Archive | March, 2016

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

31 Mar

So I arrive in S.J., connect with #3, take her to dinner and explain that I’m going to P. Junquillal tomorrow (five and a half hour drive), and ask if she would like to go.  Much to my surprise…..yes.  Turns out she owns her own business, owns a house (very nice too) and has nothing to hold her back.  So we get to Junquillal, I meet the Realtor and sure enough the property has sold.  Further more he informs me that he has sold everything he knows of around there and is leaving himself to hopefully find greener pastures.  No problem for me, I’m going to have fun anyway plus I’m thinking I need to be looking elsewhere for property, thus Panama was next on my list of places to explore.

However, my Spanish still wasn’t strong enough to convey all this info to her and she spoke zero English.  So when I tried to explain that I wasn’t upset she didn’t get it and she says to me, in effect “you mean, this jerk, he makes you come all the way here just to tell you he has nothing to show you and he’s leaving too and won’t even be around to help you?”  She was livid and I was no help.  The next day I’m lying by the pool at this neat little resort where I was staying and she’s off chatting with the owners when all of a sudden she comes over to me and says “I found your property!” 

They knew someone who knew someone who knew of a lot that fit my parameters perfectly (a good example of the “rule of 6”).  I bought the lot later, by the way.  It’s where I built Plumita Pacifica.  But don’t you appreciate an assertive woman like that?  I do.  Unfortunately, she had almost zero sensuality or she might still be in my life. 


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

29 Mar

chapter 30


This is a “good luck” story because it ended up with finding my little piece of paradise.

As it was, #1 was not long gone yet.  As a matter of fact, she didn’t know she was gone.  But after several more trips I found that even though I enjoyed her company I began to be aware of the reasons why she would not be a permanent fixture in my life.  No need to talk about those.  However, because of those feelings I began to correspond with a few women on a Costa Rica connections website I had come across.  Coincidentally, I had also begun to feel like I may not find the property I was looking for in C.R. either.  I had enjoyed her company though for maybe six or eight more trips while exploring beaches on the Pacific coast from Panama to nearly Nicaragua while being led on wild goose chases by Realtors.

The Realtors in C.R. are higher in enthusiasm than they are in integrity and after responding a few times to “got just what you want, come on down” I began to realize I was almost looking for a needle in a hay stack with my parameters for the “perfect property” and so I thought I better start exploring other countries.  My parameters were quite simple and expressed very clearly to these disgusting money hungry gringo grabbers who call themselves “Realtors”… a lot that is beachfront with no possibility of any other structure or vehicular artery between me and the water… ever!  Now is that clear or is that clear?

You see, the problem with the real-estate industry in C.R. is that it is completely unregulated by any government authority and anyone can be a Realtor in C.R.  Just hang out your shingle and go for it.  It has no MLS and the Realtors don’t often travel outside their area of interest because the roads make it a very inefficient use of their time.  But, I had been referred to a Realtor, who was actually listening to me, by his associate in a different part of the country.  He would send me pictures (what a concept, none of the others ever did that) that actually looked like what I was looking for.  Finally, he sent me one last picture with the apology that this was the last lot of which he was aware in his area that met my parameters but couldn’t guarantee it would still be available in three weeks when I was due to arrive.  I wrote him back that I was very appreciative of his good work on my behalf and that I would come to Playa Junquillal in Guanacaste because even if it had sold I wanted to shake his hand, buy him dinner and thank him in person anyway for actually presenting me with what I wanted.

So this was to be a three part trip for me.  First, to C.R. to meet one of the women I had been corresponding with and go to Junquillal.  Second, to go to Panama and look around, and by the way, I like C.R. much better although you’ll see a good Lost in Panama story.  Third, was back to C.R. to hopefully connect with another woman from the website, who by the way, may just be a keeper (#4) and have one last go at #1.  Needless to say, I was going to have fun no matter whether I found the property I wanted or not.

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

25 Mar

chapter 29 continued

About a week later I ran into the main guy again and he said he was personally coming to P. Junquillal in two weeks.  Unfortunately I’ll be in Ca. if he actually does come.

