Saturday, March 31

New Laws

I have to elaborate on this law in Costa Rica regarding items stolen valued under $484. are considered a misdemeanor. The law states "c250,000" colones which TODAY is $484.00. According to the article in the Tico Times, they tried to reform that law THIRTEEN years ago, when probably c250.000 was worth $2000.00. Just 7 years ago, c250,000 exchanged to about $800. Most Ticos know this law but few gringos do. My Tico-pedia, Marco, told me about this law. He thought it was $200. No damn wonder every one steals here! They just get a fine if caught and hardly anyone gets caught. You have to have proof (witness it and prove it) to have someone arrested. That article in the Tico Times shows just how inept the system is.

They've enlisted the help of the University of Costa Rica.
God have mercy and God Bless Costa Rica.

Postscript: I started blogging Aug. 2006. My first posts were about robberies, chasing down robbers "once upon a time" in my big ass SUV, putting up bars, fence and whatnot. I've got a plan for would-be robbers/attackers. If you check back under August 2006, you'll see that's about all I blogged about when I started writing. I was on a mission to get the word out. Mostly, REMEMBER WHERE YOU ARE.

I called my blog "Yo-Yo" for a good reason, I am reminded everyday that I am on my own here and the support, comfort, and safety I felt back "home" (good ole USA) is LONG GONE.
Welcome to the Wild West where you watch your back and use back-up.

Friday, March 30

Hoping and Praying

As disturbing as it is, I posted the photo of Robyn on my blog yesterday to let others know SOMETHING needs to be done to STOP this form of terrorism here. The officials pretty much shrug their shoulders as if there is nothing that can be done about it. We don't have a local newspaper, per se, so most break-ins aren't even publicized. It's all word of mouth. Also, Gringos are usually the target of these crimes. NO ONE does anything! It is as if we live in a law-less society here because NOTHING is enforced. Do you know that they don't even prosecute thieves for items they stole under $484? It is considered a misdemeanor. It has gotten way past ridiculous. The attitude is "each to their own", pretty much - protect yourself or accept the consequences. Problem is, you can have a fence and they cut through it, you can have bars on your windows and they pry them apart, you can have guard dogs but they poison them. You practically have to live in a fortress and even then, they grab you as you are entering or leaving!

Robyn and Henry are lovely people and I am hoping this turns into something positive that will heighten the awareness of crime in this area to the extent that REINFORCEMENT is sent! Do we have to form our own "police force"? Look here to see what was written in this week's Tico Times about Costa Rica's escalation of crime.

Semana Santa is coming and most Gringos know THAT is the time to lock everything down and guard your property. That is no way to live and if things don't turn around soon, Costa Rica will be robbed of their own biggest CASH COW, tourism.

Postcript: Most people are not aware that the Police (Fuerza Publica) have no authority to investigate a crime. They only report it to the OIJ (Organization of Judicial Investigation) for them to do the investigation. They are totally separate like the FBI and the CIA USE TO BE in the U.S. Get the picture?
And by the way, we have FOUR different law enforcements here. The Fuerza Publica, they are like police for the people. The Transito, they monitor and ticket the traffic/vehicles. OIJ, they do investigations for ALL crimes (totally undermanned and underfunded). AND NOW IN JACO, we have the Tourist Police.
Post postscript: I forgot one: MINAE - The Ministry of Environment and Energy enforce the laws to protect the animals and the environment (also undermanned and underfunded).
No further comments.

Thursday, March 29


Taken from A.M. Costa Rica on-line newspaper:
Jacó robbery/assault victim DOES want to go public

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A Jacó woman who survived a brutal robbery said Wednesday she wants her case to be public and is critical of how law enforcement handled the crime.

Spokespersons for both the Judicial Investigating Organization and the Fuerza Pública said Tuesday they could not provide much information to reporters because the woman did not want publicity of the crime. A.M. Costa Rica reported that in a news story.

The law enforcement officials made these comments at about the same time that the woman, Robyn Wright, was in a meeting with investigators and about 40 neighbors at a restaurant on her Calle Vieja a Punta Leona.

Ms. Wright, a pensionada, said that the Judicial Investigating Organization, known as the OIJ, concluded that she wanted to drop the case because she was unable to travel from her home to Puntarenas to meet with a forensic examiner.

Ms. Wright and her boyfriend, Henry Kantrowitz, have been the victims of three robberies at their home recently. The third, the most serious, took place early March 20 when Kantrowitz was out of the country and Ms Wright was home alone. Two men broke into the home, beat her, strangled her and sexually assaulted her when they thought she was near death.

