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In This Edition:

1. Broken News (All the News That's Fit to Reprint): a. Rain Damages to Road System; b. Motorcycle Deaths Reach +50% of All Road Fatalities; c. Super Cruise Ship Docks in Quepos.

2. Economic Drumbeat (CR Business Happenings: a. Stryker Medical Expanding; b. Counterfeit 10k Colone Bills Circulating; c. Gasoline Continues Price Decline (at the moment); d. Inflation Forecast to Accelerate; e. Decree to Authorize Use of Private Electric Generation; f. Colon Exchange Rate Against $ Strengthens; g. Inflation Hitting Costa Rican Food Basket.

3. Latin America Update (Major Events in Neighboring Countries):. a. Brazil - Presidential Runoff Election; b. Cuba Cuba Legalizes Gay Marriage; c. Venezuela - Costa Rica to Aid Venezuela Migrants Transition Here; b. Nicaragua - Hurricane Julia Hits Nicaragua.

4. Feature Article: More on Costa Rica Slang (Fitting Into the Way of Life)

5. Rumble and Weather Talk: a. Rumble: Lots of Earthquakes About the Pacific Rim; b. Weather: a. Hurricane Julia Makes Landfall in Nicaragua.

6. ¿Que es Eso?: This Can´t Happen In Costa Rica, Can It?

7. Feature Article: The Ants of Costa Rica (Whose Home Is It Anyway?)

8. Health Stuff: a. Covid Stats Continue Downward; b. New Temporary Mask Mandate.

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: Double Hook Sports Bar, Marina Pez Vela


Wisdom of the Ages

"Old age is like a plane flying through a storm.
Once you are aboard there is nothing you can do about it."
(Golda Meir)

Holidays In November In Costa Rica

What - another month without a national holiday in Costa Rica?

One of the things we do have going for us is the 74th anniversary of the formation of the Canton of Quepos. The Canton (county, if you will and formerly known as Aguirre) was established in 1948, which is the same year that the Second Republic of Costa Rica, the one still surviving, was also founded. Ticos never need a reason to have a parade pass them by and my little home town will be having a parade with several marching bands and many youngsters pounding drums (after all, it´s their duty... and their pleasure).

Happy Birthday Quepos!

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

Rain Damages to Road System

While we never receive the brunt of a hurricane here (we´re too far south), Costa Rica is subjected to strong rain storms that typically hit us during a six month rainy season which occurs between May and November with heaviest periods in September/October.


After only a couple of years residency here, GG felt compelled to note and write about the rainfall in 2010 when a particularly strong rainy season caused problems. I compared Quepos to two other points in the Americas where I´ve lived; namely Boston and Sarasota, Fl. You can read about that HERE. Because we have a mountainous and hilly terrain and rain forest-level rainstorms here, and when the rain becomes strong, we are subject to serious flooding and landslides. We were reminded about the danger that rain like we´ve seen this year presents when a deadly landslide took lives recently.


Slide and Drop at Km 44.5
One Proposal - Possibly a Viaduct

The season is also taking a great toll on the road system which, because of the nature of our terrain, many roads and highways often traverse the country on the sides of hills and mountains. Such a case is one of our major routes from San José to the west coast. Route 27, also known as the highway to Caldera, an important port area near Puntarenas. With the closing of the Interamericana route due to the landslide mentioned above, a good deal of the traffic had been shifted to Route 27.


Within a year after the opening of Ruta 27, at the now infamous Kilometer 44.5, the roadway began to slide. The current condition is shown in the photo top right and demonstrates how the main roadway has slipped. GG had a personal experience recently on a visit to San José when we passed this spot in a bus. Traffic, including us, slowed to a crawl for a mile before and after this point as vehicles cautiously negotiated the drop and then the rise in the road; in all it took us over a hour to get by the slip.


Obviously, at least parts of this major highway will need to be replaced. Some ten spots along Ruta 27 have been identified as potential similar problems to Km 44.5 and they will likely require some expropriation of private land to complete a renovation. One option is to use viaduct type of construction which relies on supports that go all the way down to bedrock (see lower artist´s rendering right). The other problem, of course, is to find the money to accomplish this very expensive kind of construction.


