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

22 Apr

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 27 continued

But back to the turtle.

This time it was both dogs creating a stir and after about fifteen minutes Mario went out with his flashlight to see what the big fuss was all about.

Literally right in front of my house an Olive Ridley was laying her eggs.  What an incredible sight!  Mario came back to tell us immediately after he discovered her so Nidia, Mario, Kendi, my two tourist guests who had rented one of my apartments and I watched in amazement as she did her thing.

When the turtle selects the place she’s going to deposit her eggs she goes into kind of a trance like state.  At that point she is totally unprotected and vulnerable.  She simply begins to create a shallow depression in the dry sand and out come the eggs, about 100 of them on the average.  During that trance period, which lasts about forty five minutes to an hour, she appears to be totally oblivious to her surroundings.  You can touch her, shine your flashlight on her, take flash photos, move around her, talk, keep the dogs from attacking her and she is totally oblivious!

Then, after the last egg is out, she begins the process of covering them with the dry sand.  That is also a very laborious and time consuming process during which she remains in that trance like state.  But as she is scooping sand over the eggs with her flippers she is also moving in kind of a circular fashion.

Finally she completely disguises the whole area by moving sand in a way that replicates the random unevenness of all the dry sand around her nest and then begins the journey back to the sea.

What’s interesting is as she is scraping her way back to the ocean she leaves a very distinct trail.  It’s the trail that the poachers who are prowling the beach look for because it obviously leads to the vicinity of the nest.  They then rob the eggs, which are considered to be an aphrodisiac and have a black market value.

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

21 Apr

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 27

TURTLES in MY FRONT YARD

Playa Junquillal is one of Costa Rica’s protected turtle nesting beaches.  I’ve had the opportunity to hold a newly hatched baby turtle in my hand and then release it to the sea.  What a thrill!!

But maybe an even bigger thrill is watching a turtle laying her eggs and the incredible process that involves.  I have been here two years now and for the first time witnessed this event just recently.

Mario and Nidia have two dogs.  It seems like everyone here has at least two dogs.  I’ve heard gringos that have PETA leanings complain that ticos don’t take care for their dogs and I must admit that I do see a lot of malnourished and uncared for looking dogs.  And very few cats.  It seems that ticos don’t care much for cats.  But at least Lobo and Chiber (pronounced “Chee-bear”) are well fed by Mario and Nidia.  I came home the other day and met a third dog/puppy that when I asked who the puppy belonged to they said it was a gift from Mario’s brother to their little girl Kendi.

I had to be the big bad boss and tell them I thought two dogs were enough.  He was gone two days later.  Fortunately since families are large, and all the relatives pretty much live in the same area, they gave the puppy to their older daughter who lives in Paraiso with her boy friend.

Another interesting trait is that male dogs are by far the preferred sex.  I’ve heard that’s because puppies are hard to get rid of.  Ticos are practical that way.  I’m actually glad they have Lobo and Chiber, both males of course and also father and son, because they do a good job of putting up a ruckus when strangers are near the property.  Mario pays attention to that and goes out with a flashlight at night if the ruckus is big enough.

As a matter of fact that’s how the turtle got discovered.  It’s not uncommon for the two dogs to bark at other animals but if it lasts for more than five minutes it means something else is going on.  Like the time Lobo, before Chiber arrived on the planet, was attempting to bite a snake.  That was an interesting experience.  It turned out it was a poisonous snake and each time Lobo made an attempt to bite it the snake would strike.  Mario happened to be at work at the time so it was just Nidia and I trying to subdue Lobo and get him away from the snake.  As quick as that snake was, Lobo was quicker and actually got a couple bites in while avoiding being bitten.  He was paying no attention to us so I ran and got my machete and chopped the snakes head off.

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

14 Apr

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 26 continued

I have learned however, that some taxi drivers will attempt to cheat you.  Their usual technique is to simply turn off their meter without saying anything and when you arrive at your destination they tell you a price which is probably about double what you would have paid if the meter had been running.  Or they don’t have a meter which, of course, you don’t notice until it’s too late.  Or they quote you a price to your destination before you get in the cab and if it’s pouring down rain or you’re in a hurry you may just give in to it.  Whatever, any way you cut it you either have a confrontation or deal with disgust.

But for the most part, I’ve found the cab drivers to be friendly and helpful.  Some even take the opportunity to practice their English.  That’s a comical experience.  Me practicing my Spanish with them practicing their English.  I’m never quite sure either of us understands the other but we at least arrive at my destination having a good time.

