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Jan Yatsko

Peeling Onions at the Ferias “Laughter is brightest where food is the best.” - Irish Proverb


ou can obviously learn a lot about a culture through its language. North Americans don’t like to waste time, so we speak directly, whereas Costa Ricans express ideas with more adjectives and they take their time getting to the point. The same can be said about food and our levels of experience in a different country. How and what we experience in a new country is like peeling away an onion. A tourist will encounter the protective brown layers. Tears of frustration and loneliness begin to fall as a recently retired foreigner starts to cut into the initial white layers of Costa Rican life. The tears subside with more layers of experience. The people who get to the heart of the onion are those who have lived in Costa Rica for many years and/or make their living by working with the Costa Ricans. By this time, the whole onion is peeled and chopped and it is ready to add its flavor to the living experience. My husband, Tom, and I have tasted the onion by living and working at ferias during the past 10 years in Costa Rica. We currently earn our living by making American-style bakery items and selling them at the outdoor farmer’s markets (ferias de agricultor) in Atenas on Friday morning and in Grecia on Saturday morning. The outdoor markets began about 35 years ago to provide a direct selling opportunity to small farmers when the produce markets (mercados) could no longer accommodate the growing demand under one roof.

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The feria is a place where people connect; it is the pulse of everyday Costa Rican life. Customers can purchase directly from the producer and receive the latest news that is passed verbally from one acquaintance to another. At a feria one can purchase not only fruits, vegetables, meat and cheese, but flowers and plants, clothing, shoes, home-made tortilla chips and fruit jellies, local artisan coffee, shopping bags made from recycled rice sacks, hand-made baskets and a variety of prepared foods from bakery items and pupusas to a complete gallo pinto breakfast, all at prices less than those offered in the mercados. As you walk through the feria, listen to the words that the stand holders shout to get a customer’s attention. “Lleva mango, lleva cebolla (onion), lleva flores (flowers)” as they tell you to take home their particular product. “Solo bueno” means that only the best products are sold to you. When a customer says “Regaleme una ...” (give me a...) you are in business, but when a customer says “Ahora pasamos” (we’ll come by later) that is a polite way of saying “No, thanks”. What I love most about the ferias is the family atmosphere. Your purchase goes directly to the family that provided the product and, after a while, frequent customers become “like family” and, occasionally, who wouldn’t want to give them a few extra items free? Our Costa Rican feria neighbors have embraced us as family and, at the end of the day, they wish us another good week ahead along with an occasional free item from their stand. This is an invitation to go on a scavenger hunt at your local outdoor farmer’s market. Look for this red fruit (below) to find out the name in Spanish and what it is commonly called in English. Does it grow on a bush, in the ground or on a tree? How you eat it? Taste it! Make it a habit to support your local farmers as you connect with the people who directly know the product. Practice your Spanish as you converse with them and soon you, too, will be making new friends and peeling away more onion layers to add to the soup of life! There are ferias in Santa Cruz every Saturday and in Liberia on Fridays.

Alcoholics Anonymous Schedule of Meetings


Tuesdays: 5:30 - 6:30 pm (open) Fridays: 5:30 - 6:30 pm (open)

Location: Hitching Post Plaza Unit 2, Brasilito Contact: Don H. at 2-654-4902


Saturday: 10:30-11:30 - Open General Meeting Monday: 5:30 Open Meeting Thursday: 6:30-7:30 - Open Meeting Location: Behind Restaurant Fiesta del Mar Contact: Ellen - 2-653-0897

Editorís Note


sed to be that Costa Rica was a refuge for the criminal on the run. We said that foreigners here fitted into two categories – the wanted and the not wanted – and that was often true. Many fugitives came here, changed their identity, reinvented their past life and disappeared. Lately, immigration computer systems have become more sophisticated, making it difficult for anyone to enter the country undetected. Also, with the internet, anyone can “Google” anyone else, which may be why so many people go by their first names only. You can run, but you can’t hide. Recently, a year-long resident of Tamarindo was tracked down by Interpol and given a free plane ride back to the United States, where he was wanted for a series of “sex crimes.” Strangely, he had made no attempt to disappear, to blend quietly into the surroundings, but was well-known around town as a “party guy” even to the point of having business cards printed to that effect.

Are you fed up by those strolling mariachis, fondly known as “Los Molestadores de la Paz” who travel around town from restaurant to restaurant playing “Besa me, besa me mucho”? OK, once in a while may be fun for the turistas, a good photo opportunity. – but “Guantanamera” ten times every night? Consider yourselves lucky! A world record was recently set in Guadalajara, Mexico, by a mariachi band of 549 musicians. Aaaarghhhh!

The small town of Villarreal, a five-minute drive from Tamarindo, is growing. Now, it is a dormitory town; many of its inhabitants earn their living in Tamarindo – construction, service, fishing, tours, security – but physically it is spreading so that, in the near future, it will connect up with Tamarindo via a long business “strip”. Many new businesses are springing up there, even in these depressed economic days. Now there is fast food, ropa Americana, kindergarten, hardware, pizza, wrecker’s yard, butchers, several vets, furniture, internet cafés, computer stores, supermarkets and clinics. In our pages you will find publicity for some of these businesses.

Flamingo Equestrian Center Riding School - Boarding Facility Lighted Indoor Arena - Jump Course Year-round Customized Horse Camps and Clinics 8-828-6879

What a nasty trick was played on the muchacho who rents chairs on the beach. Arrived one morning to find that 150 plastic chairs, chained to the fence, had been burned to ashes during the night.

The Howler Since 1996

October 2009

FEATURES 7 Hydroponics

Country Day School in Brasilito has installed a state-of-the-art hydroponic system, and first results look good.

9 Gripe Porcina

The dreaded swine flu is increasing again. We offer information on symptoms, prevention and treatment.

14 Around Town Openings, closings, parties, music. The Gold Coast has it all, and bar-hoppin’ David is in the groove.

15 Surf Report

“The family that surfs together enjoys life together,” would seem to be the motto of this Tamarindo family of five.

25 A Change You’d Better Believe in

Many beaches in Costa Rica are being eroded by the ocean, but the real culprit, as usual, is man.

26 Surviving Costa Rica

The word “funny” can have many interpretations, depending on the speaker’s and the listener’s sense of humour - or nationality!

Cover Caption: A great way to enjoy the fantastic Gold Coast scenery is to take a bicycle tour. Many tour companies and hotels offer bike tours. Ask your hotel or check in with one of the many tour companies along the Gold Coast. Cover design and photo: John Lyman Photos /


CD Review


Book Review

12 Yoga 13


19 Puzzle 21 Tide Chart 24 October Forecasts 28 Sun & Moon 28 Rain Gauge 30 Christopher Howard

The Howler Founded in 1996 Vol. 14, No. 10 - October 2009 Issue No. 157 Editorial Office: Casa Equinox, Playa Tamarindo Guanacaste, Costa Rica Ced. Juridica: 3-101-331333 Publisher, editor and production David Mills • Tel/fax: 2-653-0545 Contributors: TONY OREZ TOM PEIFER JOHN LYMAN ELLEN ZOE GOLDEN JEANNE CALLAHAN JESSE BISHOP JAN YATZKO NINA WEBER

Deadline for November: October 15

Howler advertising

Advertise in the Howler and improve your business. The Howler now offers a wide range of advertising sizes and formats to suit all needs. Please contact: David Mills - 2-653-0545 - Advertising rates (color) Size 1/8-page 1/4

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Discounts: For 6 months, paid in advance, one month is deducted. For 12 months paid in advance, two months are deducted. Ads must be submitted on CD or e-mail attachment, JPG format at 266 dpi, at the appropriate size (above). All comments, articles and advertising in this publication are the opinion of their authors, and do not reflect the opinion of Howler Management.

