The Costa Rica Colon… Stronger than the US Dollar!

For my friends at Calculated Risk… Quantitative easing. Dollar versus a third world currency.

Okay, other than being a “man bites dog” story, I’ll move on. Draw your own conclusions. Page 2:

Customer Service in Costa Rica… Oxymoron or cruel joke?

I admit I’m an internet addict. I went without for a week thanks to ICE and their horrible customer service. Call their support, wade through a half dozen menus, get transferred to technical support, listen to the same music and announcements for a half hour before getting disconnected. Yeah baby! I made 3 more calls to their regular customer service to report my problem, and never got a peep out of them. I switched to cable internet and as far as I am concerned ICE can kiss my pale tushie.

I’m not one of those who thought that CAFTA was going to work magic, and it definitely hasn’t in any way that I care about. You can get a cell phone through several different companies, but signal strength still sucks in the places I call from my land line. When Claro and MoviStar start building towers I’ll be impressed. I hope somebody will let me know when construction begins. Probably about when they put up those street signs and assign addresses to homes and businesses.

Page 3: How to translate “Pura Vida” into Russian…

Back in the old commie days, there was a common phrase in use, “nichivo” which basically meant “who cares?” or “nothing can be done” a little more literally. The pura vida ethic can sometimes be translated that way. They truly just don’t care. I am fond of the low pressure attitude here except when I try to get something done. I have arranged my life to not need to do a lot, so my life is a lot less stressful than gringos who come down here to make a fortune. They often end up cursing the country and considerably poorer.

The “justice” system here is essentially useless to the average person. The old saying “Justice delayed is Justice denied” results in Justice Denied here pretty consistently. I was recently involved in a low rent extortion play done to me by a Tico who knew he had no right to demand money for giving back what was in his possession by accident, but he did it knowing he would be immune from prosecution because there is no real law here unless you have connections. I am looking into filing a complaint against him just to piss him off and take up his time. He deserves it. I don’t expect to get my money back but a little justice feels good in this justice-free system.

Page 4: Consideration… Forgetaboutit. I’ve posted before about what a pain it is trying to walk in this town. We have narrow sidewalks crowded with people and a kiosk or two every block to make it nearly impossible to get through. That’s bad enough even if everybody walking was paying attention, but when you walk downtown it seems more like NOBODY pays attention. It’s very common that somebody walking in front of you will suddenly stop to look in a window or whatnot, as if nobody could POSSIBLY be walking right behind them on the crowded sidewalk. Equally common are people stopped in the middle of a narrow sidewalk chatting, leaving no room whatsoever for anybody to get by. And imagine this… you are carrying something heavy, like a microwave you had to wait three weeks to get a replacement for, and people are chatting, blocking the sidewalk. They see you. Do you expect them to get out of the way? Silly gringo! No… you’ll have to either say something or just plow through. Being rather large, and having put up with this lack of consideration for seven years, I am more and more inclined to just plow through.

Okay, all apologies for being negative. I’ve just been unusually busy lately trying to actually get things done. The locals have a better approach… you can’t fail if you never try.

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  1. mauricio corleto says:

    That is 100% true !!! "PURA VIDA" of what ?…. who knows ???

  2. ICE's a pain if you have to go into the office, unless you know about the small branch offices that rarely have a line. Their service in keeping up our electricity and internet is, I know you won't believe, it, better than what I experienced in the States. You can put in a trouble-ticket on-line and in far less than 24 hours they've got a truck out here to our house and spend sometimes 1 or 2 hours figuring out the problem for us. They have improved a lot in the last couple of years, probably due to competition breathing down their necks, which is due solely to CAFTA.

  3. claudia says:

    I thought your article was going to be about the strength of the Colon instead we get to read about your unhappiness and criticism about a country that IS NOT YOURS and you are living there BY CHOICE! unless somebody kidnap you and took you there???? did they??? . It sounds like you should come back to the states and deal with the NIGHTMARE of customer service from AT&T! You sound angry and bitter and can't not get used to the fact that YOU LIVE BY CHOICE IN A DIFFERENT COUNTRY. By your story i rather deal with the companies in CR than here in the US!!!! I don't expect morons like the ones who work at AT&T to behave like in a 3rd world country but in my case I had to literally CANCEL my entire service and account with AT&T because after 14 phone calls and after speaking with 3 SUPERVISORS they COULD NOT FIGURE OUT HOW TO SHIP A NEW MODEM TO REPLACE THE ONE THAT BURN!!!! Are you F%$#@*ng KIDDING ME???? No internet for a MONTH waiting on their LAME excuses why it didn't ship the first, second and third time!!! WOW!!!!!!! the biggest phone company in the world can not figure out such a MUNDANE request!!!. MY blood pressure was SKYROCKETING and decided that my health was not worth their stupidity so i canceled and signed up with Time Warner… I AM HAPPY AND STRESS FREE SINCE I DROP AT&T and WILL DISCOURAGE ANYBODY AND EVERYBODY TO DROP AT&T!!!! I WILL FOREVER BAD MOUTH AT&T 'CAUSE THEY DESERVE IT… Happy net surfing!!!!

  4. got Surewest fiberoptic here in the slums in Sacramento, no problems, great reception and only trouble I have is figuring out how to hook up accessories, like Roku box, dvd writer, etc. ‘course we are pretty close to one of the transmitters.

    Don’t mind Dan. He has high expectations.

  5. Yes, agreed, go HOME, wherever it is, this is not a subsidiary of Wall Street, yet!!!!
    Let me know when you're heading out, I'll go to your farewell party.

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