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In This Issue:

1. Broken News (All the News that's Fit to Reprint): 1. Guanacaste Day; 2. Costa Rican Students Compete in FIRST Science Meet; 3. Technical Renaissance in Costa Rica.

2. Latin America Updates (New Section): Things happening in 1) Argentina, 2) El Salvador and 3) Nicaragua.

3. Rumble and Weather Talk: 1) Poas Stays Active; 2) Seasons Have Definitely Changed.

4. Feature Article The Greening of Costa Rica (We're Doing Our Part)

5. ¿Que Es Eso? Department: How to Grow Goats?

6. Feature Article 2: Golden Gringo University-Getting Citizenship in Costa Rica (The Application Process)

7. Health Stuff: Inquiring Minds Want to Know (Grain Brain)

8. GGC Bookshelf and More: Books from GGC Publications and Suggested Books from the Quepos-Manuel Antonio Writers Group, as Well as Golden Gringo T-Shirts and Coffee Mugs .

9. What's-in-a-Word: Answer to Que Es Eso?

10. ROMEO Corner: Sabromar, Quepos

 

Wisdom of the Ages

 

 

 

 


 

 

July 25 is a national holiday in Costa Rica know as Guanacaste Day. Article on this holiday is below.

 

Typical Guanacaste Farmland (top), Happy Guanacaste Day - Let the Parades Begin!

 

¡Felicidades Amigos!


Broken News
(All the News That's Fit to Reprint)

Guanacaste Day

 

Guanacaste Tree - National Symbol

As mentioned above, July 25th is a national holiday in Costa Rica called Guanacaste Day. It celebrates the joining, some say annexation, of that province into Costa Rica which occurred in 1824. Before that date the province was autonomous from both Nicaragua which it borders to the north, and Costa Rica which borders it to the east and south. The people of that area eventually confirmed by ballot their intention of becoming a part of Costa Rica.

 

The province was also the site of the famous battle of Santa Rosa where Costa Rican forces stopped the invasion of the American adventurer and Philadelphia lawyer William Walker (this type of unauthorized renegade was called a "filibuster" in those days). The Costa Rican forces sent him scurrying north to eventually be hung by the British in Honduras. Walker and his private army were intent on conquering all of Central America and he expected to make himself king of all he conquered.

 

Guanacaste, the province, has been a magnet for tourists and ex-pats for a long time as it can offer excellent beaches as well as mountains including some of our more active volcanoes (e.g., Rincon de la Vieja). There also are many large and flat plains very suitable for crop farming and cattle raising. The topography presents one of the hottest and driest climates in the country. The Guanacaste Tree (left) is predominant throughout the province. It became the Costa Rican national tree and symbol some 60 years ago.

 

The Guanacaste Tree (enterolobium cyclocarpum) is quite regal in the full and lush covering it offers (see photo left center). It has one peculiarity; the name of the tree in the local native American language is "the ear tree". That's because it produces a large seed pod that looks a lot like an ear (photo left bottom).

 

Now that's an earful.

 

Students Compete In FIRST Science Meet

The Science Kids:
Luis Sánchez, Helena Murillo, Ián Avilés, Mauricio Rodríguez, Deidelyn Navarro and Paulo Centeno

A group of six 10-12 year old students from Jesús Jiménez School in Cartago province were invited to participate in this year's FIRST Lego League competition (the acronym means For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology). The competition takes place this year in Houston, Texas and Detroit, Michigan and involves thousands of students from all over the world including Europe and Asia. In addition to creating and working their project, these students also had to raise funds for the trip and knocked on many a door to do so.

 

First Lego League is an international competition of ideas designed to improve the quality of life or standard of living through the creative use of robotics. This year's theme was Space and our budding scientists and engineers were eager to show off their particular invention, a space shower design that allows astronauts to bathe as if they were on earth but in zero gravity. The system uses the residue of hydrogen produced by the space capsule.

 

The team was coached by former Latin-American astronaut Franklin Chang (née Franklin Chang Diaz) who grew up in Costa Rica and became the first Latin American astronaut. The team of six students (above photo), their tutors and the principal of the school all traveled together to the motor city for the event.

 

What a great experience for the kids!

 

The Technical Renaissance in Costa Rica

 

Even in the face of a worldwide economic slowdown Costa Rica continues to be an expanding center for international business and customer services, especially for technical companies.

 

The latest company to announce expansion was Concentrix, a worldwide outsourcing company that specializes in technical service. The company has 225,000 employees worldwide and began Costa Rican operations in 2015 with 20 employees. It now has 4,000 employees in five offices about the central valley. In June they began soliciting for six hundred additional employees to expand their service operations here. Applicants must speak English because much of their systems training and use is in English. Other than that, they are looking for people who speak, of course, Spanish but also those with Portuguese and even Mandarin faculties.

