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David C. Murray

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Everything posted by David C. Murray

  1. What I wrote was that health care in the private sector is cheap, not that CAJA premiums are cheap. Even if CAJA enrollment does cost $400, and not everyone pays that, by the time you factor out deductibles, copays, etc it's still pretty reasonable. Crime reports in Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, the U.S. and everywhere else in the world are notoriously inaccurate. Differences in definition and the incompleteness of reporting by both victims and police agencies render them almost meaningless. And if different agencies are reporting on different jurisdictions, that's another layer of
  2. Health care in Costa Rica's private sector costs the same whether you're a tourist, a temporary resident, a permanent resident or a citizen. As a legal resident (temporary or permanent), you are required to be enrolled in the national health system, the CAJA, whether you elect to use it or not. As compared to the cost of medical care in the U.S., care here is dirt cheap. Can't speak to Nicaragua or Panama. There is no evidence that the crime rate in Costa Rica is materially higher than the rate in other Central American countries. In fact, the murder rate is significantly lower. Pana
  3. I'd make a beeline for Nicaragua if, but only if, I were comfortable with the plans and motives of its omnipotent President for life. If you want to put your future welfare in the hands of the likes of Daniel Ortega, go north, young man.
  4. Were it mine to do, I'd be taking every opportunity to have the dog get into and out of the crate and to spend increasingly long periods in it. If possible, have her sleep there overnight. She needs to learn that her confinement isn't permanent and that getting in and out is a normal part of her life rather than something to be feared or resisted.
  5. You could be "spot on", Paul, but regardless the rate, $800 is $800. And from the tenant's perspective, it's likely non-negotiable.
  6. Friends rented a condo in Jaco for a few months and ran the A/C in the bedroom for about five hours every night but never otherwise. Their electricity bills were about $800 per month.
  7. Or maybe not. We bought nine years ago and built two houses. And we've had no regrets.
  8. For whatever it's worth . . . We recently renewed our U.S. passports at the U.S. Embassy here in Costa Rica. It took about ten days or two weeks for the new ones to be available. When we went to pick them up, the Embassy clerk "stamped" the old ones ("punched" is more like it) so that they're obviously no longer valid but she then returned them to us with the new ones. We had to make an appointment to make the application for the new passports but not to pick them up. We felt like the service was pretty good.
  9. Without disputing anything you wrote above, Paul, I think there's another dimension to this matter. Excluding the population who are wholly dependent upon the CAJA for their medical care, the market for some products here in Costa Rica is very small and the number of those who can afford them is smaller still. In the past, participants in this Forum have asked about the availability of some little-known, rarely prescribed medications which they can obtain in the States. What they've learned is that those meds are not provided by the CAJA and that they're not available from the commercial pharm
  10. konotahe, you wrote, "The US government closed down online buying of drugs from Canada and used the same excuse, that the drugs were not approved by the FDA. It was a lie." Well, yes and no. You are absolutely correct that the U.S. government has restricted or prohibited the importation of drugs from Canadian pharmacies but it wasn't only because they were not approved by the FDA. In fact, most of the drugs offered by the Canadian pharmacies bear the same names and packaging as what's dispensed in the U.S. The underlying story is that the problem of overtly counterfeit drugs is very si
  11. Shea, I think that, if you look a little deeper, you'll find that the Breathe Right nasal strips are not "forbidden". Rather, they are simply not on the list of items which are allowed. There's a difference between what is prohibited and what is just not yet approved. If the strips are not on the approved list, they simply may not have been acted upon by the Ministry of Health. Absent some request to approve them, they'll probably continue to be not importable. None of that means that the Breathe Right nasal strips are not a legitimate product.
  12. The purpose of limiting the importation of medicines and other products is, in fact, a public health one. Like the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Ministry of Health here controls what is legally available in an attempt to prevent dangerous or ineffective products from entering the country. And, again like the FDA, the Ministry of Health has limited resources with which to investigate what is safe and effective and what is not. Importing approved medications through official channels makes most, but not all, things available in one form or another. There are, of course, some product
  13. Years ago, I worked in a rural Michigan county where there was a huge lumber yard. Almost everyone who worked there was originally from Dothan, Alabama. Why, you ask? It was because as the business expanded and more employees were needed, the first of those Alabamans recruited his family members to fill the vacancies. I'm confident the same is true of businesses in New Jersey. The other thing I can say is that once when talking with a Michigan apple grower, I learned that they had to recruit seasonal employees from only one or another Latino ethnic group. If they mixed (say) Mexicans with
  14. It's the Garden State, all right, Tom, the Garden of Eden State, to be exact, and the home of original sin. No 'ffense.
  15. Whenever we encounter a Costa Rican who speaks pretty good English, we compliment them and always ask when they were in New Jersey and for how long. It is astonishing how many of the local folks here who speak English spent time there. Is there a rule?
  16. Gayle, I think a lot of Costa Ricans presume that we don't speak Spanish. This happens to me fairly frequently. A neighbor and I went into an air conditioning repair shop just this morning. The only one in the place looked up, smiled, and immediately started hollering for another guy who does, in fact, speak some English. We could have done our business in Spanish, but he presumed otherwise. Even when I initiate a conversation in Spanish, it sometimes doesn't "take". If I go into our local fereteria, where I'm known, and ask for "pintura blanca de aciete" (oil-based white paint), as often
  17. Arlington must have changed a lot since I grew up there. Coming up from the Potomac, there were three sets of named streets. The first, all in alphabetical order, had a single syllable. The next had two syllables. We lived farther out first on N. Powhatan St., then on N. Jefferson, and finally on N. Ohio. Cross streets were mostly numbered. It was pretty east to find your way around. Glebe Road may have signs with differing names, but at least it's continuous coming uphill from Chain Bridge (right) that crosses the Potomac. There were/are some diagonal streets but what the heck! Nuthin's p
  18. CRF, you wrote, "By the time most of us here, are 'legal' to work, no-one will want us..." Ain't that the truth! I've been trying to get Marcia a job ever since we became permanent residents over two years ago.
  19. One advantage to trying to live on a modest income in Florida would be the availability of some "social safety net" programs, like Food Stamps, that don't exist here.
  20. Well, what happened was that whoever at ARCR formatted either the database or the mailing label bolluxed the job. They printed our phone number instead of our descriptive address and we got the mail anyway. The point is that the Correo staff know who we are and where we live regardless what's written on the envelope.
  21. Truth be told, Paul, we think it was based solely on our name and "Grecia". There are few secrets in these parts.
  22. A couple of years ago, ARCR sent our monthly verification of CAJA enrollment to David C. Murray 2444-xxxx (our phone number, that is) Grecia and it came right to our door. So maybe that's the secret, lucybelle. Just write your phone number and the town name.
  23. At least until very recently, perhaps with the spread of 911 systems, plenty of rural addresses read, "(Name), RR (route number), (Town, State, ZIP Code)". The mail was delivered by a carrier who knew who lived where.
  24. When I helped a Costa Rican friend through this process, we just entered as much information as would fit. I seriously doubt that anyone checks any of it. My friend's visa sailed right through.
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