Sunday, December 31

Sunset Sunday

The last sunset for the Year 2006.
Taken at Hermosa Beach, where the river meets the Pacific Shore.

Saturday, December 30

Black Beans and Rice

For my dinner, the last day before the last day of the year,
I decided to have the comfort food of Costa Rica - Black Beans and Rice.
Ask anyone over 30 years old from Costa Rica and they will tell you they
grew up eating black beans and rice and not much else. In general, people
here don't live in the same poverty as years passed but still they eat
beans and rice.
I made my beans and rice for my Gallo Pinto tomorrow. You have to
use rice cooked the night before. It's a ritual here and basically
it is the same procedure regardless of who makes it. It's only eaten for breakfast.
You need a Costa Rican to teach you. I call mine "Gringa" Gallo Pinto because
it's never exactly like I get in the Tico restaurants. Pura Vida.
My mother dog (from Florida) won't touch the stuff but her offsprings (sired by neighboring Tico dogs) wolf it up. I think it's good for them, protein.
I couldn't help but think while eating my beans and rice (with jelled cranberry
on the side and buttered bread), I am so fortunate to have realized my dream.
I could have anything I want for supper (within reason) but
I'd rather have this for my comfort food and remember where I am.
(Chocolate covered brownie for dessert)
I will be on a quest for collard (or turnip) greens tomorrow.
I have never seen black-eyed peas sold here so I brought some back
when I visited the States.
I don't want to jinx myself by skipping my Southern traditions.
(click here if you don't know what I'm talking about)

"Let's Get it Started"

The party is on in Jaco.
The Imperial Girls have arrived,
dancing on the back of a banana yellow Imperial beer truck,
cruising the Jaco Strip.
I was quietly having breakfast at a local Tico restaurant when I saw a rush of guys move to the street.
I had to check it out too!
I just happened to have my camera handy.
This one's for you...all you Bud beer boys.

Friday, December 29


Saddam is (almost) dead.
I liked his firing squad execution idea
but they say he'll hang.
Guess they'll film it for "proof".
I wish Jessie Jackson would just shut up
and go away.

The Fat Lady Sings on Wall Street - 2006

It's almost the LAST closing bell for a record setting year on Wall Street. It was a rollercoaster year of trading with the Dow setting an all time high, gasoline prices spiking, housing market slumping, back-dating options scandals, and a slew of other perils. I made it through unscathed and managed to have a nice little profit. That's no small feat considering I live in Never Neverland and between ICE (electric) and the Cable Tica (internet), it's a wonder I made anything. ICE has been replacing the wooden poles with concrete ones. Never a warning that there will be no electric for hours. As far as Cable Tica, I've heard they are replacing the internet cables "underwater" so somedays, no internet. It could be RACSA. It takes both to access cyberspace here... AND ELECTRIC (I need CNBC). Pura Vida, Trading in Paradise.

Due to the fact that Costa Rica has taught me to wait, I rode United Health (UNH) all the way down (options scandal) and all the way up again. I finally bailed out of my holdings today with only a $24 loss (including commissions) after having been down over $900 back in the summer. I jumped off Garmin (GRMN) today with a $150 profit on the 15 shares I bought when it slumped to $45. just last month. The going looked good today so I got out. Rarely can you make that kind of profit on a measly 15 shares.

Pretty much, I am starting the new year liquid and will be waiting for just the right time to jump back in.
I still have other holdings in my portfolio but for them, the waiting game continues. No more trading for this year. The market will not reopen until Wednesday due to Tuesday being recognized as the official day of mourning for the recent death of President Ford.

Thank you Costa Rica for teaching me patience. Now, I can sit back on the beach and continue eating my bon-bons. (That's a joke to all those back home that think that's all I do. It's really grapes, not bon-bons.)


Wednesday, December 27

April Fools in December

"Innocent's Day" it is called and it is tomorrow (December 28th).
Ever hear of it? I googled it and nothing but according to this
week's issue of The Tico Times (the last issue this year), Costa Rica
recognizes this day with the typical pranks of April Fool's Day.
Coins glued to the ground, you know, trucos (tricks).

The Tico Times did a "Year in Review" and one part was
"No Shortage of Weird, Wonderful News in 2006".
The title - "Giant Pothole Swallowed Taxi"
"A taxi driver suffered only minor injuries when the Isuzu Trooper he was driving plunged into an unmarked, two meter deep by three-meter side pothole near Nicoya, in the northwestern province of Guanacaste, in late February.
The Tropper had to be removed with a crane."