 

Other recent expansions here include:

 

Beginning with 30 employees in 2009, it now has an employee list of 6,500 and recently announced an open listing for 2,000 more to service global customers in America, Europe and Asia. The, new jobs will be in customer service, technology, services in the cloud, analysts, finance, accounting and administration. The company seeks Spanish and English speakers as well as faculties in Portuguese, Italian, French, and Mandarin.

 

IBM has had its ups and downs as a corporation recently but "Old Blue" just announced it would make a $21 million additional investment to boost their Global Services Security Center in Heredia. Go Blue!

 

GSK (GlaxoSmithKline). Reportedly the sixth largest pharmaceutical company in the world, GSK opened a Business Service Center in the Tres Rios suburb of San José in 2013 with 80 employees, expanding it since to 600+. They are now seeking an additional 700 employees by the end of this year.

 

Equifax. The day before I wrote this report, Equifax, who started operations in Costa Rica in 1995 and recently achieved over 1,000 employees, will be looking to add another 215 over that figure by the end of the year.

 

Boston Scientific. Late in June Boston Scientific announced they will add 600

new positions to their 4,200 current employees here. They seek both high school and college graduates, the latter in at least eight engineering disciplines: mechanical, electromechanical, electronics, materials, electrical, industrial, chemical and mechatronics. This will make them the largest employer in Costa Rica's medical device sector.

 

Others. Other big names that have established office, technical or production facilities here include Microsoft, GE, Abbot Laboratories, Continental Airways and Intel Corporation.

 

It truly is a renaissance. The country and its Central Valley are becoming known as the "Silicon Valley of Latin America". Indeed it is.

 

¡Pura Vida!


Latin America Update
(All the News That's Fit to Reprint)

Latin America Updates is a new department for the Golden Gringo Chronicles.

 

GG found himself including several reports on various Latin American countries in the Broken News section each month so we (I use the royal "We" here indiscriminatingly) have decided to break them out into a separate department, leaving the Broken News section above for items about Costa Rican exclusively.

 

Argentina

 

A press report this month was not flattering when it came to Argentina's President Mauricio Macri. Macri, who will be up for re-election to another four-year term in December, is in the midst of dealing with the sixth national trade union strike during his presidency, a stoppage which is paralyzing the nation. It's reported that the things the unions are demanding would be taxing or even damaging to the financial health of the country and, as we shall point out below, now is a particularly bad time to add costs to the government.

 

President Macri

The problems with the Argentine economy have not been lost on the rest of the world. Difficulty with Argentina as debtors has made much of the trading world cautious about doing business there. And this is in the middle of a period of heavy deficits, significant unemployment and a long history of defaulting on sovereign debt, like eight times in the last 100 years including one that is considered to be the largest sovereign debt default in history, $100 Billion in 2001. The loans were later restructured in 2005.

 

Protesters: "Enough of Macri"

So it was no great surprise that the IMD Competitiveness Rankings, an annual gauge of countries financial performance put out by the Swiss School of Business recently ranked Argentina as the third lowest country for competitiveness. Only Venezuela and Mongolia ranked lower. (Singapore took the top position this year, knocking off the U.S.A. which was #1 last year).

 

Seems we have another Latin American country once again in serious financial trouble.

 

El Salvador

 

Nayib Bukele

Meanwhile in El Salvador, a young man (37) won the presidency as a candidate for his Nuevas Ideas ("New Ideas") movement he turned into a political party. The former mayor of the capital city of San Salvador, Nayib Armando Bukele Ortez. Bukele is a populist and social media star; in a country with less than six and one half million people, Bukele has just under two million followers on Facebook and Twitter. The new President effectively broke the dominant coalition of the two ruling parties, the Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA) and the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN), a coalition that had controlled the country for over 30 years.

 

One of the key messages the new president offered during his campaign was: “This fight is for every Salvadoran that has been abandoned by the previous governments. For every Salvadoran that had to emigrate and leave everything behind.” And, in a country perennially subject to blatant corruption, his other important message was even more basic: "He won't steal".

 

Let's hope that a new day of progress and economic development has started in El Salvador.

 

Nicaragua

 

Nicaraguans Celebrating Release
of Their Family Members

Political Prisoners Released. Beginning on June 10, the Ortega regime began releasing the hundreds of political prisoners incarcerated over the last year. Many of these were to stem protests that erupted after the government attempted in April of 2018 to increase individual contributions to the welfare system while reducing benefits. Over 300 people were reportedly killed by Ortega's army and government-sponsored paramilitary groups in April through June of last year in the rioting that ensued.

