Archive | September, 2013

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

30 Sep

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

And now I need to include parts of chapter 6 that I recently omitted (accidentally) !!!

According to them water was about an inch deep throughout the entire second floor of the house!  I’m told that usually when it rains here the wind blows from the ocean towards the inland.  So I not only had all the water running off my roof onto my deck but what the wind blew in as well all being pushed into my house by the wind.  Glad I wasn’t here. Glad they couldn’t call me.  I’ve always told my employees that if I’m away and there’s nothing I can do about whatever the emergency is that is occurring, call the professionals who can do something about it.  (If only there were some pros around here to call.)  Deal with it the best you can and don’t bother me!  The good news is that very little was damaged.  A few books that I hadn’t unpacked yet, a T.V. (which I practically never watch) and some other minor mementos got ruined.

Of course, however, I immediately hired someone to extend my roof past my deck.  Funny thing, they just finished the first half, which extends out from my living room, today and are more than half done with the part that extends out from my bedroom.  And we had a brief but fierce little storm.  Good test.  I discovered some other challenges with water incursion I need to deal with but I’m not flooded.

You’ll read about the mistake I made not extending the roof line further than I told my contractor to build it.  But now is a good time to suggest that you actually extend it further than recommended for reason that will become obvious later.

Anyway, back to construction challenges.  My lot, being right at the beach, is a little low and floods or better yet, becomes a swamp during the rainy season.  So for that reason I had about 2 feet of fill dirt put on it one year prior to construction.  It’s obvious that that was a good decision because I’ve seen the shallow lake that forms next to me.  So finally the year had passed, the fill dirt was well compacted, and Mario could start.

He doesn’t speak English but his wife (Alice) is fluent (from Switzerland) and begins to send me pictures of the progress.  I see the dirt.  I see the footings dug.

They’re down about four feet.  I see the steel re-bar in place in the footings.  I get a panicked email from Alice.  The municipality has come and jerked the permits thus stopping the work because the footings are too close to the property line.  How did this happen?

Turns out the architect drew the plans such that the house violated the set back and rather than re-drawing correctly simply labeled the line from the property line to the house with the number legally required.

But Mario went by the scale of the drawing. Apparently whoever reviewed the plans at the municipality missed the error and issued the permits.  And apparently after Mario had the footings dug someone at the municipality caught the error, came to the property, took the measurements and jerked the permits which stopped the whole thing!  I called Alice.  What can be done?  They would send a representative (Mario’s brother) to plead the case that because the set back rule was for fire hazard, and because my house is all concrete block, that there is no need for that much set back.  The municipality bought it and re-issued the permits.  Nice coincidence because this all happened on a Thursday and I was due to arrive at my property on Monday.  I was on a plane to San Jose that Friday night so I wouldn’t know the outcome of the plea until Monday.  I was relieved to see men working when I pulled up.  Alice gave me all the details then.

The next panic was precipitated by the environmental watchdog group here.  I get this email from Alice that there is some developer about a mile down the beach from me trying to violate the mangrove area that adjoins the estuary there, and they’re trying to include my property in the action they are taking against this developer in conjunction with the municipality.  I think “what’s that got to do with me.  I’m a mile away.”  But I send the email on to my attorney in C.R.  She replies back not to worry and just build the place fast.  I forward her reply to Alice.  Alice replies back that it seems the group dropped me out of the action so no problem.  I put it out of my head.

My house is nearly done months later and I’m in the only beach bar in Junquillal having a beer.  There’s no one in the bar except me and some lady with her ten year old son.  I’m about to leave when the lady says to me “are you Gary Davis?”  Somewhat stunned (I was falling asleep at my beer, too) I acknowledge my existence and she says she wants to give me some information about my house.  That got my attention.  Turns out she’s one of the key players in this environmental group (called the “Junquillal Association”) and I find out later also an attorney.  She proceeds to inform me that my house is also adjacent to a mangrove area, which is supposed to be protected, and no building is supposed to occur in a protected area.  Good grief!  This is all news to me.  I’m not even sure I know what a mangrove looks like and I certainly was unaware of the situation she described.  As a matter of fact, if I had known all this when I first looked at the property I wouldn’t have bought it.

But because the municipality was unaware of the mangrove they issued my permits and efforts by the association to stop the construction were fruitless.  She later gave me all the paper work that had been generated by and between the association and the municipality.  I passed it on to my attorney.  I’ve joined the group.  Only time will tell if there’s more to this story.  One of my acquaintances say’s it’s brilliant.  He thinks I lucked into an estate because now that the municipality is aware of the mangrove no one can build around me.

Interesting thought.