Hydroponics at Country Day School High-tech Growing System for Organic Produce One-week-old plants at CDS


n September 11, 2009, Country Day School Guanacaste inaugurated a cutting-edge hydroponic greenhouse system developed in Costa Rica by Four Quarters, S.A.

The school plans to both supply its own cafeteria with fresh, organic, pesticidefree vegetables and use the growing system and the concepts behind it to enrich its curriculum at all grade levels. Jeff Haun, Director of Country Day School, explains: “Guanacaste depends entirely too much on other parts of the country for fresh vegetables, and by the time they get here, they are usually far from fresh. We wanted to be able to grow our own food, we wanted to do it without pesticides, and we wanted to do it in a way that would be fun, interesting and educational for our students. This technology accomplishes all those things.” The system is based upon vertical stacking hydroponics developed in Florida for the production of strawberries. The technology was brought to Costa Rica by Mr. Glenn Ekblom of Four Quarters, S.A., and modified to the Costa Rican climate. The major modifications include a special cooling system run on misters, and the application of a beneficial fungus originally developed by the University of Costa Rica. “The fungus is our pesticide substitute. It’s already used in traditional farming in Costa Rica and elsewhere, but in a greenhouse, it is much easier to apply and control”, explains Mr. Ekblom. Mr. Ekblom’s company, Four Quarters, developed the first such greenhouse in the country in a partnership with Michael and Joanna Bresnan of Vista del Valle, in Rosario de Naranjo.

Nutrient control & supply system

The Bresnans donated the property, Glenn contributed his technical knowledge and FUCAD (Costa Rica Foundation for Relief & Development) donated the money for the greenhouse and hydroponics growing system. Together they built and developed the precursor to what is at Country Day School today: A system to grow vegetables organically with no pesticides. For more information on this growing system contact: • Glenn Ekblom (506) 8-372-1437 • Kenneth Marder (506) 8-812-3265 For contacting Mike & Jo about their vision for eliminating hunger in a Sustainable World you can email them at or call them at Vista Del Valle 8-829-8016.

David Mills


Dining Out Reviewing the Reviews

very year it’s the same. I arrive, with my Dining Companion, at a restaurant we have not visited before to do a review, and perform my monthly duty of ordering, tasting, sharing, photographing and, hopefully, enjoying a few dishes of their offering. This is not as tough an assignment as it sounds. If I have chosen my DC carefully from my stable of beautiful young women who sit at home all month waiting for the phone call to come and help me eat, and if the restaurant is half-way decent, it can be a very enjoyable experience. But there is a snag. After the meal, when I explain to the restaurant owner that his/her food parlour is to be featured in the prestigious Howler and that I need to interview them for the write-up, the reaction is usually of delight, as this free exposure is very good for business, presuming that the review is favourable. Once a year, however, the reaction is negative. “Please don’t put me in the October issue. There’s nobody here to read it.” I have some eating places lined up for future reviews, so I’ll give them a break and skip this month. So, here I am with a column of empty space which must be filled with something. My deadline has passed (yes, my dear columnists, even I have a deadline, so stop whining about it), so I’ll regale you with some pretty pictures of meals enjoyed over the past twelve months. We are certainly blessed with a wide variety of eating places in and around the Gold Coast, from fine dining to comida tipica, so get out there and enjoy it. There - that filled a column!

April: Balcon de Mariscos

August: Angelina’s

December: Seasons

May: Kahiki

July: Coconut

September: Papaya

Gripe Porcina

Its avoidance and treatment

Just when we thought it had gone away, H1N1 is back and causing more trouble than it did a few months ago. Familiarly known as Gripe Porcina, Gripe Chancho or Swine Flu, the H1N1 influenza is an illness which frequently causes outbreaks of respiratory illness in pigs. Its appearance in humans is very uncommon, but at this time it has attacked people in many countries around the world. How is it spread? Kissing pigs and watching “Porky Pig” cartoons. Just joking! The principal method of H1N1 spreading between humans is via saliva, usually from coughing or sneezing, which spreads tiny droplets into the air and onto nearby surfaces, where the virus can survive for hours and can infect people touching them. What are the symptoms? Infected people may suffer coughing, fever, loss of appetite, throat irritation, runny nose, aching in the head or body, fatigue and shivering, maybe diarrhea or vomiting. These symptoms may last for a week. In some people, the virus can cause pneumonia, breathing problems and, in severe cases, death. Who is most at risk? While swine flu can affect anybody, those most at risk are: Young children, especially those under 12 months of age; elderly people (but very few cases have affected people over age 65). People with cardiovascular conditions; liver and kidney problems; blood disorders; neurological and neuromuscular disorders; diabetics. People in these groups should seek medical care as soon as they get flu symptoms. How does one avoid spreading it? Stay home for seven days. When you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the garbage and wash your hands. What treatment does a victim need? Unless the symptoms are really bad, none. Most people recover without treatment. But if unusual symptoms – shortness of breath, change in skin colour, confusion, persistent vomiting, high fever...- then see your doctor immediately. Antiviral drugs such as Tamiflu or Relenza are effective against the symptoms, but their use is not recommended for fear of causing drug-resistance. A vaccine is presently being developed and could be ready for use shortly (in the U.S.). Regular anti-flu vaccine is not effective in protection against swine flu. Prevention Wash your hands regularly with soap and water, avoid touching the face, and stay away from people who exhibit symptoms; wear a face mask, especially when close to a flu sufferer. Good luck and stay healthy.

CD Review BenJammin Tony Orez


ock and Roll has had an element of humor and playfulness since its inception; it is simply a part of its inherent makeup. Sure, there is a serious side, as well: the musicianship has always been concrete and the messages diverse, be they political, philosophical or romantic. But the whimsical part has always been there, throughout the history of Rock and Roll. Ben Orton has been a serious Rock and Roll musician with a serious funny bone for more than twenty years. Born near Champagne, Ill, he relocated to the Ozark Mountains and Fayetteville, Ark, to pursue his college degree “in three easy decades” as he has explained it. Ben has spent time living in Seattle, India and Iran as he took the long road to eventually come to Costa Rica and live in the Quepos/Jacó area. On his way here, he paid his dues, including playing bass guitar and recording with a biker/porno band, and then released his first solo project, “Ben Orton & Other Infamous Fugitives”, a good, straight-forward rollicking, rocking album. He recently released his first album from Costa Rica, a self-produced CD entitled “Hecho en Costa Rica” along with his band BenJammin and the Howlers. All the songs are Ben’s original material and the album was recorded in Jacó and Quepos. The disc kicks off with the light-hearted “Under the Coconut Tree” showcasing Ben’s tendency toward the whimsical (“Look up! Look out!”) I do want to mention that Sr. Orton does display a more serious side. To be sure, his guitar playing is seriously good stuff. I cannot stress this point enough: Ben rips it up on his guitars. In the category of serious subject matter for his song selections, I think Ben’s “Leave the World Alone” sums it up nicely. The tune reminds me a little of Country Joe McDonald’s style. Other tongue-in-cheek titles include “Tico Time” and “Have a Toke & Think About It”. Joining Ben on the album are the members of the group The Howlers: Karen Saith on the bouncy, bubbly bass, Mad Harold on steady drums, Chris “Safe Sax” Avery on saxophone, most notably the tasty chops on “Didn’t Woke Up”, and Panama Kenny on the occasional bongo. Buyer and reader warning: do NOT take the disc off after the last song listed. Wait! There is a “hidden” track that is well worth waiting for, a song that Ben sends out to “his mother and all mothers”. It’s an endearing tune he wrote for his mom in celebration of her eightieth birthday, a nice finishing touch and final track for the album. Besides, anyone who quotes Hendrix in his liner notes can’t be all bad… Ben plays live everywhere in Jacó and Quepos with his band The Howlers, as well as solo, at open mike nights and even with Nancy the Violinist, playing a wide variety of covers as well as his own original tunes. Check him out when you’re in the area and bring your dancing shoes and a smile. The music is infectious.

