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In This Issue:

1. Broken News (All the News That's Fit to Reprint): a. Democracy Day; b. It's Not All Drugs In Those Bags; c. President of Costa Rica Named to Time's Top 100 Next; d. Commercial Fishing in the Nicoya Again; e. San José Takes it On the Chin from El Mundo; f. Questioning the Veeps - What Do You Folks Do?; g. IDB Ranking On Government Waste.

2. Economic Drumbeat (CR Business Happenings): a. Economy On the Rebound Again; b. Future Airport Up In The Air Again; c. Uber Gets Competition in Costa Rica; d. ; e. Gossling Outsourcing Adds New Facility in Costa Rica.

3. Latin America Update (Major Events In Neighboring Countries): a. Bolivia - President Resigns, riots ensue; b. Chile - Violence and Unrest in the Capital, President Refuses to Resign; c. Columbia - Numero Uno in Growth, National Strikes Bring on Rioting and Fatalities; d. Guatemala - Sending the Money Home; e. Nicaragua - a. Tourism Bouncing Back and b. GG Revisits San Juan del Sur.

4. Rumble and Weather Talk: a. Rumble - Virtually Nothing to Report, Thanks (but there was a surprise rumble); b. Weather - Seems the Dry Season is Beginning Early;

5. Feature 1: Quepos Profile: Tim Dwyer - How to Embrace a New Culture

6. ¿Que Es Eso? Department: 50 or 50,000?

7. Feature 2: The Legend of La Yegüita (and the Dance of the Little Mare)

8. Health Stuff: Beating Sciatica

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

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

11. ROMEO Corner: La Dolce Vita, Quepos

Wisdom of the Ages


The Golden Gringo and the entire staff of GGC Publications (guess who that is) wish you and yours every blessing and good wish for the holidays.




¡Feliz Navidad y Feliz Hanukkah Amigos!

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


Democracy Day


GG missed this one completely. Evidently November 7 is Happy Democracy Day in Costa Rica celebrating over 100 years of democracy here (pretty good record compared to many Latin American countries, isn't it?).


There is a bit of history on this day that goes back to 1889:

TSE Office - San José

Six months of tense wrangling ensued with Rodriguez finally assuming power on November 7, 1889 and democracy winning out the hard way. The date became the recognized beginning of democracy in Costa Rica and the anniversary celebrated as such ever since.


I'm told the celebration this year was held in front of the TSE Office in San José (Tribunal Supremo de Elecciones) who oversee all national elections. So that's what these guys were doing while I was waiting for my application for citizenship to be approved, a process conducted and sanctioned by TSE.


Happy Democracy Day amigos (now about that application TSE...).


It's Not All Drugs In Those Bags


Costa Rica, being midway along the isthmus that joins North and South Americas, the country has been violated routinely by cartels and others moving cocaine, heroin and other drugs north.


Say "Cheese" Driver

But a recent incident occurred in the Upala District of Alejuela Province just south of the Nicaraguan border that was a bit different. A pickup truck, which contained a large number of plastic bags containing a white material, was stopped by the Border Police . Turns out it was cheese, illegally coming south from Nicaragua. The police counted some 700 kilos (1,540 lbs) of cheese valued at $2,900 - that's a lot of quesoburguesas (cheeseburgers) amigos.


The story goes the cheese was manufactured in San Carlos, a town just north of the San Juan River which serves as the border between the two countries in this area. The cheese was first transported by boat across the San Juan.


The Nicaraguan man driving the truck, not having any valid importation documentation for either the cheese or himself was apprehended and sent to the hoosegow where he will be awaiting trial by the Ministerio de Immigración.


If you're going to sneak cheese in you gotta get a better system amigos.


President of Costa Rica Named to Top 100 Next


Time magazine has developed a new ranking list they call the Top 100 Next, made up of 100 people around the world, a list that "...spotlights 100 rising stars who are shaping the future of business, entertainment, sports, politics, science, health and more. One of the winners recently announced was Carlos Alvarado Quesada, the current (for 18 months now) president of Costa Rica.


Senor Alvarado, at the ripe old age of 39, was put forward for this honor by former Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon. Alvarado was cited for his work in the environmental area and towards "de-carbonization" of Costa Rica (GG is pretty sure they don't mean that term literally as the planet, and even Costa Rica, is resplendent with carbon life-forms that we don't need to de-anything about; I'm guessing they really mean controlling CO2).


