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In This Issue:

1. Broken News (All the News That's Fit to Reprint): 1. GG Returns To The Beach; 2. Five U.S. Passengers Rejected on First U.S. Flight; 3. Independence Day Traffic; 4. The Eagle Has Landed - Upside Down.

2. Economic Drumbeat (Costa Rica Business and Economic Happenings): 1. Sykes Announces Further Expansion; 2. Costa Rica Has Third Highest Salaries in Latin America; 3. Current Unemployment - 24%; 4. It Takes Two To COVID Tango; 5. Concentrix Expanding Again; 6. The Tax Man Cometh.

3. Latin American Updates (Major Events in Neighboring Countries): El Salvador - Constitutional Debate; Nicaragua - Plight of the Refugee Immigrant.

4. Rumble and Weather Talk: 1. Rincon de la Vieja - 3 Eruptions in 15 Hours; 2. Lightning Count YTD 500,000+.

5. Feature 1: When Treasure Fell From The Skies in Costa Rica (Meteorites).

6. ¿Que Es Eso? Department: Puppy On The Beach?

7. Feature 2: Is Your Friend a Tico-Friend? (Thirteen Differences That Make a Friend a Tico-Friend)

8. Health Stuff: 1. Big Names Contract Coronavirus; 2. Rules on Using Masks Change; 3. Avoid Using Cash; 4. Quepos Catches Up With COVID; 5. Examples of How the Virus Spreads.

9. GGC Bookshelf and More: 1. Books from GGC Publications; 2. Golden Gringo T-Shirts and Coffee Mugs; 3. Books from the Quepos-Manuel Antonio and Other Writers Groups.

10. What's-in-a-Word: 1. Answer to Que Es Eso; 2. Comohuevos.

11. ROMEO Corner: Los Tucanes, Quepos


Wisdom of the Ages

A goal for writers from Herman Wouk:


Herman Wouk, one of the great writers of our time, joined the military in 1941 just after the attack on Pearl Harbor. He wrote 22 works of fiction, non-fiction and plays including The Caine Mutiny, The Winds of War and War and Remembrance. Herman Wouk died on May 17, 2019, ten days short of the age of 104. Well done amigo.


THERE ARE NO PAID HOLIDAYS IN COSTA RICA IN OCTOBER AND NOVEMBER. We'll have to make due with Halloween and the numerous festivals of many stripes that pop up in Costa Rica every month.


It's good to be a niño again!






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

GG Returns To The Beach


Now I realize that particular headline would not be of interest to most people in most places, but it is to me. After more than an eight month hiatus due to a several month case of sciatica followed by the COVID shutdown I was able to go to Manual Antonio Beach. I am after all a confirmed and dedicated beach-o-phile and must satisfy that primordial urge when I can.


The bus I happened to select at 9 AM was driven by my favorite bus driver, Herby. He laughed and couldn't stop talking when I showed him my new citizen cédula to get a free ride. The bus trip from Quepos to the beach, which only takes about 15 minutes, went by quickly but gave me plenty of time to inspect every detail of every business along the way. Nothing had changed; nothing. That made me happy.


Just Like Freddie, "I'm Back!"

On the way to the sand from the bus stop at the beach I encountered three of the regular beach attendants: "Bop!" someone cried out. It was good to be home. My old friend Peluca, who has been renting me an umbrella and chair for some 15 years now, broke into a wide smile; "Bop!". Three of the vendors who I had become used to being accosted by for a variety of food items also offered "Bop!". Yes, it was good to be home.


The sun was full but, under an umbrella with a cool pacific breeze, not at all hot. The tide was low with moderate waves making splashing around in the breaking surf doable even for an old seagull like me. The feel of clean salt water against the skin was rejuvenating despite it being mid-rainy season cold, probably in the low 70'sF (brrrr). I assumed a proper prone position on a chair with umbrella and sat there spellbound by the beauty of it all for two hours, my traditional exposure limit to the tropical sun.


How do I describe the feeling of contentment and satisfaction from this mini excursion - I can't; I could only feel it. I finally left after the two hours, turning a bit pink but totally absent of tension and nervousness about anything including the Coronavirus.


I'll be back.


Five Passengers Rejected from First U.S. Flight


Arrivals Hall - SJO; Remember When
You Could Not See the Floor For All The People

The first U.S. flight after the Coronavirus shutdown, United 1085 from Newark, NJ reportedly with 174 passengers, arrived mid-day, September 3 at Juan Santamaria airport in San José. Moments later five of the passengers were rejected entry into Costa Rica. Three of these were for lack of payment of the monthly CCSS (Caja or health) fees. The other two rejections were tourists from unauthorized countries.


