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Rumble and Weather Talk

Profiles in Quepos - Emilio Morales

¿Que Es Eso?

All About Guaro

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In This Issue:

1. BROKEN NEWS (All the News That's Fit to Reprint): a. Papal Coffee Blessing; b. More Guaro Deaths; c. Costa Rica Remembers 9/11; d. Costa Rica Celebrates Its 198th Birthday; e. Navas to Play For PSG.

2. ECONOMIC DRUMBEAT (CR Business Happenings): a. Elev8 Chooses Costa Rica; b. Medtronic Expanding; c. Also Expanding - Microport Orthopedics; d. Economy Slowing.

3. LATIN AMERICN COUNTRIES (Happenings in Neighboring Countries): Nicaragua: New Protests With Police in Managua

4. RUMBLE AND WEATHER TALK: a. Rumble - A Series of Quakes; b. Rainy Season Blues.

5. FEATURE 1: Profiles in Quepos: Manuel Emilio Morales Novoa (Quepoan Entrepreneur).

6. ¿QUE ES ESO? DEPARTMENT: Looks Like a Porcelain Paperweight.

7. FEATURE 2: Guaro is as Guaro Does (Moving Beyond FANAL to FATAL).

8. HEALTH STUFF: a. Prison Break-Out: Mumps; b. Inquiring Minds Want to Know (more on the book Grain Brain); c. Need a New Heart - Print It.

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: a. Answer to Que Es Eso, b. Guaro

11. ROMEO CORNER: El Gran Escape, Quepos

Wisdom of the Ages

The holiday of the month in Costa Rica this month is called Día de las Culturas or National Cultures Day. It occurs on Monday October 14 this year. Originally this holiday was called, like in many parts of the Americas including the U.S., Columbus Day and was held to celebrate the discovery of the Americas by Señor Chris back in 1492. The holiday is listed as an "Unpaid Vacation Day" in Costa Rica.


The law in Costa Rica was changed in 1994 to say that: "The indigenous, European, African and Asian values that make up the idiosyncrasy of Costa Rica will be exalted in the commemorative acts of Cultures Day. We will remember, on this day, the historical and cultural ties that bind the nations of Latin America. We will also stimulate the recovery of the aforementioned values."

¡Feliz Día de Las Culturas Amigos!

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

Papal Coffee Blessing


The Bishop and The Pope

One of our local Catholic bishops, by name Monsignor José Manuel Garita, Bishop of Ciudad Quesada, was in Rome recently and took the opportunity to offer Pope Francis a cup of good Costa Rican coffee (along with some coffee chocolates - yummers). The Pope was quoted as saying "...it is the best coffee in the world" (and, of course we know the bishop and the pope wouldn't lie about anything). The moment was captured in a selfie taken by the bishop (left).


Now that's a cool endorsement, not only because it comes from on high but also because the source is a Latino American (remember the Pope is Argentinian). GG gave a similar approval to our native rich, dark liquid some ten plus years ago but of course my kudos weren't "ex cathedra" (full papal doctrinal authority).


Wait till the pontiff tastes our coffee with huevos con tomates, gallo pinto and maduros in the morning for breakfast!


More Guaro Deaths


The Contaminated Brands of Guaro

The Chronicles has been following a tragic story that began in July of this year when some 20 people died of poisoning resulting from drinking up to nine different brands of Guaro tainted with methanol. Dozens more were hospitalized with symptoms of Guaro poisoning and the death count has been steadily increasing from 20 to 23, then 26 last month and then, in early September, the death count reached 29 including 23 men and 6 women.


The ministry of Health has so far logged 74 people as being treated for some form of Guaro poisoning. If you're unsure as to what Guaro is and where it comes from check out the second feature article below.


Costa Rica Remembers 9/11


September 11 brings with it the unpleasant memories of the terrorist attacks that occurred in the United States on that date in 2001. Costa Ricans remember that horrific day well, if for no other reason that all flights to and from the U.S. were grounded on that Tuesday and would not return to normalcy for a week. This effectively stranded over 500 tourists in Costa Rica plus many more who could not get a flight from the U.S. to Costa Rica. Also, September is a month of national Costa Rican pride because Independence Day here occurs four days after 9/11 on 9/15.


Bomberos Tribute September 14, 2001

But it was more than coincidence of these dates. The relationship between the two countries has always been close and friendly. After the details started to come in about 9/11, the ground swell of empathy here increased dramatically.


