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Cameras and Humidity in Costa Rica

October 19th, 2013

nikonPhotography has always been enormously popular not only with the tourists but with many ex-pats living here in Costa Rica.  It is one of my favorite pastimes. I have had and used several excellent film and digital cameras here in Costa Rica including an Olympus, a Mamiya, and my current cameras, Nikons).  What I am going to discuss in this post is probably more directed to ex-pats who live here full time, but may be of interest to those staying here for shorter periods.

The topic is humidity and its affect on cameras in the tropics.

If this topic is of interest, read on….

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New Rules for Obtaining a Costa Rica Drivers License

March 14th, 2013

COSEVIThis post is directed to foreigners interested in obtaining a Costa Rica drivers license. It is not relevant to citizens of Costa Rica.

I have been putting off writing this post for a couple of months now hoping that I could write the complete story.  Alas, I can only cover part of it, but the info is important, so I will either add to this post later or post anew.

In the past, any person from another country could easily obtain a Costa Rica drivers license.  The process was basically just to go to the Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes MOPT office (closest San Jose office is in Uruca) with your current drivers license. your current passport, and some money. You would stop at one of the doctor’s offices located nearby the MOPT and get a short physical called a Dictamen Médico. You would then walk to the MOPT, go in, get in line and maybe two hours later… you had your license! No test. Nothing.  Easy!

Not any more.

The new rules now restrict anyone seeking a Costa Rica drivers license to be a citizen of Costa Rica or to those foreigners who possess legal residency in Costa Rica. This means you must now show your current cedula de residencia (your national ID card valid for any form of residency i.e pensionado, rentista, permanent, etc) issued when you received your legal residency. No cedula? No license.

If you would like to know more about this topic… read on!

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Gasoline Prices in Costa Rica – Just Stupid

June 19th, 2011

Warning:  Rant coming!

Before we begin, the graphic left shows three sets of letters. Most of my readers know all three, but for those who do not, LOL = Laugh Out Loud.  OMG = Oh My God, and WTF= ummmm, well best to ask your kids or grand kids about WTF.

Very handy though!

In Costa Rica, we only have two types of gas, Regular (OMG) and Super (WTF).

Prices in Costa Rica have been sliding up for some time.  Food, of course is one, but that seems to be a world wide issue. I have already ranted about the transit laws and how much a parking ticket can cost, but the thing that really frosts my twinkle is the ridiculous price of gasoline and the seemingly never ending increases.

We just had another increase a few days ago, and now I am paying about $85.00 to fill my tank (Nissan Xtrail, a small SUV).

It has been a while since I actually calculated the price per gallon in dollars. As we use liters here and pay in colones, it takes a couple of calculations to convert to dollars but I have done so here as many of my readers are from North America and are more accustomed to price per gallon.

Below is a little chart showing the prices. If this topic interests you… read on!

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Cops Won’t Enforce New Transit Law

February 28th, 2010

I have been waiting patiently for many months for someone in the government of Costa Rica (ummm – that would be the diputados),  to realize just how idiotic is the new ley de tránsito (traffic law) that goes into effect tomorrow, March 1, 2010.

In fact I have re-written this post about 3 times, the last time being Friday when they decided not to enforce some laws requiring everyone carry fire extinguishers, those reflective triangle thingies, and a couple of other items (like child seats)  that they probably should have left in! I was running out of time… but my guardian angel told me to wait until Sunday…

So I did wait, only to learn last night that the least likely group of all (that would be the transit police officers union) voted overwhelmingly to not enforce the new laws, but will enforce really tough drunk driving laws and those regarding reckless driving!  Sadly, those are the laws the courts are ignoring with only eleven convictions in over a year. I am thinking now that the police officers (that would be the group with the brains) should perhaps trade places with the diputados!

Interested?  Read on!

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One Way Airline Tickets to Costa Rica

December 10th, 2009

customerserviceI was preparing another of those “My Readers Write” posts that I do every so often, and this topic came up… again. Maybe it is time to give it its own space as apparently it is not clear to some people.

The question is always something like this: “I have heard I cannot fly to Costs Rica using a one-way ticket.”