As a matter of fact, speaking of my “estate”, the lady that owns the only lot which adjoins my property came by yesterday.  Her lot is exactly the same size and shape as mine and is right behind me.  For now it’s covered with nice tall natural grasses and has a couple nice trees on it.

To tell you the truth, when I heard that it was possible that the municipality would deny permits to build on it because now they know about the ecology of the area, I was pleased even though I felt sorry for whoever had invested their money in it, that there was the possibility that I would have that nice buffer between me and the next house back forever.  Even though for now there are no houses visible from mine, I’m sure the day is just around the corner when I’ll begin to have neighbors.  I had never met her but she showed up with, I think he was a significant other, and a couple of workers to check things out.  I thought it was interesting that she quickly got around to telling me she would “make me a good deal”.  I quickly told her I wasn’t interested.  It was after that that she revealed that she was a Realtor.  Typically slippery and slick as many of them are in C.R.

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

30 Sep

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 6 continued

Well it is now March, 2008, one year and 3 months after moving in.  Mario’s workers came and reinforced the beam with beautiful wood so now it has a real artistic look.  I’m a happy camper.

November, 2008.  I discovered another change that would make my house way more livable.   Now don’t get me wrong here.  I love my house.  It’s very satisfying in every respect.  If someone were to ask if I had it to do over again what would I do differently and I can honestly say “not much” (except for extending the roof line).

But I have now gone through two rainy seasons and when the wind blows from the ocean towards my house I still fight the rain because my house is completely open on that side.  This year I had clear plastic curtains made that I can pull closed when it rains. They actually worked quite well but it’s kind of a pain in the butt to be opening and closing them all the time.  And I have needed to have several of them repaired as the rainy season progressed because if the wind catches them just right they tear.

So a couple weeks ago I was sitting on my deck one night daydreaming off into space through the palms and over the beach and being lulled to la la land by the ocean when I got a brainstorm.

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

28 Sep

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 6 continued

In the meantime, back to the architect, the person who is supposed to engineer the structure within all the laws of physics to be sound and safe, then inspect as construction progress’s to make sure the builder is following the plans accurately.  The question I asked was “what if the place collapses?

Being the trusting soul I am I took it on faith that Mario would build it strong enough.   I had been told that he does build a little beefier than is shown in the plans.

Imagine my surprise and dismay when I discovered that the living room roof, which is an open beam ceiling, is actually in the process of falling in!  Obviously it hasn’t fallen in yet and probably wouldn’t for quite some time but without question the only question is when, not if.

Here’s the picture.   The roof has one beam of hardwood 8 inches high by about 3 ½ inches thick that spans 17 feet.  It’s reinforced at each end by a 4×4 that runs from about 3 feet in down to an even bigger beam at a 45% angle thereby forming a triangular support structure at each end of the beam.  So that leaves about 11 feet of span.

This is the only beam to support the rafters with the exception of the beams at each end of the room.  But this big support beam has a joint in the middle.  It’s an interesting joint.  I’ve noticed this type of joint in other beams in the structure that apparently couldn’t be purchased long enough to span the total distance using only one piece of wood.  So they make this joint in such a manner that it won’t move up or down or sideways.

However a joint, no matter how intricate it is, is still weaker than an uninterrupted solid piece of lumber.  And this joint is beginning to sag!  At the moment it’s only sagging about ¼ of an inch but that’s enough to be alarming.  Mario came by to look at it in October and said he’d be back in January to fix it.  It’s now March.  I’m praying we don’t get the 8 pointer that happens every 50 years (approximately) before he gets around to fixing it.  The last 8 pointer occurred just after 1950 and has been recorded about every 50 years since 1850.  I’ll be calling him!

Mario’s wife Alice has a sense of humor (sometimes).  Shortly after I noticed the sagging support beam I was in San Jose when a 5.0 quake hit Guanacaste (that’s the canton my house is in).  I called Alice to inquire about my roof.  Had it fallen in?  She said no but not to worry because I still had the first floor.  Real funny.

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

27 Sep

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 6 continued

The latest is I need to pay about $2000 for a new transformer.  I need to pay?  I’m totally baffled because in the states of course if you’re having power brought to your new construction you just call the power company and they show up and install whatever they need to on the pole and run the line into your house.   Not here.  If you read Getting a Land Line Phone and Internet you’ll remember that I mentioned I had to buy and install both the power pole and the pole for the phone line.  What I hadn’t realized was that I also bought the transformer, since it was included in the contractors bid.   If you read When it Rains it Pours you’ll remember that I told about the lightning strike that blew up my transformer.  Well, when they came to replace it no one mentioned money, so at this point I’m unaware that I paid the initial cost.  But now they needed me to bring the electrical engineer signed plans in so they could ascertain exactly what they need to do to convert me to “permanent”.  That’s when they discover that the transformer that allows me to have “provisional” (temporary) power is too small to be used for “permanent”.

