Archive | January, 2016

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

16 Jan

This is the continuation of a series of posts on my blog to promote the e-book SO YOU WANT to LIVE in COSTA RICA – which is a Guide to… the Adventures, Trials and Tribulations of Settling in Paradise… This is a guide book that will give you the kind of insider’s knowledge that you might wish you had before you made your decision to move or not move to Costa Rica.

Every blog entry will start with the appendix because that way when you read whatever else I have posted it will 1. make sense (I hope) and 2. give you a point of reference in case you realize you need to read something that is “archived”.  Because if you read every blog I enter you will have eventually read the whole e-book and won’t need to order it for $2.99 from Amazon or B&N.  All you’ll be missing are the photos that show what you might expect if you choose to undertake the Adventures, Trials and Tribulations of Settling in Paradise.

As I said, I will start each blog with the appendix so that the reader can reference important elements of the book to archived blogs.  The page numbers shown are the actual page they appear on in the book. Here is the Appendix – and these are all the nuggets and their corresponding page numbers:

Definition of “nugget” – 3, Doors & Windows – 7, Manufacturing – 11, Real Estate – 11, Shipping – 12,Maps, – 15, Corporations – 20, Traffic Cops – 23, Know basic Spanish – 30, Panama – 33, Roof Line – 42, Plumita Pacifica Web Address – 65, Getting the Best a Tico has to Offer – 84, Power Surges – 86, Liberia Airport – 88, Attitude – 104, Cellular Phones – 117, Newspapers – 18, Your Embassy – 137, Buying & Selling Cars – 154, Drive Slowly – 161, Arriving at the Airport – 168, Wages & Prices – 170, Undertows – 226, Life Ring – 230, Avoiding Customs Confiscations – 234, Driving Rules – 236, Walking in the City – 249, Purchasing Anything – 258, Buying Fresh Produce – 263, Bus Tickets – 272, to “Bribe” or not to “Bribe” – 313, Traffic ticket Prices – 315, Exiting the Country – 337

And just in case you’re interested… here’s the table of contents:

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

chapter 25 continued

Uh oh… another shopping story just occurred that needs to be included here along with a related tamale cooking story.

So now, let’s talk about holiday shopping for food.  In the U.S. the big holidays have special food items that are prepared traditionally, like turkey with all the trimmings at Christmas.

Can you imagine walking into your local market and not finding some of the ingredients and then being told that they are nowhere to be found in any of the stores in your city?

That is exactly what happened today, 12/22/2008.  In all of Latin America it is a really BIG tradition to make tamales at Christmas.

A friend of mine said she always makes tamales for her family at Christmas, of course, and since I would like for her to make a couple for me to enjoy I offered to purchase the ingredients.  One of the ingredients is meat.  Apparently the type of meat is the cook’s choice and her choice is pork.

Costa Rica is a country where pork is almost a staple of the diet (for those who can afford to buy meat of any kind).   And I happen to prefer pork over beef so I always have some in the freezer.  But I didn’t have exactly what she wanted and also her recipe called for a type of oil made from pork fat.  It’s liquid and comes in a bottle like many other cooking oils.

Actually, I didn’t have any of the ingredients she wanted since about the only thing I know how to do is BBQ.

So off to Santa Cruz we went, which now I can happily say is only a half hour away because what was a one hour drive on a road that would destroy a Hummer is now a drive on a nice smooth ready for asphalt surface.

There are no markets in Playa Junquillal other than the one little store that is best described as one half of a 7-11 that carries no fresh meat and a few wilted fruits and vegetables in addition to the 7-11 type items.  So Santa Cruz, with a population of maybe twenty thousand people, is where I do most of my grocery shopping.  I have already described the grocery stores in C.R., which would make a gourmet quickly exit the country, but being the simple cook/eater that I am I’m almost content.  I would be more content if I could get fresh produce but without refrigerated transportation on slow roads and a system that guarantees at least four day old produce I put up with the wilted lettuce, floppy carrots, way over or under ripe fruits and other veggies, etc.   Even the little farmers market that occurs in Sta. Cruz on Saturday’s can’t guarantee fresh picked produce.  The local tropical fruits are wonderful however at the farmers market.

  • Unless you opt to reside in S.J. (yuck) or Cartago, where much of the produce is grown, expect to be disappointed regularly.

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

15 Jan

This is the continuation of a series of posts on my blog to promote the e-book SO YOU WANT to LIVE in COSTA RICA – which is a Guide to… the Adventures, Trials and Tribulations of Settling in Paradise… This is a guide book that will give you the kind of insider’s knowledge that you might wish you had before you made your decision to move or not move to Costa Rica.

