Tank Tops Flip Flops Newsletter edition no. 28
People ask me all the time, do you think you will ever move back to the United States? Absolutely not, but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy visiting. America is a great country, founded on some pretty strong principles. Think about the balls you had to have to get on a boat, 400 years ago, and sail across the ocean, for months at a time, with no real clue as to where you were going or what you were getting into. I laugh when people tell me how brave I was to move to Costa Rica. Honey; you can get here on a plane in a couple of hours; it doesn’t hold a candle to what the Pilgrims went through. But the USA now is not the same country I grew up in and people don’t have the same values any more. Many of us live in Costa Rica, but that doesn’t mean we don’t like America, we just CHOOSE to live in a better place. I would be lying to you though, if I told you I didn’t miss anything; so September and October, which are our slowest months, gives me a great excuse to return to the Red White and Blue.
One of the perks of selling real estate is that I have been fortunate enough to meet some amazing people from all over the world, and especially the USA. I have actually sold a property to someone from every single State except one, and many of these people have left me an open invitation for a visit. I could literally travel the entire country and never have to pay for a hotel room.
By the way, if you are from North Dakota, please give me a call; I have a fantastic property for you; you are going to love it. You are the last one left.
I recently sold a condo to a wonderful couple from Hawaii, and I asked them why they moved. They said it wasn’t the same glamorous place that it was 20 years ago, and Costa Rica was more up their alley. They told me Hawaii is too expensive, too crowded and not the same happy lifestyle. I am dumbfounded when people ask me if I think Costa Rica will be like that in the future. Pretty stupid question, actually, since I don’t have a crystal ball, but I’ll let you know in 2044. Give me a jingle. So when a couple of my good clients insisted that I come back for a visit, I couldn’t say no, especially when it involves sports. Any one who has ever met me knows that I love my sports, especially hockey, baseball and football, and Costa Rica’s version doesn’t count.
I have tried for 10 years to get into Fútbol and I just don’t get it. How can something end in a Zero Zero tie, and everyone be satisfied? That is not a sport people: that’s exercise. Or what about when they trip and fall on the soft grass, and then roll around, screaming and withering in pain, and have to be carried off the field on a stretcher. Are you kidding me? You should be ashamed of yourself. Try getting crushed by a ton of human flesh on a punt return, sucking a 95 mph fast ball in the ribs or skating on a broken leg, like the hockey guy did last year. Those are sports. I was in WalMart a few weeks ago in San Jose and there was this adorable little kid. He had on his Saprissa soccer jersey, white shorts with tube socks and cleats, and was running through the aisles like kids tend to do. He tripped and fell, did a small face plant and went into this screaming cry like someone spilled a McDonald’s cup of coffee on him. His mom ran over and picked him up off the floor, and gave him the “hush hush don’t cry” baby talk thing. I chuckled and walked away, thinking to myself “Pfffft. Soccer players.”
Let me tell you something though, these guys are serious about their team. I warn everyone; don’t get in a car accident when Costa Rica is playing, because the ambulance ain’t coming. The entire country comes to a screeching halt every time they play and you can’t even begin to understand the energy when they win. A couple weeks ago, it felt like Mardi Gras, as hundreds of thousands of people poured into the streets to party. Car horns were honking, fireworks shooting in the air and waves of bodies were jumping up and down, hugging and high fiving, swirling towels and flags in the air. You would have thought they won the World Cup, but no, they had just QUALIFIED for the World Cup. You see Costa Rica doesn’t have a very good team so they will take any opportunity they can get to celebrate. This I can relate to; I am a Jets fan.
I decided to go first to Chicago, to meet my good friend Eric, and see a White Sox game on September 11, knowing that there would be a big patriotic display. It was called Heroes Day, and they honored all the military branches and first responders, with a video tribute and a flyover. I still get tears when I sing our National Anthem, as I have such tremendous respect for those who have sacrificed so much for the world’s freedom. That will ALWAYS be in my blood. There is nothing more American than a baseball game; the smell of the grass, the taste of the hot dog, the crack of the bat; and I still smile with every word of the 7th inning stretch. It was so easy to get back there too, as we are just a hop, skip and a jump away. I left at 7 am and was sucking back a $9.00 beer, chomping on a $6 bag of peanuts that afternoon. You see 9/11 had a big impact on me, and was one of the driving forces for my move to the tropics. I didn’t want to live in a country any more where people wanted to fly planes into our buildings. That horror was the catalyst for so much of my happiness now and I just felt that I needed to be back there. I know many people are a little upset with me, since I haven’t finished my story about how I came to Costa Rica yet, but I promise, if you just stay tuned, parts 4 and 5 are coming soon. Besides, I have to keep you checking back, I haven’t even told you the history of Tank Tops and Flip Flops yet.