For those of us living and driving here, we know this is no joke but can laugh at it anyway cause it could of been one of us. We also know the auto repair business (suspension, brakes, clutch, tires, etc.) is a great business here in "Potholes to Paradise".
"Potholes to Paradise" is an excellent book written by Tess Borner. I am reading it now. Although it was published in 2001, it is not outdated and most of her writings still apply. Suggested reading for those living or wanting to live in "Paradise".
There are plenty of trucos, EVERY DAY of the year. Pura Vida.

Tuesday, December 26

Ho Ho HO!!

Here's hoping you had a very Merry Christmas!
The Christmas party for the kids went great. They played games and were pretty orderly until Colacho (CR Santa) showed up. The frenzy for gifts was on and the big kids stormed Santa (not at all like last year). It was a fun time for all and much thanks are given to all that contributed to it's success.
A special thanks to Santa.
Thanks Cpt. Marcello, Owner of Jaco Adventures and The Tango Fishing Charter.
For more photos of the party, go to this link.

Tuesday, December 19

Vendors in Puntarenas

They were everywhere,
selling everything.

Santa Sighting

We went to Puntarenas yesterday to buy more gifts for the kid's Christmas party this Friday. I hadn't been to Puntarenas in awhile and was impressed how great the roads were. Even street lights. The town was buzzing with people doing their holiday shopping. It was crowded and HOT but when I saw Santa in his suit, I was grateful to be wearing shorts! Barely any Gringos in Puntarenas. My girlfriend and I are tall blondes so we stuck out like Santa on a Florida beach in July!
It was really crowded too!

It was incredible to see all the toys, pinatas, and Christmas decorations on sale. Costa Ricans love Christmas! They work all year for their Christmas bonus (one month's salary) so they have extra money to spend for Christmas.

Sunday, December 17

Church on Sunday

Where I'm from... it was always Church on Sunday.
This photo is for our Mom watching over us
and for you...hope you're being an Angel, too.

Saturday, December 16

It's Saturday

It's Saturday and like every Saturday, Jose shows up at 7 am to help me with cutting my grass and other handyman chores I have. He came by yesterday and told me he was returning to Nicaragua to join his family that left a month ago. Jose has helped me for four years and I have complete confidence in him to take care of my best interest. I write this with a heavy heart, knowing if will not be the same around here without his big smile and HONEST helping hand.
Guess who's going to be Jose now....ME! I may need an electric start, self-propelled mower. Oh yeah, and maybe some steroids.

Friday, December 15

Christmas Party Donation Drive for the Children

It's that time of year again and this is our second annual fund drive to help the children of Jaco area. We have the support of the Women's Center here in Jaco at the Municipal and since they are not allowed to ask for contributions, a couple of us Gringas have been going around town asking for donations. My friend, Trish, made a trip to Panama recently to buy some gifts for the kids (things are cheaper there). The party is next Friday and if you live in this area, please consider helping by contributing to the Officina de la Mujer (643-3500) located at the Municipal. Toys, clothes, food are needed year round. These are children (64 kids this year) from abusive homes, typically, living without the support of their fathers. These mothers need our help, please give generously.
Every child will receive a wrapped gift (value $10) plus we will have a party with a decorated tree, hopefully a Santa (any volunteers?), cake, cokes/juice, games and busting the Santa pinata (one pinata for the big kids and one for the little ones). They will also receive a Care Package with toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, and useful items. Next year, we hope to raise enough money for food packages as well.
Last year was a good time for all. The mothers gathered in a separate room and did glass painting projects while the children had their party. Everyone was involved when it came time to open the gifts. We are hoping this year will be even more successful especially with the support of our community. There are needy children all over the world, don't forget to give from your heart.
Click here to see more photos from last year's party.

Sunday, December 10

Church on Sunday

Church near Esparza

Friday, December 8

Oxen Power

In the past, oxen were used here to pull carts loaded with everything from coffee beans to palm nuts.

Such gentle souls to be so huge.

Thursday, December 7

Liberation Day for the Turtles

Right now, well at around 7 a.m. every morning, they are releasing baby turtles. Some friends encouraged me to take a visit out at the Minae Turtle Refuge in Hermosa and check it out. If you've never witnessed the little ones being released to the ocean, it is something to see. They immediately head for the water, all the while getting washed back to shore. It's quite a struggle for them to be swim freely. My guide, Marco, said maybe 1% survive. I hope I didn't understand him correctly.
There have beds of turtle eggs and each day this time of year, they release the ones that hatch. It's a big part of the teams rescue effort to save the turtles from their predators before and after they have hatched.
I'll be returning for more info on the life cycles of the turtles and of course, more photos.
to see more photos posted on Flickr.

