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In This Issue:

1. Broken News (All the News That's Fit to Reprint): a. Gonzales New Head Coach of "La Sele"; b. Brenda Castro - Guapileña (Guapiles, Limon).

2. Economic Drumbeat (CR Business Happenings): a. Medical Tourism Continues to Expand; b. New Business Center in Orotina; c. New Puntarenas Hospital Contract Awarded; d. VMWare Expanding; e. Signs of Recession in Costa Rica.

3. Latin America Update (Major Events In Neighboring Countries): Argentina - Heavy debt and poverty on the rise; Chile - Rapid inflation brings on rioting; Ecuador - Fuel subsidy rioting; Nicaragua - Largest Newspaper Forcibly Closed; a. b. . Venezuela - Venezuela's Difficulty With Debt

4. Rumble and Weather Talk: a. Rumble - Slow As You Go; b. Rainfall Relatively Modest Also.

5. Feature 1: The Sloth Lady of Matapalo (by Jungle Jim Henahan)

6. ¿Que Es Eso? Department: Hairy Weasel?

7. Feature 2: The Legend of LLorona (The Weeping Lady).

8. Health Stuff: a. Inquiring Minds Want to Know (conclusions on the book Grain Brain); b. Government Plans Major Upgrade in Health Care System.

9. GGC Bookshelf and More: Report: Visiting author talks about his experience in the Crime/Mystery Genre PLUS 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: El Legarto, Manuel Antonio


Wisdom of the Ages




November is one of the few months that does not have one of the twelve national holidays in Costa Rica. Here is a complete list of Costa Rican holidays (12) for 2019 (right) ►


What say we celebrate anyway my Tico friends? Am I kidding, there's a fiesta or celebration every week somewhere in Costa Rica!


Feliz Noviembre Amigos!



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

Gonzales New Head Coach of "La Sele"


The national futbol selection team, known as "La Sele", is the one that represents Costa Rica in worldwide matches of various types including the FIFA World Cup. The most recent coach of this team, Gustavo Matosas, a Uruguayan internationally renowned futbol player in his day, recently resigned after less than a year on the job.


New Sele Coach Ronald Gonzáles

The Tico executive committee of the Costa Rican Soccer Federation decided to place the job with a Tico by the name of Ronald Gonzáles (full name Ronald Alfonso González Brenes), aged 49. Gonzáles, a long time player himself, also managed a U20 team (a FIFA world competition for players under 20 years old) into a fourth place finish in 2009.


The first two challenges for the new coach were games with Haiti in October 10 (1-1) and Curaçao on October 13 (0-0). Ties are better than losses amigo but we like those wins. Go get 'em Ronnie!


Brenda Castro - Guapileña (Guapiles, Limon)


Brenda Castro

If you are from Quepos like GG, you are a "Quepeño". Similarly, if you are from Guapiles and happened to be female you would be a Guapileña. One of the most famous Guapileñas is a lady named Brenda Castro who was selected to be Miss Costa Rica in 2015 and subsequently represented Costa Rica in the Miss Universe contest that year.


Ms. Castro just loves these tournaments, so much so that she recently entered the relatively new (started in 2013) Miss Grand International beauty pageant which attracted girls from 59 countries this year.


Ms. Castro competed in the final on October 25 but the crown went to Miss Venezuela, Lourdes Valentina Figuera Morales.


What's next Brenda?


¡Pura Vida!



Economic Drumbeat
(Costa Rica Business Happenings)

Medical Tourism Continues To Expand


Some people come to Costa Rica to take advantage of excellent health care at more affordable prices. Many often combine their trip for health care with a vacation and pay for it with the savings they've enjoyed because of the better prices. We call this medical tourism.


Growth in Medical Tourists

There were an estimated 25,000 medical tourists per year in Costa Rica in 2008. That number is expected to nearly quadruple or more than 90,000 this year yielding an economic benefit to the country of nearly $1 billion. Remember, the entire annual GDP in Costa Rica is about $57 billion at the moment versus $20,500 billion in the United States; a billion for anything here is quite significant.


About 40% of medical tourism here is for dental services but the range of medical treatment being provided continues to expand, including ontological services and other specialties. A medical tourist spends, on average, seven times that of a regular tourist or about $7,000.


