Archive for January, 2013

I got my “Mucho”

Written by Michael Simons on . Posted in Newsletters

Tank Tops Flip flops Newsletter edition no. 15

“Where’s my mucho?”  Nick asked.  Excuse me?  “I want my mucho!”  he declared.  I have no idea what you are talking about, I replied.  You see Stephanie and Nick came to Costa Rica a year or so ago on vacation and immediately fell in love with this paradise, as happens to so many of us.  So they made a decision to move to Pura Vida land and open a bar, fulfilling a goal they have had for many years.  I love people who don’t procrastinate and don’t make excuses.  They are set to open very soon and it will be called The Sand Bar, located smack in the middle of Playa Hermosa.  It is an acronym for something much bigger and more romantic, Stephanie And Nick’s Dream (SAND) Bar.

Cool.  Really cool.

It will have all the art deco you would imagine with a name like that, and I am expecting it to be one of my favorite hangouts.  One of the reasons I love the people of Costa Rica so much, is because from the first moment you arrive, they treat you like old friends.  If you travel to other Latin American countries it is way more formal and less personal.  For instance, when you say Gracias (Thank You) in Mexico, they always answer De Nada (You are welcome), and yet, if you think about it, you would never answer that way back home.  I think I have only said “you are welcome” a couple times in my entire life, and usually it was to a small child.  Thank you Uncle Mike.  You are welcome Sidney.

Ground Hog Day

Written by Michael Simons on . Posted in Newsletters

 Tank Tops Flip Flops – newsletter edition no. 14

I wasn’t going to go home for Christmas this year.  We have been incredibly busy and 2012 has been an outstanding year.  We opened our fourth franchise, RE/MAX Ocean Village in Playas del Coco, which is located inside the stunning Retail Village, and became the exclusive listing agents for Jack Parker’s only international project – Pacifico.  

Please stop by and visit.  The center has one of Coco’s favorite restaurants Citron, a gorgeous ladies Boutique store, Imane with clothes from famous designers in Europe and the new premiere spa, Senses. 

Personally, I don’t think there is anything better than a massage and a pedicure.  I mean who doesn’t like a smoking hot woman rubbing their body and their feet?  They also have one of the nicest beach clubs ever built and the restaurant is open to the public.  The food is to die for.

The developer has been in business for 65 years, mainly in Florida and New York City, and has never had an outside real estate agency list any of their properties.  They have always had their own inside sales force. They started construction on their phase 2 condos and we are honored that they asked us to represent their development. 

My original real estate company RE/MAX Tres Amigos in Playa Hermosa is still one of the top producing franchises in Latin America and the Caribbean, even in the midst of this horrible recession, and we have most of the premiere listings in the Papagayo region.  Hermosa Heights, Ladera del Mar, Papagayo Golf and Country Club, Lomas del Mar, Artola Estates and Monte Bello just to name a few[more…]. 

In Playa Panama, RE/MAX Prestige Ocean Properties has a tremendous amount of momentum as the 5 star Hacienda del Mar is finally breaking ground on the first set of residential units and we are excited to be managing and marketing these condos and homes.  Check out the restaurant Abbocato located in the Casa Club and the newest restaurant located at their beach club in Playa Panama, called Rumbas.  The food is phenomenal at both locations.

This past year I also opened two satellite offices as well.

In Playa Ocotal we became the exclusive listing agents for Vista Ocotal, one block from the beach by Father Roosters (best fish tacos on the planet), and we operate the new onsite sales center located right as you enter the gates.  The developers are the same gentlemen who built the amazing project Coco Bay Estates, some of the nicest amenities on the tenth latitude, and also the killer restaurant Pisces.  You have to see this place. 

With the paving of the Monkey Trail for the new RIU hotel, there has been a bundle of activity at Lomas Del Mar in Matapalo Beach.  They also asked us to take over the sales and built us a brand new building just a couple hundred meters from the Equestrian Center. 

This year the plan is to open a small café at the top of the mountain by the community pool, considered by everyone to be the finest view anywhere in Costa Rica.  It will absolutely take your breath away.  My sister office in Tamarindo RE/MAX Ocean Surf is still kicking ass as well, and they are the agents for most of the larger developments there also.  If you are a surfer, let me know, and I will have someone get in touch with you down there, and we can set up a time to give you the deluxe tour.

Many of my competitors closed their businesses and joined one of my offices, giving us the largest and most experienced real estate team in Costa Rica. I am proud to have them on board, as they are some of the best in the industry.

So you can see I am quite busy.  My personal life is pretty hectic as well, having 7 dogs that seem to need constant attention, love, food, baths, medical care and long runs on the beach or the golf course.  Plus at least once a month, one of them gets “skunked” so it always seems to be an ongoing adventure.  The “treat” bill every month could close a small bank. On top of it all I am a professional drinker, so I must continue to find time to hit the bars and watch the sunsets on the beach or the sporting events on satellite TV.

