Archive | November, 2013

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

30 Nov

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 13 continued

The mud wasp houses are also interesting.  They’re mud and leaves but put together in such a fashion that in analyzing them I’ve discovered that it’s not mud and leaves mixed together but rather a tube of leaves covered by mud.  The first time I knocked one down I thought it was a miniature cigar but then realized that it was the inner structure of the house.  Mud wasp houses can also be configured quite differently.  Some are just one room and some are like condos where it’s a collection of houses.  It seems that in the case of the mud wasps they only use the place once whereas the other type seem to just keep adding on until the structure reaches a maximum size.

In both cases however, at some point they abandon the place and go build a new one.

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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

29 Nov

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 13 continued

I don’t know how many different types of wasps there are in the world but here there only seems to be three.  One type builds its house out of mud and leaves and the other creates a honeycomb type structure but the honeycombs are facing outwards and don’t contain honey and the third type builds a ball shaped house that hangs off a tree branch.  Each comb contains an egg that eventually becomes a new little wasp.  Those honeycomb structures are very interesting.  I’ve seen some as small as one inch in diameter and others as large as four inches in diameter.  They start by sticking something to the surface they want to build from and then go out from there.  When the structure is complete it’s just this one tiny point holding the whole rest of the structure to the surface.  I’m surprised at how strong that one tiny point of glue, or whatever it is, is because when I try to knock them down with a stick or a broom it usually takes several swings.

I’ve had the eggs hit me.  Yuuuucckk!  They leave a yellow/brown stain that doesn’t wash out.

The most interesting location I’ve seen them select is a light bulb.  I have a storage area under my stairway with a single bulb in a socket which is in the ceiling so the bulb points straight down.  They had one of the larger combs I’ve found attached by that single little point at the very bottom of the bulb.  The socket had corroded so the bulb didn’t work so when I had Mario change out the socket he got rid of the whole thing.

 

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

28 Nov

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 13

A LITTLE GREEN FROG

Costa Rica has an incredible variety of creatures, some of which seem to enjoy sharing your living space.

Most of them don’t stay long and so far the ones I’ve had the opportunity to meet have been pretty innocuous.  Except for mosquitoes.  But if you’ve read My Toldo then you know I’ve solved that dilemma (mostly).

Take for example, wasps.  I know, you say “wasps!!!” as though you think they’re just looking to sting you.  But in fact they’re just looking for a safe place to build a house and raise a family.  You can swat at them, or just let them fly around, either way they ignore you.  I did get stung once but that was because I caught one with a paper towel and he got me right through the towel.  I came away with a new respect for such a tough little critter.

I must admit however that after destroying many of their houses, inside my house, I’ve finally decided that it’s too much trouble trying to coexist with them and now keep my spray can of insect killer handy.  That’s a whole new fun game.  They come buzzing around and I try to get them in mid flight.  The great white hunter.

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

27 Nov

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 goes down to the dead-end, flips a “U” at the bottom and that’s when the guy who had been hiding in back put a choke hold on me pinning me to the back of my seat while the driver emptied my pockets (except for a few coins worth about 75 cents and my little pocket knife), threw my carry-on in the back, rolled down my window, reached over me to open the door from the outside handle and pushed me out.

Actually… he didn’t have to push too hard because I wanted out!  Somehow I had grabbed my umbrella and there I stood with nothing but that and my life as they sped off.

Now, I have no idea where I am, it’s about 5:30 and starting to get dark.  I walk up to the corner where the main street is, it’s raining, but I remain calm, with the exception of cursing my stupidity for getting into what is actually called a “pirate” cab (now I understand why), solid traffic whizzing by, every cab has someone in it but after awhile finally an empty one comes by and stops for me.  I finally convince the driver of what just happened, show him the few coins I have and ask if he’ll take me to my hotel.  He has the grace to comply.

Thank goodness they know me at the hotel because it’s where I always stay in S.J.  I tell them my story and they let me check in anyway.  And three hours later, with the help of American Express, I have all the credit cards I can remember cancelled.  Kudos’ to AmEx! They were wonderful.  Totally helpful and calming even to the point of finding a bank within walking distance of the hotel and sending a money gram for me to get some cash the next morning.

So now it’s Saturday morning.  I haven’t been able to call anyone because I couldn’t find a listing for Al in the S.J. phone book and of course I can hardly remember my own number let alone anyone else’s.  I hadn’t bothered to call to let him know I was coming because “spur of the moment” works here.   Plus it’s more fun than being in the set routines we sometimes get ourselves into in the U.S.  But I remembered that he told me he sometimes went to a MacDonald’s in the morning for coffee and chatting with other guys who show up for the same reason.  This Mac was also within walking distance so I took off…. he was there!!  He bought his empty pockets friend a coffee and then walked with me to help find the bank. We found it, but as C.R. would have it, their money gram machine was down.  They told us where another branch was but it was a ten minute cab ride away.  Thank goodness for Al. We jumped in a cab and an hour or so later I had cash!

Later that night he and Maritza met me for dinner… life’s good again.

Now I just have to wait until Monday to get to the US. Embassy for a new passport and the AmEx office for a replacement card.

I think I’ll even make it back to Santa Cruz on Tuesday in time to make my appointment for an audience at 3:00 with the official in the municipality to plead my case for repairs to the little street that leads to my house which I have needed to have my 4×4 pulled out of five times in the last month!  (See When it Rains it Pours)

Ok, ok Universe… I GET IT!!

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

26 Nov

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 by Gary Davis plumitapacifica.com

25 Nov

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 by Gary Davis plumitapacifica.com

23 Nov

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.