2008 September-October - Association of Residents of Costa Rica

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2008 September-October - Association of Residents of Costa Rica

Editorial Note:Hola a Todos. This issue of the newsletter holds a few new articles,submitted by some new names in the membership, whichI am quite happy to publish. In fact it is very nice to have somefresh viewpoints and new angles on life in Costa Rica.We are also near the end of our focus on the indigenous, and willbe changing direction come the new year, and I thought now theappropriate time to request input or articles from the members,after all, this is your newsletter.If there is anyone who would like to publish an article, I am usuallyquite happy to do so (as long as it is related to the country.)Articles are usually better for us if they are not time sensitive,but if space is available we can try to publish most items.- Ryan PiercyCall the office in advance if you just wantto check for possible mail.This magazine has been published every two months for 12years as the official communications media of the Association ofResidents of Costa Rica. Our organization provides service tothousands of foreigners who have chosen Costa Rica to reside forshort periods or for permanent residence.Since 1984 the Association of Residents of Costa Rica has beenoffering reliable SERVICES, INFORMATION and ADVOCACY toCosta Rica’s foreign residents. We have the experience and abilityto help you with your residency application, immigration, businessand financial management, real estate purchases and rentals,property management, insurance, pet importation and much more.If you wish to place an ad in El Residente, please contact the ARCRmain office. Goods & services offered are paid advertisments.Neither ARCR Administracion nor El Residente research thecompanies and take no responsibility for the quality of such goodsor services.El Residente2


Presidents Reportby The BoardHere We Go Again???I’m sure many of you know the source of this statement. Ithas been used by many people to express their beliefs andjudgments about everything, but the expression is really tiedto one individual. Since my term as President is almost overI choose this as my swan phrase. My past messages havestayed mainly on the services and events occurring at ARCR,and actually this message will not be too different, but I didwant to get something off my chest. The “Here We Go Again”is part of my segue into the topic of why people move toCosta Rica and in part this months message. First the whyquestion. This question is asked, by me, of people cominginto ARCR or at our monthly seminar. It’s surprising how manysay it’s because they hate George Bush and his policies oneverything from economics to the war in Iraq. If this keepsup his popularity may increase in the American polls. At leasthis numbers are much better than those of the current UnitedStates Congress. What did the new congress say when theytook office in 2006? Say what you like about this man he didtake decisive actions and most of the opposition party votedwith him until they decided it was not in their best politicalinterest. They seem to put their political interest ahead ofwhat is best for the Country and its citizenry. Good exampleis the current gas prices and how congress is blocking anup or down vote on this very important subject. Speaking ofpoliticians, I just don’t understand what one of the presidentialcandidates is saying. All I hear is platitudes and hyperboleabout what he will do, but looking at his record he hasn’t doneanything. As a matter of fact often he doesn’t even vote yeaor nea, but rather “present.” At least you can see the recordof the other candidate, actually 26 years of voting, and notalways in line with his party. Enough of this ranting except tosay we will elect a new President of the United State in lessthan 90 days. Speaking of electing new Presidents “Here WeGo Again!”On the 15 th of October ARCR will have its general meetingand elect a new president, vice-president and two vocals.The place of this meeting will be announced latter, but wewould like more people to attendthis meeting, as past yearsattendance has been very small.Often we hear that we nevernotify you of this event, but thisyear I have now talked about thisin several messages.The next time you are in ARCRsay hello to Federico Schieltzethand Sonia Araya. They areworking alongside Anabelle, and I’m sure she doesn’tneed any introduction. Also don’t forget to buy raffle ticketsfor our quarterly raffle. The next raffle will be held on the29 th of August. As you know, by now, all proceeds go intoour Charity Fund. Speaking of this fund, thanks to AttilioGilberti and his friends, we were able to raise enough fundsto provide a teenager boy with a much-needed prostheticleg. We also have another project in process. A localpsychological counseling center has come to us and askedfor our help. They are encountering many low to mediumincome families, where the breadwinner has lost his or herjob, and they need groceries to survive. They are askingfor bags or boxes of staple foods such as rice, beans,can goods or anything which is not perishable. If youare interested in helping, in this project, please bring yourbags or boxes, of groceries, into ARCR and we will forwardthem to the agency. Bill Read, one of our board members,is in charge of this program. The organization is calledAsociacion Para La Restauracion Integral De La Familiaand its run by Melvin Montera a former psychologist whoworked for the City of Boston’s special services before heretired.One of our other services which seems to getting a lot ofattention is the renewal of cedulas. This service is not free,but we can help you make appointments or even take youto Immigration for the trying event. The call is free, but thecost of a new plastic cedula must be borne by you.We are very close initiating a program of monthly trips andother social events for ARCR members. The person hasbeen identified and soon the project will come to fruition.To help us in this project we would like all members togive us their current e-mail address. These can be sent toEduardo or given to any member of the ARCR staff. If youwould prefer contact us and we can set up a yahoo e-mailCover Paintingby Jude Maceren:When I was contacted by Jude to view her website for a possible cover art, I was quickly struck by the colours and imageryused. Though not easy, the one that caught my attention the most was this one, entitled “River of Life.”You can view more beautiful works at www.JudeMaceren.com. Check out the 3 piece fine art there...(Send us your painting for one of this years covers to ARCR at rpiercy@arcr.net)September-October, 20083