Here's a typical story from a friend. About ten years ago a gentleman from Canada came here for extensive dental work, something like 10 implants and 24 crowns. At the time the estimate for this work in Canada was $65,000 whereas it was done here for $11,300. A side story with this gent was that he met a Costa Rican girl which he later married and they now live in New Brunswick. I wonder if they had the marriage on the beach here, another favorite tourist visitor activity?


Now that's ¡Pura Vida!


New Business Center In Orotina


New Orotina Business Park "La Ceiba"

The government announced that a new business center called La Ceiba Business Park will be constructed in the town of Orotina in Alejuela Province only about 60 kilometers west of San José. The new center, expected to cost over $200 million, is depicted in the artists rendition to the left.


The goal of the new center is to provide space for offices and light manufacturing that is expected to result in an additional 10,000 jobs. Three companies have already committed to the new facility including METALUBE, a U.K. based company that manufactures specialty lubricants used in the tube and wire-drawing industries.


The location is handy to the Caldera shipping port in nearby Puntarenas province and will also be near the planned major new airport to be located in the greater Orotina area.


New Puntarenas Hospital Contract Awarded


At around 8:30 AM on September 5, 2012 the second strongest earthquake in Costa Rican history hit with an epicenter near Samara on the Nicoya peninsula. That point is only about 20 miles, as the macaw flies, from the town of Puntarenas. GG had the dubious pleasure of being on the first floor of the 10-story Puntarenas Hospital, better known as Monseñor Sanabria Hospital, when the tremor hit. Read that story HERE.


New Monseñor Sanabria Hospital Drawing

Engineering studies in the year following the quake determined that the damage to the building was largely irreparable. The top seven floors of the hospital were subsequently razed. Since that time a site for a new hospital was located and designated in Barranca not far from Puntarenas and the old hospital site.


Engineering studies and design were finally completed in 2018. The Social Security Administration last month announced that the construction contract for the new hospital has been awarded to Van Der Laat and Jiménez Companía y Constructora, a 50-year veteran of major construction projects in Costa Rica.


Construction is expected to require three years at an estimated cost of $225 million funded by a loan from the Central American Bank for Economic Integration and CCSS (Social Security) funds. The restoration of this important hospital and its various services, which serves the entire province of Puntarenas including Quepos, will be welcomed.


VMWare Expanding


Consistent with the current growth being experienced in Costa Rica's "Silicon Valley", VMWare is also planning expansion. This is a company founded in 1998 in Palo Alto, California that employs 24,000 worldwide and is a global leader in cloud computing, security, networking and virtualization solutions (whatever they are).


VMWare's Costa Rican office opened in 2012, now has 665 employees and is planning the addition of another 130 in the near future.


Signs of Recession in Costa Rica


It's hard to believe, given the tenor of the reports above, the type of which has been flavoring this section of the Chronicles for months, that the country's economy is showing signs of slowing perhaps even sliding into a recession. But here's one sign:


Grupo Vidriero Centromericano Vical, glass manufacturer that includes containers, is shutting one of their four furnaces located in Cartago and, as a result, laying off some 254 workers. The company states there has been a turn-down in their sales over the last two years as well as a slowdown in two of their major export markets in Nicaragua and Haiti where there is "social instability"


In addition, the "experts" point out that there has been a 13% increase in the number of S. A.'s (Societe Anonym, the equivalent to "Corp" in the States) in Costa Rica that closed in the first nine months of 2019 versus 2018. What was not made clear from the report I read were the reason(s) for these closings. If I recall properly, the new tax law, which broadens the number of things on which taxes apply, including an increased tax on unused corporations as well as tightens the ability of the government to catch legitimate tax avoiders surely must be the cause of some of these. I believe that holding an S.A. which is empty of assets, a broadly used practice in past years among many, now is more costly and may be the source of some of these closures and which may be meaningless from a economic standpoint. (how's that paragraph for good bureaucrat-speak?)


Besides the negative statistic on S.A. closures, the Banco Central de Costa Rica (read Central Bank of Costa Rica, but I bet you figured that out all by yourself) stated that economic activity actually declined by 1% in the first half of this year (year to year) and that the monthly trend of economic activity is decelerating.


