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Posts posted by Epicatt2

  1. What a great follow-up report on your travel experience with Perlita on the planes and in the airports that you have provided us. Thank you, Lucy.


    In the photo above Perlita seems quite calm and appears to be pretty much the international traveler.

    I'm so glad to read that you had relatively little trouble dealing with airport personnel.


    You surely must be glad the whole ordeal is over and y'all again have all six feet on terra firma.




    Paul M.


  2. I buy lots of stuff online, mostly Amazon. Why should something bought online that is delivered to a state be taxed any different from something that is bought in a local store?


    It's not a "national sales tax" because the online sales tax collected is based on each state's tax rate and the money goes to that state.


    If Gayle & ciclista, I for instance, buy a book from Amazon.com that is shipped from a business located in, say Arizona or California, the taxes collected on my sale don't go to pay for whatever costs (local infrasturcture, for example) for the state in which the business selling me the item is located, but instead (in my case) those taxes are collected by Amazon for Florida.


    I wouldn't be so annoyed by the whole thing if our elected officials used our taxes in the most optimum manner to benefit all of their particular taxpayers and did not WASTE so much of those tax revenues, and then have the gall to ask us for more, more, more. Feh!


    Paul M.


  3. Last night before the 7% 'rake-in' that began today I went ahead last night and bought a bunch of stuff from Amazon.com that I had been planning on getting. I saved myself about $20 bucks or so in taxes.


    Henceforth I will be buying most books from ABE Books and many CDs and DVDs from Amazon.co.uk, both of which do not (so far) collect any online sales tax.


    I'm not at all n favor of this greedy grab in what is essentially a national sales tax for online purchases.




    Paul M.


  4. Thanks Paul, this is good to hear (read) somehow reassuring. If you don't mind me asking (maybe you've mentioned it already), which area of CR do you live in?


    I live in Alajuela Centro. I"m just about ten to twelve minutes from the airport, but on the north side of Alajuela.


    Alajuela offers me about 95% of everyting I need in CR and except for going to ARCR or to the occasional govt office, or once in a while to the symphony at the National Theater I don't even have to go to San José.




    Paul M.



    I'm sure they are inaccurate to a certain degree. However, many user of this forum have confirmed in a different thread how high the level of crime in CR is. I try to draw a picture of the information that's available.


    And Redneck, to argue the opposite side of crime levels, then:


    By the same token there are those of us who've been in CR for a long itme and have so far never been directly impacted by crime.


    I've been visiting CR since 1976 and have been a resident since 2006. I don't make it a habit go into areas of high crime and if I do it is with a good reason(such as Barrio Coca Cola to one of the bus terminals there) and while I am there am cautious. (One learns one's way around if one is wise.)


    The worst thing that happened to me was done by one taxista who thought that I didn't know my way around and chose to take me eastbound through the north side of San José which due to the street layouts slows your eastbound speed down and requilres lots of sidetracking. This was on a Sunday when the Paseo Colón is often closed to vehicular traffic, so to get from La Sabana to the National Theater he should've gone around the south side of downtown SJ and then come back into the Centro heading northbound from south of the Theater.


    What I wound up with instead of the equivalent of the usual US$2 to $3 doallar fare turned into essentially a US$10 to $12 dollar fare. This driver was nasty afterwards about the whole routing thing. I w to meas later told by a taxi driver friend that that is a trick some drivers will foist on those that they consider newbies. I consider it a theft in the long run, but I'm lucky nothing worse has ever happened, but I try not to put myself unnecessarily 'in harm's way'.


    So one incidence in just shy of 40 years of visiting CR is a pretty good average, IMO, but I'll bet there are lots of others who have been similarly unaffected by crime.


    As always, we tend to hear the weepings & wailings of those who have been touched by crime instead of those who have not. (It's essentially that whole thing about crime selling newspapers!)


    Just FWIW . . .




    Paul M.


  6. Nicaragua in general is a bit too backwards for my taste and then there's the govt there which I would not completely trust, especially after thngs like it's attempted incursions into CR territories.


    And Panamá would be OK if here were more altitude in general but the area I would want to live in is either in the cooler province of Chiriquí up on the E or W side of Volcán Barú, or in slightly temperate Santa Fé just N above Santiago, even though it has no prtrol station in the town. (Lots of orchids there, though.) But both places are at a significant distance from Panama City if I wanted to go there for some entertainment like cinema, the symphony, or theater.


