Archive | March, 2015

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

31 Mar

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 33 continued

Because all Marchamo’s in the entire country are supposed to be paid in December.  I bought the car in October and of course the Marchamo was valid so it was my responsibility to renew it in December.  So now I’ve got the whole picture.  These guys were pulling everybody over that had the wrong color Marchamo in their window (it changes each year).       Oh boy, I’m calmed down, I’m resigned, and I say once again “ok, do what you have to do” at which point the guy who speaks English say’s “just a minute, the guy with the tools is saying something.”  They exchange a few quick words, too fast for me to catch, and the guy say’s to me “he say’s if you’ll pay the ticket here he won’t take your plates”.  I get it!!  No problem, how much?  40,000 colones (about $80).  I whip it out (I had long since learned to carry colones).  But now I have another question.  Ok, I get to keep my plates but what next.  Well, coincidence of coincidences (LOL), the town just up ahead has all the offices I need to go through the rest of the process and get my new Marchamo.  I really didn’t want to go through the whole process right then because I actually was headed to that town, but to take care of other business (which, you’ll get to read that crazy story too).  So I ask if I can do this at a more convenient time in a more convenient town, like the one that’s only one hour down a rough dirt road from where I live.  He say’s “no” for two reasons.  One, the town up ahead is the only one around where I can do all this (it’s kind of like a county seat) and two, if I get stopped again it’ll be the same process and another $80.

Well, I got it all done and was going to flip them off on my way back to Junquillal but they weren’t there.  They’ll have happy wives tonight.  A nice dinner out and who knows, they just might get lucky.

An interesting side note here.  Of course the government decries police corruption but is talking out of both sides of its mouth.  The police are notably underpaid, as acknowledged by the government, and yet are expected to do their jobs acting in accordance with the highest standards of integrity and thoroughness.  But they have hungry mouths to feed at home too.  This, of course, does not excuse them for their corruption but does provide insight and perspective. 

Now then, along comes the next opportunity to test the detector.  I have no idea why this cop is pulling me over.  I think I came around a corner or crested a hill that he had his gun aimed at because when my detector went off it was too late.  But by now I’m really fed up with paying their bribes so as he’s going through his spiel I just keep repeating “give me the ticket”, “give me the ticket”…..   Finally he stops, looks at me disappointedly and tells me to leave.  Hmmmm, I’ve learned something.  Apparently if you don’t whip out your money it’s better for them to cut their losses, so to speak, and move on to the next victim.

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

30 Mar

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 33 continued

Now, my Spanish is better, but I still have a long way to go, especially if one is using technical terminology.  I notice that neither of them is holding a radar gun so that explains why my detector never went off, but what the hell is he trying to tell me?  So I look at where he’s pointing.  There are two stickers, which I’ve always wondered what they were for (now I only wonder what the other one is for), and he keeps saying “Marchamo”.  They’re both standing there starting to sweat (much to my delight because I still have my motor running and A/C on) and I’m beginning to understand what he has been repeating over and over.  It seems he’s telling me that one of my window stickers is invalid and the guy who’s been standing there clinking the tools is going to take my license plates.  What!?  So now what do I have to do?  Oh, I think I understand.  It seems that I have to go to the bank to pay the fine first, then go to the government insurance office for a new sticker (Marchamo), then take the sticker to the court house to get a receipt, then go to the police station (god knows which) in San Jose (five and a half hours away) to present all this and get my license plates back.  Holly shit!  So I resign myself to this new adventure and say “OK, take the plates and give me the f…… ticket”.  At which point he invites me out of the car to walk back to his car in the shade where I see there is a 3rd cop.  This is interesting.  He points to the third cop and say’s “el habla ingles”.  Well why the hell didn’t he have the guy come up to the car in the beginning to explain all this to me?

Anyway, the cop that speaks English explains the whole deal to me again and I say “how could it be that my Marchamo is invalid when I just took possession of the car in December and it’s only January now?”

 

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

28 Mar

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 33

MY RADAR DETECTOR

I bought this woopdydoo radar detector during one trip back to California and now I’m in C.R. and I’ve got it mounted and this is my first time on the concrete highway and I’m ready!  Important side note here.  I had bought the car in October in San Jose from Dollar rent a car (which turns out to be one of the few wise decisions I’ve made in my life) and had them hold it for me to pick up when I came back in December.  I drove it to my place in Playa Junquillal in Guanacaste in December and parked it in my garage and went back to Ca. for the holiday’s.  It was over the holidays that I bought the radar detector.