One would think that the COVID shutdown would have generated a new period of grace to pay the CCSS, especially for a valid cédula? More to be revealed.


UPDATE: Didn't take long, September 7 to be exact, for the furor over not permitting legal residents into the country because they hadn't paid their Caja. The authorities will deal with that problem in a separate way as they should - you can always deny them public health care until they pay up - just like in the old days.


Independence Day Traffic


We noted last month that a major holiday here, Independence Day (actually September 15 and the 199th such anniversary in Costa Rica), would take place on Monday, September 14 to conform to the new holiday law which focuses on making holidays happen on Fridays and Mondays.


The long weekend created the perfect opportunity for Central Valley people ("comohuevos" - see Whats-in-a-Word below for the origin of this term) to return to the practice of heading for the beaches. Perhaps that was reinforced by an understandable fatigue of dealing with the COVID shutdown, but the traffic that resulted was like the old days. The photo above shows the traffic leaving San José on Saturday, September 12 on Route 27 heading west to the shore.


GG personally waited until after Monday, September 14 to go to the beach to avoid the holiday crowds.


The Eagle Has Landed - Upside Down


One of the most recognizable aguilas (aguila is Spanish for eagle) in Costa Rica is the one that adorns the logo of the national beer company, called Imperial, on every bottle, sign and delivery truck (photo left). The origin of the aguila (some say "aguilita" or small eagle) goes back to historic European royal heraldry, particularly Germany. The aguila logo goes back to more than a decade before World War II when the company was started in 1929.


Recently the logo has reappeared upside down and, according to press reports, that was not an accident or prank but in fact it is being purposely done by the company to emphasize how the pandemic has turned around our country and also how our goal should be to turn the country around again. Said the Director of Public Relations for Imperial:


The New Look

"We want to clarify an issue that has generated a lot of conversation and explain that it is not a mistake. We put the label like this to allude to the fact that for many months we have felt that the world turned upside down and this is our way of sending you the following message: even if the world is upside down, let’s straighten it out together. Just as we are able to turn a bottle of Imperial to see the logo of its label as it should be, we can also turn around what we are experiencing.”


So it's a marketing program designed to help us get through the pandemic. So, will we be chuckling over the "New Look" and collecting them as valuable antiques in years to come or will this go down in the history of marketing foibles as just another "New Coke"? In any event, it sure grabs your attention.


¡Pura Vida!



Economic Drumbeat
(Costa Rica Business and Economic Happenings)

Sykes Announces Further Expansion


Sykes Enterprises, hot on the heals of their July announcement that they were increasing their staff here by several hundred, recently announced they would be opening their new headquarters at Solarium Park in Liberia, Guanacaste Province. This represents the first leap of a high-tech company locating its headquarters outside of the San José GAM (Grande Area Metropolitano). Total employment country-wide at Sykes is expected to exceed 5,000 within a few months. To see what this company does, check the announcement link above.


Costa Rica Has Third Highest Salaries In Latin America


Picodi, an international e-commerce platform that provides discount coupons for online stores, recently published a study that rated Costa Rica as having the third highest average salaries in Latin America. The ranking goes like this (the number in parentheses refers to U.S. dollars per month): 1. Puerto Rico ($1,858); 2. Panama ($774); 3. Costa Rica ($737); 4. Chile ($632); 5. Uruguay ($595); 6. Guatemala ($570); 7. Bolivia ($524); 8. Ecuador ($498); 9. Argentina ($480); 10. Honduras ($469); 11. Mexico ($457); 12. Peru ($455); 13. El Salvador ($375); 14. Paraguay ($348); 15. Brazil ($347); 16. Dominican Republic ($340); 17. Colombia ($310); 18. Nicaragua ($297); 19. Cuba ($36).


Just for reference, of the total of 106 countries studied, Switzerland has the highest average monthly salary at $5,989.


Buen trabajo Ticos.


Current Costa Rica Unemployment - 24%


The Ministry of Labor recently reported that the unemployment rate for Costa Rica had reached 24.4%. To make matters worse the rate includes a 30.2% rate for women.


Incentive programs are in progress according to the Labor Ministry and include: “Better conditions for credits, the reactivation of tourism with strategic markets and the funds announced are the start point for the recovery of many economic activities, specially the most affected sectors that include tourism, rural zones and women”.