address for you. Of course, the reason for this is to adviseyou of the dates and times of up-coming trips.Well now you have an up date on happenings at ARCR.On one other note, for those of you who haven’t obtainresidency and considered yourself perpetual touristBEWARE!! We just had a friend detained, for this reason,and is being deported and cannot return to Costa Rica for5 years.Thanks for taking the time to read this. I will say adios fornow but hope to see you in ARCR, at our General Meetingor at one of our monthly seminars.- Earl Tomlinson*********************Association of Residents of Costa RicaCome GET TOGETHERWhether we call it social activities, opportunities for findingnew friends or support activities for moving to a new country,it amounts to the same venture. ARCR is beginning a newprogram seeking to help connect our members with othersfor purely social interaction. We actually have startedalready with the monthly luncheons, which meet on the FirstFriday of each month at Las Mananitas Restaurant. We alsoare inviting members to join us after each monthly seminarfor Happy Hour.Ryan Piercy and new member, Ann Wildey, will be organizinga new committee whose sole purpose will be to assist ourmembers’ meet each other. ARCR has long identified aneed to connect with each other and how difficult that canbe at times.First we intend to identify throughout the Central Valley thealready established social groups. You may have one andnot realize it. Do you meet other people at a regular placeand time for breakfast, coffee or lunch? Are you willing tohave others join you? If so, please contact us and let usknow the details.Breakfast and coffee times are an area that we would like tobegin with as we build our committee. We hope to be ableto establish such circles all over the city.Next we would like to establish a committee of persons whowill serve on an idea-generating basis. Help us plan andorganize. If you would be willing to meet with us once amonth and help out, please call or email Ryan or Ann at thenumbers below.There are, of course, many things we can do as a group as awhole or in smaller denominations such as: bowling teams,physical labor in public works, trips, calling on the infirm orshut ins, speakers bureaus etc. We want to hear any ideasyou may have.Please check the calendar on the web site and the ElResidente for updates.WeOurare an experienced team of independent, registered, financial professionals.review & report regularly on changing global conditions to keep abreast of problems & opportunities.select, recommend, and invest ourselves in diversified, well-managed, international value funds,with the best holdings for the future.are well-established with some of the best money managers around the globe.avoid funds & markets showing signs of “irrational exuberance”.adhere to a code of professional ethics & practices.work to earn the trust of each client & remain cognizant of the need to preserve capital.sound advice is best-suited to expatriate investors wanting good long-term results, not excuses.success is measured by how well we have provided client satisfaction with peace of mind.funds are protected by custodians & remain under client control.Author of Dollars & Sense articles published in the El Residente magazine. I.M.C. Consultants Contact Alan Weeks by e- mail:Broker Advisors, Licensed & Regulatedimccr2002@yahoo.comIn Canada & Panama ARCR Member since 1992El Residente4


