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In This Edition:

1. Broken News (All the News That's Fit to Reprint): a. Our New President is a Tico-Buckeye; b. Cargo Plane Crashes at SJO; c. Ransomware Attack on Ministry of Finance.

2. Economic Drumbeat (CR Business Happenings): a. Three New Starbucks for Costa Rica; b. Public Employees Are Now Paid for 9-Day Semana Santa; c. Six New Hotels Planned in Coming Months.

3. Latin America Update (Major Events in Neighboring Countries): Guatemala - Strangest Quote of All Time; Honduras - Ex-President Extradited to U.S. for Drug Dealing; Nicaragua - 1. Costa Rican Ambassador To Nicaragua Is Planned; 2. Twenty-Five More Organizations Annulled by Government; c. Peru - State of Emergency Continues; Venezuela - Guaidó Invited to CR Transfer of Power.

4. Feature 1: Quepos Profiles - John P. O´Connell (Design Entrepreneuring in Paradise).

5. Rumble and Weather Talk: a. Rumble: Poas and Rincon de la Vieja Active; b. Weather: Typical Rainy Season.

6. ¿Que es Eso?: Name That Tree.

7. Feature 2: More Musings on Our Democratic Republic (GG Casts His First Vote in a National Election?)

8. Health Stuff: a. Covid Stats Level Off; b. Minister of Health Gets a New Job; c. To Mask Or Not To Mask, That Is The Question.

9. GGC Bookshelf and More: Books from GGC Publications, Golden Gringo T-Shirts and Coffee Mugs as Well as Suggested Books from Local Writers.

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

11. ROMEO Corner: Oceano Seafood Restaurant, Manuel Antonio


Wisdom of the Ages

Morris, an 82 year-old man, went to the doctor to get a physical. A few days later, the doctor saw Morris walking down the street with a gorgeous young woman on his arm. A couple of days later, the doctor spoke to Morris and said,
'You're really doing great, aren't you?'

Morris replied, 'Just doing what you said, Doc: 'Get a hot mamma and be cheerful.''

The doctor said, 'I didn't say that… I said, 'You've got a heart murmur; be careful.'

(Thanks to Mike A. for this one)

Holidays In Cost Rica In May

Floralia - GG´s Kind of Party

The one key holiday in May is May Day, celebrated on the first day of the month. This is an ancient holiday that goes all the way back to the Floralia, the festival of Flora, the Roman goddess of flowers.

In more modern times (1889) the holiday was designated as International Worker´s Day by socialists, communists as well as anarchists, labor activists, and leftists in general around the world. In more recent times it has simply been celebrated as the first day of summer.

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

Our New President is a Tico-Buckeye

The first round of presidential elections, that also included elections for legislative deputies, was held on February 6 of this year. With twenty-five candidates running under the banner of nearly as many parties, a clear presidential victory was not expected and not realized as reported HERE earlier. The top two vote getters in the first round were then scheduled for a second round, a runoff, which occurred on April 3.


Rodrigo Chaves at His Victory Speech

The winner emerging from the runoff was 61 year old Rodrigo Chaves Robles, a former Minister of Finance under the current President, Carlos Alavarado (in Costa Rica´s constitution, the current president cannot immediately succeed himself - he/she must wait out at least one term). Chaves trounced his opponent, former president (1994-98) Jose Maria Figueres by almost six percentage points. With 98% of the polling places reporting, Chaves had garnered 52.9% of the vote to Figueres 47.1%.


Rodrigo Chaves Robles

Chaves´ victory speech was appropriately conciliatory towards his opponent and called for reconciliation for the benefit of all the country. “Costa Rica, the best is yet to come. I assume the mandate with an obligation to do my job with transparency. I assume the commitment to make a democratic government, respectful of the law and Costa Rican values”. Live up to that Señor and all will be well once more during Costa Rica´s 19th four year run as a democratic republic since the beginning of the Second Republic in 1948.