The problem is that because since I wanted separate meters for my house and the three apartments on the first floor it takes a bigger transformer to supply that service.  You see, the “provisional” meter supplies the entire structure at the moment.  Don’t ask me how that works that the whole place has power on the smaller transformer but when I have everything independently metered I need a bigger transformer.

They just say that to make the change a bigger transformer needs to be installed and I have to pay the difference ($2000) in cost between the two!

Well, I guess I’m not in too much of a hurry because I find it hard to believe that the reduction in my bill after the change is made will justify spending $2000 to get it.  That’s like when you buy something “on sale” and are excited about the money you “saved”.   I’ll make the change someday.  Maybe after the next lightning strike.

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

26 Sep

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 6 continued

Ok, so I went to Liberia and met the architect who proceeds to hand me the wrong form!  What a dingbat.  But the good news was that it turned out she had me meet her at the place where they have all of these types of records on file.  So I got the correct form and scooted back to Santa Cruz to put the wheels in motion.

This time I got a different person who, when he looked me up in his computer, says “you’ve already given us this form” (I guess it’s magic).  But, he says it’s good that I have a second edition of the form because the process will require it after the inspector comes out.  Ok, I’m used to the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing after nine months here.  I left peacefully.

Since then I’ve been back several times to try to get this process wrapped up.  Each time there is something new or different I need to do.  But no one has ever asked for that second edition of the form even though I show it to them each time I go there because I’m thinking that as sure as I decide they will never take it, that will be the time they ask for it.

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

25 Sep

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

This brings us to today, nine months later, and lightning strikes and blows up the municipality’s equipment that is mounted on the pole at the entrance to my property.  (See When It Rains It Pours) for details on that episode.  Suffice it to say, I showed my receipt for payment for conversion to permanent to one of the workers installing the new equipment and he said I needed to just go to the main office, show them the receipt and they would send the inspector.  Macho hadn’t done it so it was obvious that I needed to just do it.  I get to the office (now an hour down the rough dirt road because of increased rainy season car destroying pot holes), I show them the receipt for payment and they ask me where is the form from the electrical engineer (that I gave them so they could charge me the tariff and give me the receipt I am now showing them).  Incredulously, I said they have it because I had to give it to them to get the receipt.  The form was no where to be found in their computer system.

Once again, an apparent double bind.  I ask “what do I need to do”.  They say call the architect and request the form.  Oh my god, not again.  The guy I’m dealing with takes pity on me and calls the architect for me.

(I happened to have all my phone numbers with me).  They have some conversation in rapid fire Spanish and the bottom line is that if I go to Liberia where the architect’s office is (two hours one way) and pay $20 I can receive the required form this Friday.

Then I need to take it to the office in Santa Cruz and pray that the inspector will show up.  But I still will need Macho to do the work.

Why not, you might ask, get someone else to do it.  Because since it was Macho who did all the electrical for the house and he is the one and only principal electrician in this area, I’m stuck with him.  The wheel is about to get squeakier.

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

24 Sep

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

But back to construction again.  When anything is built here of course electrical power is needed.  So the municipality comes to the construction site and installs an electric meter, the contractor hooks up and he pays for the usage as construction progresses.

When he says he’s done it is then the responsibility of the property owner to go through the process necessary to convert from “provisional” to “permanent” service.

No one told me this until in February when I began having strange electrical things happen and asked the electrician, Macho, to analyze the problem.  Macho said “oh, you need to change from provisional to permanent”.

I don’t know much about electrical stuff but apparently because all the power was going through the one provisional meter instead of the four meters that had not yet been installed (one for the upstairs and one for each of the three apartments downstairs), that was the root of the problem.  I asked what needed to be done.  He said I needed to take some document, from the electrical engineer that the architect had used, to the municipality to get permission to change over.

Uh oh, that meant hoping the flake… err… architect would comply with a request for the document.   It took a little over a month but I finally got it.  I took it to the municipality, paid the fee for the change, got the receipt, asked if there was anything more I needed to do, was told “no” and so went away thinking the change would occur.  Of course it never did.  Oh, and by the way, one of the advantages of having permanent instead of provisional is that your bill goes down, which would be nice.

I would ask Macho at every opportunity to come make the change.  Finally he says to me that first the municipality has to come and inspect in order to give Macho permission to do the work.  Macho says he’ll contact the municipality and take care of everything.   Of course he never did.