Archive | December, 2013

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

30 Dec

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 17

DRUNK DRIVERS

In a very rural area such as Playa Junquillal, where the roads absolutely will not allow speeds in excess of 25 mph 90% of the time (during the rainy season) and for the other 10%, 10 mph is risky, drunk drivers are not as likely to injure innocent people.  That is, drunk divers of cars or trucks.  Motorcycles are a different story.  I have heard a couple harrowing tales involving motorcycles and quads (those 4-wheel things that are designed to go most anywhere at speeds that can mess you up real good if you crash).  But the good news there is that in the vast majority of accidents involving either of those vehicles it’s usually only the riders that are injured.

That is all good news (except to the injured riders) but in the urban part of C.R., meaning mostly around San Jose, drunk drivers are as big or bigger problem than they are in the U.S.  Even though they do have tuff laws here, their police force is inadequate to enforce them.  So people get drunk and drive and the traffic fatalities keep increasing year after year.  As a matter of fact, because of paying so many bribes to traffic cops I became almost friendly with one.  So one day I ran into him when he was off duty and asked him why I never saw traffic cops at night.  His answer, as incredulous as it sounds, was that it’s dangerous at night for the cops!  He said the bad guys have guns and try to shot them!  Maybe that’s also the reason in downtown San Jose in the day time you see groups of two or three cops every few blocks but at night they are all gone.  I pointed out that it was at night that most of the bad stuff happens.  He agreed, but fell back on the “it’s not safe for us and the bad guys have bigger guns than we have” argument.

 

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

27 Dec

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 16 continued

Well, this wouldn’t have needed to be continued if I hadn’t discovered my septic tank was full (again!) and yucky guck was seeping out of the drain covers all over the concrete walkway that leads to Mario and Nidia’s apartment.

After my two ticos were done (22 hours of shoveling later, 11 hours each) the little street was passable in 2-wheel drive and everything was fine.  I needed Mario to do a little more work on it such as build a dam to divert the flow of water that was carving a second canyon and spread some of the new dirt and rocks to a couple other places where a car could fall in, but for the most part I thought no one would have trouble getting in or out (more importantly out because “out” is uphill).

But on Saturday (that was the next day) I discovered the full septic tank.  I called the company that had come out before when it was full and had been satisfied with their work.   Actually, I don’t think it matters if I was “satisfied” because I think they’re the only company around and when things are as gross as when your tank is overflowing, anyone will do!

They arrived in the afternoon, did their thing, found the cause which turned out to be a sponge that the construction workers (apparently) had left in the tank clogging the water outlet that allows the grey water to flow out into the soil.   Now that pissed me off!  Because the first time I had to have my tank pumped just 5 months ago the problem then was a sponge.  I wonder how many sponges they left down there!  I lodged a formal complaint with my contractor (like he really gives a rip).

Anyway, the pump truck is huge and when they were done and attempted to climb the slight grade back up to the main road… you guessed it. They ended up calling my contractor for a tow.  A truck as big as theirs weighs several tons and requires a piece of heavy equipment to pull it.   So they got out but they ruined my street!   There were hug ruts where their tires had been plus the ruts created by the equipment that pulled them.  It took Mario three hours the next day to get the street back to passable again.

Well, the rainy season is winding down.  With any luck this will be the end of adventures with my street until next rainy season.  But I’ve learned what I need to do (I think) to have a more peaceful rainy season next year.

I’ve contacted someone to, in essence, create a new street.  Yes, it’s a municipal public street.  Yes, you would think that it’s the municipality’s responsibility to fix it.  No, they really don’t do street repair, or care for that matter.  The meeting I mention in A Lesson Well Learned that I attended in Santa Cruz was for the purpose of pleading my case for street repair.  It was obviously a waist of my time and energy.  But being new to the country I just hadn’t come to realize that what those with experience here had been telling was true…

The people in public positions here just push anything unpleasant under the table until it finally decomposes.

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

26 Dec

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 16 continued

Even though the roads have been improved and the airports have improved it is still advisable to arrive at the airport three hours early.

Ok, back to the main story.  This time, being wiser, the guy didn’t get himself stuck and in a short while he had me out.  I decided to try again using a slightly different approach and bouncing and grinding in low range 4 wheel drive I made it.  Whew!  I’m home.

