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Rumble Talk

¿Que Es Eso?

Municipal Elections

Air Rickenbacker

Another Day at
the Beach

What's In A Word

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In This Issue:

  1. Broken News (RECOPE - Refining the Logo, Uber Update, Love, Happiness and Tico DNA)
  2. Rumble Talk (Multiple Moderate Quakes Near Quepos, Severe Winds in Guanacaste and Central Valley)
  3. ¿Que Es Eso? Department: Hunting the Big One
  4. Feature: Costa Rican Municipal Elections (How Ticos Count Ballots)
  5. Feature: Look Who's Back (Air Rickenbacker Reinvigorated)
  6. Feature: Another Day at the Beach (Roughing It)
  7. What's-in-a-Word (Answer to Que Es Eso)
  8. ROMEO Corner (Raphael's Terrazas, Manuel Antonio)

 

Wisdom of the Ages

Borrow money from pessimists -
they don't expect it back
.

 

 

 

 

 

 


GG's Selfie

 

Would you like to read the Chronicles in a narrative format

as a hard-copy novel or an e-book?

If so, go HERE

 

 

 

 

 


February 8, 2016 was Chinese New Year 2559.
Happy New Year!

 

GG looked up his birth date (November 27, 1943) and learned that I was born on a Saturday and my zodiac sign is the "Water Goat".

 

What the hell is a water goat, a goat that spends a lot of the time in the water, like Manuel Antonio beach?. That's one in the water to the right, a horned one. I was kind of hoping for a panther as my sign and would have settled for a monkey, but a water goat?

 

Baaaaahhhh! Maybe next year I'll find a better sign.



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

RECOPE (Refining the Logo)

 

Costa Rica has an business anomaly not unlike that found in many other countries in the area. It has a government owned company called RECOPE or Refinadora Costaricense de Petroleo, the Costa Rican Petroleum Refining Company. You won't see any Exxon or BP or Shell signs here in Costa Rica, amigos, just local or regional retail gasoline distribution companies, all of which are dependent on RECOPE for supply.

 

RECOPE owns the only refinery in Costa Rica which is situated in Moín, near the major port of the same name on the Caribbean coast. The only problem is that RECOPE doesn't refine anything; the plant has been idle for some years. Reported capacity is 25,000 bbl(barrels)/day of crude oil (one barrel = 42 gallons). For perspective, the average capacity of the 140 operating refineries in the U.S. is about 140,000 bbl/day and the largest plant in the U.S. is in Port Arthur, Texas @ 600,250 bbl/day. In the world, the biggest is in Gujarat, India - 1,240,000 bbl/day.

 

The "Revised" Logo is at Bottom

A few years ago, 2011 to be precise, an expansion project was announced that would increase the production capacity at Moín to 65,000 bbl/day. The Chinese were to finance the $1.2 billion that the project required by structuring the debt through the Bank of China (incidentally, China also built the Costa Rican National Stadium in San José but as a gift).

 

Then the Costa Rican Contraloria (Comptroller General), who has responsibility for approving and overseeing all aspects of national financial expenditures, nixed the project as being unprofitable. Recent press reports are indicating a possible renaissance of the project after reengineering the project and restructuring the financing. We'll see.

 

Without a refinery to refine, RECOPE management decided they would concentrate on refining their logo and spent 1.4 million colones (about $2,600) to get the "bolder" look shown above. That provoked a considerable flow of suggestions on various social media offering individual's own new designs of the logo and queries as to where their bill should be sent. Hell, GG would have done a font change for no more than $500. To add fuel to the fire of irritation against Recope, the company of 1,800 employees announced a ¢13,000,000,000 or $25 million loss for the first nine months of 2015, despite having some of the highest gas prices in the Americas (see below).

