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In This Issue:

1. Broken News (All the News That's Fit to Reprint: 1. 23 Guaro Deaths Under Investigation; 2. Futbol News; 3. GG's Triumphant Return.

2. Economic Drumbeat (CR Business Happenings): 1. New Tax Law in Effect; 2. Costa Rica/Korea Free Trade Agreement.

3. Latin America Update (Major Events In Neighboring Countries): 1. Mexico (Last VW Beetle Produced, Hail Storm in Guadalajara). 2. Nicaragua Status, 3. Panama - Unemployment Up.

4. Rumble and Weather Talk: 1. Southern Zone - Earthquake Target; 2. Rain is Normal. i.e., Heavy.

5. Feature 1: Profiles in Quepos Series: Emilio Cedeño, Restaurateur Extraordinaire.

6. ¿Que Es Eso? Department: What the Heck Kind of Butterfly is That?

7. Feature 2: Dia de Las Madres (Flowers and Family Meals Will Do the Trick)

8. Health Stuff: Inquiring Minds Want to Know (more on the book Grain Brain)

9. GGC Bookshelf and More: Books from GGC Publications, Golden Gringo T-Shirts and Coffee Mugs as Well as Suggested Books from the Quepos-Manuel Antonio Writers Group.

10. What's-in-a-Word: Answer to Que Es Eso.

11. ROMEO Corner: Emilio's Cafe - Manuel Antonio

Wisdom of the Ages

There are two public holidays in Costa Rica in August: August 2 The Virgin of Los Angeles (more commonly known as "La Negrita") and August 15, Mother's Day, the latter being the subject of an article below. To read more about La Negrita go here: Million Man March.


¡Felicidades! La Negrita Yup!


¡Feliz Día de la Madre!

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


Contaminated Guaro Deaths


Samples of the Contaminated Brands

Guaro is a distillate of fermented sugar cane that is popular here, if for no other reason, because of its low cost. Some 23 deaths, 17 men and 6 women (19 Costa Ricans), have been recently linked to local brands of contaminated Guaro (see figure left) that were somehow laced with methanol, a process that is commonly known as denaturing, and which turns ethyl alcohol into a poison.


Even denatured alcohol takes a significant amount to produce death. Later reports indicated that many of the victims were chronic alcoholics, which might belatedly explain the sensitivity to the contaminated liquor. The small bottle of Cacique (365ml) goes for about $3 and is a favorite among the alcoholic street crowd. No foreign tourists were included in the death count.


The Government Brand

The Chronicles previously noted that the Costa Rican government itself is in the business of manufacturing and selling its own brand of Guaro marketed under the brand name Cacique. Recent reports included several competing brands to Cacique but didn't mention the government's brand. Here are the effected brands: Guaro Montano, Baron Rojo Aguardiente, Timbuka Aguardiente, Molotov Aguardiente, Guaro Gran Apache, Aguardiente Estrella Roja. Sarchetto Brand was recently added to the list.


The fact that the contamination reached across several brands implies to this reporter that those brands all had the same source for the base guaro. I had been told several years ago that the government was the only one permitted to manufacture Guaro here which begs the question: "Did the contamination occur at the government factory?"


A good Tico friend offered another explanation which might explain the across-brand problem. Evidently it is possible for someone to take pure ethyl alcohol, dilute it with water and package it as "Guaro". That lack of government control would at least explain one way that the government is not directly responsible for the denaturing.


Yet the mystery remains. How did six different brands of guaro become contaminated with the same chemical and is only one manufacturing plant or alcohol source involved?


Enough speculation from this investigative reporter. A distributor in Heredia was raided by the (Fiscal Control) Police near the end of the month; the inquiry continues.


Futbol News


The FIFA (Federacion International Futbol Associacion - better thought of as the World Futbol League) holds quadrennial championships for the World Cup, the last being in 2018 in Russia and the next being in 2022 in Qatar. In the intervening years a biennial competition within divisions compete for their respective divisional championships (Gold Cups), the results of which count towards qualification for the World Cup.