Well, another month has passed with no action from the muni.  I’ve been stuck a few more times and finally broke down and bought some gravel myself that has made the little street passable (see Driving – Rainy Season). 

But I was able to help (sort of) save a dog from drowning today which is an interesting tell:  I wanted to go into Santa Cruz but when I got to the bridge I discovered it once again had about knee deep water going over it and really fast!  I didn’t feel like trying the alternate route since I hadn’t needed to use it for about a month and since I know how those muddy back roads can become impassable over night I decided to cancel the trip and just enjoy relaxing on a rainy afternoon. 

But as I was at the bridge surveying the situation I noticed a big work truck on the other side of the bridge was parked there also studying whether to attempt crossing.  Just then this big yellow dog walks up to the bridge on the other side, looks at the water for a minute, and then wades right in!   He got about eight feet before the water was too deep for him to touch bottom and the rushing water just washed him right off the bridge into the churning rapids on the down stream side!  He went under but popped back out about thirty feet down stream.  The two guys in the truck jumped out but the bank was too high on their side so all they could do was stand there and watch.  I jumped out and ran through the jungle to get down stream from the dog.  Here he came with just his head out of that muddy, churning water, paddling for my shore like crazy, with eyes as big as saucers.  I couldn’t get to him because of the brush that was in the way so all I could do was call to him and encourage him but he made it. 

He shook himself off, met up with another dog that had been watching also, they said their hellos and trotted off down another muddy little road together like nothing had happened.

 All’s well that ends well. 

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

19 Mar

chapter 29 continued (after a trip to California)

I decided not to call since I was afraid I would just get some secretary who would lose the message like the last one probably did, since the guy never did call.  I went to the municipality and found his secretary.  The door to her office was locked but I could see through the glass that she was having a private conversation on her cell phone.  I tapped on the door and to my surprise she got up and came over and opened it for me.   I waited for her to finish up her call and then explained to her that I wanted to change my appointment.   She got the guy on the phone and it turns out to be the guy I talked to when I was on the bus who also is the actual person I need to deal with and he speaks a little English.  I’m encouraged. 

Meanwhile my little street has gotten worse but Mario tells me that about a week ago someone from the municipality came and took pictures.  Hmmmm, wonder what that means?

Apparently nothing because that was two months ago.  I had the meeting with the municipality.  Interesting, there is this big U shaped table with about ten people sitting around it.  Kind of like a city council. 

Being weak in Spanish I couldn’t understand what everyone was saying but it turned out that the guy who I mentioned above was the main guy.  Everything was addressed to him.  I was second on the agenda. 

I thought that was fortunate because I really didn’t want to sit through an entire city council meeting just to plead my case.  But the first person on the agenda took one and a half hours to present what he had with video cameras rolling and the whole enchilada!   So when it finally became my turn I prefaced my presentation by saying “the good news is my presentation will take less than five minutes”.  I actually got some chuckles out of those sober looking faces sitting around the big U.

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

4 Mar

chapter 29 continued

One week later.  We had one on those spectacular light shows but, as Murphy would have it, a bolt of lightning hit the light pole at the main road, raced down to the pole at the entrance to my property and blew out the big transformer and my meter box.  So for a day and a half there has been no power here. 

Coincidentally, yesterday while I was in Santa Cruz, I went to the main office of the agency that offers electrical service and told them my power was out but they had been working in my area and didn’t realize I had a special problem.  They said the power would be back on by 4pm.  I didn’t question it because with my weak Spanish I thought they were aware of my problem.  Obviously they weren’t. 

I hate having a romantic candle light dinner by myself.  So this morning I took Mario and went back to the agency so he could explain.  They said they would be out this afternoon.  Sure enough, they showed up, drove this big truck right up to the entrance of my property, did enough to discover that they needed to replace all the stuff at the top of the pole and said they needed to go get all the new stuff. 