To deal with the recent widespread damage done Costa Rican roads the government (President Chaves) recently announced it will issue two decrees, one of National Emergency and the other of Imminent Danger to deal with reparations necessary from the aftereffects of Hurricane Julia. Particularly hard hit areas like Aserrí, Desamparados and Alajuelita (all in the central valley) might require as much as $700 million to reinstate proper infrastructure.



Motorcycle Deaths Reach +50% of All Road Fatalities


MOPT - the Costa Rican Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes, our national office similar to the DMV in the states, recently published statistics for the current year that "...54% of the people who have died on the road this year were traveling on two-wheeled vehicles, that is, motorcycles or bicycles". The total number of fatalities in traffic accidents so far this year has exceeded 300.


Motorcycles and motorbikes are very popular in Costa Rica both because of the freedom they give one to explore the incredible countryside and also because they are relatively inexpensive to own and operate compared to a car. The MOPT spokesperson did point our that motorcyclists have a reputation for flaunting driving rules and requested that both the cyclists and those that come in contact with them should use courtesy, caution and discretion with each other. Amen.


Super Cruise Ship Docks in Quepos


The scuttlebutt in Quepos in mid-October was that the luxury and expedition cruise season had began because the first luxury cruise ship docked here.


The Scenic Eclipse, flying a Bahamian flag, has impressive stats: length - 168 mtrs (550 ft), width 21.5 mtrs (71 ft), 114 cabins ranging in size from 32 to 247 sqmtrs (340-2,620 sqft) with indoor and outdoor pools, a gym, a yoga and pilates studio, as well as a varied cuisine, that includes six restaurants offering French and Italian haute cuisine, among others, and prepared by renowned chefs. Add to that two helicopters, a submarine for exploring the sea and coral, and a high-tech theatre for conferences and projections.


Sounds like a boat that would be hard to get off.


¡Pura Vida!


Economic Drumbeat
(Costa Rica Business Happenings)

Stryker Inaugurates New Financial Center


Stryker is a medical technology company (world HQ in Kalamazoo, MI) with more than 46,000 employees operating in more then 75 countries worldwide. "We offer innovative products and services in Medical and Surgical, Neurotechnology, Orthopaedics and Spine that help improve patient and hospital outcomes".


The company recently inaugurated a new financial center in San Antonio Business Park, Heredia in April of 2019. This center is planned to support all of the company´s financial activities in the Americas. Since it´s opening the company has acquired some 200 employees and plans further expansion.


To read more about the company, its products and services, go HERE.


Counterfeit 10k Colone Bills Circulating


For the last several years Costa Rica has been converting its money system to new notes largely using a plastic substrate. It was only a matter of time before counterfeiters would begin imitating the new technology. Despite the fact that duplicating or near-duplicating these plastic notes is not easy, a recent press report confirmed that the battle has indeed started.


A series of ¢10,000 notes (each equivalent to about $16 at the current exchange rate) recently surfaced in San José. An observant merchant noticed them and called the police but, by the time "los poli" got there, the counterfeiter(s) had completely disappeared and so far haven´t been found.


The press report I read was not clear as to what in the photo (right) made them counterfeit but I did notice that the two bad ones (on top, marked with an X) failed to register a second portrait of our past president José María Figueres Olsen in the lower right clear window which is also on the 10´s in my wallet and on the valid, lower note above. I´m told also that the counterfeit bill does not have the proper feel for a totally plastic bill and, again from the picture, the bogey note doesn´t appear to be the right length.


Gasoline Continues Price Decline


In early October the price of gasoline continued a recent decline and on October 4, the price of regular (regulated by ARESEP) dropped 100 colones/liter ($0.60/gal) to ¢807/l or $4.85/gal. Part of the improvement in the $ value has to do with a exchange rate strengthening in favor of the Colon during which time the colon went from nearly 700¢/$ in September to about 640 ¢/$ in early October.


