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

12 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 21 continued

However as I’m sure you’re aware, the ocean has its perils.  Not the least of which is undertows, which is what got the tourist who drowned, and that is one of the many good reasons to have lifeguards.  I believe that some of the larger and more tourist populated beach towns could afford lifeguards.  One can only speculate as to the reasons why they wouldn’t have lifeguards.  But Playa Junquillal is a quiet and developing slowly community.  The beach is nearly two miles long and with the exception of one small area in front of the only “beach bar” it is mostly deserted.  Even at the height of the tourist season you see very few people on the beach.  So to have a lifeguard(s) is not a realistic option.

Which brings me to the subject of… drowning.  I’ve read about “near death experiences” but they all sounded pretty mystical.  How about an NDE that was all too real with no mysticism involved.

This is a good place to insert – how to get out of an undertow… swim parallel to the beach.  An undertow can be stronger than the strongest swimmer but they are usually narrow so if you swim parallel to the beach you’ll know when you’re out of it.

First, you need to know that most ticos do not know how to swim.  They’re scared to death of the ocean.  They love to go to the beach but they just play in the suds.  You’ll very seldom see them in the breakers.  Why don’t they know how to swim, you might ask?  Well, think about it, where do most North Americans learn to swim?  That’s right, in a pool.  Maybe they even get swimming lessons.  But C.R. is a poor country.  Most ticos can barely afford to eat let alone pay for the luxury of swimming lessons.  And furthermore, where will you find a pool?  Mostly at the homes of gringos and not even at the homes of the few wealthy ticos.  I’ve never even seen a public pool advertised here.  So ticos stay a safe distance from water more than knee deep.

Well, as it turned out the other day I had some tico visitors, one of whom was a 23 year old young man about 6 feet tall.  He seemed to be having fun in the suds so I invited him to join me in one of my favorite ocean activities.  This is nothing more than standing in shoulder deep water (on me at 5’9”) just beyond the breakers and enjoying the tranquility.  The beach in front of my house slopes so gently that I can walk out past the breakers and still be standing on the sand in about chest/shoulder deep water.  It’s wonderfully tranquil to be out there in the water, the temperature of which is warm enough that even after a great length of time you are still not chilled, and just let the swell lift you up off the sand then set you back down again.  I can stand there for the longest time, just looking back at the shore, lost in thought.  I never attempt to swim because I’m the world’s weakest swimmer.  Like the ticos, I was also raised in an area where there were no pools or swimming lessons… in the wilderness of Alaska.  And believe me you don’t jump in the glacier fed lakes or rivers there either.

So I never got swimming lessons either and as a matter of fact have never had a lesson in my life.  Everything I know about swimming I learned from splashing around in pools after I had the good fortune of being sent to a military academy in So. California when I was sixteen.  You can throw me in the deep end and I can make it over to the ladder.


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