Costa Rica

A few more things

If you’re used to live in a somewhat orderly place, just don’t consider Costa Rica. As explained above, the traffic is a mess, and roads are one of the most visible signs of the presence of decent government. Police is a joke. In Escazu for example, the office is some shack on the road, way outside Escazu center, and the officer can hardly pronounce proper Spanish. I’m here in December and all day/evening there are fireworks, sometimes huge ka-booms - order and quiet, anyone ? And there’s no military, so it really makes you wonder where tax money goes. It’s true that there’s not much tax to pay but still. But I have to note that if you’re nice with the police officer, he may be nice with you (ie. waive the fines). There’s no doubt in my mind that there are many nice Costa Ricans ! Seasoned business people here tell me it’s tough to do business in this environment, since everything is some deal and the deal keeps on changing especially if you don’t oversee the execution very, very closely. The pervasive characteristic is that most things are local and that there are very few things truly organized nationally with some systematic methodology. I guess there’s always some meddling in national decisions by local (wealthy ?) powers that be. I mean how can you have safe highways if people do their running workout on it or go biking on it ? People (especially wealthier ones) live in their little enclaves and if you’re wealthy you better have good security. Anyways, even in poor neighbourhood people live in houses with huge fences/bars and/or huge rolls of barb wire everywire to keep out intruders. Funny situation: have all the freedom you want due to lack of government, yet live behind bars all the time !

Also note the limited capabilities of the telecommunications industry. There’s a shortage of cell phone lines, you might find it hard to obtain a phone card to make cheap long distance calls and you will encounter many public phone booths out of order or difficult to access due to constant use by neighbourhood people who use it because it’s next to impossible to obtain a regular land line installed in their house. Frequently, especially in the high season, certain places are next to impossible to reach by phone because the line is constantly busy (not sure it’s because the receiving end of the line is occupying the line or because the switches in between are just too busy handling calls for the area).

About Tico Spanish

Some ticos really speak funny I think. Ask a local to pronounce some phrase like “la verdad es que regrese la otra noche en un carro quatro por quatro” and you will notice the funny pronounciation of the “r”. It feels a bit “campesino”.


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