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  1. "Que te dice tu corazon?" A reasonless post service-call price increase had just been requested, and rejected. Fernando and helper claimed surprise now about how far they had to drive from San Jose to repair my automatic gate. We had thoroughly negotiated a price for this visit on the phone, and I had explained that 1 hr 15 mins was the average travel time, no matter how many buses one had to follow. They seemed to have beaten that mark. And the repair was quick and simple for someone with professional experience. The gate had stopped responding to the remote, but a few minutes with their Phillips' screwdriver solved a problem I couldn't. Success came without needing replacement parts to get the garage-door-size porton silently sliding again, just tightening the screws and rollers before adding another coat of lithium grease where metal touched metal. But my happy moment ticked away faster than any second spent waiting for microwave popcorn, when arised a sudden and serious issue regarding fuel for his tiny pick-up truck. Fernando's c28,000 telephone quote for routine maintenance "including grease and anything else not including replacement parts" was firmly declared lacking through no fault of his own. He asked for a new amount that was quietly mumbled, like when one must lie, but wants to maintain deniability if questioned. I asked him repeat his new price, preparing my practiced ears for disbelief. "Hundred", he coarsely whispered again, making me a part of his conspiracy. "Colones?" "No, dollars." Has anyone else had this experience once a for-profit service provider has seen your living quarters and vehicle, singularly impressed by your country of origin? I must look like 'three cherries' on a slot machine. Fernando is the company owner and had already tried to up-sell me on purchasing a new back-up battery. Uninterested, I prefer to just jump over the barbed-wire on the side of the lot should the need arise (see Forum - "I hate ICE power outages"). "No, Fernando." He looked at me with the solemn eyes of a mourning clergyman, full of respectful sadness, "What does your heart tell you?" Not missing a beat - "c35,000" - and in an agnostic second the sadness had left his face, the timer dinged zero, and the popcorn was done. Ticos and Gringos. We're a captain-less crew of chuckle-heads, sailing on a banana boat to nirvana. Marsrox
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