Now it’s January and I’m back in C.R. and I’m cruising down the highway at less than the speed limit because I’m behind some black smoke belching truck when I see an opportunity to pass.  I pull out.  I’m just getting around the black smoke belcher and there he is!  Out in the middle of the road pointing to the side!  My radar detector never went off, which has me a little concerned, but I’m fairly certain I wasn’t in violation anyway and by now my Spanish is better and I’m pissed so I’m going to argue!  I make sure I’m in full sun when I stop.  But this time two cops walk up.  I don’t even give the one at the side of my car time to get out the usual “Buenos dias, como esta” when I’m into it!  But I notice that the other cop, who is standing where I can plainly see him, has a wrench, a screwdriver and a pair of pliers in his hands and he’s standing there chinking them together.  I don’t pay a lot of attention to him, and the other cop is sort of ignoring my objections and pointing at the passenger side of my windshield, and saying something.  Hmmmm, this is different, so I start to listen.

 

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

27 Mar

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 32

TICKET # 2

Once again I’m in Guanacaste where you can actually get comfortable with a little speed.  And once again I round a curve and there he is, in the middle of the road, pointing to the side, and there are two of them.  I’m screwed.  It’s off to wherever to stand in some long line to pay a stupid ticket.  By the way, 60kph translates to about 40mph, and these are lightly traveled roads in relatively good condition (only has Volkswagen sized potholes every few miles) with good visibility so it’s easy to feel comfortable at 90 or 100kph.  But I’ve since figured out how they set their speed traps.  They put the new speed sign on your side of the curve or slight rise where you can’t see what’s ahead and they position themselves on the other side so that as soon as you see the sign it’s too late.  Because the law is that as soon as you pass the sign you’re supposed to be going whatever the posted speed is.  So even if you slammed on your brakes as soon as you saw the sign you’d still be exceeding the speed limit by the time they’ve got you on radar.

I’ve been tempted since that time when it’s only one cop to just run the asshole down.  There are never any other cars around, it’s just me and him, but…  Anyway, I pull over for these two cops a little ahead of the nice shady place they have their car parked, and in this case a motorcycle too.  Only one cop walks up to my car.  I guess they drew straws to see who has to stand in the hot sun and deal with the gringo.  So the guy goes through the same routine the first guy did and I notice once again he’s not writing anything in his ticket book.  So I figure, what the heck play stupid gringo and see what happens.  So I ask “how much ($50 this time), and can I pay you?”  To my surprise he say’s yes.  I happened to have two 20’s and a 10, he say’s “buen dia”, and I’m on my way!  I’d like to know if he split it with his buddy (probably).  It’s a great racket for these guys.  I can just hear them when they get home.  “Had a great day, honey.  Nailed a few gringos.  Let’s go out for dinner.”

But I’m wise to their tricks after a couple more tickets and this leads me to My Radar Detector.

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

24 Mar

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

How to bribe without bribing.   J

His eyes brighten, he closes his ticket book, which I had noticed he hadn’t written anything in yet, and says in broken English “you want to pay me?”  At that moment I think “oh shit, maybe that was the wrong question” because I know if you say that to a cop in the states he can haul you off for attempting bribery.  But I say “si”, he says “si”.  I know that word so I ask how much.  He does a quick calculation and say’s $26.  My next thought.  I’ve got a stack of $20’s in my pocket (I hadn’t learned yet to convert my $’s to colones immediately upon arrival in the country and they accept $’s at all the stores and just do the exchange on the spot).

I know this guy is not going to have change or make an exchange if I pull out all my $20’s so I fish one 20 out of my pocket and say something about not having any change.

He snags the 20, I don’t think he even heard the rest of my sentence, and says “esta bien, buen dia”, and I think “oh my god, I’ve just bribed a cop!”.  But he’s headed back to his car, which is parked in the shade of a nice big tree, and he’s waving for me to leave.

As a side note here, since this incident occurred I’ve had the opportunity to discover an approximate schedule of charges for a simple speeding ticket.  It appears to be about $0.60 per kph over the limit.  For example a 20 kph over the limit ticket equals about $12.  And you just go to your nearest Banco National or Banco de Costa Rica (government owned and controlled) depending on which police agency wrote the ticket to stand in line and ultimately pay at a teller window.  It’s funny, even the cops don’t know which bank you’re supposed to go to.  I’ve asked and have been given the wrong answer, which I discover of course after standing in a long line only to be told by the teller where a branch of the correct bank is.

