Archive | January, 2013

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

31 Jan

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 12 continued

The city is attempting to rid itself of these private taxis for reasons I wasn’t sure I understood (until now) but not being strongly politically motivated around that subject I hadn’t paid much attention.  Plus I had taken private taxis before and found them to be about the same as the red cabs with but one exception (well, now two) so I was comfortable with entering the car.  The driver seemed to be a pleasant guy and we began a friendly conversation.  After he made a few turns I realized he was taking a different route to the hotel and I asked why.  He said the street the hotel was on was under repair so he needed to go a different way.

Ok, we go twisting and turning around the city which didn’t seem unusual because the streets go in all kinds of strange directions with occasional one way streets that make driving around this town like negotiating a maze.  But when he turned off a main street onto what appeared to be a dead-end street I immediately had the feeling that dire consequences were about to occur.

That’s when I understood why there wasn’t an inside door handle on my door.  I had noticed that earlier but once again wasn’t too concerned because most of the private cars around here have parts missing or broken and even the red cabs fit that description.

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

30 Jan

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 12 continued

Part 2

Two weeks later I had just arrived by bus in San Jose on Friday afternoon.  I had only arrived back in the country from the two weeks I was talking about in part 1 the day before and had decided to go to S.J. to visit my friends Al and his wife Maritza and do a little shopping for my apartments.  Things are a little cheaper in S.J., I hadn’t seen Al and Maritza for a couple months and the bank I do business with does not have a branch near me in Junquillal and they don’t charge me a service charge for the exchange of $’s to colones.  So I had a month’s worth of money with me to exchange.

Here is my routine when I go to S.J.  I pack the carry-on that I use on the airplane with whatever I need for S.J.  Things like clothes, my bag of personal care items, my Franklin planner which, at that point, contains not only all my credit cards, drivers license, passport, phone directory,  all the money I have just exchanged and the carry-on also has both my C.R. and Ca. cell phones, my camera, all the keys to cars and business and other miscellaneous items.  In other words, my carry-on contains some of the more critical elements of my life.  From the bus depot I take a cab straight to my bank, tell the cab driver to wait for me, make my exchange and go directly to the hotel I always stay at and put the money in a safe deposit box.  But this time, as the cab pulled up to let me out at the bank, a girl came over thinking the cab would be free upon my exit.  It was raining, she didn’t have an umbrella and I did, so I took pity on her and let her have the cab. They left.  I made my exchange and went back out to the curb to hail another cab.  It’s raining, I do have my umbrella open, but cab after cab goes whizzing by with people in it.

Finally, what I think is a private cab pulls up.  The driver asks where I’m going, gives me a fair price and I get in.  Now, I have to explain what is meant by “private” cab.  The official taxis in all of C.R. are red in color with a yellow triangle on top with the name of the operating company on it.  Private taxis are just cars owned by individuals that use it as their business.

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

29 Jan

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 12 continued

He didn’t show up later that day but that’s not unusual for Costa Rica the country where your plans don’t matter because no matter what you plan it will change.  He didn’t show up the next day or the next day or the next day but I still was not concerned because I have come to realize that there is no end to the weird things that can interrupt your life in this place.  But the next day I was leaving for the U.S. and would be gone two weeks.  I knew for sure he would show up but of course not be able to get his keys and I didn’t want to inconvenience him.  Simple solution.  I would give the keys to Nidia (see My Security Guard) with the instruction not to give them to him without full payment.

I picked up the keys to take them downstairs to her and that’s when I noticed they were blanks!  Now, that was so slick I actually laughed.  $80 isn’t enough to create a lot of pain but enough for me to realize that maybe, as I have been accused; I am too nice and a bit naive.  But I had fun telling the story and didn’t take it too seriously.

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

28 Jan

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 12

A LESSON WELL LEARNED

If enough time passes (or you can pull yourself together quickly) you can sometimes laugh at the evil which entered your life temporarily.  And for sure the universe sometimes has a way of making sure you are aware of necessary adjustments in your thinking.

Well, this is a two-fold story of how the universe sometimes teaches.

The people in C.R. in general are so agreeable and friendly you can easily be lulled into a false sense of security.  The phrase “pura vida” (pure life) actually does apply here and if you have the perception that most people in the world are good, as I do, there can also be a bit of naiveté.  So I was taught an interesting lesson, which I obviously didn’t get, as you will see when I give you part 2.

