Archive | December, 2015

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

22 Dec

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

21 Dec

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

19 Dec

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.

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

18 Dec

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, one more reason you men might want to visit S.J.  I have never, in all my travels, and even after having lived in the land of luscious blonds (California), seen such a concentration of beautiful sexy looking women anywhere else.  I could get very graphic here, but I won’t.  But having said that, in all fairness, I need to “good news/bad news” a little.  The beauty is almost always under 35.  The bad news is… I don’t know where it goes after 35.  I can tell you Ca. has it all over C.R. if you’re looking for beauty over 35.

Moving on to some of the other interesting sites around the city, at nearly every intersection in central San Jose on at least one corner are vendor stands and usually you’ll see them on all four corners.  Most sell fruits and vegetables, or others hard goods such as sunglasses, watches, jewelry.  But of course every block is chocked full of small (in terms of square feet) stores that all seem to sell much the same thing categorically.  So, in your imagination, walk around just one block with me.  There will be little café’s, fruit, vegetable, or meat markets, shoe stores, men’s clothing, women’s clothing, furniture, appliances, electronics, hardware, a drug store, a fragrance shop (they’re interesting).  I’ll take a small side trip here at the fragrance shop.  You walk in and they ask you to name your desired fragrance or will have a wide variety of fragrances available for you to sniff.  You tell them what you want and they make it and bottle it for you right there. 

I gave it a try once.   I gave them the name of one of my personal fragrances that I wear and in less than three minutes the girl handed me my bottle.   Now, understanding that it’s a knock off, it wasn’t exactly what I would have received in an original package, but fragrances last me a long time so it will also be interesting to see how it holds up.  Ask me again in a few years.   (Interjection:  it’s been over six years since I wrote this and it still smells great.)

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

17 Dec

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 the powers that be did institute an interesting ordinance recently in an attempt to get some of the traffic off the streets (passenger cars only but excluding taxis).  They have mandated that license plates ending with numbers that coincide with the days of the week can not enter the city on those days during certain hours.  For example, plates ending in 1 & 2 are not allowed on Monday, 3 & 4 are not allowed on Tuesday and so on.  Which means all the plates can enter on all but one weekday and there is no restriction on Saturday or Sunday.  It seems to have helped a little.

But I need to get into the reasons you might want to visit S.J.  Now, just to get this off my chest, I tell all my friends in the U.S. that S.J. is just a big, dirty, ugly city and there is no reason to go there.  Which is totally true.  But, having said that, let me get into the reasons you might actually spend a day or two there. 

Aside from the fact that it has the only major airport in the country, there are some points of historical and cultural interest, such as the national theater, built in 1897, which is a beautiful opera house with a world class orchestra that is conducted by a world renowned Japanese conductor.

There is also the gold museum downtown.  I’ve been through it and it has several sections which display Costa Rica’s rich past and process of growth very nicely.  You may remember from your high school history books that C.R. is where Columbus landed on one of his trips to the “New World”.  He found the natives adorned with intricately designed gold jewelry and so named it “Rich Coast”.  Gold mining is still an industry here, all be it very limited and controversial now for environmental reasons. 

Then there is the national museum which is also a true delight of Costa Rican history on display with a magnificent butterfly museum included.  I spent way more time with the butterflies than you might expect a man to spend but they’re alive and fluttering all around you.  It’s just beautiful with a beautifully landscaped and perfectly balanced environment.

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

14 Dec

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

SAN JOSE

What an interesting city!  Not one in which I would like to live, but interesting to visit.  The city slogan is “the best climate in the world”.  And maybe that’s true.  Daytime temperatures hardly ever leave the 70’s.  Night times cool off enough that sometimes a light sweater or jacket feels good.  Humidity is very comfortable.

I really don’t know how big it is in terms of square miles.  It’s located almost dead center in the country at an elevation in the neighborhood or 4,000 ft.  They call it “the central valley” because, even though there are no really high mountains in Costa Rica, it is in a very large valley surrounded by mountains.  As a matter of fact there are some excellent restaurants on the sides of those mountains with spectacular views out over the city lights at night.

Like many metropolitan areas San Jose is a conglomeration of cities/towns that run together with no distinction or lines of demarcation.  It flows seamlessly from one area to another.  Only the taxi drivers know for sure.  And like all big cities it has its good areas and its not so good areas.  Some areas even the taxi drivers will not go into.

I don’t know if it is for economic or climactic reasons but 70% of C.R.’s population lives there.  So that creates a city teaming with people and traffic.  Like so many European cities that were started before cars were invented, many of the streets simply are not capable of handling the mass of congestion that occurs most of the days.  In fact the city recently installed “smart” signals in the major metropolitan area.  I don’t know how you feel about “smart” signals.  I think about the only thing smart about them were the people who came up with the marketing campaign to get cities to buy them.  And if you talk to the taxi drivers in S.J. they seem to agree with me.  Couple that with the fact that Costa Rican drivers have a different ethic in regards to safe/sane driving (see Rules of the Road for Tico Driving) than we do in the U.S. and, personally, I must say I haven’t noticed any difference in traffic conditions either.

 

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

5 Dec

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.