    Those things would also be mostly missing the cooler areas of Nicaragua, which are distant from Managua.


    So CR has all that and cooler temps and mostly together in the Central Valley, which therefore gets my vote as the palce to be. (Well so far, anyway.)




    Paul M.


  7. Paul - Global Entry is only going to work for you when you enter the US, so it would only be a twice a year thing but still might be worth minimizing your interaction with TSA.


    Jessica, thanx for the clarification. I suspended my investigation of those two programs once I found out that with my old 'chipless' passport I wouldn't qualify.


    Now with my new 'chip inclusive' passport it should be worth completing an investigation into the two programs.


    And yes, Jessica, a twice-a-year interaction with the TSA is better than none!




    Paul M.


  8. I doubt that Spirit would nominate me for clearance as they are clearly a 'no-frills' carrier.


    And Mark, I travel essentially 4 time per year: 2 times Northbound and 2 time Southbound!


    I find all this the intrusion a significant enough annoyance that it is worthwhile to me to avoid as much of it as is possible, even if it means paying a surcharge to do so. I've spent my life toeing the line and being a good and honest citizen so that I truly resent all these airport clearance shenanigans as in many ways to be unnecessary.


    And then to often be treated brusquely and/or plain rudely by certain security employees -against which I have no legal recourse- represents to me a huge contradiction in my so called 'land of the free'.


    [ E O R ! ]


    Paul M.




    Today my old passpost returned under separate cover.


    Upon opening the envelope, my old passport was there and with an Insert saying that my new passport had been issued and had been sent under separate cover. (This insert is the converse of the one that came in the envelope with the NEW passport, two days earlier.)


    The old passport has had its front cover hole-punched in two places along its lip and through the two lines of code on the inside of the cove which were what was scanned at the Immigration desk when entereing or exiting the US, etc..


    While this is my fifth passport, it is the first one has contained the new (inserted in PPs starting about 10 years ago) scanning chip. Apparently I can also now apply for the quick entry options like 'Global Entry' or 'TSA Pre√' because my new Passport will finally alllow that.



    Paul M.


  10. Here's the follow-up to my question from this morning....


    I phoned Passport Services and although it was a Monday morning early I actually got right through to a live agent almost immediately.


    The agent took my info and looked my ipersonal nfo up with the new PP number and reported back to me that the old passport was being returned and had been sent (apparently by regular 1st class mail or Priority Mail) and ought to arrive in a few days to maybe a week.


    She also advised after my question to that end that there has been no policy change ref returning an old passport after a new one is issued, so applicants do get their old ones back.


    Just FYI y'all . . .




    Paul M.


  11. Hola Gentle Forumsers,


    I've started this thread here since parts of the discussion may not be completely on-topic to CR.


    I found I needed to renew my US Passport before I returned to CR this time round since CR requires a minimum of 6 months of remaining validity on one's US Passport for CR Immigration to allow you into the country, and I do not believe that having current valid residency status overrides this requirement.


    So... I sent my old passport off (as required) with my renewal application and with the required fee plus the 'hurry-up surcharge' becasue I was expecting to leave at the end of April. My new passport arrived yesterday (MON) 4/21 after having been mailed of to the US Dept of State - Passport Division on 4/12. So it took only two weeks for them to do the expedited renewal and send it bakc to me; thst's a pretty quick turnaround.


    Now here's my concern (and FYI I will phone the Division tom'w)... This is my fourth pasppsort and each time previously when I received my new passoport the old one came back with the renewed one. Not this time. So I'm hoping that it is headed back to me under separate cover. (Fingers X-ed!)


    But if it doesn't, I can see a couple potential problems arising in CR with of my businesses or accounts that may eventually want me to renovar mis datos, most likely my banks there.


    So I guess my question resolves to: Has anyone here on the Forums had to renovar sus datos at your bank, etc., after renewing your passport, but without your old passport available to present as verification, for any reason? Did you have any difficulty in doing so and/or how was the problem resolved with only your new passport to present.


    Well I am hoping that the Passport Division will have my old passport or that they have already sent it back to me but it just hasn't arrived yet. If it doesn't show up or they have destroyed it I do have photocopies of my old passport and am hoping that those might serve given the possibility that I may not get my old passport back.


    I'll report back what I learned after calling the Passport Division tom'w.


    ¡Puros Pasaportse!


    Paul M.




  12. True David, there must be enough demand to make it financially feasable to produce an item.


    Your premise, which I agree with, seems to me would (in many cases) only amplify a need to travel back to the US (or Canada, etc.) to procure needed Rx-es when they cannot be got in CR.


