Sunday, October 23, 2011

I Blew Out My Flip-flop, Stepped on a Pop-Top

The last 10 days here in Playa Hermosa, Guanacaste, have been rainsoaked (way more than usual) with some big surf that has eroded the beach significantly (we don't have any surf normally, so big surf is pretty unusual). Tropical depression Irwin was parked off the Pacific coast of southern Mexico for a week or so and threw a whole crapload of angry ocean at us, as well as 3-5 inches of rain every day for the last week and a half.

This afternoon Carla, Laila and I went down to the beach in front of AquaSport to enjoy low tide and an ocean that was back to its normal calm - swim-able for Laila. I was pretty amazed at how the face of Playa Hermosa's beach had changed. The sand has been eroded down anywhere from 1 - 3 meters and had exposed sand bags, beach logs, trash, shells and even some bones that had been long buried under its beautiful sands for years. I've never seen so many shells on our beach. Carla say's she hasn't seen surf like we've had, or this many shells on the beach in over 10 years.

And I don't doubt her. Why? Remember Pull-tabs (a.k.a. pop-tops) on beer and soda cans? Well, they're back on the beach in Playa Hermosa. Pull-tabs tossed by litter bugs sucking down cold ones back in the 80's - and before - have been unearthed by Mother Nature and are now back on the beach in the light of day after being buried for more than 20 years! And they're all over the place.

I showed one that I found to Carla and asked her if she knew what it was. She had no clue. So I filled her in and she looked at me in quasi-disbelief (born 1977). I told her how we would collect these things and make chains out of them by putting the tab through the ring and bending it over. I told here how most ended up underfoot for someone to step on, and how society became so fed up with the ubiquitous pull-tab that a race for a better "no throw-away" solution for opening a beverage can was born - how someone came up with the stay-on-tab in direct response to the proliferation of pull-tabs discarded throughout every corner of the natural landscape - especially on beaches where bare footed beach combers were shredding their feet on aluminum pop tops (Blew out my flipflop! Stepped on a pop top!).

Nothing like a little nostagia here in Paradise!

Pura bierra!

P.S.: Beverage Can history. Pretty interesting. I had forgotten about press-button tops! But then, I'm a geezer! LOL!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Paradise Social Goes Live!

Last week was a pretty big week for me. I launched my new company, Paradise Social! It was inspired by a perceived need to reach out to small businesses with respect to their social media presence and offer them affordable, out of the box services for them to engage their customers - current and prospective - and grow their businesses. Social media marketing and publicity can be mystifying to many small business owners. And it takes time and effort to cultivate and grow a follower base, which takes small business owners away from actually running their core business.

Paradise Social offers "Affordable Social Media Marketing and Publicity to Small Businesses in Paradise". It's great news and I'm really excited about it. Click the links below to find out more about us. And please LIKE/ADD/FOLLOW me!

I'm going to be blogging a little less here at Guanacaste CR. But I won't abandon my followers altogether. Look at it this way, now you can follow me at play AND at work! Sometimes I get the two confused. That's just life in Paradise!

Pura vida!

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Super Veterinaria Liberia

My pulse quickens, my testosterone surges and I get a little pep in my step when we go to visit the Super Veterinaria Liberia in Guanacaste! My favorite "guy place" to go shopping in Liberia, Guanacaste! (Gimme a Tim Allen, "Arrh, Arrh, Arrh!").

Though, there are some items available for purchase by women - mostly related to cats - guys can buy just about anything and everything manly here. Gas powered chain saws, weed whackers, guns & rifles, work boots, cowboy boots, horse saddles, fertilizer, dog food, chicken feed, knives, machetes, medicines for horses/cattle/dogs, rope, cowboy hats, roosters, puppies, goldfish, bunny rabbits................ Ummmm.... Ok....... so the last three items only apply to gay men, and maybe the cowboy hats and boots too. But the point is, we're all men and the Super Veterinaria Liberia doesn't disappoint!

Yesterday's mission was to purchase 10 kilos of dog food and a couple of kilos of fertilizer for my fruit trees. But! As is such with many missions, something went awry and my 4-year old daughter left with a plastic bag containing a female Siamese fighting fish. That's right! A girl fighting fish, and in the hands of a little girl! WTF?!

But, hey!! What am I saying?! It was a freakin' Siamese fighting fish, right?!! I mean, if you mentally block out the female part, that's freakin' manly!! Arrh! Arrh! Arrh! Mission accomplished!

Pura vida!

Saturday, August 13, 2011


Copos (literally, "flakes" - as in "snow flakes") are sold on the street and on many of the popular beaches of Costa Rica by copos vendors pushing two-wheeled carts with insulated compartments that house a large block of ice (maqueta de hielo). The carts are also outfitted with holders for flavored syrups ("blue"/chicle/bubble-gum, "red"/kolita/kolita, "white"/coco/coconut, "purple"/uva/grape, "green"/limón/lime, "orange"/naranja/orange), paper cups, spoons and straws.

The vendor has a cool shaving contraption that probably has a name, but I don't know it. It holds an inverted cup and directs the ice shavings up into it as the block is shaved. There's some technique involved and it's fun to take part in the spectacle of the "production" of the copo. Copos have been the cool, rich, sickeningly-sweet favorites of non-diabetic kids and adults alike for generations.

Wanna see how it's done? Here's a video I took today while walking the dogs on the beach that'll give you an idea of what I'm talking about. Unfortunately (or fortunately), I can't share with you the sugar rush and the snow cone headache that these things pack.

The sugar buzz one gets from one of these streetwise delicacies is intense, even for an adult. Give one to a three or four-year old and you'd better get your catcher's mit or goalie goves ready.

P.S.: No worries! I was able to walk my buzz off and didn't have to go to the hospital. Phew!

Pura vida!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Frutales II

In early October of last year I blogged about my fruit trees in "Frutales". I was just re-reading that post and looking at the pics I took that day. I was blown way by how much my little trees have grown in 10 months.

I posted this video the other day on my Facebook page and was kind of surprised by some of the comments I received. I guess I take gardening for granted. Because I found out that there are a lot of people who try hard at it, yet don't get the results I do. I guess I have the green thumb. I'm flattered - and fortunate.

I get a great deal of satisfaction out of gardening. There's just something about nurturing a living thing and getting something back from it in return that's extremely gratifying, validating. And I love being out in nature, getting dirty and sweaty, getting blisters and cuts, callusing my hands in the company of the bugs, birds, monkeys and other plants and animals (i.e. my 4-year old daughter). I love the smell of soil, the "zing" of the machete and even the sting of ants. It's real, palpable. I feel alive.

And in case you didn't notice, it's amazing how fast things grow here!

¡Pura vida!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Mono Titi

Mono Titi
I had the privilege last Friday and Saturday to visit the Central Pacific coast for a visit to El Silencio and to Playa el Rey where my parents, wife, 4-year old daughter and 15-year old niece all participated in a reforestation project that aims to save the mono titi's (titi, or squirrel monkey) of Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio.

I've been working with a couple of very interesting green/eco clients of ours at 3rd Planet PR for some months now who have teamed up to make the world a better place for everyone - including the mono titi.

Carlton Solle is the President and CEO of  Zero Impact Beverages, headquartered here in Costa Rica. His +Space brand of "Zero Impact Beverages" aims to revolutionize the consumer beverage industry - "The first beverage container you don't throw in the trash". Not only is the packaging revolutionary, but +Space will plant a tree for every case sold and permanently preserve 1,000 m2 of land for every 10 cases sold. The company will launch it's first + Space beverage in the U.S. in the fourth quarter of 2011. You can register for their VIP release here. "Like" their Facebook page and they'll plant a tree for every like!

Kevin Peterson is CEO for The Eco Preservation Society. Mission? "Eco Preservation Society is actively engaged in sustainably focused programming for the purpose of wildlife conservation and reforestation. Our mission is to promote research, travel and education programs that advance environmental consciousness and facilitate public awareness with a call to action."

Carlton and Kevin are straightforward, focused, dedicated, and extremely energetic people who have teamed up on two EPS projects: the Playa el Rey Habitat Rehabilitation project and the Savegre River Rainforest Rehabilitation project. The former aims to save the mono titi and benefit many other plants and animals by creating a biological corridor between the Rio Naranjo and the Rio Savegre along Playa el Rey to join two separate mono titi habitats.

+Space and EPS hosted my family and me last weekend and we - all three generations of us - were able to participate with about 50 volunteers in planting 2,000 trees at Playa el Rey and see for ourselves some of the progress that has been made with reforestation along the Rio Savegre corridor. It was an incredibly beautiful and satisfying experience.

Playa Hermosa to the Rio
Savegre bridge.
We made the 5 hour trip from northern Guanacaste south to the Savegre River bridge, then north 6 kms. to the El Silencio Eco Lodge run by Coopesilencio - a farming coop of 45 families that run about 1,000 hectares of African palm plantation. The coop even has its own currency, the UDIS. Eco Preservation Society also runs the small El Silencio Wildlife & Rehabilitation Center there, a bonus for my 4-year old!

El Silencio Eco Lodge
The Lodge is sited on a volcanic hill that rises up from the flat coastal plain, affording spectacular views out over the palm plantation and surrounding hillsides. It consists about 10 well maintained cabinas and a beautiful rancho with bar/restaurant that serves guests and volunteers and that doubles as the social hub and watering hole for the locals on the weekends.

Coopesilencio plantation
After a restful night at El Silencio Lodge, Kevin took us to see the EPS nursery where young trees to be planted are acclimated and warehoused prior to planting. In all, EPS maintains about 18 native varieties of trees for its reforestation initiatives. Carlton's videographer flew into action and shot video and still images for +Space marketing and public relations campaign collateral.

A lesson in reforestation and land
management on the banks of
the Rio Savegre
As the sun began to heat up, we left the nursery to visit a reforestation site along the Rio Savegre that had been planted in May. Kevin explained the problem of land erosion caused by the cutting of native species along the Rio Savegre's banks to make room for African palm.

An area of reforestation beyond the
eroded bank of the Rio Savegre with
African palm beyond.
The roots of native tree species protect the soil along the river's edge from erosion when the river rises and its velocity increases. Palms that have been planted up to the river's edge have little root system and simply fall into the river as the edge erodes, resulting in lost production, land and income. EPS is planting trees to prevent future erosion, to provide animal habitat and to preserve plantation land. In order to get buy-in from the locals on EPS projects, there has to be an economic benefit for people as well as an ecological benefit for flora and fauna. By providing both, the success of projects and initiatives is increased significantly.

Playa el Rey with Manuel Antonio
National Park beyond
From the Savegre we drove to the reforestation site where we would plant 2,000 trees at Playa el Rey. Playa el Rey is a very secluded 12 km. stretch of beach that touches the border of Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio to the northwest at the Rio Naranjo and the Rio Savegre to the southeast. Past inhabitants (now evicted) cut the native forest and planted coconut palms. Coconuts are an invasive, non-native tree species in this region of Costa Rica and in many other parts of the world. The idea is to reforest the area with native tree species and remove the coconut palms, deep rooted grasses and almond trees that have invaded the area. This will create a corridor from Manuel Antonio to the Rio Savegre and join two mono titi habitats.

No doubt, it will not happen overnight. But it IS happening thanks to +Space and EPS! And I and my family were pleased and satisfied to take part in the effort to improve this  place and, in turn, save the mono titi from extinction. I hope it will happen in my lifetime. If not, I wish for the day my 4-year old returns to Playa el Rey to enjoy the shade provided by the trees we planted there, and to see the mono titi frolicking in the canopy above her head.

¡Pura vida!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Beer System of Measurement

I was giving directions to one of my countrywomen the other day and did the inevitable "stub my toe" while quoting her distances in kilometers instead of miles. You see, the only people in the world who can't comprehend what a kilometer is live in the United States.¹

I always hit a dead end when giving directions to gringos, so I've switched to a new system that just about anyone who isn't a Mormon, Jehovah's witness, devout Muslim or Baptist (Islam's "sister religion") or just plain teetotaler (a.k.a. boring fucking dolt) can identify with.² It's the Beer Measurement System!

Like beer, it's quite simple. For example: I live in Playa Hermosa. Next beach down is Playas del Coco. That's a beer away! Next beach up is Playa Panama. That's a half-a-beer away (it's a little closer, chug the rest when you get there)! Get it? Woo hoo!!

You gotta go through Coco to get to Playa Ocotal. And then there's San Martín pueblo in between the two with all it's oblivious pedestrians, bike riders and just plain idiots who can't even fucking park on that narrow, curvaceous road, let alone drive on it. That makes Ocotal two beers and a plethora of expletives away.³

From Playa Hermosa to Liberia centro, we're talking 3 beers away. Can be 4 if you're like me and don't like driving with A/C in 90 degree heat (I LOVE THE HEAT! Chugalug!). Daniel O. Oduber Int'l Airport in Liberia (LIR) is a solid deuce away. But it's 3 beers coming back. It's some sort of inexplicable "Bermuda Triangle" thing, and I've learned to just accept it.

Sardinal is a beer away, unless you're stopping for gas. Then it's two.

Tamarindo is a six-pack away. It may take an hour. It may take more. It may take less. But it's always a six-pack away. Nicoya? Same. Santa Cruz? That's where you stop to pick up more beer on your way to Nicoya. Add one extra beer and some chicharritos.

Peñas Blancas - the CR-Nicaragüa border, a.k.a. "La Frontera" - is a six-pack away if you don't stop to pee. If you stop to pee, add a beer or two and enjoy the altitude and pleasant and refreshing temperature drop.

A trip to San Jose - the mother of all trips - used to be from 8 to 24 beers away, depending on truck traffic, accidents and earthquakes. But now it's about 6 or 7 beers away, thanks to the new Ruta del Sol highway from Puerto Caldera. That is UNLESS... there's a rock slide or the Platina bridge is out. Add one beer for every boulder on the highway measuring over one meter in diameter. Drink all you got if the Platina Bridge is out.

So next time you ask me for directions, I will happily oblige you with my own Beer System of Measurement. The best part of the system is that it's empirical. For you idiots reading this who don't know what that word means, the word empirical denotes information gained by means of observation or experiments. That means you can make up your own measurements based on your road trips and always be accurate. How freakin' great is that?

¡Pura birra! Buckle up and drive safely!

¹Ironic: The Imperial Measurement System, an archaic hangover induced by "Imperialist" England - the country against which the U.S. fought, and narrowly defeated to gain it's independence - may outlast the U.S. Dollar. What's the irony? The irony is that the only country on the face of the planet that still clings to the Imperial Measurement System is the United States. Even the Emerald Isle has forsaken its wickedness!

²Notice Irish Catholics, Italians, recovering alcoholics and their "still in the gutter brethren" are NOT included here.

³Try to get to the fucking airport on a Friday night from Ocotal during high-season! 6-pack (and some Valium)!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Laugh and Learn

I found this posted on the Tico Times Facebook page today and had to take a look. The link was captioned with "Laugh and Learn" and, I must say, the caption is dead on. The video is actually titled, "Vigilance".

The U.S. Consluate did a great job making this video funny and informative. Here are some top examples of what not to do - in Costa Rica or anywhere else in the world you may live or travel. It just takes a little bit of vigilance!

Pura vida!

Monday, July 11, 2011


Atardecer, Playa Hermosa, Guanacaste, Costa Rica

Playa Hermosa, Gte.
In Spanish "late afternoon". But the way the word is used here at the beach in Costa Rica, it means "sunset". It's July, my and my daughter's birthday month and the month I have proclaimed "El Mes de la Atardecer", "The Month of the Sunset".

Playa Hermosa, Gte.
My world has been one filled with sociopaths of late and it's been bumming me out while making me angry at the same time. Alas, even Paradise has its allotment of users and liars. But I've recently found that for every liar and user out there, there's a sunset whose shear beauty and wonder pales their existence and rejuvenates my mind, body and soul - and my faith in God and humanity. And I have my wife to thank for it.

Playa Hermosa, Gte.
I've been so engrossed in trying to survive financially lately that I haven't really been paying attention to the two people in my life for whom I'm busting my ass in the first place - my wife and child. Ironic, no? So my wife finally laid down the law and told me a boatload of stuff I really didn't want to hear. It was called "the truth". And it made me feel uncomfortable and ashamed.

Laila, Playa Hermosa, Gte.
You see, I work out of our home, and even though I'm there, I'm not really "there". So we decided on a calendar where I would make myself available without any business interruptions. It consists of one hour breaks for breakfast and lunch, and no work at all after 4PM - when we all pile on La Chula and go to the beach for the evening's sunset. A simple way to save a marriage.

Laila, Playa Hermosa, Gte.
I look forward to sunset every day now. In fact it's 8:30AM and I'm already looking forward to sitting on a beach log next to Carla with a cold Pilsen while Laila leaps and bounces in the tranquil surf of Playa Hermosa. We'll collect hermit crabs for her terrarium, catch up with friends who are walking the beach, watch the baby mantas play in the waves and the cormorants dive for fish, slather ourselves in Off! to combat the chitras and zancudos and breathe in the fresh, Pacific Ocean air in the presence of no one else but each other.

Laila, Carla and Me, Playa Hermosa, Gte.
Because in the end, the only thing we have is each other, and the sunset en el Mes de la Atardecer! ¡Pura vida!

Saturday, July 2, 2011


In English, "bot fly". Last week I noticed my dog, Madona, licking the base of her tail. I thought to myself, "Damn flea collars don't last for crap." But when I went to check her out and put some flea and tick spray on her until I could get to the veterinaria in Liberia for another collar, I noticed a couple of holes in her skin and some soupy ooze coming out of them. Looked like she had been clawed by a cat, though I thought the location unusual - dogs usually get clawed on the head, not the butt.

So I got out my pop veterinary kit and injected an antibiotic cream into the holes as I've done so many times in the past. I've had some experience putting my dogs back together again after fights and what not. My dog, Garcia, had a fight with an anteater one time and I had to Superglue the drooping skin from the razor sharp claw cuts on his head back together so he could see out of his eyes. His whole scalp was falling off his skull (Don't worry, he made a full recovery).

The next day I examined Madona again and noticed more holes near her rear groin. That's when I got a bit panicky and decided to bring her to the vet. My wife said it looked like "gusanos", or worms. The word is used here to describe any type of internal, creepy-crawly parasite.

After a quick shave around the openings for a better look, the vet discounted parasites and said the holes were from "un animal salvaje" - a wild animal! She said it looked like Madona had been attacked from behind by a skunk, pizote (coati) or mapache (racoon) and gave me some anitbiotic pills and spray to treat her with for a week.

A couple of days later things weren't getting any better and I started thinking about the gusanos again. I gave the skin around one of the holes a squeeze and noticed something just under the surface inside the hole. I gave it a big squeeze and was able to get my finger nails clamped around something shiny, whiteish-transluscent but very tough in texture. I gave it a good, steady pull and was amazed at what came out of the hole. It was a creepy-crawly parasite alright! Right out of The X-Files. I counted the holes. There were eight. 1 down, 7 more torsalos to go!

Long story short, I decided to treat Madona myself. Torsalos are pretty common here. I've seen them removed from people a few times. There's a sensational video of a British tourist who gets a torsalo in Costa Rica and has it removed by a doctor in London click here. But I had never seen any torsalo larvae this freakin' big! And I had never removed one myself. It's an interesting "sensation", to say the least. I kinda like it, in a weird way.

So I borrowed some Larvacida (a purple spray commonly used on livestock for such parasites, that either kills them or makes them want to leave their host, while keeping any wounds free of infection) and started spraying into the holes and around them twice a day. Madona has been responding well to the treatment and is down to one torsalo - though she looks pretty freaky with a purple hiny!

How to remove a torsalo

I did some research on the internet on bot flies and found this informative video from Animal Planet click here that explains their whole life cycle. Everyone had told me that the fly lays its eggs on the skin of its host, the eggs hatch and the larvae burrow under the skin and live there until they're ready to leave. NOT ENTIRELY TRUE! And this is why I am curiously drawn to these creepy things...

...The bot fly lays its eggs on the belly of a mosquito! It's the mosquito, not the fly, that then lands on the host. The eggs drop off the mosquito's belly upon encountering body heat. They then hatch and the larvae burrow in and live under the host's skin for 6 weeks. Then they leave the host, fall to the ground, burrow into the dirt and emerge as a fly 4 days later! That has to be one of THE MOST AMAZING LIFECYCLES in all of Nature! I can't believe it even works! And how did it evolve?! Mind blower!

Every time I think I've seen it all, I get thrown a curve ball. Though torsalos are more like a "slider". ¡Pura vida!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

El Tiburón

On Monday, June 20, 2011, The Costa Rican Central Bank released the new, improved, more beautiful, and less easily counterfeited, 1000 and 2000 colones bank notes. ¡Tuanis!

I did find it ironic that the government chose to depict a bull shark on the back of the 2000 colone note when they allow 100,000 sharks to be killed each month and do little if anything to curb the brutal practice of shark finning. I think this doctored image of the new bill, posted on the Facebook page of Isla del Coco, Costa Rica sums it up.

Note the, finless bleeding shark and the hand holding the severed shark fin to the left.

It's as if we've learned nothing from the United States and the once-critically-endangered bald eagle - the national bird - featured on all of it's currency and the national emblem of the United States of America. Just plain sad.

¡Pura mierda!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Fumar es dañino para la salúd.

In English, "Smoking is damaging to your health." I guess I became a slave to nicotine - yes, a slave - in 1983-84 while studying architecture in Rome for a year. I had smoked the occasional cigarette in high school and college at parties and at bars, but I really didn't become a "steady" smoker until that fateful year in Rome. Italians smoke like chimneys, and asking for and sharing cigarettes was a great way to break the ice and make conversation with the ladies. I was very good at conversing with the ladies. I conversed a lot. And I got hooked on nicotine.

For years I yo-yo'd up and down with smoking as "no smoking" laws were passed in the U.S. and designated smoking areas were created for us losers. I remember one day while standing out in front of an office building in Chicago on an 11 degree day in a blizzard, smoking a cigarette with gloves on, wearing a parka, thinking to myself, "WTF am I doing out here? This is insane!" That was in 2004, and the price of cigarettes in Chicago was approaching about $5.50 a pack. Hard-core addicts were driving to Indiana where there were no "sin taxes" to pick up cartons of smokes for 2/3 the price - and to gas up for about the same! My filthy addiction began to hit me in the wallet.

What's even more perverse is the fact that, nearly all of my smoking life the worst physical shape I've ever been in has been "good shape". I've always enjoyed intense exercise. I like to feel the pain and see the gain. I love to sweat! I like to look good! I like to feel good! Yet smoking flew in the face of it all. It never made any sense and I was acutely aware of the twisted, double life I was living.

In 2005 I moved to Costa Rica. Ticos smoke like chimneys (sound familiar?). And the price of package of cigarettes was about $1.50 (it's only $2.00 now). I was still single and hung out at bars and night spots which served only to perpetuate my self-imposed slavery.

I started a business (a couple actually), fell in love with my wonderful wife. We renovated a house and moved in and made it a home. Then, we had a baby girl. She's not a baby anymore. She's a little person. And I have become hyper-conscious of every nail I put in my own coffin.

15 days ago I smoked my last cigarette. Yeah, I can hear the laughs and chuckles out there - 15 days ain't nothin'! But this time I know it will stick. Because every time I get the urge to smoke a cigarette, I look at Laila's gorgeous face and ask myself, "What would my little princess do without here Papi?". Amazing how fast the urge to smoke disappears.

¡Pura vida! And I mean it!!

P.S.: There are two Mike's out there who have been really inspirational to me in my effort to kick the habit. Thanks, guys!

Monday, May 9, 2011

En la Memoria Amorosa: Carlos Aurelio Vallejos Contreras

Today marks the one year anniversary of the death of my beloved father-in-law, Aurelio "Lelo" Vallejos. We're having a memorial mass tonight at 6:00PM at Iglesia San Antonio, the Catholic church in Playa Hermosa. All are welcome to attend.

We put together a video memorial to Lelo, above. Kimberly, his granddaughter, wrote the opening tribute and picked the song, "Yo Te Extrañare" (I Will Miss You) by Tercer Cielo (lyrics here). Andy Browne crafted and edited it all, masterfully.

We all do miss you very, very much, Lelo! Hope it's a party up there! Peace...

Friday, April 22, 2011

Love Trees? You should ‘Like’ This! Happy Earth Day!

This Earth Day, Plant a Tree With the Click of a Mouse! +Space, the World’s First “Zero Impact Beverage” Company, Will Plant a Tree for Every ‘Like’ Received on Facebook; 10,000 Trees Already Purchased as Part of Earth Day Promo!

Nomad Naturales S.A., the Costa Rica and Nevada – based company behind “+Space”, a line of what the company calls the first “Zero Impact Beverages,” is planting trees – lots of them - to celebrate Earth Day, which falls on Friday, April 22nd this year. The company is inviting users of the popular social network, Facebook, to plant a tree with a simple click of their mouse.

In cooperation with the non-profit organization, The Eco Preservation Society (, a tree will be planted for every ‘Like’ received on the company’s official Facebook Page.

Known as Nomad Naturales, S.A. in Costa Rica, the green capital of the world, the beverage company is spreading the word about its “zero impact beverages” in celebration of Earth Day 2011 (April 22, 2011) and throughout the rest of the year, with the promotion ending in October, near the company’s expected launch of its first “+Space” Zero Impact Beverage.

Based in Costa Rica, the company wants to make sure no beverage containers reach landfills or our world’s oceans. Last year alone, 50 billion plastic water bottles were sold in the United States alone. Of those, 40 billion ended up in the trash.

In order to spread the word this Earth Day, it has created a campaign to tie its social media program with action on the ground – planting a tree for every “like” tallied on its Facebook page.

“We set out to create the world’s most ecologically responsible company,” according to Carlton Solle, President and CEO of Zero Impact Beverages. “A company built from the environment for the environment, and a company that produces the best beverages on the planet – guaranteed to never end up in landfills or our world’s oceans.”

In explaining the company’s choice to headquarter in Costa Rica, Solle said, “Costa Rica has the reputation of being one of ‘the greenest countries in the world’, which is why Nomad Naturales chose San Jose, Costa Rica, as the base of operations for one of ‘the greenest companies in the world’," says Carlton Solle, President and CEO.

In honor of Earth Day, the company will plant a tree for every person in the United States that becomes a Fan on the company’s official Facebook page:

The promotion will run from April 19, 2011 through October 19, 2011. The non-profit Eco Preservation Society has signed a deal with Zero Impact Beverages to handle all tree-planting efforts.
Visitors can also register for the company’s planned VIP pre-release of its first Zero Impact Beverage by visiting

Nomad Naturales S.A., based in the world’s most eco-friendly country, Costa Rica, will be launching its “Zero Impact Beverage” line, “+Space”, in the United States in the fourth quarter of 2011.

Last year in the United States alone, 50 billion plastic water bottles were sold. Of those 50 billion plastic water bottles, 40 billion ended up in the trash. +Space will be the world’s first Zero Impact Beverage line, whereas its containers will never end up in the trash, landfills or the world’s oceans.

To learn more, please visit the Company on the web at, where users can also pre-register to be the first to receive samples of +Space Zero Impact Beverages when available.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Need to Renew Your Tourist Visa?

¡A vestirnos de blanco por la paz este 8 de Marzo! In English, "Dress in white for peace this March 8th!"

Which also happens to be the date that the International Court of Justice in The Hague (ICJ) is due to render its decision on Costa Rica's request for temporary measures stopping Nicaragua from continuing the dredging of the San Juan river, and the removal of its troops from Isla Calero.

If the ruling does not go in favor of Costa Rica, Presidenta Chinchilla will walk away with egg on her face - and probably on her white clothing too - and Costa Rica will look weak for not taking a harder line in the opening days of the dispute. If the ruling does go in favor of Costa Rica, Daniel Ortega, who has stated that he will abide by the ruling - even after telling the OAS to stick their ruling in favor of Costa Rica up their culos - may not abide by it and keep his Nicaraguan troops there. That would force La Presidenta into a tougher position, and she may be forced to take a harder line, possibly by closing the border between the two countries. She has stated that she will not negotiate with Managua until the troops are removed.

So if any of you Gte. expats out there without residencia need to renew your 90 day tourist visas, you may want to bolt to San Juan del Sur or Granada in the next couple of days.

OH!! And be sure to wear white!!

¡Pura vida!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

¡Viva Beijing!

On June 6, 2007, President Oscar Arias (awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1987 for his efforts to end civil wars then raging in several other Central American countries) severed diplomatic ties with Taiwan after nearly 60 years, and established relations with China - an act that has perplexed me ever since.

The Taiwanese sponsored infrustructure improvements and gifted the Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública new police uniforms ($150,000), 24 motor cycles, six quad runners and about 100 new police pickup trucks, all brandishing the CR flag next to the Taiwanese flag. It was warm and fuzzy. Yeah, cops could feel proud again and people could have the peace of mind that the cops could actually "arrive" when called. But the warm and fuzzy feeling only lasted for a little while...

Taiwan also financed and constructed the $27 million Puente de la Amistad Costa Rica - Taiwan (Costa Rica - Taiwan Friendship Bridge) that spans 780 m. over the Rio Tempisque, shaving about an hour of road time from where I live to S. Jose, and giving greater access to the Nicoya Peninsula - one of the most popular tourist destinations on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica - from S. Jose. Tourism is a bigger industry than bananas, oranges, Hi-tech and anything else this country produces - combined! But ever since relations were cut off with Taiwan in favour of China, the bridge has been known, colloquially, as Puente de la Apuñalada (Back Stab Bridge).

As he was cutting ties with Taiwan with the right hand, our Nobel Laureate, Arias, was waving his left hand saying that Costa Rica needed to strengthen ties with China to attract foreign investment, and in virtually the same breath, established diplomatic relations with the PRC. A Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Costa Rica and China was signed in April of 2010. Final approval of the FTA with China is eminent, if it hasn't already taken place as of this writing.

Now, did Costa Rica receive badly needed money for infrastructure and public service agencies like they received from Taiwan? I mean, this country's infrastructure... well... SUCKS! Bridges are falling down all over the country. 16 major highways were closed this winter (some sections are still closed) during an unusually wet rainy season (wettest in 60 years here in Guanacaste), crippling the country, driving up prices on food and other goods and resulting in the deaths of several unsuspecting motorists. And they're still trying to fix it all!!

The answer to the above question is, "No, hombre!". Both the Chinese and the former Arias administration (now, Laura Chinchilla - his puppet) know Ticos better than Ticos know themselves. So the Chinese government financed the construction of the new National Stadium (somwhere between $90 - $103 million), which will have a capacity of 35,093. The construction of the stadium forms part of the agreements signed between Arias and Hu Jintao, during Arias' first visit to the Asian country in October, 2007. The construction began on March 12, 2009 and is scheduled to finish right about now, 2011. The inauguration ceremony will take place from March 26 to April 3. The first fútbol match will be a friendly match played against China, followed two days later by another against Argentina. A concert by Shakira will end the inaugural week.

So while the nation's infrastructure is ashambles and front page news every day (San José - Caldera, ICE's 3g outages, the Virilla or “platina” bridge "reconstruction", etc.), shark finning is rampant, deforestation and forest fires out of control, gas/diesel prices are rising, food prices are climbing, and no government policy on sustainability exists in "the greenest country in the world", at the very least, the Costa Rican people can rest assured that they will be able to regale themselves in fútbol - the opiate of the masses in Latin America - at their new national stadium (but without a parking plan and only for those who can afford the ticket). And La Presidenta Chinchilla can check off another day on the presidential calendar and not have to think about the International Court's upcoming ruling on Nicaragua's "invasion" of Isla Calero. If that goes Nicaragua's way, stay tuned. It may look like Cairo here.

(Oh, look! A butterfly!) But, heck! Shakira is an exotic Colombiana, and sooooooo hot!!

Now... if I can just find a reliable route to get to the new stadium from here...