 

After considerable pressure from Latin American countries and international groups, including virtually total condemnation by all countries except Russia, Cuba and Venezuela, the regime agreed to release all political prisoners by mid-June of this year, something which seems to have occurred. The deadline for releasing all the prisoners was June 18 with certification by prisoner name required to be done within 90 days thereafter.

 

Among those released in the first days were a well-known and respected journalist and the owner of the cable television station named 100% Noticias. Both had been arrested last December for covering and reporting on the protests.

 

Route for Danny's Ditch

No Canal After All. Back in 2012 the president of Nicaragua, then and now, Sr. Daniel Ortega, President of Nicaragua (for life) announced the formation of a company to build a Gran Canal from Nicaragua's Caribbean coast to its Pacific side. This of course was one of the original routes considered, and rejected for cost reasons, when the site for the current Panama Canal was chosen in the last century. Nevertheless, the Nicaraguan legislature, controlled by Ortega, rubber-stamped a law to create the Gran Canal Commission to oversee it's construction.

 

The design would require a canal 278 km/174 mi long, 520 meters/1700 feet wide and as much as 30 meters/98 feet deep. It would also dissect Lake Nicaragua where the route (105 km/66mi) would have to be dredged. In addition it would pass through several native American tribal areas. It was after those facts were disclosed that both national and international environmental groups got involved to denounce the plan.

 

The original cost estimate for Danny's Ditch was $30 billion but quickly rose to $50 billion with rumors that $70 billion might be a more reliable number (can I hear $100 billion?). In a country which, at that time, had a national budget of less than $2 billion and a total GDP of about $13 billion. The most casual observer would come to the conclusion that a project of that size would overwhelm the country's financial system and cause great distortions in the economy including inflation. But Ortega had something up his sleeve.

 

Some months after the plan was passed by the legislature, the president's son returned from China claiming they had found investors for the canal. The financing would come from the Chinese, not the government but from one Hong Kong billionaire named Wang Jing who had amassed a fortune in equities which he would need to pledge to get such a massive loan. Unfortunately for Jing, the equities market in China did not do so well in the last five years years and it is estimated Jing lost some 85% of his paper worth. As an old banker, GG doesn't think that a performance such as that warrants being approved for a (very, very) large loan.

 

So here it is six years later, the original concession grant (six years from 2013) is expiring and not one shovel of earth along the canal has been dug. In retrospect most people and Nicaraguans in particular may indeed be grateful that it hasn't.

 


Rumble and Weather Talk

Poas Stays Active

 

There are a number of volcanoes in Costa Rica that are periodically active and Volcan Poas is one of them. It's located in Alejuela province less than 100 km/60 miles north-north-west of the capital San José. Poas has been sporadically active for the pass year or so and was recently (mid-June) spewing gas and ashes again.

 

Periodically, the national park associated with the volcano has had to be closed for safety reasons. Currently the number of approaches to the mountain and park have been limited so check with the park authorities for what's open and what isn't. Recently park authorities have designated the only safe route is located near Route 120, between the towns of Poás and Fraijanes.

 

Approaching on a route that has been designated unsafe is illegal and can result in a substantial fine.

 

Sizable Rumble in Late June


Not to be outdone by Poas or any other volcano, our favorite tectonic plates, the Cocos and the Caribbean, which meet under Costa Rica, decided to rub together a bit on Tuesday, June 25 at about 11:30 local time The epicenter of the resulting earthquake was pinpointed at about 9 km south of the Costa Rica/Panama border near Paso Canoas. The University of Costa Rica Seismology department reported it as a magnitude 6.5 while the U.S. Geological Survey had it at 6.2.

 

It was easily felt in Quepos and GG's aprtment took on a jelly quality reminiscent of the blast in Puntarenas in September 2012 that irreparably damaged the main Hospital there. This time no significant damage was reported but one person was counted as a fatality who died of a heart attack. The only thing unusual about this rumble was it's length - the shaking continued for over a minute, a long period in earthquake time, and dozens of aftershocks were later reported around the area of the original disturbance.


Seasons Have Definitely Changed

 

Three months ago the country was dealing with problems of drought and serious water shortages, particularly in the northern farming regions. The meteorologists were forecasting a late start of the rainy season (such as mid-June versus the more typical mid-May).

 

As it turned out the rainy season decided on its own to commence early, in mid-April, and since then the showers have been often and heavy. The problems have shifted from drought to flash flooding of creeks and rivers, landslides and road washouts. Welcome to winter in Costa Rica amigos.

 

GG read a report recently that an all-time record rainfall for one storm (or maybe one day) was recorded in the Central Valley; the rainfall was quoted as 130 liters/square meter. I found that a funny way to measure rainfall as the elapsed time for 130 liters in a square meter was not stated. I attempted a conversion and came up with 80 inches. If that was in a day, wow! (Perhaps some reader could check my arithmetic or offer an improved analysis)

 

¡Pura Vida!