I am just beginning Mis Amigos, so don’t go anywhere.
Actually, my friend couldn’t make the game; he had a funeral to attend. Those events tend to be unplanned and at the last minute, so I found myself going alone. As always happens, someone asks me where I am from, and I end up missing a couple innings talking about the Pura Vida. It seems every time I mentioned it, someone would shout out “I love Costa Rica.!” This place has fans all over the world.
I set out the next morning for a short drive to Milwaukee, or so I thought. It took me 3 hours to make a ninety minute drive and I was reminded immediately why I left the United States of America; TRAFFIC. There was a big sign just outside the city keeping tabs on the highway deaths for the year, like someone counting score. The day I left, there were 674. But I was excited to get to Wisconsin and looking forward to the weekend of fun. My good friends Tom and Rhonda had invited me into their home, and they rolled out the red carpet for my visit. You see Tom is one of the big wigs at Miller Beer and he has a luxury box for the Brewers. In case you weren’t paying attention, I said MILLER BEER. The name of the stadium is called MILLER PARK. You can imagine how nice the suite was. He was kind enough to also invite some of my best friends, Travis and Tanya, Sunny and Mike, who happen to live just up the road in Madison, and our mutual friend Dave who flew in for the fun, and we had the time of our lives. After the game we spent the evening at their lake house, floating on the boat, playing the guitar and singing some songs around the campfire. I have to admit, as nice as it was, I was shivering cold, but glad to have the love to warm me up.
Tank Tops and Flip Flops? More like Sweat Shirts and Moon Boots. Wisconsin is about as American as you can get, so I was definitely getting my fill. Harley Davidson, as most of you know, is made in Milwaukee, and we actually see a tremendous amount of them down in Costa Rica. There is even a local club called the Hermosa Bad Boys. The owner of Coconutz Sports Bar is also from dairy land, and he recently rode his hog all the way down to Playas del Coco. Ten days, seven countries; now that’s a journey. If you ever get a chance, stop by his place and check out the back of the menu. Be careful, as it warns; you might get drunk and buy a bar: which is exactly what happened to Dan. He came in on a Friday for happy hour, and owned the bar by closing, the contract written on a napkin. That Guaro is deadly stuff man. Heh, where’s that guy from North Dakota, by the way? Dan, as you can imagine, is a serious Packer fan, with the Green Bay logo tattooed over his heart, and as diehard of a cheese head as they come. So I really enjoyed bragging to him of my next Wisconsin adventure, my visit to Lambeau Field. There is no better way to see a football game, than to sit at the 50 yard line, and Miller Beer is the owner of a luxury box there as well. It was stocked with every single kind of beer you would ever want to drink, and enough food to feed an army. And of course, they had the Wisconsin favorite, Packeroni and Cheese. By the way, I did buy some Brewers and Packers flip flops to add to my collection.
The following week I was in Ohio, another great American state, courtesy of my friend Don and his lovely wife Myoung. I met him at the Super Bowl a few years ago, and as soon as he heard I was from Costa Rica, it was the start of a friendship that will last a lifetime. He is an avid Ohio State Buckeye fan, and an incredibly successful businessman, who flies all over the country to root for his team, and he invited me to join him for one of the biggest games of the year. He is also a season ticket holder for the Bengals and the Browns, and I was able to experience the Battle of Ohio first hand. Once again, we had the best seats in the house for both these games. I am truly a very lucky man, to have such amazing friends, who treat me like royalty and welcome me into their homes. If it hadn’t been for Costa Rica, these friendships never would have been made. By the way, just a little tip; if you like hot Asian women, there is no need to fly to the Orient, just move to Columbus Ohio. Who would have thunk it. Huh?
America is a nice place to visit but I wouldn’t want to live there. Costa Rica is my home. There is just something very special about this majestic little paradise, and I couldn’t wait to get back. The one thing I always notice is the warm response I get from people when I tell them where I live, and it’s incredible how many people want to talk to me about it. Whether it was the couple I shared a taxi with, or the woman I sat next to on the plane, they all told me the same thing. “I love Costa Rica; I can’t wait to go back.” It’s the simple things that get us so excited down here. When you live in a big country, like the USA, you forget to stop and smell the roses, as it is always GO GO GO. Every one remembers where they were for the major events. Kennedy assassination; Lunar landing; Red Sox ending the drought; but can’t seem to remember why they walked into the closet or opened the refrigerator, their brain is overloaded. In Costa Rica, we celebrate the little things. Dial up internet went away; the new cell tower popped up; a gas station opened; they filled a pot hole; Pretzels arrived at the grocery store. We all remember these historic events. I adore this little place, I really do, and I couldn’t see myself leaving.
