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      IMPORTANT - READ BEFORE POSTING to SUPPORT FORUM   01/28/2011

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jincr

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About jincr

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  1. Toilet Paper

    I thought the thread was about if "You" flush tp as a matter of habit or not. I'm well aware that all over LA most people do not. I do think it's a wild over reaction to say that no one anywhere (down here) should flush tp, and especially it makes no sense for expats living in modern apartments or in escazu mansions to adopt this disgusting habit, just because poor ticos do it. Sure, there are some poor areas and maybe some hole in the wall restaurants that are so poorly plumbed it's probably unsafe to even be in the damn bathroom, but I don't think that's the topic here. My points are: 1) tp is the least damaging thing that can be flushed 2) anybody who chooses to can easily fix an existing septic so that it is both environmentally safe and perfectly capable of dealing with any amount of tp (but never other paper products, of course). No, I am not addressing the poor old guy who wanders up my street in rags. 3) A septic backup is not a huge disaster, it's a minor annoyance that points out a bigger problem that should have been addressed long ago 4) just because everyone else does it doesn't mean you have to do it 5) very few things are as disgusting as a bin of soiled tp 6) I personally am more than willing to spend a little money and effort so that I can live like a person from a civilized society, and no, I don't expect the entire continent to change to suit me. 7) The supposed instances of tp causing clogs is very, very hard to substantiate, and I am more skeptical of this 'fact' than I am of crop circles being caused by aliens. 8) even if tp causes the odd blockage, the idea that it's better for an entire continent of people to continue a clearly unsanitary habit to avoid having to use a drain snake once in a while, is absurd and well I could go on, but I think that's good enough. I need to go out and make sure my septic tank is still working.
  2. Toilet Paper

    Derrick: Millions of rural Americans have septic systems. Many of them do not flush tp. How do you account for that? I thought I was pretty clear on this point. Apparently millions of people are actually sheep, who either do not think for themselves or are incapable of digging a hole, putting in a plastic tank, and attaching a few plastic drain pipes to it that feed into a field. I don't think this fact of yours explains why for some reason tp in CR does not decompose, as it does in every septic system I have owned or used in the last 25 years, including the ancient one on my first rural property, which turned out to be a rusted out oil tank with no bottom. yet, magically, the tp that was flushed into over 35 years had all decomposed. hard to believe, I know.
  3. Toilet Paper

    I just saw Colin's reply now, and I am starting to understand why you're all so defensive. First of all, I was not speaking to, denigrating or even suggesting that 'all ticos' should change their way of lives to suit me. Not sure why you jump to that conclusion? I've lived happily in latin America for over 10 years. I certainly don't expect anything to change for the better, but doesn't mean I can't tell the truth that people in these countries (some ex pats included apparently) blindly just swallow whatever myth the authorities (or the almighty internet) feeds them. I thought this forum was mainly ex pats who might prefer not to live in squalor just because someone told them to. I don't give a rat's ass how any of you choose to live really, I just find it amusing everyone is so closed minded and sheepish about it. of course there's not a tico alive that's going to install a proper septic, no one tells them they need to. Quite the opposite apparently. But again, I didn't realize you were all ticos living on tico wages? You sure all do speak pretty good English, congrats! Some of the people near where I live have leaking tin roofs, unfinished block walls and outdoor plumbing. So I should live like that because "when in Rome..."? Sorry, I actually prefer to live like any intelligent person with an ounce of self respect and ability does, with indoor plumbing that works, and that doesn't dump untreated waste onto my property, or into the gutters that run down the street. Health and environmental aspects aside, I just don't want to live like a caveman, thank you. You guys are all welcome to. I guess I have to put up a sign in my guest bathroom that tells people to please put tp where it belongs, in the toilet. Funny how all the eco nuts who flock to CR are the ones who are resistant to promoting the use of proper waste management systems. As for renters, well the saying is, 'if the shoe fits, wear it', which also means if it doesn't, don't. Personally I wouldn't rent a place with malfunctioning plumbing, or I'd expect the landlord to repair it, but to each his own. As for feminine hygiene products, paper towels, Kleenex, boxer shorts or lumps of coal, please show me where I said it was proper to dispose of those in a septic system? hey, if y'all want to keep making up stuff and misrepresenting what I wrote (seems a constant theme here) go right ahead, guess it's a good time waster for all of us.
  4. Toilet Paper

    wow a little sensitive are we? sense of humour lacking perhaps? maybe the methane gases in your bathrooms have gone to your heads lol
  5. Toilet Paper

