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Everything posted by Kahuna

  1. It wasn't just good advice, it was great advice! Personally, I think you are just asking for trouble. Unless you have been here for a long time and you have a solid network around you that you know you can trust, you are just asking to get ripped off. You might as well tatoo the words "screw me" on your forehead . It sounds like I am kidding but I am not. There are thousands of con artists laying in wait for people just like you. People that are new here are extremely vulnerable to getting ripped off, primarily because they don't have a trustworthy network around them. The best advice that has been repeated on this board more time than anyone can count is: "Don't be in a hurry to do something stupid" What you are talking about getting into is very complex and it is especially NOT for someone that is just moving here.
  2. I really like the upgrade. Great JOB! Seriously!
  3. how about the guy that commented that she is not really cute? are you kidding me? wow, I actually could understand her. I must be making progress. Helps that she talks slowly.
  4. My best advise is rent for a year and get a feel for things before you make any major commitments. ..... ooopppps, too late. Well I guess you are screwed ... It sounds like you took on a lot coming out of the gate. Are you aware of how many stories there are just like yours? (just asking) I am sorry for what has happened to you, but there are many that have ended up in far worse situations than you. People that come here and rush into things seem to always have these problems. Chalk it up to experience and move on. The legal system here is ineffectual and your chances for a outcome you are satisfied with are pretty slim. Settle in, make the most of the situation and move on from here wiser for the experience. The price that you pay for hired help is proportional to how long you have lived here and your relationships in the community. It takes a while. I am guessing that it will be extra hard for you because I am sure that every Tico in town knows you spent 3 timse what you should have to build your house. Give yourself another year, at least, before you make any more major dissensions. Things seem to work out better here when you are not pushing for quick results.
  5. It seems to me that the open Prejudice and the Discrimination is more based on Nationality than on skin color. I also think that the focus on skin color goes a bit beyond taste and preference, though your point is well taken. I have a very clear sense that it is common for Costa Ricas to look down upon those that they feel are not their equal, which seems for many, to be just about everyone that is not Costa Rican. I think what is different about Tico prejudice and Gring prejudice is that Tico are more polite and more civel to those that they look down upon. They don't seem to act on their prejudices in over ways.
  6. Ha Ha ...... are you dating my ex-girl friend??? ...... I had the exact same experience with my last novia. I have to agree with you Mark. Ticos are very prejudice and really against just about everyone. It is not like Racism in the US. I don't get a sense that Ticos would take overt actions based on prejudice, but to deny that it is there and it is not pervasive is somewhat naive. I think it has something to do with the isolation that came with being a very homogeneous "Mountain Culture" in the past to going to a situation where there is a lot more diversity associated with the growing economic development. Diversity is not part of the traditional Tico mindset and it is somewhat new phenomenon here. This used to be the poor (white) country with the capitol city in an isolated valley that no one ever came to. Surrounding countries had primarily indigenous populations that were some what isloated from Costa Rica by the mountainous terrain. All that has changed of course and it is not easy for many to accept.
  7. HA ..... as long as the printing presses can keep up, I don't see what the big deal is ...... ..... Seriously though, if there is one time that it is okay to print money it is in the face of a deflationary spiral. It is deflation in the Home markets that is killing the US economy. How do you fight deflation? With inflation. How do you cause inflation? By printing money. The risk is in printing too much and over shooting the target. The other thing that people usually miss with these debt clocks is that it is not really relevant to look at the Gross Number. What is important is what is the debt as a % of the Gross National Product. In other words, how big is the debt as in relationship to the over all economy? That is what is relevant. It is alright for the debt to grow as long as the economy grows, because with a growing economy comes increased taxing power. Until recently, that percentage has pretty much stayed within a range over the last 50 or so years. Obviously that has changed recently. There is risk with a growing debt in a stagnant economy. Thank God the government can print money. What is happening now is that the government has fired up the printing presses and we are printing and spending to fight off the deflation that is wiping out home equity and thus destabilizing our entire financial system.
