Granada / Another Sale / and ICE!

ISSUE #202: Aug 17-23, 2008


Granada / Another Sale / and ICE!


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 availability. 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.


Sales: We had one more sale this week to a couple from Texas. In addition, issues important to clients of Bldg. 18 are resolved; certain kitchen design issues re. another building are still being worked through. 


Permit Applications: He is working on his responsibilities and the two engineers are working on theirs with an expected convergence of Sept. 4 to have the necessary information completed.     


Website Upgrade / Marketing: Photos of Residencias Los Jardines, the Santa Ana area and some of the houses are available on line at:
ICE: The week started to go south when ICE decided to rewire the entire area including CableTV, Internet and electricity. This is the 3rd. major outage resulting from ICEs planned work. All services were out for a full day and intermittent for several days there after. Combining the three planned outages with the two recent accidental outages (car hit a power pole and lighting hitting a transformer), we have a pretty impressive unreliability factor over the past 4 months. I returned to no internet and after two hours of problem solving, the electrician found that one of the ports on our hub was not functioning probably due to power surges created by the re-wiring and power disruptions.

Potable Water: Two pressure tanks failed and had to be replaced but this happened after the pressure pump failed. Water pressure tanks have a flexible bladder in them. Water is pumped into them until a certain preset pressure (60 psi) is achieved. The compressed bladder provides pressure. When the water level inside drops and the pressure drops below a certain preset level (40psi), the pump comes on and fills up the tank back up.  The bladders seem to fail after about 3-5 years and then the sealed tank has to be replaced.  There is no advanced notice or tell-tail signs except perhaps the pump running all the time. 

Drainage System: Work is still on going.  It should be finished and the areas re-landscaped by Wednesday of next week. Fortunately, we haven’t had any hard rains during its construction.  Unfortunately, we don’t know if we’ve solved the problem. Certainly the design works but the capacity is untested. We made an upgrade from the initial design; that upgrade is untested. Mother Nature will always win when she wants but we are doing what we can to minimize the incidence and consequences of her fury.

Kirebe: Since Kirebe has not listened to our requests to redirect rainwater; we have to get their attention.  I’ve authorized a “denuncia”.  This has not yet been filed….for some reason the pictures I took are not substantiation enough to make the claim.  I guess we have to get flooded again so we can take more of the same pictures.  I don’t understand but it is just one more thing I don’t understand in CR.

Rentals: We are once again leased out.  (The single exception is 107 which is a hard lease due to the owner’s asking price and his terms and conditions.)  We re-leased 115. The morning after the tenant moved in, he phoned saying the location was too far from Pavas / Rohormaser; a map is on our website and if he couldn’t understand it, we would have told him of the 10-15 min travel time (non-rush hour traffic which is when he goes) had he asked. I’m getting tired of people who can’t figure their life out and dump the consequences on others. 

Units for Sale/Lease:

Unit 124 - For Rent (UNTIL SEPTEMBER 1, 2008 ONLY)

Total Area (Sq Ft): 662
Total area (Sq M): 61
Bedrooms: 1
Floor(s): 2nd Floor
Type: Semi-Detached
Furnished: Yes
This 662 sf, + covered parking for one car, is a one bedroom home on the 2nd floor overlooking the large pool. It is ideal for a single person or couple.

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Unit #107 - For Sale/Rent

Total Area (Sq Ft): 1716
Total area (Sq M): 158
Bedrooms: 2
Bathrooms: 2.5
Floor(s): 2 Story
Type: Detached
Furnished: Yes



This 1,716 sf. (plus parking for one car) two story, detached house, with three terraces, two bedrooms (one on each floor) and upstairs master suite is a beautiful home. This home consists of two VERY large bedrooms (one on each floor) with en-suite bathrooms and a powder room, each with large closets with extensive built-ins for personal organization. The vaulted living room and ground floor bedroom ceilings as well as the master bedroom on the 2nd floor, provide a feeling of grandeur while allowing the warmer air to rise and exit through the ceiling ventilating system. There are three TVs (one in each bedroom and one in the living room.) This is a beautiful home. There is a rough-in for a dishwasher in the kitchen area.

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August 22, 2008
Costa Rica’s Arias Surprises No One by Turning his Back on the Dalai Lama
(Council on Hemispheric Affairs) Costa Rica’s President Oscar Arias once again has turned his back on an existing relationship and the obligations that went with it. He has done this in favor of a new one that is more self-serving to the nation as well as possibly his own self-interests.

August 22, 2008
'El Camino' Opens in Costa Rica
(The Tico Times) “El Camino,” an award-winning independent film by Costa Rican writer, director and producer Ishtar Yasin, is premiering in major theaters around the country following years of anticipation.

August 21, 2008
Costa Rica Beats El Salvador 1-0 on Penalty
SAN JOSE, Costa Rica: Forward Alvaro Saborio scored on penalty in the first minute of the second half Wednesday to give Costa Rica a 1-0 victory over El Salvador in the semifinal round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying.

