Archive | July, 2013

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

31 Jul

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 35 continued

In PasadenaCalifornia there is a world famous parade.  You’ve probably heard of it.  The “Rose Parade”, which is put together by an organization called “the Tournament of Roses”.  The T of R organization is composed of 900 + volunteers plus a staff of paid professionals.  The volunteers put in an average of 100 hours each, per year, to bring together all the elements that produce that spectacular event.   That does not include the businesses such as the professional float builders/decorators and all that the city must provide for that event.  It’s an unbelievable undertaking and it’s miraculous that it occurs so beautifully and smoothly every year.

The parade rout is five miles long and on average is lined by approximately one million spectators.

Coincidentally, I was a member of the T of R organization for ten years.  In those ten years I had an opportunity to become very familiar with most of the facets that need to come together for that parade to happen.  I still watch that parade every year, on television of course, and get teary eyed every time.  For me it is very emotional because I know what goes into it and what “behind the scene” kind of stuff had to happen for it to be so beautiful.

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

30 Jul

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 35

A CHRISTMAS PARADE (small town Costa Rica style)

The biggest celebration of Christmas in C.R. happens Christmas Eve.  That’s when the family comes together in one place, gifts (if they can afford them) are exchanged between adults and Christmas day is when the kids get their gifts.   On Christmas Eve, in even the tiniest of towns, there is usually a parade followed by a fiesta.  The fiesta can include food stands, a bar and dancing.  Depending on the size of the town, it can really be a pretty big celebration.

I missed the Christmas parade and fiesta last year because I didn’t realize they even had one.  I asked Nidia on Christmas day why I had heard sirens and that’s when she explained about the parade and other festivities.

So this year I was ready.

Now, before I go into the details, I need to give you a little background.  I’m going to share a little of my history with you so you get the full affect of the juxtaposition and the fun that I experienced from that based on what I know about parades.

 

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

30 Jul

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 34 continued

So with that, the friendly cop and I took off for the place to copy my passport.  When we got back it seemed that I should be able to hand over the order to release and the copy of my passport and they would hand over my license.  Nope.  The “desk sergeant” proceeded to study the order like he had never seen one before.  The thought occurred to me that maybe he hadn’t.  Because if it hadn’t been for the help of the U.S. Embassy and Cesar that license would rot there like the rest of them.  I had already planned my plan B which was to report it lost to the D.M.V. in Ca. and get another.  Incidentally, before the desk guy received the suggestion to look through the “recent” stack of licenses he was randomly pulling out stacks of licenses and I saw several others from the GoldenState as well as other states amongst all the Costa Rican licenses.

Obviously I’m not the first to come up with that particular plan B but apparently those other victims of macho and bureaucracy, who’s licenses I saw, just gave up on trying to work through the system.  That would be the easy solution if you were only a tourist, maybe never to return.   I wonder about the ticos though.  I guess they just keep on driving without a license.

You do not need to present anything other than your passport to exit the country.

Anyway, after he became convinced that he couldn’t quite fathom what that paper was about he called someone else over to study it with him.  More rapid fire Spanish ensued and they finally got the meaning of the order to release figured out.  Then he opened this ledger book that had 100’s of pages of hand written reports and began writing.  Five minutes later he was done writing.  I have no idea what he wrote, but when he indicated  that he needed me to sign it and had my license in his other hand I knew that was the final bureaucratic touch.

I’m happily back home in Playa Junquillal with my license.

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

27 Jul

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 34 continued

I walked in the door of the cop shop and announced the purpose for my presence before they had a chance to draw their guns.  You think I’m exaggerating but I’m not.  I guess not too many gringos barge into their office because when I saw one cop flip the holster strap off the hammer of his pistol I knew I better appear to be friendly.

I handed the one who appeared to be the “desk sergeant” the order to release my license and he said that if they had my license they would only release it if I gave them a copy of my passport.  Remember, I had just given the lady at the court, which by now was an hour behind me, the only copy I had with me?!

I did have my actual passport with me but they didn’t have a copy machine.

Esparza is hardly more than a wide spot in the road so it’s not like you just go to your local copy place in that town.  But there was one friendly cop there who asked if he could get in my car and direct me to a store that had a copy machine.

I snatched that order to release out of the hands of that other cop immediately because that was the only security blanket I had and no way was I leaving there without it and said “wait a minute, before we go any farther, lets see if you actually have my license”.   They pulled open a drawer and there must have been 300 licenses in there!  They actually had them cataloged and grouped by date of confiscation.  The “desk sergeant” started showing me licenses from stacks that were dated long before my incident and I saw lots of gringo licenses and of course tons of tico licenses.  Finally, one of the other cops realized that this idiot wasn’t looking at the correct stacks and told him to go to the group that was only three days old and there I was, right on top!

