Who are the 3 Amigos – Tank Tops Flip Flops Newsletter edition no. 2

Written by Michael Simons on . Posted in Newsletters

Who are the 3 Amigos?

 

I get this all the time, but actually we have about 26 Amigos and Amigas now and we are one big family, as corny as that sounds and we are expecting number 27 soon. It just keeps growing and growing, as agents from other competitors, close their doors and join our team. As they say, “If you can’t beat em, join em.” But we have to go back about 15 or 20 years to tell the whole story. 

The original 3 Amigos were a husband and wife, Les and Cheryl and their partner Gary. They came from Canada to Playa Hermosa with their sons, to do a small project on the top of the hill. It was one of the original residential developments in the area, along with Vistas del Pacifico built by Corbin and Tatiana Vandruff.  There is a great story about how they bought the mountain. It seems there was this woman, who owned a hill that was so steep the cows couldn’t even stand on it. From a farmer’s standpoint, the property wasn’t very good. After selling it to Les and Cheryl, the story goes, she ran into Coco laughing hysterically that she sold this useless property to a couple of stupid Gringos  and proceeded to buy everyone drinks in the bar. What she failed to realize, is that this useless property had some of the best ocean views anyone has ever seen in their life and Views Sell!The 3 Amigos and their sons built a little sales office of about 150 square feet, and proceeded with a back hoe to cut into the mountain. They worked so hard, that even the local workers shook their head at the crazy gringos. Even they couldn’t keep up with the pace of Les and his sons, as they pushed wheel barrels themselves, up and down the mountain. Many of the local workers couldn’t hack it and quit, but the family never lost their determination. After a couple years of torturous work, the development Monte Paraiso (Paradise Mountain) was complete. With underground utilities, brick paved roads, a beautiful gate and a huge water tank at the top, they started selling lots to the gringos that rolled through town. 

Each of these lots sold for more than they had bought the mountain for, so I am sure the woman was singing a different tune then. Life is all about Vision, and that is something that they definitely had. Most of these early buyers had it too, as there was nothing going on in Hermosa back then. There wasn’t an airport or any luxury hotels but something told these people, THIS IS IT! And the view from the top of this mountain sure made the decision easier. I know. I bought two lots myself in 1999 and had to take draws off my credit cards to do it. But I had a little of that Vision too and there was no way I was leaving Costa Rica without a little piece or two of paradise. How did I come to Costa Rica and wander up to Hermosa? You already know – that’s for another story.[more…] 

Around that same time, Chris Simmons and his wife Bonnie moved to Tamarindo with their daughters from Vancouver Canada. They started building houses and opened one of the first RE/MAX franchises in Costa Rica, Ocean Surf.  Tamarindo was one of the first markets to get “hot” as they had a small commuter airport, so you could fly relatively easily from San Jose on a puddle jumper, land on a dirt strip, and start your vacation at the beach. 

But as time went on, the growth of the Papagayo and the potential in this area, became more obvious. There was talk of a big resort being built (which is now the Four Seasons hotel) and rumors of the airport in Liberia finally opening to commercial flights, 20 years after Oliver North built it. Oh yeah, that part is true.  The runway was built in the early 80s by the CIA when we “weren’t” running guns to the Nicaraguans during the Contra / Sandinista war.  So in 2002 Chris came up to Playa Hermosa and met Les and Cheryl.  He had brought a couple clients up who purchased lots from the sales office. Monte Paraiso was finished now and mostly sold out and the 3 Amigos were ready for their next adventure.  

They never wanted to be real estate agents, they were developers, but now their cute little office, with the famous statues out front, had become a regular stopping point for photos. And of course many of those tourists did what they still do, and stopped in to talk about the market. They get the fever and the bug, and the next thing you know; they are the proud owners of a little slice of Pura Vida pie. Chris and Bonnie bought the 3 Amigos, paid a big franchise fee, and Tada!!! RE/MAX Los Tres Amigos was born. 

www.remax-tresamigos-cr.com

It was about this time that I had come back for a visit. I used to come every 6 months or so because I had the fever too.  Something kept bringing me back to this town, and I used my lots as an excuse to make a couple trips a year.  “I gotta go check on my property in Costa Rica and make sure nobody is squatting on my lots”  I used to tell my employees.  I still find it funny when people ask me if they have to worry about squatters in Costa Rica. I always laugh.  You have been on the internet too much.   I promise you, nobody is going to set up a tent on your ocean view or your golf course lot, in a gated community and squat your property.  I think you are ok.  Now if you have 1000 acre farm in the middle of nowhere, then there are precautions you should be taking.  I will gladly send you more information, if you are lucky enough to have a big chunk of land like that.  