Another decline in price had been expected in October but when it was finally announced, the change was not uniform depending on the grade; -56¢/l (-$0.34/gal) for Super, and -47¢/l (-$0.28/gal) for diesel while regular gas goes up +28¢/l (-$0.17/gal). This leaves Super at 790¢/l ($4.75/gal), Diesel at 818¢/l ($4.92/gal) and Regular at 835c/l ($5.02/gal).


Say what? How does one get regular gas to be more expensive than super? I´m beginning to think the ARESEP committee meets too often.


Inflation Forecast to Accelerate


But......then again, most people, including government, expect gasoline to continue to rise simply because the price of oil is increasing and recent actions by OPEC cutting production and the temporary loss of the Russia pipeline into Germany are pushing energy costs in the opposite way of a reduction.


Decree to Authorize Private Electric Generation


Sr. Chaves our president has had a busy month issuing decrees. In addition to the two emergency road repair infrastructure decrees mentioned in the road damages section above, he also decreed that companies and individuals will be allowed to sell privately generated electricity to ICE, the national electric company. The intent is to help keep consumer costs down.


At the same time the national pricing authority (ARESEP) has proposed a kilowatt tariff schedule ranging from a minimum of $0.0751 kWh to a maximum (ceiling) of $0.1794 per kWh (not sure why there´s a minimum?). Just checking my last electric bill I find I paid $0.131/kWh while the literature says that the prevailing cost for consumers in Florida is $0.115/kWh.


I´m glad that they are at least trying to keep the rates down. At the same time, another government decree added cost to the process of vehicle inspection by adding a fee for re-inspection that originally had been touted as being free. Not a lot of money as the total fee for a car for inspection and re-inspection is probably still is less than one-third the cost of filling a gas tank.


Colon Exchange Rate Against $ Strengthens


After reaching an all-time low on June 23 of this year in relation to the dollar, the Costa Rica Colon strengthened significantly in September reaching a sell rate of ¢621.03/$ and a buy rate of ¢612.79 in mid-October.


For the uninitiated that simply means that if you want to buy dollars with Colones (i.e., sell colones) you must put up 621 Colones to get 1$ and if you want to sell dollars you may expect to receive about 613 colones for each dollar. Contrast this with the June 23 buy rate = ¢700 and on the sell side = ¢691.


It´s interesting to note that in 2008, when GG arrived here as a new expat and first darkened the door of local merchants, one could expect to receive only 360 colones for each dollar.


Inflation Hitting Costa Rican Food Basket


The government measures inflation here, at least for food related items, in what they call the Canasta Básica Alimentaria (CBA) or Basic Food Basket, and they calculate it per person. For the month of September 2022 the per person cost of the CBA rose by just under 11,000 colones versus September 2021. The total cost of the CBA per person has now reached ¢59,783/month or about $96.


For a family of five that would equal $480 per month for just the basics. There are only so many ways you can stretch rice and potatoes amigos.


Coming right behind that story was another from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) ranking food inflation by country and posting Costa Rica at #6 with a year-to-year food inflation rate, as of August, of 22.5%.


The list is headed by Turkey at 90.3%, with the United States at 13.5% and Canada at 10.8%. The only Latin American country posting a food inflation rate greater than Costa Rica was Columbia.



¡Pura Vida!



Latin America Updates
(Major Events In Neighboring Countries)



Presidential Runoff October 30. Wikipedia lists 26 countries that comprise Latin America including a half dozen French-owned islands. Brazil leads the list with the highest population at 204.5 million or 33.1% of the total population of Latin America´s 617.3 million (2015 stats). It also happens to be the world´s fourth largest democracy after Indonesia, the United States and India.


Jair (L) and Lula (R) - Nice Bike Jair

The president of Brazil is elected for a four-year term and can run for a second term after that. The current President, Jair Bolsonaro, considered a right-of-center politician, was up for re-election recently. He ended up running against former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (affectionately known as "Lula") who was president from 2003 to 2010 and who is considered a leftist.