Book Review Head in the Clouds Tony Orez


illow Zuchowski needs a hat rack simply to distinguish her many occupations: this woman wears a lot of different hats. First and foremost, Ms. Zuchowski is a botanist who has lived in the Monteverde area of Costa Rica for nearly three decades. She had come to Costa Rica a few times in the late ‘70s as a vacationing botanist, then accepted a position in the early eighties that allowed her to return to Monteverde to work as a field assistant on a hummingbird-plant interaction project and has called that area “home” since then. Willow is also a renowned author with four books to her name, as well as a booklet of “Common Flowering Plants of the Monteverde Cloud Forest” and a four-fold laminate covering the Cloud Forest of Monteverde. She writes passionately about this area. Willow is also an adept illustrator and includes her work in each of her books. Truly, the culmination of these endeavors makes Willow Zuchowski a formidable teacher and instructor. Her works are detailed and specific enough to serve any advanced botany student and yet straightforward and digestible for any lay person, such as myself. For me, this is an indication of a natural teacher.

Enquire about special rates for residents

A good example of the cohesive mix of her talents lies between the covers of the book “An Introduction to Cloud Forest Trees, Monteverde, Costa Rica”, for which she rendered all the illustrations. The text, written by William Haber, covers eightyeight common species of cloud forest trees, indigenous to that locale. The book is separated into three cohesive sections, beginning with an overview of Monteverde that covers its geography, climate and soil, along with a description of the various forms of pollination and seed dispersal and an overview of the biodiversity of the vegetation there and in Costa Rica in general. The second section of the book is the real meat of the publication, dealing with observing and identification of the trees, dividing them into ten major groups for the benefit of the reader. Willow’s illustrations are detailed and specific, testimony to her gift of communicating, not only with words, but with her drawings as well. The third and final section is a series of four appendices, including a very useful glossary of botanical terms. Author Mark Plotkin has been quoted as saying that, “this book belongs in the backpack of all nature lovers headed for Central America”. I agree wholeheartedly. Her newest project is a native plant propagation and garden initiative called ProNativas, which had its impetus in Monteverde and is now spreading throughout Costa Rica. Willow’s other publications include “Tropical Trees of Costa Rica” and “Tropical Blossoms of Costa Rica”, two handy field guides, as well as the extensive “Tropical Plants of Costa Rica: a Guide to Native and Exotic Flora”. All of Ms. Zuchowski’s books are available at the Jaime Peligro book stores in Playa Tamarindo and Tilaran. So there we have it: Willow Zuchowski: illustrator and author, teacher, ecologist and botanist currently in search of a new tree, where she can hang her hats of many shapes and colors... For readers interested in Ms Zuchowski’s Monteverde laminate, please refer to:

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on the Beach By Nina Weber Certified Yoga Instructor

YOGA AT CASA AZUL in Tamarindo Beachfront provides a combination of Dynamic * Challenging * Inspiring * Encouraging and Relaxing Yoga * Small groups and individual adjustments *Most important.: Yoga is fun !!!

Do You Love to Laugh?

For more information email me at

Start practicing Laughter Yoga NOW. There is only one danger with Laughter Yoga. Laughter really is contagious. We were all born with the ability to laugh; however, the evidence on hand suggests that from laughing 400-500 times a day as children, when we grow up this dwindles away to just 1015 laughs a day. The worries of live-wire careers, money, children and self-esteem have taken their toll! The unique technique of practicing laughter Yoga is simple yet powerful and transports us back to the carefree joys of our childhood love and laughter. Over a few sessions, the threshold of laughter impluse in most participants is vastly lowered. Where people needed lots of “good ones” to even break into a smile, a few laughter sessions bring down the barriers and it takes very little to burst forth with peals of hearty belly laughter. Where does this crazy stuff come from? Laughter Yoga (Hasya Yoga) is an aspect of yoga which uses self-triggered laughter as a exercise to get the blood flowing. According to this concept anyone can laugh for no reason, without relying on humor, jokes or comedy. It was made popular as an exercise routine developed by Indian physicians. Laughter is simulated as an exercise in a group but, with eye contact and playfulness, developing into real and contagious laughter. It is meant to be a combination of laughing and yoga breathing, in order to bring more oxygen to the body and the brain. Laughter yoga is based on the assumption that the body cannot differentiate between fake and real laughter, and that their physiological and psychological benefits are thus identical. The laughter groups have been around in India from time immemorial. Early morning groups, specially the older men, practiced group laughter in open parks. One could hear loud raucous laughter in the early hours in the cold of winter when one was trying to snuggle and sleep some more. In recent times, a more formalized version was created and popularized as “Laughter Clubs”. Dr. Kataria’s first Laughter Yoga Club was started on 13th March 1995, in Mumbai, India. It began with just 5 people in a local public park, but soon the concept rapidly spread worldwide and, as of 2009, there are more than 6,000 laughter clubs in 60 countries. In addition, Laughter Yoga is also practiced in companies and corporations, cruise ships, fitness centers, yoga studios, leper colonies, centers for seniors, schools, colleges, prisons, universities, physically and mentally challenged and self-help cancer groups. When you laugh, you feel so much better. Other Benefits: Relieves stress *Reduces pain *Aids digestion *Improves sleep *Lowers Blood pressure *Improves circulation *Burns lot of Calories *Increases lung capacity *Is anti-aging.

David Mills

The Road to South Africa


osta Rica’s national team, La Sele, suffered two drastic losses in September in the World Cup qualifying series, dropping them to fourth place with two games to play in October. After a 3-0 loss to Mexico at La Sele’s home ground in Saprissa Stadium, Costa Rica lost again the following week in El Salvador. We held our breath after a goal was scored by El Salvador, but it was not seen by officials, so we thought we had dodged the bullet and would be lucky with a tie. Unfortunately, Salvador scored in the 90th minute of the game. These two losses bounce Costa Rica from first place to fourth in the Concacaf group. Group standings are: United States Mexico Honduras Costa Rica El Salvador Trinidad & Tobago

16 points 15 13 12 8 5

The top three teams will go to South Africa for the World Cup tournament in June, 2010. Only a dramatic set of results – U.S. loses the next two games and Costa Rica wins both – can keep Costa Rica out of fourth place. However, even in fourth place, La Sele has a chance, as it will play the fifth-place Conmebol (South America league) team for a ticket to South Africa. The final games in the elimination round are: Oct. 10 Costa Rica Mexico Honduras


Oct. 14 United States Trinidad/Tobago El Salvador While there’s life, there’s hope! Go, Sele!!!!!