Well, it was heart warming to see them bury their truck trying to get out.  I figured that would give me one more arrow in my quiver when I go to the municipality to see about getting my road fixed.  They made a phone call and in less than thirty minutes here came a skip loader to pull them out.  I was hoping the guy with the skip loader would smooth out my road.  No such luck.  All he managed to do was to dig more huge ruts for me to get stuck in while he was trying to yank them out!  Mario, being the resourceful and helpful person he is, broke up some concrete, found a few wheelbarrow loads of rocks and filled the ruts enough so I can get out.   Actually, he filled the ruts in enough that I can get out without using 4 wheel drive (at least until the next good rain).   Ooops, I spoke to soon.   I needed 4×4 just hours after I typed that last line and it hasn’t rained for two days. 

In the meantime, the guy in the municipality that I need to have the face to face meeting with called to schedule an appointment.  Nice surprise, but I was on the bus at the time and didn’t have immediate access to my planner.   I agreed to meet with him on the day he suggested but didn’t discover until later that I will be in Ca. that week.  I called back and left a message requesting a schedule change with someone who said they would get it to him.  That was a week ago.  No call, I guess I have to call again.

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

3 Mar

chapter 29 continued

I have submitted photos with one of the letters showing quite graphically the destruction of the “street” and she will attend the meeting with me so I won’t have to make a fool of myself with my weak Spanish.   But I must say, I don’t hold out much hope that the municipality will respond positively.  Hell, they don’t even attempt to keep the main roads in drivable condition.  However, she seems to be quite interested in pursuing this challenge so who am I to argue.  That’s something else I gave up a long time ago.  I learned which fights to pick with a woman.  They’re wonderful.  It seems they actually know (sometimes) when not to fight back.  The rest of the time I just go with the flow.

Now for the other woman.  Her name is Maria too (at least when I scream out a name it’s the right one).  But we are only friends.  No sex (yet, probably never).  Maybe never because it’s nice to just have a lady friend.  She’s actually a gringa.  From Canada.  She is single but with a sixteen year old daughter who’s pregnant by a tico that neither of them wants to have much to do with.  Go figure. 

But here’s how she fits in this story.  She’s the one who is helping me get familiar with all the little back roads around here.  She’s lived here for five or six years and during the rainy season it’s good to know which roads might be passable and which ones will bury even the hardiest of 4×4’s.  So we’ve been running around trying to give away to other gringos the puppies one of her dogs had.  Happily, this has given me the opportunity to meet some of the other people who I may never have encountered by just wandering aimlessly through the jungle.  One of the interesting facts about C.R. is that the North Americans, for the most part, are sprinkled throughout the country rather than holed up in enclaves.  At least for now.  Within recent years there have been and are continuing to be built these so called “gated communities”.  Of course they’re way pricey so you can expect “enclaves” unfortunately (I think).

The bottom line: Two nice ladies are helping me through my first rainy season.

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

2 Mar

chapter 29 continued

So what does all this have to do with women?  Oh wonderful creatures that they are when they like you…  and in this country where everyone seems to either know or be related to someone in a position of influence…  I just happen to have a friendship going with (she shall remain nameless because there are a zillion “Maria’s” here).

This nice lady has an uncle in a position of influence in the municipality.  Now don’t get excited.  I’m not, because the “Maria” that I really like I only get to see rarely (five hours each way by bus) and that’s only when she’s in town because she works way south of S.J.

Where as this one is only thirty five minutes and she doesn’t have a car (big advantage for me, no drop in).   And just for the record.   I did tell her that I have a girl friend in San Jose not long after we met (three or four dates).  She paused for a moment… then asked if she could come for dinner.  Women… they never cease to amaze me.  I long ago gave up trying to understand or second guess them.  Quite frankly, I was prepared to hear her say “good by” when I told her that I had a “girl friend”.  But who am I to argue with her decision?

So anyway, she contacted her uncle (actually, she took me to his house for an introduction) and after helping me draft two different letters to two different departments in the municipality I am now waiting to be contacted by someone from the municipality to arrange a face to face meeting.