Archive | February, 2016

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

29 Feb

chapter 29 continued

Anyway, back to the main topic of “rain”.  There aren’t any paved roads around here.  There are lots of streams.  The soil has a high soft earth and clay content (mud when mixed with water).  Some of the bridges actually dip below the level of the road.  What do you think that all means during the rainy season?  You guessed it.  It’s good to have a 4×4 vehicle.

Locals had told me that there are times when the bridge that you need to cross to get in or out of Junquillal is covered so deep in water that it’s not safe (or totally impossible) to cross.  Well, I now have pictures of it from my side that way.  It’s awesome! 

This bridge is about four feet above the surface of the water during the dry season.  But even the guy with the big dump truck wouldn’t attempt to cross the other day. 

I did discover a back way out (for now) though.  It turns out that on my side of the bridge right next to the entrance to the bridge there is a little road that parallels the stream for a little ways but quickly gains altitude.  Even though the water also floods across the road at least there is a rocky entrance to the road which provides good traction.  So in low range 4-wheel drive I can plow though the water and then I’m out of it quickly as the road gains altitude. 

From there you wander back in the jungle for about a mile, ultimately make a couple of right turns and end up on a road that takes you back to the stream where there is a high bridge that crosses it and soon you come out on the other side of the bridge you can’t cross.  I guess it adds about twenty minutes to the trip.  But it’s exciting and you go through beautiful scenery. 

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

27 Feb

chapter 29

WHEN IT RAINS IT POURS (sometimes)

This is a twofold story/adventure.  I decided to put it here instead of with the adventures with women because I figured if I added one more “woman” story it would never get read.  This is not about a woman but does involve a couple you haven’t met yet.

But first the good news.  What you will read below all occurred before the main road was completely paved, new bridges correctly constructed and my little street covered with good gravel so that ingress and egress are no longer a problem, even without 4-wheel drive.

This all occurred during the rainy season, which by the way, is far and away the best time of the year here.  Its cooler, greener, prettier (not as many splashes of brilliant color but dazzling shades of green) and all around more tranquil.  And almost every night there is a spectacular light show out over the ocean!  We get a little rain three or four days out of seven, it usually occurs during the afternoon, tapers off between 5 & 7pm and then we get these beautiful electrical displays.  At times the direction of the lightning is such that with each flash it lights up the surf in a way that makes it appear as though there are lights in the sand shining up through the surf.  Spectacular!  Disney only wishes they could put on a show like that (but the price of entry might be prohibitive if they could even figure out how to do it).  Imagine, as far as the eye can see, with each flash, the surf lights up and then there is the crash of thunder.  It’s just magnificent from my balcony and the apartment patios, which are covered so they never get wet.

Speaking of balconies, I think I’ve won the “guerra de los zancudos” (war of the mosquitoes) for both my part of the house and the apartments.  I don’t even need to pull the curtains closed around dusk that enclose my balconies any more. You will read below the steps I have taken that seem to do the trick.  I explained in My Toldo how I solved the problem of mosquito’s feasting on me at night.  Well, I went back to the same lady and had her make curtains out of fancy mosquito netting in a pretty floral pattern that now surround my decks.  I can open them during the day and close them at night and they are transparent enough that if I keep them closed I can still enjoy my view.  A nice serendipity is they are also somewhat effective at keeping some of the rain off my decks and out of the house when the wind is blowing on shore.

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

24 Feb

chapter 28 continued

Around 4pm here they came being towed by a local guy with a pick up truck.  It turned out that the workers who are in the process of completing the paving of the highway from Santa Cruz to Paraiso had made them make a detour in Paraiso, which is only about two kilometers from Plumita Pacifica, but it put them on very unmaintained dirt roads and a very circuitous route of more than five kilometers which included crossing a stream in order to get to Plumita.

Even though the stream is only about six inches deep, it appears they thought they had to go fast to get across it which had the effect of spraying water onto parts of the engine that don’t react well to being drenched.  So it died in the middle of the stream, literally.

If it doesn’t start tomorrow…

But the sliding glass doors and windows now have special locks on the tracks for extra security.

P.S. It is now two and a half years later and there have been NO repeat violations of or on the property!  That’s no guarantee of course but it is comforting.

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

23 Feb

chapter 28 continued

My guests ask me if they should lock their door at night.  I suggest they do since Costa Rica does have a high rate of petty theft even though at Plumita Pacifica it appears that no one would notice.

Well, my guests in number 1 awoke this morning to discover that someone had entered the apartment sometime in the middle of the night and not only had stolen everything of value of theirs that they had left in the living/dining area like money, clothes, credit cards, drivers license, camera and back packs, they had also left the keys to the rental car on the table and it was gone too!  They had been asleep in the bedroom, which is private, I was asleep upstairs, Mario and Nidia were in their apartment, the two dogs who bark at their own shadow never made a sound (maybe because at night there are no shadows) and yet in the morning we all awake to find that my guests have been clean out.  Fortunately they had their passports and her credit cards locked up in the safe that’s in the bedroom.