La Rubia

On one of my visits Chris and I met.  Obviously he couldn’t run two franchises at one time, especially when they are over an hour apart, and I was ready for my next adventure in life.  I had just gotten out of the electronics business I had been in for 15 years, and Costa Rica was SCREAMING my name.  Over a couple of Pilsen beers (La Rubia or the Blonde), the partnership was formed, and I was on my way.   It turned out to be the greatest decision of my life.  

Many people don’t realize that Chris’ last name is Simmons and mine is Simons, so they just assume that he is my father. We have an inside joke. He tells me that when I sell a Billion dollars of real estate I will get the other M. So when people see me working early in the morning or on a Sunday afternoon and ask me what I am doing, I always say “I am working for the M, man, working for the M.” 

I showed up in Costa Rica on June 1, 2003, with no intention of ever going back.  There is a saying in Costa Rica. If you are going to move here, bring two suitcases. One suitcase filled with Cash, because you will need money and the other suitcase filled with Patience, because nothing moves or happens quickly here.  NOTHING.  Now with the Patriot Act and the Customs agents questioning you as you board the plane in Houston, I DON’T recommend bringing cash. Wire it to your bank account LOL.   

I showed up with 6 suitcases. I have never been able to travel lightly. I pack like a girl. And besides, I was never going back, so I better make sure I had enough Tank Tops and Flip Flops to hold me over for a while. Now, let me tell you about Playa Hermosa 9 years ago.  It was the MIDDLE OF NOWHERE.  The roads were dirt.  There was no airport, no hospital and no Do It Center.  The grocery store was more like a food stand you might see in China somewhere.  It took an hour and a half to get to Liberia because the highway had so many pot holes.  There were maybe a total of 30 gringos living here, and I imagine 10 of them were running from the law.  One of them actually did get caught and dragged back to the USA for trial a few years back.  Good riddance, he was a prick.  

There were all these shacks that were illegally built, up and down the beach front.  The power

went out 8 or 10 times a day, and it was a miracle if water came out of the faucet.  If you had to dial 911 for some reason, nobody answered, and if they did answer, the police would tell you how they couldn’t come, because they had no car.  When they were lucky enough to hustle a truck for the day, they would come by the office and ask for gas and cigarette money, like your teenagers do back home.  There was a 3 year waiting list for a Home Phone Line.  Seriously! There was very little cell service and it took months to get a number and people would sell them as if they were front row tickets to the Rolling Stones concert. There was no wire less or any cable TV and only a handful of restaurants to eat at.Playas del Coco was a dump and it took forever to get to Ocotal as it was an unpaved one lane road, used mostly by bicycles. Playa Panama was considered BF Egypt and the golf course where I live now, was a cattle farm and a melon field (this is also a phenomenal story about the beginnings of this crazy little place but you gottta stay tuned to the Bat Channel if you ever want to find out). There was one bank in Coco and the average wait time was 4 hours. You couldn’t even find a blender, without spending a couple days searching, as if you were looking for the fountain of youth. Don’t even think about sprinklers or garden hoses. BBQs were as much as cars, and rarer to find. 

There was only dial up internet and we had one phone line at the office. Now remember, this office is only about the size of most people’s bedrooms, and there might be 3 or 4 of us trying to work in there. So we would have to take turns sitting at the computer. We would download the emails and then unplug the old clunker and plug in the phone. If we heard a fax tone when we answered the phone, we had to dive over the desk and try to plug it in before the line went dead. Once we were done with writing emails, we would plug the computer back in and hit SEND. We would then go to lunch, as it took about 2 hours for the emails to go, and we would pray to God that the power wouldn’t go out while we were away. 

