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Renewing My Residency and Ummm Groveling

August 18th, 2009

23minBack in July, I  blogged about the new cedula renewal process (this also applies to lost cedulas). The days of visiting Immigration (migracion) are over… at least that was what I was told.  I have lived far too long here to think that any process here can change literally overnight.  Overnight in Costa Rica can mean anything less than two years

Well.. I was wrong.  It seems there is a process in Costa Rica that can take less than a decade to change for the better.  Today was my appointment for my cedula renewal at at the American International Mall branch of Banco de Costa Rica in Alajuela.  It went without a hitch… and if this interests you… read on!

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Email from Readers

May 4th, 2009

Good day faithful readers. Here is another addition of “My Readers Write” Here you will find a few emails asking questions not covered in The REAL Costa Rica or this Blog…. or maybe they are but there is some other twist that I think might be of interest.

As some of these were sent more than 5 weeks ago, I do appreciate your patience. I am just bombarded with email, especially now that readership in The REAL Costa Rica and this Blog is exceeding 60,000 visits per month.

If this interests you, please read on.

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Swine Flu Arrives in Costa Rica

April 29th, 2009

maskCosta Rica has confirmed two cases of Swine Flu. The infected parties are a 21 year old woman and a 29 year old man, both returned recently from trips to Mexico.  Costa Rica receives daily flights from Mexico. The woman traveled with 92 others on her flight home.  Both persons were treated at Calderon Guardia Hospital.

Incredibly, the infected woman decided to ignore health officials and broke quarantine so she could attend classes at her university.

Thirty-five others are under watch.

A third person, a youngster, has flu symptoms (not yet confirmed as Swine Flu) possible infected by her father who recently returned to Costa Rica from Mexico. If confirmed, that would be the first case of swine flu caught within the borders.

The Ministry of Health this morning asked the passengers of two other flights, TACA LR 631 and Mexicana  387, to call 911 emergency so they may be tested.

Employees at the San Jose airport are wearing surgical masks, and many incoming passengers are having their temperatures taken upon arrival.

I am not going to go into this swine flu deal because unless my readers are living on another planet, you have been deluged with probably more information that you want to know.

I am more concerned though as my wife works at Calderon Guardia Hospital.

Dodged a Bullet Thanks to a Kind Transit Official

April 28th, 2009

whewFrom Tim May, 2014. 

Some things in this blog post have changed but some of the post still may be of interest… so after reading it, you should visit the the main web site where current info can be found.   Click here to read the latest.

Car owners every year must have their cars inspected. This is done by a private company, Reteve.  Information here.  There are locations all over Costa Rica and you must call first to make an appointment. The month of expiration is equal to the last digit on your license plate. Mine expired two months ago but when I went for the exam, I had a minor issue that needed to be fixed. Sadly, I let this go.  Dumb.

So I was at the airport last week and sure enough, I get flagged down by a transit cop. I am thinking that a ticket is a forgone conclusion but, as I have made a new appointment for another inspection, I thought I had a slim chance of getting by.  I DID, but the really important thing is that when handing me back my documents, he pointed out that my drivers license would expire tomorrow. He saved me just a world of hurt. While you do have some leeway in renewing it, if you let it go too far, you must start with driving school and then re-take the written and practical exams (in Spanish). While I do speak the language, the time lost would have been a disaster. So off I went yesterday to get my license renewed. If this topic interests you, read on!

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Le Grand Cirque Comes to Costa Rica

February 25th, 2009

cirqueI am always a bit suspicious of publicity that compares its product to some world renowned version of that same product.  In this case, Le Grand Cirque has been billed as “The Next Generation of Cirque du Soleil”, the world famous circus from Montreal Canada.  To be fair, the actual phrase came from some magazine or newspaper, Southern Times, and it appears that Le Grand Cirque is not trying at all to feed off the fame of their Canadian counterpart.

If this topic interests you, read on and be sure to see the videos at the end of the Post.

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This is Really Irritating!

February 23rd, 2009

podI get a lot of email as you might imagine.  The vast majority (well over 99%) of the comments are positive and pleasant.

On occasion though, I get a comment that really frosts my Twinkie.  This happened last night and I responded… but then I stewed about it all night!  The comment and my reply appear below.  I guess what really bothers me is that I spent a huge amount of time writing The REAL Costa Rica and then more time keeping things current both there and here on this Blog. I then get an email from someone who implies that I whitewash Costa Rica.  I know, of course that there are people who do not agree either with my opinion or my rather blunt style of writing.  Others love it as they really want to KNOW about this country, and they are concerned (rightfully) that they are not getting the facts from other sites that really do nothing but promote Costa Rica. I love living here but as I have written about 20 zillon times, this country is not for everyone. It is right for ME, but only you can decide if it is right for YOU.  Anyway, if you wanna listen to me rant a bit, read on. Her quote is exact.  No corrections or changes.

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The New Driving Laws in Costa Rica

February 13th, 2009

jerkA lot of people are surprised to learn that it is perfectly legal to drink and drive in Costa Rica.  It’s true! However, the law also states that you cannot drive while drunk. That means that means that you as a driver are depending on the guy who is drinking to know when he is drunk. File that under things that make you go… “Hmmmmm”.

The government, getting fed up with the huge number of alcohol related traffic accidents and the resultant deaths, passed last December La Ley de Tránsito or simply new driving laws.

Although signed into law and effective last December 2008, I did not blog about it because there were sure to be a ton of appeals to the Costa Rica Supreme Courts, called Salas, regarding the legality of the new laws and the associated punishments which are truly severe. Sala IV has upheld some and is still considering others, but it is time to talk about these new laws. In this post, I will provide my thoughts and more important, a shortened list of the new laws and the associated fines and/or imprisonment.  If this topic is of interest, read on! Continue reading »

The Costa Rica Blues Fest

February 8th, 2009

Harp PlayerWhen I left Chicago almost a decade ago, I knew the stuff that I would not miss (snow, cold, weeks with no sunshine, snow, cold, snow, etc.) and the things I would miss (grand kids, children, friends, Fall, Chicago Fest, Spring, the Blues and the Chicago Blues Fest, etc.).  Well strike the Blues off the list as of last night for that was evening of the Second Annual Costa Rica Blues Fest.

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A Nasty Little Parasite – Parents Take Care!

February 1st, 2009

slugI did a fair amount of work a couple of years ago when researching the various illnesses and  health issues common to Costa Rica.  I thought I had a pretty good handle on it… then some nice lady sent me an email about Chagas Disease… so I checked that out and added it.  Well I guess Chagas was not the end because today, I will introduce you to Angiostrongylus costaricensis, a nasty little parasite that has made sick and sadly killed some very young children. Of the 42 cases treated since 2003, 16 were girls and 26 were boys under the age of 14 years. At serious risk are the youngest… under nine years old.

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Open Season on Cops?

January 31st, 2009

crfp11In the United States, shooting,  assaulting and of course killing a police officer is a huge deal.  The police simply do not rest until the perpetrator has been caught, and they are non too gentle in the process. This is as it should be because when something like that happens, it is not simply an assault on that officer, it is an assault on all police officers and more important, it is an assault on society.

Whether or not you are a supporter of the police, the one unassailable fact is that they represent just about the only line between you and a very nasty group of people who pay little attention to the law.  A complete lack of respect for law enforcement is a harbinger of anarchy.

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