Costa Rica, the United States and Canada are all part of the CONCACAF division of FIFA - CONCACAF roughly standing for North America (Canada, USA, Mexico), Central America and the Caribbean. Within CONCACAF there are 41 FIFA teams but only 16 teams qualify for the Gold Cup competition. Within FIFA worldwide there are 211 teams with 32 qualifying for World Cup play (this will expand to 48 for the 2026 games). To encourage winning scores over tying scores in the Gold Cup a win is counted as 3, tie as 1 and 0 for a loss. In the event of a tie in points the winner is determined by the total number of goals obtained over the tournament to date.


USA's Weston McKennie and Tyler Boyd Celebrating an Important Goal by McKennie

The CONCACAF gold cup competitions took place from June 10 to July 7 in several countries including Costa Rica as a venue for the first time in these competitions. Canada, USA and Costa Rica all made it to the quarter finals but Canada was stopped there by Haiti while Costa Rica lost only by total goals in a 1-1 tie with Mexico.


That result led to semi-final games where Mexico beat Haiti 1-0 and the USA trounced Jamaica 3-1 setting the final match of Mexico versus the USA. The final was held on July 7th at Soldiers Field in Chicago. The game ended at 0-0 in regulation time throwing the game into penalty shots with Mexico winning the result by one goal and taking home the CONCACAF Gold Cup once more. Futbol games and championships don't come any closer than this one did.


Mexico now has won the Gold Cup eight times and the U.S. six times. You can bet they'll both be back at World Cup time and there's always another Gold Cup in two years before the

next World Cup in 2022.


GG's Triumphant Return


GG is happy to report that after a five month sabbatical, which might be better described as a deprivation, GG has been able to resume his love of sitting on Manuel Antonio beach and contemplating his navel.


Some of you know that I suffered a bout of pneumonia, including a five day stay in the hospital, that began in early February and which was not completely eliminated until early May. Adding fun-fuel to that fire was a bout with sciatica that ensued during the pneumonia and which was not cleared up until early July.


My thanks to everyone for your good wishes, and special thanks to my medical A-Team (Doc Fallas and Physiotherapist Evelina). They've gotten me moving around on my own perambulation once more and I'm back to the serenity of the beach, my beloved Playa Espadilla in Manuel Antonio. It hasn't changed a bit, it's still fabulously beautiful.


¡Pura Vida!

Economic Drumbeat
(Costa Rica Business Happenings)

This is another new section for the Chronicles. We decided that, since more and more things are happening in the Costa Rican business arena that the topic deserved more emphasis and its own section. See last month's discourse on the Technical Renaissance going on in the Central Valley to see what I mean.

New Tax Law in Effect

July 1 saw the implementation of "The Law on Strengthening Public Finances" (Law #20.580). That title is a politician's positive spin rename for a tax increase.


President Carlos Alvarado

There is no doubt that our current president, Señor Carlos Alvarado Quesada, a young man (39), was presented with a conundrum of sorts when he was elected to a four year term beginning May 8, 2018. The economy was slowing down, unemployment was going up (it's now running over 10%) and the operating deficits were increasing, which resulted in worldwide declines in bond ratings and credit worthiness for Costa Rica.


The Chronicles has noted before the unswerving penchant of politicians to express the deficit (and debt) as a percent of Gross Domestic Product (in this case for Costa Rica, it's currently about 6%). That way it always sounds like a small number. When that 6% of GDP is converted to a percent of operating expenditures, it comes closer to 50%, i.e., 50% of what the government spends is financed by new debt. The U.S. is not much better an example, currently running about 20% deficit to budget.


How the Value Added Tax Works

The new Costa Rican tax law is an attempt to cut that deficit shortfall and restore confidence in Costa Rica's fiscal situation. The law replaces the 13% sales tax with a 13% VAT or Value Added Tax.


Simply put VAT taxes on the stages of life of a product or service. Example, GG buys raw materials and converts them to a product which is distributed by a third party to retail outlets that sell the products to consumers. I would pay 13% tax on the raw materials which I could deduct from the 13% I am required to charge my customer and pay the balance to the government. The same arithmetic process is used by the distributor and the retailer to determine their tax obligation, the consumer ending up paying the total 13%.


