I Love Costa Rica – Tank Tops Flip Flops Newsletter no. 28

Written by Michael Simons on . Posted in Newsletters

People ask me all the time, do you think you willMarilyn Monroe Pilgrim ever move back to the United States? Absolutely not–I love Costa Rica–but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy visiting America.  It’s 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 RicaFAQ 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.

I love Costa RicaOne 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.prior newsletter link

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 thinkFlopping 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 love Costa Rica, but that feeling doesn’t extend to the national sport.  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 Futbol FansSan 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,Costa Rica National Stadium 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 Ball Gamesacrificed 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.Brewers Game

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. Packer game 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 Sweatflip flops 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, 50 yard lineas 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 friendshipOhio tickets 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.  Another reason I love Costa Rica.  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 Ohio Statethis 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.

Guanacaste Beefs Up Law Enforcement – Click to See Article

Costa Rica ranked best Central American Country for Elderly Retirees 

Now I know what you are thinking,Super Bowl Ring Baby 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.

WisconsonEveryday 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.Ohio Girls  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 spirit, 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.Playa Hermosa from El Velero resize

WELCOME TO THE HAPPIEST COUNTRY ON THE EARTH.  Man, it’s good to be home.  Hope you can join me.

Pura Vida.

Michael

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.

Tank Tops Flip Flops Newsletter edition no. 28

Link to all Prior Newsletters

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!

Link to Frequently Asked Questions About Costa Rica

Guanacaste Costa Rica Weather and Canadians

Written by Michael Simons on . Posted in Costa Rica Living, Newsletters

The weather in Guanacaste is incredible.  I have lived here a long time and I haveCountry road in Guanacaste seen some serious tropical showers; total downpours that would make Noah proud.  But a couple Saturdays ago, it had to top the charts.  There was so much water, and it came down so fast, that the road in from Sardinal was completely under water in a matter of minutes.

FAQ small

As I was driving home my first thought was how thankful I was that I live in Guanacaste where it only rains hard for a couple months, not the entire year like the rest of the country.  I couldn’t imagine living with this 75% of the year. (By the way: THEY PAVED MY ROAD!!!!!!!!!!!! My lower back will be forever thankful.) As I pulled into the driveway, there was this glow hovering over my house, and all the dogs were frantically running around in circles, howling in the air, their eyes two inches out of theirs heads. “This can’t be good” I thought. My maid Lorena was waving her hands in the air like she just saw Poltergeist and was mumbling some kind of gibberish that sounded like an photo 22ancient language from King Tut’s tomb.  All that my caretaker Pablo could manage to muster up was “Wow, Senor. Wow!!!”  It seems my house had suffered a direct hit from a bolt of lightning about 30 seconds before I arrived, and you could immediately smell that horrible stench of burnt electronics.  Every one of my canines were climbing over each other to try and get as close to me as possible doing the famous doggie hates thunder dance; walk, shake, pee, shiver; walk, shake, pee, shiver.  Little Millie Dolores was vibrating uncontrollably in my arms, as I walked around the property assessing the damage.  It was extensive.prior newsletter link

Guanacaste is known for very powerful and frequent lightning storms, especially in September and October, and most of us sit back and enjoy the show. Nothing is more romantic than hanging in a hammock, sipping on your favorite cocktail or a nice glass of wine; watch the fireworks out in the distance light up the ocean or the volcanoes. But actually, places like Tampa, Florida and Dallas, Texas have way more electrical storms and the odds of getting hit are that much greater there. But this was my lucky day. A bolt of lightning travels at 270,000 miles per hour and can heat the air around it to a deliciously crisp 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit, several timesGuanacaste Costa Rica weather hotter than the surface of the sun. At any one moment there are 1800 thunderstorms in progress around the globe; some 40,000 per day. Every second, 24 hours a day, approximately 100 bolts slam into the ground according to the National Weather Service. So what are the odds that it hit my house? I should be buying LOTTO tickets.