In any event, Costa Rica and Sr. Alvarado have brought honor to the country.


Fishing Again in the Gulf of Nicoya


Nicoya Fisherman Getting Ready to Fish Again

A three month ban on fishing in the Gulf of Nicoya ended on November 1. The ban was put into effect, according to the government, to help the area rejuvenate its supply of various species of fish.


During the down period the government subsidized some 1,467 fishermen with payments of $1,063,851 or about $725 per person for three months of no work. Not exactly a path to getting rich.


Reports are there were considerable illegal fishing trips into the Gulf as evidenced by a number of clashes between fishermen and the Coast Guard during the ban.


Amigos, I hope there are more fish available for you now than there were three months ago.


San José Takes It On the Chin From El Mundo


El Mundo, a Spanish periodical based in Madrid publishes a list of cities (often capitals) they deem "Ten ungraceful destinations – if not ugly – that you should avoid". Our San José was on the list this year along with Chisinau, Moldavia; Pyongyang, North Korea; Tijuana, Mexico; Ankara, Turkey; Tirana, Albania; Ulan Bator, Mongolia; Sao Paulo, Brazil; Amman, Jordan and Volgograd, Russia.


OK, I admit it's not Paris or Buenos Aires but give me a break: Tijuana? Mongolia?


Questioning the Veeps - What Do You Folks Do?


Costa Rica Vice Presidents
Marvin Rodriguez and Epsy Campbell

Did you know that Costa Rica has two Vice Presidents of the Republic? I didn't, until I moved here 11 years ago. I have no idea who thought up that gem but, like in the U.S., its more often that not an underused resource (I'm being kind).


Legislators have begun asking where the output is from the two Veeps as they seem to have little responsibility. Marvin Rodriguez, a former trade unionist was assigned to deal with social conflicts and also to oversee the Caribbean side of the country. Campbell, an economist, was assigned four tasks related to strategy for economic recovery and overseeing projects in the northern part of the country. According to legislators, 18 months later there is little to point to for either Veep's initiatives or plans.


Perhaps they can get some solace from quotes by former U.S. VP's and others:

IDB Ranking on Government Waste


IDB Performance Rating by Country - % of GDP

The Inter-American Government Bank claims to be the leading source of development financing for Latin America and the Caribbean and has worked within this geographical area for over 60 years.


IDB is funded from four sources by 1) member countries' subscriptions and contributions, 2) borrowings from capital markets, 3), equity accumulated since the Bank's inception, 4) co-financing ventures.


The bank releases a periodic report on government waste and a recent release shows Costa Rica performance in this regard slightly higher than the average of Latin American countries at 4.7 % of GDP shown in the graph above as a percentage of GDP.


The rating for Costa Rica came in at 4.7% of GDP (currently about $65 billion) or just over $3 billion. That's not a small number considering the national budget is Costa Rica is about $15 billion. IDB estimates $1.1 billion is lost "by politicians together with corrupt businessmen who do business with the State in matters of public works, through overspending or ruinous projects and contracts for the country", another $486 million in poor purchases in the public sector and $1.2 billion in overpaid public employee salaries.


We've seen major efforts to have tax income increased to manage the deficit but when do we see major programs to reduce that number above which represents 20% of the budget?


¡Pura Vida!




Economic Drumbeat
(Costa Rica Business Happenings)

Economy on the Rebound Again


After several months of bad reporting on the state of the Costa Rican economy the Central Bank of Costa Rica in early November released it's new calculation of the IMAE Index (Indice Mensual de Actividad Económica) or Monthly Economic Activity Index. The IMAE is a "Monthly indicator that attempts to monitor the evolution of the volume of production of goods and services in the economy, in the short term.”


The index was up, albeit not by gigantic numbers, in each month of June (+1.2%), July (+1.4%), August (+1.7%) and September (+2%). The number refers to the volume as compared to the same month last year. Also good was the fact that the short term trend is upward as can be seen in those numbers.


Future Airport Up in the Air Again


New Airport - Artist's Rendition

Back in 2017 we reported that the government had reached a decision to locate the new international airport in Orotina, some 55 km from San José and only 45 km from Juan Santamaria, the existing major airport in Alejuela.


