December 4-10, 2005 // CONSTRUCTION LOG #61
Contact phone numbers
New York 315-279-6711 // Toronto 416-907-5758
Cell 506-305-3965 // Land 506-282-4142 Ext. 101
NOTE: our land line in CR has changed;
we are now integrated into the compound network.
Pictures: seven pictures
Weather: The weather continues to be "perfect"; the
dry season is definitely here and the breezes confirm
it. We have switched from rainwater management to
Unit 106: Unit 106 B is not yet finished. The
purchaser made several changes to decisions which he
had previously made and we had installed. The
kitchen, vanities, and bedroom cabinets are installed.
I would like to think this unit will be ready this
time next week.
106 D: Changes here were made as well. Cabinets are
yet to be installed but some are on site.
106 C: the floor is tiled and awaiting grouting.
The kitchen is ready for installation and the walls ae
ready for their first coat of finish painting..
Units 121, 122, and 123:
121: The sub-floor is framed. When the electrical
and plumbing systems are roughed-in around Wednesday,
it will be ready for pouring concrete.
122: All the structural steel is in place. The white
coat and the drywall taping is finished on the ground
floor. The entrance and ground floor terrace areas
have been defined.
123: The ground floor ceiling has been boarded and
taped and the first white coat is on the ground
floor. The remaining structural steel is nearly
Units 117-120: Floors in three of these units are now
tiled and kitchens are being installed in two. The
exteriors of the buildings have been stuccoed and
landscaping has begun.
Units 101 and 102: No further progress on these.
Landscape lighting: We've gotten all system working
again and have identified areas which need attention.
The electrician is working on these. When finished,
it will be FANTASTIC. The views from anywhere on the
property and from the second floors of the two story
homes, will be incredible.
Electrical System Up grade: We continue to wait for
ICE's approval on the transformer.
Walkways and landscaping: I ordered tiles for the
walkways but they don't nos exist. I'm back to working
Storage Lockers: The survey continues. As
Developers, we don't care that much; as residents we
have our own opinions. In this case, we go with the
Marketing: Beginning Sunday, we are hosting 6 people
who are looking us over . A series of meetings is set
up. They also want to view our next project.
Two people viewed us and we blew their minds. One was
considering Costa Rica and the other had purchased in
BC to achieve a better lifestyle. While here on a
golfing holiday, they looked around at 10+ projects
including Los Jardines. They saw possibilities here
that completely stunned them and I'm sure, was the
topic of conversation on the golf course.
Next Project: The two hectare site we viewed last
week was zoned industrial; we've lost interest.
We've found another site which is about 3.75 hectares
(9 acres), located about 8 minutes west of our current
location (between Piedades de Santa Ana and Ciudad
Colon, midway on the hill. It is a very irregular
piece of land (like many of the lots here) . It has
magnificent views of the valley from almost every
position. It has LOTS of possibilities; Paul, my
partner is ecstatic and I am definitely interested.
It is too large for the two of us although the vendor
is willing to subdivide to possibly fit our wallet.
While this might work for us, we are exploring the
possibility of bring in others. We'll see what we can
put together. Stay tuned.
Comment 1: The Value of Partnership: While there are
always downsides to partnership, there can be upsides
as well-given the right partner. While Lita and I
were in Nicaragua, my partner made several decisions.
When I returned I learned about them and I confess, I
was perturbed. We clashed-ego, pride, and previous
"baggage" on my part fueled my fire. After a day, I
realized, and came to admit, he was right. We made
our peace, to the benefit of all parties concerned (me
included) and have moved on. This might not always be
the case, but it does show that experience, maturity,
and the perspective two likeminded people with
building backgrounds can bring to the benefit of the
project. I believe it is inevitable that partners
will clash at times; if you don't, you have to ask
yourself ,why do I need the other person? The
strength of a partnership is how each can help the
Comment 2: As we get closer to completion, the eye
candy gets added, the landscaping is finished, and the
garden lighting is extended, I have concluded that my
purchasers and my partner were right all along-I
priced the units too low. Next time, my partner will
be more involved in the pricing. I take comfort in
the fact that the purchasers of Los Jardines got good
value, in fact, excellent value and I can only hope
they will become client referees and Los Jardines will
become our marketing marquee for the next project.
Other: The feasibility study: It's on-going; I'm
awaiting the results.
Useful Websites on Costa Rica
This was a tremendously busy week: trip to Granada,
Mike's surprise 60th birthday party, arrival of a
friend and his buddy, construction change notices and
various site design issues, new project
considerations, preparation for the employee
Christmas party, preparations for 6 unknown clients,
periodontal work, etc.
