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Travels to Monteverde, Costa Rica

June 2nd, 2008

Karen HangingAs my regular readers know, Luisa and I enjoy mini-vacations around Costa Rica. We do these regularly, and I often like to blog about what we did, the hotels where we stayed, and general info that may be useful if you are traveling or living here and are looking for an escape.

Recently, my daughter Karen, 40 something mom of three, well actually two but we often count her husband as one of the kids, came a visitin’ from Chicago, and we all made the four hour trek to Monteverde, Costa Rica. With us was son Bill, his wifey and my granddaughter, Lucy all of whom live here.

I had the cool idea of renting a van and driver for the trip. Normally I drive, but there is a 10-15 miles stretch of nasty road and I figured I’d save wear and tear on the car and use taxis when we got there. Turned out to be a great idea. Even a blind squirrel finds an acorn every so often!

If this interests you, read on!

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Banking Games

May 14th, 2008

One of my readers reasonably asked my thoughts on the recent revaluation of the dollar.

Easy answer! I have not a freaking clue!

Todays exchange rate of about ¢511.41 / ¢518.71 makes absolutely no sense whatever and to me, smacks of some serious manipulation.

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Well ICE ALMOST Got It Right!

March 20th, 2008

So it was maybe 5:30AM, my normal get-up time, and I am “sleeping in” with my bride. Today is a feriado (holiday) and I figure maybe 7:30 is lookin’ good.

Then, my mind starts thinking… “After so many years in Costa Rica, when has ICE (our friendly local telecommunications monopoly) EVER gotten something right the first time!”. So I reach over to the bed side table and make a test phone call.

Sure enough, ICE has done it AGAIN! They switched to the new calling plan 24 hours early!!!! I have web sites to update, both my customers and my own… notification calls… all originally scheduled for tomorrow morning. Sheesh!

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The Change to 8 Digit Dialing draws near

February 29th, 2008

On March 20, 2008, how you dial a number in Costa Rica is going to change. This not only affects those of us IN Costa Rica, it also will affect those in foreign lands who make call TO Costa Rica.

If you fall into either of the above categories, by all means read on!

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Costa Rican Typico – Typical!

February 20th, 2008

On a road trip, I stopped at a little “Typico,” which mean typical restaurant, in Costa Rica. I had eaten and swallowed everything in my cooler from chocolate covered coffee beans to Mentos to two bottles of coconut water. Wasn’t doing the job. Finally, after many hold ups for construction, I made it to a place. I ordered the “casado de la casa,” which is the married plate. Basically a large amount of ingredients end up on the plate, married. If I wandered to the restaurant across the road, they’d have the same thing. It’s actually a sure thing at any typical restaurant. And it’s cheap. If you stay away from the pork rinds, nothing’s fried and it’s pretty good for you.

I pulled out my computer to read something I had downloaded and to my surprise! Internet connection. Who’d have thought in the middle of Central America, in a small mountain town I could read about the latest news on the latest book that’s come out about Diana. It’s freaky. A marriage made in heaven.

Thanks for stopping in to this blog.

I Think the United States is Broken

February 9th, 2008

This was not the original title. The original was to be another “My Readers Write” thingy. Alas, I have gone on a rant that may please or offend some of my readers. While replying to the email below, I found myself waxing forth on about 20 other topics, ranting I guess… going off subject… decided it was way too long for an email response, and decided to share it with the world… cathartic I guess, at least for me. Kind of a mental laxative for. It is REALLY long… sorry. My blog.

From Karin:

One thing that worries me about trying to live in CR is the thought of having to be on guard all the time against house thieves. I’m originally from NYC and am used to watching my back in public, but I’m not used to having bars on the windows, etc.

Your page on Culture Shock mentioned that the concepts of right and wrong vary from culture to culture. I’ve heard Ticos blaming most of the petty (and violent) crime on Nicas that have come into the country.

Have you formed an opinion on why “Thou shalt not steal” and “Do unto others, etc.” are ignored by so many people there? Are they less attached to their “stuff” than we are?