As a dude who once did new site location analyses for a major company I thought that location a strange conclusion but applauded keeping the new airport out of the Quepos area (the idea of ten flights an hour thundering in over my apartment did not appeal).


Now a press report says that our new president, Carlos Alvarado (18 months), has decided to re-evaluate that decision despite the government already having spent $1.8 million on feasibility and practicality studies that favored Orotina.


Oh me, oh my; here we go again. Orotina amigos, Orotina, it's the perfect site (liar GG)!


Uber Gets Competition In Costa Rica


GG has written favorably about the Uber taxi service after taking several trips with them in the nation's capital San José. Uber now has a presence even in Quepos. The personal service concept including the phone app just seems like the wave of the future. The service has been proven over and over again to be more convenient, cheaper and offering better equipment to the ride purchaser than the standard taxis.


It was inevitable that such a good business concept would attract competition and the press this past month was alive with reports of the start-up of a new company much in the mold of Uber. Sure enough, enter DiDi (I presume you pronounce that "dee-dee").


The upstart is a Chinese company of 10,000 employees headquartered in Beijing that in 2018 had 550 million users of their platform and more than 10 million drivers worldwide. They registered more than 5,000 drivers in Costa Rica even before they opened, After three years of operation, Uber has over 23,000 registered drivers and more than 750,000 users in Costa Rica. To gain a foothold, DiDi is offering steep discounts on their service (up to 50%) for new users as well as for those that forward a new user.


So, may the best app win but I'm sure the red taxi boys are planning new strikes against both of the upstarts.


Bill Gossling Outsourcing Opens New Office In Costa Rica


Canadian firm Bill Gossling Outsourcing opened a new office at the El Cafetal Corporate Centre in Heredia November 21 near Juan Santamaria International Airport. Gossling provides "customer service/support, accounts receivable management, customer sales and acquisitions, and call center technology/business process outsourcing". It expects to employ 300 at this center and views this office as a gateway to Latin America.


Gossling reasons for selecting Costa Rica" "We are excited to extend our operations to Costa Rica, providing a quality nearshore option to our North American clients,“ said Dave Rae, CEO of Bill Gosling Outsourcing. “We chose Costa Rica for their highly educated bilingual workforce, IT infrastructure and proximity to North America."


Chock up one more for Costa Rica's "silicon valley" and Welcome Gossling..


¡Pura Vida!



Latin America Updates
(Major Events In Neighboring Countries)



Evo Morales Ayma
in Better Days
Morales in Exile in Mexico

On November 11 the president of Bolivia, Evo Morales Ayma, resigned from his job in the midst of ever growing rioting resulting from a contentious election in October. Morales, the country's first indigenous president declared he had won a fourth term but there were many reports of "irregularities". Morales ignored a referendum in 2016 in which the people voted against his idea of running for a fourth term (he's been in power since 2006.


On November 12 Mexico granted Morales asylum on humanitarian grounds. So far the constitution is being followed and the deputy Senate Speaker, Jeanine Anez, has become interim president and will be responsible for overseeing new elections. On taking over Anez' first action was to bar Morales from running in another election as "unqualified to run".


March for Morales in La Paz

Morales, from his exile in Mexico, has continued to rally his supporters, a good number of which recently staged a huge march on the capital La Paz.


The photo left shows the march in La Paz with many people waving the multicolor “Wiphala” flag that represents the indigenous peoples of Bolivia. Morales also has asked for the U.N. and the Pope to intervene.


Then on November 15th in the town of Cochabamba nine indigenous supporters of Morales were killed when interim government forces attacked the Morales demonstrators. Not a good start on the interim government of Anez.


Stay tuned, more to be revealed.




In an assessment of Latin American economies recently the IMF (International Monetary Fund) pointed to Colombia as currently having the best economic growth. IMF forecasts, as published in the Financial Times, are for Colombia's GDP to grow 3.6% this year. In the larger economies the IMF forecasts run from Argentina at -1.3% to Peru at 3.5%. Venezuela is not included because it has experienced a 60% decline in its economic activity since 2013.


An uneasy rumbling in the background for Colombia is the uneasy peace agreement between the government and the rebel alliance called FARC, Nearly three years old, the accord seems to be teetering and the rebels recently announced the formation of a new force that may be a signal they will resume hostilities. Another burden on the country has been the 1.5 million refugees from Venezuela that have poured over the Colombian border seeking a better life.