Trinidad/Tobago El Salvador United States Costa Rica Mexico Honduras

A ro T o u w n n d

by David Mills

An organic market takes place at Maxwell’s in Potrero every week. Any week may see produce from Tony the meat man, Peter the Chef who makes many different hot sauces and lots of other goodies, Cecile from the bakery with her amazing breads, Diane with her home-made jewelry, Britton, with her beautiful art, painting on site, Terry with some unique reusable bags, Carola with her beautiful photographs. This is a must-come-see Open Friday Market Artisan Fair, bring friends and get in while the getting is good. Organic Produce every other week, from 1-5 p.m.

Just in time for Hallowe’en, Court Snider is making custommade Mardi Gras masks. Contact him at 8-845-2168. Smiling in the Rain. Don’t forget that at Coconut Restaurant there is 20% off your bill on the 20th October. And, any day, if you are a resident mention it, pay in cash and get a pleasant surprise. Licorera Cristal has changed its location to a tienda on the main street in Tamarindo, directly in front of Lazy Wave. Having a special dinner? Dress it up with an exotic appetizer. Chef Fredo is making a line of patés and other meat delicacies in the European style - paté de foie, terrine, rillette, head cheese, all fresh-made in Guanacaste and vacuum-packed. Serve it with hot buttered toast – Yummmmm! Call Fredo at 2-658-0190 or e-mail to Check out the new format for our web site – www.howlermag. com - which reads just like the real magazine. I hope to get a load of past issues up there soon.

The only publication seen in all beaches of the Gold Coast, from Playa Potrero to Playa Junquillal, plus Santa Cruz and Liberia is

We also have the best advertising prices. Advertise with us and maximise your business dollar Tel: 2-653-0545

Surf Report Story: Ellen Zoe Golden

The family that surfs together


hile Costa Rica boasts an oceanful of professional surf talent, it’s easy to forget when writing this column that the primary people out in the water catching waves are the free surfers, the folks, who are riding just for fun and stoke. Right here in Tamarindo, there’s a family who are making surfing part of their everyday routine. From father Jesus Martinez, mother Shannon Vacca, 11year-old Leilani Martinez, 8year-old Malakai Martinez, and 18-year-old Forrest Minchinton, everyone in the family surfs and loves it. Even the Chocolate Labrador Coca, 9 years old, stands up on a longboard. They are an inspiration for the sport. Shannon Vacca, who many know as a massage and sports massage therapist in town, learned to surf growing up as an army brat moving between California and Hawaii. “I just remember always being in the ocean,” she recalls. “I remember standing up on a belly board. My first surfboard was a Tom Parrish Lightening Bolt.” At the time, it was unusual that a girl was surfing in the water, she alone with only her twin sister paddled around and caught waves. This didn’t change until the ‘90s. She

kept in mind her hero, Rell Sunn, the female surf goddess often referred to as the “Queen of Makaha.” Hawaiian Rell was the quintessential water-woman, excelling at all watersports, including surfing, bodysurfing, spearfishing, and open-water outrigger canoeing. In the early ‘70s, Rell was instrumental in establishing the Women’s Professional Surfing Association and founding the women’s pro surfing tour. In 1990, Vacca vacationed in Jesús Costa Rica, traveling around the country and enjoying the waves in every part possible. She fell in love with the place and ventured back and forth from the U.S. and Costa Rica for the next three years, until she finally settled in Tamarindo. “It rained less, there were good waves, and no crowds, it was cheap,” she laughed. “Things have changed.” It was here in Tamarindo that Shannon met Jesus Martinez, and they will soon have been together for 15 years. Jesus was from Santa Cruz, but his family had one of the first hotels in Tamarindo, so he had spent a lot of time in town. Already he Shannon had been surfing for 3 years when she met him. “He was as hardcore as I was,” Vacca says. “He loved going to Avellanas like I did. He was super cute and ran his own (continued page 18)

August in August

Tammy Shaklee


’m no Gidget, but have fallen in love with old school surfers. They love surf. They admit their lives were changed by watching “Endless Summer”. They remember seeing it the first time, as much as they recount their first board and first wave. And most will do anything to relive a moment of it today. A mentor once shared words that didn’t seem that profound at the time, but do more with each passing year. “A man should consider his life in thirds; the first third to learn, the second to earn, and the third to give back.” Robert August seems to follow that map. The onset of August 2009 led us to a nearly full moon in Tamarindo, high tide around noon, and afternoon rains. More than my husband’s bi-monthly surf trip, this was as participants in the 12th Annual Robert August Surf & Turf, to benefit CEPIA. Knowing August and his son Sam, I knew it would be low key, lightly organized, and not the hyped-up events in surf magazines. This was just a hotel (and Robert’s house) full of guys, young and old, rowdy and mild, east coast and west, longboarders mostly, that wanted to surf with a legend, noting how he directed or is still influencing the first third of their life. I used to wonder where all the old surfers are, and why my husband surfs with young shortboarders. I now realize old surfers are still “earning” and not hitting the waves as much. But that last third is sneaking up. Robert August hits 65 this year, driving some guys back to the boards. I met several that are surfing again after raising families, building careers, and even making millions. They learn from a legend that they too can continue to surf and give back to family, friends, and the needy, as Robert does. Some argue, “When we were young, there weren’t old surfers, so we’re the first generation.” I argue: August learned from his dad Blackie, who surfed until he was mid-70s. Old surfers may not have been prevalent then, but getting there now perhaps. Surf & Turf introduced “Papi” and me to “The Coronel”, “Special Ed”, and ” John ‘Billy Mays’” – 50-somethings that have similar stories of idolizing surf, idolizing Robert, and nothing much else – other than prolonging youth by searching for the perfect longboard wave. This annual weekend brings long-timers to Tamarindo to surf alongside a great group of young hotdogs that the August boys inspire, mentor and even sponsor. Young tend to idolize the young, but a lot can be learned from the generation before us. August epitomizes that.

Green Bay Academy


reen Bay Academy has opened in Villarreal, with ten pupils and a faculty of three teachers. School director is Candy Quijada, assisted by Sylvia Bolaùos, Andrea Viquez and Johanna Mendoza. Green Bay is certainly a mixed school. Of the children, aged between 11 months and 5 years, two boys speak only French and one girl speaks French and Russian. School hours are 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday to Friday. Next year’s school classes start in February 2010. Interested parents should call 2-653-1996 or 8-381-6667.

Surf Report

(from page 15)

restaurant and was super responsible. He also liked that I gave good massages.”

Malakai Shannon had been a massage and sports massage therapist at the time in California with a chiropractor doing professional athletes. “We just worked with each other’s surfing style. We enjoyed helping each other out in the water, and helped each other get better because we surfed about five hours a day together for the first couple of years. I loved how he was with my first son, Forrest.” Today, Forrest is what his mother calls “a super surf dawg.” Although he surfs a lot in Huntington Beach, where he lives most of the year, he is a staple of Tamarindo every winter

Leilani and Christmas-time, riding goofy foot on his shortboard.

Word puzzle Miscellany

All words from the list below can be found in the word block on the right. Answers may be forward, backward, upwards, downwards and diagonal. arandanos banano carambola cereza chirimoya datil frambuesa frutadepan guanabana guayaba higo jocote limon mamonchino mandarina

mangostina maracuya melocoton mora naranja nectarina nispero papaya pina pitahaya sandia tamarindo toronja uva zapote

Sandra Ca単on

Surf Report

(from page 18)

Once Jesus and Shannon began having children, they were able to impart their surfing wisdom upon them. It was inevitable. Shannon explains: “From the day my children were born, all Jesus and I could wait for was when they would surf. For me, it was my daughter, especially I couldn’t wait for her to get in the line-up. It’s just a chick thing, because I’m such a competitive person. I love to see a girl out there. She’s my little Rell Sunn.” Surfing longboard and shortboard, and the only regular foot in the family—everyone else is goofy—Leilani is what Shannon calls the most natural-styled surfer amongst them. As long as a wave is under 4-foot, Leilani’s height, she’s not afraid to go. Leilani doesn’t hesitate to add: “It feels fun when I’m in the water. I feel free when I catch a wave. It’s a really nice feeling a natural rush.”