    Hogwash! Sorry, but just nonsense. First of all, some (not all) people seem to have not managed to actually read what I wrote: "tp in a properly built septic system is no problem at all" - "properly built" repeat, "properly built" , if your 'septic system' is a hole in the ground, I suppose maybe tp will take longer to decompose, but I don't see why. Call me skeptical. And you know, you can have a tank pumped out if it gets full of magical tp that just doesn't decompose, because, well, because the tank doesn't have a bottom... And anyway, you're saying that every septic system in CR is poorly constructed? Guess that's possible, but I wouldn't want to have a faulty septic at my home in NA, and wouldn't be allowed to, so why would I have one here in supposedly 'green' CR? Why would anyone put up with not flushing tp because they didn't want to spend a few hundred bucks buying a proper plastic tank, they're available in almost every hardware store here. Too lazy to visit a store or have your local workman spend 4 hours digging a hole? "Pipes too small" . Really? Seriously? Everything else passes through just fine, but tp doesn't? have you ever seen wet tp? It literally disintegrates. Come on. I'd like to hear how someone determined that the clog was the tp, and not solid waste. Or maybe I don't, actually. Extremely skeptical. I am remodeling an old house right now, all plumbing is normal (north am standard) sized, everything in the hardware store is normal sized. So, you're telling me that I have the only house in all of CR that uses properly sized drains, and all the stuff in the hardware stores is just for my benefit? Please. "in some countries the real reason the authorities tell people that tp will plug their pipes is that their water filtration plants"- "in some countries" repeat "in some countries" . That would mean, not here in CR, but "in some countries" they have water filtration plants, and the government IN THOSE COUNTRIES, NOT HERE IN CR, tell people they can't flush tp, because it serves the authorities purposes to have people believe that. Apparently the myth has spread even to countries where septic systems are common, and it's even believed by some otherwise educated gringos. Whatever, keep on believing what you're told, and living like cavepeople! lol me, I'll have a nice, sanitary, fresh bathroom, and if my septic acts up, I'll have it fixed, properly. It's really not difficult, or expensive.
  6. That's the guy, thanks jal, I knew someone would know him.
  7. Toilet Paper

