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El Residente Costa Rica’s English language newsleer

Published by ARCR Administracion S.A. Apdo. 1191-100 07 Centro Colon San José, Costa Rica (www.aarcr.net)2014 January/February

January/February 2014

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El Residente


Contents:

Editorial Note Spring has arrived, though in Costa Rica it sll feels just like summer! Everlasng summer.

President’s Message ................ 4 Legal Update ............................ 7 - Allan Garro

This is a great country for many of us, not just the weather and the people, but the way of life which is new to most of us. Laid back tropical lifestyles, filled with jungle, beaches, wildlife, and a touch of sunshine every day.

Club Corner .............................. 8 Paradise, We Have a Problem ... 10 - Tony Johnson

A Day in the Life ..................... 14 - Allen Dickinson

Savings & Rerement ............. 16 - W. D. Walker

Costa Rica Living ..................... 18 - Judy Timson

Wild Side of Costa Rica ........... 21

This issue brings many stories from different parts of the country, tales of members’ lives, of their travels, and also trials they face. Every day each of us faces problems small and large, just a part of life in general. This year we would like to welcome on board Tony Johnson, who brings us a new series of arcles dealing with the trials faced here in Paradise. Though we face challenges every day, overcoming them is a part of our adaptaon to this new home. We hope you find his words helpful. So welcome to a New Year and a new, slightly updated issue of El residente for 2014. We hope you enjoy!

- Ryan Piercy

Ryan Piercy

My Costa Rican Experience .... 22 - Gail Hull

Costa Rica on the Globe ........ 24 Business Directory ................. 26

Contact Informaon: This magazine has been published every two months since 1995 as the official communicaons media of the ARCR. Our organizaon provides service to thousands of foreigners who have chosen Costa Rica to reside for short periods or for permanent residence. Since 1984 the ARCR has been offering reliable SERVICES, INFORMATION and ADVOCACY to Costa Rica’s foreign residents. We have the experience and ability to help you with your residency applicaon, immigraon, business and financial management, real estate purchases and rentals, property management, insurance, pet importaon and much more. If you wish to place an ad in El Residente, please contact the ARCR main office. Goods & services offered are paid adversements. Neither ARCR Administracion nor El Residente research the companies and take no responsibility for the quality of such goods and services.

January/February 2014

Published by: Email:

ARCR Administraon info@arcr.net www.arcr.net Edtor in Chief: Ryan Piercy Adversing, Publicity: Cindy Solano Office Hours:

Monday- Friday, 9 am to 5 pm CRC me GMT-6

Address:

#101 Casa Canada, Av 4 Calle 40 San José, Costa Rica Tel: 506-2233-8068 Fax: 506-2255-0061

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 1191-1007 Centro Colon San José, Costa Rica

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President’s Message

by Terry Wise

Welcome to Dos Mil Catorce! We hope everybody had a nice holiday season, and that’s now it for holidays here unl we get to April now.

Hotel El Mono Feliz Ojochal (de Osa) Tel: 2786-5146 15% disc. on rooms (except peak holidays) Xandari Resort Hotel & Spa Tacacori, Alajuela Tel: 2443-2020 up to 25% disc. on rooms

This new year is bringing some new changes, even for the ARCR and its members. This is in fact going to be the last paper edion of the El Residente to be mailed out to members. We have been headed in this direcon for the past few years in order to cut down on the use of paper, as well as the ever increasing costs of the mailing.

Rainbow Valley Lodge Santa Elena, Monteverde Tel: 2645-7011 15% disc. on room of 2+ nights

In fact for those of you who use the local postal system, you may want to know that the cost of mailing went up by almost double as of December, so other opons may become more appealing to you as well.

Doggi Divino Grooming Salon Escazu Tel: 2289-2162 call for details

As for the magazine, we are aware that some members sll like to have a hard copy, so we will sll be prinng a certain number of copies which will be available for pick up in the ARCR offices.

Spanish School for Residents El Cruce, Escazu Tel: 2228-9711 2 for 1

An update in the discount program, unfortunately the Clinica Biblica has decided to eliminate our discount at the hospital. Due to this decision we will try to obtain a discount at one of the other major hospitals, and if we are able to we will let you know.

For members who travel in and out of Costa Rica by land, be aware there is a new departure fee just as there is when leaving via air. The fee to travel out by land is $5, and can be paid at the Banco Credito Agricola de Cartago, located in various places.

Another of the discounts lost include a/c automove, who apparently didn’t nofy us, they just don’t honor the discount.

On another note for our US members, several members of the board are scheduled to meet with the US Embassy officials in mid January, in order to get more detailed informaon on the absentee voter registraon for the elecons. Those of you who are interested, please feel free to contact us aer the middle of the month and we will be happy to share the details with you.

We do also have some new and updated discounts, which include the Hotel El Mono feliz in Ojochal, Xandari Resort Hotel & Spa in Alajuela, the Rainbow Valley Lodge in Monteverde, Doggi Divino Grooming Salon in Escazu, and also for those of you wanng to learn Spanish, the Spanish School for Residents, also in Escazu. Please remember to use our discount providers so that they connue to give us great deals. website: discounts.arcrmembers.net

That’s all for this me, so see you in the next issue, Wishing you all a Happy & Healthy 2014! Terry Wise

Contest Update: My Costa Rican Experience This years contest brings us a great lineup of new winners, which I am looking forward to sharing with you all. Our first place goes to Gail Hull who, like many of us, has heard tales from many a traveller to this lile corner of the globe, and shares one of those stories with us from her corner of paradise, San Vito.

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El Residente


January/February 2014

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El Residente


Legal Update

by Allan Garro N.

Locking Your Property Voluntarily To Avoid Frauds This arcle needs to start by menoning a previous arcle published in the May- June, 2012 issue of El Residente regarding property protecon through mortgage cerficates and what a great tool they are to avoid being the vicm of a property fraud in Costa Rica. Indeed they are a good way to protect real estate investments, but they can be a bit expensive for some expats wanng to invest in a property protecon plan that provides a good level of security but that fits the budget. In the last few months we have studied couple of new lower cost tools with great benefits. The major problem is sll the existence of dishonest notaries who are willing to forge documents and signatures in order to perform illegal transfers. In the last 2 months my office has received four different requests to represent vicms owning property in the Guanacaste area who live abroad. Raw land without construcon and properes registered in a personal name are special targets. It is easy for crooks to track the arrivals and departures of individuals, since all it takes is to pay for a few stamps at the Immigraon Offices to get complete travel records. The first tool was created by the Naonal Registry under the name “Registry Alert”. It is possible to subscribe to a service that detects any changes in the registry for a specific property and then sends an alert immediately via both email and text message to the subscriber. However, it is important to understand that this remedy by itself is curave rather than prevenve, meaning that once the owner knows of the existence of a fraudulent tle transfer a judicial process must be started that will take a few years to be decided, with no real guaranty that the property will be recovered. The second tool is called Voluntary Immobilizaon of a property according to arcles 266 and 292 of the Civil Code. The procedure is simple: The owner appears before a Notary and signs an immobilizaon request to be submied to the Naonal Registry. A lien warning of the situaon will then appear as a result of this request. However this method alone is not completely safe. A fraudulent document canceling the lien could be filed and the Property Registry cannot queson the public faith granted by law to notaries. In this case the Registry assumes that the legimate owner decided to cancel the immobilizaon. January/February 2014