Forrest But the most hardcore surfer, according to Shannon, is her 8-year-old son Malakai, because he loves it so much. The day before the interview, the little one surfed six hours straight. And recently, with older brother Forrest, his surf hero also in the water, Malakai paddled out at 8-foot Pavones and comfortably rode those waves with the rest of the family cheering him on. “I feel so proud and excited when my kids get a good (continued page 23)




4S Full Moon 5M

00:41 7.6 06:48 1.8 12:59 7.6 19:03 1.4 01:21 8.1 07:29 1.2 13:40 8.0 19:41 1.0 01:58 8.6 08:07 0.7 14:18 8.3 20:16 0.7 02:33 9.0 08:43 0.2 14:55 8.6 20:51 0.4 03:08 9.3 09:18 -0.1 15:31 8.7 21:26 0.2






03:44 9.5 09:55 -0.2 16:08 8.8 22:03 0.2 04:21 9.6 10:33 -0.2 16:46 8.7 22:42 0.3 05:00 9.4 11:14 -0.1 17:28 8.5 23:24 0.5 05:43 9.1 11:58 0.2 18:14 8.2

11S Last Qtr

00:12 06:32 12:48 19:08


0.9 8.6 0.6 7.9




OCTOBER TIDE CHART 01:07 07:30 13:45 20:11 02:13 08:38 14:52 21:23 03:29 09:53 16:04 22:35 04:46 11:06 17:14 23:40 05:54 12:10 18:15

1.3 8.1 1.0 7.6 1.6 7.8 1.3 7.6 1.7 7.6 1.3 7.9 1.4 7.8 1.1 8.4 0.9 8.2 0.7


17S New Moon 18S



00:37 06:52 13:05 19:08 01:28 07:43 13:55 19:57 02:15 08:29 14:42 20:41 02:59 09:13 15:26 21:24 03:41 09:55 16:09 22:06

9.0 0.4 8.6 0.3 9.5 -0.1 8.9 0.0 9.8 -0.4 9.1 -0.1 10.0 -0.6 9.2 -0.1 9.9 -0.5 9.0 0.1





25S 1st Qtr

04:22 9.6 10:36 -0.3 16:52 8.8 22:48 0.5 05:04 9.2 11:17 0.1 17:35 8.4 23:30 1.0 05:47 8.6 12:00 0.6 18:21 7.9


00:15 06:32 12:45 19:10 01:04 07:22 13:35 20:06


1.6 8.0 1.1 7.5 2.1 7.4 1.6 7.1




02:01 08:20 14:31 21:06 03:06 09:24 15:32 22:07 04:13 10:29 16:32 23:03 05:13 11:27 17:26 23:52 06:04 12:17 18:13

2.4 7.0 2.0 7.0 2.6 6.7 2.2 7.0 2.5 6.7 2.2 7.3 2.2 6.9 2.0 7.7 1.7 7.3 1.7


1S Nov 2M Full Moon 3T


00:35 8.1 06:49 1.2 13:02 7.7 18:56 1.3 01:16 8.6 07:30 0.7 13:43 8.0 19:36 0.9 01:55 9.1 08:09 0.2 14:23 8.4 20:17 0.6 02:35 9.4 08:49 -0.2 15:04 8.7 20:57 0.4 03:15 9.6 09:30 -0.4 15:45 8.8 21:39 0.3

Join the CEPIA volunteers team!


he extracurricular classes for this second semester 2009 began in the public schools of our community. This program of the nonproďŹ t organization CEPIA is totally built on the dedication of our volunteers. Thanks to them, more than 150 children and teenagers will receive classes in English, French, computer instruction, soccer, swimming, yoga, art, painting, self defense, music.

The energy and teachings of volunteers towards children have a direct impact on the well-being of our entire community. We are very grateful to them because they are responsible for creating many positive feelings and thoughts in these young minds. You can be one of them! If you have a passion, a talent, come share it with these young people thirsty for discovery. If you just have some free hours come help us at the CEPIA centre. There is always something that you can do or share, as did some of our beloved volunteers repainting the centre to give it an attractive look. Everybody has something to give; and, giving to others, lets us know ourselves better. Visit us in Huacas or contact Sandrine Tcherniack at Address: 300m west of the intersection of Huacas, behind the Restaurant GuaymĂ­, Huacas de Santa Cruz, Guanacaste. Tel: 2-653-8533 Visit:

Surf Report

(from page 20)

Jesus says. “Sometimes I scream so loud when they get good waves, I forget to surf.” However, Martinez is quick to add, that while he thinks Malakai might be apt to compete in the prestigious Circuito Nacional de Surf, his education will always be a priority. “His studying is the most important thing,” Jesus concludes.” For the family that surfs together, it makes sense that they would operate a business together to share the fun. Therefore, it’s no surprise that the Vacca-Martinez family owns Tamarindo Kids Surf Camp to teach children 3-18 to surf all year round by appointment only. The Surf Camp features weekly Saturday camps during the months of July, August, November, December.. Not only is Shannon out there giving instruction, but Leilani and Malakai are seen pushing the boards as well.

That’s all I’ve got. Looking forward to hearing what you think. Keep those emails coming at Send your comments, information, errors or praise, because I can’t do this column without you, the real surfers.

Tel: 2-653-0545

October orecasts October F F orecasts

by Jeanne Callahan

Visit Jeanne’s site at

Aries: 21 March - 20 April

Libra: 23 September - 23 October

Taurus: 21 April - 21 May

Scorpio: 24 October - 22 November

The beginning of this month is a little rocky for you as your ruling planet, Mars, connects with the south node creating a condition of loss. Be careful of your surroundings and your belongings around the 9th and 10th. With Pluto at the top of your chart there’s a major transformation sweeping through your professional life. You either go with the changes or you leave and look elsewhere. Good days are the full moon on the 3rd and the 4th as well as the 30th and 31st. Conditions within your professional life improve during the second week of the month as Jupiter goes into direct motion in your eleventh house bringing new opportunities and helpful connections. Make that creativity work for you and don’t be afraid to sing your own praises so they notice your quality as well as your competency. The lunar energy of the 5th and 6th is very beneficial.

Gemini: 22 May - 21 June

This is a good month to entertain in your home. People are needing to connect with each other and with a purpose so make the event socially meaningful in some way. Consider something that would benefit a charity or some unusual cause. The more outrageous the better--make it fun and seek some publicity. Give them something to talk about! Best days are the 8th and 9th.

Cancer: 22 June - 22 July

The beginning of the month is a little rocky with you not feeling up to par and actually quite worried about your career. It seems there are problems within your family, too, as a sibling confides their deepest fears to you and it triggers your own concerns. Things get better mid-month. Be careful on the 9th and use the lunar energy of the 10th and 11th to calm yourself. Take some long baths this month.

Leo: 23 July - 23 August

Your life is showing signs of improvement as you are going to be energized when Mars goes into your sign on the 17th. Your old vitality and drive kicks in as you seek to improve your closest relationship with renewed interest. Don’t be afraid to try new things. The 12th and 13th are festive and fun—optimism returns! Look for new ways to promote yourself and your business.

