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

18 May

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

Ok, here’s a couple for you ladies.  And believe me I won’t even get into stories about shopping for clothes.  If I told you those stories you wouldn’t even come here for vacation because I know how you enjoy “browsing”.  No, let’s just talk about a market, not that a market is necessarily a “woman’s domain”, but most women (and men) will be able to relate to what I’m about to describe.  A general description of your local mid level market in the U.S. (not high end, goodness knows that level may never be available in CR.) would look like this:

Isles wide enough for two carts to pass, well lighted, very clean looking with nice shiny floors, well stocked, great variety of items, not just food but entire miscellaneous sections such as cosmetics, house wares (extension cords), pharmacy, over the counter medications, interesting deli section, floral section, a greeting cards section, a bakery and maybe even a coffee bar and eating area.  I’ve probably left something out but I’m close.

Now let’s look at just one example of how that market is stocked.  Let’s get a can of tomatoes.  You have so many choices it’s almost ridiculous.  There are canned tomatoes in an endless variety of configurations, with or without a wide selection of additives/spices and all in several different brands and stocked several layers deep on many shelves.  For a man it can be mind numbing.  Please don’t ask me to go get a can of tomatoes (or any other product for that matter) unless you can tell me exactly what you want.

Now I’ll describe the newest and biggest market I’ve been in here.  They must have been to the U.S. but they just missed it in the most comical way.  The isles are wide enough for two carts to pass (with a little jockeying) and lighting is bright enough, but forget about finding price markers, and even when they do have them they may not be near the product you want or marked with the correct price.  Forget about the shiny floors and all the different sections, you have to go to different stores for most of the items you’d find in those sections.  But let’s go get a can of tomatoes.  There will be canned tomatoes stocked one or two layers deep on one or two shelves, just like in your favorite mid level market, except: two brands max., two or three configurations only, forget additives/spices.  But you could send me to go get a can and I wouldn’t be too nervous since there aren’t many choices and if I bring back something other than exactly what you wanted you could forgive me.

Now let’s go pay for our groceries.  You know how in your U.S. market often times if the lines get too long they will open another check stand.   Forget that.  I’ve mentioned lines and wait times in other segments of this journal so suffice it to say, once again, ticos just don’t seem to place a value on time the way gringo’s do.  I’ve even finally gotten up to the cashier only to have some “manager” interrupt the checker who is providing service to the customer while the “manager” empties the cash register, which involves about a five minute delay while they are counting and recording the money they are taking out.

Ticos also don’t seem to need as much personal space as gringos so lines can be packed pretty tight and if there appears to be an opening they seem to assume that the person on the other side of the opening is not in line and will slip in right in front of you.  I’ve gotten used to less personal space.  But I did have a pleasant surprise once with a tico who was unusually courteous.  He had a pretty full cart and I was right behind him with only five items in a basket.  He actually invited me to go ahead of him.

Murphy can really be a jerk.  Just as I was done paying for my items a “manager” came up and this guy who had been so nice had to wait while the ritual was performed.  I felt bad for him but thanked him for being nice.

 

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