The secret is to make a request for immobilizaon with two limitaons, so that in order to cancel the first limitaon the Naonal Registry must wait at least one or two months -at the opon of the owner- before canceling the second limitaon. This ensures that if a fraudulent document is presented canceling the limitaons, only the first one will be erased and at least a month must pass before canceling the second, giving the righul owner me to request the Naonal Registry to remove the fraudulent document, as well as take other steps necessary to protect the property. Any criminal would prefer to look for a different property without these restricons. Another advantage of the immobilizaon with two limitaons is that it prevents a transfer to a third party who could be assumed to be acng in good faith. The biggest problem with a property fraud is that once an illegal transfer has been made into a crooked person’s name with the help of a notary, the next step would be to transfer the property into another person’s name that may or may not know about the fraud. In that case, the law presumes the third party acquired the property in good faith, which may prevent the legimate owner from recovering his or her property even though the existence of a fraud is proven. The best course of acon would be to combine the two tools menoned above: Subscribe to the Registry Alert service as well as to set a Voluntarily Immobilizaon with Two Limitaons over the property. That is the way to turn a curave remedy into a prevenve one. If the righul owner is nofied of the existence of a document canceling the first limitaon, acon can be taken immediately to prevent the second limitaon from being erased, thus eliminang the possibility of a fraudulent document being filed, without Court lawsuits, unless the owner decides to go aer the crooks who tried to steal the property in the hopes of collecng damages or to put them in prison. For those wanng to move their property into a corporaon but are concerned about paying the new tax on corporaons a new structure named Sociedad Civil could be of help on geng more protecon at beer cost. But that belongs to a future arcle. ALLAN GARRO NAVARRO Aorney at Law allan@garrolaw.com www.garrolaw.com

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Alcoholics Anonymous Groups meet daily throughout the country; mes and places change frequently. Call for up-to-date informaon. San José 2222-1880 (Anchor club, also serves Narcocs Anonymous) Av 6 Calle 1, 2nd floor Maryland Building. Heredia (Laura) 2267-7466, Puerto Viejo Limon 2750-0080, Zancudo 2776-0012, Tamarindo 2653-0897, Flamingo (Don) 2654- 4902, Manuel Antonio (Jennifer) 2777-1548, Jacó (Nancy) 2637-8824, Zoo Group Escazu 2293-4322. Grecia (Jay) 2494-0578. Southern Zone, meengs in English & Spanish, 8634-9241. Puriscal, Fred 8866-0128. Al-Anon Meengs English language Al-anon meengs are open to anyone whose life has been/is affected by someone else’s problem with alcohol. Meengs are one hour long and held twice each week in Escazu centro, above the Buena Tierra Restaurant, 25 meters south of the San Miguel Catholic Church. Tuesdays at noon and Thursdays at 10: 30 a.m. Tel: 89 93 17 62 (Rosemary) and/or 22 28 10 49 (Barbara) email: rosemaryzitek@yahoo.com. Also in Grecia on Tuesdays at noon (English), contact Cheryl at 2444-1515. American Legion Post 10- Escazu The oldest and largest American Legion Post in Costa Rica meets at 12 noon on the first Wednesday of each month at Bello Horizonte Country Club in Escazu. For informaon and map, go to the website at amlegioncr10.com/met_loc.html, or call John Moran at 22321680. American Legion Post 12- Golfito Meengs are held 4 p.m. 1st Tuesday every month at Banana Bay Marina. The Golfito GOVETS have been helping Southern Costa Rica for over 20 years. Contact Pat O’Connell at walkergold@yahoo.com or 8919-8947, or Mel Goldberg at 8870-6756. American Legion Auxiliary The Legion Auxiliary meets the Second Saturday of each month, at 1300 hours in Moravia. Contact Doris Murillo 2240-2947. Bird Watching Club The Birding Club of Costa Rica sponsors monthly trips to observe local and migrant birds in various areas of the country. For more informaon contact us at costaricabirding@hotmail.com Canadian Club The Canadian Club of Costa Rica welcomes everyone to join us for our monthly luncheons, and at our special annual events, like our Canada Day Celebraon, no passport required. As of this year there is no fee or dues to pay, just sign up with your email address and we will keep you informed of Canadian Events, so you can parcipate whenever its convenient for you! For informaon visit our website: www.canadianclubcr.com or email Pat at canadianclubcr@yahoo.com to sign up. Democrats Abroad Democrats Abroad meets on the last Saturday of every month at the Aurola Holiday Inn, San Jose. Contact Nelleke Bruyn, 22793553, e-mail cr.democratsabroad@yahoo.com. Join Democrats Abroad at www.democratsabroad.org. Register to vote absentee at VoteFromAbroad.org! Lile Theatre Group LTG is the oldest connuously running English-language theatre in Central or South America. The group currently puts on a minimum of four producons a year offering a choice of modern, classic,