So sorry to go astray Karin, but your answers are (buried) here.

I think “stuff” is relative. If the best you can afford is a radio, the loss of that radio is maybe equal to another person losing their DVD player or cell phone… Just my thoughts.

And… if you think the ten commandments or golden rule have anything to do with our 2008 world, you are probably pretty disappointed daily in your life. Ethics and morals have been under attack by the far left for many years, and the US is an example of how a society can deteriorate when it shifts from basic values, religious or otherwise. In fact it is my opinion that it is far worse in the US than here in Costa Rica, though of course there are areas in the US where people still respect one another, the laws of the land and their own God as they define Him or a higher power if that word is better. Of course, they are ridiculed for their beliefs.

I think the USA is broken.

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Discover Spiritual Truths in Costa Rica

February 1st, 2008

Someone told me spiritual truths all stem from the same root. Every few months, I get invited to a very typical, Costa Rican family event. Kids birthdays go like this: give a gift; have a cup of coffee; eat rice and chicken with macaroni topped with potato chips all on a plastic plate handed to you by the host or the person in charge of the kitchen that day (usually a tia -aunt); sing happy birthday; eat cake; bash pinata; more coffee; ice cream cone; and then mill about until it feels socially acceptable to leave.

This event went as usual except for the blessing of the birthday child, her mother, and their home. A woman took out her rosary, a prayer book, and older ladies gathered in a U around a small nativity set with a candle burning in the middle. In my earlier days I would have scoffed and rolled my eyes at the whole thing. Life sat me down and taught me a thing or two. I’ve mellowed. Now I love listening to the rosary. I can watch the mouths of the women race over the prayers in harmony. I can laugh because after many years, I can still whip out a quick Hail Mary with the best of them.

It is such a peaceful thing to pray. No matter the language or religion. It is a moment of thinking about unity, love, forgiveness, and others. Upon finishing, the ladies were served up treats by our newly blessed mom and her three-year old daughter. My daughter came up to me and asked for more candy. My son woke up from his nap, and little ladies who’d come to pray all left for home, holding a piece of birthday cake in their hand and a rosary in the other.

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.

Crime in San Jose? Take Care!

December 18th, 2007

I just HATE to write these kinds of posts. I know how blogs like mine can and do affect tourism. On the other hand, if the country continues to not support those branches of government charged with protecting the people… well then so be it. They cannot expect good press about bad situations. Perhaps the loss of tourist dollars will get them off their collective traseros!

I live here and I love this country so to write something bad just makes me very sad. Here again though, I must write about the crime that is causing serious issues in San Jose, the capital. Please note I am not writing about the whole country, just San Jose…  but for now, I must caution my readers to be very cautious if they must drive in San Jose, especially the downtown area.

The bad guys are winning.

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Sketchy Characters

December 15th, 2007

The Internet connection in this country, Costa Rica, works slower than mold. There are days I will come up to work on the computer and poof! No Internet in the morning. Again in the afternoon, and on and on.

The Internet, I believe will – and is – changing the world. Living in a developing country and creating a viable income could really only be possible with the Internet. Democracy will grow much faster than mold through the Internet. Voices will connect, and no one can fight the power of souls connecting.

But the sketchy characters will continue to try. Instead of fiberglass lines, we’ve got cable and phone company monopolies. Thus back to our problem in Costa Rica. There’s too many people and not enough lanes of traffic. Sound familiar? The Internet takes planning and thought. It’s sketchy characters that benefit from a quick, short term buck that leave us all clicking that mouse with no results.

I’ve learned it can be a very good thing to be without Internet – our new life addiction. Many of us run to it like we used to dash to the answering machine the moment we walked in the door. Yet listening to a few messages wasn’t quite as time consuming as hours and hours and hours of Internet surfing.

Paradise has it’s bumps; bruises and blemishes. And when I get frustrated and want to scream at the computer, I grab a shot of morning sunshine or watch the stellar moon and listen to the palm trees rustle in the wind and connect on another level.

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