She said she was sure she locked the door.  He said he had gone out later to rinse the sand off his feet in the outdoor shower and maybe he forgot to re-lock it.  The lock didn’t look tampered with but I’ve heard it said that sliding glass door locks are easy to defeat.  Who knows, in any event it was an interesting day of filing police reports and getting another rental car delivered. 

Fortunately I was here to provide the transportation they needed since the bureaucracy in this country doesn’t allow for just one police report, which was taken this morning in my house by the local police, but two. 

The other could only occur in Santa Cruz at the “OIJ” (don’t ask me what those letters stand for) which is the Costa Rica equivalent of the FBI.  But my guests needed to go to Santa Cruz anyway to access a bank since they were now cashless.  Fortunately one of their credit cards was in the safe with their passports and didn’t get stolen.

Nothing happens as fast as you might expect here so after all that we finally arrived back at my place around 3:30.  Just in time for me to pick up a message left on my answering machine from my guests who were due to arrive today to occupy apartment number 3, to say that they were being towed in their rental car to Plumita Pacifica.

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

22 Feb

chapter 28 continued

So I decided on the one area allowed by the municipality that would allow me to have the freedom to come and go as I please.  I chose the “cabinas” option, loosely translated as cabins, it meant that I could build two stories as long as one of them contained some authorized business space. 

Therefore the second floor of my house is my residence, which commands a spectacular 225 degree view of one of Costa Rica’s most beautiful, pristine and unspoiled beaches and the first floor is composed of three completely furnished and equipped right down to the toothpicks one bedroom apartments (“cabinas”) that each have an unobstructed 180 degree view.

Two of the apartments are available as “cabinas” for tourists and the other is home to my caretakers Mario and Nidia, whom you have met in some of my other entries. 

Playa Junquillal is a very small and tranquil beach area with nice little resorts, all of which have good restaurants and other nice little restaurants and one funky fun little each bar where the gringo’s like to hang out, especially at sunset. 

But even as unnoticeable as you might think Plumita Pacifica would be to the bad guy’s, they are desperate for their drugs.  

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

20 Feb

chapter 28 continued

Ok, now for today’s excitement:  I almost could title this “the day Murphy got both my guests”.   But I refuse to honor Murphy by giving him that much print time so until I come up with something clever it will remain “untitled”.

I don’t think I’ve ever described the business side of my endeavor here.  When I built my house I decided to take advantage of a fun opportunity.  Having been self employed all my adult life (since age 21 when I launched my first business), it only seemed natural to me to continue to be business involved in some way here in Costa Rica.  I never could envision myself as being “retired” in the classic sense.  Not to have a purpose or a drive for something “more” always seemed like sitting around just waiting to die. 

So when I found the lot, right on the beach with no possibility of any structure or vehicular artery ever between me and the water, just like I wanted and it happened to be zoned commercial, the ideas for a combination business/house flooded my mind.

How about a restaurant with a house on the second floor or a surf & sport shop with a house or a B&B or… The municipality had a whole list of the different types of businesses that they would allow, including a car rental agency (yuck).   The most fun one I thought of was “Pops Popsicles”. 

It would be a combination Jamba Juice/Starbucks and serve non-alcoholic beverages and snacks, including popsicles, and since there is a plethora of cute, sexy little teenage girls here the uniform would be shorts and a crop-top that said “Pops Popsicles” across it.

I know I know, some of you think I’m a dirty old man (true) but the main reason I didn’t do any of the more interesting things was because I’ve had enough of slavery.  As a classic example: is there any more enslaving form of business than a small restaurant?  (Owning a small winery maybe.)

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

17 Feb

chapter 28

UNTITLED (because I couldn’t come up with one for these events)

And I almost didn’t journal this because it seems that lately most of what I’ve been journaling has had a more negative slant to it than I think represents, with fairness, my experiences here in Costa Rica.

I think I’m settling in and the things that would have surprised/tickled/delighted me in the past have become routine.  That’s nice and believe me I truly enjoy the tranquility and easy flow of the culture here.  Because the culture is so different than what we’re used to in the states it presents many opportunities to journal events that can come across as unpleasant when really it’s more about the attitude you hold about what is occurring than what is actually occurring.

For the Ticos, most of the things I’ve entered in this journal would only cause them to yawn a boring “what’s so strange about that”.

But here’s a good way to express what a positive life changing experience living here is for me…  I haven’t chomped down a dozen antacid tablets in the two years I’ve been here!  Just before I left the stress of life in the states I was chomping down a dozen or so every two days!  I was beginning to wonder if I had this thing called “acid reflux” and had considered going to see a doctor.

As a matter of fact, it’s interesting for me to note that when I am back in the states, which  is one week out of every month for business, I’m back to chomping down the antacids in almost the quantities I was before I came to the land of “pura vida” (pure life).