Of course it chose my favorite palm tree,photo 11 just next to the swimming pool and lifted it two feet out of the ground.  If it hadn’t been raining, at least one or two of my dogs would have been taking a dip, cooling off from the heat, and surely would have been instantly evaporated, or at least charred pretty good like a marshmallow left in the campfire a couple seconds too long. It shot down the base of the palm and went in three separate directions. First it went through the pool and into the pump house, blowing the steel door off its frame and melting every pump, timer and mechanism.

photo 23The second finger of the bolt found its way into my sprinkler lines, using the moisture as a conduit and proceeded to follow the matrix to every corner of my property.  Dozens of my sprinkler heads were shot so far into the air, that we found only pieces of them as they fell back down to earth like hail. I can just see the look on the faces of some NASA geeks when the photos from Mars come back and 6 of them are circling the planet like mini comets. “What the hell is that sir?” Lastly it came across the tile of my patio, leaving a crack over 20 feet long and into the column of my covered terrace, exploding the base as it forced its way into my TV feeds. Any of you who have ever been to my home know that I have a lot of televisions, so you can use your imagination on how easy it found its way through the rest of the house.

After eating every one of the circuit boards in allElectrical box burned by severe weather in Guanacaste of my audio video equipment, TVs, amps, receivers and speakers, it looked for a way out, and found its exit through my alarm box in the laundry room.  The force was so powerful that it shot out the bolts of the metal door that were imbedded into the concrete wall.  Imagine how that would have felt if you just happened to be doing a load of laundry at the time and sucked a two inch screw in the side of your head. It continued down the main cable that runs into the house and up the post at the road, completely blowing the meter off and melting the electrical box beyond recognition, before finally exiting the top of the telephone pole.  It ended up exploding the transformer while taking out all the electricity for 6 or 7 of the neighbor’s houses. Guanacaste weather can do some serious damage. It was literally like something out of the movie Ghostbusters.  As you can guess I was pretty devastated and wallowing in my own self Guanacaste Costa Rica weather destroyed this electrical boxpity shortly there after, but things got put into perspective when I went to get a pizza a couple hours later. 

There is this very poor family who lives in a shack on a farm just a couple minutes from my house. I always stop and give them bags of food for their dogs. As I passed I saw the entire family out in front, desperately sweeping with brooms to keep the impeding river that had formed from the rain, from completely consuming their home. My “Whoa Me” attitude immediately went right out the window; I am truly very lucky. Pablo,Bill Murray Ghostbusters Lorena and all my street mutts are ok, and that is really all the matters. Everything else is just materialistic junk and it can be replaced.

People always beat up on Costa Rica and talk about how slow everything is, how everyone has a Manana attitude, blah blah blah. Well let me tell you something. The electric company had a repair crew at my house first thing Monday morning, along with my electricians, and they restored power back to the house in a couple of hours. Sure the A/C was fried along with so many other things, but those all got replaced or repaired in a couple days as well. By the following Friday everything was back to normal, minus the replacement of my electronics. I have clients in Oklahoma who still don’t have power back to their homes from the tornadoes and another whose building in New York City is still surviving on a generator after more than a year since the arrival of Sandy. So I say; give Costa Rica some credit. I guess this was God’s way of telling me that I really need 12 new Hi Def TVs and that new 80 inch Samsung I have been looking at on line! Time to go SHOPPING!!!!!

DSCF9812One of the first phone calls I got was from my buddy Michael Mills, a Canadian from British   Columbia. “We have a spare bedroom buddy and a fridge full of Pilsens, so if you need a place to crash you are more than welcome. Just bring Millie Dolores” he said. Michael came down here 15 years ago and just never left, like quite a few other people, and started referring clients to my office soon after. He operated a sail boat and he was sending so many buyers my way, I finally convinced him to sell the damn hull in the water and join our team, and he is now my partner at Prestige Ocean Properties. Without a doubt, one of the finest people I have ever met in my life, and one of the many Canadians I call my friends down here in paradise.

You see, it seems I hurt some people’s feelings with my comments about Cheap Canadians, Buffalo and Cleveland in my Newsletter a couple of weeks ago.  Well, if it truly offended you I am sorry,Spanish Dancer but seriously everyone, this is just a Newsletter.  If you want someone to hold your hand and sing Kumbaya, you’ve got the wrong guy.  There is a reason I have never been married, I am just not the cuddly / feely / hold you kind of dude: I was a Marine Drill Sergeant in my previous life before being reincarnated as a realtor in paradise.  And if I get to come back again, I plan to be an NFL coach in the mold of the three Bills: Parcells, Belichick and Cowher so get used to it.

