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Monthly Archives: May 2010

>The "Lasts"

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As our days shorten there starts to be a list of “lasts”. For example, this will be our last Memorial Day, I am down to my last bag of sugar, next to last rent payment, got my last version of Photoshop, well you get the idea.

So as we go through our list of “lasts” before you know it there will be a list of “firsts” to start. By the way, the picture is my “first” HDR image using my “last” version of Photoshop, finally Adobe got something right.

This probably will not be my “last” posting.

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Posted by on May 30, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

>Garden of Life

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When we got our house the garden was not very grown up. Since the builders had just finished building the house the plants had been put in the ground. We returned to the house six months later and what a difference. That amount of growth would have taken 3 years here in the Pacific Northwest to show the same amount. We landscaped our house here with lots of plants and although some did well others were not that much bigger when we sold it 4 years later. It will be interesting what it will look like again on the next trip down.

We will be buying the small lot next to us for added buffer so when all is done we will have about 2000 sq meters of property. Landscaping in the tropics is a bit different especially since this is part of an old cacao finca. Unfortunately most of the trees have the fungus that affects the fruit causing it to turn black and rot and not ripen to its bright yellow color. I would be nice to be able to harvest some and make our own chocolate, there are place around that do and it is really the best.

Before we left I put an avocado seed in the ground so I will be interested to see if that took. We also have a few banana plants growing. The banana plant is the largest herbaceous flowering plant. Plants are normally tall and fairly sturdy and are often mistaken for trees, but their main or upright stem is actually a pseudostem that grows 6 to 7.6 metres (20 to 24.9 ft) tall, growing from a corm. Each pseudostem can produce a single bunch of bananas. After fruiting, the pseudostem dies. It will be nice to be able to harvest our own bananas.

The Montezuma oropendola is a fascinating bird. We had a flock of about 20 brids show up one evening feeding on the bananas across from us. This large bright yellow tailed bird (18-20 inches) builds pendulous nests, which cluster in colonies of sometimes 140 or more! The most bizarre feature is Montezuma’s unforgettable song, of wheezing, gurgling and popping sounds. The male, seen in front of the female, will execute a complete somersault around a branch while simultaneously singing this medley of sounds.


Nests of the Montezuma oropendola

So it really is a garden of life

 
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Posted by on May 29, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

>How Safe is Safe?

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How safe is safe? I guess that is always a question that you have to ask yourself as you embark on a life changing move. When we took off on this road we knew we didn’t have enough saved to make it through our golden years, especially with the down turn of the markets and the out of control price of health care. Since we started coming to Costa Rica in 2000, I guess I always felt that this would be a great place to live out those few remaining years. Patience is the key to a happy life (Pura Vida) in Costa Rica. Things move (or not) at a very different pace than the fast paced life of the US.

Although I have never felt very secure while in San Jose, outside of San Jose I have never felt any real threats (other than driving on the roads). Then again we don’t do a lot of night life kinds of things like dinning out or go dancing till all hours of the night either. That was reserved for the younger days and now with those days way far back in the rear view mirror we are content to live a simple life and enjoy the abundant nature that surrounds us.

When I read something about Costa Rica it perks my interest and when I saw some comments someone made about Costa Rica I started looking at what might have caused this to be so negative.

Here is a small except from an article I saw in the New York Times “Your Money” section:

“”Americans Who Seek Out Retirement Homes Overseas
By SHELLEY EMLING
Published: May 18, 2010 The New York Times

For those worried about finances, Latin America seems to be one of the safer bets, according to Kathleen Peddicord of Panama City, Panama, author of “How to Retire Overseas.”

Ms. Peddicord said she used to recommend Costa Rica, but no longer does. She cited the growing crime rates both within and outside of San José, the Costa Rican capital.

As time goes on, retirement hot spots change along with countries’ economic and political situations.””

Interesting that she believes that crime is a factor not to recommend a place to live. Try finding a place in the world without crime! All those in New York better find another place to live!

Here is a small except from the US State Department’s web site on Panama:

“Crime in Panama City is increasing and the Department of State recently increased its evaluation to “High” for purposes of providing increased resources to protect Embassy employees housed in Panama City. The increase in violent crime is primarily related to narco-trafficking related violence. The city of Colon is also a high crime area. Police checkpoints have become commonplace on weekends on roads in both cities. Based upon reported incidents by local police, the high-crime areas around Panama City are San Miguelito, Rio Abajo, El Chorrillo, Hollywood, Curundu, Veracruz Beach, Panama Viejo, Casco Viejo (particularly at night), Santa Librada, San Miguel, Cabo Vierde, and the Madden Dam overlook.”