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serious, and farcical plays. The group’s monthly social meengs are held in the theatre on the first Monday of the month from 7p.m. to 9 p.m. and everyone is welcome. Membership: Student C2,500, Adult: C5000, Family: C8000. Also, earn your Wings, become an LTG Angel. For more informaon Call the LTG Box Office 8858-1446 or www.liletheatregroup.org Marine Corps League Meets at 11 a.m. the 2nd Saturday of every month, at Tres Hermanas Rest. big bull statue in front. On service road opposite Hospital Mexico on the autopista. Call Bill Enell at 8812-0126. Newcomer’s Club Newcomers Club of Costa Rica (for women) meets the first Tuesday of every month, September through May. September meeng will be an interest fair. Contact: 2416-1111 costaricaporo@yahoo.com or hp://www.newcomersclubofcostarica.com PC Club of Costa Rica This computer Club meets on the third Saturday of each month at Pan American school, in Belen, 830 to 11:30 a.m. Two months Free Trial for newcomers. For informaon call Chuck Jennings. Phone 2266-0123 www.pcclub.net Radio control Sailing Club Meets at Sabana Park Lake. For informaon contact Walter Bibb. Wwbbsurf40@yahoo.com Wine Club of Costa Rica Please mark your calendars. The wine club usually meets at 1 p.m. on the last Sunday of each month. Join us to tantalize your taste buds and expand your educaon. For more informaon on upcoming events please contact us. Phone 2279-8927, 2257-2223 Women’s Club of Costa Rica The Women’s Club of Costa Rica is the oldest, connuously operang, philanthropic organizaon for English-speaking women in Costa Rica. Founded in 1940, WCCR now includes over 250 members represenng 25 countries worldwide, drawn together by the moo: Friendship through Service. The Club aracts fascinang women who are interested in serving community needs in Costa Rica, parcularly focused on children’s educaon while, at the same me, making deep, meaningful, personal relaonships. Along with its philanthropic fundraising acvies, WCCR also hosts regular lunches, teas and many special interest groups, including a Professional Women’s Group. Guests are welcome and further informaon and a calendar of planned events can be found at www.wccr.org Women’s Internaonal League for Peace and Freedom Open to men too. English language group in Cariari de Belen, English-Spanish group in Heredia, Spanish language group in San Jose. We work on peace and human rights issues. Call Mitzi, 24337078 or write peacewomen@gmail.com. Veterans of Foreign Wars: Post 11207 No-host lunch at 12 noon in the Club Colonial Casino dining area, meeng at 1:30 p.m. on the second floor. All members are welcome plus veterans who served overseas may join. Call Bob Sempell at 2588-1475. Young Expats of Costa Rica Some Expatriates under the age of 40, and currently living in Costa Rica, have formed a new social club to be coordinated through their website This club will help younger expatriates living in, or moving to, Costa Rica meet other expats in their age group for: friendship, romance, travel and acvity partners, and professional networking. www.YoungExpatsOfCostaRica.org

El Residente


January/February 2014

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Paradise, We Have A Problem

by Tony Johnson

Why Am I So Unhappy Here The rapturous beauty of the Costa Ballena rounely inspires tourists to create romanc noons of life here. “Oh! My! God! ….It’s so amazingly beauful”, they ecstacally exclaim. “It’s perfect. We’d be totally happy. We MUST move here!!” Some actually make the leap from vacaon dreams to life in Costa Rica. And some are indeed happier here than in their old lives. A few, facing the realies of this major life change, feel it was a big mistake and quickly return to the home they tried to escape-never finding what they desired. Others, unable to return for various reasons, tough it out wondering, “Why am I so deeply unhappy here? It IS fabulously beauful. It IS a daily feast for the eyes, BUT....” They stay, giving up trying to find happiness. Yet others dedicate themselves to finding that elusive feeling. Do you know anyone like this? Have you felt any of this yourself? Do you have a plan for achieving happiness? We all seek to improve the quality of our lives and increase our happiness. It’s in our nature to nurture our well being and that of our loved ones. But not every aempt pays off. Why not? Why doesn’t a move to “paradise” automacally result in more happiness? What does reliably lead to greater well-being? Does anyone know?

The Dream The Southern Zone of Costa Rica is, indeed, beyond beauful. Everywhere we turn, there’s some astounding vista, some fascinang creature, some special moment. Aside from a few man-made examples, most of us would be hard pressed to think of any natural ugliness here. It is a blessed area. And the “Whale Coast” secon of the SoZo is the home of many of Costa Rica’s very best natural wonders. It’s the country’s only marine park-the mang spot of humpback whales and frolicing dolphins. Brown pelicans skim the surf. Magnificent frigates (a welldeserved descripon and their name) soar effortlessly on two-level wings. Blue-footed boobys sound like some dumb, clumsy bird. But they are able to catch and pass speeding boats-with a few easy flaps of their huge wings.

Yes! Research has idenfied what’s necessary for happiness. And when those elements are missing from our lives, no amount of physical beauty, no awesome view can make up for what’s absent. Think of Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden....

Glorious forest birds, like mul-colored macaws, parrots, and jeweled hummers are “common”.. Impossibly engineered toucans dart through the skies or agilely climb trees, unimpeded by their huge, colorful banana beaks. And don’t forget-those mouthy, bandit-masked great kiskadees!

We can beer understand such unhappiness by looking at this problem from two direcons: what’s LOST by coming here and what we EXPECTED to gain-but didn’t. For every posive change we make, we must leave something behind-or it wouldn’t be a change!

Miles of beaches, many of which are beer than our most elaborate fantasy, are oen blessedly free of crowds or even people. Occasionally, we share those beaches with giant, nesng sea turtles.

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El Residente


Inland from the Pacific lies the green ocean of trees where monkeys, sloths, and pointy-nosed coas inhabit the branches. And orchids are a “weed”.

The Buddhists say “life is suffering”. It’s inescapable, unavoidable. Regardless of how awesome our geographical locaon.

Insects, certainly the most common form of animal life here next to birds, can somemes rival the most lovely of those feathered fliers. Do you ever re of seeing the dazzlingly luminescent blue-morph buerfly??

By suffering, they mean not only physical pain, but mainly the EMOTIONAL pain of disappointment, the pain of things falling short of our needs and expectaons. The Buddha has been called “the first psychologist” with good reason. He dedicated himself to understanding and alleviang suffering. Because he saw suffering everywhere.

Life goes wild here in the perfect condions for it: plenful sun and rainfall. Life flourishes here. Life thrives here.

AND, fortunately, the Buddhist also say “happiness is STILL possible”. HOW?

So why wouldn’t we?? The Soluon The Reality Real estate agents encourage the dream that happiness and perfecon only require a signature on the doed line. Shamelessly they announce that they “sell paradise”. The message is clear: “you too can realize the dream”, while unintenonally revealing that the commercialism we hope to escape has beat us here. And inadvertently they also reveal that paradise is not perfect. Everything is for sale. But such markeng persists because WE want to believe it. For some of us, “perfect” is the problem. Some expect life here will indeed be “perfect”, effortless, automacally meeng our every need. The sun will shine whenever we need it. The rains will never interfere with our plans. And the boring, mundane necessies of lifefaced by prince and pauper-will never intrude. As during vacaons, someone else will make our bed and meals and clean up aer us. Somewhere in our unconscious, we have expected that we only need to make ONE change-move to Costa Rica, and everything else will be easy. Our more fundamental delusion, thinking like realtors, is that happiness is simply a maer of “locaon, locaon, locaon!!” Choose the right place and happiness is ours!! But in daring to move to Costa Rica, we may have ignored the many other changes necessary to thrive here. Espanol anyone? And overlook what we will leave behind in our former homes. January/February 2014

By realizing that the source of suffering is located in our minds, in our expectaons that the world suit us, we take control of that pain. We suffer when we are disappointed and frustrated with the realies of life. We suffer when we are upset, angry, and depressed that things are NOT going “our way”. The real locaon of unhappiness, then, is in our heads. In our mindset about how things are “supposed” to be. When reality falls short, we feel “cheated, ripped off, this ISN’T right! This ISN’T the way it was SUPPOSED to be,” we protest!! But WHO said “move to Costa Rica, and life will be perfect”? Did the ocean, the jungle, the birds and monkeys promise that? But, you say, “I never expected perfecon”. Yes, that may be. And it’s also true that you probably expected MUCH more than any place could deliver. And, by doing so, set yourself up for disappointment. Do we ever say, “That sunset would be beer if it was just a lile more to the right and a bit more pink”??? No! We accept it as it is and delight in its beauty. But do we treat Costa Rica with the same respecul acceptance? Now consider our atude toward rain: “More damn rain. Rain, rain, go away....” Our unhappiness comes from our atude about what’s “supposed to be.” For example, “Today it was SUPPOSED to be sunny not raining.”

