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May 10th, 2011
Before I start… Quite nice feedback to last week’s Costa Rica Tourist and Visitor Advisory. Had no idea it would get the response it did.
Anyway… here is a quickie! Route 32 San Jose to Limón is closed due to landslides. See below why this is important.
Now while these notices apparently are welcome, it now occurs to be I may not be able to update these things on a timely, so my best guess is that it will take a week or so to get it fixed, so best check when you arrive here if arriving soon.
One of the toughest things to get your mind around when living or traveling here is how often you are faced with the odd fact that there are many times few or NO alternative routes to wherever you are going. In the US and many countries, a road closure is no big deal. A minor inconvenience. Not here. An example is, in fact, San Jose to Limón. When route 32 is blocked, you are pretty much screwed, especially if you need to get there quickly. There is only one other (practical) route and taking that doubles the drive time to 5+ hours and maybe more as it is now carrying more traffic.
Filed under Costa Rica, Costa Rica Tourism, Driving in Costa Rica, Tourism, Travel, Travel Advisory, Travel to Costa Rica | Comment (0)
May 6th, 2011
I know a lot of the visitors to the REAL Costa Rica are folks either planning a trip to Costa Rica or are considering a move here either for retirement or work related. It occurred to me that many of these people are not Spanish speakers and have no idea of some of the issues that may affect them when they arrive here.
With this in mind, I am starting a new Category names TRAVEL ADVISORY. This way, travelers can perhaps learn about some things that may affect them negatively while in country and perhaps better prepares themselves for their visit.
If any of my Costa Rica readers have an idea of other topics (and no, I am not going to revisit crime as it is overworked everywhere), add your thoughts to the comments. I am going to start with two advisories that may or may not be well known outside of the country. The at-times dangerous beaches of Costa Rica and the travel resstrictions around San Jose. If the topic interests you… read on! Continue reading »
Filed under Beaches, Costa Rica, Costa Rica Law, Costa Rica Tourism, Tourism, Travel, Travel Advisory, Travel to Costa Rica | Comments (14)
May 2nd, 2011
However, I knew that one day I would revisit this topic. Today is the day.
“We’ll go forward from this moment.
It’s my job to have something to say. They pay me to provide words that help make sense of that which troubles the American soul. But in this moment of airless shock when hot tears sting disbelieving eyes, the only thing I can find to say, the only words that seem to fit, must be addressed to the unknown author of this suffering:
You monster. You beast. You unspeakable bastard.
What lesson did you hope to teach us by your coward’s attack on our World Trade Center, our Pentagon, us?
What was it you hoped we would learn? Whatever it was, please know that you failed.
Did you want us to respect your cause? You just damned your cause.
Did you want to make us fear? You just steeled our resolve.
Did you want to tear us apart? You just brought us together.
Let me tell you about my people. We are a vast and quarrelsome family, a family rent by racial, social, political and class division, but a family nonetheless. We’re frivolous, yes, capable of expending tremendous emotional energy on pop cultural minutiae—a singer’s revealing dress, a ball team’s misfortune, a cartoon mouse.
We’re wealthy, too, spoiled by the ready availability of trinkets and material goods, and maybe because of that, we walk through life with a certain sense of blithe entitlement. We are fundamentally decent, though—peace-loving and compassionate. We struggle to know the right thing and to do it. And we are, the overwhelming majority of us, people of faith, believers in a just and loving God. Some people—you, perhaps—think that any or all of this makes us weak. You’re mistaken. We are not weak. Indeed, we are strong in ways that cannot be measured by arsenals.
Yes, we’re in pain now. We are in mourning, and we are in shock. We’re still grappling with the unreality of the awful thing you did, still working to make ourselves understand that this isn’t a special effect from some Hollywood blockbuster, isn’t the plot development from a Tom Clancy novel. Both in terms of the awful scope of their ambition and the probable final death toll, your attacks are likely to go down as the worst acts of terrorism in the history of the United States and, probably, the history of the world.
You’ve bloodied us as we have never been bloodied before. But there’s a gulf of difference between making us bloody and making us fall. This is the lesson Japan was taught to its bitter sorrow the last time anyone hit us this hard, the last time anyone brought us such abrupt and monumental pain. When roused, we are righteous in our outrage, terrible in our force. When provoked by this level of barbarism, we will bear any suffering, pay any cost, go to any length, in the pursuit of justice.
I tell you this without fear of contradiction. I know my people, as you, I think, do not. What I know reassures me. It also causes me to tremble with dread of the future. In the days to come, there will be re- crimination and accusation, fingers pointing to determine whose failure allowed this to happen and what can be done to prevent it from happening again. There will be heightened security, misguided talk of revoking basic freedoms. We’ll go forward from this moment sobered, chastened, sad. But determined, too. Unimaginably determined.
THE STEEL IN US
You see, the steel in us is not always readily apparent. That aspect of our character is seldom understood by people who don’t know us well. On this day, the family’s bickering is put on hold. As Americans we will weep, as Americans we will mourn, and as Americans, we will rise in defense of all that we cherish. So I ask again: What was it you hoped to teach us? It occurs to me that maybe you just wanted us to know the depths of your hatred. If that’s the case, consider the message received. And take this message in exchange:
You don’t know my people. You don’t know what we’re capable of. You don’t know what you just started.