In 2001 when the local Cuerpo de Bomberos (Fireman's Organization) learned that some 343 firemen and first responders had perished in the conflagration, the organization sent a delegation of firefighters and first responders to the U.S. Embassy in San José to offer their condolences. That's seen in the photo on the right taken by embassy personnel on September 14, 2001. Thank you Costa Rica for being our friends.


For most people, this kind of event is cemented in one's memory although more than a quarter of the current U.S. population is less than 25 years old and probably wouldn't remember anything about it. For GG I remember exactly where I was on two such occasions. The first was Friday, November 22, 1963, the day that John Kennedy was assassinated. I was 19 years old, a Junior at Lowell Tech (now U. Mass. Lowell) driving across the Textile Bridge in downtown Lowell after finishing my classes for the week when the news came across the car radio that the president had been assassinated. That weekend ended up being way too quiet and sullen.


On September 11, 2001 I was in Delrey Beach, Florida and was making my way towards a MacDonald's with the intent of buying coffee and donuts for me and my client. As I left the client's offices, the television was reporting that "a small plane" had run into the New York Trade Center. By the time I returned and we were eating lunch, the TV reported a second hit on the other tower and it became apparent these were not accidents.


In one way I was fortunate on 9/11. My project was one of the few drive-to projects I ever had as a consultant and I would be able to easily drive from Delrey to my home in Sarasota (the city from which President Bush would have to be evacuated the same day) in a matter of a couple of hours. A dozen or so other consultants working for the same company at the time were spread out around the country and got caught in the airport freeze - some ended up driving from as far as California to get home to Florida.


I hope and pray that our new generations don't have to experience this kind of "time-stopper" in their lives.


Costa Rica Celebrates Its 198th Birthday


Independence Torch Being Carried by Runners

As usual Costa Rica celebrated its Independence Day on September 15. This year is number 198 since Costa Rica and other Latin American countries declared independence from Spain on the same day in 1821.


Part of the festivities, of which there are many, many parades and celebrations in virtually every town of significant size, includes a symbolic run of the Independence Torch. It starts in Guatemala, and from the southern Nicaraguan border at Costa Rica the parade passes through the heart of Costa Rica and on to the Panama border. The torch is carried (photo) by some 20,000 students from many areas of the country in a relay across the major thoroughfares of the country.


Tico Manneken Pis

Costa Rican Independence Day was even celebrated by our friends around the world including Belgium where the famous Manneken Pis statue was dressed up in a native Tico costume. Having lived in Brussels I can tell you that is an honor (despite the name of the statue).


To read the story of the history and meaning of this statue go here: Manneken Pis


Happy Birthday Costa Rica!



Futbol - Navas to Play For PSG


Recall that Keylor Navas, Costa Rica's best known international futbol player, suddenly got released from his contract (reported to be $5.7 million per year) with the famous Real Madrid Spanish team in early may of this year.


Recent press on Navas noted that the player himself asked to be released because his team, Real Madrid, had hired on a new and younger goalie, a fellow named Thibaut Courtois (a 27 year old Belgian), who was expected to be the go-to goalie for the near future. Navas (32 years old) figured he needed a new opportunity to play regularly in what will probably be his golden years in futbol. It was recently announced that Keylor had signed a new contract with PSG Paris-Saint Germain, a long time powerhouse in FIFA futbol. Salary and perks details have not yet been released.


Keylor Navas With New PSG Shirt

The International Federation of Futbol (FIFA) regulates two periods a year when players can be traded. Players' contracts include a buy out clause that carries a money value which may be exercised by another team during two different times per year (they call these periods "transfer windows"). The buyout fee goes directly from one team to the other, in Navas' case 15 million euros or $16.5 million and "The player, their agent, the club and all their lawyers must thrash out a new contract."


While the 15 mil euros is a good deal of colones (about ₡9.5 billion), another recent buyout was even more generous. PSG also bought out the contract of Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior (known best as Neymar, Jr. and the same age as Courtois) from FC Barcelona for a whopping 222 million euros or about $245 million (!). Neymar, Jr. is considered the #1 player in the world by many.


Between Navas and Neymar Jr., PSG is making an investment of over a quarter of a billion dollars. The reason that they can do this is because the club (PSG) will also share in the downstream income from "image" use - read endorsements, the share of which is negotiated as part of the new contracts.