  8. Eco Tourism: Yes smart! I am quite sure that disagree with the characterization that Costa Rica had nothing. But we can agree that it was very smart business. Regarding NOT Fighting the US: Again, Smart! I am not sure there is anything Smart or Noble "fighting" the richest most powerful country in the world. Take Cuba for example, look what it has gotten them. So we can agree that Costa Rica made the Smart Business move and their people have benefited from it. Outsourcing the Military: Again, Smart! Look how the people have prospered because of it. China Policy: Smart Again! Why wouldn't they want good relations with China? It just goes to show that they are not as much in the pocket of the US as you indicate. CAFTA: Jury is OUT! It is way too soon to determine if CAFTA is going to be a good thing or a bad thing for Costa Rica. I agree that on the face of it, it appears to be a giveaway on some fronts. However, what is unknown is the level of US investment that will come from it. This is the part that the critics miss. If CAFTA leads to a wave a US investment, particularly in the Tech field, then Costa Rica will have been proven to be Smart again. But I will agree that it is a bit of a gamble. US Colony: Sorry, but I don't think Tico's look at it that way. I think they are pretty happy with the decisions made by their government compared to those by the countries that Arias was criticizing. Tico's are proud of their country and their accomplishments as they should be. I don't see how those accomplishments are diminished because their government was Smart enough to have good relations with the US. I mean really what have they really given up by working cooperatively with the US? It seems to me that it has been almost entirely positive. Conclusion: I go back to what I said at the beginning, Coat Rica has done the right thing for their people. They have made decisions that have benefited the population as a whole. While other countries have made decisions based on keeping the ruling class in power and protecting the wealth of tightly controlled group of families. The results speak for themselves regardless of the political spin you put on the decisions by Costa Rican leaders. oh, and thanks John. Kenn .... we have had many debates over the years. I have never lashed out at you (or anyone else for that matter). Not sure why you are continually surprised by that.
  9. I didn't really give Arias credit for it. I simply said that Arias has a legitimate voice on the subject because "Costa Rica did the right thing". As President of Costa Rica, does not Arias speak for the country on the world stage? But now that you mention it: I remember very clearly watching Arias on 60 Minutes in the 80's out line the principles for a new kind of Environmentally Friendly tourism that NO ONE had ever heard of before. Without a doubt, Arias can take credit for the leadership role he played in developing Costa Rica as the first and perhaps the premiere Eco Tourism destination, which everyone knows has been the driving force behind this economy for nearly 30 years. I believe that the success of Costa Rica is built on four pillars. 1) Abolishment of Military 2) Commitment to Education 3) Development of Eco Tourism and 4) a "Perceived" commitment to environment and peace (the perception is important, even if it doesn't match reality). You will generally find these elements lacking in other Latin American countries. The time has past for embracing the "Industrial Revolution", now is the time for embracing the Information Revolution and the coming Energy Revolution. Costa Rica is doing that too ......
  10. Perhaps, but if anyone has a legitimate voice on this subject it is Arias. Why? Because Costa Rica has done the Right Thing! Despite the so-called US Domination Policies, they have transformed themselves from one of the poorest countries in Latin America (with virtually no exploitable natural resources) into a country that enjoys perhaps the highest overall stand of living in all of Latin America. How? By abolishing their military and investing in education. By educating their people, they created a broad upwardly mobile middle class, which virtually every other country in Latin America lacks. Then you compare Costa Rica to countries like Mexico and Venezuela that are swimming in oil money and the real problems (and solutions) become obvious. If Latin America's problems were really the result of domineering US foreign policies, Costa Rica would have been the last country to emerge from poverty. The fact is, the Costa Rica government did the right thing and in two generations they have transformed their country.
  11. As many know I have not been a fan of owning real estate in Costa Rica on this board. But I have to say, prices up to this point have stayed relatively stable, though things are generally not moving. I am still waiting for the other shoe to drop in Jaco. Hundreds, maybe thousands of Condo units set to hit the market all about the same time. We will see how things hold up after that.
  12. Why? Because Latin America has been traditionally been made up of societies of Have's" and "Have-Not's". The "Have's" have traditionally not cared about improving the lives of Have-Nots. Rich land owners saw no need to invest in the industrial revolution because they already had everything. Economic progress stifled by the moneyed elite that so no need for a competing class of upwardly mobile entrepreneurs . Then you through in a good measure of corruption and over-spending on military, there you have it. Experiments in Socialism failed miserably and succeeded only in running economies that were already fragile into the ground. Seriously, if all of Latin America's problems are the result of US policies designed to dominate its neighbors, then how do you explain the fact that a Frozen over country with unreasonably high labor costs (Canada) have a more robust economy that Mexico which has been around for 400 years longer? Or better yet compare Canada to Brazil? The problem in Latin America is and has always been, that leaders typically make decisions that are in their personal interest rather than the public interest. This has resulted in deal with the US that do not favor the public at large. While the US has been a party to many of these deals, you must place the blame the blame where it primarily belongs, on the leadership of the respective Latin American countries. Canada doe not have these probelms because Canada does not have anywhere near the level of corruption as Latin American. And do not forget to whom Aris was speaking. He was speaking directly to the Latin American leadership class which essentially has been dominated by not more than 2000 families through out ALL of Latin America for the last 400 years. The people that Aris was speaking certainly do bear the brunt of the responsibility as it was their families that catered to and participated in the corruption that still exists to this day! I applaud Aris on his leadership. I understand he has his critics and some rightfully so. But he is right on the money on this issue.