Part 1:

I was in Santa Cruz and happened to run into a guy that I don’t know very well but he had been a waiter at a restaurant I frequent and was always very friendly.  We were standing on the sidewalk talking when a third guy, who I had never seen before, walked up and said hi to my waiter friend.  They seemed to know each other and began a friendly conversation, most of which I didn’t understand because of the rapid fire Spanish, but it was obvious from what I could pick up that it was the usual friendly small talk.  Pretty soon the third guy asked me if I could give him a ride to the other end of town where his bank was.  No problem. Plus I had noticed that he had a problem with his right leg.  We get to the other end of town where his bank is and he asks me to park at the curb.  I park.  Then he asks me for a loan of about $80.  I look him straight in the eye and inform him strongly that I never give people money.  If they’re hungry I’ll buy them something to eat but no way am I going to support someone’s “habit”.  He says no, no, no, his truck is broken down and he needs it pulled.  He’s going to take all the money he has in the bank but he would still be about $80 short. He then pulls his key ring out of his pocket and proceeds to show me the keys to his truck, house and business, which is in a different city, and offers them to me as security.  He says he will come by my house later that day to reclaim his keys and pay me back.   Hmmmm… that seemed reasonable so I gave him the money.

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

26 Jan

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 11 continued

So when Mario crashed his bike I was happy that he didn’t seem to be seriously hurt.   He complained that his knee had hit a rock when he went down and was limping.  But after eleven days it’s gotten worse!   Tonight he came to me and asked if I would take him to a pueblo called Las Delicious.   Don’t ask me where they get these names from.    In between Playa Junquillal and Santa Cruz we have Las Delicious (which doesn’t look very “delicious” to me), Paraiso (“paradise” but no way is it paradise), Rio Seco (“dry river” but there is no river near it), Veintisiete de Abril (“27 of April”, what’s up with naming a place a date?) and a few others that almost make sense.

I didn’t ask any questions when he requested that I take him someplace because he’s a tough guy so if he felt the need to get treatment I knew it was serious.   He wanted to take a friend of his along that lives close by so we stopped to pick up Jorge and then headed for Las Delicious.   What we came to in Las Delicious was a clapboard shack occupied by more than one generation.  Out came this old guy (turned out he was about 75).   Mario described the problem to him.   We are outside at this point and it’s pitch black nighttime.

The old guy points at a board that’s about ten feet long by 14 inches wide supported on three tree stumps of equal height (about twelve inches).   It was barely visible and only visible because there was a little light coming from the open door of the shack.   He tells Mario to go sit down on it and put his hurt leg up on it.   Jorge gets behind Mario to support his back and the old guy starts massaging Mario’s leg and knee with something that smelled like that stuff that produces heat.

Then he proceeds to flex Mario’s knee which produced screams of pain.   Mario takes a cloth out of his pocket to bite while he’s screaming and the old guy is manipulating the leg.   After a few minutes of this he wraps the knee with something like an ace bandage that Mario had brought and he’s done.  Mario pay’s him 2,000 colones (about $3.75) and we leave.   I took photos of the whole incredulous ordeal.

On the way back home I just had to know what the hell that was all about.  I asked who the medico was (I couldn’t bring myself to say “doctor”).   Jorge says “what medico” and they both laughed.

I never did get an answer that would indicate some level of medical training but they both seemed to be pleased to inform me that this guy had, for many years, treated the sports injuries of the players on one of the soccer teams.   I didn’t ask which team.

I pray I never need a “country doctor”.

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

25 Jan

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 11 continued

Mario and his wife Nidia are truly good people and not only care for my house/property but very much care about my house/property.   Mario has completely landscaped my yard and been very creative with plants and flowers.

He has planted banana and papaya trees, found interesting pieces of driftwood that he has very artistically worked in to the design and all of the beautiful flowering plants, trees, bushes and ground covers he has brought in from the surrounding country side at no cost.  He simply goes out and finds the stuff and brings it back and plants it.

In addition to his landscaping skills he has also saved me tons of money repairing things that I would have had to hire done.   And he simply has a great attitude and willing spirit.

Nidia is an equal counterpart to Mario.  She keeps my place and the apartments spotless, does all my laundry, and acts as apartment manager if I don’t happen to be here.   On more than one occasion she has shown management and money collection skills.

Not once have I needed to “correct” either of them.

 

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

24 Jan

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 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.