The election also confirmed a sea change in Costa Rica politics because the PLN party, the most powerful party since the second republic began in 1948, has now failed to win the presidential ticket for the last three national elections and has also been reduced to a minority of 19 deputies in the legislature. One consideration Chaves will have to deal with is the fact that his party (PPSD - Partido Progreso Social Democrático or Progressive Social Democrat Party) gained only 10 seats in the legislative chamber of deputies while a majority consists of 29. So, if Chaves wants to be effective he will have to practice consensus politics and forge coalitions with other parties whether he wants to or not.


The not-so-good news was that voter turnout for the runoff was only 57% of eligible voters, significantly less that the initial round. Applying that to the Chaves plurality means only about one third of all eligible voters actually cast their vote for Chaves.


And why is it that GG labeled Mr. Chaves as a Tico-Buckeye? Because, though he was born in San José, Señor Chaves´ formal education includes the attainment of Bachelor´s, Masters and Ph. D. degrees in economics from The Ohio State University. When GG was based in Ohio over 14 years (during those great years of Coach Woody Hayes) that educational feat would certainly qualify you as a real Ohio Buckeye.


Congratulations President-Elect Rodrigo Chaves Robles.


Cargo Plane Crashes at SJO


The morning of April 7, 2022 will go down as a special date in the history of our largest jetport, Juan Santamaria in San José (call letters - SJO).


A DHL Cargo Plane had just taken off from SJO bound for La Aurora International Airport in Guatemala City. When the plane was about 35 miles from SJO the tower heard the following from the pilot of the 747-200: “Mayday, mayday, mayday, we have problems with the left hydraulic system. We have two souls on board. We have two and half hours of fuel. We are going to prepare our aircraft to be able to make an emergency landing.”


A half hour later DHL flight D07216 came into SJO in what began to look like a classic landing, but half-way down the runway the plane began to turn and eventually ended up skidding off the runway and breaking in half. Emergency crews responded with foaming machines to quell any fire outbursts and also diked the plane to prevent leaking fuel from entering the airport sewer system. To see the last seconds of the landing, go here: https://twitter.com/i/status/1512122114383519747.


The good news was that the two souls on board, the pilot and co-pilot, walked away from the mess unscathed. The not-so-good news was that the plane was virtually a total loss. The condition of the plane´s contents was not known at this writing.


The worst news, at least for passengers, was that as you might expect, an airport this size was completely interrupted for the rest of the day with dozens of flights canceled and still dozens of others delayed (sample of the fight screen at mid-day above).


Ransomware Attack on Ministry of Finance


Costa Rica´s Ministerio de Hacienda (Finance Ministry) was hacked into in April and a number of records absconded with as well as the taking down of some systems occurred.


"The attack caused the Ministry of Finance to disable the ATV platform, which is used to declare and pay taxes, since last Monday; the TICA, through which exports and imports are processed, and also the systems for the payment of salaries of the central government. The Government assured that it is carrying out a contingency plan and guaranteed that the payments of salaries, pensions, debt and other obligations will be made on the established dates, although there is no certainty when the technical work that will allow the disabled platforms to be restored will end."


Shortly after the attack a Russian criminal ransomware organization known as Conti published on the internet a demand for $10 million to have the information restored. The Government immediately rejected the demand and refused to talk directly with the perpetrators.


Within a week following the attack on the Finance Ministry seven more government institutions had recorded more ransomware attacks:

  1. Ministerio de Ciencia, Tecnología y Telecomunicaciones  (Micitt)
  2. Ministerio de Hacienda (Ministry of Finance)
  3. Instituto Meteorológico Nacional (IMN) – National Weather Service
  4. Ministerio de Trabajo (MTSS) – Ministry of Labor
  5. Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS) - Social Security and Health Ministry
  6. Radiográfica Costarricense (RACSA).
  7. Instituto de Desarrollo Rural (INDER) - Rural Development Agency
  8. Alajuela Interuniversity

By the end of April the government was scrambling to develop defenses and countermeasures to the attacks. So this is the way the modern world will operate eh?


¡Aura Vida!


Economic Drumbeat
(Costa Rica Business Happenings)


Three New Starbucks for Costa Rica


GG remembers reading an article a few years ago that Starbucks actually gets some 40% of its worldwide coffee bean requirement from Costa Rica. Nevertheless, the company seemed a little slow in opening retail outlets here considering that they have over 38,000 stores (shops?) worldwide. But that seems to have changed in recent years.