Personally, I love Canadians; I should have been one myself. In my first business many moons ago, I partnered with two guys from Hamilton, Ontario, and they proceeded to sit me down for a talk before we got started. “There are two things you need to know if we are going to work together” they told me. “One: We only drink Moosehead beer and Two: The 3 Amigos cropWe watch hockey” and I have been enjoying them ever since. To this day, I am still great friends with both of these guys, and the majority of my sports travels have been with my good buddy Brad; otherwise known as Super Cooper.

As far as Buffalo and Cleveland goes? Well, I have a friend from Ohio whom I met at the Super Bowl a few years ago; he came down and bought a beautiful Pacifico condo. He invited me to go to a Browns game the end of this month, so I am going to hold off on my final comments until I get back. But Buffalo? Sorry, I have been there; I rest my case. There just isn’t anything you can say. It’s a dump; may it rest in peace with Detroit.

Costa Rica is loaded with some great Canadians.flag_canadian_maple_leaf My neighbor Jerry is the one of the best guys on the planet. He was one of the largest Real Estate brokers in Ontario and we met at a convention in Atlanta 6 or 7 years ago. He literally was in my face everyday, adamant that he was going to come down and buy a place. Not one week after the show, he arrives into Liberia airport and I picked him up. First words out of his mouth? Where do you live? If it’s good enough for you he said it’s good enough for me, and he bought the house next door, and we have been best buddies ever since. For a house warming gift I bought him a pathway, so we can go back and forth to each others homes, without having to go down the driveway. You couldn’t ask for a better neighbor. He is the first guy to pay and the last guy to complain and he has the most amazing family, but most important of all; he loves my dogs and they love him too. Cracker please Uncle Jerry. When his better half Diane goes back to visit the grandkids, I become his surrogate wife. I have 220px-Toronto_Maple_Leafs_Logo_1939_-_1967.svghim over for dinner and I cook for him. We eat man food though, like tacos, meatloaf and Sloppy Joe’s, and sit around in the pool all day drinking beer, sipping Canadian Club and watching hockey. I guess that’s why I am not married. I love that I can eat what I want, drink what I want, go where I want and do whatever I want, and I never have to answer to anyone. Jerry roots for my New York teams and I root for his Maple Leafs. It’s a hell of a relationship.

Through Jerry I met Ed and his wonderful wife Carolyn. Let me tell you how generous these Winnepeggers are. Last year, they took all the net profit from their condo rentals and donated it to the local charity that helps poor children obtain back packs for Christmas, loaded with all their school supplies and uniforms. There is not a bigger heart in the world. Who does that? Only a Canadian. Unfortunately, many Canadians ARE cheap, I hate to say it. When the bar tab comes, they scamper like mice, off to the bathroom or pretending to be talking on the phone, and the Americans usually get stuck paying the bill. But not Ed. He took a wholeDSCF9744 bundle of us out one night for dinner, and the tab was well over $1000 and he refused to let any of us contribute. Most of the charities in town are organized by Canadians, and they spend the majority of their time helping others. Anna at the clinic, Gary with the school, Joselyn and Sylvie with the girl scouts; I could go on for hours about these incredible Canadians and how they go out of their way to help the less fortunate. Claude and his lovely wife Silvia, known by many as the Mayor of Hermosa, are the founders of the Playa Hermosa Association, which does everything from cleaning the beaches, to rescuing monkeys and planting new trees as well. God Bless em.

