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Posts posted by Epicatt2

  1. Rich & Laura,


    Neither Belize nor Ecuador have the infrastructure as does CR (such as it is).


    I was in Belize twice some time back and found it rather charming. That was before the recent huge tourist influx after which the All-Inclusive Resorts began to pop up.


    Belize was fun for me in its rustic sort of way but there was no place other than a basic clinic in the Cayo District on the west side of the country which would have been the only place I would have considered relocating to. But, as I said earlier, San Ignacio Town is now overrun with tourists and the development attendant on that, so that the rustic charm of the area is no more.


    Also, for me there was no place in the country available where there was enough altitude to escape the heat and humidity of the country. Up in Mountain Pine Ridge it was about 2200 ft., but tended to stay between 78 and 80 F., plus it was a nature preserve and only the Maya Indians were allowed to live there, mostly in the village of San Antonio.


    One other development that a poster mentioned recently elsewhere was that raids, originating in Guatemala, by gangs of thieves have begun occurring and they have attacked some tourist destinations in Belize (in the south and also Mountain Pine Ridge) and stolen money and valuables from tourists at upscale resorts there.


    I really did enjoy Belize when I was there, but it was not a place I would have wanted to live year-round, primarily due to the heat.


    Just ruminating a bit...




    Paul M.


  2. I was hoping to get more responses.

    Hi Victoria,


    It may be that there is just not much offered in that area. It is, after all, sort of 'at the end of the road', lacking most of the amenities and infrastructure that urban society takes for granted, yet great for laid-back surferdudes and people wanting to get away from it all and lie about in hammocks, without electricity and 'uptown stuff'.


    I did read someone else's commentary recently on another discussion group wherein they commented after visiting the area, with similar intents as you have, that it was so rustic there that it was not to her liking as a place to relocate to full-time.


    Just thought I would pass that along.


    Now, that having been said, you may be more than amenable to living in a 'lost' area such as Zancudo, so my post here is not to discourage you. It is merely to point out why there might be a place for only $85K for sale there. And it may have been for sale for quite a while, given the relative remoteness of the area.


    In any event, good luck with your search.




    Paul M.


  3. ... I happen to have a lot of moles, common for white-skinned people, and THEY are commented upon. My standard retort is that the difference is that I have my darkness in spots while they have it spread around more evenly all over, and on the balance I prefer it spread around more evenly. ...



    What are the (various) reactions to your 'retort" by the Ticos?


    Yes, I will agree with you on the way 'differences' are perceived and commented on in CR.


    Because of my weight I had a Tico friend who called me 'gordito'. Had I not long ago read up on the cultural mores of the Ticos, I prolly would have been miffed. But Ticos love nicknames and used them freely and happily.


    Those researching Tico culture will sooner or later run across articles about this, some citing examples of nicknames applied and the physical features/aspect that prompt them.


    ¡Puras Palabras!


    Paul M.


  4. Gerald,


    Very good observations. People do listen but, as you say, they tend to file stuff away and forget about it, then proceed to make the same mistakes so many of us have.


    Even if we do remember what we were told, because of the way we have learned to operate in our own culture do tend to override that advice, i.e., old habits die hard.


    There is an old Russian proverb: "When it happens to you you'll know", which also seems to apply here.


    When one is told that travel is the best education, that is exactly right. And the more we pay attention, the more quickly we will learn how to survive in places like Costa Rica, when we move there.


    If one accepts the above info s/he can extrapolate from it the how imperative it is to learn Spanish -and to get started studying it asap, learning at least a few basic words, phrases, and the numbers, before moving to CR. The more Spanish one learns/knows when they move to someplace like CR the more quickly they can begin to adjust/adapt to the new culture they elected for themselves and the problems they encounter there will be far less daunting for them.


    But, all this having been said, I'm not holding my breath that it will change things much. But if one person takes it to heart it will be worth having made the effort to post here.






  5. ... I have been

    asking questions for a year and a half and I am amazed at the information that

    is printed is different from the information that is told....is it just me??????



    No, it is not just you. While there are lots and lots of laws, all in print, in CR it seems de rigeur for each client, clerk, official, agent, attorney, judge, and most every don Fulano, to interpret each particular law in his or her own way.