The company recently announced the opening of three new retail outlets in Cartago, Sabana Sur (San Jose) and Belén (Heredia). This will bring their total number of retail outlets in Costa Rica to 19 with an additional four planned before the end of the year.


Starbucks is still the place in the States where I stop when I need a cup of strong java. It´s a good brew amigos, especially the darker versions which I suspect are Costa Rican beans. When do we get a Starbucks in Quepos amigos - what, never? That´s what they also said about the POPS Ice Cream Parlor we now have.


Public Employees Are Now Paid for 9-Day Semana Santa


As some have said before: "Having a civil service job in Costa Rica is better than winning the lottery!".


As an example, note the government’s decision to grant public employees (Civil Service) the entire Semana Santa (Holy Week) –  nine days – a paid vacation. Yup, that´s right, all public servants need not serve for nine days in a row but get paid for them all. This is, of course, in addition to nine other paid holidays and a 13th month bonus paid in December. Part of the motivation for the extra days is probably that Semana Santa is already often taken as the whole week although only three days fall into the paid category for the average worker.


But what was that about promising more austerity to the international bankers (IMF) that just floated a $1.7 billion loan to keep us solvent in 2022?


Six New Hotels Planned in the Coming Months


Resurgence in the tourism sector is a sure sign of returning to economic growth in Costa Rica and several new projects are in the planning and construction stages to prove the point. These investments are planned for several provincial locations including Alajuela, Limón, Heredia and Guanacaste. Here´s a summary:


Six Senses Papagayo: (Guanacaste), for 2024 - 41 rooms and 31 ultra-luxury residences.

Hilton Properties: Hotel Homewood Suites Cariari + Hotel Hilton Garden Heredia/Alejuela

El Lugar Eco-Resort: Guanacaste.

Mariott Fairfield: Alejuela

Hotel Puerto: Limón

Marina Flamingo: Guanacaste


Economic activity is picking up amigos.


¡Pura Vida!



Latin America Updates
(Major Events In Neighboring Countries)



Strangest Quote of All Time. In what has to be one of the strangest quotes ever by a mom, a woman in a town in Guatemala, who was "seeking justice for her son who had just been shot and killed", stated for the press: “My son got up early to rob the buses, as always, but they killed him.


Evidently, her son and another friend started out pursuing their daily business of bus robbery but picked the wrong bus or at least the wrong people going to work. When the son tried to hold up the bus, one passenger pulled out a gun and shot the robber dead. In the melee that followed, the son´s friend and partner desperately tried to escape but in doing so he badly twisted his ankle and was arrested by police (that´s him on the gurney in the photo). The shooter escaped the scene and has yet to be identified.


Man, you just can´t win, try to make a buck and look what happens.




Ex-President Extradited To U.S. For Drug Dealing. Two months after president-elect Iris Xiomara Castro Sarmiento assumed the Honduran presidency, the prior president Juan Orlando Hernandez completed his 8-year term and was arrested to be extradited to the U.S. to fight DEA Charges. The previous president was shackled and displayed to the public (photo), then expedited at the request of U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland for trial as a drug trafficker.


Hernandez Being Extradited

Hernandez purportedly was responsible for exporting some 550 tons of cocaine to the U.S. (GG´s arithmetic at a street value of $35 per gram uncut puts the total value into tens of billions of dollars). Hernandez was also reported to have ties to Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.


Shortly after Hernandez´ arrest,  Juan Carlos Bonilla Valladares (known as "El Tigre" - "the Tiger") was also arrested and schedule for extradition, the implication being that he was complicit with Hernandez in the drug dealings.





1. Costa Rica Ambassador for Nicaragua Is Planned. On April 12 the U.S. Department of State issued its annual report on human rights and pointed out that the Nicaraguan government of President Daniel Ortega continues to exercise total control over the country. They noted that Ortega won a fourth term as President after having eliminated term limits in the constitution and after “arbitrarily imprisoning almost 40 opposition figures, barring all credible opposition political parties from participating, blocking legitimate international observation efforts, and committing widespread electoral fraud”.


