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(506) 2223-1327               Published Friday, March 12, 2010,  in Vol. 10, No. 50     E-mail us
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This is a great weekend to get out and have fun
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

This is a great weekend for expats and tourists as Costa Ricans celebrate the so-called summer, which is drawing to a close.

The Municipalidad de San José has a three-day arts festival that starts Friday. Sunday is the national day of the boyeros, the oxcart drivers, who will lead their animals uphill from Escazú Centro to San Antonio.

Also Sunday is the gallo pinto festival in Paseo Colón sponsored in part by the municipality and a rice and bean marketer.

Each of the events is a dream for amateur photographers or for those who just want to enjoy a change of pace.

Costa Ricans call the dry season summer. March is a month when sprinkles move in to dampen Easter worshippers, and April begins the rainy season again.

The Festival de Verano Transitarte 2010 is a gigantic party at four parks around town. There are activities at Parque Morazán, Parque España, Jardin de Paz (the small park south of the Escuela Metálica), Parque Nacional, the Plaza de la Libertad near the Tribunal de Supremo de Elecciones (in front of the Registro Público), the Boulevar Paseo de las Damas that passes north of Parque Nacional and in the Plaza de la Democracia.

The festival kicks off with the Banda de San José  at 7:30 o'clock tonight. This is the seventh year.

Nearly every aspect of culture is showcased in the festival, including tango professionals from Mendoza, Argentina, who will close the event with a show at 8:30 p.m. Sunday night. There even is a fashion show put on by the Ñ store.
Some of the special guests include Julieta Pinto, a pioneer Costa Rican woman writer, Diana Valverde Bermúdez, an Ad Astra Rocket engineer, and Hanna Gabriela, the international boxing champion.

There are special provisions for senior citizens, too.

There also are sporting events, including the second Central American amateur boxing championships, cheerleading, table tennis, martial arts and what is being called extreme sports.

Some of the street performers are from the Compagnie des Quidams, identified as a French troupe.

More information and a program is available HERE!

Where's the beef?

For those wanting to know where's the beef, Escazú is the place. The gathering of the oxcart drivers in Escazú comes at the same time as a seven-day folklore festival that will not only be in the various communities of Escazú but at various
festival preparation
A.M. Costa Rica photo
Tents for the festival were going up Thursday.

Bueyes and girl
A.M. Costa Rica file photo
Giant, gentle oxen are the feature performers

malls and schools through the week.

The oxcart drivers gather Saturday, but the big event is the parade and the blessing of the animals at the end of the march in San Antonio Sunday. The bueyes and the carretas are the signature heritage of Costa Rica. Of course there is food and drink at the end of the march, but neighbors along the way sometimes set up little food stands to handle any urgent hunger.

The Día Internacional de Boyeros is one of the two big events of the year featuring the giant oxen. The other is the parade at the start of the Christmas season in San José.  The day also is a working one for some oxcart drivers who buy and sell oxen and the carts in the plaza in San Antonio.

Free gallo pinto

The gallo pinto festival Sunday morning in Paseo Colón has become an annual event with 90,000 plates of gallo pinto served last year. It is all free, and the major attraction is watching the chefs whip up quantities of gallo pinto in gigantic fry pans.

Meanwhile, at expat bars in San José and all over Costa Rica, tourists and residents are getting a start on St. Patrick's Day, the international day of the drinker, which is Wednesday.


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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, March 12, 2010, Vol. 10, No. 50

Costa Rica Expertise
Costa Rica Expertise Ltd http://crexpertise.com E-mail info@crexpertise.com Tel:506-256-8585 Fax:506-256-7575

Vision 20/20
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Professional Directory
A.M. Costa Rica's professional directory is where business people who wish to reach the English-speaking community may invite responses. If you are interested in being represented here, please contact the editor.


