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The Pilgrimage to Cartago

July 31st, 2007

La BasilicaI admire people with faith such as these Romeros… the word used to describe those pilgrims who come from as far away as Mexico, on foot, to petition “La Negrita”, or the Virgen de Los Angeles, for a favor or to give thanks for favors received. Some travel barefoot, others on horseback (see video). Many will be on their knees for the final trip down the aisle as they approach the alter. Regardless, many travel for days and days and eschew autombiles, motorcycles or any other convenience. They take this very seriously, and some leg or foot pain is a small price to pay for honoring their Virgin.

Most major highways here, especially the Pan American Highway and local roads in and around Tres Rios are filled now with the pilgrims, many wanting to arrive early. The traditional date is August 2nd.

Tomorrow, the main highway to Cartago (which is also the Pan American Highway and major route to points South), will be closed entirely.

Highways here have few rules and pedestrians, bicycles, and other slow traffic is common. Now, they are joined by romeros on horseback. Here is a video a some who were passing nearby my home just this morning.

Better Interest Rates in Costa Rica?

July 28th, 2007

After the demise of the several high interest houses a few years ago, Costa Rica lost its appeal as a place to get thirty plus percent annual interest rates in a supposed secure offshore environment. Couple that with the influx of baby-boomers and retirees and I often get asked for secure locations where money can be kept at decent interest rates. Here are some of my ideas, and while I am for sure not a financial planner or expert in these areas, I can shed a bit of light on your options here.

Our money needs change as we age. A thirty-something person or couple can afford a lot more risk in their money management style knowing that they have another 30-40 years to “balance” the ups and downs. A bad stock decision is far less important at age 32 than at age 62. Therefore, I am directing this post to the over 50 crowd who are not in the market for a $2 million beach front home in Costa Rica. If you can afford that, then you have little need for anything I have to say.

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BCR Begins Issuing Driver Licenses and Passports

July 27th, 2007

Costa Rica has certainly never been known as efficient and this most assuredly includes private business.Generally, the policy here is to find the least convenient, most time consuming, most paper wasting, most resource expending way to do something, then do it with the most people all while making you wait in the longest possible lines. It is this alone that droves A types to consider suicide. Continue reading »

New Law Can Send Me To Jail

July 26th, 2007

I have been pondering about blogging this for a while now… partly to get a handle on how I feel, partly because I expect some interesting comments.

Not long ago, President Óscar Arias Sánchez signed into law (“Ley de penalización de violencia contra las mujeres”) a truly controversial measure that provides tougher and longer sentences for the murder of women than of men.

While that in itself seems odd to me, the kicker is it also makes it a crime to insult a woman. Here I am not just speaking of a woman on the street or in the workplace. I am referring to any woman… even a wife or daughter. The law punishes men who are physically and/or psychologically abusive of women, especially a wife, live-in partner or girlfriend.

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Dengue Fever a Real Problem in Costa Rica

July 25th, 2007

For many years now, Dengue Fever has been a fact of life in Costa Rica, however this year, it has reached the point where it is causing serious issues not only within the country but to tourism as well. Areas such as Playas del Coco have been especially hard hit as has Limón on the Caribbean coast (see below). The bulk of the cases, some 66 percent, are in what is known as the Chorotega in northwest Costa Rica (34 percent) and along the Caribbean (some 32 percent). Only about 12 percent of the cases are on the Pacific side, the side most popular with tourists.

The incidence of dengue this year has more than doubled from 2006, according to the latest statistics from the Ministerio de Salud. So far this year the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS) and the ministry of Health have spent ¢1.5 billion colones (us$2.9 million dollars) attending patients and fumigating. Throughout the country more than 8,000 persons are ill. During the first 25 weeks of 2007, health officials said Friday that they logged 6,882 cases and two dengue-attributed deaths. During the same period in 2006, there were only 3,435 cases.

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Wanna work for the OIJ?

July 23rd, 2007

There are a number of police organizations here in Costa Rica. All are terribly underfunded and thus badly understaffed.

I think the one police organization that receives the most respect is the Organismo de Investigación Judicial  (OIJ) and when spoken of locally is called the Oh EEE Hota.  They are sort of the FBI of Costa Rica, but with more powers and less silly limitations placed on their work.

They are certainly the most selective of all the police agencies and have a rather interesting criteria for accepting new recruits. Of every 100 applicants, only 10 make it. There are extensive psychological and physical tests that each must pass. They are also subject to an extensive background check that includes not only their behavior and records, but their life style and behavior within their own family. Automatically disqualified are those that show any signs of drinking problems, friendships present or past with anyone of ill repute, or any other behavior that shows lack of judgment.

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Getaway Weekend and Bird Watching Pt 2

July 22nd, 2007

q2.jpgI was so tempted to go back and change my last post promising Part 2 for the next day… but I figured someone would bust me in about two minutes… so here is PART TWO. Sorry for the delay… my BLOG was not displaying properly and I chose to update it before posting again. Not sure if this was necessary as most of my readers get updates by email or by RSS… but it makes for a good excuse.

On we go…. Part 2

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