 

Besides operating the refinery, RECOPE has been given the responsibility of assuring the supply of gasoline and natural gas for the country. In essence they are the government-owned monopoly that imports and decides, along with another government agency called ARESEP, what the price of gasoline will cost here. How are they doing? After a recent trip to the States (September 2015), GG compared the then current cost of gasoline he paid to fill a rental car: U.S. - $1.28/gallon while the equivalent price in Costa Rica at the time was $3.80. By early February, ARESEP had dropped the price to about $2.90/gal and announced a further drop to about $2.17 would happen in March. This kind of lag of course assures extra shekels and colones flow into government (RECOPE) coffers.

 

In the midst of all this, a legislator proposed that the government freeze, by legislation, the price of gasoline at the ~$3 level regardless of what the world oil market price is doing. He probably saw it as a way to cut into the approximately 25% budget deficit the country is currently running.

 

Doesn't look like gasoline will be cheap here for some time to come amigos.

 

Uber Update

 

The Chronicles reported on the entry of Uber Technologies into Costa Rica back in October 2015 - see Ticoland Uber Alles. This is the upstart company that takes advantage of smart phones and offers high quality, point to point personal transportation (taxi) service directly to people who have downloaded their app. You log into their site, indicate pick-up and destination points on a Google map, get a quote and availability, and, if you like the offer, click and pay directly by your pre-loaded credit/debit card and the car shows up. No more negotiating with enterprising drivers or dealing with meters, some of which seem to have an unexplainable colone acceleration characteristic to them.

 

Tico Uber Drivers in Training

The Costa Rican division of Uber has not been shut down even though the President, Señor Solis, and the Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes (MOPT), the ministry of Public Works and Transportation, have both deemed the Uber operation illegal. Confusion seems to reign amongst the pols as to just how and why Uber is illegal and what to do about them. They also like the idea that Uber is adding to employment. Occasionally an Uber car gets impounded and fined (a recent one got whacked $2,400) but Uber corp. says they'll protect their drivers in situations like this by paying the fines. So the standoff continues.

 

In preparation for a trip to San Jose recently, GG downloaded the Uber app onto his semi-smart windows phone which was easy to do and activate. Unfortunately, I was unable to use the system due to some phone problems that occurred during the trip and I ended up using the bus and regular taxis. Next trip to SJ, I want to try it, assuming Uber will still be in business. The regular taxi drivers and unions continue to throw strikes and hissie-fits about and against Uber so the company still being in operation on the next visit is not certain.

Regular taxi drivers here are demonstrative. One regular taxi driver, a lady, even chained herself to a tree outside the home of President Solis. The reason? The authorities took her license plates away because she was driving a 15 year old automobile.

 

In the meantime, Uber Corp. recently received $200 million in additional funding from a Russian owned investment firm to carry on its worldwide expansion. But at the same time, the Costa Rican government made a point of issuing a statement reiterating the fact that operating a transport company without an operating license is illegal This might have been a signal the government is getting ready to move against Uber.

 

Love, Happiness and Tico DNA

 

The Chronicles has several times noted that Costa Rica appears at the top of various lists, the purpose of which is to attempt to measure contentment and happiness, such as the Happy Planet Index.

 

Now comes a joint study from researchers at Varna University of Management in Bulgaria and the Hong Kong Polytechnic University that this condition may very well be inherent in certain people's DNA. "The authors found a strong correlation between a nation’s happiness and the presence of the A allele (a mutated gene - ed.) in the fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) gene variant rs324420 in its citizens’ genetic  make-up. This allele helps prevent the chemical degradation of anandamide, a substance that enhances sensory pleasure and helps to reduce pain."


Now that we've made that DNA twist and its connection to happiness perfectly clear, we can report that some African tropical countries and northern Latin American countries seem to have more of this "allele" than other countries, particularly more than people in northern climes and that in those countries that do have the allele, the citizens report themselves infused with a higher happiness. Poor GG; I just thought it was the beautiful beach with its ion generation and tranquility that caused it all.