Wednesday, December 6

Tope in San Ramon

There will be another Tope this weekend in San Ramon.
The Calbalgata starts on Saturday at noon. See you there!
Thanks for the tip Jen.

December in Costa Rica

This month is full of activities. I would love to hear what is going on around Costa Rica. If you hear of an event coming up, please write me ( and let me know. I'd love to get photos!

This photo is of a one-back legged grasshopper. Here, they call them esparanzas and if you see one, it means something you have hoped for is coming.

Tuesday, December 5


This past Saturday, we had a Tope at Hermosa Beach. Hundreds of horses were transported here for this event from all over Costa Rica. It was absolutely spectacular to see so many gorgeous horses.
They all gathered at the Pig Farm in Hermosa. It was truly a beautiful sight to see so many horses riding down the beach in Hermosa. A dream come true for me to witness.
I've read that the annual Tope the day after Christmas in San Jose is cancelled this year. See this article in a.m.costarica. Please tell me this isn't true.
Here are some photos from the Tope at Hermosa Beach. Of course, Blogger is giving me a fit with posting photos so if you go to THIS SITE, you can view ALL the photos I took. The easiest way to view them is "Slide show"
You can click onto the photos here to enlarge. Use the back arrow (upper left) to get back to this page.

Sunday, December 3

Church on Sunday

Thanks for the encouragement Jen. Back to Blogging...
Church made of metal in Grecia.

Wednesday, November 22


Amapola is the name here for a Hibiscus.
They grow everywhere. Mostly they are used as a natural hedge for a property line. They are easily propagated. Cuttings can be taken from the more mature Amapolas. From the cutting, just cut off both ends, the bottom cut at a slant, strip off smaller branches, and stick them in the ground. They plant them in a cross-hatch pattern for fullness later. It's a fast grower so in a year, you have a beautiful natural fence.
I trimmed my hedge until it grew thick and now it is ten foot tall.
It is full of flowers and the iguanas and birds use it as their haven.
Different birds make their nest in the inner part. Hummingbirds flit from flower to flower. The iguanas crawl throughout the hedge and go out to the end of the limb to reach the flower. I never knew iguanas ate amapola flowers.
Definitely, full of life and color.

Tuesday, November 21

River Reflecting Tree

Photo up-side-down and blue hued

Sunday, November 19

Church on Sunday

Iglesia at Villas Lapas

Open-air church. That is a lily pond in front of the Chapel.

Friday, November 17

March Against Drugs and Crime

Locals walked the main strip of Jaco this afternoon in a united effort to protest the crime and drugs here. They began at the Municipal and walked to the opposite end of town, ending at the Best Western Hotel. Officials met at the hotel to address this escalating problem. The new Chamber of Commerce was behind organizing the march.

We had three MURDERS just last week. Lately, every time I go to town, someone tells me about being robbed. It has gotten WAY OUT OF CONTROL. This time of year (rainy) is considered the "slow time" for tourism and the robberies typically increase. A lot of people are out of work. I call it "the rats are out", especially when it rains. Now, the rats are using guns and knives. Some clever (non-confrontation) rats
gas a house before they rob it. When the owners awake, they realize they were robbed. They also poison dogs before a robbery. Robberies increase during the rain because the rain muffles the sound of glass breaking, they're not easily seen, etc. Robbery is reaching a new professional level here.

We finally have a serious developer that is changing the face of Jaco in more ways than one. He paid for the pot-hole ridden road on the Jaco strip to be repaved. A real PRO job. Not like the usual muni-guys with brooms, shovels and buckets of asphalt (or whatever). Around here, when the roads get too horrible, the taxis go on strike until the Municipality does something. It's usually a band aid job. This is the same developer that has organized our new Chamber of Commerce. He has seven major condominium projects on Jaco Beach at present. Clearly, he has a vested interest in seeing Jaco improve.

I was resistant to the radical change of Jaco's skyline with all this new construction. I wanted things to stay the same and Jaco to stay small. That is just not going to happen. At least someone is putting up the money to give Jaco a chance to survive it's inevitable growth. (Double edged sword)

Fact is: The more money that comes here, the more rats that will come for the money.