Reactivation of tourism has begun recently with the re-opening of U.S. flights from 12 states. The plan now includes opening California on October 1 and other high-population states are sure to follow, particularly Florida and Texas.


It Takes Two to COVID Tango


In the midst of Costa Rica's deliberate attempts to reopen the economy, particularly the tourism sector, the U.S. Centers for disease Control (CDC) issued their latest travel advisory. In relation to COVID, the CDC offers three qualifications or levels: 1) means that you have to be vigilant; 2) that you have to be alert and take greater measures, and 3) is a warning not to fly unless it is essential. How's that for walking the tightrope?


Unfortunately Costa Rica was recently classified as Level 3, don't fly unless essential. Exactly what is "essential" is not defined but obviously it would likely not include tourism. This of course adds to the uneasiness of the restrictions placed on U.S. tourist entries already complicated by testing and insurance restrictions. Looks like it's going to be a long, slow recovery in the tourism sector here.


Concentrix Expanding Again


Back in July of 2019 the Chronicles reported that Concentrix, a technical business services company had begun adding an additional 600 people to their operation in Costa Rica. An announcement this past month noted that the company is now forecasting to add an additional 1,300 employees in the near future to their staff here. The company provides their services to at least 24 of the fortune 500 companies that have operations in Costa Rica as well as to other companies here. The company employs over 235,000 worldwide.


The Tax Man Cometh


Costa Rica has been negotiating with the IMF (International Monetary Fund) on a loan to get them over the drop in revenues that the government has experienced since the COVID shutdown. As part of this deal, IMF required actions to stabilize the economy here such as a new tax on banking transactions. Although it is a small percentage, 0.3% ($3 on a thousand dollars), it will impact virtually all transactions in these areas: ATM withdrawals, Credit and debit card payments, fund transfers including those made by Sinpe Móvil, loan installment payments, foreign exchange operations, stock operations of the National Stock Exchange and check clearing.


The government says the new tax will be in force only four years (yeah, right, until just after the current president's term is complete) and the rate will drop to 0.2% after the first two years. Politicians and lending operations here love to quote national debt as a percent of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) because it's a much smaller number than a fiscal deficit. If you go to the trouble of weeding through the data (at that isn't simple) you'll conclude that the fiscal deficit is between 40 and 50% (% of expenditures that are financed by debt) in 2019 when the government reported a deficit of just under 7% of GDP. They are now forecasting a deficit in 2020 of as much as 10% of GDP.


¡Solo Bueno!



Latin America Updates
(Major Events In Neighboring Countries)


El Salvador


President Bukele

President Nayib Bukele has called for a national debate on revising the constitution for the: "...democratization of the political and electoral system, and the modernization of institutions" claiming that revisions are needed to overcome the "errors, contradictions and gaps" in the document, many of which have been corrected by the constitutional supreme court since the constitution began in 1983.


Bukele says the key provisions of the constitution, such as the alternating of presidential elections, would not be touched. In El Salvador the president is elected to a five year term and can not be re-elected to a second consecutive term but may be re-elected to a second term after sitting out one term, much like the Costa Rican system (except Costa Rica has four year presidential terms). Got that?




The UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) recently stated that conditions for Nicaraguan asylum seekers in Costa Rica were worsening.


The problem started with the aftermath of the antigovernment protests in Nicaragua in 2018 when some 81,000 refugees left the country for greener pastures. It is estimated that some 80% of these, or more than 65,000, settled in Costa Rica seeking asylum. A number of these have tried to return to their homeland in recent months but were often held up by new border entry requirements they could not afford.


The UNHCR report included assessments that some 14% of the asylum seekers eat once or less a day, a significant increase since the pandemic started. Another 63% are only able to eat twice per day.


¡Pura Vida!




Rumble and Weather Talk

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




Rincon de la Vieja erupted three times within 15 hours on September 1-2. Rincon is located about 20 miles from Liberia in Guanacaste Province and is one of Costa Rica's most active volcanoes. OVSICORI, the Volcanological and Seismological Observatory of Costa Rica, reported that the eruptions were largely a mixture of steam and ash that spewed over 500 meters (+1600 ft.) into the air.


Volcanologists suggested this latest activity at Rincon is part of a series that started back in May.




San Jose Looking West

GG is not sure who the lightning counters in Costa Rica are (apparently an organization founded and monitored by the National Electrical Institute - ICE) but they recently reported that their count had already exceeded 500,000 strikes this year through September!


As you might expect, lightning strikes are more prevalent during the rainy season (mid-May to early December) of which we are now in the middle. Typically 150,000 strikes per month are common from June to November.


