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Dodged a Bullet Thanks to a Kind Transit Official

April 28th, 2009

whewFrom Tim May, 2014. 

Some things in this blog post have changed but some of the post still may be of interest… so after reading it, you should visit the the main web site where current info can be found.   Click here to read the latest.

Car owners every year must have their cars inspected. This is done by a private company, Reteve.  Information here.  There are locations all over Costa Rica and you must call first to make an appointment. The month of expiration is equal to the last digit on your license plate. Mine expired two months ago but when I went for the exam, I had a minor issue that needed to be fixed. Sadly, I let this go.  Dumb.

So I was at the airport last week and sure enough, I get flagged down by a transit cop. I am thinking that a ticket is a forgone conclusion but, as I have made a new appointment for another inspection, I thought I had a slim chance of getting by.  I DID, but the really important thing is that when handing me back my documents, he pointed out that my drivers license would expire tomorrow. He saved me just a world of hurt. While you do have some leeway in renewing it, if you let it go too far, you must start with driving school and then re-take the written and practical exams (in Spanish). While I do speak the language, the time lost would have been a disaster. So off I went yesterday to get my license renewed. If this topic interests you, read on!

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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 New Driving Laws in Costa Rica

February 13th, 2009

jerkA lot of people are surprised to learn that it is perfectly legal to drink and drive in Costa Rica.  It’s true! However, the law also states that you cannot drive while drunk. That means that means that you as a driver are depending on the guy who is drinking to know when he is drunk. File that under things that make you go… “Hmmmmm”.

The government, getting fed up with the huge number of alcohol related traffic accidents and the resultant deaths, passed last December La Ley de Tránsito or simply new driving laws.

Although signed into law and effective last December 2008, I did not blog about it because there were sure to be a ton of appeals to the Costa Rica Supreme Courts, called Salas, regarding the legality of the new laws and the associated punishments which are truly severe. Sala IV has upheld some and is still considering others, but it is time to talk about these new laws. In this post, I will provide my thoughts and more important, a shortened list of the new laws and the associated fines and/or imprisonment.  If this topic is of interest, read on! Continue reading »

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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A Nasty Little Parasite – Parents Take Care!

February 1st, 2009

slugI did a fair amount of work a couple of years ago when researching the various illnesses and  health issues common to Costa Rica.  I thought I had a pretty good handle on it… then some nice lady sent me an email about Chagas Disease… so I checked that out and added it.  Well I guess Chagas was not the end because today, I will introduce you to Angiostrongylus costaricensis, a nasty little parasite that has made sick and sadly killed some very young children. Of the 42 cases treated since 2003, 16 were girls and 26 were boys under the age of 14 years. At serious risk are the youngest… under nine years old.

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Open Season on Cops?

January 31st, 2009

crfp11In the United States, shooting,  assaulting and of course killing a police officer is a huge deal.  The police simply do not rest until the perpetrator has been caught, and they are non too gentle in the process. This is as it should be because when something like that happens, it is not simply an assault on that officer, it is an assault on all police officers and more important, it is an assault on society.

Whether or not you are a supporter of the police, the one unassailable fact is that they represent just about the only line between you and a very nasty group of people who pay little attention to the law.  A complete lack of respect for law enforcement is a harbinger of anarchy.

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Dress Code Change. Shorts are OK!

January 27th, 2009

shortsLast year, I was visiting an inmate err friend at the Costa Rica nacional funny farm err Psychiatric Hospital. I drove up to the gate and requested entry, but the guard told me I could not enter because I was wearing shorts.   I thought he was joking… but no.  It was a rule. Needless to say I was more than a bit torqued at this.  I said nothing as too many times foreigners (read that as Gringos) act in a manner that 1. makes us look like a bunch of arrogant buttheads and 2 one seldom wins these battles.

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Renewing My Costa Rica Residency

January 26th, 2009

pain1Oh the pain.  Caught again! Obviously a regular reader… and one with a good memory… Miguel is one of my Blog watchers.  This is good really as I get busy and fail to followup on things when months pass between the writing and the actual activity. The pain is for making me remember what I sort of wanted to forget!

In this case, Miguel (who I suspect is really a Michael as he writes from the USA), reminded me that I had never followed up on my post from last July 4 regarding my residency renewal. I really meant to do this, but as I did not go until September… OK October… I lost track. So for anyone interested in what happened… read on!

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Gasoline Prices Drop Again

January 19th, 2009

OuchBetter late than never!  I wonder if there is such a thing as getting  “less screwed”.

While oil prices have dropped from the $145 per barrel levels of just a few months ago, to less than $36.00 per barrel, Costa Rica has been very slow adjusting gas prices here to reflect that decrease. Somebody is making some serious cash, and it is NOT me.  However, prices are due to come down this week.

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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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