 

On another front, an ex-pat website that bills itself as the largest ex-pat connected community in the world, with two million members in 390 cities around the globe, recently ran a survey in anticipation of Valentine's Day on who was most satisfied with their love lives. They polled 14,000 people in 195 countries. The top three results by country were Ecuador, Costa Rica and Malta. A common thread among the winners was the presence of a tropical climate.

 

We got it all here amigos, A alleles and tropical climes. Love is in the air, and in the genes, amigos

!

¡Pura Vida!


 

Rumble Talk
(Shaky Happenings On or About the Pacific Rim)

While there have been no great earth shakers in the region lately, there has been a large number (dozens) of medium sized quakes powerful enough to be felt (up to 4.0R). A significant number of these occurred in a series of clusters from 10 to 60 kilometers (5-25 miles) southwest of Quepos as shown on the map right.

 

Some theorists, including GG, (hell, anybody can be a theorist) believe that it's much better for those two nasty tectonic plates, the Cocos and the Caribbean, to relieve the friction between them in a series of smaller slippages than in one huge displacement. That seems to be what's happening. Some of the pressure also is relieved by periodic volcanic eruptions along the spine that is called Central America.

 

More problems these days have been created by the relentless El Niño that's battering the globe. This weather phenomenon has the ability to create unusually high seas, unusually warm seas and violent disruptions in weather patterns. It displays itself in satellite photos (left) as a band of higher temperature waters running along the equator. In the satellite photo to the left the image on the left is recent while the one on the right is from 1997-98 which had been a record. The current one may turn out to be the strongest on record yet.

 

One of the unusual things that has been occurring in Costa Rica recently is unusually high winds, particularly in the central valley and the northern Pacific Coast (Guanacaste). Caused by El Niño? I'll let the experts read on that. But there were hundreds of trees felled, hundreds of electrical outages and considerable damage. The photo to the right is of a huge tree that was toppled by the wind and crushed a taxi near Liberia. Unfortunately the driver was in the car at the time and became a fatal statistic.

 

Go away El Niño.

 

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

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¿Que Es Eso? Department
(What is This?)


So there he was, GG the stalker, out with a friend hunting uncastrated male swine (wild boar) near Manuel Antonio beach when we came upon this unusual creature, a giant Godzilla-sized armadillo. A friend snapped the photo to the right. What to do?

 

And what's that thing called?

 

Answer in What's-in-a-Word section below.

 


Costa Rican Municipal Elections
(How Ticos Count Ballots)

The Seven Provinces of Costa Rica
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Municipal elections in Costa Rica are held every four years, staggered bi-annually with national elections, which also happen every four years. The municipals are held in every town across the country on the same day and this year it was February 7. While turnouts of 70% or better are common in national elections here (vs U.S. turnout in 2012 at 55%), municipal elections often garner only 25% or less of eligible voters. True to tradition, the national turn out this year for the municipal elections was about 26%.

 

Costa Rica is divided for governance purposes into seven provinces and eighty-one cantons. A canton can be thought of as a county but the size in population and area is considerably smaller here than that of a typical U.S. county. The name of the canton is often the same name as the principal town or city in it (e.g., San José canton is based in San José and the canton of Quepos is based in Quepos).

 

The municipal government of each canton is typically headed by an Acalde (Mayor) and two Vice-Acaldes (in both cases if you're a women, change the "e" after the d to "eza" (Acalde becomes Acaldeza). In addition there are a number of district and municipal councilors that are also elected at the same time, a large number of secondary offices.

 

In this year's election there were 6,069 designated offices that included mayors, vice-mayors and municipal and district councilors. To fill them, 31,000 candidates were put up from 60 political parties. Yes, that's right, sixty political parties. Now if that seems confusing, or unnecessarily over-democratic, it's not as bad as it seems because you don't actually vote to select a candidate for each office - you simply vote for the party running in your canton that you like the most and all the candidates listed within that party in that canton get swept in with the acalde and vice-acaldes. In Quepos this year there were some fourteen parties competing.

