Hello, you out there from Hawaii! Thanks for reading! Love your big dot on my map down there to the right! Though most of my readers seem to be from California (gee, I wonder who that might be?), Hawaii, New York and Florida are definitely in the house. As is my mom, who probably represents that big dot on Ohio. Costa Rica comes in second in numbers of readers, thanks probably going to Amy and this website. Even though (I think) I don't know you, thanks for sending people my way! And what up Canada! Hello! Oh, and can I just say that even though most of you are still using Internet Explorer, I'm glad to see that quite a lot of you have seen the light and made the switch to Firefox. Cause it's the bomb.
And now, to answer some questions, based on top search queries that land people here.
What can you tell me about Black Cock Scotch? It tastes pretty bad, but the label is freakin' fantastic. I bought some at cheapo Super Mora in Ciudad Colon, so I'm guessing that it was also pretty cheap and available in just about any supermarket. Read more here.
What about Costa Rican tamales? They're Christmastime musts, squishy, and take some getting used to (in my opinion), but if you want to try making them, esposo has a yummy recipe for vegetarian tamales, along with a nice photo he took, here.
What is the Costa Rican state flower? Good question. I had to look this one up. It is Guaria Morada (Cattleya skinneri), a type of orchid. Surprisingly, the Costa Rican embassy, which gives the name of this flower, doesn't state that it is an orchid. Here's a photo I found on Wikipedia:
How do you join Pricesmart? It's pretty easy. You do not need a business license or anything like that, just show up with your i.d. and some money. If you do have a business, the cost is $25/year, and for those without a business, $35/year (both memberships include one extra card). You can download a membership application from Pricesmart's website here. Would I recommend getting a membership? That depends on your needs. If you are a Costco/Sam's Club kind of person, you'll probably want to join Pricesmart. I like that I can get a good brand of dog food there, as well as the big buckets of scoopable cat litter. And the prices are definitely better than buying everything at Automercado, though I get plenty there as well. Pricesmart has locations in Escazu, Heredia, and San Jose (Tibas and Zapote). Go for it.
How about vegans in Guanacaste? I'm in the central valley (Grecia area) and haven't been to Guanacaste in years, but my guess is that with all of the new development, plus the new Automercado, it wouldn't be too difficult to be a vegan there. At least, not any more difficult than anywhere else in Costa Rica. If you want to hook up with more vegans/vegetarians, I would suggest giving my pal Marcelo Galli over at Vegetarianos.co.cr a call. He speaks English, and would probably be delighted to welcome more vegans and help them make connections here.
I'm looking for unused band names. I don't know why my website comes up so often for this one, as I only know a few, and those were ones I thought of personally, way back when. But if you're really, really curious, feel free to read this. And if you like one of my unused band names for your band, I'd love it if you let me know! (You're more than welcome to use any of them, of course.) If you think my unused band names suck badly, I have a couple of links there that you could try instead.
What's good about Costa Rica? Oh, dear reader! So many, many things. Sometimes you may get the impression all I do is bitch about this adopted country in which I live. But I prefer to think that I can see the good with the bad; every place has its high points and low ones. The short list of what I like about Costa Rica includes the wildlife, the wild places, the proximity to active volcanoes (yes, I know that would be on some peoples' lists of what they don't like, but not me), the fact that esposo and our son are both Ticos, the freedom I feel here (moreso than I ever did in the U.S.), the fact that family is very important culturally to the Ticos, the ability to rent what would be a mansion in California for about $700 a month, the fact that I can wear flip-flops every day, the wonderful and inexpensive private medical care, the ability to rent said mansion with 9 dogs and 4 cats without handing over my firstborn, the knowledge that, when you make friends with Ticos here, you've made friends for life, the ability to keep chickens in my backyard, my view, the iguanas on my roof... I could go on, these are just off the top of my head. There are also things that I don't like about Costa Rica, such as the self-centerdness of most Ticos, the bad drivers, the selling out of our open spaces to developers for the highest bidder, our president, the fact that when you make good friends with foreigners, they usually end up leaving, the lack of compassion and respect many Ticos have for animal life, along with the lack of animal shelters and effective laws protecting animals... and I can't think of much more! Though I'm sure there are more things I don't like, and more things I do like, it seems clear that I have a lot to like about Costa Rica!
I hope this has been somewhat informative, and answered some of those burning questions about Costa Rica that are floating around out there. ¡Pura vida!