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Posts posted by Epicatt2

  1. ...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.


  2. ...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.


  3. ... 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.


  4. 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.


  5. 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.


  6. 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.


  7. 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.


  8. 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]


  9. 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]


  10. 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]


  11. 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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