Archive | December, 2012

SO YOU WANT to LIVE in COSTA RICA the Adventures, Trials and Tribulations of Settling in Paradise

21 Dec

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 9

GETTING A LAND LINE PHONE and INTERNET

In the states it’s relatively easy.  You call the phone company, give them your address etc., a few days later you plug in your phone and talk.  And we get impatient because it took “a few days”.  Keep in mind that this episode began mid December 2006.

Try this.  You don’t call the phone company because they only have one [1] (it’s called ICE, I haven’t figured out yet what those letters stand for) and it’s a government controlled monopoly with a strong union and filled with exactly the kind of government workers we make jokes about and shake our heads at in the states.   No, you go to the ICE (pronounced ee-say) office (if you can find it), take your documentation (corporate papers and some utility bill in the corporate name and passport.   Don’t ask me what you do if you’re not a corporation, pray maybe).   You take a number when you enter, sit there for an hour or so (I took a nap the first time sitting in my chair), then when your number is called you hope you have everything you need with you.  You’d think you were applying for entry into another country.   I mean, what’s so dangerous about letting someone have a phone?   But they have a well armed, very bored looking, security guard standing there.   I think I know now why they have a security guard.  Read on.

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SO YOU WANT to LIVE in COSTA RICA the Adventures, Trials and Tribulations of Settling in Paradise

20 Dec

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 8 continued

Anyway, back to the lady in the rose colored house.  She says yes!  Go across this tiny little bridge and it’s the second house and her name is Benigna.  Benignas house is green but it has a rose colored stripe around the bottom (the guy was close).  So I got my toldo made by Benigna.  Do you know… the total cost of material and labor was only about $25!  She charged me $8 labor.  I gave her $10.  The thing is 10’x10’x8′ high.  I’ve won the guerra de los zancudos as far as my sleeping area is concerned and had a great time doing it.

Within a few weeks I began to realize that I also needed to win the war in the rest of my house.  I read an article in National Geographic magazine that stated two interesting facts.

  1. Mosquitoes are attracted to your perspiration.  I’m in trouble.  I haven’t acclimated to the climate in paradise yet where every day the temperature ranges 80% – 85% and humidity ranges 50% – 80% depending on which season it is (dry or rainy).  And I perspire profusely without even moving.  Add a little movement and I drip like a faucet.
  2. It’s only the female that goes after your blood.  They need it for the health of their eggs.  And it seems there are a lot of females here.  Hmmmm… (kind of reminds me of the human kind in ticalandia.)

So it was back to Veintisiete and Benigna for curtains around my decks.  I have all my windows screened.  I have all the spaces above and around the open areas of my decks screened.  I purchased more mosquito net type fabric and had Benny (as she calls herself) make curtains that I can close after dusk, which is when the little bi….s come out. They’re actually quite nice because they’re very shear so I can see through them in the day time.  No spoiling my views.  They also provide a bit of privacy when closed because it’s like the effect glass has.  If its darker on the inside than it is on the outside you can’t see in.  And they help cut the amount of rain that hits the decks as well.

Then, because I’ve had so much Alaska experience having been raised there, where the mosquito is considered the state bird, I purchased the type of machine they use.  This is a machine that attracts then captures mosquitoes.

And to top it all off I installed a bat house high up on the south wall of my house.  I understand those little critters feast on mosquitoes.  Unfortunately, it got inhabited first by mud wasps so I don’t see too many bats around at night.

But, I have won the war.  It took me eight or ten months to get to this point but now I can set out on my deck at night, with the curtains open even, and not be attacked.

And here is a very interesting side note.  I subscribe to National Geographic magazine.  They recently had a brief article on how to rid your place of mosquitoes.  Pour your old coffee grounds in the places where they breed.  The coffee grounds prevent the eggs from developing.  I’ve been giving Mario my delicious Costa Rican coffee grounds after I have enjoyed the coffee and he puts them where they need to be and I now have very few mosquitoes!

SO YOU WANT to LIVE in COSTA RICA the Adventures, Trials and Tribulations of Settling in Paradise

19 Dec

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 8 continued

Ok, no problem, it’s just another adventure.  I pay for the fabric and I’m off to find the wizard.  I get to a group of buildings in what I think must be the pueblo and there’s a couple guys working on a chain link fence that goes around some official looking building so I stop the car, get out with my fabric and ask if they know a lady around there that sows things.  They look at me like “how the hell would we know”.  Turns out they don’t live there.  They’re just there to fix the fence.  But just then along comes a guy riding a bicycle.  They point and say “ask him.”  So I stop the guy, ask the same question, he says he has no idea but I should go a little farther and directs me around a couple more rights and lefts.  I take the rights and lefts and soon I see a house with three toothless old men setting on the front porch.  Once again I stop, get out with my fabric, walk right up to them, they look at me like “oh my god… what’s this gringo want… should we get our machete’s” but I quickly put them at ease and ask my question.  They have no idea but once again here comes a guy on a bicycle and they point and…  So I stop the guy on the bike, ask my question, he says “maybe”.  Fantastic!  I’m getting close.   He says he thinks the lady might live in the rose colored house a little further on.  I come to a rose colored house.  I knock on the door.

This lady comes to the door, opens it far enough to peek at me and she has the same look on her face the old guys did.  I guess they don’t see too many gringos in Veintisiete because there’s really no reason for a tourist to go there.  It’s just this tiny little place with a few houses, a school and a special technical college of some kind.  I’ve since taken the bus from P. Junquillal to Santa Cruz and it goes into Veintisiete on the way.

