every blog entry will start with the appendix because that way when you read whatever else I have posted it will 1. make sense (I hope) and 2. give you a point of reference in case you realize you need to read something that is “archived”.  Because if you read every blog I enter you will have eventually read the whole e-book and won’t need to order it for $2.99 from Amazon or B&N.  All you’ll be missing are the photos that show what you might expect if you choose to undertake the Adventures, Trials and Tribulations of Settling in Paradise.

As I said, I will start each blog with the appendix so that the reader can reference important elements of the book to archived blogs.  The page numbers shown are the actual page they appear on in the book. Here is the Appendix – and these are all the nuggets and their corresponding page numbers:

Definition of “nugget” – 3, Doors & Windows – 7, Manufacturing – 11, Real Estate – 11, Shipping – 12,Maps, – 15, Corporations – 20, Traffic Cops – 23, Know basic Spanish – 30, Panama – 33, Roof Line – 42, Plumita Pacifica Web Address – 65, Getting the Best a Tico has to Offer – 84, Power Surges – 86, Liberia Airport – 88, Attitude – 104, Cellular Phones – 117, Newspapers – 18, Your Embassy – 137, Buying & Selling Cars – 154, Drive Slowly – 161, Arriving at the Airport – 168, Wages & Prices – 170, Undertows – 226, Life Ring – 230, Avoiding Customs Confiscations – 234, Driving Rules – 236, Walking in the City – 249, Purchasing Anything – 258, Buying Fresh Produce – 263, Bus Tickets – 272, to “Bribe” or not to “Bribe” – 313, Traffic ticket Prices – 315, Exiting the Country – 337

And just in case you’re interested… here’s the table of contents:

Introduction and Preliminary Comments – 3, My First Trip -15, Lost in Guanacaste – Playa Coyote – 20, Trust with a Child – 26, Lost in Panama – 29, Attorneys – 35, My Contractor – 38, My Security Guard – 61, My Toldo – 67, Getting a Land Line Phone and Internet – 76, A Cellular Phone – 115, A Country Doctor – 124, A Lesson Well Learned – 130, A Little Green Frog – 138, A Little Brown Frog and a Bat – 146, A “Murphy’s Law” Day – 153, Driving in the Rainy Season – 161, Drunk Drivers – 174, Fiesta del Toros – 185, Getting a Drivers License – 195, INS and a Minor Accident – 203, Lifeguards – 224, Passing through Customs – 232, Rules of the Road for Tico Driving – 236, San Jose – 241, Shopping and Making Tamales – 250, Taking the Bus – 272, Turtles in My Front Yard – 281, Untitled – 287, When it Rains it Pours (sometimes) – 294, She Found My Lot – 307, My First Traffic Ticket – 312, Ticket # 2 – 316, My Radar Detector – 318, Ticket # 3 (after a slow speed chase) – 324, A Christmas Parade – 338, Sex (the truth about ticos) – 343, Photo Album – 347, Appendix – 374

chapter 10 continued

ICE is a government monopoly with a strong union.  And it doesn’t interact with any of the company’s in the U.S.  So your U.S. cell phone is useless here, unless of course, you have one of those super expensive satellite phones, which will allow you to avoid the C.R. monopoly completely (which would be wonderful).  I watched with amusement the other day as some tourists from New Jersey, with one of those new types of phones with a keyboard, tried to use the phone that they had brought with them that they had been told wouldfor sure work in C.R.  (Nope, no funciona aqui.)

So I loaned them mine so they could call Avis rent a car and watched, also with amusement, their reaction when Avis told them they would not come to pick them up at the hotel.  They got there first lesson in what I call the “leave all your gringo expectations at home” class.

Some U.S. cell phones will work here now.  But I still talk to people who were assured by their U.S. carrier that theirs would work but it doesn’t.  But since writing that last line there is now competition in the cellular phone market, thank goodness!

Costa Rica, the country where your plans don’t matter because no matter what your plans are they will get changed.  Anyway, I was at the hotel, which is in Liberia where the airport is, because I had brought my car in for some minor body work that would take two days to do.  It was cheaper and more practical to stay there than to rent a car and make the four hour round trip down that grueling dirt road to Junquillal.  Plus I had some shopping to do that would have frustrated me to attempt in Santa Cruz.  Santa Cruz is so small they don’t even have a functioning traffic light.  And although Liberia only has one traffic light it at least does have one store, supposedly owned by Wall Mart, which contains a wide variety of items.  Now don’t get excited, it’s not a Wall Mart.  Nowhere will you see that name or label.  But Wall Mart has entered the market here by buying up a couple large chains and they are actually building a store of their typical type in San Jose.  But according to the official blurb in the Tico Times they won’t put their name on anything that isn’t very similar to what you see in the U.S.

