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Gasoline Crosses $5.00 per Gallon Threshold

June 10th, 2008

Today Costa Rica awoke to gas prices that now exceed $5.00 per US Gallon. Before I delve into this more, it is worthwhile discussing world gasoline prices.

Caution! Rant coming!

As most expats, I watch the current political battle for the Presidency of the United States. I watch as Barrack Obama and others make their stupid claims that they will “do something” about the price of gasoline in the US, now over $4.00 per gallon in 23 states. They just don’t get it. To me, it as is stupid as their claims that they will stem the outflow of jobs from the USA to other countries. I have news for them. The first will not happen without strong leadership and new ideas (which neither candidate has even remotely shown) and it is years too late the do anything about the second.

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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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ICE Incapable of Satisfying the Internet Needs of Costa Rica

September 14th, 2007

Wow! Whatta surprise, huh? That was one of the headlines in yesterday’s La Nacion. It seems that once again, our friendly local communications monopoly has been caught totally unawares by the now 15 year old Internet revolution. Apparently, someone in the “strategic planning group” felt that the unprecedented growth of the Internet world-wide simply was not going to affect little old Costa Rica. According to this article, some 36 localities are affected to the point where new connections are very limited.

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BAC San Jose – A total joke! Their New Rating? ZERO

September 8th, 2007

A few weeks ago, I wrote about three banks here in Costa Rica and how they compare. You can review that post HERE if you wish.

In that post, I left readers hanging a bit regrading BAC San Jose and their policies regarding the depositing of checks from outside Costa Rica. You may recall they have this little “gotcha” policy that prohibits the depositing of any check from outside Costa Rica for the first year, a truly stupid and needless policy for most people and for businesses especially. After 18 months of 100% trouble free banking, I asked that my company accounts be allowed to deposit checks, all from the USA. Here is what I was told:

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New Law Can Send Me To Jail

July 26th, 2007

I have been pondering about blogging this for a while now… partly to get a handle on how I feel, partly because I expect some interesting comments.

Not long ago, President Óscar Arias Sánchez signed into law (“Ley de penalización de violencia contra las mujeres”) a truly controversial measure that provides tougher and longer sentences for the murder of women than of men.

While that in itself seems odd to me, the kicker is it also makes it a crime to insult a woman. Here I am not just speaking of a woman on the street or in the workplace. I am referring to any woman… even a wife or daughter. The law punishes men who are physically and/or psychologically abusive of women, especially a wife, live-in partner or girlfriend.

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Welcome to Costa Rica

April 19th, 2007

Here is an sad but interesting tale. It is a story of a mother and daughter refused entry to Costa Rica.

One of the companies I own deals with tourists coming to visit Costa Rica. This often involves having one of my people meet them at the airport. This is normally no big deal. We give them detailed instructions and nearly always, we are able to hook up without issue.

So it was odd that we sent a rep to the Liberia airport to meet a woman traveling with her 14 year old daughter. Often our customers are also being met by a tour company, so in this case, our rep met them and they both waited for the arrival of our mutual clients. After waiting an hour, it was clear they were not coming, so the tour agent and our rep left the airport.

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Crime in Costa Rica

January 6th, 2007

I get a fair number of emails asking about crime in Costa Rica… so maybe it is time to cover this topic once more.

Crime here, it is getting worse and I have no problem saying so. It is certainly different than when I first stepped off the boat. Saying that though, the crime is pretty well confined to two areas: San Jose (the city), and areas where tourists congregate. It is NOT country wide.

This is true for the US as well. A small town in Iowa is NOT the same as life in LA.

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New Traffic Laws in Costa Rica

November 1st, 2006

Now THIS otta be fun! For those of you who actually live (and drive) in Costa Rica, your eyes must be doing a 360 about right now. Mine sure did. For those of you who have not had the ummm… pleasure… of interfacing with a Tico on the roads of CR… well… I bit of explaining may be in order.

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Central Bank Changes and the Effect on Currency Exchanges and Interest

October 29th, 2006

A couple of weeks ago, the Central Bank of Costa Rica decided to stop the ages-old policy of setting a daily buy/sell rate (exchange rate) for converting dollars to colones and vice versa. This daily exchange rate was known as the tipo de cambio, and was generally a very small spread, maybe 2.5-4 colones. It changed every day, increasing a fraction of a colone and thus devaluing the currency against the dollar… daily.

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No More Cell Phone Lines… AGAIN!

October 20th, 2006

For most of the years I have been in Costa Rica, you could not just run down to your local cell phone store or to ICE and get a new phone line. You could always buy the PHONE but not the line. Nope… You had to wait. You had to place you name on a waiting list… and wait. Sometimes a year or two. Once your name came up on the list, you could buy a LINE (presuming you were a legal resident, a citizen, or owned a corporation), and have it installed on the phone.

Well thanks to your local friends at ICE (why YES!, The very same ones who are fighting the Free Trade Agreement tooth and nail), the good old days are returning!

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