SO YOU WANT to LIVE in COSTA RICA the Adventures, Trials and Tribulations of Settling in Paradise

18 Dec

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 8 continued

Now I need to know if she knows someone who can make it.  This is where it gets interesting.  It’s one thing for me to understand a very clear and patient native Spanish speaker.  Try understanding Spanish with a Chinese accent.  But she says yes, she knows a lady who can make it.  I figure she’s going to give me directions to some house in town and she says “veintisiete” (27).  27?  What’s 27?  The lady is 27?  She lives 27 blocks away?  No, she says, veintisiete, veintisiete, with her Spangnese.  I say to myself “don’t show frustration, that won’t help, remain calm, keep your attitude positive, etc.”  And we proceed to go round and round around the word veintisiete.  Finally, she says “pequena puente” (little bridge).  We go round and round around pequena puente for awhile when all of a sudden it hits me!  There’s a little bridge about 17 km from town, right where the pavement ends and the dirt road starts, that I go across each time I go to town.  I ask her if that’s the bridge she’s talking about.  Yes!!  Then she says veintisiete is 1 or 2 km past the bridge.  I get excited because I think I’m getting close to discovering something.

It turns out that just after you cross the bridge onto the dirt there is an intersection where I have to turn left and then within a quarter mile another intersection where I have to turn right to get to Playa Junquillal.  At that intersection there is a road sign with arrows pointing various directions and the names of towns printed by the arrows and at the top of the sign I’ve always wondered why they would put a date with an arrow pointing straight ahead.  The date is 27 de abril (27 of April).  Good grief, there’s a town named 27 of April!!  I get it!  It’s only 1 km from the sign.  That’s where I need to go next!  Fantastic… what’s her name and where does she live?  My little old Chinese lady has no idea.  She just knows there’s a lady in 27 of April who sows things.

SO YOU WANT to LIVE in COSTA RICA the Adventures, Trials and Tribulations of Settling in Paradise

17 Dec

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 8 continued

The solution: a really BIG  net.  I go back to the store with a design in mind.  I will have one made that basically fills the whole room that I can walk under.  Now, it turns out that for reasons not known to me, this town has a large population of Chinese.  Many of the businesses are owned by Chinese and this is one.  But at least I’m able to explain that I need material and the owner says go two blocks this way and two blocks that way and one block that way and there’s a store that sells mosquito net material.  Do you think I can find it?  I wander around looking at strange looking store fronts, most of which don’t have signage, and those that do I can’t understand anyway.  So my technique is to see what’s in the window.  Maybe it’ll have material of various kinds.  Nope.  So after ten or fifteen minutes of this I go back to the store and tell the guy I can’t find it.  He’s Chinese and he says something in Chinese to this little old Chinese guy standing behind the counter with him.  The old guy beckons for me to follow him and he leads me directly to the store the guy was telling me to go to.  It’s closed.  There’s absolutely no signage, and no way of telling if they sell fabric by looking in the window.  But he bangs on the door until finally this little old Chinese lady opens the door a crack.

He says something in Chinese, which seemed to me like he was telling her what I wanted because she kept nodding her head like “yeah, I understand”, and finally she opens the door and beckons me in.  I draw pictures, make sign language, we figure out yardage, she unrolls a bunch of fabric and cuts me twenty meters worth and the first half of my quest is a success.

SO YOU WANT to LIVE in COSTA RICA the Adventures, Trials and Tribulations of Settling in Paradise

15 Dec

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 8

MY TOLDO

“Toldo” is a Spanish word for mosquito netting that you put around your bed.

My house is complete enough that I can sleep there.  I have a toilet, a sink in the bathroom, a shower (but no hot water) and an air mattress on the floor.  What else does a guy raised in the sticks of Alaska and used to camping as a major form of vacations when the family was younger need?

So I’m excited to spend my first night in my house.  I’m right on the beach!  I have those beautiful ocean breezes flowing in, open the place up entirely so I can enjoy the sound of the crashing surf, fans overhead are circulating, fantastic!  I settle down for my first night, sleep like a baby, wake to the sound of the birds just after dawn, and discover I’ve been eaten alive!

Second night.  I think “guess I better snuggle under the sheet better”.  Next morning.  It’s worse! The little bastards must have crawled under the sheet with me.  Now it’s time for war!  I’m resolved to win the “guerra de los zancudos” (war of the mosquitoes).  I drive the sixty minutes down the rough dirt road to the nearest town, Santa Cruz, and begin my search for a mosquito net.  Easier said than done with my weak Spanish.  But I finally find a store that has the kind of net you drape over a 4-post double bed.  I buy it.  It works, sort of.  No more bites after propping things around me to hold the net up but I still spent half the night fighting the net.

SO YOU WANT to LIVE in COSTA RICA the Adventures, Trials and Tribulations of Settling in Paradise

15 Dec

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 7 continued

The timing was such that I needed to leave for Ca. so I put it out of my mind and just figured I’d have to look around for someone else when I got back.  But fortunately for me when I got back he said she changed her mind.  They moved in (with less than one pick-up load).  Now I have eyes and ears 24/7 and I’m feeling much more secure.  And by the way, they are wonderful people and hard, willing workers.  I feel very fortunate to have stumbled onto them.

If you go to my website www.plumitapacifica.com and notice the landscaping you’ll be looking at what Mario has created for me over the years.

When they moved in all that was here was a dirt lot with a house on it.  No plants, ground cover, trees, shrubs, flowers or anything… just dirt and a house.  They asked me what my plans were for landscaping.  I said I had no idea since I hadn’t done any planning or designing in that regards but that I liked lots of color and flowers.  Mario began bringing in plants, ground cover, trees, shrubs and fruit bearing plants such as papayas, bananas, pineapples, and yucca, orange and lemon trees.  When you see the photos what you are looking at is totally Mario’s design and landscaping ideas.  I have never said a word to him except “thank you!”