Update - November 22 saw a national strike against the policies of President Ivan Duque in some 350 municipalities around the country. Unfortunately the government confirmed later that three people had been killed and 122 civilians injured in the rioting. Duque later tried opening a national dialog on all the issues that the demonstrators were protesting against - more to be revealed.




Rioting boiled over in October when the government tried to increase metro fares. The rioting that ensued produced 22 dead, many injured and a call for President Pinera to resign which he has so far refused.


The President admitted that some "protocols" were not followed by the police and promises reform.


Another hot spot in Latin America.




Expats are familiar with the fact that immigrants working in other countries often send or "remit" part of their income to relatives or friends in their homelands. Guatemala is the most populated of the Central American countries, has 17.6 million people and is the eighth largest Latin American country after Brazil - 211.0, Mexico - 127.6, Colombia - 50.3, Argentina - 44.8, Peru - 32.5, Venezuela - 28.5 and Chile - 19.0.


Remittances to Guatemala in October hit an all-time high of slightly over $1 billion. Total remittances to that date for 2019 were $8.7 billion up almost 14%. To give you an idea of the importance of remittances, the entire GDP of Guatemala is about $85 billion in 2019 so that remittances are a full 10% of GDP there (the U.S. equivalent would be over $2 trillion).


GG was not able to find a schedule of where remittances to Latin American countries come from but it is well know that the majority of Guatemala's comes from the United States.




A recent press report stated that tourism is rebounding in Nicaragua. Let's hope that the domestic situation continues peacefully to allow full restoration as it still is a beautiful country.


Tourism figures slipped dramatically in 2018 versus the previous year, registering a full 30% drop. Actually it was probably worse than that figure because all of the drop occurred in the last 2/3 of the year after the riots began in April so a year to year comparison would not measure the intensity of the drop accurately.


GG was there in October of this year after having elected not to go in 2018. An unscientific assessment by yours truly was that tourism, as measured by encountering fellow visitors on the streets of San Juan del Sur and Granada, was significantly down from previous years.


The good news is that we did not feel threatened by any over-concentration of police or roving para-military squads. Everything seemed back to normal. The drive from the border to San Juan del Sur still passes by beautiful Ometeppe Island (photo) located in the middle of Lake Nicaragua (Lago Cocibolca in Spanish) with its majestic Volcan Concepcion. Once more I didn't get to visit the island directly but it's still on my bucket list for next year.


¡Solo Bueno!




(Rumble and Weather Talk)

(Shaky Happenings and Weather Observations On or About the Pacific Rim)

Rumble - Nothing to Report


Ain't that great? Oh yeah, GG was awakened in mid-November in la madrigada (middle of the night) when the bed shook a few seconds, but it passed. Yeh.


Update - Now this is spooky; just as I was writing the above on the evening of Sunday, November 24 at about 7:30, there was another mild shaker that lasted only a few seconds much like the one mentioned above. Eerie. The U.S. Geological Survey later identified the second shaker as a Richter 5.0 (the University of Costa Rica machine, as usual, registered it at 5.4). It was centered near the town of Pocosol (about 95 clicks east of Liberia, as the macaw flies, and at a depth of about 80 km. That was strong enough to make it felt in virtually all parts of the country including Quepos.


Rainfall - Dry Season Coming Early?


It appears that the dry season is breaking early as the rains in the last two weeks have moderated and we're beginning to see a lot more sun during the day. This is early - mid to late November which is what GG feels as more normal that mid-December is the typical seasonal change.


GG's not complaining, I'll take it, I like beach weather.


¡Pura Vida!

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



Search the Golden Gringo Chronicles Archives for Topics That Interest You


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




Isn't that nice - a 50,000 colone bill in my Christmas Stocking


Wait a minute - that's a 50 colone bill, not a 50,000!




Answer in

section below.


¡Pura Vida!



Profiles in Quepos Series
(Tim Dwyer - How to Embrace a New Culture)

Some people move to Costa Rica seeking a simpler lifestyle. Some come here seeking an investment opportunity while others are just looking to shed the pressure of modern living in a developed country back home. Some, like GG, come here to retire and to enjoy the stunning natural wildness that living in a rain-forest bordering an always warm Pacific Ocean brings you.