She said the men checked her pulse and shined a light in her eyes in an attempt to verify she was dead. Then the men sacked the house and took electronic equipment and the third computer the couple has lost to criminals, said Ms. Wright.

"I went to the clinic in town who called OIJ," she said. "OIJ came to the clinic and talked with me. Which is more than the Tarcoles police did when they arrived at my home at 6 a.m. the same day of the assault. They only asked someone what my name was (and spelled that wrong) and the two of them left on their little moped. That was the extent of their investigation. They never spoke one word to me."

Ms. Wright, 57, is not fluent in Spanish, and investigators in Jacó had to enlist the aid of a bilingual real estate agent to translate, she said.

A neighbor says he has important evidence about Robyn Wright after the attack the crime, and this information has been relayed to investigators but they have not contacted the man, she said. Ms. Wright also may be able to identify one of the men whom she described as being short.

Ms Wright says the Jacó area is in the middle of a crime wave and has heard from investigators that the incidence of criminality there is the highest in the country. She now is on a campaign to make her crime well-known. She even has visited the local chamber of commerce to show workers there her bruised and battered face.

Law enforcement officers were embarrassed March 21 when four robbers broke into the Rohrmoser home of Ricardo Toledo, a former presidential candidate. They killed a maid and a neighbor and broke the arm of Toledo's wife in three places.

In the week that followed, there have been a number of proposals to counter the growing crime problem. Fernando Berrocal, the security minister, wants to eliminate the compartmentalizing of the various police forces. Fuerza Pública officers are barred from doing investigations, which probably is why the local police merely took down Ms. Wright's name. Berrocal also wants more men and more resources.

Others have called for toughening the laws, denying criminals lawyers duing the initial interview and expanded wiretapping.

The courts are overwhelmed by cases, and only the most visible receive professional treatment.

Note to Yo-Yo readers: I don't know Robyn or Henry well but I consider them to be my friends. Robyn is a beautiful person with a sincere, compassionate heart. I usually see the two of them at charity events. They are both "givers" and for something like this to happen to her... it is truly horrific.

The Challenge

See postscript on yesterday's post.

Apparently, I'm not the only one around here that saw Oprah feature the Complaint-Free World.Org. A few people yesterday "called" me on my complaints and I ended up switching my band a FEW times.
That's just day one.
Today I'm "taking stock" at my hermitage.

Add on: For those of you that have kept up with the doggy sibling rivalry I've had here lately (dog blood fights), I finally made the decision to neuter Max. He had his surgery yesterday and today he's my big baby boy, mostly laying in front of the fan and licking his scar. Pobrecito Maxito.

Wednesday, March 28

No Complaints

O.K., I'm taking the challenge I saw on Oprah yesterday. It all started with Pastor Will Bowen of Christ Church Unity in Kansas City, Missouri. He challenged his congregation to 21 complaint-free days. He has devised a method of heightening everyones awareness by designing these purple bands to be worn on their wrist. The band says "A Complaint Free World.Org" and that's his mission and gift to the world. Over 3 million bracelets have been sent out world-wide, by that church's volunteers at no charge (not even postage). Of course, they accept contributions. It cost Money! to create this awareness but to accept the challenge is absolutely free and the rewards are countless.

It was mandatory reading (by my mother) for me to read Norman Vincent Peale's book, The Power of Positive Thinking. I learned at an early age that the mind has power and the power of positive thinking can change the entire direction your life. This "movement" is along the same lines. By wearing the bracelet, it increases your awareness to remain positive and NOT COMPLAIN. If you do catch yourself complaining, you are suppose to put the bracelet on the other wrist and start your 21 days again.

Here is the link to his site and where you can order your own bracelet. I can't wait the 3 to 4 weeks so I've made my own purple bracelet as my reminder.
Go ahead, accept the challenge and stop whinning!

Postscript: Living in a foreign country (i.e. Costa Rica) has it's challenges. For one, the customs are very different and frustrating. I have fallen in the trap of complaining instead of concentrating on the "good". I have been here long enough to accept the way things are and deal with it but I have lost my wonder-lust romance with Costa Rica. I am hoping this positive effort will lead me back.

Monday, March 26

Playa Hermosa

This is at low tide. No surfers and no people.