Good luck Keylor; looks like some interesting games will be coming up for PSG.


Walking to See La Virgen



¡Pura Vida!


Economic Drumbeat
(Costa Rica Business Happenings)

Elev8 Chooses Costa Rica


Continuing the influx of high tech companies into Costa Rica's Silicon (Central) Valley, a company called Elev8 (usually pronounced "Elevate") is setting up a $4.5 million training center in Escazu. The company describes what they do as: "...a learning center for training leaders, executives and Information Technology (IT) experts". They hope to add 50 teachers at the Escazu location and use it as a springboard to other international markets worldwide.


This is a privately held company, apparently British in ownership, and as such has less than a normal amount of information about it available on the web. The website (http://www.elev8.co.uk) is under development and there seems to be ties to a high potency vitamin supplement that goes by the same name (Elev8). Not sure what all that means.


The management was reported in La Republica as saying: “We think that Costa Rica is a very important technological hub with a talent base with a lot of potential,” said María Balbás, global director of elev8." GG can't argue with that assessment.


More to be revealed.


Medtronic Expanding


Medtronic - Dublin HQ

Continuing the growth of the tech market in Costa Rica is Medtronic, one of the largest medical devices companies in the world (if not the largest), also announced an expansion here. Its major business is the manufacture of components used for spine surgery devices and spine surgery procedures.


Medtronic is based in Dublin, Ireland with a majority of its sales coming from the U.S. market and it employs over 90,000 worldwide. Medtronic operates in more than 260 locations in over 160 countries. Its sales break down into four key product areas: Cardiac and Vascular - $10.5 billion for FY17, minimally Invasive Therapies - $9.9B, Restorative Therapies - $7.4B and the Diabetes Group - $1.9B; total FY17 sales - $30B (4th Fiscal Quarter 2019 annual rate = $32.6B).


The company will expand facilities at their Coyol Free Zone plant in Alejuela province west of San Jose. The company opened its plant in 2017 with 100 employees and is expected to grow in the near future to over 500 in addition to the facilities expansion.


Also Expanding - Microport Orthopedics


Continuing the surge of medical and technology investment in Costa Rica in Costa Rica's "Silicon Valley", Microsoft Orthopedics also announced plans to expand. This company: "...is mainly focused on designing instruments for total knee replacements using 3D images for each patient in 2017".


The company started operations this year with a staff of 30 and will expand that to 70 by the end of this year. This will mostly augment their service center in Accounting and Finance, Purchasing, Customer Service, Human Resources, IT and Regulatory Affairs.


Welcome Microport.


Economy Slowing


Costa Rica, like many areas around the globe, has been showing signs of a slowing economy in recent months. One recent statistic by the government backed that up: the amount of new construction, as measured by floor area (square meters x 10.6 = square feet), dropped in the first six months of this year versus last year by about 12% for the country as a whole.


The only positive variation in this measurement locally was in Alejuela Province where the number increased by 23%.



Latin America Updates
(Major Events In Neighboring Countries)



Four different demonstrations against the Ortega regime were held in Managua in September. They were met with a powerful array of government police and paramilitary who reportedly used stun bombs against the protesters.


The protests were held with the encouragement of the Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy (called AC for short), a group that called on President Ortega to resign and call for new elections. Unlikely to happen. Juan Sebastián Chamorro, the Executive Director of AC stated that his organization and another resistance group will meet with the OAS (Organization of American States) to present “the situation of a police state that Nicaragua currently lives, the violation of human rights, the existence of more than 126 political prisoners, the murders of peasants in the north”.


The OAS advisory group was previously prevented from visiting Nicaragua during the recent protests.


The drama continues.


¡Solo Bueno!



Rumble and Weather Talk
(Shaky Happenings and Weather Observations On or About the Pacific Rim)

Rumble - A Series of Quakes


On Tuesday September 17 a 5.5R rumble hit near Cahuita on the Caribbean Coast. The next day a 4.9R hit only 20km/12miles south of Quepos at a shallow depth of 34km/20miles. A 4.9R quake is normally not so interesting except when it's epicenter is close and shallow like this one. We felt it well.


Following these two rumbles in the next two days there was a series of lesser quakes in Santa Maria de Dota (Cartago province) - 2.9R, Coto Brus (Puntarenas province south) - 2.9R and Valverde Vega (Alejuela Province) - 3.0.


