"There is no such thing as "fun for the whole family." -- Jerry Seinfeld
Or, as Peggy Lee once sang, “Well, all right, OK, you win………” - - Except when she sang those words, she was talking about admitting to pretty much the opposite of what I have to admit to here and now. My admission is that we have given up on our dream of living in paradise. My admission is that what we thought was a paradise is mostly window dressing, and physical appearance, with nothing behind the curtain.
As you know by now, we came here three years ago with the firm belief that our last years on this earth would be tranquil, peaceful, smooth, totally happy, and without problems. Boy, were we wrong!
At first, as you may recall, things did actually go swimmingly. We received our personal belongings in good shape, and in a very timely manner (albeit nearly 50% higher in cost for shipping than the shipper had quoted prior to the move*). We were able to obtain a construction loan for our little house, and it was completed in only ten weeks time (although the interest rate on the loan is nothing short of usurious).
We were able to purchase a decent car with little trouble, and it has indeed proven to be well worth the (exorbitant) cost. [We paid $16,000.00 for a 2005 model Suzuki Grand Vitara XL7, in June of 2009]. We made many new friends and found ourselves with the busiest social lives we’d seen in many years. We obtained our legal resident status with only a few glitches along the way, and never had to hire an attorney during the process. We were able to have our entire front porch screened, so as to enjoy the view without being bothered by too many bugs. We were able to add both a garage/workshop and a carport to our house.
Yes, things were looking good. We received and entertained a number of visitors, both friends and family over the first year or so that we were here. We were aware that the increasing cost of air travel was having a negative impact on the family members we had anticipated entertaining down here, and that was certainly disquieting. We thought we were adjusting to the difficulties always encountered when trying to purchase just about everything in a small, backwater country. Just about anything manufactured has to be imported, so that logically means higher cost. In this particular little country, not only are manufactured items more costly due to shipping costs, but the truly ridiculous import duties make many things just out of the question. Worse, the quality is very poor because just about everything is imported from China.
What really rang our alarm bells, however, was what occurred on and around the First of March, 2011 (see my Blog entry for April 4, 2011, titled “I Fear That The Blush Is Off The Rose……..”). At about that same time, we also found out that there had been some serious overcharges on our electricity billing (that I did not Blog about until August 4 & 7, titled “Didn’t see this coming…..” – Parts I & II).
Those two events, occurring so closely together, coupled with so many other negative things that had been happening to us, pretty much led to our decision that maybe Costa Rica is not for us, after all. I mean, look at us. We first thought that this would be a place where our small pensions would go farther, and then, when the economy took such a dive, the cost of living here dumped as badly, or worse. When you consider that too many things were already too expensive here (gasoline, manufactured items of every kind, decent food), the rest pretty much took that blush right on off the rose of our dream.
We do not regret this decision, only the delay in reaching it, and its actual implementation. We cannot sell our property, but we cannot let it go, either. We cannot afford to pay anyone to be a caretaker for the property, nor can we pay the electricity, or water, or phone for someone else’s use. So, we have hopes that a young Tico couple will live here rent free, in exchange for which they will maintain the place and pay their own electric.
We will leave here – gladly – on July 17, bound for El Paso, Texas. We do not have high hopes of anything once we get there. We won’t have anything because we cannot afford to pay to ship anything back to the states, which means we quite literally may well lack the proverbial pot to piss in. But, that is OK, because we will lack the window to throw it out of, as well. We expect to rent, most likely a small apartment, if we can find one that we can afford. Our income will have to cover our mortgage payments down here in addition to whatever living arrangements we can manage in Texas.
So, even though we are leaving here, and even though the name of the Blog may no longer be appropriate, I do intend to continue to write the occasional musings of an old grouch (or, those of an habitual bitcher, as my father was wont to say) from wherever we land. We currently have no plans to return to this place, until/unless it finally sells. However, to be honest, if or when it becomes obvious that it will never sell at any price, I think we’ll be happy to just let it go………..
P. S. – I should mention that the electricity went out only once while I was writing this piece. Yeah, even after three years here, we still have power outages 3-4 times per week, lasting from seconds to hours. And, no, they are not usually associated with a lightning strike, or storm event, but just happen randomly.
*this reference is from an email I sent to Charlie Zeller, with a moving company called shiptocostarica, on 3/9/2009, his quote had been $10,465.00, and I emailed him assuring him that I would have that much money ready. His bill (prior to the actual delivery) was over $16,000.00.