The results were that Bolsonaro received 43.2% of the vote and Lula 48.3% but since neither received more that the constitutionally mandated 50%, a runoff will be held October 30. Both candidates are predicting victory of course.




Cuba Codifies Gay Marriage. With the strong support of the government via an intense media and social-media campaign, a referendum was held on changes to the #CódigoDeLasFamilias (Family Code) allowing gay marriage, gay adoption, and surrogacy. The changes were approved by the Cuban people. The new Cuban Family Code now defines marriage as the union “between two people”.


Of nearly 6.3 million votes cast (74% turnout), about 6% or of the votes were found to be invalid, 3.9 million (67%) cast as "Yes" and 2.0 million (33%) as "No". Primary opposition came from the conference of Catholic Bishops that criticized the Code as "Gender ideology, which supports many precepts contained in the new legislation, such as gay marriage, assisted pregnancy and the possibility that minors can start a clinical process to change of sex".


Cuba is now considered to be in the forefront of this movement in Latin America.





Hurricane Julia hits Nicaragua. When hurricane Julia decided to come off the Caribbean it made landfall as a Category 1 (140 km/h or 85 mph) hurricane on the east coast of Nicaragua on October 9. Two fatalities were reported in Nicaragua as well as 13,000 families evacuated, 800 homes flooded and one million homes lost power. The storm continued to dump rain across Nicaragua and much of Central America with 28 fatalities reported over the entire region. The storm eventually blew itself out over the Nicaraguan mountains and the western coast of Central America.


Ortega and Putin (Obviously Constructed Photo But You Get The Point)

Nicaragua Signs Nuclear Accord With Russia. Last month we reported on the decree by President Ortega that opened the way for Nicaraguan development of nuclear energy "for peaceful purposes". This month Ortega authorized his Russian ambassador to sign a memorandum on an agreement with the Putin government on "Cooperation in the field of non-energy applications of atomic energy for peaceful purposes” which was signed in Moscow on December 7, 2021.


Now there´s a partner for peaceful endeavors. Can´t wait to see this one play out.





Nicaraguan Migrants in San José

Costa Rica to Aid Venezuela Migrants Transition Here. The Costa Rican government, by way of President Chaves, recently announced that Costa Rica would provide pass-through immigration to migrants for what is expected to be a "massive Venezuelan migratory wave" heading north. That has pretty much been the CR policy that was instituted even before Chaves was elected. The real question is what will Nicaragua do? At one point a couple of years ago Nicaragua shut down their border to such migrants and Costa Rica ended up providing air transportation to stranded migrants up to Mexico. So why is their a wave of Venezuelan migrants anyway?


Might have something to do with how repressive the Maduro government is becoming. The Venezuelan National Association of Journalists (CNPVEN) recently demonstrated and denounced the closing of 34 radio stations by the government around the country, Twitter being the only way they could get the information out to the public. Said CNPVEN:


"This evidences, without a doubt, a new government attack of its so-called ‘communicational hegemony’ executed by Conatel (the National Telecommunications Commission of Venezuela) and that, it is nothing more than to continue bringing informational and communicational obscurantism to the entire world.” The story is starting to sound like Nicaragua in 2018.


But the whole question of Venezuelan illegal migrants started becoming moot because the U.S. Government in October reversed their policy of accepting Venezuelans across the Mexican border, returning them to Mexico. Accordingly other reports said the volume of migrants crossing the rough Darien Gap in southern Panama on their way north has slowed dramatically in the second half of October and that Panama´s International Airport (Tocumen) is seeing large crowds of Venezuelans trying to return home.


¡A Catcher!


More On Costa Rican Slang
(Fitting Into the Way of Life)


Having originated from Latin as a spoken dialect in the

3rd century BC, Spanish has become a rich language. And Costa Rican Spanish has taken on a number of colloquialisms and variants that make it even more personal. In addition, Spanish in the New World has taken on many corruptions of indigenous words, particularly those extracted from the Nahuatl language in Mexico.


