This news sent to me by the Marc, the fireman in N.J. The news of this was a surprise....
Check it out http://abcnews.go.com/US/Story?id=4978568&page=1 I wonder if it ever flew? I'm sure there was some controversy but being a southerner, I am happy to see it. If you read some of the comments after the article at that link, you will see how most Southerners really feel. The flag has nothing to do with slavery for most people in the south. It's a southern pride thing. Life was way different in the south than the north way back when. Contrary to popular belief, the Civil War was not fought over slavery. You wouldn't know the real meaning of the Rebel flag unless you lived your life in the south. People born and raised in the north just don't have any idea what the flag means to those people born and raised in the south and they never will.
Ask Bocephus, he knows. (prompt for music again on Yo-Yo, "turn it up!")
This is a prelude to the next post on shoe shopping in Jaco.
Prostitution is part of the culture and accepted here,,, for now.
The Confederate States flag is about heritage and culture and it changed it's look many times. "The Rebel Flag" most southerners identify with is the one from the battle. It is "The Battle Flag of the Confederacy".
Thursday, July 31
This news sent to me by the Marc, the fireman in N.J. The news of this was a surprise....
Tuesday, July 29
Fire station in Parrita just south of Jaco.
Fire station at the international airport in San Jose.
Recently, I received a very nice letter from Marc in New Jersey. He is a professional firefighter there. I thought I would post a couple of the photos I have of fire stations here in Costa Rica as my thanks to him for writing.
Fire stations are few and far between here in Costa Rica. In fact, we don't have one in Jaco. I have a photo of firemen standing around a burnt-to-the-ground old part-wooden house, smoking cigarettes and stomping out embers. Yes, Parrita is about a 20 minute drive to Jaco. Who knows, maybe they burnt it on purpose. It was on beachfront property and the house was old. No one was living there. I know no one was living there because no one was at the fire. When it's someone's home, everybody shows up to watch. I later got a photo of the big fire truck at a local watering hole (Mexican bar now, Tico bar then). I would have to really search to find these photos. I think Hermosa now has a volunteer fire department. I've seen the little truck, but it's not a fire truck (?). I'll work on this one and see what I find out....
Found them.....circa year 2003.
Monday, July 28
This is a crummy photo taken through my windshield as I was driving. I wanted to get a shot of a tag that was issued YEARS ago (but probably not that long ago in North American comparison). Tags here are issued to the car, not the driver. Meaning, when you buy another car, you don't change the plates from the old car to the new car. The license plate stays with the car and that VIN number in Costa Rica. When you buy a used car, you can do a search on the tag number and find out if it was ever in an accident or has any liens. Since car insurance isn't mandatory here, an accident may or may not be on the record since it may have not been reported. I've seen some really low tag numbers but didn't have my camera at the time. We are currently in the upper six digit numbers and I am wondering will they go to seven digits are just start over with the numbering system since most of the low numbers are off the road.
Recently, San Jose adapted a system to cut down on the inner city traffic.
They go by the first number on your tag. Let's say if it's a "3", then you can't travel in the city on TUUUUesday. Different numbers for different days. It has cut way back on the traffic around the city. There's a $20 fine for violating this restriction. You can Google this to find out specifics. There was a write up in the Tico Times not too long ago, among many other notices. This restriction is fairly new.
The last number on your tag is when it's due for a car inspection. If it's a "4", then April is your inspection month. That's how Transito (traffic police) can tell if you've had your car inspected in the correct month from far away. The colored sticker is on the front windshield and the color plus the number tells them all they need to know.
Taxes are paid in December (Marchamo) for your vehicle. That's another sticker and one you don't want to neglect. They can tow your car away for violation.
With credit on a rampage here in Costa Rica, lots of people buy new cars and hold them until it's time to pay for the taxes. My tax on my car is more than the tax for my property. Typically, they can't really afford the car on their income and the Marchamo tax payment forces them to sell. Buy a car in December if you're looking for a deal.
Well, that's about all I know about license plates. I had a "MACHA" U of F Gator tag in Florida and everyone thought it meant I was a 'Macho girl'. Not at all, Macha is a blond here. I had a lot of fun with that tag for two years and after much convincing the FL DMV, they let me take my tag to CR with me when I sold my car. Usually, in Florida, you have to turn the tag in if you don't have a car to transfer it to. I have many tags from previous cars but now, they want their tag back. I put up a big fight and got my MACHA tag. After all, I did pay for the special tag -twice!! When I first moved here in 2002, my car was garaged so I let the insurance lapse. Well, in Florida, they suspend your driver's license and force you to return the tag if you don't have insurance. I didn't know this and had to pay for the tag again when I was getting it all straightened out.
