Movements, Standing Prime Rib & Friends

ISSUE #225: Jan. 26-31, '09


Movements, Standing Prime Rib & Friends



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: None this week -- several inquiries and showings. This weekend, we expect about 12 people to review Los Jardines -- some of these will be interested in El Dorado. 

Chinese lead: our representative hasn't yet had a meeting with the officials. The Chinese New Year has altered the work schedule of the embassy staff. 

Stewart Title did, however, contact us. They say they have banks willing to lend 60%-70% loan to value, 25 year amortization, Interest at 12-13%, 5% mortgage arranging fee, life insurance, and I'm sure a whole host of other things -- full legal fees as suggested by the legal profession, title insurance by Stewart Title, and, and, and. We did not start a serious discussion with them as it is too early;  the options may be very different when we are in a position to be seriously discussed.

We have been contacted by Banco Nacional. They have been given federal funds to recapitalize them and to provide liquidity to the local market. It seems that this is related to their role. They seem to be doing a survey of developers to determine the need for funding. We will be setting up a meeting with them.


Permit Applications: Waiting--SETENA--D1--we wait and that will probably be the story until the end of January.We will be submitting information to another government regulatory branch--INVU--soon. We signed some papers required by SETENA and MINAET.  

Construction: We did get the decision from SETENA to proceed with several small projects--quebrada termination and road for erosion control; the bridge over the stream, and the retaining wall (back of the Maya Tower) and a few other smaller things. We'll sign off on these decision next week and begin tendering them. We are in no hurry so it will be a little effort. It cost us two computers that are to be "donated" to some government body plus another contribution to a "reforestation program". The road to our goal is filled with many "potholes". 

Water: We got a letter from AyA (state water provider) saying much the same thing we as had heard verbally. It did not, however, indicate any limitations on the pumping station. We needed to know this so we returned to them with a specific question.They advised that they could lift the water with their current pressure to 925 meters. Unfortunately, our property begins around 944 meters so we will still probably  have to buy a lot for the pumping station but at least we may have more flexibility.This conversation isn't yet over. We did get a letter from them which we are seeing if it meets the requirements by INVU--personally I don't think it does but the engineer thinks it might.  We'll see.


Texas Hold'em: Mr. Poker Star scored again and received a public whipping. Now he says he's going on a cruise (guess who's paying for this). The good news, however, is that he won't be around for next week's game so.....

Small Shade Ranchos--Large Pool: Both are now repaired and look great. We've also been doing some small maintenance -- stucco work, replacing missing tile, cement stops for car parking spots, finishing a 4' section of sidewalk, etc.

Wind: We've continued with a lot of wind and consequent dust. 
Ribs and wings:  Several of the residents know each other through work. The hosted a Sunday party and had a friend do the meat. Wow!!!  was it delicious. He slow cooked the full racks of ribs for 5 hours, basting regularly, until they were falling-off-the-bone delicious.  Three of us who do a lot of cooking all commented on how great they were. The wings were equally delicious. The guy who did this is not a professional although he fooled all of us--just a guy who does this as a hobby. I believe we will be using him for catered parties at Los Jardines. 

Units for Sale/Lease:

Residencia Los Jardines Site Plan

Unit #107 - For Sale/ REDUCED PRICE $239,000 / Leased for $1,650 mo. to Jan. 2010.--OWNER FINANCING AVAILABLE

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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Unit #120 - For Sale--$185K /Leased  at $1,450mo.

Total Area (Sq Ft):1312
Total area (Sq M):122
Floor(s):1 Story

This 1,312 sf single floor home includes a 300 sf front terrace plus parking for one car. It is an end unit and therefore attached on only one side providing ample lighting and views. The 6 inch cement demising (common) wall prevents sound transfer. This is a very nicely furnished and accented home.

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Unit #108 --For Sale-$245,000; Leased at $1,600 mo. to March '10

Total Area (Sq Ft):1716
Total area (Sq M):158
Floor(s):2 Story

This 1,716 sf. (plus parking space for one car) two storey, detached house, with two terraces, two bedrooms (one on each floor) and an upstairs master suite is a beautiful home.

This home consists of two VERY large bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms (one on each floor) and a powder room each with 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.

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Unit #111 --For Rent at $1,250  pr Month UNFURNISHED

Total Area (Sq Ft):1738
Total area (Sq M):161
Floor(s):Single Floor

This corner home located in set of four homes, is very private. The entrance belies the 1,738 sf to be found on the other side of the entrance door. The short entrance hallway opens into a huge "great room" consisting of the kitchen, LR and DR. This room is truly of huge proportions including the 16' high vaulted ceiling. This vaulted ceiling has clear story windows for light and ventilation. Valance lighting surrounds the room and provides ambiance with its upward sighing lights as well as accent lighting with the recessed halogen lights. From the living room, a large sliding glass door leads onto a private covered terrace.

