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Epicatt2

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Posts posted by Epicatt2


  1. Hi Lucy,

     

    Nice to hear from you. Hope you and hubby are staying warm up in the Carolinas.

     

    After reading the article at the link you supplied I decided to reply and offer my perspective . . .

     

    Once I got my Pensionado Residency some years back and began staying in CR for extended periods I began to refer to myself as an 'expat', which is short for 'expatriate' –not 'expatriot', as some have tried to misconstrue.

     

    The etymology of the word is from the Latin 'ex' [out of, from] + 'patria' [country, homeland] and I never associated any racism with the term, sorry.

     

    I will continue to use the word 'expat' as I have been doing all along, as a non-racist term.

     

    Anyone living outside their native country, for whatever reason is, generally speaking, an 'expatriate'. The word is used both as a noun and as an adjective.

     

    And while I am also a US emigrant and a CR immigrant, I still like the term 'expat' better.

     

    Regards,

     

    Paul M.

    ==


  2. Jal,

     

    Yes it gets windy in CR but it usually starts a bit later than it did this year. The wlinds last into March & sometimes persist into April. This is a normal occurrence for CR although some parts of the country tend to be windier than others.

     

    They aren't that low in my apatment in Alajuela. Those in my apartment are about the same height as the ones in my house in Tampa. (Lightswitches)

     

    It has been said that people who like in mountainous countries are among the healthiest in the world from all that exercise they get from walking up and down the hills all the time. Well, that is if they don't head into town every so often and snarf down on US Fast Food afterwards . . .

     

    It's doubtful that ants are going to carry off your house; it's the termites that do that! The ants just like for you to leave a few odd crumbs on the kitchen counter and then they come inside for a picnic. They leave the house for you tolater on forget and leave some more crumbs scattered about in time for their next picnic.

     

    You'll soon get the hang of how things work in CR. And you probably will come to actually enjoy most of them. (Trust me; it's true.)

     

    Cheers!

     

    Paul M.

    ==


  3. Great idea JAL!

     

    Here is another version, made with a plastic cup, a rubber band, and some Saran Wrap, that I found online at:

     

    http://www.instructables.com/id/Easy-Fruit-Fly-Trap/

     

    . . . by doing a Google search for keywords: 'DIY plastic bottle fruit-fly trap'.

     

    There are a few other types that also popped up at the same time.

     

    They all look like they're pretty effective.

     

    Buena Suerte!

     

    Paul M.

    ==


  4. JAL,

     

    Thanx for the nice trip reports.

     

    Glad you made it to Quesada w/o incident. It will be interesting when you can go back and spend a bit more time; maybe even choose it for your HQ and explore the areas around it.

     

    Incidentally, if you want to try somewhere really cool check out Zarcero. It's beyond Quesada towards San Ramón & the western Central Valley and sits high up in the mountains. They grow onions, garlic, cabbages, broccoli and other cool-growing crops up there. That's the little town where the churchyard has all the neat & curious topiaries in it which are occasionally featured in tourism ads for CR.

     

    Costa Rica may have a modest-sized footprint on mercator map of Central America but it is lots bigger than it seems at first due to its often mountainous terrain. Because of that there's lots to see in CR that cannot be managed on a two to three week visit. But you can choose a different area of the country on each visit and check out the surrounding local/adjacent regions successfully without spending the greater portion of your visit traveling back & forth across the country.

     

    Cheers!

     

    Paul M.

    ==


  5. STW,

     

    Mine are all in an Excel file which is placed in a secure encrypted storage folder, called FileVault, on my Mac. That way only the password for the FileVault will give acess to the Excel file with all the other passwords and sensitive info contained therein. If the FileVault password is lost then it is impossible to retrieve the encrypted contents of the FileVault.

     

    I keep the FileVault password in a safe place that's not on any of the electronics that I own.

     

    There is a Keycahin on my Mac in which one may save passwords and which will auto-fill them as needed, but while that makes for a convenient arrangement and is relatively secure, it is nowhere near so secure as the FileVault is.

     

    Still I can see the value of physically sharing the important info with trusted friends or with family members. Or at least the FileVault password.

     

    Just FWIW . . .

     

    Paul M.