What follows is a short list of words used as Spanish slang terms and which are often heard in local conversations among Tico friends.

  1. Mae. Como etas mae? (como estahs my) ¿Qué es la vara?" = How are you dude? What’s up? The term can be used with pretty much anyone, male or female.

  2. Que Tal?. Also used frequently is "Que Tal?" = What´s going on?

  3. Bomba. Relax, it’s not a bomb, just a gas station. (When GG first saw signs for "Bomberos", I thought they were the bomb squad but they turned out just to be firemen.) "Vamos a la bomba que el carro se está quedando sin gasolina" – Let’s go to the gas station, the car is running out of gas.

  4. Tico. (Teeco) You can call people from Costa Rica “costarricenses” or just “Ticos” or “Ticas”. Soy de Costa Rica, soy Tico – I’m from Costa Rica, I’m Tico.

  5. Carga. Carga actually means load, but for some reason, Ticos use this word to describe someone is really good at something. "Ese hombre es una carga en lo que hace" – That guy is very good at what he does. Carga is also used as is to "upload" something or, slightly modified (descarga) to download something.

  6. Choza. (Chosa) Normally, choza refers to a hut made of wood or palms, however, in Costa Rican slang, Ticos use this word for their houses or homes in general. "Me voy a mi choza, estoy cansada" – I’m heading home, I’m tired.

  7. Gallo Pinto (Guy-yo Pinto) A traditional staple of rice and beans is referred to as Gallo Pinto which precisely translated means "spotted rooster". "Quiero comerme un buen gallo pinto hoy" – today I want to eat a good plate of rice and beans.

  8. Goma (go-mah) Officially in Spanish, goma means glue, but in Costa Rican slang Ticos use goma to say that they have a hangover (gummy brain, eh?). "Tengo una goma muy grande, pero la fiesta estuvo rajada" – I have a big hangover, but the party was amazing.

  9. Mejenga (may-hen-gah) A game of soccer on the street (actually any informal game such as an unrefereed game in the local indoor arena or futsal). "Mae, vamos a la mejenga de esta noche." – Dude, let’s go to the soccer game tonight.

  10. Presa (pray-sah) Presa in Spanish has a couple of different meanings, as it can be feminine for being in jail, or can mean “prey” or a “dam”. In Costa Rican slang, it means being in a traffic jam. "Voy a llegar tarde, estoy en la presa." - I’ll be late, I’m in a traffic jam.

There are probably another 10-20 word usages like these that will wait for another day for GG to catch up to them. So Ticos have done their best to make Spanish suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous interpretation and, in doing so, have personalized it and made it enticing in my opinion.


¡Pura Vida, Mae!


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



"What can I say, the quiet is outstanding and comforting." Well, that´s what I was going to say from experience in the first 2/3 of the month but then the rumbles began. So far it´s been mostly located near our neighbors to the south (Panama). Here´s how it progressed:

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



Flooding in Golfito

Although Hurricane Ian missed Costa Rica, as almost all of them do, because our position is too far south for the prevailing air and water currents, but we can and do receive the weaker tails of such a storm. Such was the case with Julia, that eventually hit lower Guatemala as a Cat 1 hurricane and then upper Central America on the Caribbean side as a tropical storm.


Twenty eight deaths were reported in Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua. Five thousand homes were severely damaged both from excessive winds and flooding in Nicaragua.


In Costa Rica, as hurricane Julia shrank and collapsed, it dissipated by spreading lots of water from its spiral out and over the southern and Caribbean zones of Costa Rica causing flooding in those areas as shown in the photo of Golfito above.


In the Central Pacific Zone where Quepos/Manuel Antonio are located we had plenty of rain here for about a day and a half. The Southern Zone in the Golfito and Osa areas did get a lot of water and in the Central Pacific Zone (Puntarenas down to Dominical) we also received a lot of water but the winds were not a significant problem.