People would ask us for photos of a property and my answer would always be “how about ONE”? I will never forget this one particular week.  All week, we smelled this horrible smell. Like something had died in our office. You know that smell, right? We moved everything around and couldn’t find the smell. So we just kept working away, drinking coffee, writing emails, hoping it would go away. One day, it got so bad we were determined to find the smell. It turns out a little Gecko had climbed down the top of the coffee pot through the little slits. He fried on the water heater and continued to lay there for probably 6 or 7 days. Of course we kept making coffee, commenting about how unique it tasted. There is nothing like cooked Gecko in your Costa Rica java. I still chuckle thinking about those early days. 

The New Office  

There was nothing in the grocery store that catered to gringos, and my personal addiction is Pretzels. There was a great couple here back then, and they loved pretzels as much as we did. Whenever someone would come from the USA, we would beg them to smuggle some into their suitcase. We would have pretzel parties, and we rationed these babies off like we were stranded on a raft in the middle of the ocean, and didn’t know if we would ever find food again. Within time, the grocery store realized that gringos will pay anything for their little favorite treats. So sure enough, some items starting arriving slowly, a couple of boxes at a time. One day, I get this call, that pretzels have made it to the store in Coco. I dropped everything I was doing, and raced there as fast as I could. It only took me 10 minutes to get there, but already you could see dozens of gringos in line with 10 or 20 bags each. They were sold out in minutes. The Super Bowl doesn’t sell out this fast. 

There were just a handful of real estate offices then and it’s kind of ironic. When the market went nuts in 2005 and 2006, dozens and dozens of offices opened and hundreds of realtors moved to the area. But by 2008, they had all closed and moved back to wherever they came from. Now, we are back to the original handful. Amazing how the strong survive huh? It always comes full circle. 

In Hermosa, there is RE/MAX Tres Amigos and our friendly competitors C21, who were here when I moved. Scott and Jeremy are two of my good friends, and I can honestly say I never would have succeeded without them. They welcomed us, even though we were competitors, and made us feel like we were part of their community, when many others tried their best to scare us away and put us out of business. It’s been a joy doing business with those guys all these years. They are mostly out of the sales side of the business now and building some pretty nice custom homes, so if you are getting that fever, I will introduce you 

http://www.pcc-cr.com/

 There are some other great builders here too.

 Tom Terry http://constructom.com/

Mike Brussock http://www.costaricahousebuilder.com/

Richard Gaudet http://gaviota-construction.com/

But we sure did a lot of business out of that little 3 Amigos office, Tens of Millions of dollars in sales, and built our new office next door. We now have a third franchise up the street in Playa Panama. 

RE/MAX Prestige Ocean Properties  www.prestigecostaricaproperties.com 

www.prestigecostaricaproperties.comIt’s a whole different world now in the Papagayo area. Hundreds of homes have been built, half a dozen hotels, a couple golf courses and a marina. The airport just had an $18M face lift and a brand new private hospital is opening up the street. All the roads are paved, even a brand new one into Playa Panama, so over night it became the closest beach to the airport, instead of one of the furthest. There are hardware stores, and dental /medical offices, half a dozen banks and 5 grocery stores. A brand new police station is being built to go along with the fancy post office that opened last year. 

When you go into Playas del Coco now, you have dozens of restaurants to chose from, all kinds of bars and even a casino. The beach front is all cleaned up, and there is a brand new boardwalk. You can sit at any number of beach front cafes and watch the families walk back and forth with their kids and strollers. We have smoothie shops and boutique stores, and even a Texas BBQ so you never miss home. Stop by Earls BBQ and check it out. He looks like an Earl with a handlebar mustache, but it is hands down some of the best food I have ever eaten in my life 

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Uncle-Earls-BBQDELI/280582345317092

 

The electricity rarely ever goes out any more, as they have upgraded to the best infrastructure money can buy and when it does it is usually because a dump truck ran into a telephone pole. Every where you go has WIFI, hi speed internet and cable/satellite TV is available in every home.  Your Ipad will work and so will your blackberries, as the 4g network is being installed. But do yourself a favor and turn it off, and enjoy life a little. 