    After living many years in argentina, I discovered that a bidet is in fact a brilliant invention, and I would happily pay to have one installed next time I do a bathroom, no matter what country I am in. As many have pointed out, tp in a properly built septic system is no problem at all. I find the habit of putting tp in a bin more than disgusting, not to mention potentially unhealthy. As far as I am concerned, the idea that you can't flush tp another myth that is perpetuated by people who refuse to think for themselves, and just sheepishly do what they are told. I have heard in some countries the real reason the authorities tell people that tp will plug their pipes is that their water filtration plants can't handle tp, so rather than upgrade the plants, they just tell the sheeple a lie, and the vast majority nod their heads in agreement. No wonder nothing ever improves! I've owned commercial properties in several LA countries, where 'gospel' says you can't possibly flush tp, and after a decade and probably tens of thousands of flushes (by clients, not just me!) the only clogs were caused by people flushing nylon stockings, or boxer shorts. And not one of my places ever had a bin full of dirty tp, thank god.
  8. Ron, great points and I had many of the same questions that you do regarding the 'benefits' of residency. I was never planning to stay here for more than a couple of months a year, but once I started to consider staying longer I read up on residency and the main deal breaker for me was the caja. That alone makes me believe residency would be a total waste of time and money for me. I honestly cannot see any benefit to ME in obtaining residency, and substantial costs. I will happily take a bus to Granada once or twice a year (most likely I will be in my home country 6 months a year). In fact, I like Nicaragua so much I'll probably stay a few weeks each time. If I'm denied entry into CR, I'll happily take myself and my dollars to Nicaragua or Colombia or Peru. I can rent my place out here and spend that income somewhere else. Pura vida!
  9. There's a Canadian guy, I can't recall his name, who is quite well known, he has a website. He also builds homes here, using SIPs and other north American products/methods. His charges a fair bit, but he could save you from making a big mistake. A friend hired him for an inspection, and asked me to tag along, and I have to say, he knows his stuff. He was on the property for several hours. He does tend to ramble on a bit, but he will give you a good honest opinion and also can tell you what replacement costs are for a particular type of home. I'm sure someone here knows who I mean...if I can recall his name I'll get back to you.
  10. p.s. If you look at all the RE for sale in CR, you will see a lot of ads saying selling 'below market value', which is obviously untrue, but what I think they might mean is that the property is selling for below replacement cost, and although people tend to exaggerate in these ads, especially RE agents, I have seen some luxury properties for sale where it was definitely true. (Pretty easy to calculate replacement costs of a building if you know the square footage and local costs). So you might wonder why people are selling for below replacement cost. Good chance they were grossly overcharged or they spent foolishly. Doesn't really matter though, there's a good chance if you do your homework and research that you can buy a good property and home for less than you could possibly build it for, and you save all the hassles and uncertainties.
  11. I used to make my living trading the Canadian dollar, so I have a little insight. It sure looks to me that the loonie will hang around 75 to 85 cents for the next year or two at least. Once a major trend is established, it usually runs for several years, even decades. But things are changing so rapidly now I think the moves will be shorter. I have been short the loonie from above par to where we are now. I started to cover (buy loonies) this week. I am very happy to be able to buy at anything around 75 to 79 cents. I will probably go a little long the loonie at 75 cents, and really long at 70 to 72 cents. So what I'm saying is, I am GUESSING that the major part of the decline in the loonie is over. I very, very much doubt we'll see even low 70's let alone 62 cents, although I would love that. (Which maybe biases my thinking). Buying vs building: After my career in banking, I moved to South America and have several years experience building homes and small hotels. If you do not speak Spanish, and are not 100% at the site every day, all day, you will have some very bad experiences, generally just paying double or triple what you should be. Architects and or contractors will be arranging kickbacks galore if you are not on top of the cost of every load of sand, cement and piece of wood or metal that is used in the project. Scaffolding that you own will somehow disappear at the end of the project, no one knows where it went. Budgets are meaningless. Contracts are meaningless. If an employee (workman) decides to sue you, for any reason, you will lose. Your legal fees will be higher than the amount he sues you for. Labour laws are wildly skewed in favour of employees/contractors. These are just a very few minor examples of what you can experience. basically think of the average nightmare people have in north America building or renovating, multiply by 2 or 3 or 5 times, and you get the idea. If, and it's a big if, you can find a very reliable, honest contractor, whose references are impeccable, and whose many projects you have visited, on your own, can find time to fit you in to his schedule, and if you can be sure to be there to oversee things every day, you might have a good experience. if you are an experienced builder, I would highly recommend just hiring your own labourers for a monthly wage and do it all yourself. You better speak fluent Spanish though. Not trying to put you off completely, I