But you’re about to learn.” Leonard Pitts, Jr. Copyright 2001 Miami Herald
Filed under Costa Rica | Comments (3)
April 21st, 2011
So there I was in town yesterday for a 2 minute stop at the drug store. I will admit that I did park next to a yellow curb, so I guess I am guilty, though there were no signs or warnings about how big a sin I was committing nor what was about to happen to me.
So…I grab my pills and start to chat up the regente (pharmacist) as we are old buddies. Almost immediately he asks me where I parked. I pointed and he says “RUN! They wait out there to get you and the ticket is HUGE!!”. How huge I wonder as I am hauling my non-to-light butt outta his store and across the street.
Too Late. There were two of them. One was a municipal cop (generally pretty nice folks where I live) and the other a much dreaded transit cop, also known as “tourism killers”. As I am from the 60′s, you have no idea how hard it was to type transit cop and not transit pig… but those days are gone…. I guess…sigh.
So I try to be friendly which seldom works as nearly every “transito” I have ever met seems to express equal opportunity hatred to every living creature. It seems they all suffer from some form of terminal hemorrhoids that makes them the nastiest sourpusses on earth. I have no idea how many tourists these clowns have offended and caused never to return to Costa Rica, but it is a BIG number if I can judge from the many emails I receive complaining about them… but I digress!
Interested? read on!
Filed under Costa Rica, Costa Rica Law, Costa Rica Tourism, Drivers License Costa Rica, Driving in Costa Rica, Ley de Transito, Life in Costa Rica, Tourism, Travel to Costa Rica | Comments (12)
April 14th, 2011
I must have received certainly no less than 1,000 emails from people very upset about a very misleading (I call it fraudulent) email they received showing a number of photos of “Costa Ricans” happily gathering up what appears to be every turtle egg ever laid in this country.
I am STILL receiving these emails regularly.
They call for boycotts of Costa Rica. They say “SHAME to the people of Costa Rica” and I can assure you, much worse. One advocated violence!
The problem? This whole thing is 100% crappola!
If this topic interests you… read on!
Filed under Costa Rica, Living in Costa Rica, Opinion, Rants, Turtle Eggs | Comments (5)
April 12th, 2011
Hipermas will actually be changing the name of their stores from Hipermas to Walmart in the near future.
With the new stores, Walmart will have over 11,500 Ticos on the payroll.
That’s it… now be sure to read my superb post (below) on ICE part II!
Filed under Costa Rica, Shopping in Costa Rica, Walmart | Comments (8)
April 12th, 2011
Over history, I suppose most monopolies were not good for their customers…. certainly some of the early ones in the US were not. One exception we old folks remember was AT&T and their technical arm, Bell Laboratories. They provided world class telephone service and technology that most certainly allowed the USA to become a worldwide business and technological powerhouse. They offered excellent services, excellent customer support, excellent technology and all at an excellent price.
However… The thing about being a monopoly is that, if you want to, you can pretty much give the finger to your customers every day for years and know they must just accept the insult. There is no option. You own the marbles and anyone who wants to play must play by your rules. You set the (cellular) rates (which, by the way and in the case of ICE are REALLY very good!), and make all the rules your customers must obey if they want to have cell phone service.
Now in some cases, the customers do not know they are being maltreated because there is no other option, so they believe this is as good as it gets! Let the learning curve begin!
The bad things about being a monopoly, though, is that for good or bad, your monopoly can end, in this case as a result of the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). The bigger bad thing is that a lot of those customers that you mistreated and abused for many years have long memories.
Interested in this topic? Read on!
Filed under Apple iPhone, CAFTA, Cell Phones, Communications, Costa Rica, ICE, The Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE), TLC | Comments (9)
April 8th, 2011
Many years ago in a universe far, far away, I was one of the very early Apple dealers in the US. In fact, it was so many years ago that Apple did not even sell directly to its dealers. It used distributors. Yeah, I am that old… ugh. I was also a dealer when Apple fired its distributors and took all dealer sales direct. Now the one thing that has not materially changed in all those many years is Apple’s position toward technical support and customer service. They do NOT screw around. It is a huge priority at Apple and regardless of whether you by an iPad, Mac, an iPhone or any Apple branded product, you will get the best support and service available on earth. Don’t believe me? Try a web search for something like “Best & worst computer tech support” or “Best & worst (technical) customer service”. You’ll see.
So you can imagine my surprise when I open Costa Rica’s major newspaper, LA NACIÓN, this morning to be greeted by a couple of articles telling me how Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE), the state telephone and Internet monopoly, is telling everyone that ICE will soon be authorized to sell the iPhone 4 by Apple.
Interested in my two cents? Read on!
Filed under Apple iPhone, CAFTA, Cell Phones, Communications, Costa Rica, Free Trade Agreement, ICE, Technical Stuff, TLC | Comments (6)