There were three more negatives that added to the uneasiness within the Costa Rican economy at present: 1) the unemployment rate reached 11% in recent months; 2) credit card and loan debt reached a new all-time high and 3) the government definition of households in poverty effectively stayed at the same rate (21% - 335,000 households) but the number of those households increased by over 7,000 vs 2018 (how does that work Mr. Satistician?). Urban poverty was listed at 19.8% while rural poverty reached 24.2% of households.


Also, in the midst of a struggling economy, retail gasoline prices in Costa Rica remain the highest in the region. Panama, who also do not produce or refine oil, has the lowest in the region at $2.83/gal for regular versus Costa Rica at $3.88/gal (a recent price check put California at $4.14 and Florida at $2.34). Don't look for any relief from the government on this one as the difference between what they (government) import for and set as a retail value is pure tax and undoubtedly a big part of their income.


The signals in the economy are, at best, mixed so the saga will continue.


¡Pura Vida!



Latin America Updates
(Major Events In Neighboring Countries)

As you read the reports by country below it is difficult not to come to the conclusion that their currently is a large and growing unease among many of the populations of Latin America.




Argentina's long history of sovereign debt default (eight times in 100 years and the biggest single default in world history) continues to make it difficult for a country with bloated government, serious deficits and labor unions that make unreasonable demands that would hurt the deficit situation even more (watch those long sentences Bobbo).


One wag pointed out that Argentine elections require slick slogans to make the populace and candidates comfortable with each other The current president, Mauricio Macri, offered this in his 2015 election campaign: “I propose zero poverty in Argentina.” Four years later recent data indicate the poverty rate is about 35% up 6 points since Macri took office.


A national election in December will determine if Macri will continue or the old Peronistas team including former President Cristina Elisabet Fernández de Kirchner will return.




A metro fare hike was used as the excuse for demonstrations that got out of hand, The government responded harshly by declaring an emergency and bringing out military troops to assure order.


The demonstrations got even worse with the "burning of buses, supermarkets and other buildings in the capital, Santiago." Press reports stated that In and around the capital "public transport remains largely shut down, flights have been canceled, supermarkets will not open until further notice and classes have been suspended".


The metro hike demonstration was only a symbol of what analysts believe is a sign of deep social unrest in the country, "...a general fatigue over systematic increases to the cost of living ... in a country where basic services are privatized, social security is precarious and the privileges of certain sectors have angered a large segment of the population that feels shunted aside."




Rioting in Quito

The relatively new (2017) president of Ecuador, Lenin Moreno, moved his administration out of the capital Quito recently when the government was seriously threatened by rioting.


The country is in financial crisis and received an IMF loan of over $4 billion last year to keep going. Part of the IMF terms for the loan was the elimination of the fuel subsidies that have been in place for several years. When the subsidies ended, some $1.3 billion per year, prices rose dramatically and the rioting began.


The previous government literally doubled the size of the national government during the high oil price period and spent billions on infrastructure and public projects. Although the country is a net exporter of oil, revenues fell dramatically since 2014 due to a drop in the world market price of crude (same problems as Venezuela and Argentina). Another case of fiscal irresponsibility brought on by high market prices in commodities; but high oil prices don't last forever, anywhere.




The Chronicles first reported on President Ortega's crackdown on the press in Nicaragua in this years February issue. As part of his crackdown on protesters he not only shut down the major news carrying TV station by the name of Noticias but began restricting the printed press that produces the two largest newspapers in Nicaragua (El Nuevo Diario and La Prensa) by limiting the amount of paper, ink and printing supplies the company could receive via importation. The blockage began in September 2018 and reduced the company's supply of printing materials in recent months to less than 20% of what the company needed for normal operation.


El Nuevo Diario Last Edition

As a result it was only a matter of time for the newspaper to begin shutting down operations and on Friday, September 27, in their last edition, the company announced that it would cease production of El Nuevo Diario immediately. It's highly likely that the closing of La Prensa will follow.


These newspapers include an online version which has ceased accepting new posts. All of these operations are published under the banner of Editorial Nuevo Amanecer (New Dawn Publishing) which in turn is owned by Promerica Financial Group, a Nicaragua based company that operates banks and other enterprises throughout Central America (there is a popular Promerica Branch in Manuel Antonio for example).


This brings to an end (or, more hopefully, only an indefinite suspension) of the services of a broad-ranged and popular publishing company with 40 years of history in Nicaragua. One commenter suggested that September 27, 2019 be designated a day of National Mourning for the independent press in Nicaragua.