    I believe that part of this stems from the strong desire of Ticos to quedar bien. (You can read more about this in the Biensanz' book, "The Ticos".)




    Paul M.


  6. Prices in Escazu are insane. I also had problems with an American woman broker who posts ads for Escazu houses and pulls bait-and-switch tactics on you. It's all a nightmare over there.

    I have heard about that lady's shenanigans for several years now. She has been banned from a couple CR discussion groups for those sort of unethical tactics.


    She gets always with it because she's 'so nice' and also because there are no real real estate regulations to put her out of business.


    It's actually better to deal directly with the seller of the property than with 'agents' or representatives for a property. Some of those reps can even be representing both the seller and the buyer. Can you say 'conflict of interest'?


    WATCHWORD: Extra caution is needed when considering buying real estate in CR.


    Personally, I will likely never buy; I'll continue to rent. It's far safer.




    Paul M.


  7. Thanx David,


    That's a great set of tools. I wasn't aware of that site nor of any 'articulation' maps/diagrams as is on this site.


    Very helpful stuff, that.


    Here is another very useful URL:




    for the Real Acacemia Española (Royal Spanish Academy) and their "Diccionário de la lengua española" (DRAE), where you can look up words and also see their conjugation. It is all in spanish but it's helpful to learn definitions of words in their own language. The DRAE is as ample as the Oxford English Dictionary, but for spanish.


    I have a copy of the 21st edition of this dictionary on CD-ROM and it is a great tool with a few more features than the online one has. But the online version is more than ample. The current edition is the 22nd ed. and the 23rd ed. is about to be released.


    Be sure to bookmark the link above as it is a wonderful reference to pair with your personal print copies of Spanish/English and English/Spanish dictionaries.


    Don't forget that we have 'El Foro en Español' here on the Forums where one can practice one's spanish and there was at least one recent post there from a Tica inviting Forum members to come practice.


    Saludos a Todos,


    Paul M.


  8. potta = otter

    No. Can't agree.


    It's 'pah-tah' vs 'ah-tuhr', unless maybe one is perhaps from Baahstahn, Mass.


    Anyway the ending of 'otter' with the 'urr' slightly changes the value of the preceding 'tt's by causing the tongue to strike the palate behind the Alveolar ridge, not directly on it where Spanish's 'r' is pronounced.


    Most Gringos may not hear a difference it but most Spanish speakers will be able to tell.


    The position of the tongue is almost exactly the same for the Spanish 'r' as the 't' sounded in 'pot of gold' when said at conversational speed in English.


    We were shown line drawings of the mouth cavity and tongue in class so we could learn where the tongue should be to pronounce the Spanish 'r' correctly. I hope I was able to describe it well enough so that others may benefit from the explanation and get it 'right on'.


    Buena Suerte,


    Paul M.


  9. Is this a genetic thing or what? Because I can't seam to be able to roll my RS. At all. Is there a way for me to learn? Muchas gracious.



    Here's my suggestion for you -and how we were taught to pronounced the Spanish single 'r' back in my days of studying Spanish at University:


    Say the English phrase 'pot of gold' but like 'potta gold', which is how we tend to pronounce it in everyday speech.


    Feel where your tongue taps the ridge in the roof of your mouth when you say 'potta gold'... speciffically the 'tt' part. (That is the alveolar ridge on the roof of your mouth and that is almost exactly where the tongue taps when the Spanish single 'r' is pronounced.)


    Now once you have mastered the single 'r'...try practicing pronouncing the Spanish words:


    para [for] - cara [face] - toro [bull] - corazón [heart]


    until you feel comfortable.


    So now, producing the double 'rr' in Spanish should become easier the more you try. It is the same movement of the tongue striking the roof of the mouth at the same place, but now allow some air to pass between the tongue and the Alveolar ridge at the same time, while voicing the 'r' and you'll pretty soon have it down pat! You tongue will sort of repeatedly ricochet off the ridge, producing the trilled (or rolled) 'r' that you are trying for.




    Paul M.