Whatever reason given to make the move, the long term success of that decision is directly proportional to the effort one puts into absorbing and embracing the new culture, whatever it may be. Tim Dwyer is a good example of someone who made the effort to be a real part of his adopted culture.


Stratford City Hall

Tim was born and grew up in Stratford, Ontario, Canada. This is a town of modest population named after its sister city in England. Even the river that runs through the Canadian town is named Avon (you know, like Stratford-Upon-Avon). Stratford is the home of the Stratford Shakespearean Festival, a theatre festival that runs the summer season from April to October. In addition to a half-dozen ongoing theatre productions (always some with Shakespearean works), there are a dozen or so museums, art galleries and various themed displays happening almost continuously.


Tim Dwyer

Think you not MacDuff that growing up in a place such as this builds a certain respect for culture and tradition? Methinks yes, Horatio! (Just looking at the pictures of Stratford brings out the Shakespeare in GG).


And what about a love of nature? In addition to growing up in Canada, Tim grew up on a farm near Stratford where he learned how to milk cows and farrow sows (birthing swine - I had to ask what that is). His Mom, Nelda, was a Dutch immigrant and his dad of Irish descent. After high school and a stint in the seminary Tim studied education, design, drafting and Auto-Cad in College. But his interests leaned more towards servicing people than technical/computer work and in 1996 he opened his first B&B in Stratford. He has been in the B&B business ever since (23 years).


One of the things that influenced Tim was: "My father, who passed away in at the tender age of 63 showed me that life is short, so live it where you want to be and who you want to be". So shortly after opening his B&B, Tim made his first visit of one week to Costa Rica in 1998. Things moved quickly after that. Falling in love with the place like a lot of us have, he came back in 1999 for two weeks; then in 2000 he signed up for a one month Spanish course followed by a four week immersion course living with a Tico family. In 2001 he repeated both the one month and four week processes. Now that's how you learn Spanish Horatio. He's been fluent ever since.


In 2002 Tim bought his current property in Manuel Antonio which at that time consisted of a main house where he lives, two 2-BR apartments and 2 studio apartments. He christened it "Casa Nelda" in honor of his Mom. At that point he was now in the B&B business in Costa Rica as well as in Canada.

The Real Nelda

For several years thereafter he split his time between Canada and Manuel Antonio but didn't like the idea of being an absentee landlord half the time in both places. He eventually sold the Canadian operation in 2013 and has since expanded the local complex to add three more apartments.

In addition to his B&B, which keeps him busy, Tim is a writer and a member of our Quepos-Manuel Antonio Writers Group. He writes a blog on self-improvement and regular articles in the local newspaper Playita which is directed towards the LGBTI tourist. He's also involved in community service projects in Manuel Antonio and Quepos helping to organize LGBTI events in the area. Recently, Tim  began and is now working on his first novel based on an interesting character he knew back in Canada.


I asked Tim about his philosophy of doing business and got this reply:


"Treat every tenant as your best client - everybody who is supposed to be here...is."


And what do you think is your basic reason for success as an ex-pat in Costa Rica?


"The fact that I'm conversant in Spanish. To this day most of my friends are Ticos, I am not limited to just the expat community although I know many of them well also". To this Tim added that one should: "Live" in Costa Rica, not in a limited enclave of only English speakers. You can do fine not speaking Spanish here, but you are really not "Living" here".


GG thinks Tim's story is a classic tale of how to do well in a foreign country, virtually any foreign country and certainly in Costa Rica.


Congratulations amigo Tim.


¡Solo Bueno!


Legend of La Yegüita
(and the Dance of the Little Mare)

There are many legends in Costa Rica, pre-Columbian and modern. Sometimes these stories are combined with religious observances or other traditional celebrations. The legend of La Yegüita (pronounced "jay-gwee-tah") is one of these. The story of La Yegüita is celebrated during Christmas month which also happens to be the month when Catholics celebrate many different traditions about the Virgin Mary (one of the more common is December 8th, the feast of the Assumption in many countries).


The legend in question all started with the fact that a range of land running north from Costa Rica through Nicaragua and into southern Honduras, all bordering the Pacific Ocean, was the home to Native Americans of a tribe that called themselves Chorotega.