 

Johnny Araya Celebrating
(Blue Shirt - Center)
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The election vote results are reported by canton but only by party - it's a party take all thing. Because of this approach, parties can and are formed for many purposes. Take the Alianza por San José (San José Alliance) party for example. That was formed by Johnny Araya, the former (for 20 years) and now, as a result of this election, future mayor of San José. Señor Araya two years ago was a member of the PLN party (Partido Liberación Nacionál), the most influential one in Costa Rica then. Araya was their presidential candidate.

 

But the presidential election required a runoff and because of some kind of falling out between Araya and the PLN, he withdrew from the runoff, virtually guaranteeing the current president, Senor Solis, a victory. For the current municipal elections, Araya chose to form his own party (Alianza por San José), and he won.

 

Patricia Bolaños Murillo
Alcadeza de Quepos

In this year's election Johnny's old party, the PLN (Partido Liberación Nacionál), came back strongly after losing strength in the presidential elections two years earlier, taking over half of the mayoralties across the country. The United Social Christian Party, PUSC, resumed it's historical second position to PLN and also was the winner in the Canton of Quepos, electing as our new Acaldeza, Patricia Bolaños Murillo.

 

PUSC Banner

Señora Bolaños, or Doña Patricia, has served in government advisory positions in the past. Being a teacher by education and experience, she has been involved as education advisor as well as working on various projects in the community. She sees her focus as acaldeza to improving housing availability, particularly for the homeless, attracting more investment into the canton and dealing with security issues, particularly reinstating the local Quepos police that was eliminated for budgetary reasons a few years ago, leaving the job to the Fuerza Publica, the national police which now carry sole responsibility for public security in the canton.

 

Asesora Yadira Segura

One of the 6,069 offices that was filled in this election was the Asesora de Educación or district advisor for education. That position for the canton of Quepos will be filled by Yadira Segura Madrigal. Señora Segura, like Bolaños, has been a long time teacher and also a canton-wide advisor to schools and teaching staffs in an effort to strengthen their curricula.

 

Señora Segura holds one other important position in Quepos; she's my landlady. This lady has been involved in politics for some time (seems like Thursday nights at her villa is often a gathering place for politicos). In 2011 she ran for Vice-Acaldeza under the PUSC banner but the party lost out to PLN. This lady is an extremely industrious person that cares about her family, her community and her country. (She also happens to be my landlady) In addition to her supervisory teaching job, she manages the apartments and also has two commercial fishing boats under her supervision. She's done all this while raising, with her husband Marvin, three sons, two of which are now adults. GG interviewed son #2 in 2011 when he had just entered university for pharmacy - he ended up graduating in software development - more on David below).

 

So democratic government continues in Quepos. GG has been invited to attend the change of administration ceremony on May 1 and I'm looking forward to it.

 

¡Solo Bueno! 

 

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Look Who's Back
(Air Rickenbacker Reinvigorated)

A piece appeared recently in QCostaRica noting the first flight arrival of Eastern Airlines from Miami at Juan Santamaria airport in San José. Yes my older amigos, it's Eastern Airlines, remember them?

 

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Eastern Parked at Gate 3 in San José

This is nostalgic for me because the first airline flight I ever took was on an Eastern Airlines Shuttle in 1964 between Boston and Washington, D.C. That trip was made to take my first professional interview as a soon to be graduated engineer. I flew Eastern to D.C., then Piedmont to Louisville, and then a small Piedmont puddle jumper to Paducah, Ky where I interviewed with B.F.Goodrich Chemical at the largest vinyl chloride monomer plant in the world at the time.

 

After the interview with 6 of the top managers of the plant including the plant manager, the HR dude at Goodrich asked me why I took three different flights to reach them. I replied that it was the cheapest fare and the travel agent told me the company would like that. Guess he did like it because he smiled, then changed my return ticket and sent me back with a job offer in hand from Paducah to Chicago to Boston, and the Chi-Bos leg was first class. I thought I had arrived. I felt a little guilty when I didn't accept the offer later as I had fully intended to go to grad school at the time and was only taking the interview for experience (malo Bob).