Due to a significant increase in respiratory infections, particularly among the young, and which required hospitalization, the Ministry of Health ordered a "rainy recess" for a week for all schools. The majority of cases involved youngsters 4 and under in age and Ministry pointed out that of 109 cases treated only one was Covid-19.


The end of Hurricane Julia and its after-effects were followed in a matter of days by another tropical wave that dumped a lot of rain on the Central Pacific Coast causing flooding problems, particularly in the Cantons of Garabito (Jacó) and Parrita (Parrita), both of which are fairly low lying areas.


GG took a vote in the neighborhood and we decided we´ve had enough of this rainy season - bring on the sun and the summer!


¡Pura Vida!


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The Ants of Costa Rica
(Whose Home Is It Anyway?)

Coming home one day recently GG entered his kitchen only to find a mass quantity (well, maybe a hundred or so) of tiny ants trying to consume the remnants of a sweet pastry I inadvertently left on the counter unprotected. Tapping the counter near them produced a frenzy of quick and excited streaking in all directions; they knew the jig was up, but where to go seemed like a problem for them.


I dealt with the beasts harshly, exterminating many and chasing the rest out the door. Then I applied my favorite poison to the door sill: Raid. I felt no guilt as this is my home you little devils, stay away! But the episode did cause me to wonder about ants (in Spanish they are called Hormigas). They are prolific here in the jungle, particularly in the rainy season when food morsels luxuriate in high humidity and wet conditions making them even more tasty.


So I decided to do a little Internet research under the title "ants of Costa Rica". The first info I came across involved two macro-economic statistics, i.e.: 1) there are over 90 species of ants in Costa Rica and 2) they account for a whopping 25% of the total "terrestrial animal biomass" of creatures here. It is not atypical for an individual ant colony to have 1-2 million or up to as many as 10,000,000 individuals. Busy little buggers reproducing, eh?


Costa Rican ants are reported to be nearly blind (note the natural eye covering on the one to the right). Instead they navigate by smell, which explains the disorderly and panicky to and fro acceleration they exhibit when frightened by a lummox of a giant like me.


Being untrained in entomology GG is not sure if the ant pictured above (scientifically called Megalomyrmex modestus) was the actual specie of ant in my kitchen but the yellow-brownish glow from the one depicted resembles what I saw in my visitor ants. Also the size is right, i.e., very, very small (the one pictured is no more than 5 millimeters in length (0.02 inches) and the ones in my kitchen were about the same although they didn´t lend themselves to the possibility of their being measured with a rule.


But let´s talk about the three most prolific and well-know ants one encounters in Costa Rica:


Leaf-Cutter Ants


These are also known in Spanish as Zompopos. There are at least seven know species of leaf-cutter ant in Costa Rica. Why not, it´s a jungle out there full of green leaves.


It´s hard not to notice these guys as they make themselves conspicuous by each carrying a leaf back to their nest which they had cut themselves. Only green, healthy leaves are sought after, which can then be converted to a bread-like fungus in their nests on which the whole ant population can feed. It is not unusual to find several million leaf-cutters inhabiting a nest. "The nests are complex, high tech systems with ventilation and intelligent facility management. Their highly organized societies are the largest and most complex on earth - next to humans."


Zompopos can lift several times their own body weight. They are highly developed social creatures that can operate together as a super-organism even with millions of individuals participating. As mentioned, colonies of ants can sometimes consist of millions of individuals and they communicate between themselves via scented chemicals (pheromones).


A Queen Leaf-Cutter Ant

The colonies are initiated by winged Queens who can fly off to start another colony - they are the only fertile female ants in the colony. Their sole job is reproduction and are aided in this by smaller, winged males that fly from colony to colony to help queens reproduce (GG once had a couple of fraternity brothers who acted like that). The rest of the colony is made up of infertile females serving as workers to haul the leaves, the larger of these servicing as soldier ants to protect the colony from predators, the smaller ones servicing to manage the food-fungus piles.


"Biologists estimate that the ants manage to clear as much as 15 percent of the leaves in Neotropical forests for their fungal gardens indicating massive populations. Today the ants are among the most evolutionary successful creatures on the planet, having survived for tens of millions of years."