One of the great advantages to the government of the VAT process is the tracking ability of the government to expose the tax obligation of the companies in the chain that are not paying their share of taxes. This should eventually go a long way to minimizing the so-called "informal market" and "cash discounts" habits here, that is, those that are currently not paying proper taxes by not fully disclosing their sales income and thereby avoiding the proper amount of taxes due. On the downside it's hard to believe a VAT system will not require an as-yet unidentified but significant increase in tax bureaucrats to count all the pennies and sort through all the paperwork (or electronic files) involved with various steps of the process.


awsWhile getting people to pay their proper taxes is a worthwhile goal, the legislators and government executives were not happy with that objective as being enough.


They decided to broaden the scope of products and services over which the VAT would apply and then add one new biggie on top of that, to wit:

And, to top it all off, the legislature is considering and will likely pass, for the first time in Costa Rican history, a Capital Gains Tax of 15%. As one real estate wag put it: "...let's see now, the government operates at a strong deficit for years causing a decline in the value of the currency, much of which shows up in the 'value' of the property later which the government then takes part of as a tax on the added 'value'..." hmmmm.


lopBy July 4th, the Fiscal Police ("Control Fiscal") were making surprise visits to merchants in the large malls in and around San José, giving the smaller mom and pop operations a little more time to get in line with the new system. These police have the power to shut down a business if they encounter what they perceive as purposeful deviation from the new tax law. Reports are these police have had intense training in how to conduct surprise visits and what to look for in the way of violations of the new law.


drtMeanwhile, after the Education Unions (there are 3: SEC, ANDE and APSE) struck and blocked some key intersections in many parts of the country over several days, the strikers achieved one goal important to them, that of the resignation of the Minister of Education. After they got their way with the minister, the Social Security Employees Union (UNDECA) also decided to strike calling on the government to fire the Minister of Finance whom they consider: "an enemy of the people and the working class", largely because he oversees the tax increase. In addition, the union called for 1) no new taxes, 2) no approval of a legislative bill (21.049) that would regulate strikes and 3) cancellation of a bill (21.336) that would regulate salaries of public employees.


To quote Betty Davis: "Fasten your seatbelt, it's going to be a bumpy ride". And what was all that talk before about "reactivating the economy"? Despite the obvious need to strengthen the country's financial and debt position it's highly doubtful that a major tax increase will help stimulate the economy. Between the new tax law, the union strikes and the need for continued economic expansion Señor Alvarado ha metido en un gran lío (...has gotten himself into a real pickle).


Costa Rica/Korea Free Trade Agreement

Some 60 Korean officials (of course, when we talk "Korea" here we mean South Korea only) visited Costa Rica recently and came away with an improved free trade agreement. Key provisions of the new agreement (reported by AM Costa Rica):

Korea, with a population of 50 million (vs 5 million in Costa Rica) and GDP of $1.9 trillion ($60 billion in Costa Rica) is expected to be a good trading partner with Costa Rica. Conversely, GG suspects the Koreans recognize that Costa Rica presents a good base to establish operations in Central America in particular and Latin America in general. This treaty is a good step forward for long term cooperation.

Latin America Updates
(Major Events In Neighboring Countries)



The Last Volkswagen Beetle

Last VW Beetle Rolls Off Mexico Production line. After more than 70 years of production and with a giant celebration, the last Volkswagen Beetle rolled out of the VW Puebla, Mexico factory on July 10. The VW "beetle" is now history.


VW Type I
VW Type II

It is estimated that there were a total of more than 21,500,000 beetles produced along the way.


In the U.S. in the 1990's the original design (Type 1) was modified into a smoother, shinier, more modern version (Type II) to stem flagging sales but larger and more expensive models than the beetle eventually became more popular. In the long run the Type II did not change the downward sales trend for the "People's Car". It simply became a relic to an age gone by.


Herr Hitler Gloating Over His Concept

Who didn't have a friend who owned a beetle when you were growing up. Well, probably many didn't if you were not born in the middle of World War II like GG was. Might you also remember the crazed behavior of some who tried to stuff as many people as possible into a beetle? I don't remember who got the record but we did get eight people into one once (and actually drove it).


Some may forget that this vehicle was originally conceived by Adolph Hitler during his tumultuous and devastating reign in Germany in the 1930's and 40's. The idea (a good one from a very bad dude) was that the country needed an inexpensive family car that could carry a family and luggage (the luggage in the front trunk of course or strapped onto the roof).


The last Beetle is another nostalgic sign of an early car era gone by.