The report noted that the area west of the Central Valley has the highest record of strikes while the Pacific slope is also an active area.


One tidbit GG found interesting was that the strikes recorded are only those that strike the ground while strikes from cloud to cloud are not counted. Other interesting facts about lightning can be found HERE.


¡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


You can use our Archives to search for anything that has been written in more than 260 feature articles of the Golden Gringo Chronicles plus find Broken News items and ROMEO restaurant reviews. Enter your topic or item to search in the Google Search Routine below and follow the links offered from the search results. Suggestion: Enter only a simple, precise and unique as possible keyword or

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Carol Vaughn is a reporter for the Costa Rica Star, a member of several Writers Groups and an accomplished author in the murder mystery venue (see her latest book here). She recently wrote an article for the Star about real meteorites smashing into a home near San Carlos, Alejuela Province about 100 km NNW of San Jose as the rock flies.


This particular rock turns out to have some interesting importance to the country and world. Here's Carol's story:


When Treasure Fell From The Skies In Costa Rica
by Carol Vaughn

Did you know that meteorites are rarer than gold, platinum, diamonds or emeralds? They are worth as much as $1,000 a gram, meaning that a one kilo meteorite could be worth one million dollars.


Last year, a meteorite fell to earth in La Caporal de Aguas Zarcas, Canton de San Carlos, 57 kilometers north of San Jose. This week the prestigious American Association for the Advancement of Science predicted that same meteorite could hold the secret to how the earth was born.

It seems that a woman was sitting at home watching TV in her pajamas at about 9PM on April 23rd last year, when she heard a crash. She went to investigate, and saw there was now a grapefruit-size hole in her zinc roof. There was a rock wedged between two halves of a folding table – a meteorite had fallen out of the sky and into her casita. At first she wished to remain anonymous, but has since been identified as Marcia Campos Muñoz.

Ms. Campos called her family in amazement. WhatsApp was on fire with neighbors reporting having heard a rumble, then a firecracker, then heard rocks raining down on their roofs. Neighborhood dogs were barking wildly, including Ms. Campos’ dog who had barely escaped a direct hit of space rock to the roof of his doghouse.  The meteorite was still warm, and smelled slightly like Sulphur.

Mauricio Mora, director of the Geology School at University of Costa Rica remarked about this event, “The country has no protocols to manage these situations, like when a meteorite falls at Aguas Zarcas.” The university was skeptical that it was truly a meteorite that had fallen through the woman’s roof. “There are no laws in Costa Rica regarding meteorites.” Meteorite collectors value ones that were witnessed fallen to earth, over ones found later after being rained on or moved to another location.

Marcia Campos Muñoz with Meteorite

The next morning, Ms. Campos called the University of Costa Rica (UCR), and left a message for the Geology Department. She was not sure she would get a response. Geologist Gerardo Soto called her back that afternoon – amazed and enthusiastic. He and his team arrived the very next day with all their scientific equipment, ready to determine if what had fallen through her roof was indeed a meteorite, and if so, exactly what kind.

Soon the event hit the international news, and an elite group of meteorite hunters immediately boarded airplanes bound for San Jose, hoping to witness the meteorite – if it was one – first hand. These were experts, scientists, adventurers and fortune hunters. Many came well-equipped with scales, cameras, and with the finances to make Ms. Campos an offer for the space rock. To her it was still a dusty black rock that had damaged her roof, and almost killed her dog.

Geologist Gerardo Soto stated once he had held the space rock, “I can die now because I saw it.”

After studying the Aguas Zarcas space stone, University of Costa Rica’s geologists concluded that it was in fact a meteorite, one that had the chemical, isotopic and mineralogical makeup of rocks millions of years ago in our solar system. This one was rich in clays, organic compounds, and most importantly, rich in water-bearing minerals called carbonaceous chondrites. This meteorite was invaluable for the study of the origins of the solar system.

The Aguas Zarcas Meteorite

The Aguas Zarcas meteorite became known in the United States as the “Rainbow Meteorite”, due to the lovely rainbow coloring of the space rock. Aguas Zarcas contains complex carbon compounds, likely including amino acids which join to form protein and DNA, and perhaps other even more complex building blocks of life. Scientists were ecstatic. Evidence of the amino acids in the Aguas Zarcas fragment have not been found anywhere else on earth.

“Carbonaceous chondrites are relatively rare among meteorites, but are some of the most sought after by researchers because they contain the best preserved clues to the origin of the solar system,” according to the University of Costa Rica. The Aguas Zarcas fragment contains dust from the ancient, earlier Milky Way, before the earth’s sun was even formed.