So, now you may understand why Costa Rica does not have personalize plates. It just wouldn't work unless they change the whole system. Personalized plates would generate a lot of revenue for improving the roads but chances are, it wouldn't go to the roads.
Next time you're on the road here, check out the tags. SJB is a designation for a licensed tour bus. They have all sorts of codes that denote the class of the vehicle. Just so you know, trucks pass inspection much easier than cars because they are considered a work vehicle. Trucks have a special tag (CL). I've failed inspection over my tag light not working when the truck with bald tires in front of me passed with flying colors. Go figure.
Did you notice the sign to the right of the vehicle in the photo? That's a reminder to buckle your seatbeat. They also paint a yellow heart with a halo on the road where someone was killed in an traffic accident.
Around here, you practice defensive driving. That's a whole other post on how the locals drive. Although this is a boring post, I hope it was helpful. It's very different here and it pays to know the rules (and law).
Sunday, July 27
If you live around here, you may recognize this location from the crook in the alamandra tree, a favorite surf spot in Hermosa.
I guess you have been wondering where I've been.... I'm here, I just haven't been posting because my camera is on the blink and I'm catching up on other stuff, like yardwork. The rain is light now but it's a prelude for what is to come in September. I'm cutting back my yard before the BIG RAINS come and it's impossible to work in the yard. I still haven't found another Jose, I miss him terribly. For now, I serve in his place, doing it myself except I had help with the knee-high grass the other day. Two guys, one lawn mower and one weed-eater - Wonderful!!
"Never pull weeds on Sunday", my granny always said. "They will come back double."
Posted by la Macha on Sunday, July 27, 2008
Monday, July 21
Maybe you've seen this video of Christian, the lion, that was seen at Harrod's, alone and in a cramped cage. These two men bought him and raised him in their home. When he became too big and they were no longer allowed to keep him, they took him to Africa.
This video is their reunion after one year. It is absolutely amazing. Christian, the grown lion, even brought his "wife" to meet his former parents. I could watch this all day!
Posted by la Macha on Monday, July 21, 2008
Thursday, July 17
I saw this on Fox news and wrote to Kem McNair to ask him if I could post his EXTREME photo of a Spinner shark jumping up near two surfers at New Smyrna Beach in Florida. He said sure, so here it is. You can see the whole thing at http://www.kemmcnair.com/press.html
ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!! While you are at his site, check out his incredible artwork.
Click here for direct link (http://www.kemmcnair.com/surf-art.html).
Kem McNair at www.kemmcnair.com
Thanks again Kem and do come to Playa Hermosa and check out our surf.
Posted by la Macha on Thursday, July 17, 2008
Wednesday, July 16
It was sometime ago, back in September 2007, I got paranoid and hid my passport upstairs in my house. I hid it so well, when I went to find it, I couldn't remember which hiding spot I put it in. I've been on a search since last year and finally gave it up and went to the Embassy in San Jose (Pavas) to get a new one.
My first trip last week, I got to the front gate at the Embassy at 11:45 and was turned away because they closed the passport office at 11:30. This week, I returned and to my surprise, everything has changed at the passport office. You take a number now and are expedited through the entire process. So efficient, I was shocked to have such a pleasant experience. They did question how I lost my passport when they read that on my application I have "looked till I'm crazy". You can have your pp photo taken outside the office and also, you can arrange with DHL Carrier to deliver your passport to you when it is ready in 10 working days (fee $2.50). NOW, THAT'S SERVICE. I was already dreading returning AGAIN to pick-up my passport but no need now. With super gas over $5. a gallon, that's about a $40 round trip plus the dangers of traveling the mountain when it rains every afternoon and you travel through the clouds (fog) and can't see two inches in front of you.
This is posted as a public service to let all those here in Costa Rica know that if you have to go to the Embassy, it's much better now and almost a pleasure!!
I would have posted photos but my camera has crapped out and keeps giving me ERR99 message. It's in the shop now in San Jose.
