Archive | January, 2015

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

31 Jan

This is the continuation of a series of posts on my blog 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 just in case you’re interested… here’s the table of contents:

Introduction and Preliminary Comments – 3, My First Trip -15, Lost in Guanacaste – Playa Coyote – 20, Trust with a Child – 26, Lost in Panama – 29, Attorneys – 35, My Contractor – 38, My Security Guard – 61, My Toldo – 67, Getting a Land Line Phone and Internet – 76, A Cellular Phone – 115, A Country Doctor – 124, A Lesson Well Learned – 130, A Little Green Frog – 138, A Little Brown Frog and a Bat – 146, A “Murphy’s Law” Day – 153, Driving in the Rainy Season – 161, Drunk Drivers – 174, Fiesta del Toros – 185, Getting a Drivers License – 195, INS and a Minor Accident – 203, Lifeguards – 224, Passing through Customs – 232, Rules of the Road for Tico Driving – 236, San Jose – 241, Shopping and Making Tamales – 250, Taking the Bus – 272, Turtles in My Front Yard – 281, Untitled – 287, When it Rains it Pours (sometimes) – 294, She Found My Lot – 307, My First Traffic Ticket – 312, Ticket # 2 – 316, My Radar Detector – 318, Ticket # 3 (after a slow speed chase) – 324, A Christmas Parade – 338, Sex (the truth about ticos) – 343, Photo Album – 347, Appendix – 374

chapter 25 continued

Ok, here’s a couple for you ladies.  And believe me I won’t even get into stories about shopping for clothes.  If I told you those stories you wouldn’t even come here for vacation because I know how you enjoy “browsing”.  No, let’s just talk about a market, not that a market is necessarily a “woman’s domain”, but most women (and men) will be able to relate to what I’m about to describe.  A general description of your local mid level market in the U.S. (not high end, goodness knows that level may never be available in CR.) would look like this:

Isles wide enough for two carts to pass, well lighted, very clean looking with nice shiny floors, well stocked, great variety of items, not just food but entire miscellaneous sections such as cosmetics, house wares (extension cords), pharmacy, over the counter medications, interesting deli section, floral section, a greeting cards section, a bakery and maybe even a coffee bar and eating area.  I’ve probably left something out but I’m close. 

Now let’s look at just one example of how that market is stocked.  Let’s get a can of tomatoes.  You have so many choices it’s almost ridiculous.  There are canned tomatoes in an endless variety of configurations, with or without a wide selection of additives/spices and all in several different brands and stocked several layers deep on many shelves.  For a man it can be mind numbing.  Please don’t ask me to go get a can of tomatoes (or any other product for that matter) unless you can tell me exactly what you want. 

Now I’ll describe the newest and biggest market I’ve been in here.  They must have been to the U.S. but they just missed it in the most comical way.  The isles are wide enough for two carts to pass (with a little jockeying) and lighting is bright enough, but forget about finding price markers, and even when they do have them they may not be near the product you want or marked with the correct price.  Forget about the shiny floors and all the different sections, you have to go to different stores for most of the items you’d find in those sections.  But let’s go get a can of tomatoes.  There will be canned tomatoes stocked one or two layers deep on one or two shelves, just like in your favorite mid level market, except: two brands max., two or three configurations only, forget additives/spices.  But you could send me to go get a can and I wouldn’t be too nervous since there aren’t many choices and if I bring back something other than exactly what you wanted you could forgive me.

Now let’s go pay for our groceries.  You know how in your U.S. market often times if the lines get too long they will open another check stand.   Forget that.  I’ve mentioned lines and wait times in other segments of this journal so suffice it to say, once again, ticos just don’t seem to place a value on time the way gringo’s do.  I’ve even finally gotten up to the cashier only to have some “manager” interrupt the checker who is providing service to the customer while the “manager” empties the cash register, which involves about a five minute delay while they are counting and recording the money they are taking out. 

Ticos also don’t seem to need as much personal space as gringos so lines can be packed pretty tight and if there appears to be an opening they seem to assume that the person on the other side of the opening is not in line and will slip in right in front of you.  I’ve gotten used to less personal space.  But I did have a pleasant surprise once with a tico who was unusually courteous.  He had a pretty full cart and I was right behind him with only five items in a basket.  He actually invited me to go ahead of him. 

Murphy can really be a jerk.  Just as I was done paying for my items a “manager” came up and this guy who had been so nice had to wait while the ritual was performed.  I felt bad for him but thanked him for being nice.