    ==


  6. I'm sure the bus route will take along the north side of Lake Arenal. It's a pleasant, scenic trip.

     

    Maybe plan to spend a day in La Fortuna. I stayed in the Hotel Bosco which has some observation decks at the end of the building facing Volcán Arenal. I got up early one morning, like five a.m. just after the sun had come up and went to sit on the observation deck with a cup of coffee. The mist was still hanging over the town and as I sat there I watched dozens of white herons taking off and flying, almost in slow motion, off towards the volcano to start their day of foraging. It was a mesmerizing thing with the town still inactive and silent, the groups of 5 to 7 herons leaving, one group after the next, flying off to the vanishing point through the wisps of mist hanging here and there over the countryside.

     

    La Fortuna itself is worth a walk-around for one day to see what all is there. One day should be enough.

     

    The bus ride onward to San Carlos is through mostly flatter, hotter land and is not nearly so picturesque as the ride around the lake.

     

    San Carlos though I think you will find interesting.

     

    Let us know what you think, please.

     

    Cheers!

     

    Paul M.

    ==


  7. @ Paul M.

    I googled Ciudad Queada (aka San Carlos) and I liked what I read. If I can I'll make a trip.

     

    Hi again, Jal,

     

    Mea Culpa! I misspelled 'Ciudad Quesada' in my previous post. <— That's the correct spelliing there. (I left out the 's', alas!)

     

    It's also known as 'San Carlos', so you may hear ticos refer to it it by either name.

     

    Cheers!

     

    Paul M.

    ==


  8. Hi Jal,

     

    I expanded an aerial CR map for Libano and there doesn't seem to be any real sort of town center there; just a couple of small scant, separated clusters of dwellings and what appears maybe to be a mining pit area. So there doesn't seem to be much of anything there. Your regular shopping would lilely have to be carried out in either Tilarán or in Cañas.

     

    If you go from Tilarán around the N side of Lake Arenal you will come to La Fortuna. It's gotten touristy over the last decade or so due to Volcán Arenal and how much it was showing off up 'til about three years ago. Now that Arenal has taken a nap of undetermined duration La Fortuna may quieten down somewhat since the word is finally getting around that the 'show it over' for the time being, and fewer tourists likely will come to La Fortuna now. Elsewhere V. Poás, Irazú and Turrialba plus perhaps V. Rincón de la Vieja are now lots more interesting and active by comparison so tourists will prolly go to those to get their volcano fixes and La Fortuna should become somewhat sleepy again.

     

    Because of that there may be some good deals (rental houses or for sale) for a while. Since La Fortuna had grown due to the atraction of the volcano there should be enough infrastructure already there so you can get most of what you need in town.

     

    Or you could continue traveling eastward an hour or so past La Fortuna 'til you come Ciudad Quesada (aka San Carlos) which is a large farming town that serves as the head of the Cantón of San Carlos. This town sits in the foothills that face towards the northern lowlands and savanas of CR and the town is not very cold nor too hot. It has good infrastructure and so far is not overly touristy, IMO. That might be a place worth checking out.

     

    Good luck with your continued search.

     

    Regards,

     

    Paul M.

    ==


  9. Take your time, be prudent and complete in the process and you may find buying (location, location, location) might just be better than renting! Enjoy the journey!

     

    As to renting vs owning in CR I'm in agreement with you. I can easily see the value of buying a place once one knows s/he is going to stay in CR or when the person finally knows where s/he wants to be located in CR. Owning after the initial expense of purchase, periodic repairs, and CR taxes can often be less expensive than renting which can be a major factor when one is retired and on a fixed income.

     

    But not everyone can be certain -even after an extended period of time- that s/he will be staying 'forever' in CR or know where exactly in CR they really want to be. Alas, I fall into this latter group for whatever personal reasons.

     

    Fortunately the Forums offers its members 'something for everyone' and there has been much good and useful advice offered to many on here over the years. I hope that will continue.

     

    Regards,

     

    Paul M.

    ==


  10. Savanahjoo,

     

    I visited the ARCR Members' Discount page and there is no mention of National Park entrance fees (or at a reduced rate) anywhere on there. If Park entrances had previously been one of the perks, I suspect that the program got revised and that perk was eliminated. Your best bet for finding out 'what gives with this' may be to contact the ARCR Offices after they open again on the 5th and speak to someone member services.

     

    Meanwhile the two suggestions you received above may be your best bet currently: Show your residency cédula and perhaps get an entry fee at nacionales' prices and if the birthdate on the cédula shows that the cédula-carrier is 65+ yoa, that might even get you in for free in lieu of a Ciudadano de Oro card. (That works OK on many of the buses.)