DSCF0046There are so many great Canadians, you gotta get down here and meet them. Daryl and Cheryl, Nadene and Roland, Herb and Donna, John and Faith; they are all from Calgary. We got the French Canadians too; Alain, Richard, Clermont and their beautiful wives, but Jean Pierre will always have a special place in my heart. He floated down here on a sail boat 26 years ago and just never left. He bought a little house on the beach and built it into a 22 room lodge called the El Velero, one of my favorite places on earth. He then sold it to another Canadian, Big Mike and his wife Leslie. As anyone who has ever spent 5 minutes with me knows, this hotel is my second office, where I spend almost every morning enjoying my breakfast on the beach and every afternoon sucking back cocktails for sunset. Even my partner Chris and his daughter Lisa are from Vancouver; I can honestly say that if it wasn’t for Canadians I wouldn’t be here. Possibly my all timeOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA favorite Canadian is my good friend Cheryl. She moved down here as a very young woman and started one of the most successful rental agencies in town. Aside from being incredibly beautiful, inside and out, she is just one of the neatest people you will ever meet, and a fantastic business woman. She is probably the most eligible bachelorette in Costa Rica, but guys you have no chance. I mean, if I couldn’t close the deal and win her over, you ain’t got a prayer LOL.

So many of these people all seem to have a similar story. They came down on vacation, fell in love with paradise, and never left. I find it intriguing when people try to deter someone from chasing their dreams. Maybe they are jealous of how happy we are here, or maybe they are just so miserable that they have to find something wrong with everything. Last week an article came out and it was pathetic how many people forwarded it to me or posted it on my Facebook. It was as if they wanted, NEEDED to find a DSCF9962reason to justify their fear of moving here or try to stop someone else from living out their dream. It is baffling how many people spend their entire waking moments focusing on negative stuff; I just don’t have time for it, I am too busy enjoying life. The article said that it was cheaper to retire in Alberta than Costa Rica; some magazine had done a big study. My first thought was; where is Alberta? Seriously, who on Gods green earth wants to live where it is dark half the year and 40 degrees below zero? You need a dog sled to go to the grocery store, but HEH, ITS CHEAP!!! I guess Arctic living is a real bargain these days. I wonder if realtors send out coupons in the mail; BUY ONE IGLOO GET THE SECOND ONE FREE.

People ask me all the time, “how long did it take you to adjust?” Hmmmmmmmm. Five minutes. No kidding. Costa Rica weather is warm, and I like tropical. Costa Rica has cold beer; count me in. Gorgeous beaches? Check. Beautiful people? Best in the world. Yup. I’m adjusted. I might not be the smartest guy in the world but I have always had the ability toHotel el velero just make a decision. So many people spend so much time TRYING to find a reason NOT to do something. I have never been that way; I have always been a see it / act on it kind of guy. I knew within 5 minutes of my first beer at El Velero I was going to love Costa Rica and I wanted to live here. I didn’t need to test the water for a year to see if I could handle it. I knew it was for me. I didn’t worry about all the stories you hear on line of the people who supposedly came here and couldn’t make it, I don’t compare myself to failures. Besides why would you spend time reading about it, when you can just come here and see for yourself? That’s like trying to learn about animals by visiting the zoo or watching Discovery Channel. You gotta get out into the jungle. Too many people live in a crawlspace, I feel sorry for people who can’t make up their minds.

DSCF9949As they say in The Shawshank Redemption: You gotta get busy living or get busy dying. I’ll take the living part, thank you very much. Costa Rica is not cheap, but it surely isn’t expensive, and there is so much more to this place than the cost of electricity or Haagen Dazs ice cream. It’s about quality of life, friendships and good times. It’s about Pura Vida and this amazing lifestyle. If you want cheap, I guess you gotta move to Canada. Say hello to the Walruses for me.

Well, there is another rain storm brewing in the distance, but I’m not worried about the weather.  They say lightning never strikes twice so I know now that I am bulletproof. I think I am just going to grab myself a cold Pilsen, take the dogs for a walk while swinging my golf club in the air. Bring it on man, bring it on! Hockey season starts soon too so I gotta run, gotta practice my singing to make Jerry proud. “Oh Canada, Our Home and Native Land.” Take care. Hope to see you soon. Hurry down.Last Photo

Michael

P.S.  A few weeks ago, one of the greatest Canadians I have ever known died suddenly in a small plane crash. Riki Gourgeon was the most positive, upbeat, energetic man I have ever met. He just willed people to succeed and you wanted to be around him. I miss you my friend. R.I.P. Thanks for all your advice and support.

God Bless You and your family.

Tank Tops Flip Flops Newsletter edition no. 27

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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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