Guadalajara June 30, 2019

Ice Storm Hits Guadalajara. On the last day of June, a Sunday, a major and freak hail storm hit western Mexico, particularly Guadalajara. The press reported that "At least six neighborhoods were covered in ice up to 2 meters (6 feet) deep". Children were making snowmen and having snowball (ice-ball?) fights in June.


Thanks amigos, but GG will take the rainy season in Costa Rica over that. Good luck digging out.




You may recall that after considerable international pressure, the current Nicaraguan government last month agreed to an amnesty plan and release of some 500+ political prisoners that had been incarcerated during the upheavals and riots of 2018. As of late July some 440 of these had been released while some 80 remain in custody.


The U.N. Human Rights Council has reported that during the 2018 demonstrations over 300 were killed, more than 2,000 injured and some 70,000 have left Nicaragua permanently, many coming to Costa Rica. Recently, another report was filed with the Human Rights Council claiming that: "...Nicaragua continues to repress, threaten and harass human rights defenders and other opponents one year after the government’s violent crackdown on nationwide demonstrations."


Danny Ortega and the Iranian

Meanwhile, in a spirit of "The enemy of my enemy is my friend", Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega was cozying up to Iran and recently had talks with the Iranian Foreign Minister about the "economic terrorism of the United States" (both countries have officials who are feeling the pain of U.S. sanctions).


The photo right shows President Ortega, Javad Zarif the Foreign Minister of Iran and Nicaraguan Vice-President (and Danny's wife) Rosario Murillo.


There's another old saying besides the enemy thing: "You can tell one's character by the company he keeps."




Panama recently reported an up-tick in unemployment to 6.5%. That made GG curious as to how unemployment varies in Central America as a whole vis-a-vis North America. I generated the table to the left that shows C.A. and N.A. countries last reports of unemployment but I must say some of the data reported is questionable and perhaps the technique used to generate the numbers is in some cases also suspicious.


The range 6-7% seems to capture many of the countries with the notable exception of the U.S. being lowest at 3.6% and Costa Rica highest at 11.3%.


What was that again Señor Presidente Alvarado about "reactivating the Costa Rican economy"?


¡Solo Bueno!

(Rumble and Weather Talk)

Southern Zone - Earthquake Target


Zona Sur de Costa Rica

Although earthquakes continue to be unpredictable, local seismologists and other scientists more and more believe that the southern zone (Zona Sur to locals) is expected to host a major quake in the future. Of course how far into the future is a subject for many debates and wagers at local bars.


The damage created by a tremor is subject to three variables; 1) the energy released - measured by the Richter Scale and which can be equivalent to literally thousands of atomic bombs. This is a deceptive scale as a 7.6R is not 2/3 bigger than a 4.6 as the numbers imply; a 7.6 actually yields 32,000 times the energy release of a 4.6R. Damage also depends on the distance one is from the epicenter, as measured by the hypotenuse (remember your geometry amigos?) resulting from the triangle formed by the depth of the tremor epicenter as one leg and your horizontal surface distance from the epicenter as another leg. Lastly, the quality of the construction in the effected zone is very important, i.e. the degree to which the construction meets modern quake-resistant standards.


Having personally experienced and survived a 7.6R earthquake in Puntarenas in 2012 on the first floor of a ten story building, I can verify that earthquake resistant construction is very important. That building was so damaged they had to raze the top eight floors and are now busy building a totally new hospital in the nearby town of Barranca. The resulting and current two story building is now the equivalent of a triage and administrative center. See the story of that 2012 quake HERE.


Experiences like this keep the Costa Rican government always on their toes to constantly upgrade their building codes (Código Sísmico). The experts believe that, because of the code, most newer buildings would stay structurally sound for a mid-7-Richter type quake but that up to 20% of the buildings here, particularly houses, may have been "informally" constructed, that is to say, before the code was in place or somehow constructed of inferior design despite the code.


Chinchona Earthquake 2009

Of course survivability of people or buildings, depends on too many factors to truly predict a given outcome. One is the terrain; many Costa Rican towns are built on the sides of large hills and are subject to major landslides caused by a tremor. Such was the case with the village of Chinchona, about 25 kilometers north of Alejuela (as the seismic wave travels). A 6.1R quake there in 2009 caused major landslides, severe building damage and 34 deaths.