There were no reports of casualties or serious damage from any of these rumbles.


Rainy Season Blues


Or maybe browns. We're in the middle of our rainy season and the rains have become regular and heavy. When this happens it's not unusual to see interruptions in traffic flow due to mud slides.


Check out the photo to the right which was taken at the Cerro de la Muerte ("Hill of Death") on the Interamericana Highway south of San José. I suspect the bus, which is moving carefully, is a Tracopa from San Isidro on it's way home to San José.


Aptly named hill, eh?


¡Pura Vida!

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


Search the Golden Gringo Chronicles Archives for Topics That Interest You


You can use our Archives to search for anything that has been written in more than 260 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:


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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.


¡Pura Vida!


Profiles in Quepos Series

Manuel Emilio Morales Novoa

Quepoan Entrepreneur


Live here for a while or even visit here for a few days and you will eventually find yourself in a store called "mini-Price" located on the main inbound street to Quepos from the east (and across the street from Pali). This is particularly true if you're looking for the odd imported product often favored by expat gringos like GG.


Manuel Emilio Morales Novoa

The place is owned and operated by a gentleman known mostly by locals as Emilio. Emilio is a true native Quepoan having been born here forty years ago (January 1979). The family was actually based in Naranjito, about ten miles to the east from downtown Quepos. Emilio graduated from the local high school in 1995 and attended UACA (Autonomous University of Central America) in Curridabat (a suburb of San José). He graduated at the turn of the millennium with a licentia (degree) in banking and finance.


At just about that time, Promerica Bank, a Latin American company based in Nicaragua, opened its first operation in Quepos (Manuel Antonio) and Emilio, after graduating from UACA, went to work for them. This job brought him into contact with local business owners and he recognized a growing demand for specialty products among the local hoteliers and grocers. Not feeling bound by a lack of ambition, Emilio, still a banker, found ways to buy special products through distributors in San José and deliver them to customers in Quepos-Manuel Antonio in the evening.


That activity also brought him into direct contact with the Price-Smart distributor people who were in the middle of their own major expansion plans throughout Latin America. His relationship with Price-Smart developed from that point on and has been in effect ever since. The rest is history.


In The Heart of Quepos
mini-Price Store Today

It wasn't long before Emilio opened his own first store on the main drag (the same street as mentioned above) into Quepos and named it the mini-Price Store.


By 2014 that store had become too small for his business and he relocated up the street into a brand new building five times the size of his first store. This was a time when virtually all the sizable supermarkets in Quepos were expanding (to read about that story go HERE).

mini Price Store Marina Pez Vela

The next step came in 2012 with the opening of a second Quepos store, the one at Marina Pez Vela. With the marina area expanding rapidly it seemed obvious that a format like Emilio's would work well in a place that attracts boat owners and tourists. It did.


The store is located right on the main dock area of the marina within easy walking distance of the yachts, fishing boats and tours.


mini-Price Store - First Floor - Groceries
Second Floor - Housewares

One of the things I noticed about Emilio's mini-Price operation in the main store was the format that included housewares as well as groceries (photos left). The first floor of the main store is dedicated to groceries while the second floor has an extensive selection of housewares, everything from plastic buckets to electrical appliances to patio furniture.


The reason I was impressed with that format is because back in the 1980's when I lived in Allentown, PA one of my largest customers for computer furniture and other products was a small chain store company (~20 stores) called Laneco that was based in the Lehigh Valley.


Laneco pioneered the grocery/housewares format long before Walmart thought it was a smart strategy and they were quite successful with this approach for several decades. Laneco was eventually absorbed by a larger chain after the original founder's death and closed its operations by the early 2000's.


The mixed format strategy is particularly smart in a town where access to a broad range of products is not often easy or common. Case in point: recently I wanted to buy a personal scale to compliment my effort at a new diet. I walked around and couldn't find such a device in three different stores in Quepos, places I was sure would have one. Then my friend said: "Did you try mini-Price?" Of course, why didn't I think of that first. It was right there on the second floor (a modern plate glass device with digital readout) at a very reasonable price.


The Family at the Cascada

And if you can't find what you're looking for on the shelves ask Emilio because with his connections he's likely to be able to get it, whatever it might be, through his distributorship and have it there for you by next week.