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

26 Jul

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 34 continued

Esparza just happens to be a town that I know the location of because it’s exactly half way between Sta. Cruz and San Jose and the busses stop there for a fifteen minute potty break.  I asked the ladies in the court house where the police station was in Esparza.  They had no idea.

No problem.   I have an ace up my sleeve for that one.  The ace is a gringo named Bob from New York that has a little restaurant/gift shop about ten minutes before Esparza and he makes a good old fashioned American hamburger and a not bad milk shake.  If I happen to be driving to San Jose I try to plan my trips both ways so I can get my good old fashioned hamburger fix because Costa Ricans have not figured out how to make a hamburger (or a real milk shake).  You’d think it would be pretty simple, considering that a hamburger is a pretty simple thing.  I have no idea what their problem is but they have no idea what a hamburger is supposed to be like even though practically every menu here has one on it.

Anyway, I had a burger and a shake, got good directions from Bob and went to what I thought would be the final step.

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

25 Jul

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 34 continued

After about fifteen minutes some lady employee of the court calls me over and hands me an official looking paper.  I have no idea what, in her rapid fire Spanish, she’s trying to say.  Another person comes over and in Spanish that is much clearer explains that this paper is an order to release my license to me.  I don’t need to stand before a judge!!  Thank you Cesar!  It appears that the U.S. Embassy is given some respect.

In the last phone call I had with him on Friday after I had found COSEVI and paid I asked him to call the court to inform them that I was on the way there and to confirm to me that they were aware I was coming and the reason why I was coming.  When he got back to me he reminded me again that I would need to plead my case to the judge but confirmed that they were expecting me.

Ok, now I’ve got the official order to release my license to me in my hand, signed by a judge I never had to see, so I ask the lady to give me my license.  No.  It’s not there.

I must go to the police station in a town called Esparza.  Except she kept pronouncing it Sparta.  I know where Esparza is but I’ve never heard of Sparta.  I ask her to show me this town on a map.  That’s when another lady in the office took pity on me and pronounced it correctly and pointed to it on a map they happened to have hanging on the wall.

With that problem solved, as incredulous as it seems that my license wasn’t at the court as Cesar was told by the court that it would be, the next challenge was to find the police station where the people at the court said it would be.

Incidentally, Cesar really did save the day for me, so to speak.  Even though he never got accurate information from any of the bureaucracy’s, he was diligent in getting what he was led to believe was accurate and got that information to me quickly.  And he was also obviously influential with the court.  I’ve emailed him a “thank you”.

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

24 Jul

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 34 continued

COSEVI is thirty minutes from downtown S.J. in a town called Uruca but the highway I need to be on Friday to return home goes by Uruca.   I ask Cesar to confirm with the court in San Ramon that if I pay the ticket Friday morning at COSEVI that when I get to the court I will be able to appear before a judge.  When he gets back to me he assures me that I will be able to see a judge and that I should plead my case and request immediate return of my license and reminds me that the court is closed from 12 to 1pm for lunch and then closed from 2:30pm until Monday.

I have a narrow window of opportunity because knowing that COSEVI exists and finding COSEVI in that conglomeration of convoluted streets in what is known as “the central valley” that contains a whole bunch of cities with 2.8 million people and no street addresses are two different challenges.

But I found it in time to make it to San Ramon at 1pm.  Why so late you might ask?  I left the hotel at 9am.  By the time I finally found COVSEVI (remember, there are no addresses in C.R. therefore maps are basically useless), waited in the lines (yes, more than one) and finally got the ticket paid (about $50) and then drove to court it was 1pm.

What would you expect to experience in court with not real strong Spanish?   Cesar recommended that I have a bilingual person with me.  Skip that.  First of all the tica wasn’t with me for the trip back home and second, she wasn’t bi-lingual anyway.  I’m in my car on my way home with no bilingual person with me and I know it’s pointless to try to find a stranger, who would be in court for their own stress producing problem, to help me.  First, of course, are the lines.  There’s the one to get into the building since a whole pile of people are waiting for the 1pm opening and where one at a time each person goes through a thorough security search.  Then there’s the one when you finally find the correct counter and take a number and wait your turn.   Finally my number is called, someone takes all my paper work and the only copy of my passport that I have with me and tells me to go sit back down.  I figure then is a good time to go over in my mind the presentation/plea that I will make to the judge in hopes of having him/her release my license to me.