  • Subscribe to a C.R. newspaper as far in advance as you can. The insights you will receive from a regular reading will be priceless.

SO YOU WANT to LIVE in COSTA RICA the Adventures, Trials and Tribulations of Settling in Paradise by Gary Davis – plumitapacifica.com

23 Sep

This is the continuation of a series of posts on my blog to promote the e-book SO YOU WANT to LIVE in COSTA RICA – which is a Guide to… the Adventures, Trials and Tribulations of Settling in Paradise… This is a guide book that will give you the kind of insider’s knowledge that you might wish you had before you made your decision to move or not move to Costa Rica.

Every blog entry will start with the appendix because that way when you read whatever else I have posted it will 1. make sense (I hope) and 2. give you a point of reference in case you realize you need to read something that is “archived”.  Because if you read every blog I enter you will have eventually read the whole e-book and won’t need to order it for $2.99 from Amazon or B&N.  All you’ll be missing are the photos that show what you might expect if you choose to undertake the Adventures, Trials and Tribulations of Settling in Paradise.

As I said, I will start each blog with the appendix so that the reader can reference important elements of the book to archived blogs.  The page numbers shown are the actual page they appear on in the book. Here is the Appendix – and these are all the nuggets and their corresponding page numbers:

Definition of “nugget” – 3, Doors & Windows – 7, Manufacturing – 11, Real Estate – 11, Shipping – 12,Maps, – 15, Corporations – 20, Traffic Cops – 23, Know basic Spanish – 30, Panama – 33, Roof Line – 42, Plumita Pacifica Web Address – 65, Getting the Best a Tico has to Offer – 84, Power Surges – 86, Liberia Airport – 88, Attitude – 104, Cellular Phones – 117, Newspapers – 18, Your Embassy – 137, Buying & Selling Cars – 154, Drive Slowly – 161, Arriving at the Airport – 168, Wages & Prices – 170, Undertows – 226, Life Ring – 230, Avoiding Customs Confiscations – 234, Driving Rules – 236, Walking in the City – 249, Purchasing Anything – 258, Buying Fresh Produce – 263, Bus Tickets – 272, to “Bribe” or not to “Bribe” – 313, Traffic ticket Prices – 315, Exiting the Country – 337

And just in case you’re interested… here’s the table of contents:

Introduction and Preliminary Comments – 3, My First Trip -15, Lost in Guanacaste – Playa Coyote – 20, Trust with a Child – 26, Lost in Panama – 29, Attorneys – 35, My Contractor – 38, My Security Guard – 61, My Toldo – 67, Getting a Land Line Phone and Internet – 76, A Cellular Phone – 115, A Country Doctor – 124, A Lesson Well Learned – 130, A Little Green Frog – 138, A Little Brown Frog and a Bat – 146, A “Murphy’s Law” Day – 153, Driving in the Rainy Season – 161, Drunk Drivers – 174, Fiesta del Toros – 185, Getting a Drivers License – 195, INS and a Minor Accident – 203, Lifeguards – 224, Passing through Customs – 232, Rules of the Road for Tico Driving – 236, San Jose – 241, Shopping and Making Tamales – 250, Taking the Bus – 272, Turtles in My Front Yard – 281, Untitled – 287, When it Rains it Pours (sometimes) – 294, She Found My Lot – 307, My First Traffic Ticket – 312, Ticket # 2 – 316, My Radar Detector – 318, Ticket # 3 (after a slow speed chase) – 324, A Christmas Parade – 338, Sex (the truth about ticos) – 343, Photo Album – 347, Appendix – 374

chapter 9 continued

November 20, 2008

They, of course, did not come “tomorrow” but in a few days I finally did have dial tone.

I gave up on getting the voice mail issue resolved after being shunted from department to department, sometimes in English sometime in Spanish, being given a variety of reasons for the problem and promises of repair that never materialized.  But today I decided to try it again.  It only took three phone calls.  I have voicemail again.

I think I should knock on wood.  The phone works, the fax works, I can access my voice mail and I get the internet at 128kps (so it says but video doesn’t “stream” and sometimes it seems like I’m back on dial up).

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” so they say.  And my Gringo neighbors tell me that their service is like mine so I think I’ll leave well enough alone.

