August 20-25, 2007 // CONSTRUCTION LOG #150
Contact phone numbers
New York: 315-279-6711
Toronto: 416-907-5758 // 416-461-2203
Land: 506-282-4142 Ext. 101
NOTE: the New York and Toronto numbers are "local calls" for people in the area codes; calls from outside the area code will be billed at the normal rate from the caller's area code to either the "315" or the "416" area code.
NOTE: WHEN I STARTED RESIDENCIAS LOS JARDINES, I STARTED WRITING A WEEKLY NEWS LETTER—DEETERMINED TO TELL ALL THE GOOD, BAD, AND THE UGLY. I KNEW SOME READERS WERE INTERESTED IN THE CONSTRUCTION PROCESS. OTHERS WERE INTERESTED IN HAVING INSIGHT TO THE LIFESTYLE OF TWO PEOPLE WHO HAD DECIDED TO LIVE OUTSIDE THE BOX. FOR OTHERS, THE ADVENTURES OF LITA, THE PARROT AND THE CAT TOOK ON AN ENTERTAINMENT SAGA ALL ITS OWN.
RESIDENCIAS LOR JARDINES IS FINISHED. WE PERIODICALLY HAVE RESALES AND RENTAL AVAILABILTY. SOME READERS MAY BE INTERESTED IN THIS INFORMATION.
MORE AND MORE, THE CONTENT WILL BE DOMINATED BY EVENTS OF OUR NEW PROJECT, “EL DORADO” FOR SHORT. WHILE THE FUTURE IS ALWAYS UNCERTAIN, I AGAIN AIM TO TELL IT LIKE IT HAPPENS—THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY, AND THAT IS WHAT FOLLOWS:
The STORY: El Dorado: rain and mud - again!
Pictures: nothing - mud is not exciting
Architect: We have two complete sets of plans and
renderings: one of the duplex and one of the single
family home. Each of these have various optional
Quebrada: During the week, we had a steady stream of
dump trucks operated by very skilled drivers. It was
amazing to see how they maneuvered these huge trucks
in tight spaces —never hitting anything. Often times,
we had three trucks dumping at the same time with more
lined up waiting for space. The two backhoes couldn't
keep up —I arrived Monday around 10 and one of the
backhoes was steaming it was so hot— so we brought
in a bulldozer —that was much more effective. The
trucks would back up with their heavy loads until
their wheels sunk to the hubcaps and then dump. If the
trucks couldn't get out, the backhoe would assist. The
bulldozer would periodically get stuck and had to be
assisted out by a backhoe. Throughout the week, the
bulldozer would work any time the dirt was dry enough
that it wouldn't sink out of sight. When I left on
Friday at 3pm, it was stuck again. If it is dry
enough Saturday and Sunday, Mr. Mustache is going to
make it purr. Work is still ongoing and this stage
should be finished next week-weather permitting.
Note: in praise of old diesels:
Bulldozer: when it arrived I thought to myself "hope
this thing doesn't breakdown —it's as old as I am!".
It was obviously old-I later found out that it was
only 23 years old. When the operator started it up, I
knew it wouldn't break down —it purred like a happy
kitten. After a deftly executed 3 point turn, the
tractor was off the lowboy truck and ready for work.
A middle aged operator, clean work clothes and a huge
handlebar mustache took the controls. I could tell
instantly that he and the bulldozer were one, just
like professional dancers —the grace of each working
together was amazing.
On two occasions I was beside two older-ancient (early
50s) in fact -trucks when they started up their
engines. In each case, a touch of the starter button
and each were instantly purring. My '95 gas Jeep
grinds away to start; these trucks could be half way
down the block by the time I get going.
Fence: We have completed the cyclone portion along
the roadway. We will be filling in the section which
connects with the concrete fence we built earlier. To
do this we have to cross the stream so we'll have to
devise a gating system which allows the water to
pass,, allows us to clean out debris which floats down
the stream, and which keeps unwanted guests out. We
are also beginning on the front decorative fence along
the west roadway. First, we have to make provision
for future garbage bin access. I have discussed with
the maestro de obra how to form the columns-faster and
less expensive than at Los Jardines.
Web site: This is under development and we have
decided to use the following domain name:
eldoradocostarica.com. The designer has the new logo
and will be playing with a few options. I'll be
sending her renderings and floor plans that I have
ready so she can begin uploading them.
Marketing: We now have a new logo that all are happy
with and have hired a graphic arts design company to
adopt and extend the work to the website so that can
proceed, business cards, billboard signage, brochures,
folders, letterhead/envelopes, and eventually to print
and electronic media advertising. The Marking / Sales
Manager we hired officially begins today, Sept. 1.