Sunday, March 25

Church on Sunday

You may recognize this little Chapel, I've posted it before when all the lilies covered the pond. This trip to Villas Lapas (Pura Vida Gardens), the lilies were cleared out so I got another shot with the Chapel's reflection on the water. It is open air Chapel, very simple and very serene.
I had the occasion to go back out to visit it when I was showing two friends (Marvin and Karen) of my Ohio friends (Beth and Jack) around this area. After touring the peaceful setting of Pura Vida Gardens, we headed to Villas Calettas. It's a hotel that was built way, way up a mountain. People thought the guy that built it was crazy but who's crazy now? It is a really beautiful location but it is very pricey. We had appetizers and drinks and watched the sun set. They announced they wanted to have their last dinner there so I conceded. We sat in the grand dining room, looking over the menu and I had this overwhelming urge to leave. I explained to them that my dogs fight when I am not there at their "feeding time". I was also nervous about them buying my dinner. The cheapest thing on the menu started at $48. I've been living here awhile and for $48, I could buy groceries for a week. Not to mention, I can't eat knowing my dogs are hungry and fighting. I convinced them I could take them anywhere in Jaco or Herradura and guarantee them a fabulous dinner. They had only served water at the time they decided to leave so we asked for the check. It was $11. for a bottle of water. Yes, we took the bottle with us and laughed about it being "holy water" at those prices. Villas Calettas is truly beautiful but if you plan to eat there, bring lots of cash!
I was right about the dogs fighting. This is what my Macha's leg looked like when I got back home. It looked like she had been the appetizer! Mela's face didn't look any better.
What to do when you have dogs that fight??!!
I'm still trying to live in peace, love, and harmony.

Yep, I'm a Florida Gator and this was my license plate when I left Florida. No one understood what "Macha" meant. I did and that's all that mattered. I was "Costa Rica bound". I managed to keep my tag after a little battle with the DMV.

Wednesday, March 21

Blog Vacation

My sister, Leah, gave this plaque to me before I left to go live in Costa Rica. That was almost five years ago and I still just love it. I started this blog for both my sisters so they could keep up with me and it was my way of sharing my life with them. Also, I wanted a way to keep in contact with a few friends back home. All of them rarely read my blog but for me, it has turned into a vehicle for networking and connecting with the outside world. I thank my readers for their input and support.

Many things seem to be piling up and I plan to take a little break from blogging to play catch-up. My car goes in the shop tomorrow, then it's back to try and pass inspection again, income taxes need to be done and just a slew of endless details that need attention. When it rains, it pours or rather all my procrastination has caught up with me. So, I wanted to post and leave a nice thought with you. When I'm not busy crossing out things on my MUST-DO list, I have "gone coastal" and letting my dogs play at the beach. That's one more freedom I love here even though I do have to take them to a deserted beach or keep them on a leash (they fight other dogs). Pura Vida. See ya again "Sunset Sunday" or "Church on Sunday", here.

My little otters, they love the surf and never stand still for a second at the beach.

All four "kids" playing together near Bejuco Beach (our perfect, secret paradise).

Monday, March 19

Monday photos

Sun setting over Nicoya Peninsula

What's wrong in this photo?

I had stopped to take a photo of this tree at the local surf spot, "Alamandra Tree", when these kids pulled up on a motorcycle.

Sunday, March 18

Sunset Sunday

Road to Tulin. The only house out there, NOW.

Sunset today at Tulin Beach (South of Hermosa Beach) near the turtle farm.

They've torn down the old concrete houses out at Tulin. They've been abandoned for years.

Friday, March 16

Soda Hidalgo

This is Antonio Hidalgo minding his pot of beans being cooked over an open flame behind his restaurant. The Hidalgo family started coming to Jaco before there was the road was built. Mario Hidalgo (Antonio's brother) has told me stories of how he took the boat from Puntarenas to Jaco when he was young. Mario still has his house on the beach front and is probably a millionaire today (if he sold out completely).

A Soda is a typical Costa Rican restaurant and they always have rice and beans as a staple. For breakfast, it's gallo pinto (mixture of rice and beans). It's a traditional dish here.
It never fails when I go to Soda Hidalgo that Antonio asks about "Angela". She's a Canadian that lived here years ago. We think she may return one day. Will you Angela?

Thursday, March 15

Jacó River

This river is located in downtown Jacó. I took these photos from the bridge last week on a weekday. On weekends, it is full of children and adults enjoying the "fresh" cool water near the beach. You can click on photo to enlarge. Yes, we still have horses that roam free here.

Wednesday, March 14

Below 12,000 AGAIN

Yeppers, that's the Dow today, below 12,000 and probably still going lower at the end of this week when Quadruple Witching Friday occurs.
I had thought that these lows would trigger some buying around this level but
it appears, it's still a seller's market. If you are looking for some bargains,
you may need to wait a little longer and get out of the way of those sellers rushing for the exit doors.

When there's a sale at Macy's, everyone runs to buy a bargain.
When there's a sale on the Wall Street, everyone just runs (and sells).