That ability to get his customers what they want is a hallmark of mini-Price. When I asked Emilio about his philosophy of business he said: "When people think of mini-Price I want them to think of service." An admirable goal in a distributorship.


The mini-Price store is a classic definition of a family business. Emilio's wife Rosita and his mom, Velma Novoa, both work at the store. Rosita and Emilio Morales have two children, Nathan aged 12 and Diana, aged 7 (photo right). I asked him what his hobbies are and he said "work". Not unusual for the modern entrepreneur to spend a lot of time building the business in the early days.


But the entrepreneur and his wife do cherish the time they spend with their young, growing family. Check out the photo of the whole family, including the mutt, at one of our mountain waterfalls above.


Emilio and his family are another great example of the Quepos community. These are the kind of people that make Quepos run and make it enjoyable for all of us to live here.


¡Solo Bueno!


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


It's a Porcelain Paperweight?


Or Is This What Happens
When You Knock Over
a Bucket of Paint in Costa Rica?



Answer in

section below.


¡Pura Vida!



Guaro Is As Guaro Does
(Moving Beyond FANAL to FATAL)

A recent spate of fatalities has been tied to the consumption of a popular local liquor called "Guaro" that was contaminated with methanol and which has been credited with at least 29 fatalities and more than 70 hospitalizations. The latest updated casualty numbers are given in the Broken News section above.


Sugar Cane Juice Extractor

For those who don't recall what Guaro is, or what it supposedly is (I'll get to this distinction shortly), GG long thought it was simply a distillate of the sugar laden liquid derived from crushing sugar cane stalks. As it turns out that is only partially true.


The pure, distilled version from cane juice is 60 proof or 30% alcohol, twice as strong as most wines and three-quarters as strong as many whiskeys. Because the distilled version is so cheap (like $3 for 500 ml or a half liter in a plastic bottle - a package known among the locals as a "cachumba"), it's a favorite among street people, many of which are among the casualty statistics quoted in the Broken News section above.


The first time I encountered Guaro and the way it is produced was shortly after I arrived here in 2008. There was a vendor at the Malecón, the bay walk location where the weekly farmer's market was held at that time. The vendor was demonstrating how the basic juice is derived by simply passing stalks of sugar cane through a crusher/extractor. He was also taking orders for bottles of the distilled product but I didn't ask whether or not he worked for the government or was an independent distributor. My guess today is that he was an independent purveyor of Guaro.


The photo above shows an "itinerant" or personal extractor, the kind I saw at the Malecón. There are also larger vertical or horizontal crushing machines more suitable for commercial operations that are operated by some distributors.


hyuAlmost three years ago GG wrote an article about the product in the December 2016 issue. In that article I noted that, for some unknown reason, Guaro sales were down. I also stated that I had learned early on that the government was the primary manufacturer of Guaro and marketed it under the trade name Cacique. The photo to the left is that 500 ml or 1/2 liter cachumba bottle of Cacique mentioned above. This is not a sipping whiskey amigo, it's a quick, cheap drunk.


The government organ responsible for the Manufacture of Cacique is FANAL (Fábrica Nacional de Licores, or simply the National Liquor Plant). I found it unusual that the national government is in the booze business but accepted it and went on with my own Cacique-free lifestyle. FANAL comes under the management jurisdiction of RECOPE, the national gasoline refining company which also distributes gasoline natonwide but does no refining. RECOPE just sets the price of fuel products and, evidently, Cacique as well.


Contaminated Brands: Chonete, Gran Apache, Red Star, Montano, Baron Rojo, Timbuka, Molotov, Cuerazo, and Sacheto

So far the ministry of health has confiscated some 66,000 bottles of "possibly tainted" Guaro, closed some 33 stores (nine in Cartago, fourteen in Limón, five in San José, and five in Alajuela) and banned the sale of those nine brands listed in the photo to the right (eight are shown, one was without a photo).


When the bad Quaro episode began GG was perplexed by two questions: 1) how did nine different brands of Guaro all get contaminated at the same time? and 2) why is the government marketing nine different brands of the product?


Recently, a Tico friend told me something that may have helped clear up the mystery. The answer to the second question first: the government does not produce nine brands, only one and that one is Cacique. But it is possible, according to my friend, for someone to package their own version of Guaro and obtain a permit from the government to sell it . Evidently there is no strict processing requirement or product verification for the stuff. My friend even suggested that you could load a bottle with a mixture of alcohol and water, add a little spice or flavoring, put a label on it and call it "Guaro".