Check Out Recent Earthquakes Around the World Posted by the U.S. Geodetic Survey: Recent Quakes

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The Greening of Costa Rica
(We're Doing Our Part)

 

Costa Rica has Doubled Their Forest Cover : A Breath of Fresh Air

 

Carol Blair Vaughn

That was the headline of an article written by Carol Blair Vaughn, a reporter for the Costa Rica Star daily electronic newspaper in a recent issue.

 

Carol also happens to be a member of the Quepos-Manuel Antonio Writers Group and has her latest book called, Crazy Jungle Love featured in our GGC Bookshelf section below.

 

Here is the article she wrote:

 

 

 

Here’s something brilliant that Costa Rica has achieved in the last thirty years: They have doubled their forest cover. Half of Costa Rica’s land surface is now covered with trees. Those trees can absorb a massive amount of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere – and we can all breathe easier for it. Bravo!


No one would have predicted this outcome back in 1983 when a meager 26% of Costa Rica had forest cover. Uncontrolled logging had led to a catastrophic reduction in trees compared to the 1940s when three-quarters of the country was covered in lush rainforests and native woodlands. As a result of a continued environmental focus by policymakers and government decision-makers, 2019‘s statistics indicate that forest cover has increased to 52% — just about double the 1983 levels.


How is it that the country that can’t get their roads repaired, their government uncorrupted, their indigenous people integrated, their economy prospering, etc., was able to knock this issue right out of the park?


It seems that Costa Rica understands one fundamental concept that many other countries do not. That concept stated simply is this: A healthy economy cannot exist without a healthy environment. The Costa Rican economy is based on this premise. Keep the environment healthy, and Costa Rica will remain a tourist magnet, bringing in unlimited tourist dollars, employment opportunities, and international travelers who can learn lessons they take home with them at the end of their vacations.


Dr. Robert Blasiak of the University of Tokyo has been studying Costa Rica for many years.

This is his conclusion as to Costa Rica’s environmental successes:


“The underlying recognition that a healthy economy cannot exist over the long-term without a healthy environment seems to have found resonance in Costa Rica and laid the foundations for decades of environmentally conscious decision-making within both the public and private sectors. Perhaps one of Costa Rica’s greatest contributions to the world can be its simple demonstration that it is possible for a nation to establish a system of environmental ethics shared by the public and private sectors that carries benefits for the entire country.”


AMEN.


About the Author : Carol Blair Vaughn has written for Inside Costa Rica and The Costa Rica Star, as well as El Residente magazine. She grew up in Latin America, traveling with her father Jack Vaughn, former Assistant Secretary of State for Latin American Affairs, and US Ambassador to Panama and Colombia. The Star published her book Crazy Jungle Love: Murder, Madness, Money & Monkeys in 2017, and it is now available for purchase on Amazon as both a paperback and an ebook.

 

(Book Link to Crazy Jungle Love is in the GGC Publications section below).

___ ___ ___

 

Thanks Carol for an excellent article.

 

Editor's Note:

 

Trees are important to humankind not just because they absorb carbon dioxide but, more importantly that in doing so and making glucose to regenerate themselves they generate oxygen as a by-product. Britain's Science Focus Magazine explained it very well this way:

 

"Trees release oxygen when they use energy from sunlight to make glucose from carbon dioxide and water. Like all plants, trees also use oxygen when they split glucose back down to release energy to power their metabolisms. Averaged over a 24-hour period, they produce more oxygen than they use up; otherwise there would be no net gain in growth."


"It takes six molecules of CO2 to produce one molecule of glucose by photosynthesis, and six molecules of oxygen are released as a by-product. A glucose molecule contains six carbon atoms, so that’s a net gain of one molecule of oxygen for every atom of carbon added to the tree. A mature sycamore tree might be around 12m tall and weigh two tonnes, including the roots and leaves. If it grows by five per cent each year, it will produce around 100kg of wood, of which 38kg will be carbon. Allowing for the relative molecular weights of oxygen and carbon, this equates to 100kg of oxygen per tree per year."


"A human breathes about 9.5 tonnes of air in a year, but oxygen only makes up about 23 percent of that air, by mass, and we only extract a little over a third of the oxygen from each breath. That works out to a total of about 740kg of oxygen per year. Which is, very roughly, seven or eight trees’ worth."

 

hyu
The Costa Rican Rainforest

So, take away seven trees and you eliminate the oxygen produced for one person, or add one person and it would be a good idea to add seven trees for balance.