GG had the opportunity to visit some friends in Southwest NIcaragua, in the town of San Juan del Sur, for four days in October. I have visited SJDS at least five times over the years since I've lived in Costa Rica and enjoyed it every time. The visit also provided an opportunity to get to Granada, which is about an hour and a half away from San Juan del Sur by car, a picturesque city that offers city a great deal of Spanish colonial architecture and Central American history.


GG elected not to go to an annual men's retreat in San Juan last year because of the civil unrest that occurred during that period in which several hundred people were killed and many more brutalized. It was obvious in walking the streets of San Juan in this year's visit that tourism was off considerably although in Granada the effect was not so dramatic as it was in San Juan del Sur.


Let's hope that this beautiful town and country can find its way back to normality.


Venezuela's Difficulty With Debt


Nicolas Maduro

After a two-year suspension of making foreign loan payments by his government, Venezuela's President Maduro has been making noises that he wants to renegotiate his estimated $60 billion in foreign debt. Translated of course this means he'd like some more credit and debt as well as lengthening the repayment plan on the existing debt. But there isn't a financial house of any repute that will even open negotiations.


Juan Guaido

Russia holds about thirty percent of Venezuela's debt and even they are not rushing to cover Maduro. The rest of the debt was negotiated under New York law so U.S. sources are needed to renegotiate it but the current U.S. government has instituted sanctions on Venezuela and is unlikely to come to their aid as long as Maduro is in power. Wreck a country's finances Nicky my friend and this is what you get.


Enter Señor Juan Guaido, the former president of the legislature as the recognized president of Venezuela by most western governments including most Latin American countries except Cuba and Nicaragua. Still planning to eventually take control of the country, part of Guaido's planning consists of developing restructuring strategies. But Cuban and Russian military presence in the country are keeping Maduro in power for the moment.


The Venezuelan saga continues; more to be revealed.


¡Solo Bueno!



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

Rumble - Slow As You Go


Not much to report on the tremor front this month which has been unusually quiet. I suppose that's a good thing.


Poas volcano continues to periodically, and relatively gently, erupt by throwing out ash and plumes of smoke. This continues to cause the national park there to periodically close for safety reasons. There have not been any serious eruptions that effected areas beyond the immediate vicinity along the central ridge where there are at least five active volcanoes.


Rainfall Relatively Modest Also


I'm not sure if the total rainfall in Costa Rica this season has any records associated with it but the impression this reporter gets is that it's been a pretty normal rainy season. The mornings have been sunny more often than not and the afternoons and evenings have brought some heavy showers. So what's new? We continue to get "green and yellow alerts" from the national government for storms that move into the peninsula from the Caribbean and Pacific.


One things for sure; this part of Costa Rica will once more be green during the dry season (mid-December to mid-May).


¡Pura Vida!

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


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




It's a Hairy Weasel?


It's a Banana Rat?






Answer in

section below.



¡Pura Vida!


Jungle Jim Henahan

Living in Costa Rica tends to make one more appreciative of many kinds of animals of which we have an abundance Remember, Costa Rica has 6% of the entire planet's biodiversity on .02% of the world's land, an intensity factor of three hundred to one.

Jim Henahan and his lady Carla moved here recently from Key West, Florida and are members and aspiring authors of our Quepos-Manuel Antonio Writers Group. They also volunteer at KSTR (Kids Saving the Rainforest), an animal rescue and hospital center based on the outskirts of Quepos.

Jim offered the following story about a neighbor lady of his who has earned the moniker "Sloth Lady". Seems like living in Matapalo (about 30 km south of Quepos) requires a nickname as I notice Jim has taken to calling himself "Jungle Jim" these days.


The Sloth Lady of Matapalo
(By Jungle Jim Henahan)

On a recent early morning jaunt along the tranquil jungle glades, a path which runs from Matapalo to Playa Linda and beyond, I was distracted by noise and movement a few meters away. I stopped. My dog Chispa stopped. The noise and movement stopped only briefly, then continued-CRUNCH, CRACKLE, pause, CRUNCH, CRACKLE.