This caused a war of words and intentions to break out between the current Costa Rican President, Carlos Alvarado, who has refrained from appointing an ambassador to Nicaragua, and President-Elect Rodrigo Chaves who´s position is that formal recognition of diplomatic relations between the two countries must be maintained. Supporting Alvarado was a statement by former Nicaraguan representative to the OAS, Arturo McFields, that appointing an ambassador would be a “a slap in the face of human rights.” McFields had been summarily dismissed after his comment.


Chaves takes office in May and, if he sticks to his word, there likely will be a Costa Rica ambassador to Nicaragua in the near term.


2. Twenty-Five More Organizations Annulled By Government.


The Ortega government continues to harass any organization that does not follow the party line. To that purpose they recently "annulled" some 25 NGO´s (non-government organizations) that had been critical of the Ortega regime. Annulling here means stripping them of their legal status, closing their operations and the government seizing their assets.


The recent batch included the Permanent Commission on Human Rights (CPDH), founded in 1991 but which was one of the humanitarian organizations that documented the repression suffered by Nicaraguans during the protests against the government in 2018, which left at least 355 dead. The list also included several literature and cultural organizations founded by writers, poets and philosophers.


The recent closures brings to 165 the number of civil organizations that have been annulled by the government since the 2018 protests, which Ortega, a former guerrilla in power since 2007, blamed on a failed coup engineered by the United States.




State of Emergency in Peru Continues. On February 6, President Pedro Castillo, with approval of the Council of Ministers, issued a 45 day state of emergency for Metropolitan Lima and the surrounding province of Callao. On March 20 the decree was extended for a further 45 days.


This action puts both police and military forces on the street to quell rising demonstrations by people who are very concerned with surging food, fuel and fertilizer prices. The forces that were employed to control the crowds (both military and police) are empowered to exercise strong action by the government against anything and anyone deemed as insurrection.


The demonstrations are credited to rising prices which in turn are caused by the effect of Western sanctions on Russian fuel and fertilizer supplies as a result of the Ukraine conflict. On April 6, the government tried to institute a curfew but withdrew it a few hours later as street demonstrations grew in violation of the curfew.


President Castillo rose to power last year with overwhelming support from Peru’s rural population. Rising prices, however, have reduced his popularity, now running about 25%.




Juan Guaidó

Guaidó Invited to CR Transfer of Power. Costa Rica has never recognized the current regime in charge in Venezuela, the Nicolás Maduro administration, as the legitimate government. Instead they have formally recognized the challenger in the last election in 2019, Juan Guaidó, as the legitimate president of the country. The Costa Rican government also expelled the Maduro diplomats from Costa Rica in favor of representatives appointed by Guaidó.


So it was of no surprise that the newly elected government of Costa Rica extended an invitation to Juan Guaidó who will attend the transfer of power ceremonies scheduled to take place in the Legislative Assembly chamber on May 8.


¡Solo Buenos!


Profiles in Quepos Series

John P. O´Connell
(Design Entrepreneuring in Paradise)


Not all people who move here are like GG, old goats ready, willing and able to retire. The attractiveness of Costa Rica appeals to all ages, including of course, younger people. When younger people get that powerful urge to move here, the thinking then quickly changes to: "Can I make a living here?"


John P. O´Connell - You Can See Why the Monkeys Love Him

It certainly helps if you have a skill that happens to fit the local nature and culture. Such is the case of John O´Connell, a gent who moved here from South Florida nearly five years ago. Born in White Plains, New York (1981) he slowly made his way down the East Coast from Boston (B.A. - Psychology, Boston University), to New York then to Philadelphia and then to Florida before making the big jump to Costa Rica.


During his odyssey he didn´t see a bright future for himself in psychology so he pursued his strongest love - he spent four years in a Carpenter´s Training Program in New York that included both classes and workshops. That settled his career, and further extensive experience in the construction industry reinforced it. His joke now is: "What do you do with a B.A. in Psychology? - You become a carpenter!"