Then there's the possibility of counterfeit products labeled under known brands - that would explain the nine contaminated brands mystery. It also helps explain why sales of Cacique dipped a few years ago - Guaro didn't; sales may have just switched to other brands from Cacique.


Authorities are continuing their investigation but no new light on the source of the problem has been announced.


More to be revealed. In the meantime, I'll have a mango/pineapple smoothie instead, please.


¡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?)


Prison Break-Out: Mumps


Crowding Doesn't Help Stem Infection

According to the ministry of Health there has been a serious break-out involving 195 prisoners from five prisons lately. That is to say they broke out with mumps. Mumps is a viral infection that is spread by contact with the nasal or saliva secretions of an infected person. Symptoms include: pain while chewing or swallowing, fever, headache, muscle aches, weakness and fatigue and loss of appetite.


One hundred and ninety cases have been diagnosed with the ailment spread over prisons in Alejuela, Pococí, Perez-Zeledon and Limón. Of the 195 so far diagnosed, 69 prisoners are currently being held in isolation. So this reporter asks the question: How did it get around to four prisons? Prisoner transfers? Guards bringing in the virus as they smuggled in cell phones?


By mid-September the Health ministry was reporting a total prison caseload distributed over eight prisons and a country-wide infestation of up to 300. The spread caused them to institute a freeze on visitation and prisoner transfers and shortly thereafter a vaccination program was instituted that includes staff as well as prisoners.


More to be revealed.


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. Because I believe the book is an important aid in understanding our aging process, and because I seem to be well along in that process, I promised to review the book in the Chronicles chapter by chapter. So we continue here with Chapter 3.


To review the previously done reviews, follow the links below:

  1. May - Introduction section.
  2. June - Self-Assessment (What Are Your Risk Factors?).
  3. July - Chapter 1, Part 1: The Cornerstone of Brain Disease (About Inflammation).
  4. August - Chapter 1, Part 2
  5. September - Chapter 2 - The Sticky Protein (Gluten)

This month we review Chapter 3, Part 1 - Attention Carboholics and Fat Phobics. What I do here is simply condense the chapter involved into a list of bullet points in my own vernacular but where the good doctor or someone else is referenced verbatim I use quotation marks. Hope you enjoy them.


Queote from the book: "No diet will remove all the fat from your body because the brain is entirely fat. Without a brain, you might look good, but all you could do is run for public office." - George Bernard Shaw


From the book:


"Fat, not carbohydrates is the preferred fuel of human metabolism and has been for all of human evolution."


The effect of high blood sugar (sugar being the "great" carbohydrate):

Our diet has shifted rapidly in recent years to more and more carbohydrates but our genome (the complete set of genes or genetic material present in a cell or organism) still is based on fat from our ancestors. It takes 40,000 to 70,000 years for the human body to change or significantly adjust its genome by itself.


Studies have shown that Alzheimer's patients had significantly reduced amounts of fats in their spinal fluids.


Overall Omega-6 fats are "bad" while Omega-3 fats are "good". Seafood and non-grain fed meats (beef, lamb, venison, buffalo) are a great source of Omega 3 fats.


Low level of cholesterols are also associated with Parkinson's disease.

___ ___ ___


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


Need a New Heart - Print It


GG has seen the evolution of computer technology since it's modern beginning in his college days. Don't laugh, I remember the first vacuum tube computers, long before PCs, that were installed in the sixties and that were as big as a brickyard with about 2% of the computing power of one of today's smart phones. The technological advances in the last fifty years have been phenomenal and they continue.


I wrote an article in 2014 about 3-D Printing (also known as Additive Manufacturing) where physical products, including food and human cells, could actually be "printed" from a digital representation of the product structure and using natural materials. The potential for advancement of mankind by this technology is simply enormous. Of course, I gotta believe it also portends well and strongly for the development of new sci-fi thrillers.


The TAU Heart

So it was with no surprise, but some awe, that GG recently read how Tel Aviv University, a pioneer in the amalgamation of biotechnology, nanoscience and nanotechnology has succeeded in "printing" a human heart. "This is the first time anyone anywhere has successfully engineered and printed an entire heart replete with cells, blood vessels, ventricles and chambers" said Prof. Tal Dvir of TAU. The engineered heart was composed of "...a patient's own cells and biological materials."