Photo of Jaco Street
June 2004 (left)
June 2006 (right)

Shining IPO - Trade Talk

Today, the New York Mercantile Exchange (symbol - NMX) started trading on the New York Stock Exchange. The long awaited initial public offering began trading yesterday after close at $59
and NMX opened today at $120.
It hit a high of $152. in the same day.
Now, that's a shooting star!
Some millionaires got a few million richer.

I'm not rich by any means but in this country, a little philanthropy goes a long way. Today, I saw this rather elderly lady walking down the street with the corner of a burlap bag on her head. The rest of the bag draped over her shoulders and covered her back. Her make-shift raincoat. I watched her go from garbage bag to garbage bag, picking out aluminum cans. This sight touched my heart, she was much too old to do this "line of work". I stopped and handed her c5,000 (about $10 here). She smiled, thanked me, and continued with her work.
For me, that may represent one less breakfast outing.
For her, it's feeding her entire family.
Thanksgiving is coming, it's never too soon to start giving.

Wish Upon a Shooting Star

You'll have plenty chances this weekend.
Check out this link for info on Leonid Meteor Shower expected Saturday night around 10:45 in Costa Rica.

Thursday, November 16

Hermosa Palms

Before the rain. Surely, condominiums will be built here one day.
Taken in August 2006


"Hermosa Beachfront" - Properties Available and "Sold"
* New asphalt road along beach in front of Properties - No speed limit
** fading estuary for birds and wildlife

Also available - Swampland in the Everglades of Beautiful Southwest Florida

*Hermosa Palm Investors would'nt comment money for condos until the road was paved
**Hermosa Paradise developer developed problems with CR when he diverted the river

Wednesday, November 15

"Raining all over the world"

Times like these, the song, "Rainy Night in Georgia", comes to mind.
I went to sleep with the sound of rain and woke to the same.
This morning, the birds were protesting with their wake-up peeps
and shrieks instead of chirping harmoniously to greet the new day.
I mop up water that has flowed under my doors and think about times passed
when I saw houses in my area completely flooded.
I remember a few years back, seeing a family carrying out their
belongings with the water in their house nearly to their waist.
I am grateful my little flooding is manageable.
It has rained for months now so the clay ground is 'full-up'.
The rain water flows through my yard, making mini-rivers.
My dogs just look up at me as if to ask, when will it ever stop?
They don't understand, it's all part of "Paradise".

"How many times I wondered
It still comes out the same
No matter how you look at it or think of it
It's life and you just got to play the game"

Click here to hear the song, "Rainy Night in Georgia".

Tuesday, November 14

Future Condo Site

Hermosa Beach, near the Pig Farm
I've heard the Costa Rican owner refused to take an very good offer so maybe it will stay like this a little longer. It is Prime Property but money can't buy everything.

Monday, November 13

Family with Balloons

You can click onto photo to enlarge.
Should I crop out garbage cans?

Sunday, November 12

Church on Sunday

Catholic Church, Jaco
Service is on Saturday night (it's cooler)

Saturday, November 11

"Inverted Jenny"

I said I was going to take a break but this is just too incredible not to mention.
This 24 cent stamp was attached to an envelope holding a Florida absentee ballot and was received in Ft. Lauderdale.
There was no return address, so the ballot was invalid.
The 1918 U.S. Inverted Jenny 24 cent air-mail stamp is estimated
to be worth $500,000.00!!!
Good ole U.S.A., where a stamp never expires, it just increases in value.
Here, stamps expire like stock options, if not used in a specified time, they are worthless. That's Costa Rica.

The Dark Side

Instead of ranting about Costa Rica and it's drawbacks (the dark side),
I will refrain from posting for a few days until I feel well again.
It's hard to see things in a good light when you feel bad.
Just check back sometime next week for the "Sunnier Side"
of life here, hopefully.
If you care to subscribe, it will notify you of a new post.
'Till then...

Thursday, November 9

MOHO in Jaco

"Moho" in Spanish is mold or fungus.
For months, I've been trying to twist a spin on "moho" as a joke
since we do have mo' ho's in Jaco than you can shake a stick at.
But MOHO is no laughing matter. I have been battling a fungus
infection for over a month now. I took the prescribed treatment
and thought I was cured. The infection boom-a-ranged on me
and hit me even harder on the next go around causing migranes, fever,
coughing, and a whole plethora of new symptoms.
During the rainy season, we are aware here of the dengue infection (caused by mosquitos)
but rarely connect our "ailments" with the fungi created by the constant moisture.
(link - Wikipedia list 435 types of fungus infections)
Link to Doctor Fungus website