Like many, John was attracted by the nature here and, like many, he was hooked by the Costa Rica bug that often bites one during the visitor experience. As a result of his infection, John decided to move and did.


But it´s one thing to have the intention to work and another to make sure you can make a living doing it. John soon found that the low labor rates here he had heard about were real. It was not uncommon to see construction labor rates of 3,000-5,000 colones per hour (about $5-7.50). That meant of course that he had to work hard and long to make ends meet, which he did. As time went on he realized he needed more specialized work to get better value out of his efforts and so he focused more on exploiting his carpentry skills.


John in His Workshop With Cenizaro Table
Cenizaro Tree

One way to make a difference here is to embrace the available natural raw materials and turn them into functionality, or even a work of art. A case in point is the dining room table in the photo right, a creation that embodies a slice of the root section of a Cenizaro tree (also known as the Rain Tree or Monkey Pod Tree).


The majestic Cenizaro tree offers the grace of shade and rain protection for flora below it. The root section of the Cenizaro is replete with indentations and marbled wood with holes in it that can be filled with resinous materials and converted to the surface shown in the photo. To see how this piece would look in your dining room, check out this video.


GG asked John about cutting trees down to make tables and other furniture and how that might be effecting the environment. His response: "The Cenizaro tree is a nationally protected tree and can not be cut.  The lumber is harvested from trees that have fallen naturally,  or with permission from the governing agency.   I use a lot of teak that is harvested from local teak farms. I try not to use any lumber that has been imported." Nuff said about that.


John and Simple Cabinet

John also specializes in creating simple but functional products for the home, office or store. The storage cabinet shown to the left is a good example. GG personally knows of some cabinetry that John did for a local social group that meets in Manual Antonio regularly - they still acclaim and compliment the cabinetry he created.


In our interview, John made a comment that I found interesting. He praised the ingenuity of the Ticos, having found it quite impressive. After all, he said, "They just can´t run down to the nearest Lowe´s improvement center, they often have to improvise and do."


So what´s your business philosophy, asks GG? First of all, he says, "I enjoy every step of the process; working with wood is never boring". He sees his work as a personal form of expression. Secondly, he relies on what he calls "friendship work", getting his name and trade out there first by doing good work with people he knows (In the insurance business we called that pursuing the "natural market"). He also believes in giving the customer more than he expects (now there´s an old-fashioned business principle GG can relate to).


On a personal side, John enjoys long walks on the beach at sunrise or sunset with his dog (Blankita - they also have a second dog, Grandote; both dogs having been rescued through the local animal shelter, PAWS). About the walk on th beach GG concurs, there´s something about the spiritual reorganization that happens with a good stroll on the ocean front. When he gets a chance, John also sees himself as a singer/songwriter and performs in a group (called The Pacific Boys Club) locally and has written a couple of songs (check out photo below right). If you´ve met John you know he has a very natural baritone voice that I´m sure serves him well (GG´s gotta go hear him sing soon).


John, Kera and Blankita
John Entertaining

Señor O´Connell is also quite active in his personal life. He quickly states that he is "happily committed to a domestic partnership" (his words) with a beautiful lady name Kera. Kera (photo left) is an executive chef and periodically spends a few weeks at a time on luxury yachts applying her trade while roaming the Pacific, Caribbean and other venues.


Kera also occasionally is called upon to chef locally and in those cases John becomes an assistant to her. A recent example was their working together to provide meals to over 500 people at one of Quepos´ Marina Pez Vela´s fishing tournaments.


So here you have in John´s story what GG believes is a good example of a younger person making a successful transition to Costa Rica that includes establishing a new way of providing a living for oneself.


GG wishes the best of success to John and Kera in all future endeavors.


¡Solo Bueno!


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



The Costa Rican cordillera (central mountain spine) became active in early April. On April 6 a surprise steam eruption, called a "phreatic" eruption, occurred at 2:42 AM at Volcano Poás, less than 50 kilometers from San José as the ash flies. The result was a plume of steam that reached 500 meters (1,640 feet) above the crater which put it approximately 3,200 meters (10,500 feet) above sea level. Phreatic eruptions don´t include magma, normally just gases and liquids as this one did.