  10. Hola Patricia,


    Le ofresczo una amistosa bienvenida al Foro en Español. No sé que sugerir como asuntos para discutir, pero deberían que ser muchos.


    El problema que veo con practicar una idioma nueva es que muchas veces quedamos con nuestros compatriotas 'expats' en vez de que mezclarnos con los habitantes de modo que no practiquemos el español sino seguimos hablando inglés por lo mayoria del tiempo. Estoy seguro que a veces puede ser igual para Uds. pero al revés...


    Bueno. No sé que debemos discutir pero tal vez, mmm... ¿Cómo así?... Que les parece a Uds. una visita a la féria donde vive Ud.en Costa Rica? ¿Qué le gustan comprar cada semana? ¿Cuáles son las frutas o vegetales que prefieren mas -que no pueden comprar en su patria, y cómo se preparan?


    O... De los parques centrales de las varias ciudades en Costa Rica, ¿cuál es su favorita y porqué?


    OK. ¿Algo más?




    Pablo de Tampa


  11. ... Wrapping your stuff in clothing to get it thru without duty is a great idea. ... Trouble is I have more clothing than I have stuff to wrap.



    When I packed up the things I was bringing the last two times I had empty space in my three bags so I raided my linen closet and packed all my towels around those things so they wouldn't slop around during transit. It wound up being a lot of towels and washcloths. But even though there were a LOT of towels there were no questions about them upon my arrival in CR.


    Then I had to pack them back up when I returned home cuz I had all my towels with me in CR. Luckily they fit in my two allowed bags nicely. But I had to do the same thing on this trip down, so all my towels are with me again and will have to be packed up for return once more.


    But looking ahead, I can see I will be doing this same thing on the next trip down. Eventually, after two or three more trips this way I'll have all the kitchen gadgets and household stuff I need here and won't have to pay for that extra bag on the way down anymore. (Hope Charlie Zeller isn't angry with me.)


    So to answer the previous question, if towels work this way, used clothing should be a 'no-brainer'...




    Paul M.


  12. Ace......what a great idea.....but......I am wondering if you are going to be charged a duty (35%) on your wrappings.Please let us know. I was the county estate auctioneer here for the past 20 years. I also have bought and sold during that time and have several houses full of clothes (packing material) miscellaneous and sundry items plus many tools and much equipment. If I can get someone to pay the shipping and the C/R government will not tax what I give away.......I will donate it all except for some of the tools and equipment I will need to build my house. There will be more than one container. keep us informed.......john

    Why not talk to Charlie Zeller, the shipper, and see if he has any advice about how to label these items destined for donation, so they won't be dutied.


    Just a thought...


    Paul M.


  13. Maybe ARCR knows something about how to help the victims of the Earthquake.



    You might try reading thru some of the back issues of AM Costa Rica




    from Jan 8th (the date of the earthquake) onward for about 10 to 14 days where, IIRC, there were suggestions for where to send donations.


    One oft-repeated suggestion was to send money to the Cruz Roja so they could use the funds where most needed.


    I am sure that Cruz Roja can still benefit from monetary donations as there is yet much to do in the aftermath for recovery.


    I'd also check back issues of the TicoTimes and La Nación (Dígital) closely after said event....




    Paul M.


  14. We did find a small supermarket in Tampa, when we went over to a Winery in St. Petersburg, that sold 'Tico type food'.

    Glad you had a good experience on Spirit, CRF.


    The only decent thing to eat inflight is the pack of almonds and cashews with pretzel-nuts. (That goes well with a gin Bloody Mary.) Of course all their eats & drinks are for sale, plastic-only, onboard...


    Now I am curious as to which grocery you found in Tampa... Was it Tico Y Marisol, the one that I mentioned before? I don't ever remember them having prepared (tico) food, just meats, fruits, veggies, and canned good, etc. ...the usual grocery store stuff, but with Salsa Lizano available cheap.




    Paul M.


  15. Laura,


    With Spirit flying to FLL you'd be mere minutes from TWO CAN TICO in nearby Hollywood, Florida . . .


    Maybe I can find a phone number for it so we can verify that it is still in business and its hours.