One of our personal friends and purchaser arrived
here this week with a buddy. As always, it was great
to see him. It was also interesting to see he and my
partner share their personal family stories over an
after dinner conversation. (I knew each person's
story and knew them to be similar but they didn't know
the parallelism. They found their histories to be
amazingly similar, even knowing some of the same
people. They now know each other better and can
relate. There is a possibility of a new friendship
for both and a common bond-Costa Rica and Los Jardines
and who knows where that will lead. Life is full of
Wednesday night, Mike Newhouse, my property manager,
turned 60. His brother from Kansas organized a
"surprise" birthday party. He asked me to help make it
happen. We had about 25 people at a local restaurant
and the biggest surprise was his brother's presence.
It was a lot of fun for all.
Driving in Costa Rica: It can be a frustrating
experience here.! This story typifies many people's
experience: Having tried to go to the airport a
number of times and having gotten lost each time, my
friend just lost it. He sifted his manual
transmission so hard he broke off the shifter linkage.
He's now carless, frustrated, concerned about the
repair bill, embarrassed, etc. After talking this
through, he now knows here he habitually made his
error. I spent about three years getting lost on a
regular basis. I've seen an awful lot of the country
I never planed on seeing but now, when I'm sometimes
disoriented, I usually recognize a place I've been to
before when lost. Sometimes you just loose it here
unless you can view driving as an adventure and enjoy
the process. If you happen to get to where you want,
when you want, consider yourself fortunate.
Employee Christmas Party: Saturday we sponsored the
annual Christmas party which consists of a huge pig
fry, black beans, rice, cabbage and carrot salad,
tortillas, soft drinks, beer, music, etc. Everyone
has a great time. We had about 60 people. The
cabinet maker supplied the wood to boil the cut up
pork chunks in big cauldrons (chicirones), the work
tables became the serving tables, and everyone had a
great time-they ate their fill, has a couple beers,
GRANADA: our third time there and we continue to love
it. The city is so full of old world life, culture,
charm, and new world restaurants, internet cafes, and
way over priced (in my opinion) real estate but what a
wonderful place to spend a few days.
The highway from San Jose to Liberia was bad;
relatively good from Liberia to Rivas, Nicaragua, and
then really bad. The tires and suspension system of
the busses take a real beating and the driver just
can't miss all the potholes. But, true to form, three
good movies and our picnic lunch had us arriving in
good spirits. The hotel was waiting for us, in fact,
they had thrown a party for us... well not for
us but we crashed it with open bar and great food. It
seems the owner, who actually invited us to join, was
throwing a 15th birthday party for his daughter.
Granada was having a 9 day long festival honoring
something or someone. Every evening about 3.000
mostly teenagers, gathered in the main square. Lots of
young, young girls clinging onto babies; everyone is
mostly well behaved. A float of the Virgin Mary is
paraded around the square; the church bells sound off,
and then... the homemade firecrackers, roman
candles and rocket launchers are set off. The fire
crackers are LOUD and the flights path of the rockets,
being crudely hand made on bamboo launch sticks, are
unpredictable.. they mostly go up but not all and some
take an unplanned course into buildings and the crowd.
Some phosphorous rockets rain down on the crowd, and
then, if that isn't dangerous enough, some young guys
strap on a saddle like apparatus loaded with fireworks
and rush around in a more or less controlled area
sometimes lunging into the crowd. They must wear an
asbestos suit underneath (at least one hopes so)
because it has to be very, very dangerous.
Around 9:30 the event is over for that night. We head
to a watering hole and wonder how many people have
been burned and how they can get such a crowd of young
people. The answer seems simple: they have no
television, and this is the only entertainment in
At 4:30 in the morning the firecrackers start again.
A brass band goes around the city with the statue of
the Virgin Mary//anyone paying a some of money gets a
loud song which can be heard for blocks.
Our favorite steak house is better than ever --for $9 I
had the best tenderloin I've had in years. For $5,
Lita had a whole butter flied, grilled breast of
chicken in orange sauce , grilled potatoes, garlic
toast and condiments, vegetables, rice, green
salad, --magnificent... and the margaritas are
the standard to which all others are compared.
Actually, the same is the case for Lita's pina colada
The next night, it's Mexican, and I have my chicken
mole and Lita has a hearty tortilla soup//both are
magnificent... and then it's back to the steak
house for another fix. This could --read that as,
"IS" becoming be habit forming...
There continues to be restoration / renovation
/construction work in Granada. The main boulevard to
the lake is under construction; it appears they are
putting in a new water service
Our new hotel --27 rooms and about 4 months old-- is
fine except that it could use a little more
refinement; Not to be critical but-- the slope in the
shower is wrong, the bathroom is too large at the
expense of having no place to put travel bags and to
hang clothes, the pillows are very small and they do
not have extras (we asked), they do not seem to have
an extra set of towels as we have to wait until the
afternoon wash arrives back for clean towels, the
floors are high gloss tile which are slippery as hell
on the wet bathroom floor, the fan is not balanced and
clatters, the bed is very soft... but for $22
per night for two people, I can't complain too much.
it is clean, esthetically pleasing, the staff are
attentive... some aspects are just not well thought
out.. like so much construction in Central America
Brian, Lita, Hugo and irreverent Vicka, the pigeon