Over the centuries these people had migrated south from Mexico and occupied the west coast strip of the isthmus across what is now three countries (Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica). In Costa Rica in the time of the Spanish occupation (early 1500's) there was a king called Nicoya which is now the name of the peninsula as well as the name of the largest city there. Nicoya is about 25,000 people and the peninsula is now part of the Province of Guanacaste; the province being the home to more than 350,000.


Basilica del Virgen de Guadalupe

The first Spaniard to enter Mexico was the conquistador Hernan Cortéz in 1519; by 1521 he had conquered the territory for Spain.


The story goes that not long after the occupation of Mexico began, on December 9, 1531, the Virgin appeared to an indigenous peasant named Juan Diego (now San Juan Diego) on a hill near Mexico City. Among her admonitions was a request for a church be built in her honor. Catholic folklore has it that "...the Virgin left behind an image of herself imprinted on Juan Diego’s cloak or tilma. It was made of poor quality cloth that should have deteriorated within decades but instead, nearly 500 years later, the cloak shows no signs of decay".The Virgin of Guadelupe, now the patron saint of Mexico, is usually depicted in art form with brown skin to reflect the indigenous connection, as in the icon above.


The basilica was first completed in 1609 but structural problems became acute by the early 20th century and a reconstruction effort ensued with a reinvigorated basilica opening in 1976. The history of the Virgin of Guadalupe is viewed by many as the point when the indigenous culture of Mexico and the Catholic tradition began to merge, eventually forming the culture of Mexico as we know it today.


Now for the connection to the La Yegüita story. The story takes place in Nicoya. The legend has developed several versions over the years but the following is one of the more common threads (told by a Native American in his own translation):


"One of the legends tells that at the time of the conquest an Indian (Native American from the village of Nicoya - ed.) found a golden streak (vein of gold - ed.) on the road to Curime (about 6 km south of Nicoya - ed.), he was discovered by one of the neighbors, who secretly began to take gold nuggets too. One day the first of the Indians and his wife found the second in the golden streak and both began fighting to the death. The poor woman trembled with fear, knelt down and begged for help from the Virgin of Guadalupe. Instantly a horse (usually depicted as a small black mare - ed.) appeared and stood between the combatants; in front of the miracle the fight stopped and both were saved. From then on, the participation of the Yegüita in the celebrations of the Virgin of Guadalupe began."


Another version has two brothers who got drunk and began fighting to kill each other with machetes (never argue with a man who has a 30" blade in his hand that can slice a coconut in half with one quick move). In this version of the La Yegüita story several townsfolk dropped to their knees and prayed to the Virgin of Guadalupe. Suddenly a little girl appeared and got between the fighters, shamed them and caused them to stop the fighting. The girl then disappeared never to be seen again.


 Festival of La Yegüita (5 mins)

That is why the festival of La Yegüita coincides with the celebration of the La Vergin de Guadalupe, now on December 12, and why the parade that occurs on that date always includes a caricature of a black mare as well as a little girl. The little girl is sometimes represented by a doll and it is understood that the little girl symbolizes the presence of Hispanics and the "spirit" of the Virgin of Guadalupe.


Check out the festival and the parade in the video to the left. The party is enhanced by the use of several marimbas to provide the necessary background music. The festival includes all the food and trimmings one has come to expect in a Costa Rican "fiesta". Watch them (above) make tortillas from corn flour which they mill themselves from those funny looking brown beans and chichi or maize beer (that's the brown liquid the guy is ladling in the big container/ Notice also the tamales in the green banana-leaf wrappers. GG loves Christmas time here with tamales everywhere. Yummers.


During the procession, the dancing that is done is of a Chorotega style and is accompanied only by indigenous musicians (flute players called "piteros"). The person who dances as the mare (called a "first loader") does so within a constructed framework including the black head of a horse. It also represents the domestication of the horse in the new world (recall that there horses in the Americas were extinguished by the ice age of some 13,000 years ago and only re-introduced by the Spanish during the 1500's).


So if you get a chance to pass through Nicoya around December 12 you will likely run into a festival that practices a nearly 500 year tradition called La Yegüita,. Even if you can't make that remember in December in Costa Rica there are many kinds of fiestas and celebrations of tradition in other parts of the countryside and also in the big city (San José). And don't forget the Bright Lites Boat Parade at the Pez Vela Marina in Quepos on or about December 8.


Feliz Navidad amigos!


¡Pura Vida!




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?)