My answer is, as always, “No, you can NOT unless you are a citizen of Costa Rica or have in your possession a valid and current residency ID card (cedula) proving that you live here. If you try, you will almost assuredly not be permitted to board the plane. If you do make it on board, you may well get caught at THIS end by immigration. Airlines are required to verify that any person attempting to fly and using a one way ticket is, in fact, a legal resident of Costa Rica. Most airlines (read that as all) try to follow the procedure religiously as they are faced not only with large potential fines, but also for paying for the return flight for the passenger when he is refused entry in Costa Rica.

Now please, before you start composing your comment telling me that you, your friend, your friend’s girlfriend and her auntie, etc flew here on a one-way ticket with no issue, please remember my “job” on this blog and in the RCR Web Site is to deal with facts, not luck or urban legend.

Read on if you wish!

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Happy Thanksgiving from Costa Rica

November 26th, 2009

moooI really miss Thanksgiving!

There are two or three US holidays that are not celebrated  here… well more if you add all those goofy ones like President’s day where nobody does anything special.  Of them all, Thanksgiving is the worst for me maybe followed by the 4th of July. No fireworks.

First, everyone is working on a Thursday… everyone meaning everyone in my family who would normally be invited to celebrate, so we celebrate it on the following Saturday.

Turkey is easy to buy, but ludicrously expensive.  I cannot buy sage here, required for traditional sage and onion dressing. I also cannot find rutabagas! I know rutabaga is not for everyone, but it is an integral part of my family tradition.  One nice person brought me **ONE** from the USA a couple of days ago. I am hiding it.  We have maybe 8 people coming Saturday and one is not enough to split 8 ways.

I miss the Thanksgiving day TV stuff too.  Football, parades, you know, all the things we do.

It may be the only day when I really miss living in the USA.

Worse, today is the day my wife is having surgery. Just another Thursday.  That was at 7 AM this morning, supposedly no biggie, maybe 45 minutes, but no one has called to let me know she is OK.  It is 10:30 AM I am worried and after posting this, I am heading out to the hospital to find out what is going on.

To all my readers… I have much to be thankful for, and I wish all you you the very happiest of Thanksgivings!

I especially wish a happy Thanksgiving to anyone serving in the armed forces who cannot be with their families.  You are very special people, too many times not appreciated, but by me, you are very appreciated.

Be well and be safe.

Renewing My Residency and Ummm Groveling

August 18th, 2009

23minBack in July, I  blogged about the new cedula renewal process (this also applies to lost cedulas). The days of visiting Immigration (migracion) are over… at least that was what I was told.  I have lived far too long here to think that any process here can change literally overnight.  Overnight in Costa Rica can mean anything less than two years

Well.. I was wrong.  It seems there is a process in Costa Rica that can take less than a decade to change for the better.  Today was my appointment for my cedula renewal at at the American International Mall branch of Banco de Costa Rica in Alajuela.  It went without a hitch… and if this interests you… read on!

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Costa Rica Residency Renewal – Revisited

July 2nd, 2009

Residency CedulaLast year, I blogged about the process of renewing my residency. Those interested can read the posts here and here.  For no good (logical) reason that I can see, renewals are for one year only and even though I did not GET my residency card until 4 months after the process began, it is now time to again renew the *%*(&$**  thing.

This year, though, things have changed!  OK… I know better than to say such a thing. Let us just say that the process has changed, and we shall see if  “things have changed”.

What are the big changes? Well the biggie is that this year, it seems, that I will not need to make the trek to immigration.  The other stuff will be gravy. So here is the new process:

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Le Grand Cirque Comes to Costa Rica

February 25th, 2009

cirqueI am always a bit suspicious of publicity that compares its product to some world renowned version of that same product.  In this case, Le Grand Cirque has been billed as “The Next Generation of Cirque du Soleil”, the world famous circus from Montreal Canada.  To be fair, the actual phrase came from some magazine or newspaper, Southern Times, and it appears that Le Grand Cirque is not trying at all to feed off the fame of their Canadian counterpart.

If this topic interests you, read on and be sure to see the videos at the end of the Post.

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The Costa Rica Blues Fest

February 8th, 2009

Harp PlayerWhen I left Chicago almost a decade ago, I knew the stuff that I would not miss (snow, cold, weeks with no sunshine, snow, cold, snow, etc.) and the things I would miss (grand kids, children, friends, Fall, Chicago Fest, Spring, the Blues and the Chicago Blues Fest, etc.).  Well strike the Blues off the list as of last night for that was evening of the Second Annual Costa Rica Blues Fest.

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