The next morning, however, I wanted to go somewhere.  You guessed it… buried in muck again.  This time the tico with the big truck wasn’t home.  But a couple gringos with a good 4×4 came by and got me out.  Ok… I’ve had it!  Five times I’ve needed to be pulled out of my little street.   Each time a tico did it I gave him $20 “for beer”.  This is getting to be expensive (and ridiculous).  I found my contractor and asked him where I could find someone to bring a load of gravel.  He gave me directions and I found it with the help of some locals, kind of like I found the lady that made my toldo (see My Toldo).  As a matter of fact, the place to get the gravel is down the same road that my toldo lady lives on only about another mile or so past her house.

It’s really a beautiful jungle back in there!  I drove on down this dirt road until I came to a river that was about 100 feet wide and looked to deep to try and ford in 4×4.  I parked wondering what to do next because I hadn’t come to the gravel pit yet.  Just then some people come around a turn in the bank beside the river so I asked them how I would get to the other side.  They said use the bridge.  What bridge?  I couldn’t see any bridge from where I was.  They told me to just go around this hillside that bordered the river and I would see it.  They left, I went around the hill side and sure enough there was one of those hand built suspension bridges spanning the river about ten feet above the water.  You’ve seen pictures of the type of bridge I’m referring to.  It was the type that is constructed of wood slates suspended on cables with a cable on either side to hang on to as you go bouncing across the river.  I got to the other side, found a guy working in his yard and got some more directions.  In another quarter of a mile I came to the gravel pit, toured around with the worker as he showed me the different qualities and textures of these big piles of dirt and rock and for $150 I got a sufficient load (12 cubic meters) of dirt and rocks.  They dropped it at the entrance to my street the next day.  I’ve hired two ticos at the rate of $2 per hour each (about 40 cents per hour more than the going rate) to shovel it into my wheelbarrow and put it where I need it.  Problem solved, I hope.  They say they will be done tomorrow.  They’re working hard but I can see it’s going to take longer than I thought.

Since writing this piece prices and wages have increased… but where in the world haven’t they?

To be continued?  I hope not.  I’ll let you know when I know.

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

24 Dec

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!

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 16 continued

So I need to interject that story here.  I have told clients at the salon in Pasadena that if per chance they show up at their appointed time for their haircut and I’m not there not to panic.  It just means that the bridge was flooded too deep to cross and I’ll see them the next week (hopefully).  Well, as you may have read in When it Rains it Pours, by now I’m feeling more relaxed about that because I’ve found a “back way” out that requires 4×4 but I get out.  What I didn’t count on was being stuck a few feet from my own house.

All the rocks and stuff that Mario put in the muddy ruts of the little street that leads from my house to the main road are to no avail.  More rain is turning the rest of the dirt into more mud, more back and forth in 4×4, more water running down from the main road, more deep ruts and I’ve needed to be pulled out a couple more times.  So it’s the Friday night before I need to be at the airport.  I ask Mario if, during the week while I’m gone, he will do something to make the street more drivable.   Well, very early Saturday morning he goes out with his machete and chops me a new path to drive on.  You see, the little street that leads to my house is now down to a narrow, one lane, muddy, rutted road, framed by a canyon caused by water run off and plants from the encroaching jungle which, of course, love and are encouraged by the rain.  So he hacked the jungle back on the other side of the canyon thinking, bless his heart, that the soil was more firm on that side.

The problem is it required that I cross one of the deep canyons (yes “canyon”) formed by the water run off.  I’ve got his whole family in the car with me because they wanted a ride to a small town about two kilometers away called Paraiso (pronounced: par-a-yso).  I gun it to cross the canyon, the back tire falls in the canyon and once again I’m buried up to the frame.  I have a plane to catch in Liberia that departs at 1pm.  It’s 8:30am but I not only need to get to the airport at the suggested 3 hours early for an international flight, I need to park my car at a secure location in Liberia and then take a cab back to the airport, which adds about forty five minutes to the schedule.  Mario jumps out of the car to find someone to tow me out.  Nidia and the kids get out to walk to Paraiso.  Not ten minutes later he comes back with a guy who has one of these big flat bed work trucks.  Not your normal truck but the really big kind painted orange with big double tires on the back.

He backs his truck down about 20 feet, ties a rope on to my car, guns the truck and immediately buries it in the mud!  Uh oh, I’m in trouble now.  Well, luckily Mario has a shovel.  Twenty minutes later with dirt and rocks shoveled under those big tires he is able to inch his way back up onto the road where he has traction.  The rope is just barely long enough to reach my car.  I’m saved and I make my flight.