am about to start another building project myself, but I now have years of experience and I know the exact cost of every bag of cement, every floor tile, every electrical switch. That's because I buy all materials myself. All I do is pay people wages, and I determine if they are worthwhile or not. If not, their contract is not renewed the next month (or week). If you do things this way, instead of being quite expensive to build here, you'll find it's actually incredibly reasonable. You can find good, reliable workmen, with just basic skills, not top electricians or carpenters, for $5 an hour. Very hard to find good electricians that are reliable and show up when they say they will, but pretty much every other trade is easy enough to find. Oh, and make sure they are all 'de confianza'. They must come with good references from other people that you know well. I could write a book on other things to do or not do, but this might give you some ideas. if you go into it with your eyes open you can save a lot more than 30%. But if you go blindly trusting the first smiling local you meet, you might just end up in a nightmare.
  12. @costaricafinca Yes we pay the gardener's caja etc and when the property changed hands we paid his liquidacion, which amounted to about 600k for 2 years. So even though he never lost his job, we paid him as it really doesn't matter to me if he gets paid sooner or later, and the bill was sent to the former owner, who will look after it. Again, these costs are generally split by four families on a large property, so the liquidacion cost $300 each, approximately. Not going to break anyone. But it could be a good point to remember, if you bought a property with a long term employee, it'd be good to know that the previous owner had paid his liquidacion for all the time up until the new buyer took over. I doubt the new owner would be on the hook for it, but you never know.... Anyway, as I said, my situation is somewhat unique I'm sure, and it just happens to suit me perfectly. Being able to share the costs of maintenance etc sure helps. Even the location of this particular property makes it more secure than most, being on a very long (5 or 6 km) small road which eventually dead ends and there is only one way out. There are also quite high natural barriers. So if crime really was a problem here (doesn't seem to be) I think there are much easier targets.
  13. The good news is the devaluation will make CR more affordable to everyone that has income or investments in dollars. Prices are definitely out of whack here. I'd say a 20% devaluation would start to get things back to where CR should be. just a very rough guesstimate.
  14. sorry that you didn't seem to understand my posts Eleanor, I clearly stated I did not buy here but received a property as part of a settlement. I also did not say the big risk is failure of financial institutions (although that is certainly possible) but the much more obvious one of devaluation. I don't mind criticism at all, but helps if you at least get your facts right, otherwise you're just totally misrepresenting what I wrote. And if you think you're going to be quick enough (or even allowed) to pull your money out of a bank here before a devaluation happens, well, you deserve what's going to happen to you I'm afraid. When governments devalue they usually do it after denying it will happen over and over. Then they surprise everyone by doing it on a weekend, so you can't do anything about it. if you were even remotely aware of the Argentinian devaluation, which was textbook, you might not be so smug. The government even took people's USD deposits and converted them to pesos at the pre devaluation rate and then devalued! Incredible but it happened, and not that long ago. In fact, my neighbour down the street here was wiped out in that little debacle, and we are talking about a large amount of wealth, that was cut by 80% overnight. I don't expect anything quite so dramatic here, but to not even warn people about the possibility is irresponsible to say the least. If it was such a good deal, don't you think people from all over the world would be changing their euros and yen and dollars into colones and earning themselves 9%? You might want to ask yourself why the smart money is not doing that. Final point, it makes perfect sense to own real assets if you expect devaluation, which is the same thing as inflation. So please spare me from further economic lessons, you're a danger to people's financial well being.
  15. Oh, and one last thing, as an ex-financial services employee with 25 years international experience in currency and debt markets, i would, in the absolute strongest possible way, urge anyone to avoid at all costs putting any money in any financial institution here, especially to earn a return in colones. I absolutely guarantee you that the colon will devalue significantly at some point in the (near? probably not, likely within 3 years) future, more than wiping out any interest that you might get, and that says nothing about the security (or lack thereof) of your principal. Think Argentina, although CR is not nearly so hopeless as that basket case, yet. But the government here is heading down the same road. If you think that earning 6% or 9% is a low risk proposition, well, I have a nice bridge for sale in Guanacaste that you also might be interested in. People recommending such an incredibly risky 'investment' of other people's life savings, without even a casual nod to the devaluation risks involved, should be ashamed, jmho. Not that you should jump into buying RE either. I am all for renting, especially in a foreign country. I just personally like to spend my time adding value to a property, and I have some skill and experience with that. And, I have found an almost perfect property for my interests. But even so, at some point I will want to sell, and I fully realize that will be a multi year process.
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