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Posts posted by Epicatt2

  1. ... my card was not accepted, i have plenty of open balance. Maybe i did something wrong. ... Do yall do a renewal mail out!!



    If you are not in CR and can't go to their offices, Why not phone ARCR and ask directly? They should be able to tell you why your card is not going thru or offer you an alternative.


    FYI sometimes emails don't get thru with RACSA and phoning is more direct and immediate.


    When you call, the receptionist Célia speaks english (as do the others), and she should be able to direct your call to whomever you need to talk to, or will be able to suggest when to call back. Célia is always pleasant and helpful. You could ask for Anabelle or Octávio in membership, or even Ryan if they are not available, but someone there should be able to help solve your problem.


    As to calling costs, if you have high-speed internet I would recommend downloading Skype onto your computer. It is free and the cost to call CR is about 6.4¢ per minute, which is quite inexpensive, so even if you wind up having to call back it's not a big chunk of money to do so. (You might need a headphone w/ mike to hear best with Skype, but that is all.)




    Paul M.


  2. ... It's looking more and more like we're simply going to sell many of the furnishing we've accummulated ...and pack the other stuff in boxes to take with us on the plane.



    I don't know what your final destination in the US is but if you are near a port city and you are not in the huge hurry to get home you might be able to pack everything up and take it with you on a freighter, traveling as passengers on the same vessel.


    I know it can be feasible to do so southbound after cargo such as bananas is offloaded, for instance here in Florida, and the vessel is returning empty to, say, Costa Rica. Then the captain may welcome some cargo rather than return empty.


    Northbound may be possible but the ship may tend to be full already, but who knows... Might well depend upon how early one gets one's foot in the door -er, hold, as it were.


    Just a thought...




    Paul M.


  3. ...You don´t know how many people out there had their belongings lost or damaged due to poor service on the side of the shipping company.

    ...Or held ransom for 'extra costs' at the point of delivery.


    Hi again Paco,


    One thing about Charlie Zeller is that he honors his quote. This has been verified in posts over the years on this and other sites by various people who have used his services.


    It might be useful to touch base with him once more to see maybe whether he might be able to help you figure out some ways to minimize the shipping costs you are facing.


    I'll keep my fingers X-ed for you.




    Paul M.


  4. My family and I are planning to relocate back to the USA after nearly a year here in Heredia. ... can [anyone] offer any good advice for shipping ... household items...[is] there.. a cheap and efficient way.

    Hi Paco,


    Many people have used and recommended this fellow noted below who has been in business shipping to and from Costa Rica for somewhere in the neighborhood of 35 years.


    Here is his contact information:


    Charles Zeller

    Ship to Costa Rica

    Tel 506-258-8747 Fax 506-258-7123

    Toll free from USA and Canada 1-866-245-6923

    Charles Zeller <shiptocostarica@racsa.co.cr>


    Hope this is useful information for you.




    Paul M.


  5. I agree that watching movies in spanish is a useful idea, but the subtitles often are not really too close to the actual spoken english dialogue, so in my opinion, they are not the best value for learning for the beginner. (Subtitles are certainly useful for building vocabulary, though.)


    Now watching a spanish movie in its original language is great for the imtermediate learner and beyond, but may be more off-putting than helpful for the beginner. But.....


    I DO strongly recommend the telenovels (sopa operas) on spanish TV. As I mentioned elsewhere, the dialogue between the characters is very helpful and since it is more like interchanges you would hear everyday and because it is being delivered by professional actors, those dialogues are spoken with clarity and good diction. Very useful indeed. If you have cable in the US you should be able to find a couple spanish stations to practice listening to.


    (Actually some of the telenovelas are quite well written and acted, often believable, even; far more so than their US counterparts.)


    Others have suggested watching the evening news on the spanish TV stations. This is useful since one has probably already seen the news that day in english and will have an idea of the topics being reported on in spanish.


    Okay, good luck with your practicing of spanish.




    Paul M.


  6. Hola Laura,


    I tend to agree with Shea on what she suggested. You will be surprsed at how much, how fast, you will begin to pick things up once you are immersed in the language and everyday culture here. It doesn't take long for you to start thinking in spanish or, not thinking at all when you say something; its just comes out. It was a revelation for me when that started happening as I did not realize I was doing it until a week or so after it started happening.