New Coco Boardwalk 

The last real infrastructure hurdle are these new water lines that have been in the works for the last few years, and when they complete these in the next year or so, we will finally be over the hump. But it’s still a quiet little paradise and still keeps its flavor of Costa Rica.  

As you sit at Coconutz bar for happy hour, there are dozens of monkeys hanging out in the trees – http://www.coconutz-costarica.com/ You see thousands of birds and occasionally get stuck in a Costa Rica traffic jam when the cows wanna cross the road. We have our Tope (horse parades) and the Toro run, and we never miss one of the dozens of Costa Rican holidays, that they so love to celebrate. There are the little Sodas on every corner, that make the best friend chicken and empanadas you have ever had. You can still go directly to the local fish market and buy the catch of the day, just moments after they haul it off the boat. 

Every weekend is the farmers market where the tastiest fruits and vegetables are peddled from the back of a truck. There are jewelry stands on the main drag in Coco, and you can always catch a soccer game at the town field on a Sunday. The local flare is everywhere and the people are without a doubt, the friendliest in the world. I love Costa Rica. It is truly the best of both worlds, as we have Pura Vida Costa Rica, and the first world infrastructure everyone so desperately craves. By the way, when you stop at Bar Coconutz, notice that on the top of his menu it says, Be Careful, you might get drunk and buy a bar. That’s exactly what happened to Dan. He came in on a Friday, got drunk, and we sold him the bar. He closed the sale on Monday. There are dozens of stories like this… You guessed it, coming soon to a Newsletter near you.

Monte Paraiso, Vistas del Pacifico and many other fine communities, have seen some of the nicest homes in the country being built, the last few years, and you can still get a tremendous amount of bang for your buck. It’s a little easier now to see the Vision of where this place will be and properties are still a fraction of what they are in other resort destinations, like the Cayman Islands or Hawaii. But they won’t be for long. Stop being afraid of what could go wrong and start being positive about everything that could go right. Paradise is waiting. What’s stopping you? 

The old 3 Amigos office is now our guard shack. Some of the Amigos have come and gone, but we still got one heck of a team and the train keeps a rollin’. The statues are still there, just with a new fresh coat of paint. Stop by anytime for a picture and feel free to come in and talk. But be careful, you might get the fever and the bug, and realize that THIS IS IT!

From little acorns, BIG OAK TREES GROW. 

Pura Vida 

Michael Simons 

PLEASE DO NOT HIT REPLY TO THIS NEWSLETTER. If you want to contact me, please just send me an email or call me. 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 continually add new information 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.

 COMING SOON….

 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. Hurry back. 

Check Out My Full Website at  www.tanktopsflipflops.com

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Don’t lose your head in Mexico, Come lose your heart in Costa Rica!

Written by Michael Simons on . Posted in Newsletters

Michael Simons Newsletter
May 2012

I had to start my first official Tank Tops and Flip Flops Newsletter with a “Michael” saying right? I mean would you expect anything different? There is so much negativity in the world, but we tend to ignore it here in Costa Rica. I just spent the most amazing couple days in the rain forest surrounding Lake Arenal. I have an adorable little cabin up there that I bought from my friend JP. He is a developer from California I have known for about 8 years and he has a couple amazing projects near the famous lake. I go there to get away and relax every couple months. We were talking about the usual BS that is going on in the world, and we both agreed that we choose to just ignore it. Everyone you talk to is so depressed. The US is in the tanks, and the next 6 months could quite possibly be the most negative election in history. Who needs it? Canada is….well Canada. It’s cold as hell, and they don’t even have the Stanley Cup any more. Mexico is rolling people’s heads into night clubs and hanging bodies from bridges. Europe is rioting, the Middle East is a mess and most of the world is just flat out miserable. But we never seem to be too affected down here in Costa Rica. We are too busy enjoying our life to worry about the rest of the world’s problems.