The concern that authorities have about the Southern Zone is that the area holds a particularly nervous conjunction of our two big tectonic plates, the Cocos and the Caribbean. The Cocos Tectonic Plate interacts with the Caribbean by scraping under it in a process called "subduction" producing sometimes very energetic vibrations we call earthquakes. These two plates also run under much of Central America and were formed a few million years ago when sub-ocean geological activity caused the earth to break, push up and form the land bridge linking North and South America we now know as Central America . That was also the time of the birth of the central mountain and volcanic range of Costa Rica (Cordillera Central). 


It's always interesting living on top of these two plates.


Rainfall Normal - Heavy


Costa Rica - Average Annual Rainfall by Area

We've been in our rainy season for a couple of months now and things seem normal. We've had some serious showers that have resulted in local landslides. Recently a big tree with saturated roots fell across the main road to Manuel Antonio blocking traffic for a few hours (riding on the bus up the old road to M.A., which is narrower and more curvy, was a hoot dodging cars and trucks).


A recent visitor once asked: "How much rain do you get here?". Good question but not an easy answer. Depends on where in Costa Rica you're talking about. Remember that we're infamous for having several micro climates here.


Look at the annual rainfall map by region at the right. For a small country (if it were a state Costa Rica would rank #42 out of 51 in land area) Costa Rica has a remarkable variation in rainfall by region. Less than 10% of the country sees less than 60" of rain per year. Recall that the highest rainfall state in the U.S. is Hawaii at about 57" with a cluster of Gulf of Mexico states (Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Florida) in the mid-50's just behind it.


Note that Quepos/Manuel-Antonio is in the 120-160" bracket - that's why it's so green here amigos.


¡Pura Vida!

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


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Profiles in Quepos Series
(Emilio Cedeño - Restauranteur Extraordinaire)

Actually his full name is Rafael Emilio Cedeño Valdiviezo and he's the proprietor of Emilio's Café in Manuel Antonio, a spot that has become well known for its creative menu, exceptional desserts and incredible view. The establishment is located at the top of Manuel Antonio adjacent to Plaza Vista (which includes the Promerica Bank office). It's half way between the plaza and the Mariposa Hotel on the same road used to access the Mariposa.


Isla de Margarita, Venezuela

Emilio grew up in Venezuela as the youngest of six kids. Except for a nephew who also moved here, Emilio's family is still based where he grew up, on Isla de Margarita. Margarita is a beautiful island off the Caribbean coast of Venezuela very near to, and at least geologically speaking, a part of the Lesser Antilles (the chain of islands called Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad-Tobago). Isla de Margarita also has a nickname: Isle of Pearls (check out that beach to the right - you can see why).


Rafael Emilio Cedeño Valdiviezo

At the age of 33, Emilio has been 18 years now in Costa Rica having first come to Manuel Antonio in 2001 at the encouragement of a good friend. That good friend was José, who is the owner of another emporium with a good reputation here, the Hotel Mariposa. José was originally from Venezuela and Isla de Margarita as well. The two men were close friends growing up on Isla Margarita so Emilio felt comfortable moving here to work with him.


Emilio proceeded to earn his wings and acquire more knowledge in the food service business at Mariposa working with José.


Eventually (2012), with the friendly encouragement of José, Don Emilio opened his own place in a space on the second floor of the building directly across from the Manuel Antonio football field. The offering was basically coffee and sandwiches, the latter still one of Emilio's specialties.


GG remembers that place as it was still operating when I moved here in 2008. Having a good sandwich and cup of Costa Rican coffee for lunch while looking out over the jungle and up the northern coastline brings to one a certain "tranquilo", a restfulness and appreciation of life.


View from Emilio's Café Now

In 2013 one of Emilio's clients at the sandwich shop mentioned that he had a bigger place for rent that Emilio might find interesting so our hero investigated and moved his business to the current location. The new location provided expanded kitchen and dining room facilities enabling him to offer a more extended and varied menu. Today, even though there is still a list of excellent and creative sandwiches on the menu, there also is a variety of main courses with some interesting twists to them (see the ROMEO Review in the last section of this edition below). The dessert offering is broad and way above average for this area.


When I asked Emilio what his philosophy of business is (sorry, GG can't help asking the questions I used to ask when I was a business consultant), Emilio did not hesitate and said: "Love, Attention to Quality and Consistency". Not even an old frazzled consultant can argue with that formula.