When I do get my new passport, you can believe I will not be losing it again. Since I have my residency card, I haven't need to show my passport. That's how I've gotten by without having it for all this time.
Pura Macha Loca Trucos! (Pure Crazy Blond tricks)
Tuesday, July 15
I saw this story on Yahoo and it is so heartwarming, I had to post it. I lost my African Grey Parrot, Hootie, in January of 2006 and I still look up to see if he may have joined the macaws. Maybe someone has him in captivity. Hootie has a chip for i.d. and I haven't given up that I may get him back one day. I should have taught him his phone number. He DOES say his name.
Posted by la Macha on Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Sunday, July 13
The dogs alerted me that there was an iguana around so I grabbed my telephoto to go check it out. He was high up in the hibiscus (amapola) bush just waiting for his photo debut. Judging by the scar on his neck, he probably squeezed out of the link fence trying to escape the mighty 'four force' in his younger day (or a noose). Some people still eat these.
Different sunsets, different days in April of 2004, the month my computer was stolen from my home (that was BEFORE the fence, bars and mad dogs). I can't find the originals now on cd's and for the life of me, I can't figure out why I still have the downsized photos? Oh well, here they are.
Saturday, July 12
About a year ago, I posted "Where the Hell is Matt", and told my readers to check out his planned dancing tour around the world. There's a search on my blog (top left corner) and when I typed in "Matt", these past posts came up. Well, my friend in Naples, Peggy, read it (a year ago) and went to Miami beach to dance with Matt and be a part of this exciting event. The video is now released on YouTube.
She posted this photo on her newsletter:
You can see his tour (including Miami) here:
OH, WHAT FUN!!! I've written to Matt to come to Costa Rica. Hope he does!!
Posted by la Macha on Saturday, July 12, 2008
Friday, July 11
Here, it's called "Mani". It's the perfect ground cover, never needs trimming. It has a happy looking yellow bloom as well. The iguanas love to eat the flowers produced from this plant.
My lawnmower is in the shop right now and I am wishing I had this for grass! But then, how would I ever keep up with the iguana rescuing if I lured them onto my property with these tasty yellow blooms??
Click onto to photo to enlarge to see the little iguana in a feasting field.
Posted by la Macha on Friday, July 11, 2008
Wednesday, July 9
This highrise appears to be leaning. The upper balconies are larger than the lower ones and that creates this illusion. If you haven't been to Jaco beach in awhile, you are in for a real shocker. The old Central Disco is going, going, gone! That is a BIG property (to the left in photo) that will be developed.
Who would have thought they would not have enforced the building height restrictions.
OH, was that a little earthquake tremor I felt?? Just fooling.
Just while I've been doing this post I have heard toucans crying out to each other. It's a weary call but beautiful. I went out to see and counted three of them moving from the tops of one tree to another. Toucans look like they fly with so much effort. It must be that big beak and their short wings! The red scarlet macaws just flew pass squawking like all get outs (sorry about southern expression). I listen to the birds "talking". It can be a warning for some bad weather coming...
Posted by la Macha on Wednesday, July 09, 2008
Tuesday, July 8
Do you like this one....
or this one better?
It's all about angle and lighting. I went out with my camera today, trying to find the old Jaco. Instead, I ended up with a ton of photos of all the new high rise buildings popping up, or will pop. I've been avoiding doing that. It will blow you away if you know the old Jaco (I'm talking 8 years ago) to see the beachfront today. I'm still in a little culture shock viewing the photos so when that wears off, I'll show you.
Forget that sad photo above of all the palm trees chopped up and for now...
Let's just imagine Playa Jaco 20 years ago, lined with palm trees and foliage so dense you couldn't see pass them.
I'm sure this turtle is wondering how he ever got on the wrong side of the fence with four big noses barreling down on him. I heard a ruckus and went to investigate what the dogs had now. It was a little box turtle and the first I've seen around here. I snagged the little critter and brought him inside to investigate. In my past, I have had a pet box turtle that wandered onto my fenced property in Naples. I kept him for awhile until she took off with another Romeo turtle. See this past post written one year ago, "Wild Sex in the City". It wasn't a happy ending as most stories go with captured animals.
I leashed up Max and we headed down to the river to release the little one back into his natural environment. It never ceases to amaze me what wanders past my fence. The dogs always let me know.