He's moving closer to Los Jardines and we have as yet
to buy him a car and when Paul returns from Canada,
he'll have a new computer and a VOIP phone set up. In
the meantime, he is moving us ahead —it's nice to have
someone push me in the direction I want to go instead
of having to push others all the time... but that's
why we hired him— if he couldn't add value and do a
better job than either Paul or I could, we didn't
Legal counsel: We've been actively working on this
over the past several months. For essentially the
same scope of work-registering the condo(s), setting
up 50 corporations, and closing costs, we have been
quoted $95,000, $30,000, $15,000 + a little, and
$3,000-$6,000. Both Paul and I have been skinned in
N. Am. buy not having a clear understanding of just
what is included and what is not included. We've also
been disappointed in CR; we're trying to build on
experience and get the best deal for our purchasers.
RESIDENCIAS LOS JARDINES
For Sale / for Lease: nothing for sale and beginning
Oct. 1, unit 121 is available for lease; I'm working
with a client who would like to buy but there's
nothing available so he wants to lease so he can be on
site if anything does come available.
Satellite TV: DISH continues to change the codes
regularly but they seem to be slowing down a bit.
Rainwater Drainage: We've made a modification and
will now wait to see if it works. The problem was
certainly aggravated by the neighboring construction
company which regraded the land to our west. Now, we
have 10 acres all draining to our location. We have
asked them three times this week to fix it; They did
on Friday and now we'll wait to see what happens.
Gardener: The newly hired gardener seems to be fine.
Weather: mostly beautiful ,clear mornings with
usually heavy rains in the afternoons. An article in
AMCostaRica.com reported that we are running about 25%
wetter than normal. I believe it. Last year was very
dry-we're making up for it now.
Misc. Construction/Development-Santa Ana: Several of
the larger infill commercial developments in downtown
Santa Ana are advancing-one is nearing completion. No
indication of what they re to be yet. The "Holiday
Inn Express" is locating behind one of the newly
built malls on the Santa Ana "Golden Mile". Another
grocery store chain is reported to be opening up a
large outlet-Mas y Menos. The Avalon group has just
opened their third site in Santa Ana-next to their
first site-for presales. While I haven't yet visited
their showroom, my guess is that it will be similar to
the successful formula they've used on the previous
two sites. Not my preference but it seems to fill a
Dental work: I'm in the process of getting a
crown-preliminary fitting on Friday, final
installation on Monday —$270-payment on installation— so far, expertly done.
Driving in CR: I'm comfortable driving here; I've
gotten use to the lack of road signs, directions
indicators, and accept that traffic lights are only
suggestions one might want to follow. I do a lot of
driving in urban areas, including San Jose, and else
where. Every once-in-awhile I become flabbergasted at
the incredible driving practices of idiots!!!!!!!!
Aside from random stopping for no apparent reason, not
pulling off to the side of the road when room is
available, double parking, non use of turn
indicators, racing through towns where people are on
the streets, passing on blind corners, using the
on-off service roads as a through lane to bypass cars
lined up, or using the center lane clearly marked as a
turn lane as a through speed lane, —all of which are
common practices here-I get the following:
A week ago on the way to dinner, around 6pm. I was
following a pickup. We both turned 90 left; he kept
the turn and went straight into the bank, crossways in
the road —a full 170 degree arc. The passenger side
got out, took over the driving, reversed and moved on.
What that was all about, we can only speculate.
Around 9am, Wednesday morning, I was on my way to
Pavas. I had just crossed the suicide bridge —named
after a former one lane bridge now widened to two
lanes but still a favorite jumping off spot-if you
know what I mean. The left turn on the far side is
known as a longish wait whereas the right lane passes
directly ahead and moves rapidly. In this situation,
it is not uncommon for an impatient Tico to use that
lane to bypass the line waiting to turn and make a
hard 90 left cutting off the front car. I was the
front car. Green light, I start, only to be cut off
by a VERY rapidly moving big SUV who ended up loosing
control of his car, nearly veered into the on-coming
traffic, barely correcting before he very nearly hit
an oncoming motorcycle. Just an idiot!!!!!! Every
country has them but CR has, I suggest, a higher per
capita than any other country in the world!!!! I
think the driving statistic support this and I don't
know anyone who would argue this point.
Banks continue to consolidate and re-brand: HSBC
bought Banex; Citi Bank bought Cuscalan, and
Scotiabank bought Interfin. In addition, it seems
that they are trying to streamline and to be more
customer friendly, including non-CR resident friendly.
In addition, it seems like the interest rates being
offered are coming down. We are still waiting for an
offer from Scotiabank and Worthington Ventures —the
latter now having one of their letters of approval
from the government regulatory body.
Hairless Hugo has not completely lost his hunting
skill or will. He captured a bird on the balcony who
came to eat the spilled seeds from the parrots. We
rescued the little guy and Lita instantly made him a
prisoner-he died later perhaps from internal injuries.
CableTica went down in the area-both Internet and TV
around 2pm Friday. We had a vicious electrical storm
right overhead around 4pm Friday afternoon. I like my
electrical storms a little ways off.
Brian, Lita, Hairless Hugo, irreverent Vicka, the
pigeon toed parrot, and the newbies- Chico and Chica.