Alcoholics AnonymousGroups meet daily throughout the country; times and placeschange frequently. Call for up-to-date information.San José 2222-1880 (Anchor club, also serves Narcotics 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.Al-Anon MeetingsAl-Anon Family Group is for all family and friends of Alcoholics.For information in English, please call Martha 2483-1275 orSandy 2266-1061; For Spanish please call Christine 8840-4658American Legion Post 12- GolfitoMeetings are held 4 pm 1st Tuesday every month at Banana BayMarina. The Golfito GOVETS have been helping Southern CostaRica for over 20 years. Contact Pat at walkergold@yahoo.com or2775-2809.American Legion Post 16- HerediaAll veterans are welcome. Meetings are the second Tuesday ofthe month at Hotel America in Heredia at 12 noon.Contact Post Commander Jim Young or Post Adjutant Ken Johnsonat 2591-1695.Bird Watching ClubThe Birding Club of Costa Rica sponsors monthly trips to observelocal and migrant birds in various areas of the country. For moreinformation contact us at 2282-5365or at costaricabirding@hotmail.comCanadian Club (ACCR)Calling all CanadiansCome join us at one of our events or monthly luncheons and connectwith the local Canadian Community.website: www.canadianclubcr.comDemocrats AbroadDemocrats Abroad meets on the last Saturday of every month atthe Aurola Holiday Inn, San Jose. Contact Paul Kloes, 2215-4254,e-mail cr.democratsabroad@yahoo.com or visit our website atcr.democratsabroad.org.Register to vote absentee at VoteFromAbroad.org!Little Theatre GroupLTG is the oldest continuously running English-language theatrein Central or South America. The group currently puts on aminimum of four productions a year offering a choice of modern,classic, serious, and farcical plays. The group’s monthly socialmeetings are held in the theatre on the first Monday of the monthfrom 7p.m. to 9 p.m. and everyone is welcome. Membershipcosts C 4,000 per person or C7, 000 per family. Also, earn yourWings, become an LTG Angel. For more information Call the LTGBox Office 8355-1623 or www.littletheatregroup.orgNewcomer’s ClubNewcomers Club of Costa Rica (for women) meets first Tuesdayof every month, September through May.Call: Teresa Beck 2249-2673 or casafloradora1@yahoo.comPC Club of Costa RicaThis computer Club meets on the third Saturday of each month atPan American school, in Belen, 830 to 11:30 am2 months Free Trial for newcomers. For information call ChuckJennings. Phone 2266-0123 www.pcclub.netSend us your clubnews or activities forfree publication inthis columnRepublican’s AbroadThe Republicans Abroad of Costa Rica meets the second Tuesdayof each month. Contact Francis 2203-6131, oror fax 2282-2150.Radio control Sailing ClubMeets at Sabana Park Lake. For information contact Walter Bibb.Wwbbsurf40@yahoo.comTambor Gringos and Important FriendsT.G.I.F.We have recently established a web site www.tamborclub.com andan e-mail for inquiries info@tamborclub.com.We meet at 9:00am on the First Friday of every month at variousrestaurants in the Tambor area. We socialize and share informationto assist both new and old residents with issues facing those livingin Costa Rica.Wine Club of Costa RicaPlease mark your calendars The wine club usually meets at 1 P.M.on the last Sunday of each month. Join us to tantalize your tastebuds and expand your education.For more information on upcoming events please contact usPhone 2279-8927, 2257-2223Women’s Club of Costa RicaFounded in 1940. The Women’s Club of Costa Rica is one of theoldest, continuously operating service clubs in the country. Thename has changed in 68 years, but our motto “friendship and service”has remained the same,. An English-speaking organization,our club has approximately 350 members, originating from over 30countries. Please join and help us to continue to grow. Rememberthat you can contact us or keep in touch through our websitewww.wccr.orgWomen’s International League for Peace and Freedom(open to men too) Bilingual group meets in Heredia on thefirst Wednesday of the month at 10 a.m. in the clinic of MireyaGonzalez. We work on peace and human rights issues. Call Mitzi2433-7078 or write peacewomen@gmail.comYoung Expats of Costa RicaSome Expatriates under the age of 40, and currently living in CostaRica, have formed a new social club to be coordinated throughtheir website This club will help younger expatriates living in, ormoving to, Costa Rica meet other expats in their age group for;friendship, romance, travel and activity partners, and professionalnetworking.www.YoungExpatsOfCostaRica.orgVeterans of Foreign Wars: Post 11207Meetings are held at 11am, the first Tuesday of every month,at Club Colonial Casino on the second floor. All members arewelcome and veterans who served overseas may join. For infoplease call 2750-0453 or 2228-2313.September-October, 20085


Learning The Languageby Christopher HowardDon’t Put Your Foot in your MouthOne of the greatest obstacles in learning any foreign language is toreplace the language habits of English with those of the new language.Many students learn to speak with comparative fluency and with a good accent, but what they say is simply not ‘Spanish’.They have missed one of the most important features of the language – the Spanish point-of-view.Your Spanish will never be natural until you have acquired the Spanish way ofsaying things. This article is intended to give you some hints on how this maybe done, by indicating some common mistakes made by English speakers andcan keep you from “putting your foot in your mouth”.One of the most flagrant pitfalls for students is the literal translation of Englishconstructions and idioms into Spanish. For example, you should not say, whensmoking, “Déme luz” for “Give me a light.” This literal translation means to givebirth. You should say “Déme lumbre” when you want someone to light yourcigarette.Another common mistake is to use the Spanish word ‘Embarazado’ to expressthat you are embarrassed. This actually means that you are pregnant, whichwill likely make you even more embarrassed. The correctly say you areembarrassed, you should state “Estoy apenado.”Also, when in a restaurant, you should not ask the waitress is she has anymilk by using “Tiene Usted leche?” This would actually be asking her if shepersonally has milk to nurse a child. You should ask her “Hay leche?” (Is theremilk?).Finally, also in a restaurant, never order eggs from a waiter by saying “TieneHuevos?” Literally translated this means “Do you have eggs?” but, in Spanish,it would be referring to an egg-shaped part of a man’s anatomy. When orderingeggs you should use “Hay huevos?” (Are there eggs?)As you can see from the examples above, it is quite easy to put your foot inyour mouth and find yourself in an awkward situation if you don’t know how tosee things from the Spanish point-of-view. There are many other words andexpressions that cannot be translated from English to Spanish. Once you learnto think more in Spanish and have a chance to interact with Spanish speakers,you can learn to avoid some of these common pitfalls.Here is your Costa Rican expression or tiquismo for this week:“Meter la pata” means to put your foot in your mouth.El hombre metío la pata – the man put his foot in his mouth.El Residente6