And I learn some new words (some I won’t put into print).

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

10 Apr

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 26 continued

Well, it’s obvious he knows but he couldn’t tell me how he learned it.  He’s lived there nearly fifteen years.  Maybe it comes to you by osmosis.

I may never work up my courage to try a local bus because the solution to the dilemma of how to get around S.J. is very simple… a taxi.  You can travel for fifteen or twenty minutes in a cab for $6 or $8 and those guys are amazing at knowing exactly (most of the time) where you need to go.   The reason I say amazing is because, as you may have already read, there are no addresses and no street signs in C.R.  S.J. and its surrounding cities contain approximately 2.8 million people.  It’s exactly like L.A. in the sense that there is no division of cities or any indication that you have entered a different area.  But you can give the driver the name of the edifice you need or an approximate location and no problem, you’re there lickety split.  Two examples: Al lives in Colonia Kennedy, enfrente el parque, al lado norte de la auto pista, casa verde (for those of you who speak Spanish, those are the words I say to the “taxista”).  That’s about a fifteen minute white knuckle ride for about $4 and worth every scary penny.  I’ve been to his house many times and no way would I try to get there and back to my hotel in downtown S.J. on my own.  The other example: I couldn’t find the item I wanted at any of the hundreds of stores within an easy walk of my hotel and someone told me to go to a store called Yamuny.  Here are the directions I was given.  100 meters north of the national gymnasium.  No problem, I was there in less than five minutes by cab.  And S.J. is like many of the European cities that grew from nothing to a city of millions with not much planning and before there were many (or any) cars.

Like European cities there are little narrow streets going in crazy directions.  Also similarly, a need arose to create one-way streets.  But in C.R. in many of the towns, including S.J, you can be traveling down a one-way street and come to an intersection where you meet head-on with a one-way street going the opposite direction.  That’s a little disconcerting.  They will at least have a sign across the intersection from you that says “no hay paso” (sometimes) and one on your side indicating which way you need to turn (sometimes).   I have driven around S.J. a little when I know I can travel on major streets and be able to make normal left and right turns.

But my preferred method of getting around S.J. is a taxi.  That can be a real white knuckle ride however.  They have no concept of obeying signals, stop signs, speed laws, the rights of other drivers, pedestrians or even that you may wish to arrive at your destination in one piece and most of the cabs have been so beat up by all the potholes in the streets their suspension systems are shot.

So you bounce along while the driver goes like a bat out of hell swerving to avoid potholes and other vehicles with one hand on the steering wheel and the other on the horn.  It would be downright comical if it weren’t so terrifying.  If you sit up front with the driver you can at least put on a seat belt.

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

9 Apr

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 26 continued

But once again, I’ve been reminded that my U.S. expectations need to stay in the U.S.  Having learned that buses can be sold out around holidays, I went to the ticket counter to purchase a ticket one day early during the Semana Santa (Easter week) holiday.  It seems as though the buses are always running so getting where you want to go is not a problem and as long as you have your ticket you also have an assigned seat.  They leave exactly on schedule, which amazes me, because I have not found anything else in C.R. that does anything on schedule.  Except closing maybe.  The stores do seem to close on time.

Anyway, I bought my ticket but in looking at it more closely when I got home I discovered that the date of departure was that same day, but I wanted to go the next day, which was Friday (Good Friday).  The good news is that they have begun preparing the road for asphalt so the drive into Santa Cruz where the bus station is takes only about a half hour (instead of one painful hour).  So after I got over being mad at myself for not checking my ticket closely while I was still at the counter, I got in my car and made the trip back to Santa Cruz.  The guy behind the counter gave me a quizzical look because he knew he had sold me a ticket just an hour or so ago.  I figured I had not made myself clear that I wanted a ticket for Good Friday the first time because the departure time on the ticket was correct; it was that in my mind, the date was not the date I wanted.  So this time I emphasized “Friday”.  He said “no”, I said what do you mean “no”, he said no busses on Good Friday.  That’s when I discovered I had lost a day.  You see, when I asked for a ticket for tomorrow, he had given me one.  Tomorrow was Thursday, I thought it was Friday, I had twilight zoned out.   My friends here tell me that’s good.  I’m finally getting into the tico rhythm.