When I chose to move to Costa Rica, many people thought I was nuts. [more…]But I figured it was a “no lose” situation. The worst case scenario was that it didn’t work out and I had to go back to reality. I mean I could always go home and do what I had always done. That option would always be there. But I didn’t want to be one of those people; you see them all the time, who go through life talking about what they “wish” they would have done. I didn’t want to be on my death bed someday, regretting never having taking the chance.

 

Stop talking about what you are “going to do” someday and make a plan to DO IT. You have everything to gain and really nothing to lose. Do you wake up everyday disappointed about where your life is at? That ain’t no way to live a lifetime man. When are you going to START LIVING YOUR LIFE? It’s time to shake that monkey off your back, and come down and live with the monkeys.

I took off from Playa Hermosa on Thursday morning and arrived at Lake Arenal at about noon. It’s a two hour drive mas or menos. We dropped Millie Dolores off at the cabin and went in search of some food and a cold beer. (Mille Dolores, for those of you who haven’t met her yet, is a Yorkie and she is the Princess in my life. She is 8lbs of attitude, and she stole my heart 7 years ago. Michael Simons and MillieHer name has a story of course but that’s for another blog) Just up the road from my cottage is the coolest little bar, called Volcano Brewery. They make their own local beer, 4 flavors, and man, this is some good stuff. You gotta check it out. The food was killer and the view was amazing. You could see the entire lake!!!! 

After lunch we went back to my cabin to relax. Let me tell you about this place. There are about 20 little cabins and they are RIGHT ON THE LAKE. They are all made of teak wood, little Octagon casitas, and it is one of the most tranquil places on this planet to spend 3 or 4 days. Too boring for me to live there, but I love going up for the weekend. There is a little floating dock, called Port San Luis. They call it a marina, but its more like 6 big chunks of Styrofoam floating in the water. Arenal Volcano, Costa RicaThe little town is precious. It’s like something out of a magazine, with oxen carts going up and down the road. AWESOME. The landscaping around these cabins makes you feel like you are in a Botanical Garden. It’s funny; there is this one dead tree, right in front of my cabin. And I refuse to remove it because it seems to be the landing spot for every single bird within 100 miles. We must have seen 75 in 3 days, just hanging out, right in front of my deck. Next time I go back I gotta bring one of those bird watching books. Then I can figure out what the heck I am looking at. 

I hear this voice calling my name, and it’s JP. Imagine Santa Claus with a cocktail in his hand wearing shorts and sandals. “Wanna go to dinner?” My treat I tell him. So we load up into the truck and take off back around the lake. “I wanna take you to this special little place” he tells me. “It’s nothing fancy but the food is killer” MY KIND OF PLACE. We end up at a little rustic dump that actually said DISCOTEQUE on the outside. I don’t even think it has a name. They have tree stumps for chairs and are literally smoking the food right there in the old stone oven. The woman brings us this plate of chicken, pork and steak, and a huge bowl of the best black beans and rice I have ever had in my life (that says a lot since EVERYWHERE in Costa Rica serves black beans and rice). 

Not a couple minutes in to the meal, and the sweetest dog you have ever seen in your life, is sitting next to our table. I don’t know what it is about stray dogs, but they always seem to find me. Her name was Angel and that she was. What a sweetie. A dozen rum and cokes later, and we are back at the cabin. Now it’s nice and cool up there, compared to the beach, so we made the mistake of leaving the windows open that night while we slept, so we could enjoy the evening. When I woke up I looked like I had chicken pox, I had so many bites on me. I won’t make that mistake again LOL.

 I haven’t even gotten around to putting drapes on the windows yet so we were up at the crack of dawn. The sun rises early in Costa Rica and it’s strong. There is nothing better than a cup of “1820” coffee at 5:30 in the morning, as you smell the lake, feel the breeze and hear the sounds. Gotta love the mornings in paradise. Of course my first instinct is to check my emails. NOT. There is no wifi and no internet. What a relief to know I will be totally disconnected for the next few days. Now I can truly relax.