Emilio Running in Berlin

When Emilio is not restauranteering he enjoys cycling and running. Last year he got to participate in a run in Berlin during a visit to Europe (that's the jogging Emilio left).


He also enjoys a lady friendship (I have it on the QT that a marriage is pending) with a certain Evelina who is not a stranger to these pages as she was GG's Physiotherapist recently during the (successful) fight I had with sciatica. I profiled Evelina earlier and you can read about her HERE.


So GG is not surprised to find once more that behind a successful and popular businessman here lies a well-rounded person who enjoys life and cares deeply about what he is doing.


¡Solo Bueno!



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



Is it a Butterfly With a Split Personality?


Is it a Plastic Decoration?


Is it a Gay Dragonfly?

Answer in

section below.

¡Pura Vida!


Dia de Las Madres
(Flowers and Family Meals Will Do the Trick)


Mothering Sunday Buns

The day on which Mother's Day (Dia de Las Madres in Spanish) is celebrated varies from country to country around the world. In the U.S., as well as Canada, it's the second Sunday in May (this year that was May 12). In Mexico, Guatemala and El Salvador it's always celebrated on May 10; which this year was a Friday. The Guatemalans are noted for their particularly live and festive Mother's Day celebrations.


In the southwestern U.S. and California I'm told May 10 is often referred to as Mexican Mother's Day which, being two days before U.S. Mother's Day this year, must have caused some extended celebration in certain blended family homes this year.


In the U.K. the traditional name for the day is "Mothering Sunday". For that event "Mothering Sunday Buns" are made to celebrate the day (photo left - GG will take two mothering buns with some good, rich, black Costa Rican coffee please). Mothering Sunday falls on the fourth Sunday in Lent (Laetare Sunday), and is observed in many Anglican and Catholic communities in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Ireland.


Of course there are those countries that follow their own drum beat such as Nicaragua which celebrates the day on May 30. In Panama, Mother's Day isn't celebrated until December 8 which coincides with the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. One way or another and one time or another they all get to celebrate mama sometime during the year. In all there are some twenty different dates celebrated in ten different months in various countries around the world with May 10 being the most popular date.


Whatever You Do, Don't Forget the Flowers

Costa Rica also marches to its own drumbeat. Mother's Day or Dia de Las Madres is always celebrated on August 15 here which this year is a Thursday (good luck getting the celebrants to work next day amigos). The holiday here unsurprisingly coincides with the Catholic Feast of the Assumption of Mary into heaven, a very important religious mother figure and holy day. It is also a Costa Rican national holiday so don't be caught without a present for your mom or wife (or even your landlady who treats you like a good mama). It is traditional (read that more or less as compulsory) to bring mama some flowers. It's also traditional for the family to gather at Mama's home to have a celebratory meal.


Muchas Gracias Mama

The formal observance of a Mothers Day in Western culture goes back to the mid-1800's and likely started in the United States. In 1858, a "mountain mama" and West Virginian homemaker, Ann Jarvis, organized "Mother's Work Days" to promote "improved sanitation and avert deaths from disease-bearing insects and seepage of polluted water". In 1872 women’s suffragist Julia Ward Howe tied the day to a woman's peace movement in view of the terrible losses countries had incurred during the American Civil and Franco-Prussian Wars. In 1905-1914, Ann Jarvis' daughter Anna ran a campaign to memorialize her mother's work which ended in Congress passing a formal resolution creating the holiday in 1914.


The Whistler Stamp

It was President Woodrow Wilson who, in 1914, designated the day as the second Sunday in May. Later, President Franklin Roosevelt, not to be outdone, commissioned a Mother's Day stamp emblazoned with the figure of Whistler's Mother on it. Although the holiday of Mother's Day only goes back about 100 years, the theme behind honoring the uniqueness that is woman goes back centuries, even before Christianity took hold in the western world. It can be traced back to ancient times and honoring women's fertility:


"Egyptians would gather to honor the great goddess Isis, who associates with women and fertility. When Osiris, her consort, was murdered and chopped into 13 pieces, Isis put his body back together, which impregnated her by his essence. Later, the Greeks honored one of their main goddesses, Rhea, who was the mother of Zeus, Hades, and Poseidon. Romans adopted the mythology and traditions of the Greeks, and later on, with the conversion to Christianity, they took these traditions and honored the Virgin Mary instead." (Wikipedia)


