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Costa Rica Eateries is Back

June 18th, 2008

Get ready to EAT!There certainly is no shortage of restaurants and sodas in Costa Rica. The problem as anywhere, is to find the good ones with great food, decent service and reasonable prices. With that in mind, I opened a Forum a couple of years ago so people could post their favorites and warn others away from those places that are not-so-good.

I had an issue a few months ago, and was forced to remove and reinstall the web site. Today I was able to get it back online with all the original Posts and reviews. There is also a nice section for trading recipes!

All my readers are invited to join and give your opinion, good or bad, on any restaurant, soda or other eatery here in Costa Rica. The Web Site is Costa Rica Eateries and I hope you will call visit and add your favorite places to eat in Costa Rica. Enjoy!

ICE to Discontinue TDMA Cell Phones in 2009

June 15th, 2008

Those of you who live in Costa Rica are probably quite familiar with the cellular phone system here and most of you are also aware of just how lousy is the GSM system in particular. TDMA is still the only reliable system here in Costa Rica.

To provide a bit of background for newcomers, visitors and tourists, there are currently two cell phone systems here in Costa Rica. The first, TDMA , often referred to as “the old system” and GSM, “the new system”. New is better, right? Often true, but in this case… totally not true.

The GSM system was installed some years ago by Alcatel, a French company under contract to ICE the government-run monopoly that controls all telecommunications in Costa Rica. Apparently not satisfied with just trying to win this huge contract in a competitive manner, Alcatel decided to spend some cash in order to bribe some key decision makers in ICE and in the Costa Rican government. About $11 million as I recall! This was also distributed to at least two and probably three ex-Presidents of Costa Rica, two of whom spent some time in prison for accepting these bribes, and a third who is currently hiding out in Switzerland, unable and apparently unwilling to return to Costa Rica for fear of also passing a few hours in the slammer.

This is important to know because the GSM system installed by Alcatel simply did not and still does not work well at all… and it will soon be the only system available.

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Gasoline Crosses $5.00 per Gallon Threshold

June 10th, 2008

Today Costa Rica awoke to gas prices that now exceed $5.00 per US Gallon. Before I delve into this more, it is worthwhile discussing world gasoline prices.

Caution! Rant coming!

As most expats, I watch the current political battle for the Presidency of the United States. I watch as Barrack Obama and others make their stupid claims that they will “do something” about the price of gasoline in the US, now over $4.00 per gallon in 23 states. They just don’t get it. To me, it as is stupid as their claims that they will stem the outflow of jobs from the USA to other countries. I have news for them. The first will not happen without strong leadership and new ideas (which neither candidate has even remotely shown) and it is years too late the do anything about the second.

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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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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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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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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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Tattoos on Women in Costa Rica

November 19th, 2007

The first time I received an email from a woman who expressed concern about her tattoos while visiting Costa Rica, I was about 40% sure I was being shined on a bit. I replied of course as that is not covered in either the REAL Costa Rica web site nor this blog. Later, she sent me photos, and she was for real.

Since then, I have received two more emails asking the same question, the most recent today. As I am one of those people who think for every person who will ask such a question, there are probably ten others who have not the courage to write.

So here is her letter and my reply for all those tattooed ladies coming to visit Costa Rica!

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Yeah, It’s Cold but not for long!

November 16th, 2007

It is windy and cold still, but the GOOD news is that verano (summer) is coming and coming fast!

November marks the beginning of the transition from the rainy season to the dry season, and the telltale signs are almost non-stop winds and the lessening of the afternoon rains. It also is great sleeping weather! Nights are chilly and breezy and because of the constant air movement, the air smells fresher, even in the Central Valley that is occasionally troubled by smog. Days are warm, less humidity here in the Central Valley, and just going out to do choirs is pleasant. The beaches of course will continue to be hot,but there too, there is a pretty contstant breeze to keep things manageable.

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