Sorry, you can't print up a new ticker just yet or I would have placed my order already. The one they've done so far is the size of a rabbit's heart. Give them a few years to perfect the science and engineering; if you give them ten years you might be able to order up one on Amazon Prime.


Hmmm, I wonder if GG will be able to hook up an external heart-drive printer to his laptop?


¡Pura Vida!



Travel Quote of the Month





“I should like to spend the whole of my life in traveling abroad, if I could anywhere borrow another life to spend afterwards at home.”


William Hazlitt (1778-1830) English literary and social critic.




¡Solo Bueno!


GGC Bookshelf
(skip section)

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?


res der tyu

The frog shown in the Que Es Eso section above and to the left is a poison dart frog, one of a number of varieties of which three more are shown at the bottom left. These were photos of frogs from the collection at La Paz Waterfalls, a public conservatory in Alejuela Province some 31 km north of the city of Alejuela near the towns of Cinchona and Vara Blanca.


The fellow in the big picture left also often goes by the nicknames of "strawberry" or "blue jeans" poison dart frog. (Get it?)


Poison dart frogs are only one to two inches long and average less than an ounce in weight. They are carnivores that feed on ants, termites, crickets, small flies, and small insects. They catch their prey with their long, sticky tongues.


Golden Poison Dart Frog

No, these little fellows don't shoot darts; the name comes from the use of their venom, readily available on their backsides, which indigenous hunters used in the past to fell their prey (things like monkeys, peccaries and deer). The golden poisonous frog of Colombia is widely regarded as the most poisonous of this species. The golden might sometimes have enough venom inside them to kill ten men but that's if you eat the frog.


Suggestion: Don't eat poison dart frogs, when you see one, admire it from a distance and walk away.




My handy-dandy English-Spanish online dictionary defines Guaro (article above) as "liquor" or "hooch". That it is.


¡Pura Vida!



ROMEO Corner
(Retired Old Men Eating Out)

El Gran Escape, Quepos


Location: Front Street, Quepos across from the Malecón (Bay-walk).

Hours: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner, Monday through Sunday

Parking: Ample on the streets around the restaurant.

Contacts: Tel.: 506- 2777-0395; Website: http://www.elgranescape.com/,
Email For Reservations: http://www.elgranescape.com/reservations/


Reviewing ROMEOS: Bob N., Dennis R., Glen N., Julia S., Tim D.


To review the last rating we did on this restaurant (May 2015) go HERE.


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


The El Gran Escape restaurant has been a fixture in Quepos for many years. In the early 2000's it went through a change of location and managements and finally resettled to it's traditional location on front street. The restaurant is divided into a large and popular bar where many a fisherman can expound on their fish(y) stories and a dining room.


The dining room is quite plain and functional with simple wooden tables and chairs (some minor padding - GG's back thanks you). The room is open to the atmosphere on two sides. The composite score for ambiance by the five attending ROMEOs was 3.8/5.0 cloths.


We were there at lunch time so didn't have a chance to look over their dinner menu. The lunch menu had a good selection of sandwiches, salads and light fare such as chicken wings. GG choose a shrimp Po Boy with fries that was a large baguette stuffed with salad materials and a lot of small shrimp. Very tasty if a bit difficult to eat as the shrimp popped out of the sandwich on most bites (lost three pieces to the sweeper).


Other ROMEOs ordered large burgers, a mahi-mahi plates with veggies and chicken wings. The composite score for food quality was 4.3/5.0.

Value Index= 139


ROMEOs Hard at Work

We were served by a pleasant young man named Gabriel who was attentive, polite and helpful. Composite score for service was 4.5/5.0 sloths (our best category rating for this restaurant).


For GG's Po Boy, a pineapple/mango smoothie and a diet coke my bill came to just under 8,000 colones (about $13.80 these days), quite reasonable. The composite score for cost came in at 3.0/5.0 giving an average for ambiance, food quality and service of 4.2/5.0 sloths. That yields a value index of 4.2/3.0x100 = 139, putting El Gran Escape in the top 10% of the restaurants that we've rated in this area for value.


The El Gran Escape remains a very good alternative for a good meal at a reasonable cost, at least for lunch.


¡Solo Bueno!




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Bob Normand, Editor & The Golden Gringo
Pura Vida!

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