My Mom (right) on GG's Wedding Day

I don't know about you but this particular holiday brings on a certain melancholy for me. My mom, one Dora Mae Dumas Normand, was born in Plaistow, New Hampshire in 1905 and died in 1981 at the age of 76. She lived through two world wars and the greatest economic depression in U.S. history while raising six kids during those years. She married my Dad in 1921 in Haverhill, Mass. at the age of sixteen and loved to tell that story because all the gossips in the family and the town expected that she "was pregnant on the altar" but she proved them wrong by having her first child, my oldest sister Lorraine, in 1922 over one year after they got married.


Dora Mae Dumas Normand and Her Last-Born Child Robert (GG) Circa 1943 (Ain't He Cute?)

Both parents worked hard at blue collar jobs (my father drove a local oil delivery truck; my mother worked in a shoe factory during many of the years when they were still making shoes in the U.S. To my knowledge they never made over $5,000 a year combined but we never wanted for food, clothing nor most of the things kids think they need (like a shiny new bicycle for my 10th birthday - I loved that damn bike and discovered then that transportation means freedom).


Later mom and dad managed to actually build a house on Plum Island, Mass., literally with their own hands, buying lumber and building materials as they could. We moved from Haverhill to Plum Island around 1950 in time for me to enroll in second grade. The rest of my checkered past can be read about here: Morphology of a Golden Gringo


I mentioned in last month's Chronicle (see GGU article) that I have applied for Costa Rican citizenship. If approved, my new cédula and passport will take on an additional name. I will officially be known, as it is typically expressed in Spanish-speaking lands, as Robert Arthur Normand Dumas. Only fitting, right Mae?


Couldn't have asked for a better mom (or Dad for that matter). Thanks for everything Mom & Dad...


¡Solo Bueno!




Health Stuff

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 amigos?)



Inquiring Minds Want to Know


Because of a recent, sad experience in losing two of his siblings to Alzheimer's, GG has been doing a little research on the disease and reading a book called Grain Brain by Dr. David Perlmutter. The book claims a startling relationship between carbohydrates and brain dysfunction, particularly dementia and Alzheimer's. I promised to review the book here in the Chronicles chapter by chapter.

In the first three months we covered:


a. May - Introduction section.

b. June - Self-Assessment (What Are Your Risk Factors?).

c. July - Chapter 1, Part 1: The Cornerstone of Brain Disease (About Inflammation).


This month we review and summarize the second half of Chapter 1, continuing the discussion on inflammation and brain disease. Here is a summary of the conclusions:

Has mister Doctor Perlmutter gotten your attention yet? He's got mine. More on Grain Brain next month.


¡Pura Vida!



Travel Quote of the Month

¡Solo Bueno!


GGC Bookshelf
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drfGGC Publications Group is the parent organization that publishes the Golden Gringo Chronicles as well as a number of books and paraphernalia related to the Chronicles and Costa Rica. The GGC Bookshelf also includes works from a number of other authors that belong to the Quepos-Manuel Antonio Writers Group in which GGC has been a founding member.


Here are the books currently on our bookshelf:


jio uio
The Chronicles as a Narrative

Mariposa - English

Mariposa - Español Small Business Guide
Read More Read More Leer más aquí Read More
Overcoming Drinking Making Time Count Spiritual Love Connection Murder or Suicide?
Read More Read More Read More Read More
There's Room for
More on the QMA Writers Group Bookshelf

Keep Writing Amigos!
Getting Around the Capital Retiring in Costa Rica World War II True Story  
Read More Read More Read More  


All of the above books are available on Amazon.com and the "Read More" links above will lead you to them. You can find more detail on all of them on our GGC Publications Page.


GGC Products Store


GGC Publications also offers some accessories and paraphernalia related to the Chronicles and with Costa Rican themes, to wit:






a. Golden Gringo Chronicles with Logo,

b. Official Golden Gringo with Monkey on Banana Hammock,

c. ¡Quepo en Quepos! ("I Fit In Quepos!") with Photo of Quepos,

d. Wanna Monkey Around? - Come on Down! (shown) with Photo of White Faced Monkey,

e. It's OK to be Slothful with photo of Three-Toed Sloth.