September-October, 20087


Costa Rica Pointersby Vincent di FondiLiving On A Budgetin the Central ValleyAre you a pensionado (retiree)? Are you living on a fixedincome of only $600 a month? Here are some money savingtips that I have discovered since I have moved to Costa Rica.They really have helped to stretch my fixed income and it canbe fun trying to find the best deals or ways to conserve yourprecious money.TIP NUMBER 1 Learn some SpanishIf you already know a little or a lot of Spanish, you know thatthe world is your oyster here as far as maximizing the numberof people you can communicate with and further enrichingyour Costa Rican experience. If you are trying to learn, theTicos are most gracious in helping you learn Spanish, andmany like to practice their English with you as well. A goodeconomical way to learn a little Spanish is to find a Tico whowants to learn a little English and trade lessons. Languageschools can be costly.TIP NUMBER 2 Avoid eating out too oftenWhen you first arrive, chances are that you will be eatingout everyday until you find a permanent place to live. If youeat American fast food or in hotel restaurants they can costquite a bit and you might wonder how can you save moneyhere. The mom and pop restaurants called Sodas are agood option. Depending on where you go and if you orderthe Plato del Dia (plate of the day) you can eat sometimesfor under $3 including a beverage. If you are not too hungry,most bars and restaurants offer a Boca (an idiom for snack).The prices are really cheap for snacks. If you are living inan aparthotel or hostel most offer a community kitchen toprepare your own meals.Now that I am living in my own apartment I eat out only abouttwice a week. I can hear you saying this now, “I don’t knowhow to cook.” Think of it this way: cooking is one of the mostbasic skills of survival and is mainly common sense. If yousay, “I can’t cook,” well, learn. Remember, your income isvery meager. In my own case, I eat breakfast, lunch, and justa snack for my evening meal unless I’m eating out. Actuallycooking at home can be fun, creative, and give you moredietary variety plus you may eventually tire of the Plato delDia everyday. I also like to invite neighbors over once in awhile.TIP NUMBER 3 Be an astute shopperI do not try to reproduce American style grocery shoppinghere in San Jose. Everybody knows that the Mercado Central(Central Market) downtown is the place to buy your food. Theprices can be very cheap there but sometimes the pricesthere aren’t always the best. When the clerks are weighingyour produce, oatmeal, or whatever, I like to tell them what Iwant to spend rather than ½ kilo of this or that. Sometimesit can be a bit of a pain paying for so many items separatelyand lugging them around while you shop, but this is how ithas been done for thousands of years in many societies.I shop also at Mas por Menos (owned by Walmart). I do thisif I can’t go downtown to the Mercado Central or if I can’tfind something at the Mercado Central. Request a shoppingcard at customer service to help you save a little. I love goingshopping at this chain and have the best time scouring theaisles looking for the best deals.Some things I buy randomly at other locations, just becauseI have discovered the best deals. For example, I drink a lot agreen tea. Mas por Menos in San Pedro charges about 950colones for a box of 20 tea bags of green tea, but I can walkjust across the street to a health food store call Macrobioticaand buy it for 650 colones. I’ve saved about 30%. I alsobuy many of my health related things there because theirprices are really good. I can buy a 30 day supply of a herbalcombination for arthritis there for under $4. Also, when I livedin the United States I took multivitamins religiously, but herethey are quite costly. I now take just bee pollen which is richin most of the daily nutrients we need. It is really cheap at theMercado Central.Most imports tend to be high especially from the United States.I try to buy Latin American products for the best prices. Forhousehold items such as desks, lamps, etc. I like to go to EPAin San Pedro. It is like a Home Depot and cheaper.I use the thrift stores for casual clothes. Why pay full price forjust casual clothing? I like to go to a thrift store just acrossContinued on page 9...El Residente8


the street from Mas por Menos on Avenida Central and 11 thStreet. Their prices are really good and many of the itemsappear to be almost new. I think they come from Miami.You can also buy sheets, blankets, curtains, suitcases, andmuch more. I haven’t found any thrift stores for furniture,appliances, yet. There probably are a few, but I suspectthat they are few and far between. The Ticos don’t wastetoo much.TIP NUMBER 4 Scour the newspapers for culturalhappeningsEvery Friday I buy a copy of The Tico Times and La Nacion.La Nacion is in Spanish and it can give you many ideasabout cultural events to attend, that is if you can read alittle Spanish. If not then, The Tico Times has many goodsuggestions. There are many concerts, art galleries, andother special events that are free. Many others offer highquality culture at nominal prices. The prices at the TeatroNacional are quite good and sometimes you can findsomeone in the lobby wanting to sell or give you a ticketthey can’t use. Again, if you speak a little Spanish you canmake these deals.TIP NUMBER 5 Take buses the majority of the timeI take taxis less than 10% of the time. I don’t know whatyour experience with cab drivers is, but most of mine havebeen somewhat toxic. You have probably already taken a taxior two and if you know a little Spanish and you know whereyou need to go it can save your life financially. If the cab driverdoes not know the location you can tell him directo (straightahead), derecha (right), or izquierda (left). If the cab driver istrying to take an out of the way route you can tell him abouthis error. By the way, if the cab driver doesn’t have a cluewhere your going, it might be cheaper to just pay him thebase rate and catch another taxi. Don’t be afraid to negotiatewith the driver and they do not expect a tip.To be successful bus rider it is necessary to know the city bussystem. This is a matter of trial and error and reading wherethe buses are going posted on the front window. Taking thebuses can be fun and add a lot of spice to your life about theCosta Rican people. I speak Spanish and like to talk with theTicos on the buses and they can be very helpful in letting youknow where to get off if you don’t know where you’re going.Buses will save you a ton of money.If you want to get out of the city and go to the country, theregional Costa Rican bus system is also very inexpensive.Taking a guided tour will cost you plenty.I hope these suggestions will help you and happy saving!BIO: Vincent di Fondy is a writer and is currently working ona novel. He was born and raised in Texas, and holds of BADegree from the University of Colorado in Spanish.September-October, 20089