Wait, be patient, those "market maker" guys have to make money too.
Eventually, the "buy" trigger will go off.
Be ready to "back up the truck" as Jim Cramer would say.
The Fed meets next week to "confer". Expect some action if they do cut rates in the following month.
They will. And don't forget to watch the .VIX (CBOE Volatility Index).
It peaked again today when the Dow slumped. Wooo! Scary...
The Dow closed above 12,100 so that counts for some support. Watch out though! It's a glass floor.

Tuesday, March 13

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign...

These signs are all over Jaco.

Visual Trick

Here's the link for the scoop on a new spinning disk "toy".
The trick of it is "visual fatigue", it causes illusions.
I can surely relate this to living in Costa Rica. Things are not as they appear. You can concentrate so hard on solving a problem that you no longer see "the real" problem. Costa Rica has a way of wearing you down if you try and make things work here like they work back home.
It just isn't going to happen as you expected or when you expect it, period.

My motto: REMEMBER WHERE YOU ARE. And don't waste too much effort trying to figure out "why",
there are no pat answers and most of what you see is just an illusion.
I trust nature and the constant beauty of all around me, even in the dry season.
By the way, parts of Costa Rica got rain yesterday (remember, I was begging for rain)
but not a drop in Jaco or Hermosa. Pura Vida.

Monday, March 12

Argument for bringing back the draft

If you missed 60 Minutes Sunday evening, as I did, here is what Andy Rooney had to say about who is fighting the "War on Jihad".
Click here for video: Andy Rooney's argument for drafting U.S. citizens.
The Army is lowering it's standards, huh? NO ONE wants to fight this war, lowered standards or not.

60 Minutes on Sunday appears to be about and should it be tolerated.

I know what Andy is talking about when he says that our Army represents how others see the United States.
I see it everyday here in Jaco, Costa Rica with the tourist. The impression the vacationers leave with the Ticos is NOT a very good one. The Costa Ricans (Ticos) do not realize that these same people on vacation do not act like that at home where people "know" them.


It hasn't really rained here in months.
I never thought I'd be begging for rain again but I am.
Jaco is just one big dust bowl and the local people still get
around here on bikes and by walking.
Our little town is loaded with Gringos in big SUV's
driving at full speed with their a/c on and windows up.
They have little regard for those that are also on these
roads, choking on their dust.
Please, HAVE RESPECT and slow the hell DOWN.
This is their country and blazing down dirt roads IS DISRESPECTFUL.

FYI - Pres. Bush is in Guatamala today and the locals chant "Gringo Go Home".
They will also be cleansing their sacred sites after Bush leaves.
Gringos are not really "welcomed" here in CR either.
Only their money as tourist passing through.
The "foreigners" have totally changed Jaco in a mere few years. It's sad for those of us that liked it small and quaint. The prejudices against us Gringos is very evident these days. Bigger/Better is the U.S.A. way. Costa Ricans are content with how things are and would like for us all to just go home.

Sunday, March 11

Sunset Sunday

Taken at Herradura Beach in March 2003. Now, we have the Marina at Los Sueños but
the smaller "local" charter boats and taxis still anchor in Herradura Bay (for free).
In Spanish, herradura means "horseshoe". The shape of Herradura Bay with mountains on both sides.
Los Sueños Marina is now located on the upper right of photo.
Los sueños means "the dreams".
It's a different world out there.
This photo was taken on the same day right after the sunset.
The sky glowing was a total surprise.

Saturday, March 10

Daylight Savings

The time to set your clock forward by one hour is coming two weeks earlier this year and it's tonight. For me, on Monday, that means the stock market opens TWO hours earlier. (I think thats right, it's confusing)

Just perfect.

I love the time change although OUR TIME (Costa Rican time) ALWAYS stays the same. We're on PURA VIDA time.

Postscript 03.11.07: I didn't adjust for the time change and missed my favorite t.v. show, 60 Minutes! It's on at 4 o'clock in the afternoon now. Bummers.

Thursday, March 8

Mí Blogíto

That is how a Costa Rican would refer to their blog.
"Blog-eeto", "i" is pronounced like "e" in Spanish.
ICE is "ee-say". ICE is our supplier for the good stuff (electric, phone, etc.)
Not the ice company as I thought when I first arrived here.