Beating Sciatica


GG injured himself back in the 1970's lifting some heavy stuff related to my furniture business. That resulted in a slipped disk which was relieved by a partial discectomy only to have the next disc up the chain distend. That was treated with steroids and it receded. So it's no surprise that in my golden years I have developed back pain. This year it manifested itself, after a battle with pneumonia, as sciatica, a strong pain down the left leg that made it virtually impossible to walk distances more than about 20 meters.


I have been to physiotherapists, massage therapists, acupuncturists, chiropractors and M. D.s who sometimes made progress but did not totally eliminate the pain. In desperation I started researching the internet and, rather accidentally, found a set of stretches designed specifically to alleviate sciatica pain. After three weeks of ten types of stretches over 20 minutes in the morning I can say that over 90% of the pain has been eliminated. I'll report more next month but in the meantime, here is the YouTube link:




¡Pura Vida!



Travel Quote of the Month


¡A Cachete!


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 cvb gty
The Chronicles as a Narrative

Mariposa - English

Mariposa - Español Small Business Guide
Read More Read More Leer más aquí Read More
dft ikl gyh drt
Overcoming Drinking Making Time Count Spiritual Love Connection Murder or Suicide?
Read More Read More Read More Read More
ser kio awe fty
Getting Around the Capital Retiring in Costa Rica World War II True Story What's the Sleuth Up To?
Read More Read More Read More Read More

There's Room for
More on the QMA Writers Group Bookshelf

Keep Writing Amigos!




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:






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!


"Tell me and I forget; teach me and I remember; involve me and I learn"
Benjamin Franklin


Answer to Que Es Eso?


Found this item in my left-over foreign currency envelope along with some Colombian Pesos and Nicaraguan Cordobas. Don't know how it got there but a cursory search of the internet suggests that the date shown on the bill, 7 July 1993, was the last time small Colone bills were issued in Costa Rica.


Published inflation figures further indicate that 50 colones then are worth the equivalent of just over 10,000 colones now (a ten mil note amigos).


A third cursory search says that collectors are offering between 1,400 and 4,000 colones for one of these 50 notes. I think I'll just keep it around for fun rather than cash it in for a couple of bucks.


¡Pura Vida!




ROMEO Corner
(Retired Old Men Eating Out)

La Dolce Vita - Quepos


Location: Main Street Quepos, south side, half way in on the first block from the Malecón.

Hours: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Sunday thru Monday

Parking: On the street only.

Contacts: Tel: 8402 7661


Reviewing ROMEOS: Bob N., Glen N., Jessie P.


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


This restaurant is under new management (ownership?) since our last visit in June of 2016. It still bills itself as an Italian Ristoranti and pizzeria. The main dining room (shown left) is bright, clean and warm. The only drawback in GG's mind was the chairs which are the standard hardwood Tico variety; though they had a pad it was so thin that it acted as more of a dust cover than padding. The ROMEOs gave a composite score for atmosphere of 4.3/5.0 sloths,


The menu is a simple two sided long sheet that offered a good variety of Italian selections for appetizers and main courses. All three ROMEOs went directly for main courses, two of us choosing osso buco platters and the other a grilled chuleta or large pork chop.


There was a choice of two accompanying vegetables with the main course and GG chose pasta with a fresh tomato sauce and a mixed salad with oil and vinegar, all good. The osso buco was tender (a bit fatty) but with a great flavor.


The dessert offering was limited but did include two types of cheesecake, a Torta Chilena and a humongous chocolate cake. We managed to get samples of all three types and shared them amongst the troops. Yummers, particularly the Torta Chilena.

Value Index= 127


We were served by two ladies who were attentive, courteous and helpful. We gave a composite score for service of 4.7/5.0. That yielded a composite average for ambiance, food quality and service of 4.67/5.0.


For a Gin(ger ale) MIchelada,(meal, tax, legal gratuity and a little extra tip) GG paid just slightly over 16,000 colones (~$28). As a composite score for cost we came up with 3.7/5.0.


That made the Value Index 4.67/3.7x100=127 and puts La Dolce Vita as #7 on our ROMEO list of the 32 active restaurants recently reviewed. See current ROMEO list HERE.


The ROMEOs can report that La Dolce Vita is another good alternative for a tasty meal in a pleasant atmosphere at a reasonable price. Multibeni.


¡Solo Bueno!




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Pura Vida!

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