Here's Max waiting patiently for me to get my photos and finally release the turtle in a good secluded spot in the bushes.
Back to the subject of development in Jaco, does anyone care about the environmental dangers? Where will the leatherback turtles go if a boardwalk is built? Or a marina? What will happen to the surf? You know, the turtles return every year to lay their eggs in the same spot AND so do their offspring.
I am all for preserving Costa Rica as the 'Rich Coast'. Rich in nature and beauty.
Jaco has five entrances off of the main Costanera highway. The photo here is of the first entrance from Herradura. Don't let the Pinga Grande scare you. I've studied Pre-Columbian art, Aztec and Mayan and I don't remember ever seeing that! I'm sure they are suppose to relate back to the Mayans or whatever...
Just where did these statues originate? I loved to know. Please Educate me.
The statues are not as vulgar as the monstrous condos popping up everywhere. Built mostly by Nicaraguans and Guatemalans. Don't get me wrong, these people are fabulous workers and most are honest, just looking to make some money to send home. I just wonder what will happen to all this new construction when the "big one" hits. You know, Continental Shelf/Slope and all...
Check out this site: http://home.iitk.ac.in/~vinaykg/Iset466.pdf
The Guanacaste area hasn't moved in about 120 years. Limon area was not so lucky back in 1991.
You don't hear hear much about this from developers and the like.
This is the front side of the project on the highway. This particular projects boasts of having hot tubs on all the balconies!
Just one more reason to live the life of Pura Vida! All Costarricans already know this. After all, it is their country. AND, for those of you that think I am being negative, I prefer to consider myself an artistic realist.
Just stating the facts, ma'am.
Postsript: Someone made a comment that called me on the "vulgar" connection with the statues and the huge construction project going up. Read comments if your interested. For the record, art is art. Hot tubs on balconies,,, is vulgar in a struggling country.
Monday, July 7
If you've been around my blog awhile, you've probably seen this photo. It's one of my favorites because it depicts a lifestyle in Costa Rica that is fading fast. I get excited when I see a photo op like this. Time stands still. I don't breathe when I release the shutter. I can read way more into the photo than what is actually there because I see through it to the time it represents.
This particular property in Hermosa, I am told, has been sold. No doubt to developers. All of you know who read my blog, I am all for progress but do we really want our beautiful beaches to become another Cancun or as some say, "Jacopulco"? I think not. A boardwalk in Jaco? C'mon!
I spend my time taking photos of things that are disappearing. Buildings vanishing into thin air with the help of bulldozers. Just today, I walked by the old Villas Hermosa, GONE. Nothing but a vacant beachfront lot now. They had a pool in the shape of a whale. It was a cool place in it's day and soon, I'm sure, there will be a major building in it's place. Luckily, we have strict building codes in Hermosa. Nothing can be built over three stories but by the time they put a floors worth of fill dirt, it might as well be four stories or even five with the roof deck.
It's my personal mission to preserve the old Jaco/Hermosa in photos. Lately, the change has been so rapid, I can barely keep up with it. Most of the photos would be of no interest to my readers. Just old buildings and such but to me, they represent that part of me who clicks.
Thank you to my loyal readers who keep checking back, even when I take a break.
I wouldn't blog without you.
Posted by la Macha on Monday, July 07, 2008
I made up a little song to remind me how to say Gua-na-ba-na. I had never seen a fruit like this until I moved to Costa Rica. Some folks here consider it nature's ice cream. Guanabana resembles a watermelon in size but the taste is totally different than any you have experienced. The inside is creamy white in color with huge dark seeds. The taste is sweet if the fruit is ripe. Lots of pulp. I didn't realize there is a guanabana tree right outside my fence. The fruit on this tree is disguised very well to be so large. I hope you can give this amazing fruit a try. Tropicana sells a bottled guanabana drink. Delicious and refreshing on a hot day!
For more info, go here.
Studies show it may cure cancer, downside - it could cause Parkinson's disease.
Read about it in the link provided.
Thursday, July 3
It's that time again, time for all Americans to celebrate their independence. In Costa Rica, we celebrate Independence Day on September the 15th. Used to, they would have a celebration at the U.S. Embassy here in San Jose for the Fourth of July and there was free beer for all... so I've heard. I think they don't do that anymore, or do they?
Happy Fourth of July everyone!!
Posted by la Macha on Thursday, July 03, 2008