My heart beat fast, and I grabbed Chispa. I am a wildlife nut; some people call me Jungle Jim. Fully expecting to meet up with a jungle cat, anteater, or pack of howler monkeys, I inched forward and peered around the bushes into a grove of almond trees. CRUNCH, CRACKLE….I followed the sound to a mature tree just off the beach.  Unable to contain herself for one moment more, Chispa leaped from my arms and beelined for the sound. CRACKLE…Chaos erupted and Chispa bolted from the underbrush with a couple of yips, and cowered behind me as a figure emerged from the shadows wielding a long slim pole.

Beth Garza - The Sloth Lady of Matapalo

“Pura Vida!” said the middle aged woman in a sun hat. “Hope I didn’t scare your dog!” It took a minute to recover my composure, but then introductions were made and we began a lengthy chat. Beth Garza, aka The Sloth Lady of Matapalo, is one of those people who have committed to protecting and preserving the wildlife in our little corner of Paradise.  A native of Mississippi in the USA, she chose to settle in Matapalo because of its natural beauty, tranquility, and abundance of wildlife.

“So what exactly are you doing down here?” I asked, gesturing toward her erstwhile weapon, a "picking pole" (photo) she uses to find the animals.


“I come down 3 times a week to pick the leaves from the beach almond trees-it’s their favorite food!” she replied, and demonstrated a swift leaf removal technique which raised my eyebrows. “Whose?...”

“The sloths of course! I forgot to mention that!” she laughed. “Sometimes I think that’s all I think about!”

She went on to explain she is a volunteer for the Kids Saving the Rainforest organization just outside of Quepos. Their vision is to rescue and rehabilitate wildlife from the rainforest who have become ill or badly injured, so that their survival is in jeopardy. Their primary goal with these animals is to rehabilitate them to the point where they can be released into their natural habitat. They rescue over a hundred animals per year.

So now Beth explained that sloths, which are called “perezosos” in Costa Rica, are among the most vulnerable of wildlife, due to their slow moving, docile nature. While their camouflage protects them from predatory hawks and jungle cats, they are often electrocuted on power lines while passing through the forest, and even being hit by vehicles is not uncommon. Human encroachment and habitat destruction are their worst enemies, according to Beth. The upshot is that sloths can be injured or become ill, and consequently become unable to care for their young. For this reason, Beth said, there are many orphaned sloth babies rescued each year. Fortunately, many of them are returned to the wild in excellent condition  due to the caring volunteers of Kids Saving the Rainforest.

Beth continued a detailed and fascinating story of how the sloths have a very limited diet and very peculiar habits:

“Beach almond leaves are their most favorite!” she stated. “The young tender leaves are like candy…..but you know we have to bring mature leaves as well, so it is completely natural”
She noted that the 3 toed sloth’s diet consists solely of leaves and shoots from the beach almond and Guarumo trees. The 2 toed sloth, however, will also eat some insects, and the occasional small game! Regardless of the type of sloth or what they eat, the digestion process is exceedingly slow – the digestive process can take up to a month to complete!

I thought I knew a lot about jungle life, but I learned a lot from Beth, not least of which is how important it is for us as humans to care for the creatures of the forest, and to help preserve and protect their habitat. As we walked slowly through the forest, she pointed out many likely sloth hangouts, high in the treetops. ”Look for anything that looks like tree bark with arms.” she joked.  Sure enough, we spotted two three toed sloths hanging and snoozing in their protected perches.

“I come out and do this because I care what happens to our planet. There is no excuse for us as humans to act irresponsibly to the very Nature on our planet”, said Beth.  Everyone can be, and should be involved in conservation in their communities. We can all volunteer to keep our wildlife areas clear of trash, dangerous chemicals, and excess traffic. Those of us with extra time can volunteer with the many rescue organizations in their area, plant trees and spread the word in their schools and workplaces. We are all in this together, and we must work together!” she declared.

KSTR's Karen

Beth suggested that I might want to take a tour of the Kids Saving the Rainforest preserve, and I jumped at the chance. I contacted Jennifer Rice, who with her daughter, Janine, and husband, Chip, created the non-profit preserve in 1999 in a remote area outside of Quepos. They arranged a visit with their assistant Karen, and biologist Mac, that included a tour of their Sanctuary, as well as the wildlife rescue center.

We were greeted at the Sanctuary by an enormous, and marvelously acrobatic scarlet macaw, who goes by the name of Bouche. A glutton for attention, he followed us around the entire property! According to Karen, the Sanctuary houses a variety of animals from rain forests around the world. These animals may not be returned to the wild, due to their injuries or other conditions which would make it impossible for them to survive in their natural habitat. That being said, they are cared for around the clock by a team of professionals and volunteers in surroundings closely resembling their natural homes.