 

gty
Eddie Rickenbacker
(Note Medal of Honor)
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Rickenbacker the "Ace"
In His SPAD S,VIII Fighter

Eastern has a long, colorful and rocky history. They began as Eastern Air Transport in 1926 and became one of the airlines that carried the U.S. Mail for years.

 

Later, the company was acquired by a conglomerate and even later was bought by General Motors at the urging of one of GM's more important managers, a fellow named Eddie Rickenbacker. This World War I ace had been credited with 26 air victories (only five were needed to be termed an "ace" back then). After the war, Rickenbacker had been working for GM overseeing the development of innovative car products like four-wheel braking and a car called the LaSalle.

 

1930 Eastern Flight Attendants
(Note the Absence of Women)

After the acquisition, Rickenbacker was asked to oversee the Eastern Air Transport division and Eastern Airlines was born, eventually separating from General Motors when Rickenbacker bought it himself from GM in 1938. The airline grew rapidly through the 1940's, '50's and '60's. Rickenbacker would oversee this growth until 1963 when he was ousted in a board of directors tussle during a period when the industry was rapidly changing and jets were being introduced at Eastern to service New York's Idlewild Airport (JFK) in 1961.

 

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Douglas Aircraft DC-6

By the mid 1960's, when GG had completed his first flight

experience, Eastern was using the last of it's propeller driven planes, the DC-6's to service the "shuttle" fleet operating in the congested northeast corridor. We flew at about 18,000 feet to D.C. that day of my first flight, an altitude that virtually guarantees meeting up with whatever weather there is. We hit a snow storm and even the veteran flyers were white-knuckling it. Being young and seemingly immortal, I thought it was more fun that a roller coaster.

 

Remember These?

Eastern pioneered the shuttle concept with the promise that you could walk into a major airport like Boston or Washington or New York and expect to walk on board within the hour (security was much lighter then). You could pay for your ticket on board in cash or with a credit card processed through one of those old slip-slap mechanical devices (hmmm, how did they verify the card back then - honor system? Honestly, I don't remember).

 

But that sure was smart, efficient business service.

 

Atlanta's All-Delta Concourse "C"

Eastern dominated the northeast routes to Florida operating their major hub in Miami. Eastern became the undisputed king of air travel on the east coast of the U.S. for at least two decades. I can also remember during the 1960's and '70's when there were more gates devoted to Eastern in Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson Airport than there were to Delta (believe it or not). Delta at that time was the upstart, the Avis of the airline industry. They would eventually take over some of the Eastern routes and also acquire many of the aircraft left behind by Eastern's demise. Run through the seven terminals in Atlanta these days and you'll have no doubt that Atlanta is now Delta country.

 

Eastern Airlines entered it's final period with the appointment of Frank Borman, the NASA astronaut, as president and CEO in 1975. Despite many attempts to revive customer loyalty that had suffered because of severe price competition from no-frills airlines like People Express, and industry consolidation led by corporate raiders like Frank Lorenzo and Carl Icahn, revenue and profits suffered. Borman sold the airline to Texas Air and Lorenzo in 1986. By the late 1980's Eastern had taken on so much debt that contraction was inevitable. The recession of 1990 provided added impetus to a decline and Eastern filed bankruptcy, closing it's doors in 1991 (I also took a business into bankruptcy at that time).

 

Eastern Lives Again, this New Ship is Called
the "Spirit of Eddie Rickenbacker"

On 2009, a group of investors calling itself the Eastern Air Lines Group purchased the intellectual property rights including names and trademarks of the old Eastern Airlines. By 2014 they had announced they had filed application with the U.S. Department of Transportation and in 2015 they began charter flights to Havana in partnership with Havana Air. They have since expanded their charter business to other latin american countries like Costa Rica.