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

30 Jan

This is the continuation of a series of posts on my blog 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 just in case you’re interested… here’s the table of contents:

Introduction and Preliminary Comments – 3, My First Trip -15, Lost in Guanacaste – Playa Coyote – 20, Trust with a Child – 26, Lost in Panama – 29, Attorneys – 35, My Contractor – 38, My Security Guard – 61, My Toldo – 67, Getting a Land Line Phone and Internet – 76, A Cellular Phone – 115, A Country Doctor – 124, A Lesson Well Learned – 130, A Little Green Frog – 138, A Little Brown Frog and a Bat – 146, A “Murphy’s Law” Day – 153, Driving in the Rainy Season – 161, Drunk Drivers – 174, Fiesta del Toros – 185, Getting a Drivers License – 195, INS and a Minor Accident – 203, Lifeguards – 224, Passing through Customs – 232, Rules of the Road for Tico Driving – 236, San Jose – 241, Shopping and Making Tamales – 250, Taking the Bus – 272, Turtles in My Front Yard – 281, Untitled – 287, When it Rains it Pours (sometimes) – 294, She Found My Lot – 307, My First Traffic Ticket – 312, Ticket # 2 – 316, My Radar Detector – 318, Ticket # 3 (after a slow speed chase) – 324, A Christmas Parade – 338, Sex (the truth about ticos) – 343, Photo Album – 347, Appendix – 374

chapter 25 continued

Now the small example, which happened recently, and since I’ve learned my lesson, which is to lessen the frustration by giving in to the fact you almost always end up only getting “close”, I bought it.  And if you are buying the first “close” thing you find, it might not take too much time.  I wanted two electrical extension cords, about 6 feet long, white.  The kind you will find all over the place in Ca.  You don’t even need to go to a hardware store for that.  Usually your local market has them.  Not so here, you need to go to a hardware store.  I went to a store I’ve been to before that seemed to have a larger than average selection of electrical type items.   They had white extension cords, 20 feet long.  I asked for shorter, 15 feet was it.  So I left and went to the store I go to most of the time because they have lots of everything (sort of).   They had extension cords, 9 feet, brown.  Like I said, I’ve learned the lesson, I can live with brown instead of white extension cords.  I bought them.   You’ll understand why my suitcase, each time I arrive back to C.R. from Ca., is full of Home Depot (and Ca. wine, which is another story).

Now it’s time to pay.  Here’s how that works and what I’m about to describe is true for most of the different categories of stores here.  You have your item and you’re at the counter ready to pay.  Someone writes up an invoice.  You take the invoice to a cashier and pay.  You go back to the counter to a third person in a different area who now has you product.  You present your paid invoice to the person who stamps it “cancelado” and bags your product then staples your receipt to the bag in such a fashion that you can’t remove the product without ruining the bag, and then at some stores when you are at the door ready to leave, you present your bagged product to an employee who makes a mark on the receipt (sometimes it’s an x) and you can leave.  Now I understand why C.R. has a low rate of unemployment.

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

29 Jan

This is the continuation of a series of posts on my blog 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 just in case you’re interested… here’s the table of contents:

Introduction and Preliminary Comments – 3, My First Trip -15, Lost in Guanacaste – Playa Coyote – 20, Trust with a Child – 26, Lost in Panama – 29, Attorneys – 35, My Contractor – 38, My Security Guard – 61, My Toldo – 67, Getting a Land Line Phone and Internet – 76, A Cellular Phone – 115, A Country Doctor – 124, A Lesson Well Learned – 130, A Little Green Frog – 138, A Little Brown Frog and a Bat – 146, A “Murphy’s Law” Day – 153, Driving in the Rainy Season – 161, Drunk Drivers – 174, Fiesta del Toros – 185, Getting a Drivers License – 195, INS and a Minor Accident – 203, Lifeguards – 224, Passing through Customs – 232, Rules of the Road for Tico Driving – 236, San Jose – 241, Shopping and Making Tamales – 250, Taking the Bus – 272, Turtles in My Front Yard – 281, Untitled – 287, When it Rains it Pours (sometimes) – 294, She Found My Lot – 307, My First Traffic Ticket – 312, Ticket # 2 – 316, My Radar Detector – 318, Ticket # 3 (after a slow speed chase) – 324, A Christmas Parade – 338, Sex (the truth about ticos) – 343, Photo Album – 347, Appendix – 374

