Alligators 'n Roadkill

Alligators 'n Roadkill
On The Road


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Time to get some stuff off my chest.

Well, I guess the basic housekeeping is out of the way. Now, I can start to write about some of the things that bother me, and see where that leads us……..maybe a list, to start with:

1) Dishonesty in any form, wherever and whenever encountered.

2) Stupidity, even when masked by simple ignorance, that goes unchecked. Just so we’re clear here, imho, ignorance is correctable, and stupidity can only be helped by correcting one’s ignorance, and/or by pursuing some serious study.

3) People, especially expats, who bash the U. S. A. I mean, if you think your country is so bad, why didn’t you stay there and work to fix it?

4) People who have chosen to avoid real food, by becoming vegetarian, vegan, I-only- eat-organic-non-processed-natural-food, and then, who can’t stop trying to convince everyone else as to the rightness of their choices.

5) People who – without ever having visited, and without having done a smidgeon of research, suddenly announce their decision to move to Costa Rica, and demand feedback from those who came ahead of them, so as to make their decisions about where to live, etc.

6) A corollary of this last one: Newcomers to forums, who can’t be bothered to read any of the many, many links, suggestions, FAQ’s, directions, “READ-THIS-BEFORE-YOU-POST,” flags at the top of the page of any decent forum. Instead, they jump right in demanding answers to their questions, as if no one has ever asked that same stupid thing before (only about a thousand times, and if you took the time to follow the advice and directions at the top of the page, you’d already know the answer, $hithead!)

7) Gringos who assume that whatever their current profession or job title, they are so far superior to any Tico, that they can waltz right on down here and immediately find work, and demand to make a decent living here, just as they may have done there (Hint: Just as Americans tend to get a little sensitive about ‘wetbacks’ taking their jobs, Costa Rica doesn’t allow non-citizens and non-residents to work here, either. Isn’t that surprising? - - Another hint: average wage here, even for a professional, is very, very small; measured in a few hundred a month; well less than a thousand dollars, in other words)

8) Online forums about Costa Rica that have become so anal retentively P.C. that they won’t allow their members to freely express themselves

9) Online forums about Costa Rica that express their undying devotion to the country in the title of their forum, but then do nothing but bash the U. S. A., where a good many of them originated

10) Forum moderators who – for whatever reasons – appear to have nothing better to do with themselves than volunteer to be moderators on more than one forum, like there was a competition of some sort. This sort of moderator is dangerous to the integrity of whatever forum when s/he loses her/his objectivity because s/he thinks that being a moderator means s/he is free to post her/his own perspective on each and every thread of the forum s/he is supposed to be moderating

11) People who love to express their opinion, but refuse to allow others to do the same, quickly descending to personal insult, infantile name-calling, and worse

12) People who form opinions without ever having read a book, or even a newspaper (nowadays, this is unfortunately, very suspect), performed any sort of research, or even worked in a given field of endeavor

13) Perpetual Tourists who persist in trying to sell something to everyone in sight, often representing less than honest products, ventures, ideas, and schemes

Now, I suppose I should honestly disclose here that I have spent entirely too much time on internet forums, various web sites, and discussion panels over the last ten years, almost exclusively dealing with Costa Rica. This was initially excused as being part of my very serious research into what we needed to know in order to make our move to Costa Rica. But, I also freely admit that I can be a pain in the a$$, especially when my buttons are pushed (as in, it begins to look like I may have encountered one or more of the above mentioned).

I quickly became tired of the repetition, and rapidly established myself as a grouch, curmudgeon, mean old man, and all-around Pain in the A$$ on most forums when I tried to point the newbies towards the locations that showed them the answers to their questions, or actually had the audacity to suggest they might want to do some research on their own before asking their questions.

And, of course, if I encounter one of the folks listed above, I tend to get crotchety, and cranky, especially if I have taken the time (just as a ‘fer instance’) to advise someone where to find scientific fact to counter their claims that ‘organic is the only way to go,’ only to be told that I place too much reliance on Science, since “all scientists have sold out to big business.”

I was actually kicked off one forum when I got into an exchange with their exalted ‘moderator,’ off line, in PM’s. This occurred despite being encouraged to use that method for any statements that might be inflammatory, and to prevent the average forum user from being exposed to possibly controversial statements. I still don’t quite understand that action. I freely admit that I was – at the very least – contentious and any of the things I mentioned above (curmdgeonly, mean old man, etc.) - especially towards this particular ‘moderator’ - but I still contend that I kept any nasty comments to those aforementioned PM’s. So, from my perspective, I was excluded from that forum for saying something personal, privately, rather than in the open forum. Of course, after the fact I wish I had gone ahead and posted my statements online, so that all forum members could see what a chicken$hit this guy is.

I more recently got into it with several members of another forum, this one that claims – even in its name – to be all about how the members and the owner of the forum really, really, really are enamored of Costa Rica! (And, I got kicked off that one when I pointed out that the owner has an agenda, wherein he openly dislikes the U. S. A.)

Was I wrong? Of course I was. Were my actions less than well thought out? Of course they were. Meanwhile, I suppose the whole thing should serve as a lesson learned. First of all, it should always be remembered that internet based forums may be great places to exchange information and ideas, and even great places to learn new information, solve problems (can’t tell you how many times I have been able to find solutions for many computer and other kinds of problems by asking questions on forums). However, that said, it should also be remembered that free advice is pretty much worth what you pay for it.

Ultimately, I hope that if I can stick to this blog, it will take away wasted time spent on some of those forums, and maybe that will lead to something positive. By the way, this post has taken a long time to create, mostly because I guess I’m not too sure about its importance in the overall scheme of things, and partly because I wanted to try to make it as objective as I could (didn’t succeed very well at that, did I?). Oh, well, this is only part of how I feel, and what I believe. Stick around. This could get interesting. (or not)


  1. Hi John,

    I didn't come to Costa Rica to argue. :^) Did you?
    You have many valid points above, especially about bogus forums, USA bashers, and holier-than-thous. But, hey, you're not going to change anyone else's behavior by bashing them. Seriously, it just makes them dig in their heels harder.

    Personally, I try to enjoy the good things in my life, trying to remember that some of the things that bother me are probably cultural differences that I haven't yet fully understood. We ex-pats are all strangers in a strange land.

    I hope you'll be able to tell us more about why you came here and why you stay. If you did in previous posts, my apologies. Sounds like you definitely did a lot more research than 95% of the folks who re-located here. I'd be interested to read about other countries you researched and why you chose CR over them.


  2. Thanks for your comments, Casey. Actually, the reason I went ahead with this post was so that I would be doing something other than wasting more time on one of those forums. I was hoping that the rant would help me to put some of this stuff behind me.

    As for why we're here, and not elsewhere, I have talked about that in previous posts, especially as I described our process of applying for legal residence. I only looked at Mexico, and actually had Mexico on top of the list, 'cause we have family there, but it was easy to dismiss: too many people - everywhere - and housing was very expensive in those areas that we like geographically.