Karen told us that the Rescue Center focuses on rescue, rehabilitation, and release of injured or otherwise incapacitated jungle animals, including monkeys, sloths, jaguarundi, kinkajous, and many more.

“The species most attended to are the mono Titi, or squirrel monkeys, capuchin monkeys, and..wait for it! Sloths! Both 2 toed and 3 toed are well represented here, with very good prospects for release in most cases!”

Wendy and Izzy

Karen paused, and said, “You know, the sloths are my favorite! I would spend all day with them if I could!” She showed us Wendy and Izzy, a couple of young 2 toed sloths, who were playing quite energetically on the hammocks in their enclosure. “Perezoso means lazy in Spanish, but sloths still love to climb and play!” she commented.

What is it about sloths that make so lovable, so irresistible? If you have seen one, I think you know. That permanent beatific smile brings a smile to every face, young and old. The way they just hang there is so cool, and when they move, it is with an effortless power that is the envy of any accomplished gymnast.

“You want to know some fun facts?” asked Karen. For sure says I !!


“Well, first of all, all sloths have three toes on their hind legs. It is only the toes on their forelegs that differentiate them. Sloths are related to the anteater and the armadillo! Until about 10,000 years ago, there were giant ground sloths roaming the Earth, some of which were as large as elephants!"

"There are two types of sloth endemic to Costa Rica: the brown throated 3 toed sloth, and Hoffman’s 2 toed sloth. While they are not critically endangered, the continued human encroachment and destruction of habitat results in a less healthy population. The rarest, and most endangered sloth is the 3 toed pygmy sloth, which exists only on one small island off the coast of Panama. Sloths move so slowly that a symbiotic green algae grows on their fur! It is useful as camouflage, and also as a source of nutrients."

"Three toed Sloths are very unusual among mammals because they have eight or nine cervical vertebrae. This allows them to turn their head a full 270 degrees. All other mammals have seven vertebrae, except, oddly enough, the manatee, which only has six."

"Sloths are astonishingly strong and agile, but their movements are so slow that they may appear helpless. They are excellent swimmers, too, and can move three times faster in the water as on land. In addition, they can slow their metabolism and heart rate to such a point that they can hold their breath underwater for up to forty minutes!"

"Sloths live their entire lives in the treetops, descending only to poop, or to move to another tree. Baby sloths cling to their mothers for weeks after they are born. They learn what to eat by licking their mothers’ lips!”

OK, I am stunned and amazed by how much I have learned about this fascinating creature who lives right here in our local jungle. You can bet I will be searching the treetops on my daily excursions with Chispa, and I will always be on the lookout for my friend Beth, the Sloth Lady of Matapalo. I am so grateful to her and all the folks at Kids Saving the Rainforest for helping me to understand appreciate the importance of maintaining and improving our natural environment! Special thanks also to Wikipedia, for helping with fun facts!

See you next time in the further adventures of Jungle Jim! Oh, and if you’re out there exploring the jungle yourself, and hear CRACKLE, CRUNCH, CRACKLE, you may come face to face with another dedicated wildlife rescue volunteer, or even Beth, The Sloth lady of Matapalo!

If you have questions or concerns about wildlife in your area, Kids Saving the Rainforest may be contacted on WhatsApp at +506-8826-4625, or email ClinicDVM@kstr.org.

Pura vida!


Thank you Jungle Jim, sounds like a great potential for a series of articles on sloths and other jungled creatures.


For more articles on wildlife in Costa Rica go here: Costa Rica Wildlife


¡Solo Bueno!


Legend of La LLorona
(The Crying Lady)


Costa Rica has developed an endless variety of legends over the centuries that have motivated and sometimes frightened both children and adults.


This one, the Legend of La LLorona is about a woman who makes a terrible mistake out of anger that results in the loss of her children. As a result of her bad, actually terrible, actions which are detailed below, she (her spirit) spends infinity roaming the countryside crying. The Spanish word to cry is llorar so that la llorona simply means "The Weeping Woman". LLorona is pronounced "Yo-ro-na".