chapter 25 continued

Ok men, you’re in the hardware store and you want a specific item in a specific size/color/configuration or brand.  One made somewhere in the world that understands quality (not China).  Chances are pretty good you won’t find it in the store you’re in.  In fact it may not exist in the entire country exactly the way you want it.  But of course you just can’t believe that it’s not here so you go to another store and another store and…  Finally you accept that you’re not going to have exactly what you want and decide to purchase the next closest thing, which may have been at one of the other stores.  It may have been their last one.  You rush back (actually “rush” is a misnomer, C.R. simply moves slowly) and hope it’s still there when you get there.  Ooooohh, I could bore you with stories of experiences I’ve had over the last year or so, but I won’t.  I’ll just give you two examples, one big, one small. 

Here’s the big one.  I wanted a BBQ.  I don’t remember now how many stores I went to in my area (within a two hour drive).  I finally ended up going to San Jose (five and a half hours one way) and after only three hardware stores finally found, not exactly what I wanted, but close enough, and made in the U.S.

So it was way more expensive than it would have been in the U.S. ($1000) because C.R. has a very restrictive import tax structure. 

I use the word “restrictive” because the import tax is so high it causes items imported from countries that understand quality to be priced out of the range most ticos can afford.  So they end up buying a lot of Chinese crap. 

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

27 Jan

This is the continuation of a series of posts on my blog 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 just in case you’re interested… here’s the table of contents:

Introduction and Preliminary Comments – 3, My First Trip -15, Lost in Guanacaste – Playa Coyote – 20, Trust with a Child – 26, Lost in Panama – 29, Attorneys – 35, My Contractor – 38, My Security Guard – 61, My Toldo – 67, Getting a Land Line Phone and Internet – 76, A Cellular Phone – 115, A Country Doctor – 124, A Lesson Well Learned – 130, A Little Green Frog – 138, A Little Brown Frog and a Bat – 146, A “Murphy’s Law” Day – 153, Driving in the Rainy Season – 161, Drunk Drivers – 174, Fiesta del Toros – 185, Getting a Drivers License – 195, INS and a Minor Accident – 203, Lifeguards – 224, Passing through Customs – 232, Rules of the Road for Tico Driving – 236, San Jose – 241, Shopping and Making Tamales – 250, Taking the Bus – 272, Turtles in My Front Yard – 281, Untitled – 287, When it Rains it Pours (sometimes) – 294, She Found My Lot – 307, My First Traffic Ticket – 312, Ticket # 2 – 316, My Radar Detector – 318, Ticket # 3 (after a slow speed chase) – 324, A Christmas Parade – 338, Sex (the truth about ticos) – 343, Photo Album – 347, Appendix – 374

chapter 25

SHOPPING and MAKING TAMALES

Shopping in C.R. could drive the average gringo or gringa nuts.

I include both sexes because, as you will soon read, you can’t escape the comedy/frustration by pawning off the task to your partner.  Sooner or later you will need to be the one in the store.

Let’s start with what is usually the man’s domain (although I know women who truly enjoy)… a hardware store (side note: I even have one lady friend to whom I give a Home Depot gift card at Christmas).  I’m not referring to just one hardware store.  What I’m about to describe I have experienced in hardware stores large and small in a variety of towns, large and small, such as all the way from San Jose which, like Los Angeles/L.A./Orange counties, is a conglomeration of cities, to the tiniest such as Paraiso, which is about two kilometers before you get to Playa Junquillal.   And, like L.A. etc., the conglomeration of cities that we call “San Jose” have no defining boundaries.  Like L.A. etc. you don’t know when you have left one and entered another.

Costa Rica has a population of about 4 million of which 70% (about 2.8 million) live in the central valley of C.R. and that is what we know as San Jose.  Just to give you a perspective, C.R. is about the size of West Virginia (in square miles) and smaller than San Bernardino County, Ca.  These statistics, by the way, are part of what makes this country so appealing to me.  Having been raised in Alaska in a rural and totally undeveloped area (statewide population when I lived there of 300,000 +/-) where “rural” means everywhere except Anchorage (population back then 250,000 +/-) I am very comfortable in the rural environment that is most of C.R.  It truly takes me back to my roots except I’m not freezing in the winter.  When I was a kid there were times I literally prayed that when I died I would go to hell so I could be warm!