 

Ten new 737-800 aircraft are on order, with options for ten more and regular commercial air service is planned for Costa Rica, Cuba, the Caribbean and other Latin American countries beginning this year. (the arrival at Juan Santamaria airport noted and pictured above was a charter). With U.S. Department of Transportation approval, regular commercial flights from Miami should be in the offing. Personally, I'm hoping for some deals from San José to Florida - how about some cheap shuttle service amigos?

 

The new frequent flyer program is called LatinOnePass (OnePass was the original Eastern FFP name).

Eastern is back amigos., nostalgia isn't what it used to be.

 

¡Pura Vida!

 

TOP

Another Day at the Beach
(Roughing It)

Playa Espadilla with Las Gemelas (Twin Islands) in the Background

Minimally, GG spends a couple of hours, a couple of days a week at Playa Espadilla in Manuel Antonio (the main beach) enjoying the Pacific breeze, the warm Pacific waters and the view. In addition I find myself there for sunsets quite often.

 

It's more than a pleasant experience; I call it "terapia de la playa" or beach therapy (see Life's a Beach). As caretakers of the beach, our supervisory team office is simply furnished; an umbrella to moderate the tropical sun, adjustable chairs to support a prostrate ROMEO and a small, plastic table to hold incidentals.

 

There is a reason why the period from mid-December through April is called the high season and it's not just because there are more tourists during that period. It's about the weather. Los touristas are here in droves because the weather is incredible, warm and sunny with bright blue skies and balmy Pacific breezes, although some folks from the northern climes (and San José) will find it hot and humid. Pish-posh. I'll take it any day over snow and ice or even the chilly winds of the central valley and mountains.

 

I am now, and always have been, a beachophile. When you're almost naked on the beach, who cares what the thermometer is registering. Take a dip in the 80+F water and enjoy the gentle ocean breeze cooling you as you dry off while sitting under the umbrella sipping coconut water. Let's just say it's an easy survival mode.

 

Las Gemelas (Twins) in Foreground Elephant Island in the Background

A few weeks ago I took up position as usual, around 11:30 AM under an umbrella on the north side of the main beach, an area called Mar y Sombra. Mar y Sombra (Sea & Shade) was named after a nightclub that existed there for years but which has been closed now for some years and the building has been razed. Our usual observation point on the beach allows us to see a panorama of islands a mile or so off the beach. One of the more interesting island groupings here is Las Gemelas, or The Twins (photo left).

 

Recently I learned that what is now known as the twin islands was once a single giant arch with a second, smaller arch to one side.

 

Las Gemelas with Side Arch

I began asking a few of the the older residents some questions, including Federico Ramirez, the owner of Mar y Sombra, and whose family virtually started the commercialization of Manuel Antonio back in 1949. The story goes that during a sizeable earthquake some decades ago, probably in the 50's or 60's, the arches fell into the sea. Might there have been an old photo or picture of the arch, GG asked?

Jungle Jessie (left) Teaching

So far I've only been able to turn up the photo to the right thanks to the courtesy of Señor Ramirez. It shows the secondary arch intact but the primary one is already missing, indicating the destruction of the two arches happened as a result of two separate events. GG intends to keep looking for a photo of the original arch as I find Las Gemelas to be an interesting part of local history that needs to be recorded.

 

So that recent day at the beach tuned out to be typical and beautiful. On the way to his chair GG passed the area where several surfing lesson operations are based in order to say hi to a good buddy named Jessie, better known as Jungle Jessie.

 

Jessie was busy doing his job, giving surfing lessons. The lessons start with the most important first step, how to get up in two quick moves from a prone position to standing on the board. You can practice "mounting the board" on land and that's where the lesson begins. Well most people can do this, but the inability to execute these two moves successfully ended GG's surfing career, whatever it was, a few years ago. Jockeying to execute those two simple, quick but agile moves while on moving water is a whole nuther thing for we aging dudes and it now precludes GG from hanging ten anymore. Now I just hang ten on the chair.