The law and the amounts have been changed to much higher amounts since I wrote that but they are being contested in court.  In any event, if you can get a radar detector for your vehicle, you’ll read later how it may save you from bureaucratic hassles or the need to bribe.

So if you do the math on ticket #1 it looks like I paid a $2 premium not to have to deal with the usual hassle if you don’t just give in to the bribe.  It was worth it that time but I have since discovered that if you just keep saying “give me the ticket” they sometimes give up and wave you on without even giving you the ticket.  I guess it’s less frustrating for them to just nab the next stupid gringo.

Anyway, when I got back to Jaco, where Al lived at the time and where the great little B&B on the beach owned by the American couple was, I told them the story thinking I had had some unique experience.  Nope, that’s the way it’s done in C.R.  And they tell me I was lucky there was only one cop because if there are 2 sometimes they’re reluctant to take a bribe because they’re not sure the other cop won’t rat on them.  This leads me to Ticket #2.

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

23 Mar

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 31

MY FIRST TRAFFIC TICKET

I was alone in my rental car.  I was on my way to Guanacaste on what turned out to be another Realtor induced wild goose chase but just after you turn off the main highway, which is route #1 or more commonly known as the Pan-American highway, the landscape flattens out a little so the road is straighter and of course there is very little traffic and just beckons for you to relax and build a little speed.

It also happened that at that time this secondary highway was in better repair than route #1.  Maybe that’s because for about 20 or 30 miles it’s concrete instead of asphalt.  So I’m buzzing along enjoying not having to dodge the Volkswagen sized potholes that most of their asphalt roads had at the time (they’ve since been somewhat improved) when I come around a gentle bend in the road and there’s a cop walking to the center of the road.  At first sight he’s probably a sixteenth of a mile in front of me so I’m not worried about hitting him but I’m wondering what the hell he’s doing walking out to the center of the road when he can obviously see I’m coming.  Well, the question is answered almost before I finish thinking it.  He’s looking at me and pointing to the side of the road.  At first I think he’s trying to warn me of some problem.  Maybe an obstacle in the road but out of respect for authority I slow as he keeps pointing insistently to the side of the road.  So when I get to him I stop to find out what the problem is.

That’s when I notice the radar gun in his other hand.  My first thought.  “Oh shit, am I going to jail”?  No, he just begins to jabber (remember, at this point my Spanish is near zero) and I have no idea what he’s saying.  But he shows me the screen on the radar gun, it say’s 90kph, he writes on the back of his ticket book 60kph and I get it.  I’m about to get a speeding ticket.  By the way, by the time I get all this he’s been standing in the hot sun (in that area the temperature hovers around 100) for about five minutes and he seems a little impatient with this stupid gringo.  But all I can think is “oh shit, I’m hours from San Jose” where I thought I had to go to pay a ticket and I’ve already experienced the lines at the bank, which is where you pay the ticket, so I ask in all honest naiveté “can I just pay you?”

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

21 Mar

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 30 continued

But the story doesn’t end there.  Because on the way back to San Jose we got caught in what is called “tortugismo”.  That’s where the drivers of 18-wheelers put their trucks side by side on the highway, drop into low gear and idle along at one mile an hour to protest some government action or inaction.  Further more it was pouring down rain in the mountains where this took place and just as we got to a town called San Ramon, where they add an extra lane, after being in the “tortugismo” with a few hundred other cars there was another protest by some citizens group for, I have no idea what, that had the entire highway blocked.  So there we sat for about a half hour while kids would come up to the car and offer to show us a way around all this, for $100. 

All of a sudden she jumps out of the car, doesn’t say a word and disappears in the rainy mist.  To tell you the truth I wasn’t too concerned because by then I had already decided that she was not for me so I just sat back thinking “what the heck, if she’s decided to get home some other way and if I make it to San Jose before my plane leaves tomorrow I’m off to Panama anyway”. 

About fifteen minutes go by and she reappears, jumps back in the car and says “turn around and go back about one kilometer where there’s a turn off and we can get around this”.  Apparently she had talked to someone who knew an alternate route around the mess that was holding us hostage.  Off we go, down funky, muddy little dirt roads in the rain, neither one of us knew where the hell we were going, just following instincts but about a half hour later we pop out onto the highway just in front of the protest. 

So I took her to dinner, took her home, went to my hotel, got good a nights sleep and headed off to Panama the next morning.

Hope she has a good life.