The last time such a meteorite had been found in Costa Rica was in 1857, and they named it Meteorite Heredia. Much less was able to be learned from the Heredia, since the science of meteorite study was not as developed as it is today. The Aguas Zarcas meteorite is probably 4,560 thousand years old, scientists believe. The biggest chunk of it, belonging to Ms, Campos, weighs nearly two pounds.

Glorieta Mountain Pallasite - New Mexico - 1884; 148 kg

The discovery of the Aguas Zarcas meteorite caused a frenzy in the area where it was found. News traveled quickly that foreigners were trampling through farms looking on people’s roofs for meteorites, and offering good money for fragments big and small. In addition to the piece that fell through Ms. Campos’ roof, two more large chunks were discovered in the area, as well as many smaller pieces that were found by farmers on their fincas. Children scavenged country roads hoping to find a piece of the meteorite to keep. Neighbors collected roughly 55 pounds of meteorite -- miraculously, before there was the usual April rainstorm -- which would have turned the meteorite fragments into soup.

Farmers reported having heard an explosion and having seen a bright flash of light that night. The meteorite was subjected to heat of 1500 degrees centigrade as it fell, and in fact, Ms. Campos, whose roof the main specimen pierced, said it was hot to the touch. She elected to keep the meteorite for her family. She is currently selling the Aguas Zarcas meteorite privately for a price rumored to be over one million dollars. Most of the other fragments were sold to private collectors – including even the doghouse with a hole in the roof.

Of the three largest meteorite fragments, the biggest piece was purchased by Terry Bodreaux, a retired medical executive, and donated to the Chicago Field Museum in the United States. It weighed in at 1,071 grams. The cost of the purchase was not revealed. Many of the smaller pieces were purchased by collectors, and fragments were sold on Ebay for $100 and up. The most expensive meteorite sold to date was a 1,433 pound specimen from Kiowa County, Kansas, which sold for $1.2 million dollars in 2016.

University of Costa Rica faculty explained the importance of this event, “The Aguas Zarcas event is an extraordinary find and of a great scientific interest at a national and international level that transcends any possible economic value that may be assigned to the fragments.” The Smithsonian Institution in the US explained, “These meteorites give you a sense of wonder, as seeing something extraterrestrial is always very strange. It’s a strange thing to hold a piece of another planet or a rock from space as for most of us, it is the closest we will ever get.”

It is also strange to imagine becoming very rich just by finding a meteorite on your roof, or in your field.


Ms. Campos has commented: “I feel very proud that such an important event for history and science took place in my country, and in my house.”

___ ___ ___


Lyrids (April 2020) Meteor Shower
AS Seen From Colorado Observatory

Thanks to Carol Vaughn for such an interesting, well-written piece. GG looked up the timing of the incident and found it coincides with the annual Lyrids Meteor Shower (photo above) which is one that periodically hits the earth's atmosphere about this time of year.


Because of the COVID shut-in, GG has renewed a relationship with the History Channel where they often expound about Ancient Astronaut Theory. This theory postulates that the earth may have been originally populated by life contained in meteorites carrying complex carbon, nitrogen based compounds and carbonaceous chondrites that are the building blocks of life just like those mentioned in the analysis above. They postulate that these materials either fell here or were carried here by ancient extraterrestrials.


We have so much yet to learn amigos.





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






What's that on the beach, the surfer lady's puppy?






Answer in

section below.






¡Pura Vida!


Is Your Friend a Tico-Friend?
(Thirteen Differences That Make a Friend a Tico Friend)


GG has a very dear Tico friend who, now that I have my citizenship cédula, has become very enthusiastic about me learning Costa Rican culture in more depth. Recently he sent me the following, what he called humorous definitions of what it's like to be a Tico-friend as opposed to just an ordinary friend.


Note that the English translations (italics) are mine but they were reviewed and critiqued by my Tico-buddy:



"Diferencia entre un amigo y un amigo tico!!!" The difference between an amigo and a tico amigo!!!


1. Un amigo es alguien que nunca te pide comida. A friend is someone who never asks you for food. Un amigo tico es la razón por la que organizas una comida. A Tico friend is the reason you organize a meal.



GG and Tico-Friend Jessie

2. Un amigo te pregunta cómo estás. A friend asks you how you are. Un amigo tico te dice que te ves bien, te abraza y te besa. A Tico friend tells you you look good, hugs you and kisses you.