Here is how the Legend of La LLorona goes (the editorial comments in parentheses are GG's feeble attempt at lightening up the story):


A long time ago in a small village there lived a woman named Maria. She was very beautiful and because of this she thought that she was better than everyone else. She wanted to marry but she felt that she was too good for any man who lived in her town and she wanted to marry the most handsome man in the world! (Sounds like GG's first high school sweetheart)


One day, a stranger rode into the village on a big, strong, stallion of a horse. He was a dashing young ranchero, the son of a wealthy rancher. The moment she saw him she knew this was the man she had been waiting for (GG rode in as the son of a truck driver in a '52 Studebaker).


Maria was really very beautiful, some say the most beautiful woman in the world! And when the ranchero saw Maria he immediately fell in love with her. He appealed to her pride by being so handsome and he won her heart by playing her songs on his guitar (How about a little Stardust on the piano my dear?). Shortly after his arrival there was a wedding (now that was fast) and they were married. The wedding was festive, colorful, and there was lots of dancing. (and drinking, I'm sure)


At first things seemed fine, they had two children and a happy family together, but eventually the ranchero returned to the wild life of the prairies (in my case that was Amsterdam), sometimes leaving her for months at a time. When he did visit, he only paid attention to his children and barely talked to Maria at all (stereotypical traveling salesman).


One day, as Maria and her two children were strolling along near the river the ranchero rode up and greeted his children. They hugged and laughed and talked for some time and then he left without so much as even looking at Maria. It was as if she did not exist (not a good idea Ranchy).


As he rode away a terrible jealousy and anger welled up inside Maria and she found herself in a fit of rage. Although it is terribly sad to tell what happened next, the story says that she then seized her two children and threw them into the river! As they disappeared down the stream she realized what she had done and she ran after them, but the current was too fast and they were carried away.


The next morning when the villagers went to the river to gather water and wash their clothes, they found that Maria had drowned herself because of the guilt. They say that from that night on, anyone who walked near the river at night ran a chance of running into a woman asking you if you had seen her children.


They don’t call her Maria anymore, but instead they refer to her as “The Weeping Woman” or La Llorona, always crying with guilt over what she had done.


This is certainly not one of your uplifting legends but artists have embellished the story with a number of beautiful paintings over the years, some of which are shown above.


For additional Chronicles' articles on more than a dozen other Costa Rican legends go here: Legends.


¡Pura Vida!




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. It also claims that Alzheimer's and dementia can largely be prevented by our choosing a better diet and personal lifestyle in our earlier years.


I promised to review the book here in the Chronicles and have done so for the last six months pointing out some of the salient conclusions that caused the author and researcher to write the book. I hope you have seen enough information to spark your interest in a topic that is becoming one of the greatest health challenges in recent years and, for that matter, in our history. Here are some of the major conclusions:

GG suggests that if you want to educate yourself about brain dysfunction and the modern diseases related to it, something which can be important to all of us and our future health, you may want to pick up a copy of Dr. Perlmutter's book, Grain Brain, published in 2013 and some others more recently published.


Government Plans Major Upgrade in Health Care System


The Social Security Service (CCSS) announced it will be spending over $1.6 billion USD in country-wide infrastructure and equipment in the next three years. In a country with a annual national budget of $15 billion that's a major investment. It wasn't clear from the announcement but this reporter assumes the amount is in addition to the $225 million new Puntarenas Hospital mentioned in the Economic Drumbeat section above.


An Ebais Clinic

One of the biggest expenditures is for more local health services provided through Ebais (pronounced Eh-bi-ese) local clinics. Ebais is a division of Social Security (CCSS) that manages clinics all over Costa Rica for less serious treatment requirements. The expansion plan calls for 50 new clinics along with expanded test and equipment services which are designed to take the load off the major hospitals.


The announcement, unlike the Puntarenas hospital project did not say if the plan is to be funded out of general revenues from a national budget that runs more than a 25% deficit or if there is some special funding plan. More to be revealed.


¡Pura Vida!



Travel Quote of the Month


¡A Cachete!


GGC Bookshelf

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.


Visit by Fellow Author


Matt Ferraz

As coordinator for our local Quepos-Manuel Antonio Writers Group (QMAWG), GG was recently contacted by a young Brazilian author about joining us at our local QMAWG monthly meeting. Matt (Matteos) Ferraz is a 28 year old aspiring professional author who hales from Contagem, Brazil on the country's South Atlantic side (about 570 km) northeast of Sao Paulo. Matt is focused on making a living from novels and short stories in the Crime/Mystery genre.


