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Importation of Birds – Rule Change

January 18th, 2008

I know this topic is of interest to many.  For many months, Costa Rica has forbidden the importation of birds, pet or otherwise, because of bird flu fears.

I can now say that this law has been changed and the news is good and bad.

The good news is that you may now once again bring your birds to Costa Rica.

The odd part? You may NEVER export those birds to any other country after they are here! I guess this should be called the bird version of Hotel California… You can check in, but you can never leave…

Therefore, as I have written at least 1,000 times before, if you are not 100% SURE that you will want to live permanently in Costa Rica (currently about 50% leave before first year), I would urge you NOT to bring your pet birds until you have lived here at least 6-9 months and are sure this will be a lifelong move.

For further information, I would suggest contact ARCR . I am sure members can get the hot skinny on this topic.

I’m Returning to My Roots

January 11th, 2008

When Whole Foods Market came to my town in the United States, I was ecstatic. I’d shop for an hour or two, milling over which brand of organic eggs or beef or celery or salad dressing to buy.* On my way out, I’d load three neatly packed, sturdy, brown papers bags into the back seat of my car. After awhile, I purchased the cloth bags to tote the vegetables home. I even brought back those sturdy brown bags to use again.

Then, I moved to Costa Rica. A plastic bag free-for-all. There’s no question these bags with handles are handy, and since it does rain in Costa Rica, paper bags aren’t always a good solution especially when one has to take the bus or walk home. But the other day when I came home, my AAA batteries (which are encased in plastic to begin with) were inside a plastic bag inside another plastic bag. After a shopping trip, I will easily accumulate about 15 bags. Recycycling? Remember what it was like in the 1980s to recycle? Lugging the bags to faraway bins. If you were lucky you lived by the Goodwill. That’s kind of what it is like here. I moved to a city that used to recycle, but the program stopped. Now I’m back to driving my bottles to a bin, or finding a fellow I can take them to who will gladly haul take them from me every few weeks.

There’s no place to recycle these bags other than the bathroom. For those who do not know, living in Costa Rica is much like living on a boat: you can’t flush the toilet paper down the bowl. Those plastic bags come in handy for the little garbage pail that sits in all bathrooms. But we just don’t use the bathroom enough to recyle about 30 bags a week I end up brining home. I feel like I’m drowning in the things.

But, I’m returning to my roots. While shopping for curtains, my daughter and I came across this great orange, zippy looking pull-cart. Kind of an up-to-date, stylish model of the metal cart with two wheels.

Hey! Let’s get it. It’s not in the budget, but think of the gas we’ll save by walking to the store!

We choose orange over all the other bright colors.

The next day, we walked to the grocery store. I put the grocery cart next up to the cashier and started unloading the items onto the belt. My daughter started in on her deep desire for M&Ms. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the grocery boy pulling out little white plastic bags.

NO! Stop!

I had even brought cloth bags to pack the vegetables in. I snipped at Coco to forget the candy and dashed for the vegetables. The young man looked at me as if I was looney. In a manner of ten seconds, he’d already packed up about eight plastic bags with an average of two items in each bag. My daughter still loomed long-faced by the chocolate and the cashier was ready for money. I felt like a defensive player on the basketball court: no matter how big I spread my butt, I couldn’t keep my court safe.

The grocery boy flung up his hands, rolled his eyes (crazy Gringa!) and went back to the his bench. I paid and began taking items out of the plastic. I left a pineapple and some plantains in bags so they wouldn’t leak in the cart. It’s not easy being green. But darned if we aren’t going to keep trying. We tipped the orange cart back and started walking for home.

*You can get fresh, organic food delivered right to your door in the Central Valley of Costa Rica from the fine people at NaturaStyle.

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