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Stand Proud America

July 10th, 2008

Must be just that kind of week!

I received another comment yesterday and again I have decided to reply here as I think more people read the posts than the comments. OK OK… it is sort of another rant and probably should have been posted on July 4th, but here it is. It started out as a simply enough reply… then grew. However as my readers know, at times my self control fails me…which might be why I am not exactly thin!

Ohhh. Haters of the USA or those embarrassed to be an American will probably find this post not to their liking.

Below is a comment sent in yesterday and the stimulous for this reply. If my response might interest you… read on!

I don’t want to come off as a conspiracy theorist, but I do find it to be interesting that this is a problem for you now. My point, a lot of people are disenchanted, to say the least, regarding the current political, economic, etc… here in the US, and are hoping to relocate. Well maybe the powers that be prefer this not to be so easy to do. And therefore prefer not to have someone help make this possible, meaning you. You provide us with the much appreciated, and needed info. Seems as though with the recent CAFTA activity, that Costa Rica wanting to do trade with the US, is going to be pressured to do whatever Uncle Sam asks of them. Remember the disintegration of the middle class, means the corporate big wigs need all the slaves to stay here and consume in order for them to continue to make a profit. Now if we want to live elswhere, we are not here to keep them nice and fat. Ok, after previewing my post, I have to admit I do sound like a nut, or do I? (twilight zone music plays in background).

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The Bug Man Cometh

July 7th, 2008

Ahhh Bugs! Bichos! Things with many legs! If you live here in the tropics, they are as much a part of your life as the sun, the beach, the mountains, and the bad roads! Certainly one of the most visited web pages in The REAL Costa Rica is about the creepie crawlies that are everywhere in Costa Rica. Not surprising I guess… hell, there was even a snake in the Garden of Eden right?

Those of you who follow my writings probably already know about Rolando, the Flying Cucaracha Affair, and the occasion tarantulas that come avisitin’ at Casa Ticogrande. However, for sheer annoyance, nothing can top the ants (hormigas). that look at this house as a giant smörgåsbord.

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Renewing Residency

July 4th, 2008

It is a bit hard to believe, but in all the years I have lived here, I have never had to make “the trip” to immigration (migración) to renew my residency. I have always been “legal” but the rarely used form of residency I began with was a true pain in the butt. Migración ran me in circles for several years, never approving my residency, but thankfully, never denying it either. Every time I thought they would approve it, they came up some new requirement that was never even in the law.

North Americans and others always have a real problem understanding “how things work” in Costa Rica. In the USA, for example, laws are more or less clearly defined. The “rules” are clear. If you go to renew a drivers license, you know what has to be done, and you are confident that all the clerks and others who assist you will follow these rules. Nobody does things on-the-fly.

This is NOT the case in Costa Rica, and most assuredly it is not the case when dealing with migración.

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Learning Spanish

July 1st, 2008

Coffee Break SpanishPlanning to move to Costa Rica to live, retire or work? Regardless of how well traveled you are, culture shock almost assuredly will be a big factor in how much you and your family will enjoy living in a foreign country and whether you will be able to adjust and enjoy the experience.

I was speaking to the owner of one of the larger moving companies some while back, and he told me that he is now moving back “home” more than 50% of the customers he moved here originally. That is a helluva statistic, and he should know. I tend to believe this as I get more and more email from people who have made the decision to move here after spending little and sometimes no time in this country. Sadly, some have no option as they are just now realizing that they simply cannot afford to retire and live in their home country. This is true especially of many folks from the USA.

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Oops!

June 30th, 2008

My Brain SometimesI really do try to make sure everything I write is exactly correct (personal opinions excepted!), but on occasion, I experience what my late great-grandmother termed a “brain fart”. She was an earthy sort of woman!

This phenomena occured on 9 June when I wrote the post entitled “3,000 Jobs Gone? Why?“. I am 99% sure I read in La Nacion that the new regulation had been published in La Gaceta. It appears I was wrong and it was not published. As Bugs Bunny would say, “Whatta maroon!”.