 

As a chemical engineer GG would like to point out one thing. Carbon Dioxide by itself is NOT a pollutant (despite what some greeny advocates claim), it is a crucial feedstock for living plants and trees and allows them to make oxygen that helps most creatures, including humans. The current level of CO2 in the air we breath is about 400 ppm (parts per million) or 0.04% by volume, minuscule compared to oxygen (23%). The amount of CO2 produced by all anthropogenic (man-made) sources is about 5% of that or about 0.002% of air.

 

The question becomes: what is causing the warming then (the sun's action?) Despite all the (political) claims that the cause of global warming is a settled issue, it is not. Let the debate begin and let's encourage scientists to seek the truth wherever it lies.

 

What is for sure is that unchecked population increase and rampant deforestation will work against everyone while the opposite helps us, and Costa Rica is doing it's part to help.

 

¡Solo Bueno!


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¿Que es Eso? Department (¿What is That?)

 

 

 

Did GG do this with Photoshop?

 

Are those really goats or are they facsimiles?

 

Maybe the goats were attacked by a mad cougar?

 

 

Answer in
What's-in-a-Word

section below.

 

¡Pura Vida!


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Golden Gringo University
(
The Application Process for Citizenship in Costa Rica)

 

The information presented here is believed to be the best available at the time it was published but rules and regulations of the Government of Costa Rica change frequently and we believe you should confirm what is suggested here with a government representative and/or a professional intermediary BEFORE beginning the process.

 

GG submitted his application for naturalized citizenship to Costa Rican authorities on June 18. This GGU article will explain the necessary steps in the process of getting and approving the application for naturalized citizenship.

 

Sizing Up The Process

 

TSE Requisitos - Page 1 of 2

One of things that impressed me about this process was that, although there are similarities in the requirements for both processes, i.e., to obtain a residency card (cédula - which I finalized in 2012) and this one, this time the process seemed easier than the cédula effort. Some of that might simply be because of the improved knowledge GG has gained on how to deal with the bureaucracy here and some of it might be that this process is simply more straightforward. Either way it's better and easier.

 

To see more on the (cédula) residency process go here: Archivestopicalindex.html#residency and for stories on how to obtain a cédula go here: Residency Update.

 

Unlike the application for residency, which is made to the Migración or Immigration Department, the application for naturalized citizenship is made to the judicial organization responsible for elections and voter registration. This department is the Tribunal Supremo de Elecciones (Supreme Court of Elections, in case you hadn't already figured that out). Some call it the National Registry. The TSE, as it's best known, publishes a two-page document (Page 1 is shown at the left) in Spanish listing the "requisitos" or requirements for application.

 

This document is available at all TSE Offices and GG was happy to learn that the TSE Office in Quepos is in the shopping center near Super Pali and only three blocks from his apartment. A key requirement is that one must have completed seven years residency before applying; coincidentally GG reached that mark on June18, 2019.

 

There are 10 requisitos listed on this document which we list and explain here:

 

1. Proxy Authorization

 

In the event you have a proxy doing this process for you or someone to whom you have given a power of attorney, this is a document authorizing such. Not required if you are doing it yourself.

 

2. Copy of Cédula

 

A copy of your cédula, both sides, in color. This will allow them not only to identify you but also to date your initial cédula to meet the over seven-year cédula requirement. Like a passport, of course, it's never your best picture. And be sure to come with the copy as they don't want to spend time making copies and it will speed up things.

 

3. Birth Certificate

 

A fresh birth certificate (certified or apostilled by the Secretary of State where you were born). Must be accompanied by a translation to Spanish if not already in Spanish. TSE definition of "fresh" means that the date of certification or apostille must not be earlier than 90 days before the date of application for naturalization. One of my documents was 76 days old on June 18.

 

NOTE: There are organizations, located in Costa Rica, that can facilitate acquisition of the two key apostilled documents in this process (birth certificate and police/FBI report) for a fee of $300 per document. They can deliver the untranslated, apostilled original versions of these two documents within a month. This relieves the applicant of having to chase down these documents in the U.S. and speeds up the process considerably. For a specific reference contact GG at gg@goldengringo.com by email.

 

GG tried to suggest to the clerk at the TSE that the date or conditions of his birth haven't changed since such a document was provided to the immigration department of the government seven years ago but the lady just smiled and pointed to the requisito (requirement) . Gotta do it again amigo.

 

4. Declaration of Two Witnesses

 

Two witnesses (Tico, I presume) need to be present the day of your application and will sign a witness declaration that you are an upstanding resident who would make a good citizen. When their testimony was actually taken my two "testigos" were actually given separate private interviews.