The t-shirts are available in several themes, colors, styles and sizes. See them all HERE.


Coffee Mugs:


a. Golden Gringo, b. Wanna Monkey Around?, c. It's OK to be Slothfulgty

See them all HERE:

What's life without a great cup of Costa Rican coffee? And it tastes even better in a Golden Gringo Chronicles mug!


To see ALL the products available in the Golden Gringo Store go here: GGC Store.


¡Solo Bueno!


"Tell me and I forget; teach me and I remember; involve me and I learn"
Benjamin Franklin


Answer to Que Es Eso?


It's neither a dragonfly nor a butterfly. It's a moth and was a recently found as a new species in Costa Rica. It's been given a formal name: Philtronoma Cbdora.


In case you've forgotten, a moth is nocturnal and differs from butterflies in that it leaves it's wings extended when alighted whereas the butterfly usually folds it's wings. This philtronoma varies a bit in this standard as if folds its pink wings under it's gray wings for protection when perched on a leaf or branch making it appear as a lichen or part of the branch.


New Butterfly Namesakes

Somewhat later a second, new-specie of butterfly was found and the butterfly namers (whomever they are) got together and named the new winged species after Costa Rican President Carlos Alvarado and his wife Claudia Dobles.


Respectively, the new butterflies shall be known as Tinaegeria Carlossalvaradoi and Percnarcha Claudiadoblesae.


I bet the first couple flapped their wings on that one (see photo left).



¡Pura Vida!



ROMEO Corner
(Retired Old Men Eating Out)

Emilio's Café - Manuel Antonio


Location: Top of Manuel Antonio hill on the road to Hotel Mariposa, 10 meters west of Plaza Vista just east of the hotel on the same side of the road.

Hours: 7 AM to 9 PM Wednesday through Monday, closed Tuesdays

Parking: Limited to a small parking area shared with other businesses and to the side of the road.

Contacts:Tel:2777-6807, Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/Emilios-Cafe Email: N/A; Website: N/A


Reviewing ROMEOS: Bob N., Ingrid H., Jerry C.


To Review Our Rating System Go Here: R.O.M.E.O. Rating System


This is the third visit of the ROMEOs to Emilio's Café in about the same number of years.


The dining room is informal but pleasantly decorated with faux-art and lightly padded chairs. If you get a chance you should try for a seat long the border of the room which provides an incredible view of the jungle below and the rock islands of Manuel Antonio sitting in the Pacific in the distance. See this view in the Quepos Profile article above.


A light music was offered by a loudspeaker which left plenty of room for good conversation. The ROMEO composite score for ambiance came in at

4.8/5.0 sloths.


The menu for lunch consists of a list of interesting sandwiches as well as some "platas fuertes" or main courses including a good selection of seafood. (GG had tried the Pacheta sandwich a few days earlier on another visit - thin slices of pork and vegetables with a touch of mustard on a bread that seemed a cross between a batard and a baguette - delicious).


As a main course GG ordered a fillet of grouper with a caper sauce and which was served with steamed vegetables and mashed potatoes. Very tasty. Other ROMEOs ordered a falafel wrap and a fillet of red snapper with a mushroom sauce.


Only GG had the courage to order up dessert from the restaurant's extensive dessert case and after a short term of bewilderment I selected a piece of Mocha-Java Cheesecake which was excellent.


By the sounds of acceptance and the ratings given (food quality = 4.7/5.0) all of us were happy with our respective meals.

Value Index= 118


Service was provided by a young lady who was courteous, friendly and helpful. The composite score for service by the ROMEOs came in at 4.0/5.0 which gave a composite average for ambiance, food quality and service of 4.5/5.0.


As usual GG ran up the highest tab; for the grouper fillet, a gin michalada (mix of limone juice and ginger ale in a salted glass), cheesecake and a great cup of rich, black Costa Rican coffee my bill came to just over 18,000 colones or about $31. The composite score for cost came in at 3.8 yielding a Value Index of 4.5/3.8 x 100 = 118 putting the restaurant in the upper half of our locally rated restaurants.


The ROMEOs can heartily recommend Emilio's as good option for lunch or dinner at a reasonable price in a pleasant atmosphere with one of the best views in Manuel Antonio.


¡Solo Bueno!



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Pura Vida!

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