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The Road To Caldera

February 7th, 2010

Click photo to enlarge. Dotted line is now completed

San Jose to Caldera HighwayThe long awaited (30+ years) highway from San Jose to Caldera opened a couple of weeks ago. I had a hunch that anything that long in the making would draw the curious and traffic would be a disaster.  Turns out that I called it, and the touted 45-60 minute trip to the Port of Caldera (Puerto Caldera), Costa Rica’s only commercial and cruise terminal on the Pacific coast, took up to three hours for much of last week

Not so yesterday!

Yesterday, I thought it might be worth a chance, so my wife Maria Luisa, my sister Pamela and I jumped on the new highway and found ourselves pretty much alone with pretty minimal traffic.  Better yet, we were in Orotina in 45 minutes and in  Caldera in 60.  Another 15 minutes put us in Puntarenas and walking on the beach. this is a big deal to expats and Ticos and will certainly have a positive commercial effect in all those locations.

Thirty years or not, this was worth the wait.  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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American Airlines and How They Handle Latinos

November 25th, 2009

po_dI am really torqued!

Recently, my wife and I flew back to the US and we used American Airlines (AA) for our flight to Dallas. It turned out kinda ugly. It seems AA, or at least their international flight attendants, have an issue if you do not speak English!  Rather than re-write it all, here is the email I sent to AA:

I am VERY upset about American Airlines treatment of Latinos, in this case my wife who is Costa Rican.

While flying to Dallas, a flight attendant named “Sherrill” (or similar) was VERY rude.  There were three of us in the row. Sherrill asked first the man in the window seat what he wished to drink.  After that, she asked my wife in the center seat and I replied, “she would like apple juice”. The flight attendant then states very loudly:  “Sir, I am talking to the woman not to YOU!”  So I replied “that is fine, but my wife does not speak English so you must speak to her in Spanish”.  Sherril then said: “I do NOT have to speak Spanish,  I am an American and I live in Texas!”

This remark was heard by a large number of Latinos seated nearby and was VERY insulting both to them AND the 3 other folks who later told me how bad they felt.

If you do not want Latinos to fly American, SAY SO! I always thought international flights required bi-lingual attendants and were the plum jobs. This rude person insulted MANY people, not just my wife. If at all possible we will NEVER fly AA again and this story will appear on my two blogs (http://blog.therealcostarica.com/ and http://www.hisfault.com/) as well as in Facebook.

You should be ashamed and while I am 99% sure NOTHING will happen to this employee, no apology, NOTHING, I WILL do what I can to spread this story so other Latinos know how AA stands on flying Latin minorities.

That should be clear enough!

As I found out later, AA policy is that only ONE person need speak Spanish on a flight to/from Costa Rica.  ONE person for what… 120 people or more? In this case, that person was the head flight attendant in first class (John) and as we all know.  the first class attendants never associate themselves with the hoi polloi or in Spanish, la chusma.

To the many Ticos and other Latinos who I know read my blog, I would urge you to let your spending show AA that this kind of rude treatment is not acceptable.  Delta, Spirit, Jet Blue, Taca, Lacsa and others all have service to the US.

I am pretty sure I will get the “canned BS” from AA if I get a reply at all.  That flight attendants union is pretty strong so she will certainly be permitted to continue venting her disrespect for Latinos…

If I do get a reply, you’ll see it here.

Swine Flu Arrives in Costa Rica

April 29th, 2009

maskCosta Rica has confirmed two cases of Swine Flu. The infected parties are a 21 year old woman and a 29 year old man, both returned recently from trips to Mexico.  Costa Rica receives daily flights from Mexico. The woman traveled with 92 others on her flight home.  Both persons were treated at Calderon Guardia Hospital.

Incredibly, the infected woman decided to ignore health officials and broke quarantine so she could attend classes at her university.

Thirty-five others are under watch.

A third person, a youngster, has flu symptoms (not yet confirmed as Swine Flu) possible infected by her father who recently returned to Costa Rica from Mexico. If confirmed, that would be the first case of swine flu caught within the borders.

The Ministry of Health this morning asked the passengers of two other flights, TACA LR 631 and Mexicana  387, to call 911 emergency so they may be tested.

Employees at the San Jose airport are wearing surgical masks, and many incoming passengers are having their temperatures taken upon arrival.

I am not going to go into this swine flu deal because unless my readers are living on another planet, you have been deluged with probably more information that you want to know.

I am more concerned though as my wife works at Calderon Guardia Hospital.

Coming to Costa Rica? Do You Like Cheap Fares?

February 2nd, 2009

ladybeach1I realize the audience for this post may be a bit smaller, but here it is anyway.

Did you see it?

Frontier Airlines ran an ad during the Superbowl that may interest you if you live near or can get to, Denver, Colorado  (all flights specials originate there).

Price Denver to San Jose, Costa Rica is $139.00 (each way) and that ain’t bad… BUT you have to book and pay TODAY by 9 PM MST.

Rules:

* Purchase by February 2, 2009
* Complete travel by June 10, 2009
* 14 day advance purchase required
* Choose off-peak travel days
o Tuesday – Wednesday for US
o Monday – Thursday for Costa Rica

Can you do it?  If so, come on down to Costa Rica! The weather is fine… though I DID see a cloud the other day!

Oh… and the temperature here this morning (in San Jose):   72 F

How is YOUR weather?

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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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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Travels with Della and Joanna

July 8th, 2008

The LadiesThis post was actually sent in as a comment to an earlier post about crime in Costa Rica, but after reading it, I thought it not really relevant to crime… or maybe it was as these ladies apparently did a lot of cool things and experienced nothing but a fun time.

However, I did not want to discard it, and I decided it might be of general interest to a lot of readers, especially to older folks considering a trip to Costa Rica and more especially to older women who might like to travel together! Here is the account or the trip taken by Della and her female companion and written by Della.

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The Bug Man Cometh

July 7th, 2008

Ahhh Bugs! Bichos! Things with many legs! If you live here in the tropics, they are as much a part of your life as the sun, the beach, the mountains, and the bad roads! Certainly one of the most visited web pages in The REAL Costa Rica is about the creepie crawlies that are everywhere in Costa Rica. Not surprising I guess… hell, there was even a snake in the Garden of Eden right?

Those of you who follow my writings probably already know about Rolando, the Flying Cucaracha Affair, and the occasion tarantulas that come avisitin’ at Casa Ticogrande. However, for sheer annoyance, nothing can top the ants (hormigas). that look at this house as a giant smörgåsbord.

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Oops!

June 30th, 2008

My Brain SometimesI really do try to make sure everything I write is exactly correct (personal opinions excepted!), but on occasion, I experience what my late great-grandmother termed a “brain fart”. She was an earthy sort of woman!

This phenomena occured on 9 June when I wrote the post entitled “3,000 Jobs Gone? Why?“. I am 99% sure I read in La Nacion that the new regulation had been published in La Gaceta. It appears I was wrong and it was not published. As Bugs Bunny would say, “Whatta maroon!”.

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