    And if the party can find an inexpensive r/t flight like to FLL or MCO they very likely may be able to have their doctor in the US (etc.) call in their Rx from wherever s/he is into one of the parmacy chains in the arrival city where it would then be convenient to pick up the Rx.


    All in all, the costs in time, effort and fees for getting an import permit (and for applying a new permit the each subsequent time the person wanted to bring in another lot of the Rx) surely, in the long run, would largely undercut those CR-based expenses by just flying back to the US and proceeding as described in the paragraph immediately above.




    Paul M.


  13. Part of the problem is surely that the local Pharma producer/vendors in CR (as with the US and Canada), do not want to lose control of either their monopolies on or revenues from their products and therefore guard jealously against the importation of medicines from without their respective coutnries. (One might have imagined that CAFTA would've overridden that situation, but evidently it did not.)


    Compunding the problem is a situation in CR involving one or a few in-country producers of pharmaceuticals where assays of certain drugs from those producers were found to have less active ingredient than listed on the box/bottle. This information came to me from a doctor friend in CR and also from an importer both of whom I consider reliable sources.

    So apart from applying to the CR Govt for an import permit for needed medicines, which is expensive to do and which is very often denied, the simplest way to bring in needed Rx drugs is to fly to the US (or Canada, etc.) and bring them back with you as personal items. There is some international law or agreement of carriage that allows such personal items to travel with you on the plane as personal items, duty-free. And CR Customs Agents generally tend to ignore such items as personal medications in their labeled Rx bottles when folks arrive. A traveler is allowed up to six-months' worth of a prescription (or other) medications to come in with him each time he arrives in CR.



    Paul M.


  14. I suspect most of us gringos have had this experience at least once, and likely more often.


    The idea of greeting the clerk in spanish and then making a wee bit of small-talk like, 'what a nice day, today; it's not too hot'. Or I find sometimes I can get away with saying what a nice blouse or maybe something like 'your hair looks so cute', does the trick. Ater all, ticos in that situation all greet one another with some small-talk, often with something like, "How's the family". Of course I don't know any tico's family so I have to make do with the weather, or the clothing or the hair, but that serves the same purpose. And it is appreciated cuz that's the same thing ticos do. So when we gringos rush into a farmacia and go right up to the counter and say , "i need some bandages" (or whatever) we are perceived as rude because we did not take a moment to be polite first.


    In all fairness it took me a long time to shift gears culturally so that I remembered to make that little bit of small-talk first but gradually it became automatic. BTW, there's another thing for greetings and departures and that's shaking hands. Tico men almost always do that, and some of the women, too.


    But I'm sure you will find that by inserting one or two sentences of small-talk when you go into the farmacia, ferretería, or other business you will get a much friendlier reception, even if your spanish is not yet all that good. It's the effort to try making the intitial greeting that 'opens doors', as it were.


    One other thing about the ticos addressing the gringo customer in english: They're prolly just trying to practice their english some, and you can't really blame them for wanting to try that by conversing with a native english speaker.




    Paul M.


  15. Tiffany,


    If you want confusing streets, why not go to Atlanta where they have Peachtree St., Peachtree Ave., Peachtree Way, Peachtree Blvd., Peachtree Trail, Peachtree Ramble, in fact just about Peachtree everything! In fact, as of 2013, Atlanta, had some 71 streets named Peachtree-something-or-other. Ay-yai-yai . . . !


    There used to be for many years a satirical comedy troupe, based in Atlanta, called The Wits' End Players whose signature song was, "They're Tearing Up Peachtree Again". Too funny.


    And now to bring this back toward Costa Rica . . .


    I can apprecieate "They're Tearing Up Peachtree Again", especially since on the north side of Alajuela Centro parts of Calle Ancha going east from the La Corte and the street just south of it starting at the SW corner of Parque Palmares 50 meters east from my apartment building's front entrance and onward to points east about 5 blocks, then up to the Stadium, have been torn up since last November to put in an enhanced drainage conduit so that Alajuela Centro will no longer flood during the heavier tropical downpours. (Well, we'll find out if it has worked soon enough.)


    If installing this new and larger drainage does work then there will be no more sitting in Jalapeõs Central during a downpour and watching the street in front of the restaurant turn into a flooding river and occsaionally seeing Noah in the Ark rush past!


    ¡Puras Inundaciones!


    Paul M.


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