  13. HA, HA, HA, Let the blood bath begin. 200K you say? ummm, did anyone tell you this is Latin America? Prices are different here. I've got 35K that I would be happy to give you for one of those units. Seems about right to me. You gotta love the law of supply and demand........
  14. I have been in stronger earthquakes, but this was certainly the most violent. What I have experienced before were more the rolling type, like being in a boat. This was a shaker. Very unsettling indeed.
  15. I can assure you that anyone that is involved in Real Estate in Costa Rica is fully aware of MANAE and the potential problems that they pose to any possible construction project. It is the equivalent of a developer in the US not being aware of Environmental Impact Statements. This is just another example why it is better to rent first! Trying to do business in Costa Rica from afar you are just asking for trouble.
  16. Airlines have been adding flights, not eliminating them to Costa Rica. I have been watching the fights to CR over the holidays and rates are high and seats are few. Costa Rica is considered a value destination so it is not getting hit as hard as other places like Hawaii for instance. Of course we will have more meaningful numbers when we get into Jan and Feb, but so far so good with the data that has come in up to thins point. Still I wouldn't hold your breath on the airport. It is sort like the new road to Jaco. They like to talk about things for 20 years before they actually do anything.
  17. Not the best deals, but a good resource: http://wvw.economicos.com/homeBienesAlquiler.aspx if you need help with the Spanish http://translate.google.com/translate?u=ht...sl=es&tl=en
  18. I am honestly not sure how much the change in the law will effect Real Estate values. The vast majority of foreign real estate investment is in Vacation Properties, people that maintain residence in North America. The people that are going to be effected by the changes in the law are the one with modest pensions. Given the best number that I am aware of the total of Legal residents from the US is about 12,000, so the number effected will be a fraction of that number and I am not sure that the type of Real Estate development that is most prevalent is targeted to that group.
  19. Honestly, the real estate market here has been generally more stable than I had expected. One thing that I have been talking about for a long time is the extreme over building that is taking place in Jaco. There is an extraordinary amount of inventory that will hit the market in the next 12 to 18 months. My theory is that this over-building represents a threat to the entire market in Costa Rica. My fear is that the market collapses there, it could possibly have a ripple effect on the entire market. That said, my impression is that Costa Rica is doing amazingly well in the face of the global economic crisis. Indications are that the financial institutions are relatively stable and insulated from what is going on in the US and Europe.
  20. Anyone that has been around this forum for awhile is aware that I have very upfront with a similar message to the displeasure to many a particapating real estate agents. (anyone remember the agent that got so upset with me because I challenge his statements that Costa Rica real estate market was unaffected by the US real estate market collapse?) I would like to add a qualifier. I would say that you can not trust any real estate from afar. I have met some agents that are pretty good people, but honestly I would say that they are by far the minority. Doing business here successfully is all about being here and building your own relationships over time!!!! Do do anything quickly here or you will surely get burned. This is particularly true in Real Estate and doubly true with Real Estate agents. Real Estate agencies are completely unregulated by the government. So buyer beware!!!!
  21. Great advice!!!!!! A lot will be influenced by the way they view your intentions. If they think you are there to exploit their forests, it will be tough going. If they view you as an asset that is there to help them manage the resource, they can be wonderful partners. I think everything in Costa Rica works that way doesn't it? We talk a lot about the Bad Gringos on this board. But there are a lot of Good Gringos that are here doing good things and lot of people in the government recognize that and appreciate our help.
  22. Hi Finca, I am not offering a definitive answer. I am not sure there is one. Certainly you would want to work closely with MINAE if you wanted to go this direction. For instance I do know that accommodation are made if you were to be working on research projects for example.
  23. Thanks Ticoville, We will be launching our reforestation program in the February. Fred at Finca Leola runs an interesting program. He uses Teak to act as a canopy for planting hardwood forest. In our model we will be using some Teak, but we plan to primarily rely on native hardwoods and diverse forests. Teak is not native to Costa Rica. When you plant teak as a mono-crop there are environmental consequences. It is very acidic and damaging to the soil. I do not believe that it is accurate that you cannot cut trails in primary forest. You certainly are not allowed to cut down the trees.
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