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

23 Dec

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 16 continued

Normally the trip from my house to the airport, door to door, is about one and a half hours, when the dirt road isn’t like it is now.  Now it takes every minute of 2 hours.  Well, that little side trip because of the bridge being out took 2 hours not counting the half hour it took to get to the bridge and the time spent only to discover I needed to take “the scenic route”.  I was so glad to finally get to Junquillal.

The bridge that I mentioned in When it Rains it Pours was flooded over but only about mid calf deep so I put the Suzuki in 4 wheel drive and made it across.  I turned on to the little street, still in 4×4, that leads to my property, made it about 100 feet and buried the car up to the frame in muck.  Yuck!!!  I’ve got the back of the car full of groceries that I bought in Liberia and suitcases and all I want to do is unpack, eat and sleep.  There is no way I’m going to lug all that stuff through the mud.  I step out of the car and immediately sink up to my ankles in muck.  So much for my loafers and freshly laundered in Ca. jeans.

I trudge the rest of the distance home thinking I’ll have Mario find someone to pull me out in the morning.  Just then Mario shows up and insists on getting someone now.  He goes and gets the guy with the big truck that got stuck trying to pull me out the Saturday before when I needed to get to the airport.

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

21 Dec

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 16 continued

I walked up to where the collapsed bridge was and there stood 2 bored looking cops so I asked how I might get to P. Junquillal.   Easy, go back to the intersection, hang a left, follow the signs… piece of cake.  Until the pavement ran out.  Now, coincidentally, where the pavement ended and the dirt began was the section of the road that I thought was being prepared to be paved.  You see, rumor had it that both the road to Tamarindo and Junquillal from Santa Cruz would be paved with the one to Junquillal starting late October.  It’s October 20 now so you can understand my anxious anticipation, especially if you’ve read some of my other journal entries that describe the terrible condition of the dirt road.  The Tamarindo segment, I thought, had been started in August.  From Santa Cruz the first seventeen kilometers was paved years ago.  It’s already starting to fall apart (who knows when it will be re-paved or repaired).   At the end of the pavement the road forks.  Take the right fork to Tamarindo, the left to Junquillal.    I could swear I saw a grader at the beginning of the Tamarindo segment in August and near the fork there is an area that has been cleared that now has a huge pile of gravel and huge trucks parked or moving in and out of the area.  It was very encouraging to see all that.  It looked as if maybe it wasn’t just a rumor.  Therefore I was looking forward to driving on graded dirt when I came to the Tamarindo end of that stretch.  No such luck; it was every bit as bad as the Junquillal segment.  Don’t ask me where all that gravel and those trucks are going.

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

20 Dec

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 16 continued

But…

The main (only) highway between Liberia, where the airport I need is located, and Santa Cruz, the nearest town with shopping opportunities and internet café I use, is not the Pan American highway.  But it is paved and will support speeds up to 60 mph (infrequently).  It is the only direct route to the airport and I encounter it at Santa Cruz.

Santa Cruz is approximately forty five minutes from the airport and it’s where I turn off the highway to make the dreaded trip down the rough, pothole ridden, average speed 10 mph dirt road to P. Junquillal.

I had left the airport more tired than usual because on this trip I had to go through Atlanta.   I had arrived at a town called Belen and saw that there were concrete pylons with steel posts sticking out of them to about four feet into the air just past a major intersection.  The pylons were in a straight row covering my side of the highway only.  There was no signage of any kind accompanying the pylons so I went around them wondering why they were there.  About a half kilometer later I came upon some cars, busses and trucks parked in a fashion that made further progress difficult at best.   I came to a stop to survey the situation and realized that up in the distance about 200 feet there was a large earth moving machine in the road.  Hmmmm… wonder what’s going on?  I sat there in my car for awhile until it became clear that there was no movement of traffic.  So I got out and walked up to where the construction was and much to my dismay saw that there was no longer a passable bridge across the stream that was now a raging torrent.  I should interject here that after having been up since early Friday morning and it is now 3pm on Saturday with not much sleep on the plane that left L.A. at 1am, had a two hour lay over in Atlanta and a total of eight hours flight time, I was a little tired and anxious to get home, get something to eat and go to bed.