The next day, Thursday, April 7, another eruption occurred about a hundred kilometers northeast of San José at Rincon de la Vieja volcano. A similar eruption to Poás but with more ash and smoke, this one also reached some 500 meters above the cauldron or about 2,400 meters (8,000 feet) above sea level. Both eruptions occurred without warning. Such is the fun of living on the Pacific Rim.


On the other end of the month and the Cordillera Central, two additional shakers, registering 4.5 and 5.2R were recorded within 34 minutes of each other in the southern zone (photo right). The location was just over the border in the province of Chiriquí, Panama. They were felt in Perez Zeledon and mildly up to as far as Alejuela in the central valley. There was no reported damage to property or people.


The southern zone is still awaiting its turn at a major quake as the area has demonstrated historically a cycle for major quakes at about 40 years and the last one occurred in 1983.


Check Out Recent Earthquakes All Around the World Posted by the U.S.G.S.  Recent Quakes



Weather: We can definitely say we´ve begun the rainy season with periodic strong showers that come in the afternoon, evening and nighttime. But we still have a predominance of sunny mornings in which the beach beckons. It´s typical weather for Costa Rica in April/May.

¡Pura Vida!


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

Is this tree suffering some kind of disease?


Nope, it´s normal and actually quite healthy and can be found fairly frequently in the jungles of Costa Rica.


What is its name (and it´s not the Cenizaro Tree mentioned in the Quepos Profile article above)?



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

¡Pura Vida!


More Musings On Our Democratic Republic
(GG Casts His First Vote In A National Election)


The Golden Gringo obtained his (dual) citizenship in Costa Rica in mid-2020. The 2022 national elections for the presidency and the legislature were the first opportunity I got to actually use my new franchise, so I tried to be faithful to the system and responsible in exercising my voting rights.


As reported earlier, my first national election would be in two stages because everyone warned me that, with 25 presidential candidates and parties running, it would be likely that no candidate would be able to garner the constitutionally-required 40% of the vote necessary to be elected which, of course, is exactly what happened. So the initial election was held on February 6 and a runoff was scheduled after that for Sunday, April 3 in which I also participated.


It so happened that the candidate I selected in Round 1 didn´t qualify for the runoff so I had to make a new selection from the top two survivors, one Jose Maria Figueres, a former president who now leads the historically powerful PLN (Partido Liberación Nacionál) and one Rodrigo Chaves Robles, a recent Costa Rican minister of finance and leader of the PPSD (Partido Progreso Social Democrático), a party which had only been formed in 2018.


In the first election I relied on the kindness of my landlord to personally lead me through the polling place and process at an elementary school called Escuela de Corea which is named after the country that had donated the facility to Costa Rica (Korea - 1939, according to the header in the photo). The school, on the west side of near the city futbol field (or course), currently provides elementary education for over 500 students.


This time, unlike round one where I relied on my landlord to help me through the maze, I decided on a whim to pass the polling station gauntlet on my own. Having made this decision coming back from Manuel Antonio that day (April 3) I got off the bus at the Catholic Church, walked two blocks to the polling station and presented my cédula to the front gate guard.


The election voting process was described in the earlier report and involved checking my cédula twice as proof of citizenship, but even with a substantial crowd the process turned out to be pretty quick. A poll worker at the front gate checks off your cédula and assigns you to a voting room, mine being #5879. No it wasn´t on the 58th floor; I suspect the number was used to segregate the rooms into voter precincts. The front gate guard then gave me that slip of paper and pointed me towards the back of the school where there were dozens of people milling about and talking.


Kiosk (Newspaper Photo)

On the wall near the door of one room was posted a slip of paper with #5879 on it so I entered. I had to produce my cédula once more, the clerk then checked me off a list and quickly handed me a piece of paper as well as an indelible dark orange crayon.


The paper, about half the size of a standard letter had pictures of both candidates plus a large box next to each to be used in marking a large "X" with the crayon. I was then pointed towards a kiosk desk like the one in the photo left for privacy in marking the ballot; I had voted in a matter of seconds.