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Who said “it’s SUPPOSED to be sunny.” US! WE DID! And in doing so, we ensure disappointment. When we “fight” the way things are because they’re not how they’re “supposed to be”, we lose!! That’s not a bale we can ever win. When we cling to our desire for a world “designed” for us, we guarantee our suffering. That suffering about rain ends when we accept it and make the best of it. Romanc walks on rainy beaches, anyone? Acceptance is the start. Yes! It IS disappoinng when our plans are frustrated. But we make that disappointment even worse when we take the rain PERSONALLY. As if the rain DELIBERATELY intended to thwart us! Deliberately making us miserable. So on top of the rain, we oen pile a sense of personal grievance-creang suffering. The Buddhist “diagnosis” of suffering says it comes from our failure to accept things as they are, from clinging to fantasies of how things “should be”, and from taking setbacks personally. The Buddhist “cure” for suffering is to let go of those expectaons, those demands that the world change for us. The cure is: accept reality. And not take the world personally. “WHAT?”, you ask! “Am I supposed to just ‘suck it up’?” Roll over and surrender? No! You fix that leaky roof and don’t just live with the rain coming into the house. And when you can’t “fix” something, like the world, you learn to beer live with it.

EXCELLENT point! People, unlike rain, act from intenons. Rain has no “intent”. People do. The guy who jumped ahead of you might want to screw you. He MIGHT think he’s “more important than you” and that “You’re just a nobody!!” Should you just take such treatment? Are there any opons other than an argument? Try a change of perspecve: MAYBE he didn’t see you? Or you looked uncertain about whether you were ready to check out? Or he had a few items and thought he’d be done before you unloaded your cart? We’ll never know what his intent was. But if on top of a longer wait we add OUR THOUGHTS of “He thinks I’m a nobody, a nothing, etc.” We feel hurt, insulted and ruin the rest of our day. If instead, we THINK, “He’s rude. But his rudeness does NOT speak any TRUTH about my worth”, we wait longer AND rescue our day from ruin. We accept the delay and don’t make it personal. Now back to living in Costa Rica. HOW does all this help with that? We can usually deal with small setbacks like in the grocery store. HOW do we deal with the BIG disappointment that Costa Rica is not all we expected, all we hoped for? By making the best of it and NOT taking it personally!!

Acceptance means we don’t fight the larger world and we don’t take setbacks personally. We don’t shake our fist, ordering the rain to stop and we don’t see the rain as deliberately screwing us, we don’t see the world as exisng to please us. And we reduce suffering when we CHANGE WHAT WE CAN: our atudes (and that leaky roof).

The Costa Ballena IS magnificent AND difficult to live in: the rains are hard and long. The roads are rough. Trees fall, constantly knocking out electricity. Tico ways don’t always make sense. Things are more expensive than we thought. Geng a car fixed is a nightmare. And....What did I leave out? Ants? Tarantulas? Snakes? Crooked contractors?

“OK! OK!”, you say. “I KNOW the rain isn’t deliberately trying to make my life miserable. It just IS. It just falls regardless of anyone’s needs or feelings. But what about that guy how cuts in front of ME at the supermercado?? Certainly THAT’S intended to screw ME!!”

If on top of those REALITIES (Buddhism does NOT deny the reality suffering), we add “And all this MEANS it was a huge mistake coming here. I’m an idiot. I’m not meant to be happy. Life will always be miserable”, we guarantee ourselves one thing: misery!!

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El Residente


But if we think instead: “Yes! All this IS a pain... It’s not what I hoped for. I have a lot to cope with. But that DOES NOT mean I will never be happy here. It means I haven’t learned to cope with these realies and find happiness YET!, we improve our chances for happiness. Perspecve helps with that coping. EVERYONE suffersnot just us. No one gets everything they want and need. But if we are GRATEFUL for what Costa Rica HAS given us and realize that we CAN control our REACTIONS to CR’s realies, life will be beer here.

of the realies we face-including CHOOSING how we react. It’s simple: Accept reality. Don’t make it worse with negave reacons. Make the best of what IS sasfying. Change what we can. This me we focused on REMOVING problemac expectaons that create unhappiness.

I can’t control the rain or jerks. But I CAN CHOOSE to NOT to let them ruin my life. In summary, we are unhappy when we have unrealisc expectaons about life and when we take setbacks as saying something negave about us, when we take them personally. We are happy when we THRIVE. And we THRIVE when we accept our limits, life’s limits. And make the best

January/February 2014

This is the first of a new series by Tony Johnson, a rered university mental health center clinical psychologist. The series deals with living in, and adjusng to, life in Costa Rica. The author has lived and learned about life in CR for over 3 years. None of it was easy. But it is geng easier! You can write him at: paradise.we.have.a.problem@gmail.com

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A Day In The Life

by Allen Dickinson

It Flows Freely In The Streets Some things can make me so damn irritated my blood pressure goes up! One of those things is when there is a request for an increase for water services. Why get upset? I mean, water is prey cheap here, so why do I get irritated over a few colones a month? Thanks for asking! According to a 2009 WHO / UNICEF report, the Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitaon, 2010 Esmates (1), “Non-revenue water in Costa Rican water companies is high, as most systems are operang with losses usually over 50%, a value which reflects a high level of inefficiency . . .” (For comparison, our large, northern neighbor considers any system loss of over 7% serious and the cause is immediately invesgated and corrected.) The report goes on to say: “The economic regulaon of the major service providers – AyA and ASADAS – is the responsibility of the Regulatory Authority for Public Services (ARESEP) . . . , which is responsible for tariff seng, seng technical regulaons, and monitoring the compliance with these regulaons . . .” (ASADAS are independent associaons which supply water to communies in areas that AyA does not service. There are over 2,000 ASADAS across the country.)