Here is a small except from the US State Department’s web site on Costa Rica:

“”Crime has become an increasing concern for Costa Ricans and visitors alike. Daytime robberies in public places occur, and thieves have been known to brandish weapons or threaten violence if victims resist. Over one and a half million foreign tourists, the majority American, visit Costa Rica annually. All are potential targets for criminals, primarily thieves looking for cash, jewelry, credit cards, electronic items and passports. U.S. citizens are encouraged to exercise the same level of caution they would in major cities or tourist areas throughout the world. Local law enforcement agencies have limited capabilities and do not act according to U.S. standards. Travelers should minimize driving at night, especially outside urban areas.

Thieves may work in pairs or small groups. The most prevalent scam involves the surreptitious puncturing of tires of rental cars, often near restaurants, tourist attractions, airports, or close to the car rental agencies themselves. When the travelers pull over, “good Samaritans” quickly appear to change the tire – and just as quickly remove valuables from the car, sometimes brandishing weapons. Drivers with flat tires are advised to drive, if at all possible, to the nearest service station or other public area, and change the tire themselves, watching valuables at all times. Another common scam involves one person dropping change in a crowded area, such as on a bus. When the victim tries to assist, a wallet or other item is taken.””

What they say here is all true, I have read many post by tourists citing the very same tale with the flat tire or leave valuable in cars parked in parking lots. You notice that the State Department did not put an evaluation of “High” on Costa Rica (yet). I think to say that Costa Rica is a bad place that should be avoided is, in my opinion, not true. We have never had any problems (knock on wood) while we have been in Costa Rica and want to keep it that way.

 
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Posted by on May 28, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

>Our Little Town

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Our little town

It is getting harder to contain oneself as the days get fewer and fewer. Although there are still so many unknowns about this whole transition between here and moving there, I feel we are prepared for most of the surprises. There will be a lot of logistical things we will need to get done once we get there. After a week or two we will need to go to San Jose and meet with ARCR folks to go over our paperwork and to get a driver’s licenses so at least to get that out of the way. It will be hard to do all of this since we will have the dogs to content with in a new place. Finding someone to sit and watch the house will be a chore. By then I hope to have our cell phone activated so we can keep in touch while we are gone.

I will have to drive our friends back to San Jose the week after we get there so they can catch their flight back home, that will be a long day, 8 hours of driving in Costa Rica is like driving a week in the states. Hopefully by then they will have taken care of all the landslides along Ruta 32 as it goes up and over the mountains. The mountains are mostly unconsolidated material and not like hard rock granite so when you over steepen the slopes and add lots of rain chances are landslides will happen. The new coastal highway is going through that stage now where huge rocks the size of houses are falling on the cars. One more reason not to drive at night, to say the least.

Being on the coastal plain is much different since it is so flat and it is prone to flooding. When a big low pressure sits off shore it can pump a lot of moisture into the mountains and huge amounts of water comes tumbling down. Riding a bike there is real easy since it is so flat, a plus for sure. We will need to find a couple of well used bikes to go into town since that will probably become a daily part of life. The list of things we will need to get isn’t too long but trying to find out where to buy will be the challenge.

It’s not like Home Depot is right around the corner so you have to find out who sells what and who has the best price. I was looking at toilets at the building supply place in Hone Creek and they were $600, what a shock. Now that’s what I call a throne.

 
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Posted by on May 27, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

>Just what to expect

>Well yesterday I read another article about a person being deported from the country for over extending their stay (by three months). The problem with these types of articles is that it never gives you enough background information surrounding the incident. Sometimes a one sided in the point of view is presented. Comments in the article where a bit distrubing. Although I feel sorry for the individual for being bared from the country for the maximum time of 5 years, there must be something else, as Paul Harvey would say, “And now for the rest of the story”.

Since we will be using ARCR to help us through the process, I am hoping that we will be treated fairly since we are going through the process as required by the new law. By the time we actually file, the process may change again since the law has not been finalized in La Gaceta, the official counterpart to the US Federal Register.

We have after all, signed up for the adventure, and I am sure we will be in for the ride of our lives.

 
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Posted by on May 26, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

>"RECORD COLD"

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This is one phrase I will not miss. Here we are on the 24th of May with “record cold” temperatures. Not even the 10 day forecast looks like we will pull out of this crappy weather pattern. Until there is a big change in the Jet Stream, I am afraid we are doomed to be cast in cold weather.

“”Forecasters said they do not see any kind of big warm up through this week.””

Oh how I long for the warm weather of PV! Sure it’s muggy and hot but I was hoping not to have to pay another $300 for propane before we leave. so much for that! Living in a “barn” is just that; it feels like someone did leave the door open!

 
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Posted by on May 24, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

>Been Busy, Well sort of

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As we are confined to the cold northwest, our friends Larissa and Rami (who build our home) are helping us out by have things done to our house. We had doors added to the bathrooms and are having some furniture made, some tables, a bed and kitchen cabinets.

This table is being made for a wood carving we bough in Quepos back in 2001.

 
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Posted by on May 20, 2010 in Uncategorized