3. Un amigo llama a tus padres señor y señora. A friend calls your parents, sir and lady. Un amigo tico llama a tus padres "mi mama" y "mi tata" A Tico friend calls your parents "my mom" and "my dad".


4. Un amigo puede que nunca te haya visto llorar. A friend may never have seen you cry. Un amigo tico ha llorado contigo, por cualquier cosa. A Tico friend has cried with you, for anything.


5. Un amigo te manda flores y una tarjeta cuando estás internado en el hospital. A friend sends you flowers and a card when you're admitted to the hospital. Un amigo tico se queda a dormir en una silla a tu lado. A Tico friend sleeps in a chair next to you.


6. Un amigo te ofrece el sofá para que duermas. A friend offers you the couch to sleep on. Un amigo tico te brinda su cama, se acuesta en el suelo... y no te deja dormir en toda la noche conversando contigo. A Tico friend gives you his bed, lies on the floor... and he won't let you sleep all night talking to you.


7. Un amigo sabe unas cuantas cosas acerca de ti. A friend knows a few things about you. Un amigo tico podría escribir un libro con las cosas que le has contado de ti. A Tico friend could write a book with the things you've told him about you.


8. Un amigo te lleva 'Acetaminofen' cuando estás resfriado. A friend gives you 'Acetaminofen' when you have a cold. Un amigo tico te hace una sopa de pollo y los remedios que le enseñó su abuela. Y puede que hasta te haga 'el avión' con la cuchara, para que te tomes la sopa. A Tico friend brings you chicken soup and the remedies his grandmother taught him. And he might even make 'the plane' with the spoon, so you can have the soup.


9. Un amigo toca a tu puerta para que le abras. A friend knocks on your door to open it. Un amigo tico abre la puerta, entra y después te dice: ¡Llegué! A Tico friend opens the door, walks in and then says, "I'm here!


10. Un amigo llegara a tu casa a preguntar: vamos a tomarnos algo? A friend will come to your house and ask: are we going to have a drink? Un amigo tico llegará con el litro en mano preguntando: y los vasos? A Tico friend will arrive with a liter in hand asking: and the glasses?


11. Un amigo te pide que le hagas un café. A friend asks you to make him some coffee. Un amigo tico pasa a la cocina y monta la cafetera y hasta le pide azúcar a una vecina si no tiene.A Tico friend walks into the kitchen, starts the coffee maker and even asks a neighbor for sugar if you don't have it.


12. Un amigo puede serlo por un tiempo. A friend can be a friend for a while. Un amigo tico es para toda la vida. A Tico friend is a friend for life.


GG and Tico Friend Jessie

13. Un amigo ignoraría este correo... A friend would ignore this email... Un amigo tico se lo pasará a todos sus amigos pues se siente orgulloso de ser TICO...!! A Tico friend will pass it on to all his friends as he is proud to be TICO...!!

___ ___ ___


Many thanks to my Tico friend Jessie P. for this great summary of what it takes to be a Tico friend. The Tico culture did not get the highest rating for happiness (Happy Planet Index) by being grumpy or allusive; it's the most friendly culture out there.


I would only add to what Jessie said in one way: the differences mentioned above may be humorous but they are also a heartfelt expression of true friendship. Muchisimos gracias amigo.



¡Que bueno!


¡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 any 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?)


Big Names Contract Coronavirus


Mayor Johnny Araya

Just to show that COVID-19 is indeed an equal opportunity disease, the press in August/September reported some Costa Rican big names who have contracted the virus.


The first was Johnny Araya, the current and long-term mayor of San José and sometime presidential candidate. Araya reported that in August his wife tested positive after showing flu symptoms and that in turn triggered the test on Johnny which came in positive, although he was generally asymptomatic.


The result of this was to quarantine the two of them plus two others in their home where Araya continued to perform his duties by remote electronic access. Araya is the third Costa Rican mayor to test positive; the other two were Gerardo Oviedo, the mayor of Santa Ana and Wilber Madriz, the mayor of Puntarenas.


That's The KN Guy In The Center

Not long after the Araya announcement, September 5, an announcement was made that Keylor Navas, probably the all-time best known (and paid) Costa Rican futbol player and goalkeeper had tested positive. Navas, in addition to being the perennial goalkeeper for the Costa Rican national team, has been a major player for Reál Madrid and PSG (Paris Saint-Germain), both powerhouses in international soccer (ooops, I mean futbol).