Costa Rica has recently dodged a fresh water shortage and resulng raoning program, but the crisis is only over for this year. What about next year? And in the meanme, does the price charged for water service to residences and businesses keep going up? Certainly, the price of everything else has risen, but why should supplies of clean, safe water be so short that the price has to rise? The report makes the answer clear . . . it can be seen running freely in the streets.

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A short jaunt around any populated area will reveal mulple instances of water seeping up into the streets from leaking supply line sources. (Anything before the water reaches a meter is “supply”.) In my experience it is rare to go even a single kilometer without seeing at least one leak, so there must be thousands upon thousands in the Central Valley alone. And to make maers worse, many of these leaks are not new; some have existed for months, even years. It’s not hard to figure out what the problem is – simply said, water system maintenance pracces are substandard. To mend a leak, the common repair pracce is to dig up an offending pipe, affect something that can only be considered a temporary fix, and shovel the dirt back in the hole. The repair could be longer lasng with one simple step: if, as the hole is being filled, the earth surrounding the fix was tamped down to support the pipe. Without that step the vibraon from the vehicular traffic over the locaon can (and will) cause the unpacked earth to sele, whereupon the poorly supported repair can flex. And eventually, somemes quite soon aer the supposed repair, the leak returns. How do I know this? In front of my house is a leak that has just been repaired – for the fih me in six years. I have watched every repair as it was done and observed the maintenance pracces, and it was always the same shoddy procedure I just described. In my opinion, in almost every case, the responsibility for the poor maintenance procedures falls directly on the management of AyA and the ASADAS. It appears that the atude of those enes is to “let someone else pay” – just shrug off the poor maintenance and resulng losses as being okay . . . and go on about the business of raising rates. El Residente


What is being ignored by this approach is that it has serious consequences on virtually every person in Costa Rica, especially the poor, where a rate rise for basic water service has the largest impact. To pay more for water means that this group will have less money for necessies, like medicine and food. In effect, AyA and the ASADAS are promong poverty and malnutrion among the least affluent. The problem of “it’s just a lile leak” takes on huge proporons when magnified on a naonal basis, like the study menoned at the beginning of this shows. And beside the impact on the poor, inefficient water delivery has much broader consequences. For instance: – The cost of naonal health care services increase because expensive water service contributes to a rise in healthcare costs. – Tourism is affected because resorts, hotels, restaurants, and other tourism related industries, must raise their rates to pay for their increased overhead.

Do that and my blood pressure will go back down. (1) hp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_supply_and_ sanitaon_in_Costa_Rica Allen Dickinson is a member of ARCR. In 2006 he rered and relocated to Costa Rica. He holds a Bachelors Degree from the University of New York and a Masters Degree from the University of West Florida. He can be reached via email at: allen@humphree.net

– The environment is hurt because the sediments and pollutants being washed off the streets end up in the streams and rivers of the country. The widely promoted image of Costa Rica as being an environmentally conscious country is thereby blemished in the eyes of the world. – The economy of municipalies and communies, who must fund expensive, repeated repairs to roadways caused by the leaks, is impacted. The poor condions of roads also tarnishes the naonal image to visitors too. – Those persons affluent enough to own a vehicle experience higher vehicle repair costs; the potholes created by leaking water increase the wear and tear on vehicles, and those repair expenses can take money away from pung food on the table. What’s the soluon? In my opinion ARESEP needs to take control and require AyA and the ASADAS to take responsibility for the widespread effect their poor management pracces are having on the naon and all the persons who live or visit here. Here’s an idea: ARESEP should deny ALL rate increase requests unl the requesng body improves their water loss rate by 20%. January/February 2014

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$avings & Rerement

by W. D. Walker

Mortgages & Trusts: Can You Trust Them? Many of us have found it very difficult to find somewhere safe to place our hard earned cash that will contribute income towards the lifestyle we would like to enjoy. For the past few years we have been faced with yields of 1 or 2% in US dollar investments with financial instuons, including the bond market. It takes a lot of money to get a decent income at that rate of return! The stock market has been scary- seemingly solid companies have stock values plung, while a virtually worthless one that has caught the emoon of the market soars, only to take a dive shortly aerwards. The old way of analysing a company for its value doesn’t seem to help in these days of manipulated markets. The one thing that has always showed gains, in spite of temporary dips from me to me, is well placed real estate. Most great fortunes have a signigicant real estate factor, and many rerements are possible because of the gain in the value of the family home. It takes a lot of money and steady nerves to speculate in real estate, but real estate can be used to guarnatee a source of income greater than any other safe, reliable investment. In Costa Rica the yield on real estate based loans is far higher than in developed countries, and the safety factor is increased as the real estate market has not fully recovered, ensuring loan guantees will appreciate. If the guarantee is good, there are few foreclosures, but it can happen. The possible downside is, therefore, becoming the owner of a Costa Rican property at far less than its market value. The property can then be sold at a profit, or kept for the use of those who funded the loan. This is not to say that real estate based loans are without risk. Casa Canada has been in the business of administering loans for clients for 22 years, and during that period have been saved from expensive mistakes by advisors, or made mistakes and learned the lesson the hard way. One of the basic items is in the wording of the mortgage or trust agreement. It took years to perfect the documents used today, and to elimiate the loopholes. Another vital step is the valuaon of the property. Appraisers in Costa Rica are not like those in developed countries, they have less informaon on which to base

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their values, and oen the valuaon goes to the highest bidder. The lender wants it low, the borrow wants it high. Casa Canada stopped using appraisers aer unfortuate experiences with over valued properes, and now has its own experts. It is also important to avoid loans in areas with difficult access, off the beaten track, or in a run down neighbourhood where the value will not increase,. The most secure loans involve the borrowers personal house or the building housing a personal business. With mortgages funded through Casa Canada the lender does not have any invesgaon, legal or set up costs. These are paid by the borrower. Casa Canada does not lend more than 50% of the quick sale value of properes with buildings or a house, nor more than 25% for lots or raw land. Loans are made only in first posion, second degree loans are not acceptable. Casa Canada management people visit the property offered as security for each loan, as does a real estate expert. A report on the property owner and guarantor is requested from the two major credit bureaus in Costa Rica, and income and employment are confirmed. Title to the property is thoroughly searched, something very important in Costa Rica. Although Casa Canada interest rates are higher than those charged by banks, the advantage to the borrower is quick service. A bank loan can take a year or more to be approved, while Casa Canada will do all the necessary studies in a couple of weeks. Loans made through Casa Canada can be repaid at any me without noce or bonus, making them aracve to people needing money to purchase a home or business and not wanng to wait for the long bank approval process. When the bank loan eventually does come through, they can pay off the Casa Canada loan. The collecon department of Casa Canada will contact borrowers the day aer their payment is due, should it not be made on me, then will follow up unl the payments are brought up to date. In this ways loans don’t get so far behind that the borrow cannot pay the arrears. For all services Casa Canada charges the client(s) funding the mortgage 2% per year interest, which is paid each me a mortgage payment is received. The lender’s return is the rate of the mortgage less the 2% fee. In this way, should a mortgage not perform for a few months, there is no fee charged for administraon unl payments are received. To spread the risk of interrupted El Residente