Buses in S.J. are a different story.  Still no chickens or pigs but tons of people and there are more buses than I would ever attempt to count.  There are buses going all directions and on the narrow streets with an also uncountable number of cabs zipping around.  It’s amazing how few accidents there are.

And do you think there is any such thing as a printed bus schedule?  Or a sign indicating a bus stop?  Or any indication of which bus goes where?  The people who live there seem to know.

I’ve asked Al how does anyone know which bus goes where and when and where do you catch it.  He takes the bus all the time because his vision is to too limited to allow him to drive.  He couldn’t answer the question.  He just said “the people know”.

Well, it’s obvious he knows but he couldn’t tell me how he learned it.  He’s lived there nearly fifteen years.  Maybe it comes to you by osmosis.

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

3 Apr

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 26 continued

The buses are not like the ones you saw in the movie “Romancing the Stone” with chickens and pigs inside along with the people.  They actually have the seats numbered and when you buy your ticket it will tell you your seat number.

But because there are times when there simply aren’t enough buses they will allow you to purchase a ticket “de pie” meaning you don’t have a seat and must stand in the isle.  I’ve been on the bus a few times and seen the people standing the whole four and a half hours to S.J.  Looks grueling to me!  One time I arrived too late to get a ticket on the bus I wanted and I decided to try “de pie”.

I lucked out because either someone didn’t show up along the way (the bus stops to pick people up) or maybe someone got off, but when the bus left the terminal there was an empty seat that I was able to keep all the way to San Jose.   (Isn’t that the title of a song?)

I’ve had opportunities since then to go “de pie” and have been glad every time that I didn’t because the next bus that I was able to catch had people in the isle.  So the good news is they’re air conditioned (sometimes) and have almost comfortable seats that recline (about like an airplane seat).  But they’re definitely not fancy.  Oh, one more thing.  Half way to S.J. they make a potty stop at a big restaurant.  That’s a comical experience because they only stop for fifteen minutes.  There is no announcement.  The driver gets back on in exactly fifteen minutes, honks his horn once, closes the door and is off!  No head count.  No exception.  If you’re not on the bus… I’ve often wondered what I’d do if I missed it.

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

1 Apr

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 26

TAKING the BUS

I’ve taken the bus all the way from my place to San Jose just for the adventure of it and discovered it’s actually a good way to get to San Jose.  It costs less than $6 one way where as gas would be about $40.  Takes a little longer of course but on the other hand you’re not tired and stressed out from forever trying to get around a black smoke belching truck that can’t go more than ten miles an hour on the mountain roads.   Plus like I said before, it’s a gorgeous drive and from the bus you can actually enjoy the scenery.  And let the driver be stressed trying to get around the smoke belchers.

As of the date of this writing a bus ticket now costs about $10 and of course gas prices have risen too.

With the exception of the day I decided to go to San Jose and a big tree fell across the road between P. Junquillal and Santa Cruz, causing me to miss the connection I wanted for San Jose, that I needed to catch in Santa Cruz, because we had to wait while a bunch of guys chopped that big tree up with their machete’s.  It’s my preferred way to go.  It’s amazing what these ticos can do with a machete.  That has to be one of the most versatile tools in the world.  This tree had a trunk diameter of about 6 to 8 inches.  Those guys whacked the branches off and had the trunk cut up enough to be able to drag it off the road in less than a half hour.

But more on the bus system here.  I’ve been here about 7 months now and have been to San Jose several times on the bus.  I’ve found a place that, at least for now, I can leave my car in Santa Cruz and pick it back up when I’m back from S.J.  The bus from P. Junquillal is a rickety old thing with blown out shock absorbers and on that rough dirt road you must take to get to Santa Cruz it’s just nicer to take my car.  The bus I take from S.C. to S.J. however is much nicer.  Some of them even have a TV and since it’s a four and a half hour ride it’s nice to watch a movie.  (As the years have passed however, the busses to San Jose have deteriorated terribly and there are no more movies.)

It has been interesting though to learn the idiosyncrasy’s of taking the bus.   For example on more than one occasion I have arrived at the terminal too late to get a ticket for the bus I wanted.  Not a big problem because in another hour or two there will be another bus to the same destination.  The reason there are so many buses with such a varied schedule is because something like over 50% of the people in C.R. don’t have cars.  Thank goodness the bus company’s aren’t government controlled!  After my experiences with ICE (see Getting a Land Line Phone and Internet) I can only imagine the nightmare it would be.

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