Reports were that Navas likely contracted the disease in Ibeza, Spain during the UEFA (Union of European Futbol Associations) championship games where several other players also tested positive. He has reportedly completed his quarantine at home with his family in Perez-Zeledon (about an hour southeast by car from Quepos). Getting a little friendly for COVID times in that pic above, aren't you amigo?


Daniel Salas, Minister of Health

On September 16 it was announced that Jorge Eduardo Salas Rodríguez, who had been admitted to Hospital Mexico two days earlier with heart problems, had died. Jorge Salas is the father of the current Minister of Health, Daniel Salas. It also was disclosed that both father and son had tested positive for COVID although Jorge's demise was tied directly to the heart problems and not to the virus and Daniel's case was classified as asymptomatic.


The Salas family is now quarantined at their home in San José. A very rough month for the young minister and his family.


Rules on Using Masks Change


The Old Careta Look
The New Look

In the first half of September the country was still experiencing a strong upward trend in new cases - see the graph below. Consequently the government strengthened the rule that masks masks must be worn "in closed places serving the public."


This happened as people were getting used to, and favoring face shields. The new rule essentially re-classifies the face shield (known here as a "careta") as an accessory that many not be worn by itself; a mask must be used even with the shield (sounds like a very hot combination to me).


To get the list of current COVD-19 restrictions go here: https://cr.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information/.


Avoid Using Cash


Health Minister Selling Debit Card Idea

GG was wondering when they were going to get around to this one. It occurred to me when the COVID restrictions came down that decades ago (1950's or 60's?) the U.S. switched it's paper money to a particular formulation that inhibited the growth of germs and viruses. Had Costa Rica done the same? Evidently not.


The "experts" are now suggesting you avoid using cash and use an electronic form of payment instead of paper money. This one could be difficult to realize as I suspect there is a large swath of the populace that doesn't own debit or credit cards (at least ones that work). This may just be the impetus needed to boost the use of new technology and software that allows you to pay with your cell phone (I don't know one Tico that doesn't have a cell phone).


Quepos Catches Up With COVID


Quepos COVID Stats as of 5 September

While Costa Rica as a whole was slow to develop the disease here, the Quepos area was even slower, thank God.


The table to the left is taken from the Costa Rican Health Ministry and is an update as of September 5. As of that date we had a total of 122 cases in the Quepos area, 63 were still active, 59 have recuperated and there has been one death. By the end of September the case load in Quepos had risen to over two hundred.


Examples of How the Virus Spreads


Costa Rica, despite registering the first confirmed death from COVID-19 in Latin America on March 5, was slow to develop the spread of the virus. Since the surge started in early June we seem to have been making up for that tardiness as we have been experiencing a surge in cases (see chart right).


The first great surge came from the provinces that border Nicaragua but the latest surges have been coming from cantons that border Panama. These are border areas where there is significant temporary migration of workers for work purposes. The Ngöbes people for example, an indigenous group based on the Panama side of the border, is expected to supply as many as 13,000 to help with the coffee harvest. In addition to that some 30,000+ temporary workers from Nicaragua also to help with the harvest.


There were other reasons, referred to in some places as "social bubbles", that worked against the attempts to slow the surge and flatten the curve. A “quinceañera” party (a girl's 15th birthday coming out party similar to a Bar Mitzvah) in the southern province of Corredores which included a large number of guests, a horse show and a clandestine bar reportedly resulted in an explosion of cases in the region. The canton of Corredores went from 38 cases to 650 in two months and fueled an explosion of 1,562% total across the Brunca region which includes Corredores. It was an unfortunate and perfect example of what can happen when crowd gathering rules are ignored.


In the second half of September there was a glimmer of hope in the data as the new case load chart to the right suggests. The rate of new cases leveled off, the number of hospitalizations dropped and the "R-rate" or reproduction rate (number of new cases produced per the number of active cases) also was on the way down.


Let's hope this is not a blip in the data but instead is a sign that we're turning the corner, as some put it.


¡Pura Vida!



Travel Quote of the Month

¡A Cachete!


GGC Bookshelf

The latest book to hit the market is a new book by Robert A. Normand (aka GG, and yes, this is a plug) entitled Las Esferas, Mystery Spheres of Costa Rica. Check out the cover on the list below and click on the "Read More" button to review a synopsis of the work and to order.



GGC Publications 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 various writers groups based in Costa Rica including the Quepos-Manuel Antonio Writers Group.