Virgo: 24 August - 22 September

Everything that was a problem for you last month starts to straighten out as your ruling planet, Mercury, is now direct in Virgo. Obstacles are removed and you emerge a much wiser person from the experience. Slow steady progress is assured as obstacles are cleared around the 12th. Good people show up to help you. Buy some new clothes or get a makeover; something uplifting for your appearance is now due. The 14th and 15th are good days to schedule just that.

You will make progress this month if you start slowly and maintain a discipline with your habits. You are building a new foundation now and that takes time. Communication problems clear up and you are able to form new business relationships after the 12th. Be careful on the 9th and 10th as some loss could occur. A new understanding is possible with Venus in your sign on the 15th. The new moon on the 16th and 17th are your best days. Conditions in your home show improvement mid-month and you may feel like throwing a party to celebrate. Your professional life gets a boost after the 17th when Mars energizes the mid-heaven in your chart. Get ready for action as people need your services and intense charisma. Doing your best work now will forge important alliances for years to come. The 18th and 19th are days of personal power.

Sagittarius: 23 November - 21 December

There’s a potential for a breakthrough after the middle of the month when you get support for some growth/change in your professional life. Some financial loss is indicated around the 9th but don’t let it get you down. As they say, “breakdown leads to breakthrough” so just go with that vibe and keep your eyes on the road ahead. What’s over is really over. Best days for ideas are the 20th and 21st.

Capricorn: 22 December - 21 January

You have lots of power at your command as people look to you for leadership now. Finances show improvement midmonth as Jupiter goes direct in your second house of values. Don’t overextend as you will have some tax or insurance issues coming up in November. Be open to new ways of looking at things and foreign opportunities. The 23rd and 24th are good days to sign a deal.

Aquarius: 22 January - 19 February

Be very careful with your health and energy in the first two weeks of this month. Get lots of rest at this time. You will have some limitations to deal with but they are temporary if you give your body the chance to heal and stabilize. Seek balance and trust that things greatly improve after the 15th when Jupiter goes into direct motion. The 26th and 27th are your best days.

Pisces: 20 February - 20 March

This month is a time for some introspection about your next stage of life. Your priorities are changing and you can really make some progress with your relationships and inner needs. If you have children, one of them may have a problem around the 9th or 10th so be aware you will have to provide emotional support. Things improve professionally after the 15th so keep your eye on that time for more opportunity. The 28th and 29th are good for you.



A Change You’d Better Believe In A change in the weather is known to be extreme Reality is what is still there even when you stop ignoring it or believing it to be otherwise. Reality paid a recent visit to the beaches along Guanacaste. A combination of high tides and a fairly strong swell led to localized flooding and a pretty healthy cutting back of the beach face, especially wherever human activities have altered the natural vegetation that used to protect the beach. Observation Practice: Go to the beach, preferably an area where there is easy access and plenty of foot traffic, like a surf spot or in front of a restaurant. Find a tree and look at the roots. If you can see them that is not the way it is supposed to be. Especially disturbing in several places is that what washed away in these recent storms is not just the sand deposits which come and go, but the underlying soil into which the trees originally sunk their roots. That soil has been there for millennia. Pardon me for quoting from an article which appeared several years ago. (Perfect Waves and Shifting Sands, The Howler, Dec. ’03)

Tom Peifer

Bob Dylan

Now, go back to your high traffic zone and see if there is a berm, or any vegetation—say, between the restaurant and where you walk down to take a dip or paddle out for a session. I’ll bet you a café latte that you’ll also notice freshly uncovered tree roots in these zones, evidence that water, a rather simple molecule, is not stupid. Water, like tourists headed for the beach, likes to take the direct route from point A to point B. Rainwater follows footpaths down to the beach, forming gullies which further damage the berm and even undercut the trees which are hanging on for dear life in an increasingly unstable environment. And the ocean, when push comes to shove, as during the recent storm events, says “thank you very much” and takes the same shortcut to push further inland than it used to before the berms were obliterated. The parking lot at Playa Junquillal is a great place to observe this phenomenon: The Pacific Ocean effortlessly undoing the nice arrangement that the Good Lord left us on the 3rd day of Creation.

day, the Lord separated the dry land from the water. He named the dry land Earth and the waters Ocean and He saw that it was good. I think that even those of us who are

Readers with a smidgen or two of global awareness will comprehend that the above scenario is not, let’s find the right word here—Pura Vida, hunky dory, completely OK, take your pick--in a world faced with rising sea levels. I have seen the maps of both Puntarenas and Playa Junquillal with the ocean levels based on current projections, for the year 2100. There is not much there, there. Bear in mind, these were conservative projections. The projected rate of change keeps accelerating.

2.) Next, after a standard rant about how nature is so groovy and interconnected, I mentioned that ecosystems depend on a bunch of factors working together. That really, over time, nature has figured out the way to make the most out of the least, and that taking out one element can throw the whole thing out of whack.

It is true that there are skeptics about climate change out there. Rather than just telling you to please forward your criticisms to Rush Limbaugh, or, I recommend the following. Take a gander at the Pentagon’s recent Quadrennial Defense Review and read the section that says, “climate change poses security and geopolitical risks for the US.” (A request: Please don’t embarrass me with reminders that the Pentagon also warned us about the WMDs in Iraq!)

1.) First a bit from the Bible: And at the end of the third

not religious can recognize the advantages of this arrangement. As I pointed out at the time, treading water all your life would be a drag. Not to mention the effect on the real estate business.

Part Two of your observation exercise: try to find areas along the shore which have a “berm” or bump between the beach and the inshore area, and to notice if it has vegetation on it. Repeating from the previous article: Beaches in Guanacaste— and much of the world--typically feature a “berm,” a bump of sand slightly above the mean high tide line and higher than the terrain inland. This berm works to absorb and release the kinetic energy of the waves at high tide, and is protected by vegetation, including an association of two plants which grow intertwined in mats. One of these is called the beach morning glory and the other cannavalia marítima. The dense mat of vegetation actually traps sand particles from waves and also from offshore winds in the dry season—and the plants simply grow up to cover and retain the additional soil. The trees in these areas have roots that are where they are supposed to be, underground.

Clearly, flooded cantinas along the beach in Guanacaste don’t rank as a high priority on the Pentagon list of potential geopolitical threats. Nevertheless, I figure if the top brass takes it seriously, we might give it more than a passing thought to adopt local measures. Here’s one way of looking at it: You got fire insurance? Think about flood insurance. In Costa Rica the ‘top brass’ seems largely ignorant of the issue of beach erosion. The municipalities don’t have a clue. There are localized efforts to reforest beaches with native trees, including a recent one in Playa Junquillal. As can be inferred from your observation exercises above, trees alone won’t do the trick. Let me put it a bit harshly: All the Blue (continued page 28





s this is an allegedly humorous column, and in light of recent events involving extreme European attempts at humor being grossly “not got” by a large number of North American types, its time we take a moment and ponder just what is “Funny”? My wife’s twelve-pound “Merriam Webster’s Deluxe Dictionary” lists three definitions, although only the first applies to us. “Funny - a: affording light mirth and laughter: amusing: b: seeking or intended to amuse: facetious. It then goes on to list the year of its origin, (1756), confirming a long-held suspicion that there was nothing funny about the Dark Ages or anything before it. However in the following 253 years “funny” has changed and mutated to an alarming degree! I recall seeing a very well-known Costa Rican comedienne on an outdoor stage at a San José Art Festival. She had a very burlesque kinda show with lots of silly costume changes and the Art Show crowd just ate it up. Although I can get by with my “sounds like a stupid sixth grader” Spanish I really didn’t “Get it”. I can’t watch “The Simpsons” on local Tico cablevision for the same reason. This introduces the next big part of “funny” - “Getting it”. Wanting to be “funny” or looking for something “funny” becomes difficult if you don’t share the same “funny”. Sadly, what I think is “funny” has been shaped on the most part by forty years of viewing America Network Situation Comedy. Starting with “I Love Lucy”, on through “Dick Van Dyke” and “The Beaver”, endless reruns of “Mash” and “Seinfeld”, and into the 21st Century with “30 Rock”. No wonder we may have occasional cultural altercations with members of a nation that thought “Benny Hill” was “funny”! We are products of different television programming. Incredible as it may seem sometimes people “Don’t Get” one of my columns. This should