     

    HTH

     

    Paul M.

    ==


  11. TC,

     

    Just curious . . . For someone who decided to pay CAJA + Pension for a minimum of 15 years & then begins to collect the resultant CR pension, what would that person then expect to collect on a monthly basis?

     

    I am assuming that they would be paying a minimal amount monthly over that 15 years based upon a minimum US$1K per month expat's SSA pension income.

     

    Regards,

     

    Paul M.

    ==


  12. Check to se whether your version of Skype is out of date or if your browser is not the current version. How about the router you are using; it could contribute to some problems if it's an older one or is wearing out.

     

    If that's not the problem then it could likely be ICE or their servers causing problems.

     

    Also there was work done recently on the undersea cable between Ft. Lauderdale and Central America (CR, Panamá, etc.), after which I started to occasionally have some Skype anomalies when I called two people in CR using Skype. Previously I had never had problems calling them but now, after the work on that undersea cable, I get disconnections, noises or incompleted calls. But it is intermittent. So sometimes a call to one of them will be clear aa a bell and other times it will be staticky or may have odd noises on the line –or suddenly in the middle of a bell-clear call, one of us can no longer hear the other. (Actually one can talk and be heard and the other can type his replies!)

     

    That's my overall assessment of the problem. (I do know one of the people whose calls I have problems with told me that his problem is due to his landlord's router so they're getting a new one.)

     

    I hope some of this proves helpful. Maybe Mark, our technology maven will chime in here . . .

     

    OK — HTH

     

    Paul M.

    ==


  13. STW & Eleanor,

     

    I'm with both of you in not wanting to be tied 24/7 to a cellphone or other electronic communications device. I do have a 'land-line' phone at home and use it accordingly.

     

    I was a holdout against having a cell phone for a long time, but being in Costa Rica finally turned the tables on that. I found that in CR a cellphone made for a useful tool for alerting people to the fact I was stuck in traffic and would be late arriving somewhere; or that I was not able to find the place -like a restaurant- where I was to meet someone; and useful also to be able to call a taxi to come pick me up after finishing shopping somewhere instead of always relying on a clerk, etc., where I had been shopping to call a taxi to come for me. Or of course for use in an emergency.

     

    I carry the cellphone with me in Florida when I go off somewhere in my car in case of an accident but I never have it turned on -either in the car with me or at home. In fact I prolly could get along without it, and only have it as a sort of an insurance policy, useful for example to summon help in case my car should break down somewhere in the middle of nowhere.

     

    So while I seldom use mine in Florida, it's comfortable to have. I do use it lots more when I'm in CR.

     

    Regards,

     

    Paul M.

    ==


  14. Hey Colin, sorry 'bout that.

     

    So, to answer your QQs, yes you must add minutes to the chip at least once a month . . . UNTIL you have bought cumulatively $100.00-woorth of minutes. Once you reach that plateau, called the 'Gold Rewards' level, your minutes last for one year thereafter. And after you've reached that 'Gold Rewards' plateau then all subsequent recharge purchases will last for one year from the date of the recharge which I think resets the remaining minutes forward, too, thru to the coming year's expiration.

     

    FWIW, $10.00 is the minimum recharge you can buy and, BTW, T-Mobile does seem to charge sales tax for the state you're in. And keep in mind that the more minutes you recharge in one recharge then the cheaper the per-minute rate for calls becomes. And the recharge purchase amount resets the remaining minutes' per-minute rate, too. (Oh, well.)

     

    HTH

    Paul M.

    ==


  15. I think you have to set the Kolbi roaming thing ahead of time. But I would have to re-read the page to be sure.

     

    And Paul, I have met tourists here who have T-Mobile and there is an international roaming option. No, you can't just turn on your phone and voila -- you have to set it up ahead of time.

     

     

    That's OK by me Eleanor. I just switch between chips depending on which country I am in at the moment. Takes thirty seconds at most to make the change. Works for me, anyway.

    And since I don't have anyone in either country with whom I cannot connect to using Skype, what with now being the cheapo person I've become since retiring, then I'm covered both ways.

    Anyway the two-cent Skype call from CR to a US phone or the 6.4-cent call from the US to CR landlines is cheaper than the ten-cent (or more) per minutes call T-Mobile charges me here and I'm sure it would bessignificantly more expenisve were I calling US to CR.

    Cheers!

    Paul M.

    ==

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