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

19 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 23 continued

Here it is:

Son, now that you have your first car, it’s time I taught you some of the realities of driving in Ticolandia.  Now, I took you to the end-of-the-year holiday fairs in Zapote every year for the bumper car rides, just so you’d learn the basics.  It was the best simulation of local traffic conditions I could imagine.  But that isn’t the end of it.

Rule No. 1.  Courtesy is for suckers.  You can practices your traditional tico pacifism if there’s a burglar in the house (cower in a corner) and your friendliness on tourists, but on the road it’s WAR.

2.  Unless your car is stopped and won’t go, never take it to a mechanic unless the annual inspections force you to.  If you practice what those silly gringos call “periodic maintenance” and take your car in, the mechanic is liable to find something wrong – and that costs money.

3.  Instead of new brake linings or replacement of a burned-out light, spend your money on something REALLY important, like a loud sound system.  If you have a small car, you need a really BIG speaker to show you’re muy macho.

4.  Shock absorbers are simply something auto manufactures add on to cost you money.  If you can borrow a set of new ones before a vehicle inspection, so much the better.  You can take them off and return them after your car passes.

5.  Tread grooves are put in tires so that tire makers don’t have to use so much rubber.  Run tires until they blow out.  If you can borrow or rent the tires, too, before the inspection, pura vida.  (Don’t forget the spare.  Inspectors are picky and measure the tread depth on that, too.  They get upset if they can’t find any.)

6.  Never use your turn signals.  Why should THEY know?

7.  Driving gives you a perfect opportunity to use your cell phone, since you’re not doing anything else really important.

8.  Brakes and accelerators, like arms and legs, need exercise, so use them a lot, as hard as you can.  Especially if you’re a bus driver.

9.  If you ever buy a truck, load it up until the frame sags.  Load limits are for sissies.

10.  When you pull on to a main thoroughfare from a side street, wait until the vehicle in the distance is right on top of you before you enter.  It will give the other driver’s brakes exercise and keep him on his toes.  (The same applies to oncoming traffic when you’re passing a slower vehicle.)

11.  God gave your car a horn for a reason.  Use it freely.

12.  Never yield to another driver, even if it’s his right of way.  His business is never as urgent as yours, even if you are only on your way to a pulperia for cigarettes.

13.  Conversation with the person in the car with you is more important than what’s happening outside your car.  After all, you’re the host here.

14.  When approaching a traffic circle, two lanes are optional.  If there appears to be room in an imaginary third lane for a motorcycle, there’s room for your vehicle, even if it’s a semi-trailer truck.  Be creative.  (See Rule 12.)

15.  Pedestrians don’t exist.  You wouldn’t stop your car to let a mythical creature like the Tooth Fairy cross, would you?

16.  Many people are confused by traffic circles.  Don’t be.  The correct lane is the one you’re in at any given moment.  Don’t be afraid to change abruptly without warning at your convenience.  (See Rule 12.)

17.  Don’t pay attention to the other driver’s horn.  He’s venting.  And that is none of your business.  Turn up the sound system that’s playing your heavy metal CD.

18.  Memorize this: Red light, stop reluctantly.  Green light, anything goes.  Yellow light, petal to the metal.  Stop sign, see Rule 12.

19.  A parking space is wherever you choose to park.

20.  Passing on a blind curve is perfectly permissible.  There’s never anything on the other side and if there is, then it’s the last bad thing that will ever happen to you.

21.  Guaro, whiskey and other alcoholic beverages relax you and make you a better driver by giving you more confidence.  If a little will do a little good, then a lot…

22.  Don’t get upset if you have an accident.  Use your tico stoicism.  Traffic accidents are acts of God, like tropical storms – unless it is obviously the other driver’s fault.  Then, he’s an idiot.

Rod Hughes taught his children and stepchildren all they know about driving.  Their cases come up for trial shortly.

Rule No. 23 & 24 (that Rod didn’t include but I’m adding as a result of some white knuckle experiences).

23.  When passing a car go just fast enough that you can get around it but not so fast that the guy behind you can also get around it.

24.  When you’re being passed, speed up!  That will create a fun game of “chicken” and give you a chance to show the other driver you’re the macho one.

 

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