Real estate agents and services

MARGARET SOHN
with Great Estates of Costa Rica

20 years Costa Rican
real estate experience

Member of the Costa Rican Real Estate Association, Lic. #1000

Member of
Costa Rican-American Chamber of Commerce

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Collection services

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Legal services

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Attorneys at Law and real estate brokers
Relocation services, Wedding Planning
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We offer real estate law, due diligence and escrow services,residency status, business corporations, estate planning. English, Spanish, German and French spoken.
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The registration of Burke Fiduciary S.A., corporate ID 3-101-501917 with the
General Superintendence of Financial Entities (SUGEF) is not an authorization to operate. The supervision of SUGEF refers to compliance with the capital legitimization requirements of Law No. 8204. SUGEF does not supervise the
business carried out by this company, nor its security, stability or solvency.
Persons contracting its services do so for their own account and at their own risk.
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Our Law Office is conveniently located near Mall San Pedro,  350 meters south from the Subaru dealer, Los Yoses, San José.
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Appraisers

BEFORE YOU BUY and OVERPAY
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ask Angela Jiménez
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Acupuncture physician

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Accountants

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• Accounting for US and International Financial Reporting


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E-mail jrtb_1999@racsa.co.cr
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Web page with vital U.S. tax info HERE!
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Hearing consultant

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Our readers' opinions

It's not all about money

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

Thank God, not everyone thinks like Mr. Khalsa with regard to motorcyclists wearing helmets.  There are certainly many level-headed motorcycle riders who cherish life and will conform to wearing helmets to prevent injury, often fatal, to themselves. 

I ask Khalsa if he has ever seen a person with severe brain injury and the debilitating life those with injuries of that type are forced to live with.  Many motorcyclists are diligent about maneuvering the traffic patterns in Costa Rica, but there is also a population of risk takers who weave in and out with no regard for the safety of others. 

If every driver (motorcyclists and car drivers) became more aware of others on the roadways, perhaps the need for helmets wouldn't be a necessity.  Of course, bicycles should be included in the helmet requirement. 

I urge Mr. Hari Singh Khalsa to visit a brain injury unit and see what he thinks after listening to some of the stories of why the people are in that unit.  It is NOT all about the money!

Ann Boyd
Santa Ana

There's little oil-based plastic

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

Had a real good laugh this morning, reading the tirade against motorcycle helmet laws.  I guess the writer simply doesn’t recognize the safety element.  As for his contention that oil = plastic = more money for big business, he is likewise unaware that there may well be other ingredients in the manufacture of these helmets, such as epoxy resins, various metals, polycarbonates, etc., with, in fact, little oil-based plastic used at all.  Maybe he would change his mind if he just one time had to scrape some unknown hero’s brains off the pavement, following a simple choque involving one of the aforementioned motorcycles.
John G. Dungan, R.N.
Aguacate de Tilaran

Three-wheelers, too

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

Sir, In response to Mr. Hari Singh Khalsa comment on helmets! I have a Piaggio APE and am on my second Bajaj Torito. About a year and a half ago, I and another Tico were ticketed for not using helmets while driving our Toritos. We appealed the tickets (through a lawyer).

About 10 months later we got the answer that these vehicles are in a class not covered by the Ley de Transito! In other words, due to the fact that they have bodywork, front windshields, and tops, helmets are not required with these vehicles!

Of course on Feb. 16 last, I got another ticket for no helmet! The officers computer had the new law in it, so I got a ticket, even though the new law had not gone into effect (the old law did not cover three wheels) and the fact that I had a written answer saying that I did not need a helmet from transit officials. 

Of course, I filed an "impugnacion"! Since 1 March, of course, I have been using a helmet. Every one should be aware that Transito has the ability, under the new law to determine their own regulations concerning unique vehicles. I would like to suggest that everyone with the concerns of using helmets with these three-wheel vehicles, get ahold of transito to hopefully push for the new classification of these vehicles!

Paul Meister
Miramar

An insurance conspiracy

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

The helmet law in the U.S.A. was contrived by the insurance companies.  It is another example on how big corporations control how we live.  They bribe, oh I mean lobby, our elected officials to pass laws to favor them. 

Example: A corporation lobbies Washington spending $10 million on bribes. In return they make $40 million on savings from medical claims and not keeping people alive under comas, netting a hansom $30 million profit. 