Immigration UpdateAugust 2008On August 25 we managed to obtain an appointment withMigracion once again, and bring to their attention severalnew potential problems, primarily related to how they handleprocedures. We must now wait for a response and possiblecorrections.RENEWALSSeveral items are affecting people in renewals, that mostlyhave to do with timing. The fact that they are not issuingappointments until your month of expiry, and for 2-4 monthslater, is causing everyone to be with expired ID. This iscausing various problems at institutions, and especially forthose who travel, as airlines may ask for ‘return’ tickets inorder to enter the country.Also it is causing additional problems for those whose datesdo not coincide with their regular stay in Costa Rica, whichaccording to the law only needs to be 4 months. Migracionis almost dictating that you must now be here when they say.This is of course not just.Migracion will apparently issue a document now for those whoneed to travel, in order to prove they have an appointment,but this will still depend on the dates.With luck, if the renewals ever do take place at the banks,some of these issues may correct themselves. We are alsolooking into the laws to see if there is something to stipulateyour right to have ‘valid’ documentation that is not left‘expired’ due to the government’s processes.NEW APPLICATIONSOn a new front, it was also notified that, effective immediately,Police letters would once again have a 6-month validity. Thisis good news, but the same circular also dictates that alldocuments must be in the hands of migracion within 6 monthsof being issued. This may cause additional complications,and is especially affecting those who had already gatheredtheir other documents in advance, as no warning time hasbeen given by migracion.We brought up these, and various other points in ourdiscussion. In this point migracion checked with the legaldepartment, and informed us (verbally) that due to JuridicalLogic, based on the fact that neither the birth certificates, northe marriage license, is apt to change, they would not likelyask for another if expired. We of course asked why thendoes it say so in writing, and our concern is still in how futuregovernments will interpret and act upon these issues.We will see what, and when, they say once we receive ananswer.El Residente10


A Day In The Lifeby Allen DickinsonA (not-so definitive)Guide to Riding theLocal Bus Systemand Decoding theRear Light Signals.There is a wonderful system of public buses in Costa Ricaand you can go just about anywhere on one of the manydifferent lines available. And I mean anywhere. I have beenon some very remote, single lane back roads where onewould never expect to see a bus and rounded a corner onlyto come face to face with one of the big things. (Guess whichone of us has to back up to a spot wide enough to pass?)There are many different bus lines and they are all cheap- $0.50 will take you a long ways. But, which one to take? Ifyou are not well versed in which buses ply a particular route,you can, sometimes, tell their approximate destinations bythe color of the buses. That’s as in: From downtown SanJose the yellow buses with orange trim (or maybe it’s thegreen ones) are pretty likely to go to Heredia. Boarding thetwo- (or three-) tone blue ones will usually get you to Escazu,Santa Ana. And so on.There is, however, a problem to deciding which bus you wantto take, based on color. Many of the buses are the standardcity bus type we are used to seeing up north and are paintedin the lines’ colors. But some buses of the same line (colors)have different routes and may not go where you think theywill, just judging by their paint scheme. I once spent an houror so riding a circuitous route around the Sabana area,ending up back downtown, and never getting to where Ithought I was going. The bus had the same colors as the oneI wanted, just a different route.“Converted” however, often amounts to little more thanrepainting them - and that can take a bit of time. It’s verycommon to see buses plying the roads in their originalyellow school bus paint with big blackletters saying “School Bus” still on them.I have seen one for over a year now thathas the words “Central Bucks CountySchool District” still painted on the side.So, reading the window sign can be evenmore important.But there is a different “system” involvingthe buses that I want to write about here,and that’s the use of the rear brake andturn signal lights. If you drive a car it canbe very important to know what the driver of the bus aheadMAY be “telling” the following vehicles via these rear lightsystems.Every one of these buses, converted school-type or regular,has at least two sets of lights on the rear - one pair is redfor stoplights, the other two are yellow turn signals. Becausemost buses are slow and stop frequently, there is commonlya long line of cars stacked up behind them waiting for thechance to pass. As a result, the bus drivers SEEM to havedevised a system of using their hazard and/or turn signals totell the following vehicles what they intend to do. The use ofthese lights is the focus of this article.A Caveat: A car driver following one of these buses mustassume one or more of the lights is not burned out orotherwise inoperative, which isn’t uncommon, beforetrying to understand their signaled intentions. Caution isimperative here.Disclaimer 1: The following information is intended toapply to buses operating outside the main urbane areas.Personally, I try to drive in downtown San Jose as little aspossible.Continued on page 12...So, maybe you should forget relying on the color to knowwhere they will take you - it can be a bad assumption. Thewise traveler will read the signs in the window (or ask thedriver) where they are going.And besides, some of the buses aren’t painted the Linecolors, yet.Have you ever wondered what happens to those old yellow,public school buses in the US when it’s time for the schooldistricts to replace them? It seems that one of the “elephantsgraveyards” for old school buses is Costa Rica. - they areshipped here and converted to public transportation.September-October, 200811