 

Then there are the sunsets at the beach, some of the most beautiful I've ever seen. For most of the year as seen from Mar y Sombra, the sun sets in the space between Isla Magotes (Elephant Island) and the next land mass north which is Punta Quepos (see photo left). It sets between 5:30 and 6:00 all year long so it's pretty easy to schedule a short time before dinner to catch the last rays. It's also why a number of restaurants on Manuel Antonio mountain can offer the same view if you don't mind taking an early dinner or a late lunch.

 

A friend of mine caught the sunset recently in the unusual photo to the right. The silhouette is of course, GG complete with double chin and mouth open expounding on the day's events or maybe the price of rhubarb in China. I almost nixed the pic but kept looking at it and began to realize how some people are able to not just take a photo but actually compose it. The juxtaposition of my silhouette between elephant island and the sunset along with the unusually shaped tree branch is rather artful. I just may use it in some other manner, such as a logo. Thanks to my friend Gabby for her art work.

 

David and His Friend
Playing at Raphael's
David Madrigal

Later in the day brought an opportunity to have a simple meal at a local restaurant where my landlord's son David was playing guitar with one of his friends. That restaurant, Raphael's Terrazas, is reviewed in the ROMEO section below.

 

David was first mentioned in the Chronicles back in April of 2011 when he had just entered university to study pharmacy. But, like many of his generation, he had developed a strong connection with computers and ended up finishing his degree in software development. (and that's David's mom, Yadira Segura Madrigal, mentioned and pictured in the article on municipal elections above) His course work now completed, he's in the middle of a three month internship program with a U.S.-based software development company working in San José. Along the way David has never lost his true love, playing the guitar and singing and routinely plays in various locations in the area.

 

So that was another great day at the beach. It started well, it was beautiful and it ended well. That's why we often call it paradise.

 

¡Solo Bueno!

 

TOP

 


Travel Quote of the Month

An airline pilot wrote that on this particular flight he had hammered his ship into the runway really hard. The airline had a policy which required the first officer to stand at the door while the passengers exited, smile, and give them a "Thanks for flying XYZ airline." He said that in light of his bad landing, he had a hard time looking the passengers in the eye, thinking that someone would have a smart comment.

Finally, everyone had gotten off except for this little old lady walking with a cane. She said, "Sonny, mind if I ask you a question?" "Why no, Ma'am," said the pilot, "what is it?" The little old lady said, "Did we land or were we shot down?"

 


What's-in-a-Word

Answer to ¿Que Es Eso?

 

OK, OK, OK, I admit I was really putting you on about our hunting trip. We rarely go boar hunting and even more rarely do we go boar hunting naked.

 

The "photo" is actually an artist's rendition of a Glyptodon, a creature that used to live in Costa Rica during the Pleistocene period more than 11,500 years ago (somewhat before GG's arrival). Typically, the Glyptodon, kind of an over-sized armadillo, was the size and weight of a Volkswagon beetle. Some of them were up to five meters tall and weighed up to five tons. How'd ya like to meet one of those dudes coming out of the woods at Playa Espadilla?

 

That's a heck of a lot of chicharrones on the hoof, amigos.

 

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ROMEO Corner
(Retired Old Men Eating Out)

Raphael's Terrazas

Location: On Manuel Antonio road just 50 meters down from La Cantina restaurant, next to the
                   Hotel Arboleda.
Hours: Daily: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.
Parking: Ample on site at the restaurant.
Contact: Tel.: 2777-6310; Email: raphaelsterraza@gmail.com; Website: N/A

 

Reviewing ROMEOS: Alma L., Amelia L., Ann P., Brian M., Chris F., Sari H., Davis H., Dean S., Lorraine S., Donald A., Joanna K., Joanne H., Mark G., Roger H., Bob N.

 

To Review Our Rating System and Procedure, go here: R.O.M.E.O. Rating System

 

We first reviewed this restaurant about three and a half years ago: see earlier review. Attendance for this review was an all time record of 15 ROMEOs (and ROMEettes).

 

When we arrived, close to 5:30 PM, the restaurant was still dealing with a tour group that had been brought there by bus. We ended up with a couple of tables on the north side of the restaurant where the ocean view was somewhat visible but the sunset was not.