 Hmmm – what to do today. La Fortuna waterfall? Canopy tours? Wind surfing lessons? Tilapia fishing? Coffee plantations? A tram to the top of the volcano? Butterfly farms? A hike through the rain forest? White water rafting? A snake farm or a crocodile river? How about a rodeo or a day with the bulls? Massage at the spa? Mud baths? How about a drive around the lake and a trip to the hot springs? Yes that’s it.erupting Arenal Valcono

 They say it is an hour drive, but that is impossible. You stop every 5 minutes to take photos or check out a view or buy some souvenirs at one of the dozens of street vendors along the way. There are literally hundreds of little shops, chalets and B&Bs all with some unique flare to it and the lake is always in your sites. We chose Café Macadamia, which sits on a bluff looking at the volcano. There is no menu, just whatever the chef decides to make, and when you see the size of this woman, you KNOW the food is gonna be good. WOW.

 On a wood platter comes the largest meal on the face of the planet. Eggs, fruit, bread, Gallo Pinto (beans and rice again, just different recipe) cinnamon roll, cake, cheese, ham, turkey and salami with a huge glass of Pineapple juice. FOR BREAKFAST!!!! Sure enough, we are not there 5 minutes and I feel this warm hairy creature rubbing against my leg and purring. I guess cats like me too. His name was Tommy and he sure loves salami so we had a guest at the table to help us share these monster platters. There was a horse and her baby too, just a couple feet away on the other side of the fence, checking us out as we ate.

As we continue our journey, I feel like I am in Juraisic Park. The jungle starts to completely take over the road and there are portions of it that don’t even exist. We spot this bamboo that has to be 100 feet tall. NO kidding. Around the next corner is a place called the CEIBA TREE LODGE. Ceiba trees grow to be over 175 feet tall and live to be 500 YEARS OLD!!! I hurt my neck straining to see the top of them. Looks like I gotta call Dr Nick the Chiropractor when I get back to Coco. Over the dam, through the town of La Fortuna and we arrive at one of the nicest resorts in Costa Rica, THE SPRINGS. 

This place is serene. It’s almost not real. When you walk through this place you feel like Steven Spielberg made this for a movie. Tabacon was the original hot springs resort and this has out done it. There are rivers of flowing water that come out from the bottom of the volcano. Magical pathways meander through the jungle, over little bridges, through little caves as you try every pool and spring. Some are Hot and some are OH MY GOD HOT, but the ice cold ones really get your blood pumping. And the pathway, of course, leads you right back to the huge pool with the swim up bar. Roast turkey sandwiches and chicken taquitos sound good but what do we have to drink? 

Hmmm – Might as well try one of each: Bloody Mary, Rum Runners, Lava Flows, Pina Coladas. But the best one is called Passion del Guapo (sexy man). The entire time you are soaking in the pool, you can see the massive volcano right in front of you. It’s almost as if you can touch it with your hands. But be careful, it’s hot!!! It’s the only active volcano in Costa Rica and even though you can’t see the top as it is hidden in the clouds, you know the lava is bubbling over and tumbling down the side. All the bartenders and waiters were talking, as it happens Will Smith was just there a couple days earlier and obviously he was a big attraction to the locals. 

As we are heading back to the casita, the sun is setting over the lake. I know Millie is gonnna be pissed I have been gone so long so we hurry to get back. I don’t think she missed me truthfully. JP tells me she was having a blast barking at everything that flew by. “This is MY cabin!!!!! I am the princess” One of the realities of being in my business is that the majority of the people I run into around town are my clients. So it is very hard to go anywhere without someone wanting to sit and talk about real estate. I was excited to be able to go out to a nice quiet meal and not be recognized and finally just enjoy a peaceful evening. 

So we chose this little BBQ place on the lake called MAVERICKS. It’s owned by a gringo named Tom from Texas who came here about the same time I did, 9 years ago. His sign says he has the best Ribs and Chili in Costa Rica, so we had to give it a shot. Had I known that his chili fries could feed a small army; I wouldn’t have ordered it for an appetizer. Man, they were good. So much for the quiet evening, though. I wasn’t there 30 seconds and I hear “Mike, good to see you. Come sit with us. How ya been? Never expected to see you up here in the jungle” Sure enough, clients. Its tough being famous sometimes – LOL. We closed that joint down, hanging with our friends and headed back to the cabin, but this time we slept with the windows closed! 