August 21, 2008
Costa Rica Hospital Workers Strike
(The Tico Times) San José's Calderón Guardia Hospital employees took action yesterday in what turned into an “indefinite strike” after Costa Rican health officials refused to answer a union demand to give the hospital's former director, Luis Paulino Hernández, his job back.

August 21, 2008
Dalai Lama Set to Miss Costa Rica visit
(Costa Rica Pages) The Dalai Lama, leader of Tibetan Buddhists was set to visit Costa Rica this September however fears of causing a dispute with China have led to the high profile trip being cancelled. It was due to coincide with the exiled leader’s visit to America and several Latin American countries where he was expected to make a series of public presentations and deliver religious messages to crowds.


Why Granada for GREAT STEAK?????  Again I wonder why I have to travel to Granada, Nicaragua, to have melt-in-your-mouth steak?  Even if I didn’t have teeth, I could enjoy this steak.  Even if I did have to crawl on my hands and knees over glass and hot pavement from Santa Ana to Granada, I would. Fortunately, I have only to endure an 8 hr. bus ride and the heat of Granada-- but it is worth it!!!!!  At El Zaguan, a restaurant behind the main church off the main square is a heavenly spot for beef lovers. The steak is absolutely delicious, cooked to perfection, service and ambiance are great—and all for $12.50 a meal including garlic toast and toppings, salad, and charcoal broiled steak—no hard outer layer, no gristle, no fat, with grilled potatoes and in some orders, vegetables.  A steak dinner for two with three drinks and coffee--$42 and it is superb!!!!

This beats the so called Argentinean beef available in CR, local CR beef, and US beef as far as I’m concerned and it is half the price.  Why?????  I asked them where they bought it?  They directed me to Pali!!!!!!!  I didn’t go as I went into shock!!!!!!!!!  I can’t take it back to CR and I can’t cook it here so I’ll just have to take their word.  This is not worth moving to Nicaragua for but it is worth coming back for!!!!!!  Lita had grilled breast of chicken with orange sauce the first night when I had steak.  When she tasted my steak, she insisted we return the next night (I resisted this suggestion for about 10 seconds) so she could have pepper steak—why she had this particular hunger I don’t know but it, too, was delicious.

In addition to El Zaguan, The Mediterranean has a great seafood soup that Lita loves and curried shrimp, which I love.  It also makes a great margarita.  A new restaurant, The Grill House is reported to have good steak (not fantastic steak) and is about $5 per plate less than El Zaguan.  They too make a great maragrita.

Margaritas:  I’ve never found a good margarita in CR—including my own creations.  In Granada, I have any number of watering holes.  Lita is tolerant and tags along but always wants to know where we are relative to our hotel just in case I can’t navigate my way back. (That’s never happened since the don’t put much alcohol in the drinks, it’s not likely to ever happen.)

Hotel Cocibolca #2: The prices at our favorite hotel have increased (inflation in Nicaragua over the past year has been 25%) but it is still good value when compared to CR.  For $45 a night we get a decent room, friendly service, breakfast, and it is centrally located.  The owner met us at the bus stop at 8:30 at night and took us to the hotel (only a 5 min. cab ride). We hadn’t been there for 9 months—our mistake—because we had to go to Canada in February (bad planning--burrrr) and by choice to David, Panama (a had-to-do-once trip and not one I’ll re-do).

Tourists: Fewer USA citizens are finding their way to Granada but more Canadians, French, Germans,  Spanish, and Italians still come. At the bus depot I met a person who lived near Jaco;  he too loved Granada but we both agreed that while it is a great place to visit, we couldn’t be paid enough to live there and endure the hardships and heat on a longer term basis.

Ticabus: We traveled, as usually, by bus.  I bought round trip tickets with assigned seats and specific return times/dates.  The day before we were to return to SJ, I confirmed these and was read out the info. from the computer screen. When the bus arrived at 7am, our names were not on the roster nor were they on the computer data base in the Granada office but the seats were empty. It continues to be disappointing that simple organization and arrangements continue to be screwed up despite every additional effort taken to ensure “no surprises”.  Don’t come to Latin America if you can’t handle “surprises”.

Nicaragua: It’s still an economic basket case with no observed changes (by me) since Ortega’s election. There were no power outages this time but there was no new businesses, no new paint, and no construction, etc.  Plowing in many cases is still done by oxen and stick. I spoke with the head housekeeper at the hotel. She works 12 hours a day 6 days a week and is paid for 8 hour’s work.  I didn’t want to ask how much she was paid; she at least has a job and is earning some money. The exchange rate is now 19.4 cordobas per 1 US $ or about five cents each.

Returning: No matter how nice the trip, returning is the best part.  Having the comfort of our own home and love from our pets – Priceless!

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

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