Matt joined us for our October QMAWG meeting and talked about his experience. He holds a Master of Arts degree from the University of Buckingham, England and has already published more than a dozen novels and short stories, the entire list of which you can see on his Amazon Author Page. Matt is now an honorary member of our QMAWG and one of his novels appears in the GGC Publications product list below.


Matt is a delightful and positive young man and we welcome him to the group anytime he's in the area.


Check him and his work out fellow readers!

___ ___ ___


Here are the books currently on the GGC Publications Bookshelf 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
Getting Around the Capital Retiring in Costa Rica World War II True Story What's the Sleuth Up To?
Read More Read More Read More Read More

There's Room for
More on the QMA Writers Group Bookshelf

Keep Writing Amigos!



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

GGC Products Store

GGC Publications also offers some accessories and paraphernalia related to the Chronicles, 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 a kinkajou (mentioned in the sloth article by Jungle JIm above).


This little guy (15 to 30 inches body length plus a tail that runs 15-22 inches, 3-10 lbs) is usually a tree dweller and is omnivorous.


The kinkajou is nocturnal and hunts at night for apples, melons, bananas, figs, grapes, and mango as well as insects and even smaller mammals it rips apart with its very sharp teeth and claws.


¡Pura Vida!



ROMEO Corner
(Retired Old Men Eating Out)

El Lagarto - Manuel Antonio


Location: Near the top of Manuel Antonio hill, 100 meters down the hill from the futbol field towards Quepos, next to Hotel Vista Serena.

Hours: 3 PM to 11 PM Monday thru Sunday

Parking: Ample off street parking at the restaurant

Contacts: Tel.: 2777-6932; Email: N/A; Website: N/A


Reviewing ROMEOS: Bob N., Davis H., Glen N., Sari H.


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


This restaurant was last reviewed in February, 2014 and that review can be seen HERE.


The restaurant has physically changed little in the five years since out last review. The main dining room offers a warm atmosphere resulting from extensive use of Costa Rican wood in the building and furniture (the only complaint is that the chairs are so hard it caused one ROMEO to say "this is the typical Costa Rican restaurant where you have to bring your own pillow"),


The dining room is open to the atmosphere and offers a view down the hill to the Pacific; a view that is Manuel Antonio.


The composite score for ambiance came in at 3.9/5.0 sloths.


El Lagarto specializes in steaks, poultry and seafood grilled over wood embers. In an extension of the dining room is a large open furnace where wood is constantly burning. Embers are pulled from the furnace down a chute to a lower level where they serve to grill your food. The result is an atmosphere filled with the smells of good food roasting, The menu is very large in both appetizers and main courses so you can easily select a meal of the right size to fit your hunger.


GG selected a mixed salad as an appetizer and received a large fresh salad, half of which ended up in a doggy bag (actually here it's a "para llevar" box), As a main course I had a churasco (strip steak) cooked to my order of media roja (medium rare), a third of which went into the para llevar box. Served with the steak was a (well) baked potato with a glob of cheese on top, a grilled tomato and a grilled, long, thin slice of squash; all delicious.


Other ROMEOs chose a roasted head of garlic with olive oil as an appetizer, grilled dorado or beef tenderloin (lomito), all pronounced tasty.


For dessert three of us went for a slice of lime pie with a dollop of whipped cream and all squizzled with chocolate. Yummy.

Value Index= 105


The composite score for food quality was 4.4/5.0 sloths.


We were served by a couple of young men who were courteous, attentive and helpful and we gave them a composite score of 4.8/5.0 for service. That resulted in a composite average for ambiance, quality of food and service of 4.3 out of 5.0 possible.


For GG's salad, strip steak, lime pie, a cup of coffee and one michelada (ginger ale mixed with limone juice in a salted glass) the bill came to 29,200 colones (about $51). The composite rating for cost ended up at 4.1$/5.0 which yields a Value Index of 4.3/4.1x100 = 105 (slightly up from the 100 rating on the last review).


El Legarto remains a restaurant where you can have a good meal in a pleasant atmosphere but be prepared to pay a full price for same.


¡Solo Bueno!



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Pura Vida!

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