 

Several in our party also noticed that a few of the tourists were feeding the monkeys. The monkeys finally moved on but that episode brought to mind a list of 11 reasons not to feed wild monkeys (to see that list, go HERE). Don't feed the monkeys amigos, it's not good for them.

 

We ended up with two tables , very basic, with cloth type lawn or beach chairs. The surrounding greenery does make you feel like you're in the jungle and the view of elephant island and the pacific is breathtaking (within the sunset limitation). The composite rating by the group of 15 for atmosphere was 3.6 sloths.

 

You can imagine that with so many ROMEOS, there was a wide selection of dishes ordered ranging from sushi appetizers ordered as a main course to steaks and seafood plates. The results were mixed.

 

GG ordered a filet of mahi-mahi that came mounded over several prawns and a vegetable medley, bathed in an asin sauce. Delicious. But one ROMEO had a steak that he quickly pronounced tough.

 

There were two things that I thought could have been improved: 1) those of us that had prawns in one dish or another received them cooked whole, complete with heads and shells. I kind of like that removal service being performed at cooking time; and 2) the dessert menu was uncreative offering only two or three "tico standards" such as tres leches and chocolate cake. The tres leches was delicious however.

 

I settled on a rating of 4 sloths for food while the group composite came in at 3.8.

gty.6
$$$.3
Value Index = 110

The young man from Sao Paulo, Brazil who served us was courteous, pleasant and helpful but perhaps could use some training or was countermanded by the supervisor as he missed a few things like utensils and napkins and had to be reminded. When two people selected sushi as a main course it would have been wise for him to ask if they wanted it served with the other main courses as they got served early. I also ordered a coffee for the tres leches that never came.

 

The kitchen service was also a bit slow but I attribute that to having our party of 15 just after serving a bus of 30. Let's give 'em a break on that one. The composite score for service was set 3.5 sloths which put the average for atmosphere, food quality and service at 3.6.

 

My bill for the mahi/prawn main dish, the tres leches dessert and a soft drink was ¢15,600 or about $29. The composite score for cost by the group was 3.3$, yielding a Value Index of 3.6/3.3x100=110.

 

This restaurant is still a good option for dining in Manuel Antonio but we have to report a significant slippage in rating from the last ROMEO review in September of 2012 (4.7 down to 3.6) while the cost factor remained about the same, causing a drop in the value index from 120 to 110.

 

That's why we keep revisiting amigos, things change.

 

¡Pura Vida!

 


Golden Gringo Chronicles Novel and E-Books Now Available!

GGC Book CoverThe story of the Golden Gringo Chronicles is also available as a hard copy novel of 192 pages available through Amazon and all major online retailers. ($9.95)

Amazon link: GGC, the Book. (Kindle Edition available)

Follow GG through the first six years of his odyssey in making the decision to retire in Costa Rica, overcoming the trials and tribulations of moving and obtaining residency there and the fun and experience of actually living in Ticoland.

 

Ride along with the Golden Gringo as he learns about the rich, varied culture of Costa Rica, the incredible bio diversity, the charming nature of the Costa Rican people and the ease with which a sometimes clueless ex-pat can assimilate into a small southwestern town on the Pacific coast.

 

Whether you are already a Costa Rican resident, someone contemplating a move here or just a traveler who enjoys different cultures, you will find the Golden Gringo Chronicles interesting, entertaining and informative about Costa Rica.

 

Part 1-150 Part 2-150 Part 3 Light

A narrative version of the Golden Gringo Chronicles is now also available as a trilogy of E-books in formats compatible with virtually all electronic platforms.

Part 1: (FREE!)
Leaving the Homeland

Part 2: ($3.99)
The Early Years

Part 3: ($3.99)
Becoming Tico, Maybe

 

Click on Part Number above for E-book sample downloads or click the price above right for purchase. (The best price is on Part 1; it's FREE)


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