    There are no Tico restaurants in Tampa or its environs, but I had heard that there was one on Fllorida's east coast; maybe that one is the one that I heard about.


    Then if you could find one of those super-cheapo flights on Spirit from LV to FLL, a visit would be doable...


    OTOH, in Tampa we do have a tico grocery store. It's called Tico Y Marisol and I can get CR coffee in he bean that they fly in a couple times per month to the store and they also sell quart bottles of Salsa Lizano!


    = = =


    UPDATE: This place appears to be a bar/nightclub, but very popular. What I can find by doing a Google search using its name, is that its menu consists of bar food, burgers, sandwiches, etc. There is no mention of gallo pinto, alas! There is a phone number that pops up, (954) 925-8810, so you could call ahead if you expect to be in the area. It literally is but minutes from Ft. Lauderdale Int'l Airport, though.


    BTW, Spirit flies non-stop onward to SJO daily from FLL, if you really need a gallo pinto fix...




    Paul M.


  16. I prefer dunking my cheese sandwich in my hot chocolate since I really don't care for coffee.



    There's some pretty darned good coffees in the markets here in CR.


    I discovered the brand Tesoros del Sol




    which is the only coffee I have ever been able to drink without adding cream & sugar, it is so smooth. It is made high-altitude, shade-grown, organic beans. I can order Tesoros del Sol's coffee in the US online, or I'll buy ten pounds of it while in CR and pack it in my suitcase when I fly home from CR, but then all my clothes smell like coffee for two or three weeks afterwards! (Oh well... Worse things have happened!)


    There is also Café Britt which has a very good flavor, but it is quite expensive. You will see it regularly in the groceries here, though.


    Maybe you could go half and half with hot chocolate and one of these really good coffees and dunk your cheese sandwich in a cuppa mocha!






    Enjoying the finally cooler temps in Alajuela after several nice rainshowers here this week.


  17. The latest American movies don't reach theaters in Costa Rica until they are at least 1 year old.



    I have to agree with Jessica on this. I have found over the years that the release dates for US features in Costa Rica has gotten closer and closer to the US release dates for them. It is mostly now down to within a week of the US opening date in a great many cases.


    Sometimes we may not recognize a particular film has arrove as the spanish title for it sometimes gives little clue to its english title.


    One I remember I had no clue on before I saw some of the photo stills from it displayed outside the cinema was "The sound of Music". Its spanish title is "La Novia Rebelde". Would you have guessed that one?


    And there are lots of others which are unrecognizable by the spanish title...




    Paul M.


  18. i must be one of a few people that want to move to costa rica, but do not want to buy real estate. i would think that a person would not want the respondability of ownership. i just want to be carefree and live my carefree. and be able to pickup and move whenever i'd like, but thats me, later, paul.



    Here's one person who agrees with you.


    With the rental laws favoring the tenant I cannot see why so many people feel an almost desperate need to sink their equity into property. Someone pointed out a while back that they could sell out back home and pop the money into a bank instrument and with the interest alone be able to rent a very nice place in CR and leave their principal intact. Of course that may be somewhat moderated in today's economy but it still should be doable.


    I somewhat suspect that the need to be propertied may be a cultural thing. Perhaps in the back of our gringo minds we feel that to not be propertied is to be poor.


    But I feel that by renting one is not forced to directly shoulder the need for upkeep on the dwelling, for just one thing. Nor am I locked by ownership into an area or neighborhood where problems or annoyances exist or eventually develop, since if they do and I am renting, I can simply and easily find another place.


    Now, to give the other side the podium, I would be interested to hear from Forums members as to their reasons/need/desires for wanting to buy a house instead of renting, even though the rental laws in CR so greatly favor the tenant.




    Paul M.


  19. So glad you enjoyed the photos. I enjoyed editing some of the photos to make them more interesting.

    Just a couple QQs Laura...


    I only noticed a couple photos of landing at SJO. Did you not spend any time in the Central Valley or San José?


    Did you get any shots of your trip to Nosara, or was that by plane, too?


    Nice to see you all having a good time there.


    What was your favorite unexpected thing to happen on your visit to Costa Rica?






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