Fast Week and Friends

ISSUE #169: Dec 31, 2007 - Jan 5, 2008



When I started Residencias Los Jardines, I started writing a weekly news letter —determined to tell all the good, bad, and the ugly. I knew some readers would be interested in the construction process. I expected others might be interested in 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 Los 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.

In an effort to make the format more interesting and visually appealing and to field inquiries re. El Dorado, the news letter is now being distributed by Jan Kozak, Marketing Manager, Hacienda El Dorado. I will remain the author.


Website: Changes and updates have been made. We are still waiting for the search engine, the optional upgrades section, and a couple other things. We have added some related articles, which we consider could be of interest to you. And then there will be all the Maya Tower info. to get on there as well.

Costa Rica Developers Prepare for More Demanding Client in 2008
Costa Rica Travel News - Jan 3, 2008

Complejo residencial combinará lujo y naturaleza
La Republica - Jueves 20 de diciembre

To view the actual copy of this article, see the attached JPEG file titled Complejo Residencial Combinara Lujo y Naturaleza.

La crisis inmobiliaria en EEUU beneficia a Latinoamerica
Wall Street Journal Americas - 31 de diciembre 2007

To view our translation of the last article, see the attached Word file titled US Real Estate Crisis Benefits Latin America.

Marketing: We received several leads each day between Christmas and New Years. In the last several days, the number of inquiries has dramatically increased. Leads don't mean sales but without them, there will be no sales.

Note: I don't like criticizing another person's product but for the sake of educating purchasers I've decided to list what I saw at a new development in our area. The list is obviously based on my personal preferences. Perhaps not all purchasers want what I want. Since many of the items which left me shaking my head were relatively minor cost wise and since the price per area is higher than El Dorado, I just have to wonder "why? I believe there will be a substantial number of disappointed purchasers at this development. It is not a product with which I want my name associated. Here is what I saw that was missing:

  1. There is NO vent for the dryer! There is an overhead extractor fan in the laundry closet but all the humidity, heat and lint from the dryer will be expelled into the closet and then extracted (?) by the fan?????  This is going to be a disaster!!!!
  2. Shower doors that can swing only one way since they hit the toilet—not the end of the world but not a great design.
  3. Minimal, really minimal lighting throughout—one overhead 40-60 watt bulb per room;
  4. Minimal kitchens of poor design and inexpensive cabinetry with virtually no lighting and doors which will be problematic when appliances are installed.
  5. No screens on the few opening windows.
  6. Really poor bathroom lighting—both vanities and general/shower area.
  7. Very minimal balconies not large enough for two chairs and a table AND very low (32") guard rails,
  8. Minimal landscaping with no irrigation system;
  9. Cheap commercial type clothes closets w/ no overhead storage;
  10. Very awkward space for furniture layouts and traffic flows in the living rooms--I don't see how a furniture arrangement can work for watching TV, sitting, and still get to the terrace;
  11. Flat wall paint  which will mark badly vs. "eggshell" which has a harder finish and is washable;
  12. Two car parking is tandem—were purchasers told this—I'm told "no";  they seem to have lots of parking but not much for visitors;
  13. Ugly terminations for rough-in AC--just two bare pipes sticking out of the wall about 6'-6" off the floor and no way to hide them,
  14. Garbage chute doors which are very small and will limit the size of the collection bag and no protection below the door—this area is likely to dirty fast.
  15. No cross ventilation and no venting from upper vaulted ceilings (penthouse) and a killer staircase (very steep and very narrow) to access the "loft" which has a very low—uncomfortably low—ceiling and produces a 7' ceiling in the kitchen area below.
  16. Appliance connections—electrical and water are likely to interfere with placement of appliances—the appliances aren't likely to be able to be push back to the wall because of plugs and hoses.
  17. I have difficulty figuring out where a computer desk or lap top might fit.
  18. While I don't remember all the designs, I don't remember seeing a guest powder room in any.
  19. No built-in furniture nor option for any.

I don't believe the same assessment will apply to  "El Dorado".


Architect: Re. the Maya Tower: At writing, I'm awaiting the final drawings and the final rendering. We're nearly there—finally! It took a 90 min. face-to-face working session with the architect to move the previous month's conversation to a satisfactory conclusion. This has been a struggle; I hope the end product is worth it. Now we can begin pricing these and I guess Paul and I have to sit down with a bottle of scotch and figure this out.

Well: We've started the 2nd. well. In 10 –14 days, we should know the results.

Bridge:  It's holiday season; no movement on this.

Retaining Walls: We await the meeting with MINAE—the government institution that seems  to have authority over this issue.

Land Fill / Earth Moving: This is now nearing completion.


For Sale: Nothing available at the moment but January should see two units on the market.

For Lease: Nothing available.  We continue to receive calls for rentals.

Poster Boy!!!   Last week I wrote: "Yes, RLJ has our own "poster boy" on the calendar of one of the Santa Ana gyms. He's offered to sign his picture—for a beer…..Our 104 resident was front and center when the camera found him."

Note: I was stopped by the owner of 104 and in his French / Spanish / and English, I didn't understand the conversation. He showed me the paragraph and since he was the owner of 104, wanted to know what he was the "poster boy" of…….  I had to laugh at the error, his confusion, and his good nature……  The actual poster boy is of 105……(my error) but a good laugh from 104…..  He went on to tell me he thought  he was better looking than 105….we all laughed.


Weather: Lots of  WIND—it arrived Christmas Eve and has been with us ever since—signs and temporary walls have blown down. Now we have mostly sunny skies all the time. These trade winds arrived several weeks late this year but when they arrived, they arrived with a vengeance!

Work: Not much—just monitoring my slow e-mails as the world takes a break.

Parrot: She now spends the days roaming the tree being jostled about by the gusts of wind—good for her!

Seasonal Socials: We survived the feasts and had wonderful company and delicious food.

Friends Arrived: Friends of 40 years arrived and we had a nice visit—they are now off to the beach. I'm sure they will return with stories.

More Friends to Come: Saturday, another set of friends who I haven't seen in about 14 years will arrive. I met him through a mutual friend and we subsequently became friends. He's a fabulous tradesman and a really wonderful person. A number of years ago, he married a great lady. They have never been to CR and have no idea what to expect. While I expect they will want to be in holiday mode, I also expect he will be particularly interested in how things (read that as "building") are done here. My goal is to raise questions with him/her about the differences and what for us is a "better" future. Ultimately, they will make their own decision but at least I hopefully will have raised some questions that they can think about. I have to accept that what was right for Lita and I may not be right for all, although I continue to fail to understand why.

Brian, Lita, Hugo, irreverent Vicka, the pigeon toed parrot, and the newbies— Chico and Chica.


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