after the last time he started up.- Or, it could be the hazard flashers are on and that the righthand bulb is inoperative.4. This last one is a special rule which is in effect when thebus is moving and doesn’t intend to stop soon: If the busdriver sees the road ahead is clear for passing by one ormore of the line of vehicles stacked up behind him, he MAY(or may not) turn on the left turn signal telling those followingthat it’s clear to pass.- Or, he may be intending to make a left turn. (See Rule 3,above.)Disclaimer 2: The signal system I describe here is one Ihave deciphered from observation and is not represented tobe official. Therefore, I make the following statement: I maynot know what the hell I am talking about!That being said, I herein offer my version of what MIGHT befour simple rules for interpreting the rear light signals busdrivers use to communicate their intentions to the followingvehicles. I’ll let the reader decide which one(s) applies totheir situation - and if and when.1. A pair of flashing yellow hazard lights means the busMAY be preparing to stop. The amount of distance betweenwhere they begin the flashing begins and where they planto stop can vary widely and is for the following drivers todetermine.- Then again, they may just have forgotten to turn the hazardlights off at the last stop. (Illuminated brake lights - one ormore - can be a key secondary signal here.)2. Sometimes the bus driver foregoes the nicety of turningon the flashing hazard lights and the first thing the followingcar driver is aware of is a flashing right hand turn signal.That SOMETIMES indicates the bus is preparing to stop, orhave stopped, for a pick-up and/or drop off. (Don’t assumethat means they will pull over out of the traffic lane, evenif there is room - they will probably just stop in the road toload/unload passengers.)Only daring to pull out to pass will determine the bus drivers’intent. (Maybe this explains why one rarely sees a bus, ofany type, that doesn’t have some sign of having been in aminor collision, usually on the left rear or side.)And there you have it. A simple four rules explaining howbus drivers will use their rear lights to let the following driversknow exactly what they MAY (or may not) do. Knowing thesecodes will help you drive more safely - or at least be no morefrightened by the buses than you were before reading this.Or maybe not.In fact, maybe it’s best to forget everything I have written hereand remember: This is Costa Rica. Maybe you should justride the bus.Allen Dickinson is a member of ARCR. After serving 23 yearsin the US Navy he settled in Pensacola, Florida, where heresided for 24 years. In 2006 he retired from operating hisown licensed mortgage brokerage business and relocatedto Costa Rica. He holds a Bachelors Degree from theUniversity of New York and a Masters Degree from theUniversity of West Florida. He can be reached via email at:humphree@bellsouth.net.- Or, it might mean they are going to make a right turn.- Or maybe it means the driver forgot to turn the signal offfrom the previous stop.- Or it could mean it’s the hazard lights and the left bulb isburned out.3. If the bus is stopped, a flashing left turn signal CANindicate they are going to ‘pull out’ and start moving again.- Or it might mean they are going to make a left turn.- Then again, it could be the driver forgot to cancel the signalEl Residente12


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Tribes of the Landby Ana HernandezThe BrunkasThe Masked Peaceful WarriorsThe first inhabitants of the southern Pacific region of CostaRica were an interesting mix of native groups such as theBribris, the Borucas also known as Brunkas, the Cabécars,Térrabas and the Guaymi tribe, who dwelled on both sidesof the Costa Rican-Panamanian border. Blessed with anabundance of natural resources, all of these groups lived,traded and worked without the need for conquering additionalterritories.Their peaceful co-existence was drastically changed withthe arrival of the Spanish. The Spaniards soon started theprocess of colonization of all the groups they encounteredand the tranquil way of life of the natives was quicklyannihilated when forced to work for their new rulers andreassigned into colonial social units or missions.In the case of the Boruca-Brunka, their population wasconsidered “pacified” around the year of 1608 and by 1629the Spanish were sufficiently rooted there to establish anofficial settlement in Brunka territory, which they calledBoruca. The site had begun as a stop for the mule trainstraveling from the colonial Costa Rican capital of Cartagoto Portobelo in Panama. The Village of Boruca quickly grewand by the early 1800s had a township and a community hall,twenty-five huts placed around a central square and about250 people living there.Independence from Spain in 1821 brought abrupt changes tothe region. As early as 1848 and throughout many decadesafter that, the first inhabitants of the southern pacific regionof Costa Rica witnessed the arrival of agricultural workersfrom the Central Valley; poor migrants from neighboringcountries such as Nicaragua, Salvador and Panama. Italianimmigrants and religious groups such as the Mennonitesalso came to the vicinity looking for better opportunities.The real massive influx of non-indigenous people to theregion however, took place between 1945 and 1963 with thebuilding of the Pan American Highway.The Borucas or Brunkas are located in the slopes of theBrunqueña Mountain Range and along the lands borderedby the Grande de Terraba River. Most Brunka hamletsincluding the Village of Boruca lie near this important river.Their main reservations are found in Puntarenas in thetownship of Buenos Aires and Osa, such as Rey Curré,Maíz, Bijagual, Cajón, Mano de Tigre, Lagarto, Chánguina,and Puerto Nuevo. Just like their cousins the Bribris andCabécars, the Brunkas, spoke a language derived from theChibchan Language, but unfortunately very few of them canspeak it now.The Pan-Am Hwy passes through some of the hamletsbut most other roads branching off from the main Hwy areunpaved and not easy to traverse, particularly on the rainyseason. The Brunkas used to build their houses on hillyareas separated by grassy savannas and the tall grasseswere used in the construction of roofs for their huts, but thepractice came to an end with the disappearance of thoselarge areas.Nowadays, the Brunkas build frames houses with metalroofs just like the houses where non-indigenous people live.Most public buildings such as churches, community centers,schools, medical facilities, and dance halls are now builtin cement or wood with metal roofs and the villages thatenjoy these services also have running water, electricity andtelephone booths.Continued on page 15...El Residente14