 

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

26 Jan

This is the continuation of a series of posts on my blog 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 just in case you’re interested… here’s the table of contents:

Introduction and Preliminary Comments – 3, My First Trip -15, Lost in Guanacaste – Playa Coyote – 20, Trust with a Child – 26, Lost in Panama – 29, Attorneys – 35, My Contractor – 38, My Security Guard – 61, My Toldo – 67, Getting a Land Line Phone and Internet – 76, A Cellular Phone – 115, A Country Doctor – 124, A Lesson Well Learned – 130, A Little Green Frog – 138, A Little Brown Frog and a Bat – 146, A “Murphy’s Law” Day – 153, Driving in the Rainy Season – 161, Drunk Drivers – 174, Fiesta del Toros – 185, Getting a Drivers License – 195, INS and a Minor Accident – 203, Lifeguards – 224, Passing through Customs – 232, Rules of the Road for Tico Driving – 236, San Jose – 241, Shopping and Making Tamales – 250, Taking the Bus – 272, Turtles in My Front Yard – 281, Untitled – 287, When it Rains it Pours (sometimes) – 294, She Found My Lot – 307, My First Traffic Ticket – 312, Ticket # 2 – 316, My Radar Detector – 318, Ticket # 3 (after a slow speed chase) – 324, A Christmas Parade – 338, Sex (the truth about ticos) – 343, Photo Album – 347, Appendix – 374

chapter 24 continued

Then there are the newer areas of “San Jose” such as the town called Escazu with its well groomed streets, high end residential areas, nice shopping malls, even a Wal Mart… booooring.  You might as well stay in Ca. (except the girls are prettier).

We won’t talk about the traffic, that’s been handled in other segments of this journal.  Or the congestion on the sidewalks which, by the way, you need to watch carefully where you are stepping because of broken places, grates missing over holes and open gutters because that has also been covered elsewhere.  Suffice it to say that if C.R. was a victim to frivolous law suits of the kind that keep the personal injury attorney’s in the U.S. in business, they would all move here.

Women – wear comfortable stable shoes even though you’ll hardly ever see a tica in less than three inches of heels.  How they walk around like they can’t get to wherever they are going fast enough in those heels amazes me.

So even though it’s about the dirtiest, ugliest big city I’ve ever seen with no reason to come to except to fly in or out of, I still enjoy it, just wouldn’t want to live in it (even if it does have the perfect climate and some of the prettiest girls in the world).

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

24 Jan

This is the continuation of a series of posts on my blog 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 just in case you’re interested… here’s the table of contents:

Introduction and Preliminary Comments – 3, My First Trip -15, Lost in Guanacaste – Playa Coyote – 20, Trust with a Child – 26, Lost in Panama – 29, Attorneys – 35, My Contractor – 38, My Security Guard – 61, My Toldo – 67, Getting a Land Line Phone and Internet – 76, A Cellular Phone – 115, A Country Doctor – 124, A Lesson Well Learned – 130, A Little Green Frog – 138, A Little Brown Frog and a Bat – 146, A “Murphy’s Law” Day – 153, Driving in the Rainy Season – 161, Drunk Drivers – 174, Fiesta del Toros – 185, Getting a Drivers License – 195, INS and a Minor Accident – 203, Lifeguards – 224, Passing through Customs – 232, Rules of the Road for Tico Driving – 236, San Jose – 241, Shopping and Making Tamales – 250, Taking the Bus – 272, Turtles in My Front Yard – 281, Untitled – 287, When it Rains it Pours (sometimes) – 294, She Found My Lot – 307, My First Traffic Ticket – 312, Ticket # 2 – 316, My Radar Detector – 318, Ticket # 3 (after a slow speed chase) – 324, A Christmas Parade – 338, Sex (the truth about ticos) – 343, Photo Album – 347, Appendix – 374

chapter 24 continued

But I had the weirdest experience one Good Friday/Easter weekend.  Here is this major metropolitan area that is constantly bustling.  Streets crowded, sidewalks crowded, noisy, vendors shouting out to attract you, stores with music blaring to attract you (which turns me off so bad I refuse to go in them even if they have what I want), and I decide to come down to visit friends over Easter. 

I had to take the bus on Thursday (see Taking the Bus for that fun story) because there are no buses running on Good Friday.   (Actually, nothing runs on Good Friday… the country completely shuts down.)

I arrived in time to check in to my hotel, have dinner, wander up and down Avenida Central, which is a street that for several blocks was turned into a pedestrian walkway and is lined with good stuff including a good sized book store, and then to bed in anticipation of dinner with my friends the next night. 