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Unit 124 - For Rent (March 25 - November 30, 2009)

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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January 30, 2009
Costa Rica to hold haute cuisine cook-off
(The Tico Times) Tico chefs will start polishing up their chops for “Maestro culinario,” a gourmet cooking contest, which organizers officially launched Wednesday.

January 30, 2009
Grupo Nación, Merck downsizing workforces in Costa Rica
(The Tico Times) Two prominent companies in Costa Rica, publisher Grupo Nación and pharmaceutical company Merck Sharp & Dohme, announced department cutbacks and layoffs this week.

January 29, 2009
Costa Rica earthquake aftermath: return to normalcy slow and painful
(Los Angeles Times) Tourists have gotten out of Costa Rica safely but residents and business owners are still reeling in the aftermath of the 6.2-magnitude earthquake that shook the Central American nation Jan. 8, killing at least 23 people and destroying more than 400 homes.

January 29, 2009
Costa Rica traffic law sees 1st big bump in the road
(The Tico Times) A woman arrested with a blood-alcohol level three times the legal limit is temporarily off the hook after a judge suspended all reckless driving trials until discrepancies between the newly passed Traffic Law and the country's Penal Code can be resolved.

January 29, 2009
Euro café buyers sniffing around Costa Rica
(The Tico Times) With pen and paper in hand and an abundance of cameras in tow, a group of coffee connoisseurs, mostly from Europe, have been making their way through Costa Rica this week.

January 29, 2009
With 7 million new trees, Costa Rica's breathing easier
(The Tico Times) Seven million trees were planted in Costa Rica last year, and both the government and residents plan to do the same this year.


Weather: continued glorious weather with sometimes strong winds which are whipping up the Kirebe dust.

Standing Prime Rib of Beef:  Where to find it has been a mystery for all of us for years. I decided to get serious about it and three of us went off armed with a picture of the cut of beef we were looking for. There does not seem to be a Spanish phrase for it--it is a cut of beef which does not exist in CR or ??????? Anyway, one restaurant food purveyor (Belca) recognized it.  They had an 11k piece of US Choice for C11,200 k. bones removed. Total for the roast was around $140......We made a 2nd stop at Don Fernando's a specialty meet store. They too had some but from CR--at C6,500k bone in.  According to the service staff, it had been aged 8 days; only about half the time I'd like to see.  We'll do the US Choice cut sometime but will need to sell tickets. I also saw frozen scalops and Dungeness crab. 

Bistango's is now out of business. I had heard mixed reports. The INKA Grill continues to serve interesting and creative food.  We have also found a little soda nearby which as C1200 casados, two huge pieces of fried chicken and French fries, or a hamburger and fries for C650.....  One of our residents has found a great Italian place in Sabana--O'livio. He's introduced many of us to it and he's right--it's good, really good. Out of five, we each had something different and all five meals were excellent--no negative assessments about anything.  The fish and the veal were all perfectly cooked and season. The pasta was "al diente" but not hard. It was a treat and we'll be visiting there again and will invite others to join. Service was excellent. However, our favorite all time general restaurant continues to be our own home cooking on site and the Time Out Tavern.

Construction & Sales-CR:  We continue to hear snipets of information. The latest being that even Kirebe is feeling the sales slow down. An article in the AM Costa Rica said a number of projects were on hold and many investors were wondering how safe their investment is and what is going to happen with a  

Friends: A friend of 30+ years arrived for a 3 wk. stay and my remaining family will arrive next week for a few days as well.  Another friend of 15+ years returned to his snowy, rural life after finding he was having difficulty adjusting to modern day Costa Rica. He had been here for the past 7 years and has spent countless hours learning Spanish but I doubt he will return. Old age is catching up with him and he just couldn't reach an acceptable comfort level this time. 

Time Out Tavern (Escazu) continues to serve up great fish and chips, hamburgers, and chicken wings. I had the chili nachos this time--best nachos I've ever had. My only complaint (?) was that there was too much food--the plate would have easily fed two to three people.  I mentioned this to the owner who said I could order a 1/2 order--now that I know, I will and then plan on sharing that with Lita. Their business is thriving and well it should.

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

Jan Kozak, Marketing Manager
Hacienda El Dorado
Rio Oro, Santa Ana
Costa Rica

Skype: jan.kozak.jr

Tel (US) (+1) 647-477-5825
Cell: (+506) 8345 8018

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