Borucas or Brunkas are small-scale agriculturists who growcorn and beans for their own consumption and whatever isleft they sell. They complement their incomes with the saleof oranges, heart of palms, peach-palm fruit and others fromtrees that grow well on their lots. Some families own cattleand pigs but many work for non-indigenous land ownersas manual laborers. Some of their reserve members holdprofessional jobs as teachers, clerks, policemen and guardson their own towns without having to look for work in thecity. At the time of the 1990 census, the Borucas living inreserved land numbered 2,660 although this number haslargely increased in the last decades.Most hospitals and community health clinics are far fromtheir villages and access to them is not easy. TraditionalBrunkas still rely on female herb healers and resort to herbaltreatments for specific purposes from snakebites to findinglove and marriage or prevention of pregnancy in the case ofwomen with too many children.As proof of the acculturation and conversion to the Spanishreligion, many Brunkas today practice Catholicism, go tomass and attend church services on regular basis. Someof them are elected in their communities as “mayordomosor delegados de la palabra,” and in the absent of prieststhey will carry out the normal duties of the church. They domaintenance of religious buildings, lead prayers, teach thefaith and ring the bells of the church when someone in theirvillage dies.Many Brunka households officiate a Catholic wake for a deadrelative, which was also common among non-indigenousfamilies at the turn of the century. The corpse, covered with awhite sheet, lies on a platform in the center of a room in thehome of the deceased or that of a close relative with enoughspace for people to sit around and view the body. Candlesare placed at the head and feet of the deceased with picturesor sculptures of saints nearby. Food is shared with themourners, while the mayordomos recite prayers during thewake. The people from the village in many cases contributewith money to pay for the burial and funeral expenses. TheyContinued on page 16...September-October, 200815


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The inflationary surge now hitting the US, is being felt ‘inspades’ overseas.SHAKEOUT IN THE EQUITY MARKETSA phase Dee Keesler thinks, “will see the emerging marketstransformed into submerging markets, an unwelcomechange that will encompass the so-called BRIC quartet– Brazil, Russia, India, China – as well as a full complementof the smaller fry.”Dee Keesler, (4) a seasoned pro with an excellent track record,sees a global shakeout in the equity markets. His reasoningis as follows:The very long period of easy money fuelled a whole series ofasset ‘bubbles’, including the rapid escalation in stock marketvaluations around the world. The Shanghai and Bombaystock markets, for example, had increased almost 300% in 2years or less, until last Fall.Stock market participants should soon be waking up to thefact the fervently hoped for US recovery later this year, isn’tgoing to happen.There is much more bad news to come on the credit side: themortgage mess has much further to go, as the defaults worktheir way into home-equity loans and even prime mortgages;then there are the credit cards, car loans and commercialand leveraged business loans.Unemployment has been steadily increasing and spreadingthroughout the US and other Western nations across thebroad range of sectors. And, even more US unemploymentis very likely to be created by the significant cutbacks in Stateand local government spending.In addition, the average US consumer is reported to haverecord high debt levels and negligible savings.Some consequences of the US slowdown have alreadybecome apparent as hotels, mall operators, tourist relatedbusinesses, and the like, are finding themselves with toomuch capacity and too little demand. This will likely getmuch worse over the next period. However, this leads us towonder:With high debts, very tight credit, and no savings: “Where isthe ‘juice’ for future growth”?“The global bear market in equities, triggered by our veryown subprime credit mess, is now entering its next phase.”“Emerging markets are an accident no longer waiting tohappen but very much in progress”, he says. “And whilethe severity of the further declines will vary (Shanghai, forexample, already down 50% from its peak, still has a longway down to go), they’re all vulnerable”.In the months ahead, he warns “the concept of globaleconomic decoupling will be thoroughly exposed as a naïvefantasy”.And, governments around the globe in futile efforts to calmthe masses in the face of rapidly rising food and energyprices, implemented ad-hoc changes that have proven costlyand counterproductive.“There is no way out for developing nations, but to adoptmore stringent monetary policies, which means higherinterest rates and stronger currencies, and inevitably, a sharpeconomic slowdown.”“Investors, who have been counting on more of the vigorousearnings growth that attracted them to emerging markets inthe first place, are in for a big disappointment”, Dee said.“The great unwinding of emerging markets has just begunwith much carnage still forthcoming”.For financial markets in developing countries, the viciouscycle he sees unfolding will bring forth much lower valuationsfrom lower multiples and lower earnings.And finally, because a big chunk of US corporate profits flowsin from the rest of the world, the prospect of a global stockmarket shakeout no longer seems farfetched.(1) Richard Bernstein, Merrill Lynch, chief investmentstrategist, in recent note to clients(2) Alan Abelson, author of Barron’s Up & Down Wall Streetarticle, No Place to Hide 23/06/08(3) Lights Are On, But Banks Increasingly Closed, by JamesSaft, Reuters, 16/08/08(4) S. Dewey (Dee) Keesler, quoted extensively in Barron’sarticle No Place to HideThe opinions expressed in this article are consistent withthose of the writer.Detailed information is available for affluent investorsseeking various offshore alternatives.This can be requested by contacting Alan Weeks at:(507) 209-3136 or e-mail: imccr2002@yahoo.comSeptember-October, 200823