cash flow due to a late payment by a borrower, a client can become a partner in several syndicated mortgages with other lenders instead of owning a loan outright. Mortgages are registered in the name of the client(s) or the client(s) company against the property in the Naonal Registry. Trusts have the client or client company name in them, but are registered in the name of the trustee, a law firm specializing in trusts that Casa Canada has used for many years. The lender can receive a copy of the registered document. Funds are not disbursed unl proof that the loan documents are registered, so it is not possible for another loan to be registered before ours. A mortgage or a trust? Trusts are the preferred method of lending, as property tle can be transferred relavely quickly if the terms of the trust are breached. There is no court procedure, simply a set of steps involving a property aucon and then transfer of tle. Casa Canada’s legal people handle the procedure on behalf of the client where necessary. The downside of a trust is that due to a recent law,

January/February 2014

property registraon fees must be paid every me a property is put into a trust. This expense is paid by the borrower, but increases the cost of the loan. The registraon fee is based either on the amount of the mortgage or the registered value of the property in the Naonal Registry, whichever is greater. The cost is prohibive should the loan be small in relaon to the registered property value. For example, if someone wanted to borrow $20,000 on a property registered at $300,000, the borrowing cost would be disproporonately high, as the registry fee would be based on $300,000. In this case we would recommend a mortgage. It is unlikely a borrower will let a property that valuable go into foreclosure, and if they did it would be worth while for the lender to wait for court to grant tle. The foreclosure process can also be sold to another investor. Should you be interested in more informaon or how you can parcipate in real estate based loans, contact Ryan Piercy in the ARCR office, or Monika Trejos in the Casa Canada Administraon building, 150 meters east of Soda Tapia. Either can be reached at 2222-1722, or by email at monikatrejosn@gmail.com or r.piercy.9@ casacanada.org.

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Costa Rica Living

by Judy Timson

Finding One’s Place in Costa Rica Atenas Chili Cook Off Are we talking about finding a place to live? Are we talking about where we find ourselves in the order of things? Are we talking about searching for one’s path and purpose? You can interpret “Finding One’s Place in Costa Rica” in various ways and hopefully this arcle might enlist you to think about a different populaon base as they are finding their place in Costa Rica. For many of us ex-pats living in Costa Rica, we can be thankful for many things: the gi of living and residing in this beauful country while enjoying a home to our liking, shaping a newly-created life of friends and acquaintances, and for several, a real opportunity to look at ourselves and assess how or what we might change within ourselves that possibly might enhance others less fortunate than ourselves. In my eighteen months of living here I recognize the importance of living more in the moment, not yesterday or tomorrow or next week, but today. Not that we sll shouldn’t plan beyond today, we should, but part of the joy of living in this culture is to be thankful for each day, to recognize the value of each day and to consider how we might get involved in something greater than ourselves. The old life is gone and the new life is here – let’s do something together for the greater good! Do You Remember What it Took to Move Here? Do you remember the hurdles we each encountered to make such a major move in our life – to relocate internaonally to Costa Rica? Our lives were turned upside down with the many challenges before, during and aer arrival here: selling homes, cars, possessions, geng paperwork ready for establishing residency,

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what to bring, how to transport it, where to live, etc. It was major. Well, imagine if you can, two lile eyes looking up at you, scared to death, because their world, too, has been turned upside down? They have been abandoned or abused beyond comprehension and have been taken out of the only home they knew. Fear of the unknown is hard for adults, let alone children, and that is just what has happened to many of these children who have basically been abandoned due to circumstances having nothing to do with them. Finding More Than a Home Fortunately, Hogar de Vida, a local children’s home here in Atenas, has been helping these at-risk children for almost 20 years. They shelter up to 35 children, age birth to ten years old, and provide love, protecon and spiritual guidance to all. Their mission helps to meet the children’s daily needs by offering a stable home, good nutrion, clothing, educaon, and trustworthy authority figures. Tim & Dena Stromstad, founders of Hogar de Vida opened its doors in 1995; what started as one home spearheaded by the Stromstads, has grown to three homes on the property, supervised by experienced and loving “Tias” or aunes. Tim and Dena live on the property and are involved in every aspect of the children’s lives. Love and hope are delivered in abundance by all those serving these children at Hogar de Vida. My sister and I have had the pleasure of vising Hogar de Vida on several occasions and when we were asked to serve on the Atenas Charity Chili Cook Off Commiee, we immediately said we wanted to tour Hogar de Vida

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to learn more about this children’s home and what they did. Well, I have to say, we were blown away by their meaningful work and dedicaon to these kids. Who were we to say “no” to serving at a local event where the proceeds raised would support Hogar de Vida’s mission. Without any reservaon on our part or that of our fellow Commiee members, it was probably one of the easiest decisions we’ve made here in Costa Rica! One outcome that Hogar de Vida always hopes for is to be able to return these children back to their family, but that is not always possible due to individual circumstances. The next best outcome is to be part of finding these children permanent homes with a loving family – these kids deserve that and more! One Very Special Success Story Let me share a story about Julio (above with Dena Stromstad). As menoned, Hogar de Vida only serves children birth to ten years old, but their longest staying child was there 15-1/2 years. Julio came to them as an abused baby with mulple disabilies – he couldn’t crawl, sit up or even hold his head up. But, Julio was a fighter and although he struggled with gaining strength and learning the most basic skills, he never gave up. And neither did Tim & Dena or the Tias. His whole life was a learning curve and although his quiet nature and strength were definitely evident on a daily basis, he taught others the meaning and importance of forging ahead. In me he did learn to hold up his head, to crawl and even advanced to a walker and eventually crutches, but unfortunately, due to Julio’s special needs, his opons to be adopted seemed to dwindle each and every year as he got older and older. Everyone loved Julio – it was decided he would not be abandoned again just because he was geng older.