We spent Saturday cruising around, checking out the coffee plantations and the rolling hills of Tronodora. A friend of mine had to leave Costa Rica a couple years ago and he asked that I take his dog Dude. But Dude, is a hippie, hence the name Dude. And hanging out by my pool, just wasn’t in his cards. He had to roam. So I asked JP if he would keep Dude on one of his many ranches. We set out to find Dude – I felt like I was in the Sound of Music as we drove over these rolling hills and this place is just 2 hours from where I live. Through old wooden bridges, over water falls and streams, across the tops of mountains, we drank beer and yelled out the window DUDE!!! DUDE!!! DUDE!!! Sure enough, he finally showed up. Reunions are a beautiful thing. I miss that old hippie and he missed me too, but he is in a much better place, living with 10 other roamers who can’t follow the rules. The entire time I am thinking how amazing this country is. Places like this are just a couple hours from where I live. 

People always ask me if I have any plans to travel the world. Maybe someday, but for now I still have so much of this paradise to visit. I have been here 9 years and I have barely even scratched the surface. You could visit a different place every weekend in Costa Rica, and it would take decades to see them all. I am looking forward to the challenge. 

Well, anyone that knows me knows that I don’t miss too many big sporting events. And game 7 of the Stanley Cup playoffs between the NY Rangers and the Washington Capitals is about as big as it gets. So we headed back to the beach, because when it comes to sports its hard to beat my 13 big screen TVs. A HUGE win by the Rangers made for a perfect ending to a Saturday night. 

Sleeping in on Sunday is not an option at Casa Pila (that is the name of my house at the Papagayo Golf Course where I live. It means House of the Trough but this too is for another blog) as my other 4 dogs have a different plan. Meeka, Milagro, Monita and Malina know that Sunday mornings are THEIR mornings. (All our dog’s names start with M – Also another blogfamily of rescued dogs someday) Millie might be the princess and she gets special attention, but it is mandatory that we go to Matapalo beach so they can terrorize the birds that flock their early in the morning. 

The sun has barely cracked the top of the mountain range, and you can already hear them rustling around in the yard. I come out with my spiked coffee (you gotta try Café Rica in your next cup) and they are already in the back of the pick up ready to go. Pablo, my caretaker, is also standing there waiting. Heh, walks on the beach are not just for canines, us old dogs like it too. It’s a total free for all, as they race up and down the sand, chasing everything that moves. I love the look on people’s faces that are out for a morning stroll, staying at the RIU hotel nearby. They see this pack of dogs coming and they get all wide eyed. Most are animal lovers and want to know the story of how I got so many dogs, especially since a couple of them have permanent limps from being hit by cars. But that’s also for another blog. 

I see this one couple walking my way. They look like they have never seen the sun. Vampires are not this white. They must be from Edmonton or something. As they get closer I realize that they aren’t even smiling. They are walking in complete misery. How can you be on one of the most pristine beaches in one of the most beautiful countries in the world and not be smiling? What a terrible way to go through life. Unfortunately some people live their entire lives that way. I have met a few and I feel sorry for them, but I am not going to let it ruin my Sunday. 

Back at home, floating in the pool, drinking Vodka Cranberries, working on my skin cancer and my liver poisoning, I have the tunes cranked and a ball game on the TV. What an excellent way to spend the day. Grilled pork chops, my famous rice, and a couple good bottles of Chilean wine with my next door neighbor Jerry is the perfect ending to a wonderful week. I realized that my average weekend is better than most people’s yearly vacation. What is wrong with you? Why are you up there and not down here? Start living man. Come to Costa Rica. 

Here it is Monday morning and I am back at work sitting at the El Velero hotel on Playa Hermosa beach. The waves are crashing as I eat my fruit plate and drink my Costa Rican coffee. This is where it all began, 12 years ago, but of course, that is for another Newsletter…

 Pura Vida, 

Michael Simons

 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!

 Check Out My Full Website at www.tanktopsflipflops.com

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