Funny! Funny? Not funny!

not be confused with those who simply “Don’t Like” my columns, apparently the vast majority. For some reason these critics are usually early twenty-something females, a group I’d just as soon get along with. For instance I once wrote an article of returning to my then house in Texas and waking up one morning to find twenty-five Mexicans on my roof. Sure enough one young Mexican-American beauty took me to task about referring to “Mexicans”. I was, however, correct in the fact that the company re-tiling my roof after recent hurricane damage used mainly (legal) workers who were citizens of that large country immediately south of the United States. “Getting It” is then followed by its evil twins “Pretending to Get It” and its even crueler form “Pretending Not to Get It”. The first is the refuge for people in possible danger, say the gigantic biker with the large caliber weapon who looks you right in the eye and menacingly asks.... “Knock, knock”. Or maybe just to save a little public embarrassment after realizing the people you’re with are much smarter than you. This option is actually quite easy and can be attempted by beginners. “Pretending Not to Get It” can be used to combat and successfully overwhelm that type you always meet in a bar when you’d rather not. After the first two minutes of hearing his entire life story he starts with a series of non-stop jokes about prostitutes, governors, presidents, body parts and movements, rabbis, popes etc. etc. etc. Most of which you’ve heard before. The guy is watching you closely for some recognition of his comic genius; however I can hold it in, and within minutes he stomps off muttering to himself and I’m free to resume my Pilsen. But this option can also be used to upset sincere and honest joke tellers with a genuinely “funny” incident usually being told by either a good friend or an immediate family member (wife). I must confess to being quite good at the “Pretending Not to Get It” option and feel absolutely no remorse! Let’s look at various and sundry ideas of what

Story by Jesse Bishop

is “funny” for those of us living here in the Northern Costa Rican Pacific Gold Coast. My wife and I recently laughed so hard at “The Hangover” that we had had to rush back to the video store and rent a depressing “Chick Flic” just so we could crash. I can really crack up my friend and electrician Augustine by just explaining anything to him in my aforementioned “funny” Spanish. I get the impression he looks forward to our occasional projects for a good laugh, as well as the fact that I always pay him way too much. While querying one of those local old surfer types as to what he found “Funny” he responded that he enjoys watching the old blackand-white Mexico cowboy movies on “De Pelicula”, the Latino Classic Movie Station, channel 17 if you’ve got Tamarindo Amnet. A passing bored-looking North American real estate developer perked up at my question. The word “snicker doodle” always convulsed him. His Belgian partner proceeded to tell a joke in the Flemish language which of course produces an innate amount of phlegm causing me to back off and rethink lunch time. I asked Rauncho, the half-bald half-dread coke dealer down in the circle what he thought was funny. He considered the question for a while and then stole my watch. In the great tradition of the “Funny” bumper sticker I recently read one on a gigantic mutant pickup truck proclaiming “An American Conservative in Exile”, replacing the previous favorite “We Live Here Because of George”. But, come to think of it, neither of these is particularly funny. Which Brings Up:

What’s Not Funny?

This is pretty much a no-brainer; the list can go on forever and can be played by the whole family. Sushi, Rush Limbaugh, Mr. Bean, Decaff Coffee, diseases with numbers, shoes, Jay Leno........ it just goes on and on. In conclusion, one man’s snicker is not necessarily his neighbor’s guffaw and we can only trust that “funny” continues on into a bright future, hopefully free of toilet humor.

Attention! Costa Rica Property Investors


here is now an effective way, less expensive than returning to Costa Rica, for absentee CR property investors to obtain independent legal opinions regarding their property. A new company, Costa Rica Property Rectification, S. A. (CRPR) is being formed to represent investors. CRPR will transmit legal opinions from a civil and a criminal attorney to the client. Intentions and capability of the developer to complete the project, and the physical condition of the property, will also be reported. The President of CRPR is not an attorney and will not provide legal advice or opinions. Legal work, including negotiations, property and company registry records, civil court cases and class actions, contacts with Fraud Dept. of the Oficina de Investigaciones Judiciales (OIJ, similar to FBI) or criminal cases will be undertaken by two highly regarded Costa Rican attorneys. One is a civil law specialist and the other a criminal law expert. Each has been in practice for more than 35 years. They are independent and not officers, directors or shareholders of CRPR. CRPR will be the sole intermediary between its clients and the attorneys. After initial discussions a file containing copies (not originals) of purchase contracts, details investor’s CR company, titles, property plans, correspondence, sales literature, bank transfers, receipts, mortgage etc. will be created. The Founder and President of Costa Rica Property Rectification, S. A. is David F. Sagel, a US citizen and Costa Rica resident since 1981. He is a former NYSE stockbroker. For many years he has been an investment consultant with extensive experience in Costa Rica as a developer, broker and financial advisor to American and Costa Rican clients. The President of CRPR will contact the developer and arrange a meeting and visit to the property. If the developer is unavailable meetings with others working in real estate and familiar with the development will be asked for information. At the conclusion of the CRPR analysis a report will be made available to each client. The report will inform the investor of the current legal position of his or her property, its physical condition and rectifications. By far the majority of private Costa Rican property developers are hard-working, ethical, experienced and professional. Only a small number fall into a questionable category causing their investors to doubt the security and legality of their investment. The objectives of Costa Rica Property Rectification, S. A. is to provide professional services to enable its clients to rectify the legal status of their property. With this knowledge CRPR clients should be well positioned to benefit financially when the Costa Rica property market recovers. CRPR will charge a reasonable fee for its initial report including attorney’s opinions. If a client wishes to proceed a retainer will be paid to CRPR. The client will discuss legal fees directly with the attorneys. For information, see ad on page 20 or contact investcr@gmail. com, tel: (506) 2-203-8193.

Remodelling & Home Repairs Carpentry • Block Walls Stonework • Ceramic Tile Drywall • Concrete

Ironically enough, a Dutch guy who read my article several years ago pointed out to me that our problems along the beaches in Guanacaste were hardly insuperable. He told me about Holland, where they have built hundreds of miles of dykes—real big berms--and sucked out all the ocean water behind them to reclaim the land. Here, he said, you’ve already got the berms in many places, and the vegetation, it is just a question of filling in the gaps. And as a bonus, he pointed out, identifying a problem that affects us all and working together on solutions, has a positive effect on the culture.