For more on Zompopos written by GG a few years ago (2012), go HERE.


Army Ants (“Marabunta” or Legionary Ants)


Army Ants Attacking Scorpion
An Army Ant "Bridge"

As the name implies, Army Ants are militaristic in both the severity of their attack and the ability to coordinate and accomplish a successful mission. They are constantly foraging the jungle, finding small prey like other insects (such as the scorpion in the photo left), killing and consuming them on the spot. They don´t build nests as such but "bivouac" in dead tree trunks and then move on to the next prey.


Like the leaf-cutters, the queen is alone responsible for reproduction with the help of a few males, the rest are the workers and attackers. The Army Ant has sharp mandibles that are used for attacking prey and also for cutting, biting and even crushing things. They attack in large numbers in what is called a ¨raid¨.


Army Ants on Bivouac

Army Ants are determined to succeed and will go to any coordinated effort to do so, such as the bridge created in the second photo left to transport fellow ants forward. Another of their main targets are the nests of other ants whose eggs and larvae they steal to feed their own offspring. 


Army ants also have their fans. Says one fan: "Should army ants visit your house consider yourself lucky as they will clean it from scorpions, ants and cockroaches. Therefore the Costa Ricans call them Limpiadores, which means Cleaners in English."


Acacia Ants


Named for the bullhorn acacia trees they inhabit, the plant provides clusters of large, hollow thorns suitable as a place for the ants to rear their young. The thorns also supply water and nectar for the ants. "At the tips of the acacia plants’ young leaves, tiny red beltian buds sprout, for no apparent reason other than to provide protein for its guardian ants."

In a symbiotic relationship, the ants provide defense against herbivore insects, such as crickets, that would attack the plant. The ants also consume invasive plants around the base of the acacia tree. Acacia Ants are somewhat smaller than the ants seen in GG´s abode and mentioned above coming in around 3 mm or about 0.01 inches. These tiny, aggressive red ants swarm upon the approach of any animal, be it goat or human.


Actually, GG has another way to deal with the pests mentioned above - a pet albino gecko that I´ve named Jerry. (In truth he may be Jerry Jr. as he seems smaller than the original Jerry I came to know in 2013). I had been a bad (unknowing) boy then and mentioned to a neighbor that I had extinguished a small gecko in my apartment. She admonished me strongly and suggested I leave the creature be as they are also limpiadores and feast on ants, chiggers and other crawlies. Since then I have happily kept Jerry as a buddy but now I wonder if he´s slacking off on the job. Maybe he should invite in a few cousins to get back control over the ants...


To read more about Jerry, go HERE.



¡Buen Dia!


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





Now wait just a minute, what´s this photo of a snowman doing in the middle of all these photos of green and warm and rainy Costa Rica?


Couldn´t be from Costa Rica could it?.....nah.



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






¡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?)



Covid Stats Continue Downward Trend


Recently reported by the Health Ministry for epidemiological week 38, which runs from September 18 to 24, new cases of Covid dropped to 5,012 which is down 17.4%; deaths attributed to Covid went down to 13, a drop of 35% and hospitalizations dropped to a daily average of 178 down from 187 with 32 requiring ICU.


New Temporary Mask Mandate


In an attempt to blunt a recent outbreak of (regular) flu that seems to favor young children, the government has issued an obligatory use of masks again in public transportation which includes buses, trains, taxis, ferries, and student transportation. This went into effect for the period of October 17-31. GG learned of this on October 20 when he bordered a bus headed for Manuel Antonio and the driver asked if I had a mask. I responded "No" expecting him to send me to the nearest store to purchase one. Instead he simply reached for a box of new masks and offered me one no charge. I´ll add it to my collection at home.


¡Pura Vida!



Travel Quote of the Month


¡A Cachete!