Lives are changed because of Hogar de Vida and Julio’s story is just one example of that. It indeed takes a village to do what Hogar de Vida does and we are part of that village! By supporng the Atenas Charity Chili Cook Off – whether you are a sponsor, a donor, a volunteer, a chili team, a chili judge or aending the event – you are partnering in our community to help care for one child at a me. This annual event, held on Sunday, February 9, will again draw crowds to test over 22 chilis, to visit our sponsor tables, to parcipate in some fabulous raffle drawings, to eat hamburgers and hotdogs, to enjoy our beer garden, listen to some great music (and even dancing) and to meet and hear more about Hogar de Vida. This year’s event proceeds will support two areas at Hogar de Vida: 1) an automac steel gate at the entrance to more strongly provide the necessary security for these kids, and 2) operaonal costs that ensure that the children’s needs are met on a day-to-day basis (food, clothing, lodging, 24-hour adult supervision, schooling, medical, etc.) Come and Join Us…And Help Change Lives Join us on Sunday, February 9th from 11am to 4pm. To learn more about Hogar de Vida or the Chili Cook Off, please visit www.atenaschilicookoff.com.

In October 2013, Julio turned 18 which meant he would be moved to another Costa Rican Government agency for oversight of him. A miracle was about to happen. Hogar de Vida speaks about the many “graduaons” that Julio experienced in his many years at Hogar de Vida – 6th grade graduaon, special school graduaon, then high school graduaon. But, his most important graduaon – he graduated from Hogar de Vida and now has a real Dad, Mom, brothers and sisters. God answered the prayers for a kind and loving family to adopt him. He loves his new family and is doing very well. As you can imagine it was so hard to say goodbye to this inspiring young man, but very comforng to know that their love and caring for Julio was just another shining example of how important Hogar de Vida is for each and every one of these 35 children. January/February 2014

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Wild Side LXXVII

by Ryan Piercy

Beauful Buhos In a previous arcle we looked at owls in general that reside in Costa Rica. Though all owls are interesng and prey, this arcle will take a closer look at some of the more beauful species found here. The Spectacled owl, Pulsatrix perspicillata, is a favorite of many. Of course with the enre persona of the wise old owl, the sense of wearing eyeglasses makes this species the wisest looking of all. It is mainly a tropical rainforest bird, preferring dense old growth in which to inhabit. Adults can reach up to 52 cm in height, with a dark brown body, as well as upper breast and head. Then it also has a white belly and disncve white markings on the face, especially around the large yellow eyes, which resemble spectacles. Young are even more apparent, being all white except for the dark brown facial disc.

This tropical owl can be found from Southern Mexico down through Central America, and into Brazil, Paraguay and part of Argenna. Like most owls it is nocturnal, and is generally the largest most dominant species of owl within its dense territory. A wide range of mammals make up its diet, basically anything that is acve during the night. The Spectacled owl will typically make its unlined nest within the cavity of a large tree.

of in reverse of the body. It is slightly smaller, reaching up to 38 cm in height. Being completely nocturnal and difficult to encounter, the range of the Striped owl is not enrely clear. They are known to be seen in much of South and Central America as far north as Mexico, and apparently from sea level to about 1600 meters or more. It has been spoed in a wide variety of habitats, including rainforests, woodlands, marsh, savannahs and open grassy terrain. The black-and-white owl is another member of this wise family, having a black eyes and body, then a white chest striped in black, giving the appearance of a long stately beard reaching down to the belly. They are very unique in their appearance, and reach up to 40 cm in height, inhabing dense forested areas. Primarily found in Central America, they are also seen from Mexico through Venezuela. They are nocturnal, and may be found near small human selements, near the edges of woodlands and forests, or in swampy areas. These feed more on insects such as beetles and grasshoppers, but also on some small mammals such as fruit bats or rodents. They also have exceponal hearing and sight to help catch their small prey on the ground, and claws so strong they can even take their prey on the fly. In general owls have very few predators, and are generally solitary, keeping to themselves. Of course they are also territorial and will defend their area when necessary. Being nocturnal and well camouflaged makes them difficult to encounter, but occasionally it is possible to even stumble across them sleeping on a tree or post. Indeed a lucky and beauful experience.

Striped owls (Pseudoscops clamator) have eyes that give the appearance of a piercing stare. They are a lighter brown in color with white striping, and the facial disc is white with a brown ring, appearing as a heart. Their belly is also white, but with brown spots or stripes sort January/February 2014

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My Costa Rican Experience San Vito De Coto Brus: The More It Changes The More It Stays The Same My husband and I have a small nature reserve, Finca Cántaros, open to the public, in Linda Vista de San Vito, and our visitors oen tell us interesng stories. A mul-generaonal family arrived for a walk a few months ago, around 10 AM. They had arrived in San Jose from Chicago the night before, rose early, and had flown in a private plane to the excellent landing strip just east of San Vito. The asphalted runway has been compared favorably with the runway at Golfito, the busiest airport in the Zona Sur. An extensive upgrade was completed in late 2011, and opmism was high that, at last, San Vito would become an even more popular desnaon on the ineraries of countless natural history visitors, eager to enjoy the mid-elevaon diversity and stunning views to the Talamanca Mountains and Amistad Biosphere Reserve. The Italian community here (as San Vito’s early pioneers were Italians, led by Don Vito Sansone) imagined many of their adventurous and generous countrymen flying in and supporng Italian language educaon in the local schools. Once the new runway was completed, we older Permanent Residents and ex-pats, along with other town elders, felt a lile more secure, knowing that in a serious medical emergency a private plane could more safely land and, during daylight hours at least, whisk us away for proper treatment in the capital. The landing strip runs parallel to the main road leading to Sabalito, and beyond that, to Rio Sireno and the Panama border. Surely, the an improved runway would bring regular flights to our area, driving down the price of air travel to San Jose and becoming within the reach of local cizens. For years there had been a narrower and shorter gravel runway, lile used. It had always been fenced—unreliably—to keep out cows, dogs, and lile children. The upgraded runway was also bordered with a fence, but this one was not only built strong, high, and of sturdy chain-link, but was also seamlessly complete all the way around the landing strip. Unfortunately, without an agreement with Nature Air, Sansa, or any other domesc airline, there was no

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by Gail Hull incenve to build a lile airport office or “gate”, nor funds to hire a manager. So there the “new” runway has stood, available for the rare private plane or the occasional helicopter. I can confirm that at least once in 2012 a charter plane actually landed there with people going to the nearby Organizaon for Tropical Studies Field Staon, Las Cruces, and its Wilson Botanical Garden. As me passed and there remained almost no air traffic, rumors flew that Golfito Airport (one hour and fieen minutes’ drive) did not want any compeon for their air passenger business. Maybe pressures from further south were brought to bear on naonal airlines NOT to bring regular service to San Vito. Another rumor bubbled that pilots found the runway approach a bit dangerous and disconcerng. Some thought the authories’ feared drug trafficking from Panama if the landing strip became too accessible. But aer so much money had been spent to improve it, including funds from the naonal aviaon authority, certainly regular flights would be negoated soon, wouldn’t they? So imagine my surprise when the handsome grandparents, parents and three children announced that they had arrived by plane to San Vito. “Well, how did that go?” I asked.

