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What I am Doing Today!

May 24th, 2011

Might as well tell my readers that this post has nothing to do with Costa Rica other than being of mild interest to anyone who wonders what I do when I am NOT working or giving tours.

Hint: I am a closet criminal trial watcher, and today is the first day of the Casey Anthony murder trial.  I am blogging in one window while listening and watching opening arguments in another!

Now I realize there will be readers who 1. Care only about Costa Rica goings on and/or 2. Have zero interest in the Anthony trial. I respect that, so for those of you who fall into either of those groups… Ya’ll have a great day! At least you know that with a decent Internet connection, you can keep up with the dramas from up North! Besides, criminal trials in Costa Rice almost never have a jury but are instead heard by a judge or panel of judges.

However… For those who ARE interested in this topic, read on! It’s not long.
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Continue reading »

OK… now I am all a’Twitter!

May 10th, 2011

People keep bugging me to get socially networked. OK… now Tweet Me or is it Follow me or whatever. I am too old for social networking.

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Costa Rica Tourist and Visitor Advisory

May 10th, 2011

Road Closure – Route 32 to Limón

Before I start… Quite nice feedback to last week’s Costa Rica Tourist and Visitor Advisory. Had no idea it would get the response it did.

Anyway… here is a quickie!  Route 32 San Jose to Limón is closed due to landslides. See below why this is important.

Now while these notices apparently are welcome, it now occurs to be I may not be able to update these things on a timely, so my best guess is that it will take a week or so to get it fixed, so best check when you arrive here if arriving soon.

One of the toughest things to get your mind around when living or traveling here is how often you are faced with the odd fact that there are many times few or NO alternative routes to wherever  you are going. In the US and many countries, a road closure is no big deal.  A minor inconvenience. Not here. An example is, in fact, San Jose to Limón. When route 32 is blocked, you are pretty much screwed, especially if you need to get there quickly. There is only one other (practical) route and taking that doubles the drive time to 5+ hours and maybe more as it is now carrying more traffic.
 

Costa Rica Tourist and Visitor Advisory

May 6th, 2011

I know a lot of the visitors to the REAL Costa Rica are folks either planning a trip to Costa Rica or are considering a move here either for retirement or work related. It occurred to me that many of these people are not Spanish speakers and have no idea of some of the issues that may affect them when they arrive here.

With this in mind, I am starting a new Category names TRAVEL ADVISORY. This way, travelers can perhaps learn about some things that may affect them negatively while in country and perhaps better prepares themselves for their visit.

If any of my Costa Rica readers have an idea of other topics (and no, I am not going to revisit crime as it is overworked everywhere), add your thoughts to the comments. I am going to start with two advisories that may or may not be well known outside of the country. The at-times dangerous beaches of Costa Rica and the travel resstrictions around San Jose. If the topic interests you… read on! Continue reading »

September 11, 2001 – Never Forget

May 2nd, 2011

Written to Osama bin whatever on 9-12-2001, but sadly, not by me. Actually, the real author did not know to whom he was writing on September 12th.  He’d soon find out…

However, I knew that one day I would revisit this topic.  Today is the day.

“We’ll go forward from this moment.

It’s my job to have something to say.  They pay me to provide words that help make sense of that which troubles the American soul. But in this moment of airless shock when hot tears sting disbelieving eyes, the only thing I can find to say, the only words that seem to fit, must be addressed to the unknown author of this suffering:

You monster.  You beast.  You unspeakable bastard.

What lesson did you hope to teach us by your coward’s attack on our World Trade Center, our Pentagon, us?

What was it you hoped we would learn? Whatever it was, please know that you failed.

Did you want us to respect your cause?   You just damned your cause.
Did you want to make us fear?   You just steeled our resolve.
Did you want to tear us apart?   You just brought us together.

Let me tell you about my people. We are a vast and quarrelsome family, a family rent by racial, social, political and class division, but a family nonetheless.  We’re frivolous, yes, capable of expending tremendous emotional energy on pop cultural minutiae—a singer’s revealing dress, a ball team’s misfortune, a cartoon mouse.

We’re wealthy, too, spoiled by the ready availability of trinkets and material goods, and maybe because of that, we walk through life with a certain sense of blithe entitlement. We are fundamentally decent, though—peace-loving and compassionate. We struggle to know the right thing and to do it.  And we are, the overwhelming majority of us, people of faith, believers in a just and loving God.  Some people—you, perhaps—think that any or all of this makes us weak.  You’re mistaken.  We are not weak.  Indeed, we are strong in ways that cannot be measured by arsenals.

IN PAIN

Yes, we’re in pain now.  We are in mourning, and we are in shock.   We’re still grappling with the unreality of the awful thing you did, still working to make ourselves understand that this isn’t a special effect from some Hollywood blockbuster, isn’t the plot development from a Tom Clancy novel.  Both in terms of the awful scope of their ambition and the probable final death toll, your attacks are likely to go down as the worst acts of terrorism in the history of the United States and, probably, the history of the world.

You’ve bloodied us as we have never been bloodied before. But there’s a gulf of difference between making us bloody and making us fall.  This is the lesson Japan was taught to its bitter sorrow the last time anyone hit us this hard, the last time anyone brought us such abrupt and monumental pain.  When roused, we are righteous in our outrage, terrible in our force.  When provoked by this level of barbarism, we will bear any suffering, pay any cost, go to any length, in the pursuit of justice.

I tell you this without fear of contradiction.  I know my people, as you, I think, do not.  What I know reassures me.   It also causes me to tremble with dread of the future. In the days to come, there will be re- crimination and accusation, fingers pointing to determine whose failure allowed this to happen and what can be done to prevent it from happening again.  There will be heightened security, misguided talk of revoking basic freedoms. We’ll go forward from this moment sobered, chastened, sad.  But determined, too. Unimaginably determined.

THE STEEL IN US

You see, the steel in us is not always readily apparent.  That aspect of our character is seldom understood by people who don’t know us well.  On this day, the family’s bickering is put on hold.  As Americans we will weep, as Americans we will mourn, and as Americans, we will rise in defense of all that we cherish.  So I ask again: What was it you hoped to teach us?  It occurs to me that maybe you just wanted us to know the depths of your hatred.  If that’s the case, consider the message received.  And take this message in exchange:

You don’t know my people. You don’t know what we’re capable of.  You don’t know what you just started.
But you’re about to learn.”  Leonard Pitts, Jr. Copyright 2001 Miami Herald

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