This is a common practice in U.S.A. politics.  The helmet law added gross amounts of profits for the insurance companies. BUT my major complaint was why hasn't my insurance premiums gone down, if we were the ones saving all of that money for the insurance companies?

Now the dysfunction of all this, there is a lot less riders in comas.  These people were excellent donors for organs.  Lots of them young riders, with fresh organs.  The inexperience riders on crouch rockets. 

In retrospect there has been a shortage of organ donors since the helmet law in California and other states where the law exists.  Which opened up the arena of the organ black market. 

I have been a rider for over 35 years.  I live to ride and ride to live. With or without a helmet.
Steve Petretti
Coronado, Osa

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A.M. Costa Rica guide

This is a brief users guide to A.M. Costa Rica.

Old pages
Each day someone complains via e-mail that the newspages are from yesterday or the day before. A.M. Costa Rica staffers check every page and every link when the newspaper is made available at 2 a.m. each weekday.

So the problem is with the browser in each reader's computer. Particularly when the connection with the  server is slow, a computer will look to the latest page in its internal memory and serve up that page.

Readers should refresh the page and, if necessary, dump the cache of their computer, if this problem persists. Readers in Costa Rica have this problem frequently because the local Internet provider has continual problems.

Searching
The A.M. Costa Rica search page has a list of all previous editions by date and a space to search for specific words and phrases. The search will return links to archived pages.

Newspages
A typical edition will consist of a front page and four other newspages. Each of these pages can be reached by links near the top and bottom of the pages.

Classifieds
Five classified pages are updated daily. Employment listings are free, as are listings for accommodations wanted, articles for sale and articles wanted. The tourism page and the real estate sales and real estate rentals are updated daily.

Advertising information
A summary of advertising rates and sizes are available for display and classifieds.

Contacting us
Both the main telephone number and the editor's e-mail address are listed on the front page near the date.

Visiting us
Directions to our office and other data, like bank account numbers are on the about us page.


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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, March 12, 2010, Vol. 10, No. 50


murla in Playas del coco
Photos by Leslie Zelinsky
Passerby takes in the sprawling mural that mimics the beach
An ugly wall becomes a work of art in Playas del Coco
Lucas Rivera
Lucas Rivera in front of his mural
Special to A.M. Costa Rica

Playas del Coco residents have turned an eyesore wall into a work of art.

The project came about because Ocotal resident Dean Anderson dislikes the wall, which is on private property in the Pacific beach community. Lucas Rivera, the man who oversaw the mural project, said that Anderson considered the wall, which had become a garbage collection point, to be smelly, dirty and just plain ugly.

So the Ocotal resident pressure washed the wall and applied stucco in preparation for the mural. His original idea was embellished by local artists, children, foreigners, and residents who painted a view of the ocean with silhouettes of people, fish, boats, islands, plants, blue sky, and the sea.  The project had the effect of sensitizing residents to beautifying the town.

There is a lot of community interest in Coco now, residents report.  There are many young Ticos and foreigners who are putting their heads together for ideas regarding beautifying the town, they said.


Erosion of the language makes usage more complex
Isn’t it wonderful? Nobody has problems any more.  Instead, we have issues.   

I’ve decided, however, that this substitution really isn’t so wonderful.  It seems to me that it makes us even more contentious than we have been.  Now, that’s a problem. 

In my dictionary, the first definition of problem is “a question proposed for solution or consideration.”  The second definition is “a question, matter, situation or person that can be perplexing or difficult.” 

The first definition of issue is:  “An outgoing or outflow.”  It is only when we get to the sixth definition that we get “matter or question to be disputed or decided.” 

Our new words are becoming less and less real.  They don’t bring to mind any concrete pictures or meaning — just vague suggestions.  Yesterday I heard a newscaster describe a teenager as “cognitive delayed.” Question: Should this be “cognitively”?   (It’s obviously not a serious condition since I was cognitive delayed in grasping his meaning.)   I won’t mention other words that have changed. You can think of them yourself. Have we already entered a Brave New World?  We seem to be afraid of more and more real and imagined threats, and now even words are seen as threatening.