Every blog entry will start with the appendix because that way when you read whatever else I have posted it will 1. make sense (I hope) and 2. give you a point of reference in case you realize you need to read something that is “archived”.  Because if you read every blog I enter you will have eventually read the whole e-book and won’t need to order it for $2.99 from Amazon or B&N.  All you’ll be missing are the photos that show what you might expect if you choose to undertake the Adventures, Trials and Tribulations of Settling in Paradise.

As I said, I will start each blog with the appendix so that the reader can reference important elements of the book to archived blogs.  The page numbers shown are the actual page they appear on in the book. Here is the Appendix – and these are all the nuggets and their corresponding page numbers:

Definition of “nugget” – 3, Doors & Windows – 7, Manufacturing – 11, Real Estate – 11, Shipping – 12,Maps, – 15, Corporations – 20, Traffic Cops – 23, Know basic Spanish – 30, Panama – 33, Roof Line – 42, Plumita Pacifica Web Address – 65, Getting the Best a Tico has to Offer – 84, Power Surges – 86, Liberia Airport – 88, Attitude – 104, Cellular Phones – 117, Newspapers – 18, Your Embassy – 137, Buying & Selling Cars – 154, Drive Slowly – 161, Arriving at the Airport – 168, Wages & Prices – 170, Undertows – 226, Life Ring – 230, Avoiding Customs Confiscations – 234, Driving Rules – 236, Walking in the City – 249, Purchasing Anything – 258, Buying Fresh Produce – 263, Bus Tickets – 272, to “Bribe” or not to “Bribe” – 313, Traffic ticket Prices – 315, Exiting the Country – 337

And just in case you’re interested… here’s the table of contents:

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

chapter 25 continued

When I got home I opened the first box and the fan was black (you’ll see why noting the color is important soon).  I got it completely assembled, plugged it into the wall socket, it ran fine at all speeds and that’s when I discovered that the little knob you push or pull that resides on top or the fan motor was missing!  So I took it completely apart, put it back in the box and got it ready to go back to the store. 

Then I opened the next box.  That fan turned out to be white but I noticed that it did have that little knob on top and oddly enough it was black.  But when I pulled all the parts out of the box I discovered that even though they were all there, the fan blade, which was in its original packaging, had one blade broken completely off.  Also the housing for the fan motor was broken.  The guy was right, the parts were there but he failed to notice the ones that were broken.  But it had a black knob!  Perfect, I took the knob off, re-assembled the black fan and now I at least had one good fan. 

I took the white fan back but once again Murphy got me.  They didn’t have any more of that brand/model.  They did however have a floor sample model of a different brand of that type of fan.  There were no fans in boxes.  That floor model was the only fan of its type in the store.  It happened to be about $2 less expensive but at this point I just wanted to swap straight across and get the hell out of there.  But no, they couldn’t do something that simple because it messed up their accounting.  They scratched and figured and scratched some more and finally said that if I bought something for 5 colones (which is about the equivalent of a tenth of a cent) or more that I could leave with the fan.  I said fine and went to look for something I might need.  I found it but when I got back to the cashier she said I didn’t need to buy anything after all.  Don’t ask me what made the difference.  I didn’t ask them.  I just took my fan and left… quickly.  (Maybe someone realized that if they got this fussy gringo out of the store there would be $2 extra in the till… )

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

7 Jan

This is the continuation of a series of posts on my blog to promote the e-book SO YOU WANT to LIVE in COSTA RICA – which is a Guide to… the Adventures, Trials and Tribulations of Settling in Paradise… This is a guide book that will give you the kind of insider’s knowledge that you might wish you had before you made your decision to move or not move to Costa Rica.

Every blog entry will start with the appendix because that way when you read whatever else I have posted it will 1. make sense (I hope) and 2. give you a point of reference in case you realize you need to read something that is “archived”.  Because if you read every blog I enter you will have eventually read the whole e-book and won’t need to order it for $2.99 from Amazon or B&N.  All you’ll be missing are the photos that show what you might expect if you choose to undertake the Adventures, Trials and Tribulations of Settling in Paradise.

As I said, I will start each blog with the appendix so that the reader can reference important elements of the book to archived blogs.  The page numbers shown are the actual page they appear on in the book. Here is the Appendix – and these are all the nuggets and their corresponding page numbers:

Definition of “nugget” – 3, Doors & Windows – 7, Manufacturing – 11, Real Estate – 11, Shipping – 12,Maps, – 15, Corporations – 20, Traffic Cops – 23, Know basic Spanish – 30, Panama – 33, Roof Line – 42, Plumita Pacifica Web Address – 65, Getting the Best a Tico has to Offer – 84, Power Surges – 86, Liberia Airport – 88, Attitude – 104, Cellular Phones – 117, Newspapers – 18, Your Embassy – 137, Buying & Selling Cars – 154, Drive Slowly – 161, Arriving at the Airport – 168, Wages & Prices – 170, Undertows – 226, Life Ring – 230, Avoiding Customs Confiscations – 234, Driving Rules – 236, Walking in the City – 249, Purchasing Anything – 258, Buying Fresh Produce – 263, Bus Tickets – 272, to “Bribe” or not to “Bribe” – 313, Traffic ticket Prices – 315, Exiting the Country – 337