Just giving you a heads up. If you stay sick and can't figure out what's wrong with you,
it's probably due to MOHO.
Eight months of dry season is coming (El Nino) so there will be some relief, sort of.
Blistering hot, everyday, so dry the ground cracks and you sweat while standing still. (Big Sigh)

Wednesday, November 8


In English that means EARTHQUAKE!!!
Yeppers, Wednesday morning at 12:40 a.m.,
my house rocked/shuttered for about three seconds!
It's so hard to describe but being on the second floor,
I could really feel it. It seems to last longer than it is.
I'm sure most people slept through it but I was wide
awake, watching Joan of Arc for the second time.
I am from hurricane country. Hurricanes, I understand.
Earthquakes, that's a whole new terror.
IT comes from NOWHERE, out of the blue.
Like the raging lightning here a few nights ago
with barely any rain.
From out of nowhere, but it passed fast.
Same for the earthquake.
My first earthquake here was novel and exciting.
Later, after I saw the damage on t.v., my respect grew.
Raging Mother Earth - She ROCKS!
You gotta have respect.

Monday, November 6

CMA Awards

Thank you God I stumbled onto the 40th Country Music Awards
tonight on ABC.
It's back in Nashville! Something I can relate to.
It's on ABC network which is new here at Cable Tica.
CBS comes and goes and tonight usually is the CBS line-up for me.
Not tonight. I get to hear those songs that are so close
to my heart and "my home" doesn't seem so far away.

Since I've been gone for SOOOOO long, the songs are all new to me but
the southern accents, I know well. No country music here in Paradise.

Sunday, November 5

Church on Sunday

Catholic Church in San Mateo taken on different days

Saturday, November 4

Big Box of Love

I found this Cadbury refrigerator at the "old" Frutastica Grocery Market in Jaco. Frutastica is not air-conditioned and their chocolate is always melted. Cadbury has given them a refrigerator to store their (Cadbury) chocolate.
It's like that here, you sell Coca-Cola, the Coca-Cola company supplies the refrigerated storage for their products.
Same for Pepsi, Dos Pinos, etc.
But Cadbury? At first, they had it right at the front entrance.
You couldn't miss it. Now, they've moved the box more to the interior.
It was love at first sight for me.
The chocolate is the perfect temperature, too.
Not rock-hard refrigerated cold.
I can't help but wonder though,
why such a big cooling box?

Friday, November 3


Tantra is our local sex shop at Galleone Mall in central Jaco. The windows are blacked out so if you want to see what's inside, you have to go inside.

Maybe I'll venture in one day just so I can blog about it and possibly find something of ahhh, interest. Point being, it's not hidden down some seedy side street, it's front and center, here in Sin City. One other sex shop was shut down, probably because you could see inside driving down the Jaco Beach main street. It was located in the "Red Zone" but it just didn't fly. .... TOO in your face.

The photo on the right is our local head shop, 420. Truly, I never connected 4:20 with "it's time to get high" but here, it's common knowledge. Who here waits 'till 4:20 p.m.? If you're a typical Jaco surfer, you "wake and bake". You would never guess it's illegal here. Not too much care is taken to conceal it. One evening while having dinner at a "nice restaurant", I actually saw a "local" empty out a bag of weed ON THE TABLE next to me to show some tourist what exactly they were buying. When your bill is $50, you don't expect drug deals to take place right next to you. The owner of the restaurant was out of town at the time.

I was taken back by the gas masks on display at the 420 Shop. I thought they were for a fall-out or something. The attendant explained to me how to use it. I felt so "virginal". I guess it could come in handy in case of a volcanic eruption.
We have five active volcanoes out of 117 total.
We have earthquakes too but there's no smog here in Babylon Jaco.

Little Jaco is changing so fast, I don't think they (or me) will be able to handle it in a few years with it's downward spiral expansion. The crime will scare off the tourist. Jaco already has a bad reputation. Some talk has been made of having "Tourist Police". Wonder what it would cost to pay-off these "special guys". Some Transitos (traffic police) have already gone from 10,000 colones ($20) to $100 cash (U. S. dollars).
I remember when 5,000 colones could get you out of a Whole 'Nother World of BIG trouble (that's another blog). Fifty dollars is your Get Out of Jail pass. It will keep you (The Foreigner) out of the Big Blue Paddy Wagon if you don't have the proper paperwork on you when you're out drinking at the Hot Spots.
...So I've heard.

As far as the "R & R" in the title, we're not talking Rock and Roll.
I should leave something to your imagination.

p.s. I keep seeing "Borat" clips on t.v. - Him and his sister would fall right in here in Jaco hell.