Right now the bravest people in the world seem to be the Iraqis.  They faced and endured real threats in order to vote.

Lest I begin to sound like the grammarian William Safire in his nitpickingest days, let me say I don’t mind the introduction of new words. Technology has made them necessary, and some are wonderfully descriptive — or become so quickly because they are unique. Google, the verb, for instance, is self-descriptive if you are Internet savvy.  My complaint is that we are eliminating simple, direct words for words that already have a heavy load of definitions. There are other overburdened words like awesome, absolutely, and, well, the word like.  But I won’t criticize the use of that word because I think it is a substitute for you know, a conversational habit I have been trying to break for like, you know, years.
Butterfly in the City
 
. . .  Musings from San José

By Jo Stuart
jostuart@racsa.co.cr

Jo Stuart photo


Even in Spanish the word for problem (problema) is simple and translated means problem.  Issue (cuestion, tema) on the other hand, just as in English has multiple meanings, some involving a series of words to define. So now I don’t have medical or psychological problems that my health provider and I could solve. 

I have medical issues about which my doctor and I can dispute and hopefully, eventually decide.  Not a bad idea — unless you’ve tried disputing a doctor lately.

Many words in Spanish have to do double duty, too.  But every now and then the language makes it easy to grasp.  After nearly two weeks of cold, cloudy and windy days, not a joy to walk in, the weather suddenly changed, and the sun appeared with demanding intensity.  Someone once told me you could tell the difference between a Tico and a foreigner because Ticos walked on the shady side of the street and Gringos walked on the sunny side.  I became one with the Ticos this week, searching for every bit of shade I could find, whether from trees or awnings or buildings.  I would use a hat except that the comforting breeze would mean clutching it constantly. 

I have decided to get a sombrilla.  I already have a paraguas, which is an umbrella for rain.  A sombrilla is an umbrella for  the sun, smaller than a paraguas so you don’t have to dodge every other pedestrian.
 
So now I have a sombrilla for the summer season (aka tourist season) and for the winter (aka green season).

Pura vida.  A phrase that has more meanings than a cat has lives.

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You need to see Costa Rican tourism information HERE!

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, March 12, 2010, Vol. 10, No. 50

Escazú Christian Fellowship
xx
Guoadalupe Missionary Baptist Church

Birds
of a feather


Humans have the walls and the concrete chairs as well as places around the fast food exits. But where do pigeons hang out? The answer, it seems, are the skylights for the Museos del Banco Central that for some reason the well-fed pigeons prefer.
pigeon place
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Agents block new sea route north for cocaine shipments

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Investigators have confiscated 840 kilos of cocaine that was being moved north along the Pacific coast.

Some 440 kilos were located in a launch that the Guardacosta intercepted near the eastern shore of the Nicoya peninsula.  The local agents Thursday found 400 kilos buried in a pit.

Three persons were detained, and officials are seeking others. They said the operation was a joint Costa Rica-Colombian effort.

The investigation also disclosed a new two-step route for drugs. The drugs were believed to have been hiding along the Río Sierpe in the Osa Peninsula. The boat that was
intercepted was moving drugs north to a property that the Judicial Investigating Organization said was at Playón on the Isla Jesusita in the Gulf of Nicoya.

The sparse population, the heavy cover and the many inlets make the Osa region a prime area for offloading drugs.

The three persons detained were the captain of the boat, 50-year-old Luis Loría Granados and two men on the island, Aniel Camareno Vivas, 34, and José Esquivel Barrantes, 19.

Agents said that another man, also believed to have been involved in drug trafficking, vanished while making a run from the Osa north. They are not sure what happened.

They suspect foul play.


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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, March 12, 2010, Vol. 10, No. 50

Medical vacations in Costa Rica

Blaze flares up again
in Guanacaste park


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Strong winds have fanned a forest fire in the Parque Nacional Diaria in Santa Cruz, the national emergency commission said.

The agency has declared an alert. The fire started a week ago and flared up Wednesday after being controlled, the agency said. The fire has burned about 100 hectares, some 247 acres.

The park contains the water sources for Santa Cruz, and officials think that this is threatened by the blaze.