GGC Bookshelf


We are pleased to add a new book this month to the GGC Bookshelf. Diary of a Cryptocurrency Abduction was written by Allen Dickenson, one of GG´s fellow writers based in San José and co-authored by Ryan Piercy. It is a true story of a businessman held hostage for over a month with his abductors requiring ransom by Bitcoin payment. Is this the new way of the criminal world today? Check out the book using the links below. GG-Editor

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 as well as the Costa Rica Writer´s Group.


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


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Spiritual Love Connection World War II True Story Wildfire and the Tribune World´s First Crypto Caper
#13 Read More #14 Read More #15 Read More #16 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, including links on how to order, 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



Snow and Snow People Near Volcano Irazu

Who says it doesn´t snow in Costa Rica. Well, actually this is not snow but hail. When rain droplets hit cold air such as near the mountains, small balls of ice, technically hail, are produced and can fall to the ground. Small enough balls can be virtually indistinguishable from snow flurries.



The snow creatures in the pictures shown come from the area near the Irizu volcano (map above) or about 50 Km east of San José, a mountainous area that is part of the central mountain spine that runs southwest to northeast virtually dissecting the Costa Rica portion of the isthmus.


I don´t know about you amigos but I keep getting the urge to have a snowball fight.


¡Pura Vida!


ROMEO Corner
(Retired Old Men Eating Out)

Double Hook Sports Bar, Marina Pez Vela, Quepos

Location: Top floor, south side of main building.
Monday – Sunday 11am – 11pm.

Parking: Ample in covered garage and adjoining lot.
Contacts: Tel: 506-2519-9366; Website: Double Hook Sports Bar

Reviewing ROMEOS: Alma L., Bob N., Chris D., Glen N., Harry R., Jorge M., Mark P., Ruth R.

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


This restaurant/sports bar is located at the very center of the Marina Pez Vela (south section, top floor). The view from the front of the restaurant is of the marina and its yachts below with the Pacific Ocean stretching to the horizon. Unfortunately, to accommodate all of our people we had to take a larger table in the back which was more limited in view but walking around the place did expose the incredible panorama of our ocean front.


The restaurant is decorated in simple modern as befitting its focus as a sports bar and as demonstrated by large screens, country flags and sports banners. The Marina, the Sports Bar and for that matter the view of the entire bay shore of Quepos is also known for its stunning sunsets as shown in the photo left.


The composite score for ambiance came in at 3.9 out of 5.0 maximum.


The menu is tres simple, a two page laminated list of burgers, sandwiches and basic finger foods like tacos and empanadas.


GG caught a flash in the middle of the menu which said "Cheese Steak" and I was assured by several it was a Philly Cheese Steak so I ordered it. What came was a poor replica thereof, soft roll, tough beef strips drizzled with what I call squeeze-cheese, almost undetectable grilled onions.


I know, I know, I´m a picky ex-Pennsylvanian having lived 17 years in the Greater Philadelphia Area (where most people object to calling the town "Philly"). Crisp roll, thinly sliced prime beef grilled with onions and, at the last minute, topped off with a thin slice of provolone. Now that´s a Philly Cheese Steak.

Value Index= 127


Other ROMEOs selected items such as veggie quesadillas, a chicken cordon blue, beef nachos, fish and pork chop casados, fish fingers and cheeseburgers. The composite score for food quality came in at 3.7/5.0.


We caught the restaurant at a busy lunch hour and a few of the ROMEOs forgave them for that reason but most thought the service a bit slow. Bet it seems faster if you´re watching a game (we were not). The composite score for service came in at 3.9/5.0 and resulted in an average value for ambiance, food quality and service of 3.81/5.0.


GG´s cheese steak and a ginger ale michelada was billed just under 8,000 colones or about $13. The composite score for cost came in at 3.0/5.0 which yields a Value Index of 3.81/3.0x100=127 and puts Double Hook in the top one third of the restaurants the ROMEOs have reviewed in this area for value.


The ROMEO group can reconfirm that Double Hook Sports Bar is a good place to enjoy a quick lunch or dinner at a reasonable price while enjoying the beautiful Pacific view.


¡Solo Bueno!




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Pura Vida!

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