And just in case you’re interested… here’s the table of contents:

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

chapter 25 continued

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

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

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

6 Jan

This is the continuation of a series of posts on my blog to promote the e-book SO YOU WANT to LIVE in COSTA RICA – which is a Guide to… the Adventures, Trials and Tribulations of Settling in Paradise… This is a guide book that will give you the kind of insider’s knowledge that you might wish you had before you made your decision to move or not move to Costa Rica.

Every blog entry will start with the appendix because that way when you read whatever else I have posted it will 1. make sense (I hope) and 2. give you a point of reference in case you realize you need to read something that is “archived”.  Because if you read every blog I enter you will have eventually read the whole e-book and won’t need to order it for $2.99 from Amazon or B&N.  All you’ll be missing are the photos that show what you might expect if you choose to undertake the Adventures, Trials and Tribulations of Settling in Paradise.

As I said, I will start each blog with the appendix so that the reader can reference important elements of the book to archived blogs.  The page numbers shown are the actual page they appear on in the book. Here is the Appendix – and these are all the nuggets and their corresponding page numbers:

Definition of “nugget” – 3, Doors & Windows – 7, Manufacturing – 11, Real Estate – 11, Shipping – 12,Maps, – 15, Corporations – 20, Traffic Cops – 23, Know basic Spanish – 30, Panama – 33, Roof Line – 42, Plumita Pacifica Web Address – 65, Getting the Best a Tico has to Offer – 84, Power Surges – 86, Liberia Airport – 88, Attitude – 104, Cellular Phones – 117, Newspapers – 18, Your Embassy – 137, Buying & Selling Cars – 154, Drive Slowly – 161, Arriving at the Airport – 168, Wages & Prices – 170, Undertows – 226, Life Ring – 230, Avoiding Customs Confiscations – 234, Driving Rules – 236, Walking in the City – 249, Purchasing Anything – 258, Buying Fresh Produce – 263, Bus Tickets – 272, to “Bribe” or not to “Bribe” – 313, Traffic ticket Prices – 315, Exiting the Country – 337

And just in case you’re interested… here’s the table of contents:

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

chapter 25 continued

Murphy got me again.  I discovered that on one set one lid was missing.  Another Ca. assumption led me to believe that I would get the missing lid in a couple weeks when I had to go to Liberia to catch the plane to Ca.  I went to the store.  They were very pleased to open another box and take a lid out for me.  Only one problem, they couldn’t find any more boxes.  To make a long story short, after two or three more trips to that store it became obvious that they were never going to have another set of that type.  So I sucked it up and decided that no one but me would know the difference.

Oh darn, I thought that would be the last “shopping” story but something happened recently that was just too funny not to print.

The same store just opened an outlet in Santa Cruz which, since they are preparing the road for asphalt, is now only about a half hour away. 

And they were having a grand opening “half price” on everything sale.  I had decided to put a fan in each apartment so off I went to the big (not, but the ticos think it is) new department store. 

I found almost what I wanted which was the type of fan on a stand that swings back and forth or sends the air in a steady direction, depending on whether you push or pull the little knob on top of the fan motor. 

Having learned my lesson with the cookware set adventure, I watched carefully to make sure that the employee who was inspecting the boxes that the unassembled fans were in contained all the parts.  He assured me they were and it looked that way to me too.

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

5 Jan

This is the continuation of a series of posts on my blog to promote the e-book SO YOU WANT to LIVE in COSTA RICA – which is a Guide to… the Adventures, Trials and Tribulations of Settling in Paradise… This is a guide book that will give you the kind of insider’s knowledge that you might wish you had before you made your decision to move or not move to Costa Rica.

Every blog entry will start with the appendix because that way when you read whatever else I have posted it will 1. make sense (I hope) and 2. give you a point of reference in case you realize you need to read something that is “archived”.  Because if you read every blog I enter you will have eventually read the whole e-book and won’t need to order it for $2.99 from Amazon or B&N.  All you’ll be missing are the photos that show what you might expect if you choose to undertake the Adventures, Trials and Tribulations of Settling in Paradise.

