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Earthquake Update

January 16th, 2009

paxFirst, a correction and an apology to my readers!  In an earlier Post, I stated the the La Paz waterfall was no more. This  mistake brought to my attention by a reader Mario and since verified.  Although La Paz is still running muddy, it is still there, although the damage to the surrounding area is extensive.

More and more aftershocks are hitting the same area and those still there are living in constant fear. Yesterday afternoon at least 10 aftershocks were felt areas of Sararipiqui. The smallest was 2.7 and and the largest was 4.5 (about 2 PM yesterday) on the Richter Scale.  Many could be felt here in the Central Valley.

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The Power of the Earthquake

January 14th, 2009

cloudJust how powerful is a 6.2 earthquake?

An interesting comparison was made in today’s Diario Extra, one of Costa Rica’s Spanish language newspapers. It is the equivalent (in released power) of seventeen atomic bombs of the type dropped on Hiroshima, Japan. That sort of puts it into perspective huh?

If the quake had not occurred so deep in the earth, there probably would not even be much of a Costa Rica.

Rescue workers are still on the scenes searching for more bodies beneath the millions of tons of earth. At this point, six days after the event, it will be astonishing if any more bodies are found and a miracle if any are alive.

The death toll stands at about 21.  I say “about” as different sources report different figures.

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Residency Possible via Common Law Relationship

January 14th, 2009

immigration_Costa Rica has had a problem for some time with foreigners coming to Costa Rica, marrying a Costa Rica citizen, and promptly applying for Permanent Residency.

This is a very desirable status as Permanent Residency grants the person all rights and privileges of a citizen save the right to vote. The biggie is the right to work here legally!

Of course many people come here legitimately, meet the love of their life, and marry them! Others, however, arrange marriages through lawyers and often have never even met the person they marry.  Marriages could be performed by power of attorney. This causes (rightfully) some consternation at Migración (immigration)! Disallowed from applying for Permanent Residency were those living in a common law relationship (Unión de hecho).

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A Public Response to a Not-Published Comment

January 12th, 2009

readYesterday, I Blogged about the proposed changes to the immigration law.

Today, I received a comment from one of the companies here in Costa Rica that assists people in establishing legal residency. The first half of his email pretty much tells stuff about him and a bit about his company. Pretty much like SPAMing through commenting.  Almost the entire second half is built around this comment:

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At Least 30 Dead and Many Missing

January 10th, 2009

richorscaleI guess it takes an earthquake to get me online again!  My apologies for being away so long, but had some work issues that took a lot of time. Miguel will be happy though! Thanks to the others who wrote to inquire if we survived.

Those of us who live here deal with the many earthquakes.  Just a fact of life.  Those who live or have lived in California know all about it. The vast majority are small shocks (3-4) that rock the bed, make some noise and are generally not big deals.  Buildings in Costa Rica generally are built with a LOT of Rebar and concrete and most are very safe and suffer little damage. There are, however, many homes, especially in the country and areas not prosperous, that fall apart in the quakes.

This earthquake was nasty… 6.2. It was supposedly the strongest in 150 years… though I am not sure how they know that as the Richter Scale was not developed until the 1930’s.

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Stand Proud America

July 10th, 2008

Must be just that kind of week!

I received another comment yesterday and again I have decided to reply here as I think more people read the posts than the comments. OK OK… it is sort of another rant and probably should have been posted on July 4th, but here it is. It started out as a simply enough reply… then grew. However as my readers know, at times my self control fails me…which might be why I am not exactly thin!

Ohhh. Haters of the USA or those embarrassed to be an American will probably find this post not to their liking.

Below is a comment sent in yesterday and the stimulous for this reply. If my response might interest you… read on!

I don’t want to come off as a conspiracy theorist, but I do find it to be interesting that this is a problem for you now. My point, a lot of people are disenchanted, to say the least, regarding the current political, economic, etc… here in the US, and are hoping to relocate. Well maybe the powers that be prefer this not to be so easy to do. And therefore prefer not to have someone help make this possible, meaning you. You provide us with the much appreciated, and needed info. Seems as though with the recent CAFTA activity, that Costa Rica wanting to do trade with the US, is going to be pressured to do whatever Uncle Sam asks of them. Remember the disintegration of the middle class, means the corporate big wigs need all the slaves to stay here and consume in order for them to continue to make a profit. Now if we want to live elswhere, we are not here to keep them nice and fat. Ok, after previewing my post, I have to admit I do sound like a nut, or do I? (twilight zone music plays in background).

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Renewing Residency

July 4th, 2008

It is a bit hard to believe, but in all the years I have lived here, I have never had to make “the trip” to immigration (migración) to renew my residency. I have always been “legal” but the rarely used form of residency I began with was a true pain in the butt. Migración ran me in circles for several years, never approving my residency, but thankfully, never denying it either. Every time I thought they would approve it, they came up some new requirement that was never even in the law.

North Americans and others always have a real problem understanding “how things work” in Costa Rica. In the USA, for example, laws are more or less clearly defined. The “rules” are clear. If you go to renew a drivers license, you know what has to be done, and you are confident that all the clerks and others who assist you will follow these rules. Nobody does things on-the-fly.

This is NOT the case in Costa Rica, and most assuredly it is not the case when dealing with migración.

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Costa Rica Takes Action to Control Gasoline Usage Part 2

June 27th, 2008

This week, the government of Costa Rica asked for an increase of ¢145 in the price of gasoline, this to offset their recent request to lower the price of diesel fuel by exempting diesel from government taxation.

The price of super gasoline would go up to ¢801 per liter and diesel prices would fall by ¢97. Gasoline today is $5.10 per gallon for super, $4.97 for regular and $4.82 for diesel. One US gallon = 3.79 liters, so after this change, a gallon of super will be ¢3,036 or $5.88. With the regular monthly increase coming in July, $6.00 per gallon gas is pretty much assured.

Currently, the cost for a gallon of diesel is $4.82, so this will drop to about $4.11. Sounds like a nice windfall for those who chose to buy dieseled vehicles right? Nope… the government giveth and the government taketh away.

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Costa Rica Takes Action to Control Gasoline Usage Part 1

June 27th, 2008

Mopt restrictionsFor quite some time now, the government has placed restrictions on what vehicles could enter San Jose. This was more done to lessen the overwhelming traffic in San Jose during peak hours than to control gasoline usage. All non commercial vehicles were affected.

The system was/is simple enough. You were restricted from entering San Jose for about 2 hours each morning rush hour and two hours during the afternoon rush based on your license plate. For me it was rarely an issue, and when it was, I just drove the circunvalación, the road that runs around San Jose and locally known as “the rotundas” because of the numerous traffic circles in that route. Sometimes I’d drive the La Uruca route. No big deal.

Well this all changed this week as the government expanded enormously the restricted areas and the hours of restriction, and yesterday, over a thousand folks learned this the hard way and got a little $10 traffic citation for their ignorance.

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A Reader’s Opinion of Costa Rica – Change and Perspective

June 11th, 2008

As you might imagine, I get a pretty fair amount of email. I try to reply, but I am often a few weeks backlogged as the stuff is arriving at the rate of maybe 200 emails per week. When I get a “good one”, I like to share it with other readers, and Neal from Canada has granted me permission to print his email.

I first came to Costa Rica maybe 15 years ago. It has changed significantly. My 15 years pales, however, next to Neal’s long term perspective of 46 years. I hope you enjoy it.  Click continue to read it.

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