Back to "íto" (masculine) and "íta" (feminine)-
Ticos (Costa Ricans) are very calm, happy, gentle people. They don't have an army. They use their manners to an extreme. Especially with greetings. Typically, they don't yell at their kids and rarely will you see them hit their kids either. They correct with love. They are non-confrontational and will fib about something as not to hurt your feelings. In the restaurants, Tico restaurants, you have to "ask" for the check. They think it's rude and rushing you to bring the check without you asking for it. Little things like that. By adding "ito" or "ita" to a word is their way of softening it and making it gentle. "Darme un besíta." Give me a little kiss. It just sounds cute and sweet.
Por favor, regalarme un sand-wi-chí-to. Present me/gift me with a sandwich.
You always preface favors or requests with "por favor". It's rude not to.
Adiós is really "A Díos" (Ah Díos). As in "Vaya con Díos". Go with God.
...................Gracías a Díos...................

Tuesday, March 6


It's hard to imagine but I was at a place today that makes Jaco Hell seem like an oasis. That would be Parrita, a little south of Jaco and inland. I had to go get my car inspected (it's required here). The trailer there is where they check your papers (passport, receipt for car taxes paid and proof of ownership) and where you pay for the inspection (about $20). The trailer is air-conditioned but you cannot go inside. You must pay from the outside in the full-on blazing sun. It's not a fast process either. They do have refreshments, water and coffee. Surprisingly, people drink coffee when it's hot. I had just drank one of those classic tiny bottled Coca Colas in town so I passed on the drinks and focused on tanning in line. Don't go right after lunch (they break from 12 - 1pm). There is a rush right after they open and then a lull. Parrita practically closes down for lunch.

The inspection of the car is something else to experience. You can pay someone $20 to do it for you but I chose to do it myself. If it weren't for trained handsignals of the Riteve "guapo" guys, I doubt I'd known what to do but they have it down pat for us Gringos. It's no lightweight inspection either. It's very thorough. In fact, I failed, like last year. Last year I failed because the license plate light didn't work. I went to Parrita town, got a new one and returned to pass the same day. If you fail, you have 30 days to get "whatever" fixed. That's great because you can wait until the last day of the month it's due and get a 30 day extension! Expect to really have to wait though. It's a well known trick to those who KNOW they are going to fail and need those extra 30 days to get "whatever" fixed.

The year before that, I failed because one tire didn't pass. I went to the gas station, put on the smaller spare tire, returned, passed inspection and then put the "bad" tire back on at the gas station. The truck in front of me that DID PASS was riding on all fours bald. Another trick is to drive a truck. They're not as stringent on trucks since it's a "work vehicle". Trucos.
So, I failed again today. This time it was the alignment. My next car will be a truck.

Monday, March 5

Works/Doesn't Work

That's Costa Rica and today, I'm not sure if it's Blogger, Racsa, or Cable Tica BUT IT'S NOT WORKING!! I did manage to post photos from the farmer's market under Saturday's post. Pura Vida. It's March now and way too hot to be outside. The dogs won't even bark it's soo hot.

Sunday, March 4

Church on Sunday

All the churches on my blog are Catholic churches and the photos were taken in Costa Rica.
Sometimes, I can't remember where the church is located (like this photo).
If you recognize it, please let me know where it is.

Saturday, March 3


I found the farmer's market. Photos of market, click HERE. All the same vendors are still there but now the market is located near the soccer field, out of the way, where there is some shade. It should have been there in the beginning before it had to be moved two times.

I have a phone now. The sub-contractor for ICE showed up real late Friday and had to change out my inside to outside wiring. He got so frazzled when I tipped him, he left his phone checker so he had to return on Saturday to pick it up. They must not get $20 tips often but I SO MUCH appreciated him getting my phone to work for the weekend. We have robbers on the weekend and I need to be able to call 911! By the way, I'm not a real big tipper, it's just he worked so hard to get my service back, he had to use a 24' ladder, climbing it in the dark, HOT as rip, probably tired and hungry, etc.

I never made it to the beach on Friday. I ended up taking my girlfriend around town to find Brett so I could make an introduction. I think they may make a good match.
I went to visit my friends, Sue and Brigette from Canada, staying at a house I use to manage. I ended up getting fried on my raft while hanging out in their pool. They leave on Monday, I'll miss them being here. They're going home TANNED after having been here for a month!!

I didn't see much of the lunar eclipse on Saturday due to cloud coverage but the last couple of hours it was visible and so cool. Pura Vida.

Friday, March 2


I may have mention, when things aren't going good, we get going to the beach.
First, I need to go to ICE office and see why I don't have a phone again.
Then, I need to find where they have moved the Friday's open market (fruit/veggies) and THEN, it's hit the beach before all the buses arrive from San Jose area and the beach gets packed with Ticos.
The fair market value for the Dow was 6.66 this morning. Not worth watching but I do love it having some action lately. I'm waiting for this see-saw movement to subside and next week I may have some good buying opportunities. Chances are, the rise will not come till mid-March and then a sell-off again in May.
Hey, I've learned to wait for the right moment.