I awake on Friday (Good Friday) get dressed, leave the hotel to go to a favorite breakfast restaurant and step out into a literal ghost town!  The place is locked up tight! 

Nothing is open!  No cars on the street, no people crowded on the sidewalks!  Spooky!  I start walking towards Gran Hotel Costa Rica, which is a beautiful old hotel built in 1907 and renovated in recent years, thinking that at least Mac Donald’s on Avenida Central, which is right behind the hotel, will surely be open (not).   On the way, however, is the main Catholic cathedral.  There were the T.V. cameras, a crowd of maybe 200 people, a marching band, some public officials and a bunch of clergy. 

I had arrived just in time to witness a re-inaction of the trial and crucifixion of Jesus.  Quite interesting this Catholic stuff.  After the re-inaction, which included a mock whipping of the Jesus character who then reappeared looking bloodied and with his crown of thorns but he was not nailed up on the cross, thank goodness, the whole procession took off walking slowly to drums beating and the band playing somber sounding music with about half the crowd following.  I have no idea of the route it took. 

But it turned out that hotel C.R. had a nice buffet set up so I had a leisurely breakfast and headed back to my hotel in time to see the procession coming up what is normally a four lane street with five or six lanes of cars, buses and trucks crowded into it.  I guess they were headed back to the cathedral.  I was glad I was going the other direction.

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

23 Jan

This is the continuation of a series of posts on my blog 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 just in case you’re interested… here’s the table of contents:

Introduction and Preliminary Comments – 3, My First Trip -15, Lost in Guanacaste – Playa Coyote – 20, Trust with a Child – 26, Lost in Panama – 29, Attorneys – 35, My Contractor – 38, My Security Guard – 61, My Toldo – 67, Getting a Land Line Phone and Internet – 76, A Cellular Phone – 115, A Country Doctor – 124, A Lesson Well Learned – 130, A Little Green Frog – 138, A Little Brown Frog and a Bat – 146, A “Murphy’s Law” Day – 153, Driving in the Rainy Season – 161, Drunk Drivers – 174, Fiesta del Toros – 185, Getting a Drivers License – 195, INS and a Minor Accident – 203, Lifeguards – 224, Passing through Customs – 232, Rules of the Road for Tico Driving – 236, San Jose – 241, Shopping and Making Tamales – 250, Taking the Bus – 272, Turtles in My Front Yard – 281, Untitled – 287, When it Rains it Pours (sometimes) – 294, She Found My Lot – 307, My First Traffic Ticket – 312, Ticket # 2 – 316, My Radar Detector – 318, Ticket # 3 (after a slow speed chase) – 324, A Christmas Parade – 338, Sex (the truth about ticos) – 343, Photo Album – 347, Appendix – 374

chapter 24 continued

Ok, continuing around the block, a book store, luggage, flowers, coffee (I think they export their best but I have found one brand that I get a good cup of rich, dark and strong coffee from), telephones, meat market, fish market, nut & fruit stand, a small department store with an assortment of the above, a small hotel and I suspect I’ve forgotten a couple others.  And this scenario is repeated in block after block in downtown San Jose. 

It’s completely fascinating and even though the types of stores are basically the same in each block, there will be diversity in brands.  Not being a big shopper, I couldn’t tell you if what I just described is good news or bad news but it does make for interesting walking.

Then, there is “Mercado Central”.  Think of the Orange County swap meet in Costa Mesa, Ca.  I don’t know if it’s the biggest in the nation but it’s pretty big.  Now cram it and everything else I’ve mentioned above (except the hotel) into one huge building, one level only, all under one roof, in one square block that is 100 meters square, with all the little stalls and stores separated by narrow passage ways that you need to turn sideways in to pass someone and which don’t necessarily intersect at right angles.  It took me wandering through many times before I stopped getting lost in there.  And I still don’t know how to find any given stall when I’m out of sight of it.  I still need to wander around until I run into it again.  It’s a fun place to get lost.  Now multiply that conglomeration by at least three more similarly configured blocks that I know of and you have a fair description of downtown San Jose.  It’s pretty interesting to me at the least.  It fascinates me that they can all stay in business.  I guess with 2.8 million people, most of who probably mill around there at least occasionally, there is enough business to go around.  I’ve noticed in my many trips to that city that the fruits and vegetables always look fresh.  As a matter of fact, most of the fruits are seasonal and those that I’ve sampled taste like they just came off the tree/vine, fully ripened, sweet and delicious.  What a treat!  Try finding that in your local U.S. market.