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Costa Rica Takes Action to Control Gasoline Usage Part 2

June 27th, 2008

This week, the government of Costa Rica asked for an increase of ¢145 in the price of gasoline, this to offset their recent request to lower the price of diesel fuel by exempting diesel from government taxation.

The price of super gasoline would go up to ¢801 per liter and diesel prices would fall by ¢97. Gasoline today is $5.10 per gallon for super, $4.97 for regular and $4.82 for diesel. One US gallon = 3.79 liters, so after this change, a gallon of super will be ¢3,036 or $5.88. With the regular monthly increase coming in July, $6.00 per gallon gas is pretty much assured.

Currently, the cost for a gallon of diesel is $4.82, so this will drop to about $4.11. Sounds like a nice windfall for those who chose to buy dieseled vehicles right? Nope… the government giveth and the government taketh away.

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Costa Rica Takes Action to Control Gasoline Usage Part 1

June 27th, 2008

Mopt restrictionsFor quite some time now, the government has placed restrictions on what vehicles could enter San Jose. This was more done to lessen the overwhelming traffic in San Jose during peak hours than to control gasoline usage. All non commercial vehicles were affected.

The system was/is simple enough. You were restricted from entering San Jose for about 2 hours each morning rush hour and two hours during the afternoon rush based on your license plate. For me it was rarely an issue, and when it was, I just drove the circunvalación, the road that runs around San Jose and locally known as “the rotundas” because of the numerous traffic circles in that route. Sometimes I’d drive the La Uruca route. No big deal.

Well this all changed this week as the government expanded enormously the restricted areas and the hours of restriction, and yesterday, over a thousand folks learned this the hard way and got a little $10 traffic citation for their ignorance.

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A Reader’s Opinion of Costa Rica – Change and Perspective

June 11th, 2008

As you might imagine, I get a pretty fair amount of email. I try to reply, but I am often a few weeks backlogged as the stuff is arriving at the rate of maybe 200 emails per week. When I get a “good one”, I like to share it with other readers, and Neal from Canada has granted me permission to print his email.

I first came to Costa Rica maybe 15 years ago. It has changed significantly. My 15 years pales, however, next to Neal’s long term perspective of 46 years. I hope you enjoy it.  Click continue to read it.

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3,000 Jobs Gone? Why?

June 9th, 2008

I always try to remember that I am just a guest here in Costa Rica. That even though I am a Permanent Resident with all the rights of a citizen, sans voting, I do not have the right to tell Costa Rica how to run their country. This is often very hard to do, especially if the actions or laws affect those of us living here.

Most foreigners living here feel they do have that right. Perhaps they do. Certainly, it is hard to not form opinions and even harder to keep those opinions to yourself. However, I have yet to hear of a case where a North American was asked his opinion on an issue by anyone in the government.

Saying that, there are times when the government does something that to me just makes no sense whatsoever. A few weeks ago, the government announced a new policy that for the life of me I did not understand and still do not understand.

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Tamarindo – Costa Rica – More travels!

June 3rd, 2008

My wife swears she did not ask for this!Two travel posts in two days. I promise I am not going to turn this in to a travel blog!

A couple of weeks ago, ML and I took one of our long weekend trips, this time to Tamarindo, a popular beach in the province of Guanacaste about an hour south of Liberia and about 4-5 hours from San Jose, the capital and where we live.  I especially wanted to visit as Tamarindo has been plagued with problems, namely high crime, drug use, overbuilding, and of course pollution of the Pacific Ocean.  I found the area to be expensive, terribly overbuilt, and generally not all that great.  I decided to forgo a dip in the ocean.  Say no need to do that much research.  We were not affected by the alleged crime problems, so nothing to report there, but we pretty much stayed in the hotel venturing out only two or three times.

In general, I loath all-inclusive hotels. However Luisa loves the damned things and after we spent a few days in an all-inclusive in Cancun on our honeymoon, and had a fine time with good food, I thought “Why not?”. We stayed at the Barcelo Langosta Beach, Langosta Beach being a few hundred yards south of Tamarindo.

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