Saturday, September 9

Stress in Paradise

I will try and reiterate what I previously wrote this morning (it was lost).

Life here is pretty much stress-free, that is, unless you try to accomplish something.
Yesterday, my mission was to accomplish those things on my to-do list that I hadn't completed on Thursday. Looking at the list, it all looked fairly simple but getting it done, well that's another matter.

Take for instance paying bills. We do not received bill statements in the mail here. Also, the bank does not issue checks on your personal account. It is possible to pay a bill electronically through the bank, but I'm not that savvy and it's in Spanish. In order to pay a bill, I must go around town to the different designated payment sites. Sounds easy, huh? I pay ICE (telephone and electric) at the location that has the original bill. There are other places in which to pay but they do not give you the bill, only the receipt as payment proof. To pay ICE, I need to make two trips because the two bills are never there at the same time. Cable Tica is fairly easy, just one trip, one office for two bills (t.v. and cable internet). The Internet provider, Racsa, I pay at the pharmacy. The water payment is yet at another location. To pick up my garbage, that payment is made at the Municipal (I now pay annually).
Are you getting the idea?

Yesterday, I needed to pay for my car insurance. Insurance isn't manidatory here like in the States but for peace of mind driving in This Country, it's required. Actually, my bill isn't due until next week but we have a BIG holiday coming and things get a little crazy here. It's "Independence Day" week for Costa Rica. As I was saying, I needed to pay my insurance so I went to my bank to get the money (everyone living here knows what that's about, ie. waiting). Then, I needed to go to another bank that my insurance company uses to make the deposit into their account.

At Banco Costa Rica, the guard prompts me to stand correctly in the "snake line". This concept is foreign to "Americans". The front line runs parallel to the teller booths and "snakes" around to the end. The person at the head of the snake goes to the next available teller, UNLESS you are pregnant, disabled, elderly or CRAZY! Those people can go to the front and the "special teller" helps them. One bank (Banco National) has a universal sign above the "special teller" depicting a lady pregnant, a man in a wheelchair, an old lady with her cane, and a person with circles and lines over her head like Medusa. Naturally, I'm drawn to THAT teller, especially on Fridays. Once I make the deposit, I must go find a fax machine and send to the insurance company a copy of my receipt for their proof of my payment. All this took about two hours. It's actually not stressful unless you are in a hurry. I never get in a hurry anymore.
Pura Vida.

I needed a few items from the grocery too but again, it's not one-stop shopping. You must go to two or three different stores to get everything you need. I was running into the same people I'd seen at the other stores, it's a common practice here.
Friday is also open market day. They close one street here for the vendors to sell produce and other items. On Fridays, the buses come in droves from San Jose and surrounding areas for our beaches. Our population more than triples for three days.

There are flags and banners being put up all over town in honor of Independence Day next Friday. Our little town is going to be packed with people. No one is allowed to sell alcohol on Independence Day so everyone stocks up the day before. Needless to say, everyone drinks more because of this cut-off. I am happy to have my to-do list done and can join in on the upcoming celebration. Independence Day is the 6th anniversary of my first arrival to Costa Rica and it's my birthday. I'll be celebrating with the whole Country. Pura Vida

CORRECTION: They do sell alcohol on Independence Day. I never know.

No comments: