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Colombia - Part I

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In This Issue:

  1. Broken News: Unhappy Ranking, Convenience Store, Buxom Mannequins, CONCACAF Gaff, Ice Cream War
  2. Rumble and Weather Talk: Peace on the Pacific Rim and Tranquil Beach Days
  3. ¿Que Es Eso? Department: Watjoosayinmon?
  4. Feature: The Magic Rock - A Manuel Antonio Spiritual Experience
  5. Feature: History of Colombia - Part I, Pre-Columbian Period
  6. Health Stuff: Some Home Remedies
  7. What's-in-a-Word: Answer to Que Es Eso, Colombia and Columbus, America, Patois
  8. ROMEO Corner: Victoria's - Manuel Antonio


Wisdom of the Ages


“Old age ain't no place for sissies.” 

― Bette Davis





A GG Selfie


Publisher's Corner

If you would like to read a version of the Golden Gringo Chronicles
in a narrative format, as a hard copy novel
or an e-book, check it out





gthFive hundred years before the Spanish found the American continent, around the end of the first millennium, Native Americans lived and prospered in Central America, including the land now known as Costa Rica. Truly a natural wonderland then and now, the natives were able to employ their farming skills and prosper from the rich soils, the forests filled with game, herbs, and spices, and the lakes and two oceans rich with fish and crustaceans.


Mariposa, or butterfly, is a story about two young Native Americans, each a favored child of a chief, but of different tribes. These two tribes, historically hostile to each other, lived a few days march apart in the mountains north and east of Costa Rica’s central valley.


The two natives meet by accident, fall in love and begin to plan a life together only to be frustrated by events beyond their control. The lovers are eventually drawn to a mountain volcano which is thought by many to be the home of the gods, particularly Sib'ö, the Great Spirit, who they believe had created the world.



gtyThe story as written incorporates the classic ending of Costa Rica's Legend of Zurqui, one that reflects the beauty, mystery and spirituality that is Costa Rica. Mariposa is available in both English and Spanish versions.:

Preview the Book (English) on Amazon.com at:

Mariposa Preview
(This is Chapter 1 in its entirety)

ORDER IT HERE ($8.95):

Mariposa (English Version)
Mariposa (Versión Español)

(Kindle Version Available in Both Languages - $6.99)

See All the Books by this Author Here: Books by Bob Normand

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

Unhappy Ranking


The Chronicles has noted several times over the years that Costa Rica has often been ranked as the happiest place on earth by Happy Planet, InterNations and other organizations that do such rankings. (see just last month for example). A recent and different ranking was not so happy for Costa Rica. Of 87 countries measured by a British company called OpenSignal, Costa Rica came out at the very bottom for Internet speed (duh, and I thought it was just me and my local connection).


The speed is rated in Mbps or Millions of bits per second. A bit is the binary code (1 or 0) placed in a string such as 10000101. Typically, the first two and last two bits in the string characterize the type of info being transferred (number, letter, symbol and more). Eight of these bits strung together form a "Byte" so if the speed is expressed in Millions of Bytes per second (expressed as MBps), the rate is 1/8th if the Mbps rating.


OK, now that I've made binary code perfectly clear...


Open Signal measures "speed" this way: "We define overall speed as the average mobile data connection a user experiences based on both the speeds and availability of a country’s 3G and 4G networks". That means the measurement is slanted towards cell phones. It so happens there is more than one active smart-phone for every person here, including kids under 6 and older adults who shun them (gracias a Dios). To see the universality of cell phone usage here, ride a bus to San Jose and watch virtually everyone (including GG) punching away on their phones, often for the entire three hour trip.


Many people blame the Costa Rican government for lagging in the opening of new radio spectrum frequencies to more operators which would then improve connection speeds. We have to remember that it has been only six years since the government opened the telecom market to outsiders, breaking the monopoly held by the State telecom company (ICE).


So let's see now, the happiest country on the planet has the slowest Internet. Do you think those facts could be related amigo...hmmmm, food for though


Convenience Store


MA Beach Convenient Store

We don't have 7-Eleven's or AM/PM's down here in Quepos/Manuel Antonio (although you can see them in the Central Valley) but that doesn't mean we don't have convenience stores. Even in Quepos you can see a limited-offering grocery store at gas stations that look something like a 7-Eleven stop in the States.


There are also neighborhood MiniSupers and Pulperias, which are essentially small versions of grocery stores with a limited offering of groceries and an even more limited offering of packaged cold cuts and dairy products.

What made a Pulperia a Pulperia instead of a MiniSuper, at least in the old days, was the fact that you could run a tab at a Pulperia and pay it off periodically. I remember that particular practice, (i.e. credit) being common among small, local, neighborhood grocery stores in the 1950's when I was growing up in Massachusetts. I doubt that running a tab is still done in the Pulperias today. Remember that back then there were no debit and credit cards (but yes Dorothy, we did have TV's and cars, and yes Dorothy, I do remember being around for the first TV's, if not the first cars).


GG noticed an interesting twist on the convenience store concept recently down by the main beach at Manuel Antonio (photo above). If you look closely at the photo above, the red arrow is pointing towards a special offering at this store which is, in reality, a snack shack. The offering? "Cocktails To Go". How's that for convenience; you can pick up snacks or a pizza or a cocktail or two on your way to the beach. "Three slices of pepperoni and a double vodka martini with a twist please."


Buxom Mannequins


Costa Rica may fall short when it comes to Internet speed but in other areas they measure up beautifully.


Take mannequins for example. After living here about a year I asked a fellow ROMEO if it was my imagination or did the mannequins in Costa Rica have bigger busts than we were used to in the States. The thought was intriguing to both of us so the job then fell to making a survey while we were in San José together.


We perambulated the walking streets near the central part of the city, Avenida Central and Avenida Quatro in particular, and made notes. Our conclusions after careful scientific study?


Yes, indeed there is a notable difference.


So recently, I was walking by myself from the Coca-Cola area in San José up to the Teatro Nacionál when I came across a mannequin that seems to demonstrate the proof of our thesis. That's the photo right.


No, that's not a sales clerk in the red dress, it's a mannequin. I'm thinking that with a little Photoshop work to eliminate the backdrop I might pass "Maria" off as a picture of my new girlfriend.


Concacaf Gaff


(Pronounce that headline three times fast, my gringo amigos)


CONCACAF is the Confederation of North American, Central American and Caribbean countries, a regional designation of FIFA, the International Federation of Association Football (the FIFA acronym makes more sense in French) FIFA is then divided regionally across the world into groups. In this case all the countries on the American continent from Panama north plus all the Caribbean countries play in the CONCACAF "league". The teams in the league must play against each other to determine who goes to the World Cup tournament which is played every four years and which will happen next in 2018 in Russia.


Costa Rica Sele Team - Navas in Green

A national team is called a "selection" or Sele (selly) and is composed of players whose home nationality is their country. The players may, however, be gainfully employed and playing for a team based in another country. Such is the case with Keylor Navas who is a native Costa Rican but a very important (portero) goaltender who has a million dollar annual contact playing for Real Madrid. In the photo to the right he's pictured in the lime green uniform as portero for the Sele.


An important CONCACAF qualifier was held on Friday, March 24 between Costa Rica and Mexico. The Ticos lost 2-0 but are still in the running for cup qualification as one loss an elimination does not make. The Ticos went into the match with Mexico with six CONCACAF points (two wins) while Mexico had only one point (that's what you get for a draw).


Now the comparison between the teams is update to 6-4.


Little Costa Rica made a very good performance in the 2014 World Cup getting to the quarter finals. Let's hope they do even better in 2018. I'm already practicing the CR cheer...


Oooooh, eeeeee ooooh, Ticos Ticos!


Ice Cream War


The Chronicles has extolled the virtues of Costa Rica's ubiquitous ice cream parlors marketed under the trade name "POPS" (see Galactic Treats) . This outfit has dominated the premium ice cream market in Costa Rica for 50 years, but no more.


The biggest dairy products manufacturer in Costa Rica, Dos Pinos, is getting into the fray with the opening of two new premium ice cream parlors in San José. The first of the new stores, called La Estación, or The Station, is in Escazu (of course) and recently opened; the second is coming in August in Curridabat.


Dos Pinos is the king of the ice cream supermarket circuit and there are also many small parlors (two in Quepos for example) featuring their regular line but their flavor offering to date is not nearly as exotic as Pops (no chocolate almond or pistachio for example, GG's favorites).


The war of the premiums is on and GG will have to put together a team of discriminating investigators to carefully, subjectively and critically determine the differences between the leader and the upstart. More to be reported later in the Journal of Ice Cream Science.


¡Pura Vida!

Rumble and Weather Talk
(Shaky Happenings Around the Pacific Rim)

Not a Rumble Anywhere

Let there be peace in the earth; and there was, at least on this part of the Pacific Rim in March. No significant tremors to report in the last month.

The weather also continues unremarkable, at least from the standpoint of offering no unusual disturbances. Every day has been a beach day since after Christmas; sunny, warm (snowbelters think it's hot), Pacific breezes, ocean water averaging in the low 80's. Only in the last days of March had we begun to get some light rain showers in the late afternoon or evening

We will persevere with this anomaly until we get through these tough times. Ahem...


Check Out Recent Earthquakes Around the World Posted by the U.S. Geodetic Survey: Today's Quakes

Search the Golden Gringo Chronicles Archives for Topics That Interest You

You can use our Archives everything that has been written in over 200 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 two in order to narrow the number of references retrieved:


Golden Gringo Chronicles - Enter Search Here

Readers: Our publication is open to suggestions regarding future articles and will accept pieces written by others but we reserve the right to decline anything that the editorial staff (that's GG) thinks is inappropriate for this format. Send proposals, comments, suggestions, ideas, meaningless statements and jocular observations concerning the Chronicles to GG here:gg@goldengringo.com.

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

Limón Patois
(Don't Forget the Screen Enlarger Button)

Costa Rica's east coast, i.e. Limón Province, has a long history of Caribbean culture having been settled by immigrants from Jamaica and other islands (Jamaica is only about 600 miles from Ticoland as the shark swims).

Consequently it is not unusual to hear a patois being spoken
as well as Spanish. Patois is kind of a mischievous twisting of English and often a lot of fun to listen to. The video above was taken at a recent festival in Limón and is a good example of patois.




Can you tell what the singer is saying repeatedly in the first half of this video?


Answer in What's-in-a-Word section below.


The Magic Rock
(A Manuel Antonio Spiritual Experience)

Many people who come to Costa Rica are often overwhelmed by its natural beauty and many say the experience here has had an effect on their spiritual connection, whether it be a simple communion with nature or maybe even a stronger connection with God. The following story is such a report.


Donald Aucoin is a gentleman and friend who has come to Costa Rica as a visitor for over twenty years and whom I've known for at least ten. During these years he has rarely failed to regale us with interesting stories and experiences. But let him tell this particular tale himself...

by Donald Aucoin

Ahhhh, it couldn’t have been summer.  What was I thinking?


Must have been autumn. That winter as I was preparing for what has become my annual sojourn to Costa Rica. I packed the sage in my bag with the vague sense that I would do “something healing” with it.


Sunset at Manuel Antonio Beach as Seen
from the South End of the Public Beach

Manuel Antonio is one of my favorite places in the world.  Tacked onto the edge of the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, somewhat in the south, there is a much visited national park where the rain forest meets the ocean.  There is a string of beaches, several within the confines of the park, and an almost mile long stretch we call the public beach or first beach.

The south end of the public beach is separated from the park by an outcropping of rock that curves into the ocean.  A similar outcropping, although clime-able at low tide, divided the north end of the public beach from the tiny half-moon pocket beach, known as the Playita, where the gay boys and the European flight attendants sunbathed nude. Every once and a while in the old days two policemen from the nearby small town of Quepos,  would appear ominously on the rocks, so everyone slipped into their skimpy swimsuits.


In recent years a resort was built above “our” beach and one of the ubiquitous guards of Costa Rica now insures that all are properly covered.


I still like to swim out in the water once or twice during my stay and take my Speedo off and wear it like a necklace as we used to do many, many years ago in Rehoboth, Delaware.  A subtle message to the annoyed vacationers at the resort who were promised a private beach: there is no such thing in Costa Rica; if you can get to it, you can be on it. Although it used to be the beach of choice of local and international homos, we have, however, moved to the far, far end, and in a not-so-subtle message a faded rainbow flag flies constantly from the trees demonstrating our desire to protect our turf. 


But I digress.


Follow the sage.


The Magic Rock at Mid-Day/Low Tide
That's Punta Quepos or Quepos Point
in the Background Right

Almost at the north end of the public beach rises a fantastic rock that looks like a mountain.  In my first years there, some sort of a tropical tree had taken root and was thriving, which added to the illusion that one was looking at a major geographical feature.  At low tide you could walk around it.  At high tide it looked like an island.


At the top of this rock was where I would do a healing ritual.


It would take much planning.  I am nothing if not dramatic.  It would be at night, preferably with a full moon and a low tide.  I would be naked.  There would be fire in which to burn the sage.  And there would be profound words. I picked the day.  I actually think there were a full moon and a low tide that year, but so many details escape me.  (I seem to be losing memory in big chunks at the tender age of 61.  Mom is on Aricept.  Granny’s memory went also.)


My memory is that it was a beautiful night.  The beach is very flat and at low tide, when there is a tiny layer of seawater, the moon and stars are perfectly reflected. Armed with paper, matches, a flashlight, the magic sage and no clear idea of the ritual words I would utter, I walked to the rock island.


I climbed to the a small flat promontory that, while not on the actual top, was the right place to light a small fire which I proceeded to do with not a little difficulty as there is often a gentle, insistent wind at night. After many matches, almost a whole pack, (Note to self:  bring lighter this year,) the fire took hold and I placed a generous portion of the collected holy sage into its center.


I peeled off the shorts and tee shirt I was wearing and stood naked, arms straight out to the sea like some sort of statue.  Still hadn’t figured out what important words of healing I was going to say.  Procrastination, especially as it has to do with writing of any sort, is an issue to this day. The only prayer I could come up with was one used in the program of Alcoholics Anonymous to turn our will over to the care of a Higher Power.  Actually it turns out that it is indeed the perfect prayer for what I was hoping to achieve by this ceremony.


“God I offer myself to Thee, to build with me and do with me as Thou wilt.   Relieve me of the bondage of self that I might better do Thy will.  Take away my difficulties that victory over them may bear witness to Thy power, Thy love and Thy way of life.  Thy will, not mine, be done.”


The ritual was complete. I’d turned my disease of AIDS over to my Higher Power.  Completely.  It was not for me to worry about any more.


The next year as I was preparing to head to the beach again, I remembered my ritual.  Well, I was still alive and still well.  So, let’s try it again.  I think that first year I even had some of the original sage concoction available.


Thus began my yearly healing ritual on the rock a number of years ago.


I’m writing this in 2016 in Manuel Antonio where I’m planning this year’s ritual.  I have a small package of three small sage smudges.  I haven’t checked on the tide schedule or the moon’s phases yet.  In recent years as my balance has become less sure, I’ve done the ritual at the base of the rock, still naked as I’m sure it is an integral part of the healing.  Perhaps this year as a result of this remembrance I’ll be brave and climb the rock again.


At some point in the beginning of this new century someone who knew me asked me when my Karposi Sarcoma cancer lesions had started to disappear. Somewhere in the huge two volume charts that contain my history as a patient at NIH is a picture of me, naked, with lesions all over my body, particularly on my legs.  God knew how vain I was and mercilessly spared my face from having purple spots.  I told my questioner I thought it had been six years or so.


I’d never really thought about the time line of their disappearance as it was so gradual, but the question hung in my consciousness and eventually I dug out one of my old journals.  Sure enough I was able to find the entry where I wrote about my first healing ritual and it was indeed six years earlier!


The Magic Rock at High Tide in Strong Moonlight

Today I’m in Costa Rica again.  It’s my twentieth year of visiting the same beach, staying at the hotel and often staying in the same room.


I’ve checked the local advertising rag to find the time of the full moon and a tide chart.  It often doesn’t work out this way, but this year on February 25 at 8:52 pm there is a low tide during the full moon.  A perfect time for my healing ritual.


Next Monday night will find me walking with a flashlight, a lighter, the sage and a little pile of paper toward the great rock.  My heart will actually be beating a little faster as I realize that in a few minutes I’ll be turning my health over to the universe again.  At this point, my prayer is that whatever happens with my health over the next year, good or bad, will be fine with me.


Can I really do this again?  Yes.


Will this be my last year of good health? Having experienced a miracle at the rock once, I’ll trust the same universe to give me exactly what I need for another year.

-- End --

Thanks to Donald for allowing GGC to reprint his story. Was it a magic rock? Who knows? One thing GG does know for sure is that a positive mindset is often as important to recovery from illness as is medical treatment; in fact they will create a synergy. Add to that the possibility of a spiritual interaction with the universe and all things become possible.


To my knowledge the rock in question does not have a local name (maybe Donald will name it?). But there are rock islands just off shore that do. See the names of these other islands here: Manuel Antonio Rocks!

A word of caution: These rocks and islands are attractive but can also be dangerous. They're often difficult to climb, can be very slippery and have unknown vegetation covering parts of them. The bigger islands also are protected zones and restricted from being trespassed upon.



Colombia and Cartagena

(History of Colombia Part I - Pre-Columbian)

An impending adventure trip by three ROMEOS to Cartagena prompted this three part series on the history of Colombia. The visit to the city of Cartagena occurred in early May (see Edition 106 for June for that report).


Note: The visit planned for May of 2017 never happened, instead the visit occurred in October 2018 and is reported in Edition 123. Nevertheless, the information described below is all correct and pertinent.



Colombia is located on the northwest tip of South America and is bordered to the north by the narrow isthmus of Panama, on the east by Venezuela, on the west by Ecuador and Peru and on the south by the amazon area of Brazil.


Some interesting facts about where Colombia is located: 1) It has coastline on both the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, the only South American country to be so situated and 2) Cartagena (Latitude 10.4º N) is actually to the north of Costa Rica or at least north of Quepos (Latitude 9.4º N). So, even though we went from Central to South America, we actually went north.


Colombia is not only highly biodiverse, like Costa Rica, it also enjoys the status of being one of only seventeen "megadiverse" countries along with Australia, Brazil, China, Congo, Ecuador, India, Indonesia, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mexico, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, South Africa, the United States and Venezuela. To be megadiverse, a country must have "endemism" (like indigenous characteristics), i.e., large quantities of naturally occurring species. They must also have marine ecosystems as borders. Note that 7 or almost half of the 17 megadiverse countries occur on the American continent.


The land area of Colombia is approximately 440,000 square miles or about twice the size of Texas and about twenty-two times the size of Costa Rica (which, in turn is about the size of West Virginia). The population of Colombia currently is about 48 million. That ranks Colombia in both population and land at 28th largest in the world.

Detailed Map of Colombia Showing Bogotá
(Red Circle) and Cartagena (Arrow)

The capital, Bogotá, is located in the north central part of the country in the Cordillera Central (central mountain range). Cartagena is located on the north central Caribbean coast about 660 kilometers, or 400 miles north of Bogotá (red circle on map) as the cockatoo flies, although I'm sure it's much farther as the humanoid travels overland.


Note that the country of Colombia is spelled with two "O's" and is named after Christopher Columbus although Chris never saw the land. The closest Chris got was when, on his fourth and final voyage, the one on which he found Costa Rica (1502), he made it down to the Bocas del Toro area of Panama (see: History of Costa Rica - A Primer, Part II (The Spanish Occupation, from 1502 to 1821).


Also note that all of the time and history before the arrival of the Spanish in the new world is called Pre-Columbian, with the name spelled like Chris' (i.e., one "O" and one "U"). That piece of trivial but correct information brings us to:


Pre-Columbian Colombia


Archaeology tells us that there were active indigenous peoples throughout the Americas as early as 13,000 BC. They are sometimes referred to in the literature as "Ameridians". These peoples were largely comprised of local chiefdoms, hunter-gatherer groups and some agricultural tribes.


Artist's Rendition of Taironas Hunters

Three Amerindian groups dominated the Colombian scene during their golden age; the Quimbaya on the western slopes of the Cordillera Central (central mountain chain), the Chibchas (including the Muisca and the Taironas who are considered the two most advanced cultures of the time) and the Kalinas (Caribbean tribes). The Chibchas, and particularly the Taironas, settled along the Atlantic or western Caribbean coast from Cartagena to Santa Marta.


The years 1,000 to 1,400 saw the rise of large Amerindian empires throughout the Americas such as the Aztecs, the Mayas and the Incas, the latter being the biggest in Pre-Columbian America. Colombia being located where it is, the country was on a natural migration route from Mesoamerica (central and southern north America) to the Amazon Basin and the Andes.


Offshoots and new tribes of the Aztecs and Mayas would migrate south from Mexico while the Columbian indigenous, the Incas of Peru and others from South America would migrate north. The Chibchas from Columbia would migrate north over a few centuries and an offshoot of these people are widely believed to have been the creators of the stone spheres that now are considered a Costa Rican national treasure. Another offshoot of the Chibchas would become the Costa Rican tribe called the Quepoas from whence the name of GG's current home town cometh (Quepos).


Chibcha Cacique (Chief)
Notice the Extensive Use of Gold Ornaments

The Spanish were not particularly attracted to the living habits of the Ameridians, nor to the colorful feathers they wore nor to their customs, including religion, which they considered savage, barbarian and essentially heretical. But they did notice large amounts of gold used both as jewelry and decoratively. Large amounts of gold. Large amounts.


A Representation in Gold
of the Royal Raft Used
at the Installation of the Cacique

The vast mountain chains that ran through the Americas produced large amounts of high quality gold, much of which was easy to find along streams and within caves. The Amerindians learned and took advantage of the relatively ease with which gold metal is worked into trinkets and various forms. The Spanish would quickly grasp that what they were seeing was a seemingly inexhaustible supply of wealth in gold, silver and precious jewels that would be available to them and make Spain the richest empire in the world.


As mentioned before, the first European visit to Colombia was not made by Christopher Columbus even though the country is named after him. Chris completed his last tour of the Americas in 1502, never getting south of northern Panama. The honor of being the first Spaniard and first European visitor to Colombia goes to Alonso de Ojeda (portrait right), a fellow navigator serving with Columbus. He landed briefly in 1499 at the Guajira Peninsula, the northern most point of South America (see map above).


In 1500, Spanish explorers, led by Rodrigo de Bastidas, made the first exploration of the Caribbean coast of Colombia. Then, in 1508, Vasco Núñez de Balboa accompanied an expedition to the Gulf of Urabá region and founded the town of Santa Maria la Antigua del Darién, the first stable settlement in continental America.


This settlement happened at least a decade before the Spanish arrived in Mexico and nearly 100 years before Jamestown was founded by the English in Virgina. It signaled that the Spanish occupation of the Americas had begun. The Ameridians could not know it would last 300 years and profoundly effect their culture, even their very existence.


Next month: History of Colombia - Part II - The Columbian Period, Spanish Occupation


¡Pura Vida!


Health Stuff
Some Home Remedies

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 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?)


I must admit that, as a typical American (Gringo) growing up in the U.S., I always looked askance at anything suggested for an ailment that didn't come in the form of a prescription from a doctor. Having lived here now for eight years I find my attitude changing. Here are two examples.


The first incidence occurred during the first year that I was a resident here. I developed a really upset stomach, a full case of Montezuma's Revenge (or was it Manuel Antonio's Revenge) also known as "Traveler's Diarrhea (TD)". It can be very uncomfortable, even painful, embarrassing and actually dangerous because of the way it dehydrates you. And it can last several days even with anti-TD meds.


I had never had TD before, having drunk the water in a dozen countries in Europe, Africa and the Caribbean. I also had visited Costa Rica eight times before moving here and never had a problem drinking the water. So, what had changed?


In the next three years I had the condition twice more. Finally, a Tica lady suggested a remedy; cut open a fresh, ripe papaya and swallow a big spoonful of papaya seeds. Repeat two more times within 24 hours. Bingo, the condition was gone the next day. After that, when I felt a stomach thing coming on I quickly took a spoonful of the seeds from "the fruit of the angels", as Columbus described it.


Now I process a papaya roughly every two weeks as I like the fruit for breakfast and always take just one spoonful as a preventative.


Slowly I came to believe that the problem lies in the bacteria that comes with fresh produce here, especially leafy, green vegetables like lettuce. It needs to be washed carefully, something that doesn't seem to happen between the field and the store. The papaya seeds act as a pro-biotic and restore the normal bacteria in the stomach.


The second instance had to do with the "gripe" (pronounced gree-pay), basically any type of cold or flu which is common here. In the early days here I developed the gripe at least once per year and the problem for me was that I already had weak lungs from a long history of smoking, up to the year 2009. A cold or flu would quickly drop into my chest and severe bronchitis would quickly develop. After overcoming congestive heart failure back then, getting another case of bronchitis was not only uncomfortable but quite dangerous.


A Tica friend suggested I try Propolis/Propoleo when the symptoms first come on. Propolis is a natural solid best described as a mixture of bee wax and the resins of a conifer or poplar. The mixture is manufactured by bees and used by them as an adhesive to glue their hives together. As one health site puts it: "...propolis does have proven antibiotic and antiseptic properties and may also

have antiviral and anti-inflammatory effects". Propolis usually comes as a liquid - a few drops in water is enough, maybe three times a day and bye, bye gripe. Propoleo is simply propolis in honey - very easy to take. All natural.


This kind of bug can hit you no matter where you go. On a recent trip to the States I developed a gripe and went to a health food store and bought some propolis - it checked the development of the cold in about a day. It's my personal belief that our immune systems get shocked by a different set of bugs when we travel a great distance and remedies like papaya seeds and propolis restore our systems naturally.


Next, GG is on the lookout for something that reportedly can reverse Type II Diabetes, the ayahuasca vine. After that I've heard about this natural remedy to check Alzheimer's...if I can remember where to find it.


More on papaya and papaya seeds: All About Papaya and Papaya Seeds

More on Propoleo and Propolis: Mind Your Bee's Wax



Travel Quote of the Month



Answer to Que Es Eso

Ladies of Limón

The phrase being used in the Limón Patois video above is:

"Gimmesumodatrizanmil, gimmesumodatrizanmil..." OR "Give me some of that rice and milk".

They go on to say: "gimmesumwid coco (coconut), gimmesumwid chuleta (pork chop), gimmesumwid pesca (fish)...etc.".

I bet some of those ladies from Limón shown at the left in full costume for the Fiesta de Limón could provide good "rizanmil" in a number of forms.

Colombia and Columbus


As mentioned above, the name of the country "Colombia" is derived from the last name of Christopher Columbus.  The Italian for this sailor is Cristoforo Colombo and in Spanish it's Cristóbal Colón). Note that only in English is the second syllable expressed as a "u" rather that an "o". The name Colombia was conceived by the Venezuelan explorer Francisco de Miranda as a reference to all the New World, but especially to those portions under Spanish and Portuguese rule. The name was later adopted by the Republic of Colombia in 1819, formed from the territories of the old Vice-royalty of New Granada (modern-day Colombia, Panama, Venezuela, Ecuador, and northwest Brazil).




It is one of the great ironies of history that this land, discovered by mistake, owes its name to yet another mistake or, at least, misrepresentation. A different explorer, Amerigo Vespucci, captured the public’s imagination with his account of his travels claiming he was in an entirely “New World.” And soon after, in 1507, cartographer Martin Waldensee Müller, of Saint-Dié, France, published a world map showing the surprisingly detailed contour of a vast new continent he called America – in honor of Amerigo Vespucci.

And that is why America is not called Columbia.


Jamaican Patois, known locally as Patois (Patwa or Patwah, emphasis on the second syllable) and called Jamaican Creole by some linguists, is an English-based creole language with West African influences (a majority of words of Akan origin from the Ivory Coast) spoken primarily in Jamaica and the Jamaican diaspora (i.e., much of the Caribbean and Atlantic coasts of Central and South America).


Here's another patois word: Tuanis, mae!


ROMEO Corner
(Retired Old Men Eating Out)

Victoria's - Manuel Antonio


Location: Top of Manuel Antonio Hill Across from Colonial Pacifico Condominiums, 100 meters North (or East) of Cafe Milagro
Hours: Monday thru Sunday, 4PM to 11 PM
Ample in Front of Restaurant
Tel.: 2777-5143; Fax: ; Email: ; Web: http://www.victoriasgourmet.com


ROMEOs: Alma L., Kevin F., Jerry C., Joanne K., Mark G., Bob N.


To Review Our Rating System and Procedure, go here: R.O.M.E.O. Rating System


Victoria's was last reviewed in August, 2012. See that review here: Victoria's 2012.


Physically, the dining room hasn't changed much, it's still a warm combination of good woods, earth colors and indirect lighting that gives one a comfortable feeling quickly. The tables are unadorned and the chairs do have some padding (GG's back thanks you for that).


The dining room is open to the atmosphere and the back side edges the forest but is not visible after 6 PM. (hint, hint, some lighting out there would make the room even more charming and expansive).


The composite score for ambiance by the six attending ROMEOs was 3.2 out of a five sloth maximum.


The menu is quite simple offering a few appetizers, about ten main courses with an Italian accent and a list of a dozen or so variations of pizza as the restaurant still views and bills itself as a "gourmet pizza: eatery.


GG and another ROMEO had the mozzarella caprese as an appetizer. It was good but not as flavorful as I've had in other Italian restaurants here. Two of us ordered something called Chicken Franchise, which I presume is intended to be pronounced "fran-chee-say" but may have been meant as Francesa. It was a slab of a chicken breast, breaded and fried. Tender and tasty but not exceptional.


Perhaps one of the more interesting aspects of the dinners may have been the chef's use of flavorings. One person commented how good the sauce was on their dish and I detected a very mild accent on the vinaigre side on the capellini pasta that was served with my Chicken Franchise.


The dessert menu was quite limited at what I've come to call the MA standard, the ubiquitous brownie with ice cream, a cheesecake and one other item.



Value Index = 102


The composite rating for food quality came in at 3.4 sloths.


The maitre d' who greeted our party and the waiter were both very friendly and helpful. The composite rating for service was 3.7 and that gave an overall rating for ambiance, food quality and service of 3.4.


For my caprese, the Franchise chicken, the brownie with ice cream and a coke, the total came in at 23,370 colones or about $41. The score for cost was 3.3 and that gives a value index of 3.4/3.3x100=102, right in the middle of our rating system.


More comments by ROMEOs attending: "Excellent sauce", "Few appetizers", "Good chicken", "Waiter was friendly and charming", "Good food, limited menu, better lighting".,



Golden Gringo Chronicles Novel and E-Books Now Available!

GGC Book CoverThe story of the Golden Gringo Chronicles is also available as a hard copy novel of 192 pages available through Amazon and all major online retailers. ($9.95)

Amazon link: GGC, the Book. (Kindle Edition available)

Follow GG through the first six years of his odyssey in making the decision to retire in Costa Rica, overcoming the trials and tribulations of moving and obtaining residency there and the fun and experience of actually living in Ticoland.

Ride along with the Golden Gringo as he learns about the rich, varied culture of Costa Rica, the incredible bio diversity, the charming nature of the Costa Rican people and the ease with which a sometimes clueless ex-pat can assimilate into a small southwestern town on the Pacific coast.

Whether you are already a Costa Rican resident, someone contemplating a move here or just a traveler who enjoys different cultures, you will find the Golden Gringo Chronicles interesting, entertaining and informative about Costa Rica.


Part 1-150 Part 2-150 Part 3 Light


A narrative version of the Golden Gringo Chronicles is now also available as a trilogy of E-books in formats compatible with virtually all electronic platforms.


Part 1: (FREE!)
Leaving the Homeland

Part 2: ($3.99)
The Early Years

Part 3: ($3.99)
Becoming Tico, Maybe

Click on Part Number above for E-book sample downloads or click the price above right for purchase. (The best price is on Part 1; it's FREE)

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