 

When GG first came back from the TSE office with the list of requirements and mentioned them to my landlord and his wife, they immediately said "My husband and I will do that!". She also mentioned throwing a party when I get the new cédula. Yeah, a "Soy Tico Party". I love these people.

 

SS Income Letter for Pensionados - In Spanish

5. Demonstrated Livelihood

 

This is a proof of income certified by an accountant if the income source is private. For a pensionado, the U.S. Embassy of Costa Rica letter confirming your monthly social security benefit (I presume it has the same minimum requirement of $1,000 per month as for the cédula) will suffice, but sources of income other than that will need to be certified by a local CPA for a fee (I'm told this would cost about ₡10,000 or about $17).

 

For pensionados (retirees) the letter from the Social Security section of the U.S. Embassy in San José is sufficient for the TSE. For U.S Citizens this can be obtained online in Spanish. All other sources of income will require verification by a Costa Rica Certified Pubic Accountant, in Spanish or with a Spanish translation of course.

 

A sample of the pensionado letter from U.S. Social Security is shown at left.

 

 

6. Examinations

 

Not physical but academic. Applicants are required to take two tests:1) to demonstrate basic understanding of knowledge of Spanish and 2) Spanish social studies. The Good News for some is this: applicants 65 years of age and over do not have to take these tests under their policy of "exoneracion" for older people. Yes! This is one of the instances when it pays to be an "anciano".

 

7. Police Report

 

This may be simply an update of the state police report you filed on getting the cédula or, optionally, an FBI report (which is what GG got). That made it a bit easier for the document service to get the apostilled report as it's all done in one place in Washington. With this document and the apostilled birth certificate in your possession you have 80% of the problem licked. The FBI Report must also be accompanied by a Spanish translation, like the birth certificate..

 

Like the birth certificate, the Police Report must be apostilled if it's an FBI report or, if you choose to use a state police from the state of last residence, the state police report must be certified by the appropriate secretary of state. This document can be obtained ready to go from the document service mentioned in the birth certificate section (Spanish translation still needed). For a specific reference on this service please contact GG at gg@goldengringo.com by email.

 

8. Cinco Photos

 

You will need to submit five passport-size photos plus a 200 colone stamp (timbre fiscal) you can buy the day of application from a lady who sits outside the door at the TSE office. (Don't ask, just do it.) If you happen to be a Central American the stamp costs only 20 colones, all others pay the 200 colones ($0.35).

 

9. Sworn Declaration on Contraventions

 

You will need to sign a sworn declaration that you do not have repeated "contraventions". GG is not sure what their definition of contraventions is but I suspect it covers an array of misdemeanors including unpaid traffic fines. A series of parking or speeding violations in Costa Rica resulting in multas (fines) might qualify to nullify the application for naturalization. Infractions outside Costa Rica, if they rise to a misdemeanor or felony, would be covered by the FBI Report.

 

10. Post Application

 

This is called the Requisito de Cumpliemento Posterior and is the last step in the process. The applicant is responsible for publishing the notice in La Gaceta, a newspaper that carries all public pronouncements. The publication must be within a certain time frame set by the TSE (10 days after application). La Gaceta is located in San José with two branches, one in Uruca and the other in Curridabat. I was very fortunate in that I have a Tico friend who happened to be going to San José two days after I made application and he got it to La Gaceta at that time, beating the deadline by 8 days. One surprise; there is a fee: ₡20,000 or about $35.

 

I filed the receipt for the publication with the local TSE office on the 20th of June.

 

That completes the process.

 

Some have asked me: "Why are you doing this?" or "Does this mean you are renouncing your U.S. citizenship?" Hell no! I will always be a U.S. American as I believe that the Constitutional Republic we founded 232 years ago is still the best and most free form of government that has ever been founded by mankind. But I can also love two countries at the same time. Costa Rica has shown me unreserved hospitality and is one of the most naturally beautiful places I have ever lived, even visited for that matter.

 

As long as both countries recognize dual citizenship and practice a reasonable form of democratic republicanism I'm happy to be called a citizen of both countries, commonly known as dual citizenship, and which is accepted by both countries.

 

There also might be some relatively minor economic advantages to having Costa Rica citizenship and an accompanying passport: 1) citizens renew their cédula only every 10 years as opposed to temporary residents (every 2 years) and permanent residents (every five years); and cédula renewals are free to citizens (at least at the moment); 2) the Costa Rican passport gets you through a number of Latin American ports of entry with no charge whereas the U.S. passport sometimes encounters restrictions and visa charges (Cuba for example and Argentina where I paid a $160 visa charge two years ago).

 

But basically GG believes he can be a good U. S. American citizen and a good Costa Rican American citizen at the same time and enjoy both worlds and cultures.

 

¡Solo Bueno!