Here are the books currently on our bookshelf:


cvb uio jio
Las Esferas - English

Mariposa - Español
Mariposa - English

The Chronicles as Narrative
Read More Leer más aquí Read More Read More
gty ikl gyh drt
Small Business Guide Making Time Count Spiritual Love Connection Murder or Suicide?
Read More Read More Read More Read More
ser kio fty
Getting Around the Capital Retiring in Costa Rica Investigate Living Abroad What's the Sleuth Up To?
Read More Read More Read More Read More

gty awe There's Room for
More on the GGC Bookshelf

Keep Writing Amigos!
Casa de Doloros Overcoming Alcohol 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:






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?


Playa Grande Potrero

juiThat was no puppy, just a pussy cat...a BIG pussy cat, in fact it's a full grown jaguar, the largest wild cat in Costa Rica.


The report of the siting was filed by two ladies* who were surfing Potrero Grande Beach (map) in the northwestern corner of Costa Rica not far from the border with Nicaragua.


GG has talked about exploring this area for a long time because the photos of the beaches in that region, near the Gulf of Papagalo, are outstanding. Gotta see it. Potrero in Spanish has the connotation of "pasture".


Truly a magnificent animal but I think I'd paddle a little up or down beach before coming out of the water.


* The two ladies filed their report on Instagram under @sarahkamalani and @lea.annah.


Comohuevos (see article on Independence Day in Broken News Section)


Literally translated this means: "Egg-eaters". This is a term used in humor and was first used years ago when Costa Rican roads were much less developed than they are today. It refers to people from the Central Valley who used to make the long trip (as much as 4-5 hours; now less than two) from the big city to the beaches here. People would take snacks with them on the bus or in the car to fend off hunger. One of the easiest food items to take was hard-boiled eggs. If you use this term with the vendors at the beach they know exactly what you mean and will smile.


¡Pura Vida!




ROMEO Corner
(Retired Old Men Eating Out)

Restaurant: Los Tucanes, Quepos


Location: Across from Quepos Hospital on the Costanera Sur

Hours: 7 am to 6 pm daily except Sunday is 9 am to 6 pm. Basically a breakfast and lunch place.

Parking: In front of the restaurant and adjoining mini-market.

Contacts: Tel: 8665-3232.

Reviewing ROMEOS: Alma L., Bob N., Julia S., Tim. D.


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


You can tell from the restaurant hours (closes at 6 pm) that it basically focuses on breakfast and lunch. The decor is business sleek with hard tables and chairs and little decoration but very clean (GG has never seen a rest room in Costa Rica that spotless).


This is a new restaurant built adjoining a minimarket by the same name. It's very convenient if you happen to be tied up for some time, such as waiting on prescriptions from the pharmacy at the hospital (a monthly event for GG). It's already got that attention: one of the patrons who walked in while we were there was my regular doctor whom I had seen for a check up just three days before.


The ROMEOs composite score for ambiance was 3.4 out of a possible 5.0 sloths.


The simple menu offered a fairly broad selection of local specialties like burritos and nachos but also some seafood dishes and costillas (ribs) as well as a few daily specials.


GG chose a costilla daily special which consisted of a small salad (fresh and tasty), a plate with a sizable grilled rib bathed in a very good and mild barbecue sauce, pureed potatoes and a mélange of squash and green vegetables. It was all quite fresh and tasty and the plate special later came with a small piece of cheesecake.


Other ROMEOs selected 1) a piece of mahi-mahi with a fruits de mar sauce, 2) a chicken burrito and 3) a vegetarian plate. All reported good results and the composite score for food quality came in at 4.0/5.

Value Index= 132


We were served by a young man named Alissandro who was very attentive and polite. The composite score for service came in at 4.5/5.0. That resulted in a composite average score for ambiance, food quality and service of 4.0/5.0.


For my costilla plate, including the salad, the main plate, a small batido, a diet coke and the small piece of cheesecake, the bill came to 7,500 colones (about $12.50) including tax and required gratuity. The composite score for cost came in at 3.0/5 making the Value Index 4.0/3.0 = 133 which is in the top 1/3 of our ratings for value compared to other restaurants in the area.


Other comments registered by ROMEOs: "Very good service - food tasty", "The traffic was noisy but the food was good & plenty of seafood in the fish sauce".


The ROMEO group can easily recommend Los Tucanes for a quick, or even a more involved, lunch at a very good value.


¡Solo Bueno!




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The Golden Gringo Chronicles is a free newsletter that is non-political, non-commercial and, hopefully, informative and entertaining. By signing up you will receive an email each month around the first of the month giving you the links to the latest edition as well as to each individual feature and departmental section.


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Pura Vida!

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