Wild Side XXXXVby Ryan PiercyJungle JewelRanking among the most beautiful birds that frequentCosta Rica, a jewel of the forest, is the small Red-leggedHoneycreeper. Cyanerpes cyaneus is a member of thetanager family, found from Southern Mexico to Peru andcentral Brazil. What makes this bird so eye-catching is themales’ colours of a striking violet-blue and black, and itsshort red legs. The crown of its head is turquoise, whilethe under part of its wings, visible only in flight, is a lemonyellow colour. For this reason the bird is also known inplaces as the Yellow-winged Sugarbird. Females andimmatures are mainly greenish with black wings.After the breeding season from February to June, the malewill moult into a greenish colour for a few months until theregular colour returns. The females will build a small cupshapednest in a tree in order to lay its two brown-blotchedwhite eggs. These will normally be found in the mid-levelof the forest canopy, where many insects live. The eggsincubate for about 12 days before hatching, and the chickswill then spend about another 14 days in the nest beforelearning to fly.The rest of the year this species wanders in small flocks,ranging widely through forests and semi open areas,including on the edges of gardens, often in the company ofother small bird species.The Red-legged Honeycreeper is just 12.2 cm long, weighingabout 14g. It has a soft slightly curving black bill, whichrequires a special diet in captivity. In the wild they eatinsects, berries and nectar from fruits, sipping through theirlong beaks. They have a tendency to live in small groups atthe edge of forests, in open woodland, and near cocoa andcitrus plantations.The call of Red-legged Honeycreeper is a thin, high-pitchedtsip. To catch a glimpse of this species in Costa Ricathey are fairly common in the Northern dry lowlands andmountain areas, and especially abundant in the NW of theCaribbean side around Rio Frio, though they can be seen,less frequently, in many other areas. They are also abundanton Isla de Coco.El Residente24


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Exchange rate of theCosta Rican ¢ to the USDollarFebruary 499.00March 497.67April 497.21May 522.88June 522.76July 556.64Basic Interest RateFebruary 5.50 %March 5.25 %April 4.25 %May 5.00 %June 5.50 %July 7.00 %Exchange rate of othercurrencies to the USDollarJapanese Yen 107.65Swiss Franc 1.0414Canadian $ 1.0252Giro (DEG) 1.6209£ Sterling 1.9905Euro 1.5686Mexican Peso 10.038Korean Won 1,012.2Danish Krone 4.7565NorwegianKrone5.1163Argentine Peso 3.0260Colombian Peso 1,811.8Brasilian Real 1.5671Libor Rate1 month 2.4613 %3 month 2.7913 %6 month 3.0838 %12 month 3.2525 %Prime Rate 5.00 %El Residente26


Holidays OfCosta RicaSeptember 15th- ARCR closed‘Independence Day’October 12th- ARCR closed‘Columbus Day’‘Dia de la raza’********************A Touch of Wisdom“Hasty climbers have suddenfalls.”R. Greene(1592)“It is wise not to seek a secretand honest not to reveal it.”Ben Franklin(1706-1790)“One father is more than ahundred schoolmasters.”English proverb********************Quick Ones“I was born in California.”“Which part?”“All of me.”“Excuse me. Do you knowthe way to the zoo?”“No, I’m sorry I don’t.”“Well, it’s two blocks this way,then one block to the left.”Teacher: Do you have troublemaking decisions?Student: Well...yes and no.Three mice are beingchased by a cat. The micewere cornered when oneof the mice turnedaround and barked,“Ruff! Ruff! Ruff!” Thesurprised cat ran awayscared. Later when themice told their mother whathappened, she smiled andsaid, “You see, it pays to bebilingual!”September-October, 200827


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