    An as to the songs/translating. I think the songs are okay to translate, but like Shea said, will not give you conversational practice. Listening to them for comprehension, however, is a useful vocabulary-building practice and is also a both a source of intertainment and a window into the tico culture.


    Muy buena suerte a Ud. con sus estudios.




    Pablito de Tampa


  7. I don't know how to put the upside down question mark or the accents on the words. Please tell me how to do it if you know how.



    On a Mac it's:


    option + shift + ?


    There have been times when I have been on a site that doesn't permit me to type in the accents so, like David, I will go to a place where the character/accents, etc. are and copy and paste them into my post. Other times I open a Word document (if I'm on a PC) and type the text to my post there with the accents then copy and paste the whole thing into my post.


    With MS Word go to the menu bar at the top of the page and choose 'insert', then 'symbol' and you will find the accented characters that you need. And when you highlight those characters in their little boxes, at the bottom of the window it will show you the shortcut key combination for the letter in question..


    Another way to find all those shortcuts on a PC is to use the 'help' function and query 'typing international characters'. That should bring up a file with the needed information in it.


    Espero que esto le ayude.




    Pableo de Tampa


  8. ...La palabra "gringo" es degradante en mas o menos grado dependiendo de las cirscuntancias,pero es inaceptable ...

    Oiga cab,


    No sabes lo que dices acerca de como usan la palabra 'gringo' los ticos.


    Bueno, sigo visitando a Costa Rica desde al ano '76 y por todo aquel tiempo no he tenido (generalmente) un sentido negativa con la palabra. Como decia anteriormente, uno entiende cuando la palabra lleva sentido negativo: por el contexto.


    Es asi y es facil adivinarlo.


    Pues basta, mae...






  9. ...would it be easier to see if they have them down there?

    Hey Goldie,


    I would recommend choosing seeds in Costa Rica. That is because the varieties offered locally will have been chosen because they grow well in the county.


    Look in the phone book for 'semillas' or 'semilleras' (= seeds or seedsellers). Also the two sources I mentioned above will most likely have some seeds available, too. Check with them as well. If nothing else they should be able to point you in the right direction to locate the kinds of seeds you are searching for.




    Paul M.


  10. ...grows Wisteria in a warm climate - he dumps ice around the base at 2 different times to simulate winter.

    If you like wisteria there is an excellent substitute for it that is a popular ornamental vine in Costa Rica. It is called Queen's Wreath or Sandpaper Vine in english (don't know the spanish name for it). The scientifc name for it is Petrea volubilis (syn. P. aborescens). It can grow up to 30 feet long, sometimes more. Older plants in CR get to where they look like small trees with knarley, twisty trunks. After the vine gets that old it becomes thick enough to be self supporting. One of the nice things about this vine is that, although it will freeze in central Florida, it usually comes back from the roots.


    Mine that I had when I lived at my previous house here in Tampa bloomed off and on all year but the main blooming occured in March or April when as an established, well fed vine it often would cover itself with flowers so that nothing but the flowers were visible. Cars would stop in the street and stare at it. It had grown into a 'ball' about eight feet in diameter and it really WAS showy. Then we sold the house and the new owners dug it up and tossed it.


    It actually seems to do better in Costa Rica than in Florida as I thnk it prefers the cooler weather in the mountains and the flowers on them in CR are more intensely colored than in Florida. I have seen it growing and blooming in yards in San Jose and in Alajuela. I don't think people fertilize their Petreas in CR but if you have one there and you do feed it regularly it should bloom its head off for you. Well worth the effort to find one (check the viveros in La Garita). then you won't miss wisteria at all.


    Happy growing...


    Paul M.


  11. ...There is a gardeners column in the Tico Times which is very informative. and I believe he has written a book on organic gardening in Costa Rica, I'm sorry I cannot think of his name offhand.



    That would be Ed Bernhardt and yes, he wrote a book on organic gardening in CR. You can Google up his website for The New Dawn Center and there you should be able to find out how to obtain a copy of the book.


    Also there is an herb farm up above Alajuela called The Ark. They grow all kinds of herbs, both culinary and medicinal. They offer tours of the gardens and you can buy either herb plants or seeds from them. Their site will also come up on a Google search.