After the vote I was standing outside room 5879 when a somewhat portly gentleman wearing a Covid mask (as were we all) approached me and wished me many future years - then he said: "I´m Doctor Mojarro". Wow. This good doctor treated me (and solved) a serious problem of congestive heart failure that I had developed in my first months here. First as a private doctor and then as my first assigned doctor in the CAJA (national health system), he helped me through some difficult times. A few hugs ensued and we parted, me saying "Igualemente" and meaning many years to him also. What a treat to see him. Dr. Mojarro retired from the CAJA and now still runs a private clinic based in Quepos which is located only a couple of blocks from where I live. I still have a high regard for him as well as the doc that replaced him in the CAJA, who I´ve written about before (HERE).


Rodrigo Chaves President-Elect

One of the things that impressed me about the election was the quick results posted in a timely fashion. Watching the three main news channels later in the afternoon of election day, the commentators stated that the polls closed at 7 pm and that preliminary election results would be available by 8:15 pm. Sure enough at 8:15, Channel 7 reported that with somewhat over 6000 out of 6500+ precincts reporting (precincts are referred to here as "tables"), Rodrigo Chaves Robles was winning quite handily.


By 9 pm the election was essentially history. Wow, polls closed and within about an hour the election is pretty much confirmed. All data is transferred by computer and telephone - I have to learn more about how, or even if there are such things as absentee ballots, for foreign national Costa Rican residents. There are over 60,000 Costa Rican nationals living in Florida, New Jersey and California alone - do they get to vote in Costa Rican national elections? The fact that the election count was so fast makes me believe that there may not be a process for the Costa Rican expat to vote in the local elections nor is there a mail-in ballot.


Democracy In Training

Not only was GG impressed with the efficiency of the election, but the fact that it was done in such a peaceful, democratic way is heartening by itself. Latin America has a number of countries headed by what essentially are dictators of both the left and right persuasion. Not here.


Costa Rica has its problems, many related to poor financial management, but there definitely also is a built-in respect for the democratic process. It´s habit-forming: every four years for over seven decades now Costa Ricans have peacefully voted into office one president after another. Not only the presidency is limited to one four year term without consecutiveness but so is the legislature. The legislature assuming position on May 8 will also be entirely new. Methinks that the founders of the Costa Rican republic well understood the dangers of unlimited terms.


GG has gone through his first election in Costa Rica and is happy to report that Democracy still works here amigos. I´m proud to be a dual citizen and hopeful for the future of a great country.


¡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?)



a. Covid Stats Level Off


While new cases of Covid continue to be reported, the number and rate of these new cases has declined to the lowest level seen in Costa Rica since early in 2020. The chart to the left is hopefully the last of its kind we hope to have to reproduce here for this pandemic.



Go away Covid, we don´t want you anymore!




b. Minister of Health Gets a New Job


Dr. Daniel Salas Peraza

Dr. Daniel Salas Peraza was the gentlemen who led us through the Covid pandemic as Minister of Health from May 8, 2018 to the present. With the Pandemic winding down Dr. Salas has been appointed to be the Head of the Comprehensive Family Immunization Unit of the Pan American Health Organization based in Washington, D.C.


In his new position Dr. Salas will be "...responsible for leading the comprehensive immunization strategy for the Americas; as well as, in alliance with the Member Governments, evaluate the impact of interventions in order to strengthen initiatives for the elimination of vaccine-preventable diseases".


Congratulations on your new position Dr. Salas, best of everything in your new job and thank you for your service to Costa Rica.


c. To Mask Or Not To Mask, That Is The Question


If you walk around Quepos, or any other sizable pueblo in the country, you will notice that fewer or fewer people walking the streets are wearing their masks. Then you walk into any public establishment such as a grocery store, ferretería (hardware store) or appliance store, as well as on the bus. The one exception to that last group is a restaurant where virtually all patrons remove the mask as soon as they enter or sit down. Is that allowed simply because you can´t eat through a mask or is it because restaurants will go bankrupt quickly under a mask mandate? Both?


Whatever. With the number and severity of infections declining everybody is hoping for a release soon from constantly looking like the Lone Ranger.