 

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Health Stuff

Note: The information given in this section is offered as news information only and does not indicate GGC confirmation or denial of the accuracy of the treatment or a recommendation to pursue it, nor can we or do we guarantee the efficacy of the results nor validity of the conclusions proffered. (How's that for a disclaimer amigos?)

 

 

Inquiring Minds Want to Know

 

Because of a recent, sad experience in losing two of his siblings to Alzheimer's, GG has been doing a little research on the disease and reading a book called Grain Brain. The book claims a startling relationship between carbohydrates and brain dysfunction, particularly dementia and Alzheimer's. I promised to review the book here in the Chronicles chapter by chapter.

In the first two months we covered:

 

a. May - Introduction section.

b. June - Self-Assessment (What Are Your Risk Factors?).

 

This month we review and summarize chapter one (or at least the first half of it):

 

Chapter 1, Part 1: The Cornerstone of Brain Disease (What You Don't Know About Inflammation). Here are some of the more important claims and statements made in this section:

Note: The statements in quotes above have been taken directly from the book whilst those not quoted are GG's editorial summarization of the data and conclusions presented in the book "Grain Brain" by Dr. David Perlmutter, M.D..

 

The thrust of meaning in "Grain Brain" is that although we've enjoyed an increase in life expectancy in the last 100 years due to more effective control for certain diseases, particularly those in infancy and childhood, the change of diet that society has incurred is probably the main cause of a dramatic increase in brain related diseases. GG puts it another way: "Those damn carbohydrates are hard to avoid because they taste good and are filling - it's going to take strong discipline to manage them to a reasonable level".

 

More next month on "Grain Brain".

 

¡Pura Vida!

 

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Travel Quote of the Month



¡Pura Vida!


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GGC Bookshelf
(skip section)

drfGGC Publications Group is the parent organization that publishes the Golden Gringo Chronicles as well as a number of books and paraphernalia related to the Chronicles and Costa Rica. The GGC Bookshelf also includes works from a number of other authors that belong to the Quepos-Manuel Antonio Writers Group in which GGC has been a founding member.

 

Here are the books currently on our bookshelf:

 

jio uio
The Chronicles as a Narrative

Mariposa - English

Mariposa - Español Small Business Guide
Read More Read More Leer más aquí Read More
Overcoming Drinking Making Time Count Spiritual Love Connection Murder or Suicide?
Read More Read More Read More Read More
There's Room for
More on the QMA Writers Group Bookshelf

Keep Writing Amigos!
Getting Around the Capital Retiring in Costa Rica World War II True Story  
Read More Read More Read More  

 

All of the above books are available on Amazon.com and the "Read More" links above will lead you to them. You can find more detail on all of them on our GGC Publications Page.

 

GGC Products Store

GGC Publications also offers some accessories and paraphernalia related to the Chronicles and with Costa Rican themes, to wit:

 

T-Shirts:

 

der

 

a. Golden Gringo Chronicles with Logo,

b. Official Golden Gringo with Monkey on Banana Hammock,

c. ¡Quepo en Quepos! ("I Fit In Quepos!") with Photo of Quepos,

d. Wanna Monkey Around? - Come on Down! (shown) with Photo of White Faced Monkey,

e. It's OK to be Slothful with photo of Three-Toed Sloth.

 

The t-shirts are available in several themes, colors, styles and sizes. See them all HERE.

 

Coffee Mugs:

 

a. Golden Gringo, b. Wanna Monkey Around?, c. It's OK to be Slothfulgty

See them all HERE:

What's life without a great cup of Costa Rican coffee? And it tastes even better in a Golden Gringo Chronicles mug!

 

To see ALL the products available in the Golden Gringo Store go here: GGC Store.

 

¡Solo Bueno!

 




What's-in-a-Word
"Tell me and I forget; teach me and I remember; involve me and I learn"
Benjamin Franklin

 

Answer to Que Es Eso?

 

The goats are real. This tree attracts goats and is called the Argania. The following video tells the story of this amazing tree that is peculiar to Morocco (the audio portion of the video has been reprinted below). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AMIxmeV5KqM

 

"The Argania tree is not the most aesthetically pleasing plant in the world with a rough, thorny bark and gangly, crooked branches. But these Moroccan trees still tend to attract admirers, thanks in large part to the hordes of goats that can usually be found perching in them.

 

Grown almost exclusively in Sous Valley in southwestern Morocco, the Argania is a rare and protected species after years of over-farming and clear-cutting. The tree produces an annual fruit crop, and it is this delicious morsel that attracts legions of local goats who hop up into the branches to pick out the fruit. These memorable rural scenes mostly happen in June when the Argan fruit ripen.