    One thing to keep in mind is that some herbs are not suitable for the tropics as they require a certain number of chilling hours to thrive. I am sure either one of the two contacts above will be able to advise you of the best varieties that wil thrive in CR.


    Hope this is useful for you.


    Paul M.


  12. ... Please email me at once should you find any odd behaviors, missing posts, photos... who knows.

    Hey TG,


    Don't know if it is related to your recent changes but I have started noticing that my log-ins are not holding even though I check the 'remember me' box each time I log in. This is happening at work on a PC using MS Windows and at home on my Mac using OS 10.4 (Tiger).


    This did not happen prior to the updates you made to the website. I used to stay logged in to the Forums indefinitely before the changes. Nor am I experiencing this problem with any other sites I stay logged into permanently either at home or at work.


    Have you heard from any other Forums members who are having similar problems?




    Paul M.


  13. Please email me at once should you find any odd behaviors, missing posts, photos... who knows.



    Woo Hoo! I don't know WHAT you did today, but I now look 20 years younger and feel 30 pounds lighter.


    Blessed be the Web Master!


    [Please be SURE you save the changes you made!]


    Paul M.


  14. We are evaluating the possibility of moving to CR. ... and ... rent [ing] long term ... $1200/$1500 per month to spend on rent.


    I have looked at the "Gringo" for sale and for rent sites but have a hard time correlating these in terms of "real" prices.

    Before you sell out back home you should consider coming to CR and staying 3 to 6 months, renting in different areas to see if you will like it here.


    To get a sense of non-gringo prices for rentals I would suggest that you visit the national newspaper online.


    La Nacion Digital



    Once there, look down the righthand sidebar and click on




    There you can check the prices for rental houses and apartments in different areas of the country. There are some very attractive prices, as opposed to the gringo rates being asked for on sites such as 'AM Costa Rica' or in the 'Tico Times'.


    Hope this is useful information for you.




    Paul M.


  15. Aren't there laws preventing people from breaking into your house? What about your personal property that is on the premises when they decide to move in?



    The squatter thing is involved primarily with undeveloped land (for the most part). Although if it is a large enough piece of property squatters might squat on a portion of it that is far away from the house or other developed sections. Out of sight out of mind, you know...


    The sooner you can remove squatters from your property the better. As mentioned above, inside of thirty days all it takes is the police to make them move along.


    If they stay longer if becomes more difficult to evict them and, if they are there long enough to make improvements to the property, the property owner may have to reimburse the squatters for those improvements. Sadly, improvements may include a situation where the onwer purchased pristine land and the squatters clearcut an area of it to farm on. The onwer may have bought that property as a preservation effort, yet the clearcutting is considered an improvement by the CR court system and the owner can be required to pay for that destruction of the forest to get the squatters off his property!


    An absentee land owner would do well to find a trusted person to watch over his land during the time(s) he is not there. Some landowners will hire a person to live on the land as a caretaker. In this case it is advisable to have a written agreement or contract with the caretakes specifying the details and possibly paying a minimal sum for the service. This will go a long way to preventing that person from deciding to become a squatter on the property, a situation that has befallen trusting landowners more than a few times. Such a contract is useful as it would show the court that a specified agreement had be made previously, which would act as a protection for the landowner.


    Squatting is almost always on rural land. One seldom if ever hears of squatting in towns, even on an undeveloped lot.


    Hope this is useful info...


    Paul M.


  16. My wife and I are contemplating a visit to CR, probably next year, and I want to teach her a little Spanish. My University of Chicago Spanish Dictionary says that CR, like Guatemala has a non-standard pronunciation of rr. I just wanted to get some feedback from those living there so I teach my wife to pronounce like the locals. So the question is: Which is more common - to pronounce rr as a rolled r as in Mexico, such as "Costa R-r-r-ica" or with a softer rr that is something like "Costa Zhrica". Obviously it is hard to communicate this in writing, but I hope you understand what I mean. As I recall, the Guatemalan pronunciation is something like pronouncing the "Z" in the word "azure" (or a French "J" as in "Jaques") before the R.


    Thanks for your response, if you can understand what I am asking!




    aka Zhrafael


    Hola Rafa,


    The initial 'r' in tico spanish is rolled, not softened.


    (Actually, in Guatemala the intial 'r' is -or was when I

    was there in the late 60s- was pronounced almost like 'sr',

    for example 'rosas' = 'srosas'...)


