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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.

Continue reading »

Safe Internet Banking in Costa Rica

December 6th, 2007

Internet FraudLately, there have been a goodly number of news articles about people having their money stolen from their Costa Rica bank accounts.

As some of you know, several of my companies here in Costa Rica are “high tech” related, especially the web hosting business where we host thousands of customers world wide. Server and computer security are paramount issues as you might guess.

So when I got a phone call yesterday asking me my thoughts about this rash of Internet bank fraud and seeking advice, I decided rather than answer her question immediately, I would BLOG about it and maybe pass on some ideas for my readers. While this relates to the banking thing, it is really germane to ANY Internet transaction that uses passwords, bank information, credit cards or ANY confidential data.

This will not be a “techy” post. I’ll try to keep it very basic so non-techies can understand what they can do (MUST do) to avoid Internet fraud.

I am sorry, but this will be a long post, but I cannot recommend strongly enough that your read this.

If this topic interests you, read on!

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Follow-up on the Exchange Rates and Banking

November 28th, 2007

I expect my readers are might be a bit tired of all these posts about banking and the revaluation of the colon last week, but things are happening here that affect (especially) those expats living here.

But, I have also received a lot of email about this topic, so here are some things I am noticing in my travels around San Jose in the past few days. I think they may be important.

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Central Bank Revalues the Colon

November 22nd, 2007

So sweet!

Back on August 12, 2007, I wrote a post entitled “The Colon Vs The Dollar – Watch your money!” In that post, I cautioned my readers that the weakening dollar could not long stand firm against the Costa Rica colon. I urged readers to move their funds from their dollar accounts (in Costa Rica banks) to colon accounts as I anticipated that the Central Bank had to act soon to bring the dollar down and increase the value of the colon.

Last night, they did just that. The colon has been revalued to about ¢497 and ¢498.39 to the dollar.

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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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Books and Reading in Costa Rica

November 17th, 2007

I get a fair number of questions from people who ask about bringing their books to Costa Rica when they move.

I have been fond of reading all of my life, and when I first came to Costa Rica, moving all my books (maybe 2,000 or so) was a big decision. Most were hard bound, but I had a fair number of paperbacks as well.

On the one hand, I really wanted my books but was not thrilled with the idea of packing those babies. Then, there was the cost of shipping them. Books are not exactly light, and when you are paying by the pound for an international move, you start to re-think every item in terms of its weight (cost to ship) and duties (taxes) that will have to be paid upon entering the country.

Sadly, when I was planning the “big move” there were NO Blogs to help me and very few resources other than the ARCR to advise me on the realities of Costa Rica.

If I had just know then what I know now, the decision making would not have been such a big deal, and my long term solution to reading (see below) would never have been part of my decision making. I would have brought far fewer books. That is because many of the books I brought with me are now gone.

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