“The landing went very well,” said the father. “The pilot knew what he was doing,” said a young daughter. “Unfortunately, there was a fence with a serious lock on it,” said the mother, “and we couldn’t get out.” Then everyone was talking at once. A call was made by the pilot to the police staon, thinking the authories would know who in town had a key to the lock. Aer asking around the staon for about ten minutes, and calling the Municipality offices for another ten minutes, the deputy on duty came back El Residente


to the phone to say that at one me the Guardia Rural was indeed in charge of the key to the runway padlock, but then early in 2013 a total renovaon of the staon took place, and now no one had a clue what happened to that key. By then the family, hot and frustrated aer a half hour in the open sun on the tarmac, turned to the pilot. “Where are your tools?” they asked. Cars had lined up along the road by the runway—spectators had emerged to ogle an actual airplane, and to witness the sorry plight of the Gringos trapped inside the cage and unable to be liberated. The pilot saved the day with metal hacking instruments, and then the family, meeng up with a car and driver outside the fence, were able to begin their vacaon, to the cheers of the local camposinos. With an unusual story already lined up for these ecotourists to tell their friends back home, they were in good cheer, and I was happy Finca Cantaros was the first stop on their only slightly delayed excursion. These were real Pura Vida people!

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Early one morning recently, passing by San Vito’s expensive and well constructed runway, my husband and I noced weeds growing higher around the fence, and vultures drying their wings on the dark asphalt. You can contact Gail at Finca Cántaros: 506.2773.5530 (Costa Rica) 415.474.1885 (USA Fax)

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Costa Rica On The Globe by Ryan Piercy A Place In History. Last year in this series we looked at visitors to Costa Rica who, aside from their effect locally, brought this ny country under the view of the world. However there have been others, Costarricenses themselves, who have done much the same for their own country. It is only fing we now take a closer look at their contribuons.

José María Castro Madriz was born in San José on the first of September, 1818. At his birth this territory was lile more than part of a larger confederaon and, as even coffee export was yet to begin, it was unknown and of lile importance. But José María would take part in helping to change that. Castro went to university in Leon, Nicaragua, where he obtained his degrees in Philosophy and Law. He was an open Liberal, and was also a great admirer of the French Revoluon. Once back in Costa Rica he became the Rector of the Naonal University (which he had helped to create) for sixteen years, as well as serving in many other public offices, including Minister Foreign Affairs, before (and aer) being elected as Head of State in 1847. As a strong Liberal he promoted the freedom of commerce and the modernizaon of the Costa Rican economy. He was also a great benefactor of educaon, whose crowning glory included the creaon of the University of Saint Thomas as well as a school for girls, being a firm believer in equality of educaon. His greatest acknowledgment falls, however, on the date of August 31st, 1848. José María Castro severed the es to the Central American Confederaon and declared Costa Rica a free and independent republic. This, of course, drew the aenon of the world to this newly established country for the first me. In the same moment he was officially declared President.

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As head of the new country he worked hard on forging internaonal relaons with various European countries, and even planted the idea of having Great Britain establish a protectorate over the country. Unfortunately the country started facing great economic difficules, due especially to the drop in coffee prices, and numerous aempts were made to overthrow the new government. Finally, on November 15th 1849, and facing a threat of another revoluon, Castro relinquished power to Miguel Mora Porras, and on the following day, submied his official resignaon. Congress accepted, but also declared him as the Founder of the Republic. This was not the end of Castro polically, however, as he connued to serve in other roles in the government. In October of 1850 he journeyed to France where he was decorated with the order of the Legion of Honor. In 1860 he was elected as head of the Supreme Court for a four year term, followed by a second term in 1864. 1866 found Castro once again elected as President of the Republic. Again he promoted public educaon as well as opening the Port of Limon to internaonal trade. In 1868, however, he was again overthrown by a military coup. Sll, he connued his influence on the country’s future performing in the office of Exterior Relaons as well as serving on the Supreme Court.

Though many visitors don’t know of Castro, they and cizens alike can sll see the direct affect he had on this lile country. Every year on September 15th the holiday he declared, the Independence of Costa Rica, is celebrated. Sll more prominent, every day one can see the flying banner of his legacy, the flag of Costa Rica. Created by his wife, who was inspired by the French revoluon, the symbol of the naon hosts the colors of the French tricolor. It was declared as the official flag and shield of the country on September 28th, 1848, by José María Castro, founder and first President of the Republic of Costa Rica. El Residente


January/February 2014

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Exchange rate of the Costa Rican ¢ to the US Dollar

 " #"#$%"$ $"( !   " #""   #" "! "$ ##%)$"  "#"'$"# &'# !"# %%###  &

June July August September October November

504.53 504.44 510.03 505.57 506.02 505.13

Basic Interest Rate June July August September October November

6.60 % 6.55 % 6.55 % 6.55 % 6.55 % 6.55 %

Exchange rate of other currencies to the US Dollar Giro Canadian Dollar Euro Swiss Franc Nicaraguan Cordoba Danish Krone Norwegian Kroner Swedish Krona Honduran Lempira Brish Pound Argenne Peso Columbian Peso Mexican Peso Dominican Peso Brazilian Real Guatemalan Quetzal Korean Won Japanese Yen Venezuelan BolĂ­var Hong Kong Dollar Taiwan Dollar Bolivian Peso Chilean Peso Russian Rouble Peruvian Sol Polish Zloty Australian Dollar Chinese Yuan

1.53520 1.05830 1.36020 0.90420 25.21650 5.48390 6.11950 6.55240 20.52000 1.63330 6.13250 1,931.93000 13.09180 42.32500 2.32630 7.90250 1,058.20000 102.32000 6.29210 7.75270 29.63400 6.90900 528.37000 33.23380 2.80280 3.09230 0.91000 6.09400

Libor Rate 1 month 3 month 6 month 12 month Prime Rate

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0.16825 % 0.23910 % 0.34680 % 0.57800 % 3.25 %

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Holidays of Costa Rica Wednesday, January 1st New Year’s Day - Naonal holiday Friday, April 11th Bale of Rivas - Naonal holiday (ARCR Closed) A Touch of Wisdom “A body makes his own luck, be it good or bad.� - unknown “Avoid dishonest gain: no price can recompense the pangs of vice.� - Ben Franklin (1706-1790) “Don’t kill the goose that lays the golden egg.� - Aesop 620-560 BC

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Gravity: It’s not just a good idea, it’s the LAW! Life is too complicated in the morning. We are all part of the ulmate stasc -- ten out of ten die.

January/February 2014

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El Residente

Residente 2014 01  

Spring has arrived, though in Costa Rica it sti ll feels just like summer! Everlasti ng summer. This is a great country for many of us, not...