Now I know what you are thinking, because I hear it all the time. Nobody is this positive, every single day. Yes I am. Someone once put a comment on my Facebook page, after I made a post about loving Costa Rica. “Michael has an ulterior motive. He is trying to sell you some real estate.” I laughed out loud at that one, especially after my friend Phil posted right after him. He said, Mike, could you imagine if they knew you when you were young and REALLY full of energy? Let me make something perfectly clear to you. Yes I sell real estate, but I could care less if you moved here or not. It makes no difference to me if you come; I already have the perfect life. If you would like to join me, I am here to help you. If you enjoy reading my rambles, GREAT! If not, delete me. I promise you that I won’t lose a moment of sleep. Besides, Costa Rica isn’t perfect, it has its faults, but it surely beats the alternative. I met this very successful Costa Rican businessman at the airport, on one of my trips back, and we were discussing all the violence that is going on right now back in the “real world.” Chicago mass shooting; Navy Yard massacre; the woman who rammed her car into the Capitol; you never hear of those things happening in Costa Rica. He said to me that the best part of Guanacaste is that you can “get away from it all.” He went on to say that if the world blew up tomorrow, and all hell breaks lose, you wouldn’t even know it where we live. “There is no violence here; no serious problems” he said, “just the small inconveniences of a work in progress.” He continued by saying that he loved his country, considered it the best place in the world and wouldn’t live anywhere else. I couldn’t agree with him more. God Bless Costa Rica.
Everyday in North America is like walking a mine field. There is so much negativity, so much stress. After so many years of dealing with that every single day, I decided I had just had enough. I felt like a broken toy. Like the fire truck missing a wheel, or the Monopoly game with no pieces. The iron, the hat and the shoe were all lost. Sure I was still fun to play with, but you had to use your imagination. The USA is broken and I don’t have time to wait around for it to get fixed. Seriously, how does the most powerful country in the world SHUT DOWN? It’s enough to give you a heart attack. We have the largest collection of frauds, criminals, tax evaders, spousal infidelity, cartoon characters, liars, cheats and morons running Washington DC. No wonder people are driving their cars into the Capitol. I probably would too if I hadn’t gotten out.
Costa Rica was my repair job. No drama. What you see is what you get. Live for the day!!!! Pura Vida. Last week one of my oldest friends HAD a heart attack at 48 years old. Thankfully he survived. Last month one of my very good clients also had a heart attack and wasn’t so lucky. He was 60 years old when he passed away. He had been procrastinating for years about retiring, but kept making excuses about how much he still had to do. I bet if he could do it all over, he would have moved here 5 years ago, huh? Another client of mine recently wrote to me telling me about some serious health issues he has. “I have to put off coming Mike, until I get this under control.” What? This is exactly WHY you need to move here NOW!!! Maybe this is the sign you are waiting for, I told him, to just relax, retire and enjoy life, before it is all gone. Nothing is better for your blood pressure than a stress free environment. Life is short people, enjoy it while you can. Seriously, how much money does one person need?
Costa Rica is refreshing; a breath of fresh air. Those same principles that once made America great are alive and well down here. Right now, it is an amazing place to work and live. If 20 years from now, that changes, then I will consider moving. But for the moment there isn’t anywhere on this planet I would rather be. If you take some time and do your homework, you will see that Costa Rica has most of the boxes filled in. Incredible weather, stable democracy, lower cost of living; CHECK. First Class health care, reasonable taxes, NO violence; Aaron Rogers Discount DOUBLE check (inside joke for my Packer friends). Entrepreneurial sprit, beautiful people, quality of life, DEFINITELY check check and check. Sports? Ok you can’t have everything, but you gotta have some excuse to go back for a visit. But when you return, pay attention to the sign in the airport as you come off the plane.
WELCOME TO THE HAPPIEST COUNTRY ON THE EARTH. Man, it’s good to be home. Hope you can join me.
P.S. Words can not express my gratitude for the hospitality that I was shown. THANK YOU Tom, Rhonda, Don and Myoung. I love you guys like family. I am definitely coming back. Ki. WINK. Michael, I am praying for your speedy recovery.
P.S.S. So what was my opinion of Cleveland? You know the drill. All at once now everybody: “Ya gotta stay tuned for the next Newsletter.” Ciao.
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!