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

25 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

There was still one ingredient we didn’t have… banana leaves.  You probably know this but in case you don’t, in C.R. tamales are cooked after being wrapped in banana leaves.  We could have bought some leaves in Santa Cruz.  I saw a lady buy a bunch in one of the stores that didn’t have the special pork oil.  I asked my friend if we should buy some.  She said no, because apparently she had talked to Mario and Nidia earlier and Mario had offered to cut them fresh in the jungle.

So at about four that afternoon Mario and I took off in my car for a part of the jungle where he knew there was a plethora of plantanos and cuadrados.   Ok, I need to explain “cuadrados”.  It turns out that tamales are not wrapped in banana leaves.  There are actually about five or six (maybe more) different types of plants that fall into the “banana” category of plant species.  I have four or five of them on my property now and probably will have more in the future since Mario is a master at finding beautiful plants and placing them in strategically decorative locations around my house.

Cuadrados look to me like any other banana plant but while driving with my tico friends in my car I have had them say “that plant is a banana, that ones a plantano, that’s a cuadrado” and so forth.  You’ve seen plantains in the market.

Cuadrados are a little smaller but used the same way as plantains but to me all the different types of “banana” plants look identical so don’t ask me how the ticos tell them apart, even when they don’t have fruit.  At least the fruit of each plant looks distinctively different.

I have a delicious type of banana that is producing fruit now, which is not sold commercially, on my property.

So anyway, it seems that you can’t just use any old type of “banana” leaf.  It has to be from a cuadrado plant.

Mario and I arrived at the place where the jungle is thick with cuadrados (not more than three or four kilometers from my house) and since he is the expert with the machete and also knows exactly which leaves make the best tamale wrappers and how to cut them up and how to leave the plant so it’s not damaged… I wasn’t much help.  But how fun!

We arrived back at my house around 6pm and my friend started the tamale making process.  I’ll describe it as best I can, but let me tell you, I now truly have a new respect!



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