    The french 'je' [zhuh] sound can be found in tico spanish

    in words like 'pollo' where the 'll' is pronounced close to

    that you the french 'je'...


    Where you will find a lot of differences is in the vocabulary

    and usage. 'Tú' 2nd pers. sing. is not used very much and

    Ud. replaces it, even for close friends. Vos is also used

    between close friends: ¿Tú sabes? / ¿Sabe Ud.? / ¿Vos sabés?

    It is probably better to stick with the polite form and use Ud.


    For the 'please' the verb ‘regalar’ is commonly used:

    Regáleme dos tíquetes, por favor. (You can always stick that

    second 'please' on the end just to be more polite.)


    There is much in the way of idiom, which seems to always be

    changing, heard in Costa Rica. Plus there is the street slang

    known as ‘pachuco’ which I (a spanish major) do not understand.

    But when you go into a store the clerks will know you are not

    from there and tend to use more standard spanish.


    Ticos like to give nicknames to people, places, and things which

    sometimes can make it difficult to know what is being talked about.

    San José, for instance is also known as Chepe. Other towns and

    their inhabitants all have their own nicknames which I haven’t been

    able to memorize yet.


    But don’t worry. You’ll be okay. Just have fun while you’re there

    and you’re bound to learn some tico spanish.


    ¡Pura Vida!


    Paul M.


  17. Attn: TicoGrande,


    Have searched thru archives w/o success. Have question about the member level/status as represented by blue boxes (one thru five boxes). How are these levels determined? I see new members with higher rating levels than long timers.


    Also, how does the warning rating work?


    Also, curious to know where your penguin logo went to; the blinking eye logo does get a little nervewracking after a while.


    Enquiring minds and al that rot....


    Best Regards,


    Paul M.

    [FYI - you may answer me off list if you like, afterwards removing this post]


  18. Not a problem, TG, but... pardon me while I stir the cauldron a little more:


    Is there some way to get a sense of what people might want to see on the calendar -or NOT want to see, even? That way it might help to avoid listing those things that are of little or no interest to the Forums Members.


    Is there a way to poll them as to what general topics they would like to be apprised of? Of course some are thinking about moving here, some are planning a trip (soon) to CRica, and others are already living here, so I realize interests will be varied. Still, some sort of 'barometer' would be useful for helping know what to post.


    ¡Puras Fechas!


    Paul M.

    [in again temperate Tampa today]


  19. Well, TG...


    I am not averse to putting info onto the calendar occasionally. Let's see what evolves. As to assuming the calendar on a full-time basis, I could consider that seriously for later on after I am down there permanently. But for now I am moderating one of the other more active BBs about Costa Rica and that -as you can appreciate- does eat up some time.


    Still, if I find anything interesting and can figure out the mechanics of posting to the calendar I'll add it on...





    [still stuck in Tampa]


  20. Hola TicoGrande,


    Those poll figures on 'calendar awareness' are interesting. And, like you, I am not at all surprised that there are so many ARCReños who don't/didn't know about it. I didn't either before quite recently as I never noticed the small link that is always there on the right side near the top of the forums page when it is open...


    The calendar is helpful -within reason- that is to say, for what it provides. I think it can handle more, but everyone's likes and needs are diferent, so until you get more feedback, who knows for sure what other things would be most welcome/useful on it.


    In my case I would like to see announcements for things like the little local orchid shows that pop up almost unannounced unless one combs thru all the newspapers every day. There is about one, small, regional orchid show mounted every month somewhere in Costa Rica, plus the huge National Orchd Exposition in San Jose each March. Other similar items could be announced, like bromeliad shows, tropical plant shows, etcetera.


    Certainly you would soon know from the feedback you would get whether the Forum readers liked or disliked the imput on the calendar.


    Also, if one of us finds some interesting show or activity, say the Little Theatre's next production dates*, or various music concerts*, and would like to announce it on the calendar, how do we do that? Or must we submit it to Forums Administration for them to insert?


    * Even though items such as these may be announced in papers like the TicoTimes or La Nacion, not everyone reads them so putting this info in the calendar had a useful immediacy for anyone who is in the process of planning an upcoming trip to Ticolandia...


    Well, that's my imput. Hope it is useful for you.





    [todavia atrampado a Tampa]


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