Free estimates Rex Barnes - Tel: 2-653-1432 RAIN GAUGE







RAINFALL - August/September Miller Meteorological Observatory La Garita Total rainfall: 22.2 cm (8.7 inches)

2.0 1.0 0.0




31 1



Rainfall August-Sept 2008: 28.8 cm 2009: 22.2

Any number of residents who live in coastal zones have a dry-season cultural routine that revolves around living with less and less water as wells go dry or salt water creeps in. Given the scant rainfall to date, the coming dry season promises to see record numbers of tanker trucks headed towards the beaches. All the more reason to take care of the coastal berms that help stop and infiltrate runoff before it heads out to sea. This principle holds true for your homes and gardens and has been touched upon in previous articles. (See Rain Gardens: An Oasis of Hope, The Howler, Feb. 2006) The three inches of rain that fell in five hours on the afternoon of September 13th was a blessing from the heavens. You had a chance to add 90 liters of fresh water per square meter to the underground supplies that we depend on to provide those refreshing showers in the heat of April. If all that rainfall simply ran off your roof, off your property and into the nearest stream, then you can take credit for being part of the reason that so many find themselves high and dry as the summer drags on.


t i m e s

2009 l o c a l )


1st - rise 5:32; set 5:34 15th - rise 5:32; set 5:26 31st - rise 5:34; set 5:19 Full: Last quarter: New: 1st quarter



Year-to-date 2008: 137.1 cm 2009: 121.6

( a l l


(from page 25) programs, 50 meter-zone demolitions and pick-up-the-trash brigades are just efforts to tidy up the frosting on a cake that is slowly but surely washing away from under our feet.

Any Work Undertaken


A Change...


4th 11th 17th 25th

12:10 a.m. 2:56 a.m. 11:33 p.m. 6:42 p.m.

Personally, I find working on solutions to these issues more satisfying than, say, a good game of chess. It is also a great source of educational fun for kids who, as they develop, seem more and more aware that they are going to inherit a whole bunch of problems that they didn’t cause. It also helps foment a culture of understanding and “respect for the elegant living tapestry that helps keep the dry land separate from the waters. Working with this web of life is our best strategy to ensure the continued enjoyment of a fragile planet--a far wiser choice than cutting it up into shreds and throwing them to the winds and waves which once reigned, supreme and unchecked, on a lifeless planet.”

Tom Peifer is an ecological land use consultant with 14 years experience in Guanacaste. Phone: 2658-8018. peifer@racsa. El Centro Verde is dedicated to sustainable land use, agriculture and development Web site:

Rebalancing & Life Meditation


stablished in 1995 Hacienda del Sol Retreat Centre, in San Juanillo, is a wellness and learning retreat owned and run by a Canadian advocate of good health, Menlha Bruneau. This unique retreat offers colon cleanses, yoga training and raw food courses and is home to the Kootenay School of Rebalancing. The Kootenay School, offers two Certified Rebalancing Bodywork and Life Meditation Training programs per year. This intensive course teaches students the joint release and deeptissue techniques required to become a Rebalancer, along with anatomy, neurology, meditation Hakomi, Gestalt practices and communication skills such as NVC and other valuable life skills that can be carried into every area of life, not just as a bodyworker. The course incorporates 425 hours of clinic practice necessary for certification and a career as a Rebalancer. Personal growth is also a key area of focus based on the ethos that people who dedicate their work to healing need to be grounded, balanced in body and mind and conscious of the needs of others to give them the appropriate space, with a mindful and loving presence in which to heal. Much attention is given to dietary awareness, a passion of Menlha’s, and students live communally, generously catered for and receiving 3 meals a day, plus snacks that are vegan and mainly 90% raw, made from amazing local organic produce. The program is certainly transformational for the students as well as educational and the magical natural setting of Hacienda Del Sol provides a tranquil, nurturing setting, the perfect space for learning and relaxation. In our ever-changing world the population of the planet is becoming more mindful, searching for alternative ways of healing. People are turning to healers to help them find the wellness, the stability inside and around themselves. Many are looking for career changes as the jobs that seemed secure in previous years are falling out. With rebalancing training, students prepare themselves to make a living helping others in this unpredictable world. At Hacienda Del Sol, cleanse retreats run for 1, 2 or 3 weeks throughout the year, allowing participants to choose their length of stay. These cleanses are beneficial in removing toxins from the body and allowing the colon to cleanse and heal, helping in prevention of diseases such as colon cancer. Liver cleanses are optional but recommended and will not only remove toxins, but also gallstones, from the most overworked liver . This type of cleanse strengthens and cleanses all parts of body and mind, re-establishing a connection with the body and what is put into it – something that can easily be forgotten in a fast-paced life. For more information contact Hacienda Del Sol Retreat Centre and see ad on page 8.

Voluntary Simplicity By Christopher Howard M.A.

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Living Well on Less Money in Costa Rica


or those of you not familiar with the term “voluntary simplicity”, it is a lifestyle made popular in the book “Your Money or Your Life: Transforming Your Relationship With Money and Achieving Financial Independence”, a New York Times best-seller written by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez in 1992 and updated in 2008. Dominguez, who died in 1997, left his Wall Street job as a technical analyst in 1969, when he was 31, and began living off the investment income from a $70,000 nest egg. He and Robin devoted their lives to teaching people how to change the relationship they have with money and live well on less. Many of those who followed the program saw their spending reduced 20 to 25 percent in six months, says Robin, while some “super-savers” cut expenses 60 to 80 percent. “Your Money or Your Life” became the bible of the so-called voluntary simplicity movement, which had started in the 1960s and has roots in frugality, environmentalism, social justice and spirituality. Now hard times are hitting older Americans directly in their wallets. With the nation’s jobless rate spiking at 8.1 percent and likely to continue rising, nearly 5.6 percent of workers 55 and older are unemployed, and many are struggling to find jobs. Those on fixed incomes have seen their retirement savings shrink by 30 to 40 percent in the market meltdown. No wonder the country is in a belt-tightening mood, with consumer spending down to the lowest levels in decades. One possible solution to the economic woes is to move offshore to a country like Costa Rica. Most Costa Ricans have been practicing voluntary simplicity all of their lives. Because of their limited earning power they are forced to live with less. Most shop for their fruits and vegetables at the weekend farmers’ markets which are held all over the country. Many buy their clothes at used clothing stores that import their merchandise from the United States. Furthermore, they pay virtually nothing for utilities because heat and air conditioning are not necessary in many parts of the country. A lot of the locals don’t own cars and take public transportation which is dirt cheap. Costa Ricans often live with other family members with everyone contributing their share to household expenses. They do all of this and still enjoy a great quality of life for far less money than most Americans. The people here also take advantage of the government’s “cradle to grave” health care system. The cost is usually under $30 per month. You would be hard-pressed to find health insurance in the States for less than a few hundred dollars per month. Besides being affordable, the health care here must be good since Costa Rica has one of the highest longevity rates in the world and boasts a large number of centenarians. Much of what I mention above are suggestions made in “Your Money or Your Life: Transforming Your Relationship With Money and Achieving Financial Independence”. By moving to Costa Rica people can live well. The average local makes around $400 per month. A pension from the States combined with trying to live like the Costa Ricans can enable you to live very well for a lot less than you would spend at home.

Christopher Howard is the author/publisher of the bestselling “The New Golden Door to Retirement and Living in Costa Rica”, and “The Guide to Costa Rican Spanish”, and the soon-to-be-released “Guide to Real Estate in Costa Rica”. Mr. Howard conducts retirement and relocation tours. For more information go to, or call tollfree 800-365-2342. Send him an email:


Magazine of the Gold Coast of Costa Rica


Magazine of the Gold Coast of Costa Rica