 

Like an image out of a goat-cast wi-fi film, the animals stand on the impossibly precarious branches and get down to their seasonal feast. Far from just a single ambitious goat climbing a single tree, the animals tend to swarm into the branches in number.

 

Local farmers condone and even cultivate this bizarre feeding practice, keeping the goats away from the trees while the fruit matures and releasing them at the right time. There is also a secondary benefit to the goats’ habits which is found in their poop. After the goats finish eating the fruit and nuts off the tree, they pass valuable clumps of seeds which are then pressed to create the sought-after Argan oil.

 

Unfortunately, since the tree goats can be quite profitable for their owners, more and more of them have been brought into the area, causing a general decline in the health of the remaining Argania trees. Hopefully, the delightful tree goats won’t eat themselves out of a tree to perch in."  

 

 

¡Pura Vida!

 

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ROMEO Corner
(Retired Old Men Eating Out)

Sabromar Marisqueria, Quepos

 

Location: Quepos, just over the bay bridge about 300 meters on the left (look for the blue anchor light)..

Hours: Lunch and Dinner Sunday thru Monday

Parking: Limited customer parking in front.

Contacts: Phone: 506 2777-(7755, 7757, 7767)

Email:marisqueria@sabromarqueposcr.com;

Website: https://www.sabromarqueposcr.com/en/.

 

Reviewing ROMEOS: Bob N., Dorald M., Glen N., Gloria S., Jerry C., Jessie P., Julia S., Lily M., Lucius H., Michael D.

 

Review Our Rating System Here: R.O.M.E.O. Rating System

 

This is a new restaurant in Quepos specializing in seafood. I'm told by those in the know that this is a long- time Puntarenas seafood company as a supplier to others but that this is their first venture into a retail restaurant. If so, they have done a good job. Their facility includes both a seafood restaurant (Marisqueria) and a fish and seafood store (Pescaderia).

 

As an old business consultant, GGI was impressed by their website that stated both a company mission ("To satisfy the needs of our customers and society in general, offering a product with the best quality and safety and variety at a fair price, always presenting innovative alternatives.") and a company vision ("To be a leader in the marketing of fish and related products with world-class disposition, humility, professionalism and perseverance as well as respect for our environment and humanity.") I was also impressed with seeing in the middle of their logo (above) the words "En Dios Confiamos..." or "in God We Trust"; something you don't see enough of anymore.

 

The restaurant has a simple dining room that reminded me of the good roadside diners you can still find in the Northeast United States (particularly Pennsylvania). Simple, functional, utilitarian, comfortable. The main dining room seats less than fifty and there are a few tables outside in the back of the restaurant with a narrow view of the Paquita River and Quepos Bay. Our ten ROMEOs gave a composite score for atmosphere/ambiance of 3.9/5.0 sloths.

 

The menu is simple and dominated by variations of seafood including several variations of ceviche, whole fried fish as well as pasta and rice combinations with seafood.

 

GG (trying to stick to a diet at the moment) chose a ceviche they labeled as "La Explosion" because if contains fish, shrimp, pulpo (octopus), conch and damn near anything else that swims. It's served in a very large glass goblet in a chopped tomato base with a couple of patacones. It turned out to be more than adequate as a lunch by itself, and quite delicious. (photo left).

 

Other ROMEOs had variations of fish fillets, whole fish or some of the rice combinations. All reports were good.

 

Dessert options were limited to cheesecake and tres leches cake (GG tried the latter in a moment of "damn the diet".

.25
$$$.1
Value Index= 137

 

For food quality the composite score came in at 4.7/5.0.

 

We were served by a young waitress and a waiter who did their best to keep up with us and manage the rest of the crowd that developed after we ordered. The composite score for service came in at 4.2/5.0 which in turn gave an average for ambiance, food quality and service of 4.25/5.0.

 

For two of us billed together that included two "La Explosion" Ceviches, two soft drinks and two desserts, the tab was 21,300 colones (about $36 or $18 per person). The composite score for cost came in at 3.1/5.0 which in turn yielded a Value Index = 4.25/3.10x100=137, one of the highest values we've reviewed in the area in recent years.

 

Comments from the ROMEOs: "The food was very good, fresh fish. The company was exquisite."; "Seafood Lover's Paradise! Will be back"; "Pura Vida!", "Service was good - food was excellent, the company of 10 was delightful!"; "Food was very good"; "Very attentive waiters, restaurant was very clean and the atmosphere was 'fresh', 4.5 on food but snapper was so-so"; "Felt very welcome, enjoyed the food and the great group of people".

 

The ROMEOs can easily recommend Sabromar Marisqueria for excellent seafood at a very good value.

 

¡Solo Bueno!

 

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Bob Normand, Editor & The Golden Gringo
Pura Vida!

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