¡Aura 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.


Here are the books currently on our bookshelf:


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Costa Rica`s Mystery Spheres Mariposa - English

Mariposa - Español The Chronicles as a Narrative

#1 Read More #2 Read More #3 Leer más aquí #4 Read More
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Small Business Guide Making Time Count Overcoming Drinking Murder or Suicide?
#5 Read More #6 Read More #7 Read More #8 Read More
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Getting Around the Capital Retiring in Costa Rica Avoiding the Pitfalls What's the Sleuth Up To?
#9 Read More #10 Read More #11 Read More #12 Read More


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

Keep Writing Amigos!
Spiritual Love Connection World War II True Story Wildfire and the Tribune  
#13 Read More #14 Read More #15 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


The tree in the Que Es Eso section above is a Ceiba tree and found in the jungles of Costa Rica and that shown is likely over 100 years old. The younger tree to the left shows Its pronounced root system which can grow so large that it can shelter and hide a full grown man in its rootlets.


GG thought the Ceiba so interesting that he made it the venue for one of his books: Mariposa, A Love Story of Costa Rica - book details HERE.


¡Pura Vida!



ROMEO Corner
(Retired Old Men Eating Out)

Oceano Seafood, Manuel Antonio

Location: On the main road to Manuel Antonio beach

about 200 meters before the futbol field on the right.
2 PM to 9 PM Sunday thru Monday

Parking: Limited, above the restaurant.
Contacts: Facebook: Oceano Seafood;

Reviewing ROMEOS: Bob N., Duston R., Glen N., Steve M.


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


This restaurant is in the old location of the Mar y Luna Restaurant but is under new owners, new management and a new name. It´s situated near the top of Manuel Antonio Hill so the view to the Pacific and northern coast, across a huge wooded gorge, is outstanding.


The restaurant is simply but pleasantly decorated although they have adhered to the typical, unpadded hard wooden chairs found throughout the area which GG finds uncomfortable. The tables were supplied with colorful place mats and linen napkins. The composite score for ambiance came in at 3.75/5.0 sloths max.


GG was pleasantly surprised by the extent of the menu which offered several appetizer choices and more than a dozen main courses focused on fish and other seafood as well as combinations such as surf and turf (and even surf and surf). I also saw someone being served s very hefty cheeseburger with steak fries.


GG decided to try their offering in two stages. First I ordered some crisp spring rolls stuffed with chopped vegetables, lightly spiced and served with a small urn of red sauce that was a bit too spicy for my taste but I´m sure registered low-heat on a Latino scale.


Secondly I went for a jumbo shrimp plate, the shrimp being sauced in a delightful mild cream and served with steamed veggies, ripe plantain sautéed with a red onion coating and a small urn of steamed, plain rice which I found to be of little consequence on that plate but typical in this part of the world.

Value Index= 113


Other ROMEOs selected shrimp rolls, a Mexican platter, an oriental tuna salad, a whole red snapper and a surf and turf having a normal combination of a small steak and jumbo shrimp.


No one ordered dessert perhaps because the offering consisted of the obligatory brownie with ice cream or tres leches or fruit (sometimes I think the local municipalidad has decreed these three to be the required and only desserts in all local restaurants). The composite score for food quality came in at 3.75/5.0 max.


We were served by Viviana and Gabriel who covered the basics and got the job done but occasionally seemed to be inattentive as they spent more time on their kitchen duties than interacting with us. The kitchen also was a bit slow in the production of our shrimp based dishes (50 minutes). The composite score for service came in at 3.0/5.0 which yielded a composite average for ambiance, food quality and service of 3.50.


The cost for my spring rolls, jumbo shrimp dish and two ginger-ale micheladas plus 23% tax and required tip came to just under 26,000 colones of about $38. The composite score for cost from the ROMEOs came in 3.13 which yields a Value Index of 3.50/3.13 or 113 and puts it somewhat less than average on the value list.


Oceano Seafood restaurant offers another alternative to eaters for a good meal in a pleasant location at a reasonable cost.


¡Solo Bueno!



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Pura Vida!

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