So you can understand that going back for Christmas seemed out of the question up until a few weeks ago.  But when my good friend Mike called me and asked me if I wanted a free ride back to Colorado for the holidays, I couldn’t say no.  You see, his company has a Challenger 300 which is a $24 Million airplane, and he was coming down the week before Christmas to hang out in his house with some friends.  It just so happens he lives near my family and had an empty seat for the return trip, and invited me to join them for the journey.  Hello! Duh! Yeah I wanna go!!!!!  Besides, you don’t say no to an offer like that because he might not ever ask you again, taking it as an insult.  LOL.

If you have never flown on a private jet, let me tell you something.  You are missing out!!! Big time!!! Talk about feeling like a rock star.  They escort you through customs like you are U2, and sneak you out a back door on to the run way.  A private van is there to drive you across the tarmac to where the plane is waiting, and the two pilots are standing there to greet you as you go up the stairs.  Each person has their own leather Lazy Boy recliner, and it is something right out of James Bond; total luxury.  Insane!  There is an open bar, a fully stocked fridge and nobody tells you that you have to turn off your cell phone or your laptop.  You are God – you do as you want.

In a blink you are back in the USA, landing at some private airport, and you don’t even have jet lag.  Best flight you will ever have.  The customs agent, actually comes to YOU, and boards the plane on the runway, and you are through immigration in seconds, with none of the BS you encounter at Houston or Miami airport.  Thanks again Mike, what an awesome ride.  I have to admit flying back Coach on United I felt like a total LOSER.  It was complete torture.  I made a decision right then and there that I am going to work twice as hard and just as long, because this kid needs his own plane.  I was born to fly Private.  The Tank Tops and Flip Flops Jet.  Now we are talking baby!!!!  

It was great to see my family, I love them bundles, but I still can’t comprehend why anyone would want to live where it snows.  I thought I was going to die of frost bite, it was so cold, and I found myself counting the seconds until I could be back in paradise, working on my tan.  Driving around town, I realized that nothing has really changed from when I grew up there.  Sure there are more houses and more people, but basically it’s the same old same old.  I have never understood why people will live their entire lives in the same place; dying in the same city they were born.  How boring.  Do you not have any adventure in your life?  Do you not want to experience something new and exciting, while you are still young enough to enjoy it? 

I had lunch with a client just before I went back and she made a very powerful statement to me.  I asked her why she was considering moving to Costa Rica.  “Everyone is so miserable back home.  They get up everyday, and do the same thing over and over.  I don’t want to be on my death bed, wishing I would have done something but realizing I ran out of time” Groundhog day, I thought, the same reason I left.  You know that stupid saying; good things come to those who wait?  What a crock of garbage.  Good things come to those who go out and make it happen, NOW! 

There is a famous David Lee Roth lyric, “I was young and bold but boy that sure changed with a wink of an eye.”  Stephen Tyler has one too, “if you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you have always got.”  One of my first sales managers, when I was peddling pots and pans, used to say “wish in one hand and crap in the other, and see which one fills up first.”  That one is my favorite quote.  The point I am trying to make is simple.  Why are you still there, when your heart is here?  What is your excuse?  What are you afraid of?  If you want Change, don’t believe in Hope, believe in Action.

It blows me away, how many clients I have had in my car over the last 10 years, who have been scared to pull the trigger.  I have been dealing with people a long time, and I am pretty good at reading them, so I can tell when someone is just tire kicking and when they are seriously wanting to join us in paradise.  Yet they go home and never make it a reality.  They go back to Groundhog Day, and sit at their cubicles dreaming of living in Costa Rica, doing the same thing over and over every single day, but they won’t do anything about it.  “Don’t give up on me” I hear.  “I am coming” they say.  Even some of my closest friends have been promising me for a decade that they are right behind me.  Yet they are still home shoveling snow or sitting in traffic.  Don’t be one of those people. 

We all march to our own beat here, and I guess that’s why we ended up in Costa Rica.  It takes a special person, but we want those types of people.  I tell all my clients, “We are not selling real estate here; we are adding neighbors, building a community.”  Remember, you are not a product of your circumstances.  You are a product of your choices.  Stop using your situation as an excuse.  Decide what it is that you want, make a choice, and go for it.

Being back in the USA for a few days, I noticed that this woman was right. Everyone seemed miserable. Yes they pretended to be happy because it was the holidays, but you could see right through the charade. The only really joyous person was the Santa Claus ringing the Salvation Army bell, bless his heart.

