This is the continuation of a series of blogs 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
chapter 25 continued
Uh oh… another shopping story just occurred that needs to be included here along with a related tamale cooking story.
So now, let’s talk about holiday shopping for food. In the U.S. the big holidays have special food items that are prepared traditionally, like turkey with all the trimmings at Christmas.
Can you imagine walking into your local market and not finding some of the ingredients and then being told that they are nowhere to be found in any of the stores in your city?
That is exactly what happened today, 12/22/2008. In all of Latin America it is a really BIG tradition to make tamales at Christmas.
A friend of mine said she always makes tamales for her family at Christmas, of course, and since I would like for her to make a couple for me to enjoy I offered to purchase the ingredients. One of the ingredients is meat. Apparently the type of meat is the cook’s choice and her choice is pork.
Costa Rica is a country where pork is almost a staple of the diet (for those who can afford to buy meat of any kind). And I happen to prefer pork over beef so I always have some in the freezer. But I didn’t have exactly what she wanted and also her recipe called for a type of oil made from pork fat. It’s liquid and comes in a bottle like many other cooking oils.
Actually, I didn’t have any of the ingredients she wanted since about the only thing I know how to do is BBQ.
So off to Santa Cruz we went, which now I can happily say is only a half hour away because what was a one hour drive on a road that would destroy a Hummer is now a drive on a nice smooth ready for asphalt surface.
There are no markets in Playa Junquillal other than the one little store that is best described as one half of a 7-11 that carries no fresh meat and a few wilted fruits and vegetables in addition to the 7-11 type items. So Santa Cruz, with a population of maybe twenty thousand people, is where I do most of my grocery shopping. I have already described the grocery stores in C.R., which would make a gourmet quickly exit the country, but being the simple cook/eater that I am I’m almost content. I would be more content if I could get fresh produce but without refrigerated transportation on slow roads and a system that guarantees at least four day old produce I put up with the wilted lettuce, floppy carrots, way over or under ripe fruits and other veggies, etc. Even the little farmers market that occurs in Sta. Cruz on Saturday’s can’t guarantee fresh picked produce. The local tropical fruits are wonderful however at the farmers market.
Unless you opt to reside in S.J. (yuck) or Cartago, where much of the produce is grown, expect to be disappointed regularly.