The blaze is mainly in the leaves of the trees, so there has not yet been serious damage to the environment, the agency said.

The Guanacaste area is excessively dry this year due to the El Niño phenomenon in the Pacific. Rainfall has been scare and this is the dry season.

Temperatures higher than normal also complicate the work of the firemen.


Chile's new president
takes office amid quake


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Chile's new conservative president, Sebastián Piñera, took office Thursday as another series of strong aftershocks shook his country, rattling nerves and prompting a tsunami warning that was later lifted.

The U.S. Geological Survey says the strongest aftershock had a magnitude of 6.9 and was centered in Chile's Libertador O'Higgins region, about 145 kilometers southwest of the capital, Santiago. 

It was one of the strongest aftershocks to hit the nation since an 8.8-magnitude earthquake in late February killed about 500 people. 

The shaking was felt by dignitaries who gathered for Piñera's inauguration at the congressional building in the coastal city of Valparaiso, 130 kilometers west of Santiago.  Buildings there shook and windows rattled, but the inauguration proceeded without interruption. 

President Piñera, later took a helicopter tour of quake-affected areas, including the coastal town of Constitucion, which was ruined in the initial quake.

Piñera succeeds Chile's first female president, socialist Michelle Bachelet, who is barred from a second consecutive term.  A Harvard-educated economist, Pinera is expected to steer the Chilean economy toward more free market policies.

The State Department congratulated Piñera on his inauguration Thursday, saying the United States looks forward to working with him to deepen the partnership with Chile.

Piñera's inauguration marks the first time a conservative has led the country since democracy was reinstated in 1990.

Ms. Bachelet leaves office with high public approval ratings, despite criticism of the government's initial response to the initial quake Feb. 27.

Wednesday, the head of Chile's emergency management agency resigned in the fallout over the failure to issue a clear warning about the tsunami that followed the quake.

The Chilean government has said reconstruction will cost about $30 billion and that it will take three or four years to rebuild the country.
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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, March 12, 2010, Vol. 10, No. 50


Latin American news
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Stiff traffic penalties
may have a soft spot


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The new traffic law may have a heart after all.

The new law, which went into effect March 1, provides for stiff fines and jail for violators, although lawmakers are watering down some penalties.

So naturally without regard for social status or business connections, the Tribunal de Flagrancia has approved an alternative sentence for a man who was caught after his car was in a collision at Parque Nacional Wednesday. He only tried to flee a little bit.

Traffic police said he scored 2.47 grams of alcohol per liter of blood, well above the drunk threshold of .75 grams.

But a judge decided Thursday that because the man had no convictions for the last five years he would be eligible for suspending the judicial process. Instead, the man has to do 100 hours of community service and pay a 500,000 colons fine, about $925.

The fine should not be a problem. The man, José Rafael Brenes Vega, happens to be the general manager of the Bolsa Nacional de Valores, the national stock market.

Perhaps judges felt that having his photo splashed full width Thursday on the front page of El Diario Extra was sufficient punishment.


Country's splendor placed
on exhibit in Turrialba


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The  Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza in Turrialba has opened a new exhibition hall that is seen as the beginning of a scientific and educational park.  The research center is also known as CATIE.

José Joaquín Campos, director general of the institution, said that the hall is important to tourism and cultural development of the region, according to the center.

“Costa Rica Objetivo Pura Vida” is the first exhibition. The show is some 60 images of the country's natural splendor taken by four well-known Spanish photographers:  Eduardo Blanco, José Benito Ruiz, Isabel Díez and Cristóbal Serrano. The exposition was produced by the Spanish Embassy and is being presented in conjunction with the Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad (INBio).

The Jardín Botánico of CATIE will host the exposition until April 30 from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, the center said. Admission is 1,000 colons for residents and $6 for foreign visitors. The center is two kilometers south of Turrialba.







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What we published this week: Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Earlier
The contents of this page and this Web site are copyrighted by Consultantes Río Colorado 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007  and 2008 and may not be reproduced anywhere without permission. Abstracts and fair use are permitted.  Check HERE for details