AND NOW I CAN, FINALLY, MOVE ON TO:

Chapter 10 … here it is just to get you started…  11/12/13

A CELLULAR PHONE

In the states you simply decide on the cellular service provider you want to use, go to an outlet that sells phones and service by that provider, select your plan, pay your money, walk out the door with your phone and talk away.

In Costa Rica you go buy a phone (you need to have proof you live or have a company here – see below).  So I have all the proof I need and I begin to hit the stores because they have a wide selection of phones/features.  Unlike in Ca. where you have to settle for the choices of phones the service provider has on their shelf, in C.R. you can shop from store to store until you find exactly what you want.  Of course that’s both good and bad news because no one store is going to have every type of phone model available.  Which means you can spend a lot of time shopping.  The other bad news is that you have to pay full price for the phone because there are no “service contracts” locking you into a specific service provider thereby allowing them to attract you with a deep discount on the phone.

So if the phone retails for around $300, which most decent ones do, then you pay the full $300.  Ouch!  But since the phone company here, which is called ICE, (pronounced ee-say) is a government monopoly they really don’t care which phone you have.  You buy whatever phone you like, take it to the ICE office, wait for your turn and finally when it’s your turn you hope you have all the paperwork they require in order for them to install the chip which will allow the phone to function with their system.   But having experienced the service in various parts of the country with the phones I’ve rented from Dollar rent a car (the only company I’m aware of that has phones right there where you rent your car, by the way, and a very useful thing to have here) and I know which kind of phone I need so I need to find a store where someone speaks English because I know the conversation will get technical.  I find one after awhile (I was in a nice mall, in a suburb of San Jose called Escazu, where there were lots of stores that sold phones or that would have been a story in itself).  Tony, the guy I eventually bought my phone from, turns out to be a very helpful guy (actually, like most Costa Ricans).  He even programmed it for me so the screen displays English (I had to go back months later to get him to show me how to receive a voice mail message, because all that is in Spanish only, and I couldn’t even figure out how to set up my mail box.)  Anyway, we’re all done so he says now I just have to do the final step, which is go to ICE to get the chip so I can actually use the phone.

SO YOU WANT to LIVE in COSTA RICA the Adventures, Trials and Tribulations of Settling in Paradise by Gary Davis – plumitapacifica.com

22 Sep

This is the continuation of a series of posts on my blog to promote the e-book SO YOU WANT to LIVE in COSTA RICA – which is a Guide to… the Adventures, Trials and Tribulations of Settling in Paradise… This is a guide book that will give you the kind of insider’s knowledge that you might wish you had before you made your decision to move or not move to Costa Rica.

Every blog entry will start with the appendix because that way when you read whatever else I have posted it will 1. make sense (I hope) and 2. give you a point of reference in case you realize you need to read something that is “archived”.  Because if you read every blog I enter you will have eventually read the whole e-book and won’t need to order it for $2.99 from Amazon or B&N.  All you’ll be missing are the photos that show what you might expect if you choose to undertake the Adventures, Trials and Tribulations of Settling in Paradise.

As I said, I will start each blog with the appendix so that the reader can reference important elements of the book to archived blogs.  The page numbers shown are the actual page they appear on in the book. Here is the Appendix – and these are all the nuggets and their corresponding page numbers:

Definition of “nugget” – 3, Doors & Windows – 7, Manufacturing – 11, Real Estate – 11, Shipping – 12,Maps, – 15, Corporations – 20, Traffic Cops – 23, Know basic Spanish – 30, Panama – 33, Roof Line – 42, Plumita Pacifica Web Address – 65, Getting the Best a Tico has to Offer – 84, Power Surges – 86, Liberia Airport – 88, Attitude – 104, Cellular Phones – 117, Newspapers – 18, Your Embassy – 137, Buying & Selling Cars – 154, Drive Slowly – 161, Arriving at the Airport – 168, Wages & Prices – 170, Undertows – 226, Life Ring – 230, Avoiding Customs Confiscations – 234, Driving Rules – 236, Walking in the City – 249, Purchasing Anything – 258, Buying Fresh Produce – 263, Bus Tickets – 272, to “Bribe” or not to “Bribe” – 313, Traffic ticket Prices – 315, Exiting the Country – 337

And just in case you’re interested… here’s the table of contents:

Introduction and Preliminary Comments – 3, My First Trip -15, Lost in Guanacaste – Playa Coyote – 20, Trust with a Child – 26, Lost in Panama – 29, Attorneys – 35, My Contractor – 38, My Security Guard – 61, My Toldo – 67, Getting a Land Line Phone and Internet – 76, A Cellular Phone – 115, A Country Doctor – 124, A Lesson Well Learned – 130, A Little Green Frog – 138, A Little Brown Frog and a Bat – 146, A “Murphy’s Law” Day – 153, Driving in the Rainy Season – 161, Drunk Drivers – 174, Fiesta del Toros – 185, Getting a Drivers License – 195, INS and a Minor Accident – 203, Lifeguards – 224, Passing through Customs – 232, Rules of the Road for Tico Driving – 236, San Jose – 241, Shopping and Making Tamales – 250, Taking the Bus – 272, Turtles in My Front Yard – 281, Untitled – 287, When it Rains it Pours (sometimes) – 294, She Found My Lot – 307, My First Traffic Ticket – 312, Ticket # 2 – 316, My Radar Detector – 318, Ticket # 3 (after a slow speed chase) – 324, A Christmas Parade – 338, Sex (the truth about ticos) – 343, Photo Album – 347, Appendix – 374

chapter 9 continued

But now then… how in the world would you cope with what happened next?  Yes I have the internet (knock on wood and hope it continues to work) and even though it’s not blazing (128kps) it’s at least fast enough to have removed the threat of going postal.  I’m also pleased with the fact that, as with DSL, the RDSI modem allows you to use your phone while you’re on line.

So the last technician left and of course I went every where I normally need to go on line just to be sure I could.  Then, while still on line, I made some phone calls and had someone call me.  That worked well.  I’m starting to feel normal, like I can now lead a normal life.  I even got caught up on recent U.S. and international news.

That was really satisfying because for nearly two years I have had absolutely zero accesses to U.S. news since my T.V. died in the flood which occurred during a heavy rain storm a couple months after I began living here (see My Contractor for that episode).   I tested my fax, which is part of my printer and is connected through my phone line, and it worked.

All right… it seems like I can be normal.  Oh, one more thing to check… my voice mail, but that shouldn’t be affected.  After all, that’s in a remote ICE computer somewhere and has nothing to do with anything that’s happened in my house (so I thought).  Yep, no voice mail.  I get a message in Spanish that says something like “this phone number is not recognized”.   How can that be?   I still have the same number.   Oh well, I figure it’s a minor glitch that they should be able to clear up easily so I call ICE.   Just as I suspected, after a brief conversation with tech support the guy says “ok, I fixed it while we were talking.   Hang up and give it a try”.   Hmmmm, I get the same “not recognized” message.

I call back, get a different tech, it’s a déjà vu of the first one and sure enough it still doesn’t work.  Ok, let’s hope the 3rd time is the charm.  Nope, this tech person says an ICE tech person will come to my house the next morning to check things out.

I cringe because I know how much these government tech people care.  But what the heck, I think I’ll play on the internet a little.  I even email the most fun person I know in Ca. who, when I lived there and had a fast connection, would send me wonderful, funny, and nasty (sometimes) jokes and tell her to send me something.  It’s been two years since I’ve had a good laugh in front of my computer and it will be good to get that going again.

She does, I get my chuckle and go to reply… An error message pops up… “No dial tone”.  My phone is completely dead!

I wait awhile, I reset my modem, I restart my computer,  I wonder what else I might be able to do, I wait a little longer… nothing.   Now, you remember that my cell phone doesn’t receive a signal within about a half mile of my house.   So I jump in my car and drive to a place where I get a strong signal and call ICE.

Very few of the tech people at ICE speak English.  I had no problem explaining the voice mail thing in Spanish.  But now this tech guy sees that a report has already been made for my phone and he simply can’t believe there is now an additional problem.  He finally gets frustrated and transfers me to another non English speaker who also doesn’t get it.

Then this guy transfers me to someone who speaks English (not perfect but good enough) and he doesn’t get it!   He keeps telling me that a report has already been made, yada yada and finally I get him to understand that there are two problems.

Oh, ok, he gets it but it’s after 4pm (remember, they’re gone at 4pm) so I just have to wait until tomorrow.   The tech guy will be here in the morning, he assures me.

Around 9am I check my phone.  There’s a dial tone!  Now, since Fort Knox is only about a mile from my place I just figure the problem must have been there, they fixed it and they’ll soon be here to take care of the voice mail problem

About 10am I loose dial tone again!   About 11am it’s back.  Where the hell are they?   I’d really like to get this all cleared up.  I wait until 8pm.  I’ve had dial tone off and on (more on than off thank goodness) all day long but ICE never did show up.

Yes, at 8pm I called them.  They’ll be here “tomorrow”.

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