Plus, the rules and regulations in the USA have just gotten ridiculous. You know, you need a driver’s license to buy a box of Claritin or a jug of Nyquil but you don’t need one to vote.  Go figure.  This past year seemed to be one of the most difficult the United States has ever had to endure.  No wonder everybody is in a bad mood.  We just went through the most divided Presidential race in our history, and 49.5% of America despises the current leader.  Considering these people generate most of the income and pay almost all of the taxes, it can’t be a good thing long term.  The Senate and Congress have to go down as the biggest bunch of morons to ever set foot on this planet.  How do we come so close to going over the fiscal cliff?   Just cut off foreign aid to all the countries who want to blow us up and we will have boat loads of cash.

You couldn’t even turn on the TV without seeing or hearing something that just made a person cringe.  There were mall shootings, movie theatre shootings and temple shootings, along with a spa, nightclub, coffee shop and a funeral home, all with mass killings.  People got shot at their workplace and their high schools and universities, soccer tournaments, and hospitals.  Some sick bastard even shot a couple firemen.  There were droughts and wild fires, ice storms and mud slides, and one of the biggest Hurricanes to ever hit the Eastern shore, Sandy.  We are still fighting 2 wars and we had an attack on our embassy, while our President went to Vegas for a fund raiser.  People always ask me “What was the last straw that made you move to Costa Rica?”  For me it was September 11th.  I didn’t want to live where people fly planes into our buildings.

So I ask you now, “Who wants to live in a country where someone walks into our elementary schools and shoots little children?”  Something is seriously wrong with America and I don’t know if it can be fixed.  No thanks.

Arriving back in Costa Rica, I immediately felt the stress melt away.  Of course I still felt like a loser since I was at the back of the plane and one of the last ones off. LOL.  But being a Permanent Resident, I got to go through the Citizen line, not the Visitor line, so my customs wait was less than 3 minutes.  More about these benefits later, but you know the gig; you have to wait for another Newsletter. 

Pura Vida.  I love this country.  Everybody gets two weeks off for the Christmas and New Years celebrations.  The beaches are packed with families, as this country puts a huge emphasis on spending time with the ones you love.  Kids are put on pedestals in this country, as they even have a Children’s Day to show their appreciation.  They also have two Mother’s Days, God Bless em.  This country has it right.  Every one attends Church on Sunday, and then sets off to one fiesta or another.  As I was coming through Sardinal I was stuck in another Costa Rica traffic jam.  This time it was a holiday horse parade and thousands of people lined the streets with their kids to watch the extravaganza go by.  You really learn how to stop and smell the roses when you are living in Pura Vida land. 

It was crazy this year, with all the stupid talk of the end of the world, thanks to the Mayan calendar. I have my own theory. When they were writing the book, they ran out of ink and were too lazy to go get more. “Boy is this really going to freak some people out 2000 years from now” one of them joked, and all the Mayans laughed. At some point everybody runs out of time. When my hour glass is empty, and all the sand is gone, I won’t have any regrets that much I can guarantee you. The only thing that is changing, my friends, is the date. Are you running out of time? Life is an all you can eat buffet, so why are you staying at home, ordering a Pepperoni Pizza?

This New Year is going to be one of the best EVER. More and more people are making the decision to throw in the towel of stress, and get out of the rat race. We are seeing hundreds of new residents make the leap of faith and re locate to our little piece of paradise. The exciting thing is that it is not just a bunch of old retirees, but people of all ages, from all walks of life. We are seeing younger people, many with small families, come to Costa Rica to experience the joy of a better life. There is a vibrant energy to our community and everyone feels the excitement. Business is great and we are expecting it to only get better.

I am pumped up about 2013 and all the new adventures in my life. I don’t have a jet but I am rich where it matters. I have my health, my family and I have my friends, but I could use a few more. I only had 526 people at my party this year, and we need to break the record next December. Hope you can join us. Happy Holidays. Pura Vida.  Michael and the gang.

One last thing, before I forget. I did get married this year. “The prince of lust has met his match; the little witch has brewed her baddest batch.” 

Happy New Year.

Link to Frequently Asked Questions about Costa Rica

 

If you have had a great experience with my office and Costa Rica, I want to hear about it. Please send us a video of yourself telling us WHY and I will post it to my website for everyone to see. Or send me an email and I will put it in my Testimonials. I appreciate your business and that you have decided to read this Newsletter more than I could ever tell you. THANK YOU. Please take a little more time and check out the entire site. We have added a lot of information lately that I am sure you will find helpful. Also, please forward this to any friends you think might be interested in learning more about Costa Rica. Is there a story behind Tank Tops and Flip Flops you ask? Of course, but you have to stay tuned for another Newsletter. I hope all is well. Stay healthy. God Bless you and your families. Stop procrastinating and hurry back!

 

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