As I said, I will start each blog with the appendix so that the reader can reference important elements of the book to archived blogs.  The page numbers shown are the actual page they appear on in the book. Here is the Appendix – and these are all the nuggets and their corresponding page numbers:

Definition of “nugget” – 3, Doors & Windows – 7, Manufacturing – 11, Real Estate – 11, Shipping – 12,Maps, – 15, Corporations – 20, Traffic Cops – 23, Know basic Spanish – 30, Panama – 33, Roof Line – 42, Plumita Pacifica Web Address – 65, Getting the Best a Tico has to Offer – 84, Power Surges – 86, Liberia Airport – 88, Attitude – 104, Cellular Phones – 117, Newspapers – 18, Your Embassy – 137, Buying & Selling Cars – 154, Drive Slowly – 161, Arriving at the Airport – 168, Wages & Prices – 170, Undertows – 226, Life Ring – 230, Avoiding Customs Confiscations – 234, Driving Rules – 236, Walking in the City – 249, Purchasing Anything – 258, Buying Fresh Produce – 263, Bus Tickets – 272, to “Bribe” or not to “Bribe” – 313, Traffic ticket Prices – 315, Exiting the Country – 337

And just in case you’re interested… here’s the table of contents:

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

chapter 25 continued

Here’s a second (and final) example.  And another lesson learned.  Not that department store shopping is necessarily a “woman’s domain” either but I have to admit I’d almost rather have a tooth pulled than have to wander through a department store trying to find a specific item.

The good news for me here is that their version of a department store is about one tenth the size of department stores in Ca.  Obviously choices/selections/variety are limited but what is most disconcerting are their displays.  In Ca. displays are generally neat and organized.

If there are towels stacked on a shelf, for example, they are all folded similarly and stacked neatly and organized by brand, size, color, etc.  If there are products in boxes the boxes appear to never have been opened so it’s reasonable to assume that whatever is inside will be complete.

Alright, let’s look around the C.R. department store.  Clothing is off the rack, sizes are mixed up, towels and other stackable items are disheveled and out of place, boxes have been opened and sometimes not even re-closed or taped back together haphazardly.  Department stores here are just generally sloppy and disorganized and for someone used to neat and orderly it can be a little disconcerting.

But sometimes I have to go in for something.  The very first time I needed to do the dreaded deed of shopping in a department store it was for things for the apartments on the first floor of my house that I rent to tourists.  The nearest department store was in Liberia, a two hour drive one way which included an hour down a very rough dirt road (see Driving – Rainy Season).  Among other things I needed cookware.  I found the set I wanted and needed.  Since I have two apartments I needed two sets.  The boxes were just as I described above, but being new to C.R. and still operating on Ca. assumptions, I opened them, gave them a cursory look, and thought both sets looked complete, bought them and drove home.

If you purchase anything, anywhere, inspect it thoroughly before you leave the store.

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

3 Jan

This is the continuation of a series of posts on my blog to promote the e-book SO YOU WANT to LIVE in COSTA RICA – which is a Guide to… the Adventures, Trials and Tribulations of Settling in Paradise… This is a guide book that will give you the kind of insider’s knowledge that you might wish you had before you made your decision to move or not move to Costa Rica.

Every blog entry will start with the appendix because that way when you read whatever else I have posted it will 1. make sense (I hope) and 2. give you a point of reference in case you realize you need to read something that is “archived”.  Because if you read every blog I enter you will have eventually read the whole e-book and won’t need to order it for $2.99 from Amazon or B&N.  All you’ll be missing are the photos that show what you might expect if you choose to undertake the Adventures, Trials and Tribulations of Settling in Paradise.

As I said, I will start each blog with the appendix so that the reader can reference important elements of the book to archived blogs.  The page numbers shown are the actual page they appear on in the book. Here is the Appendix – and these are all the nuggets and their corresponding page numbers:

Definition of “nugget” – 3, Doors & Windows – 7, Manufacturing – 11, Real Estate – 11, Shipping – 12,Maps, – 15, Corporations – 20, Traffic Cops – 23, Know basic Spanish – 30, Panama – 33, Roof Line – 42, Plumita Pacifica Web Address – 65, Getting the Best a Tico has to Offer – 84, Power Surges – 86, Liberia Airport – 88, Attitude – 104, Cellular Phones – 117, Newspapers – 18, Your Embassy – 137, Buying & Selling Cars – 154, Drive Slowly – 161, Arriving at the Airport – 168, Wages & Prices – 170, Undertows – 226, Life Ring – 230, Avoiding Customs Confiscations – 234, Driving Rules – 236, Walking in the City – 249, Purchasing Anything – 258, Buying Fresh Produce – 263, Bus Tickets – 272, to “Bribe” or not to “Bribe” – 313, Traffic ticket Prices – 315, Exiting the Country – 337

And just in case you’re interested… here’s the table of contents:

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

chapter 25 continued

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

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

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

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