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Introducing Chef Edgar Vargas Romero

chef edgar vargas romeroBy Ana Lyons

One Sunday afternoon in the sleepy village of Matapalo, while enjoying a visit with my friends Susanna and Jean-Louis Mari, owners of Express del Pacifico Restaurante, a “new face in town” entered to have a cold beverage and some conversation.  After exchanging pleasantries, we found out that Edgar Vargas is the new executive chef at Parador Hotel’s restaurants in Manuel Antonio – enjoying his day off in our little slice of paradise.

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PAWS: What a difference an organization can make!

pawsBy Holly Myers

I’ve been coming to the Quepos area for the past 10 years and moved here over two years ago. As many of us that travel here, I fell in love with the climate, the beaches and the abundance of wildlife. However, the one thing that always broke my heart was the number of street dogs and cats and the lack of care the animals received. I was saddened that there wasn’t any way to systematically help these underfed animals that were sleeping on the street and in poor health.

Then PAWS (Pets of Aguirre Welfare Shelter) was formed. PAWS  is a non-profit organization and its sole purpose is to help improve the overall wellbeing of the animals in our area. PAWS Mission Statement is: To provide no-kill solutions to reduce the number of homeless cats and dogs through education, rehabilitation and re-homing. This non-profit has three major goals. The first is to provide low cost spay and neutering clinics in our community and the surrounding areas of our canton. Since PAWS began 1 ½ and years ago, well over 400 animals have been spayed or neutered at various low-cost clinics. Our local veterinarians have graciously given their time and resources to perform these procedures at the PAWS sponsored clinics. This effort has greatly improved the health of these animals as well a preventing the birth of unwanted litters of puppies and kittens. On average, PAWS organizes a major castration clinic every 6 to 8 weeks with smaller clinics interspersed when needed. PAWS has begun a program of  early castration of puppies and kittens before they are adopted assuring that they will not reproduce when mature. One $25 donation will spay or neuter 2 of these puppies or kittens!

According to the Humane Society of the US, a single female cat can have three litters a year with an average of five kittens per litter. In only seven years, she and her offspring could potentially produce 420,000 cats. In just six years, one female dog and her brood can produce as many as 67,000 puppies!

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U.S. Ambassador Visits Manuel Antonio

by Tere Chaviano & Linda Wilson

A special meeting with US Ambasador Anne Slaughter Andrew, and US Consul General Paul Birdsall, was hosted by the Chamber of Commerce of Aguirre. This meeting was at the invitation of the Security Committee of the Chamber, arranged at the request of Chamber President, Harry Bodaan. The focus of this meeting was to discuss and determine how to improve security and safety of US citizens, tourists, and investors living abroad in Costa Rica, and particularly, to discuss the Central Pacific area’s concerns with rising incidents of violent crimes, and problems concerning the current justice system.

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How to Beat an Unfair Traffic Ticket

By Lic. Hiro Yatabe, Attorney at Law & Public Notary

This article aims to provide information about what to do if you are given a transit fine that you think you do not deserve. Or, at least, which legal strategy you can follow to delay or avoid the payment.

NOTE: This procedure of “IMPUGNACION DE MULTA DE TRANSITO”, works mainly (or only) for fines where there is not a definite proof of your responsibility of committing the infringement. Your chances of winning are scarce, in cases of: getting caught with the radar driving at 120 km an hour, speeding in front of a school or driving under the influence of alcohol (and you are tested), among others.

After you are given the fine, you have 10 days to appeal it (IMPUGNACION DE MULTA DE TRANSITO).

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The Duke and Duchess of Londres

Merle-&-Alexander today

Merle & Alexander today

by Steve Huffstutlar

In 1984, I was assigned to work in the dusty, smelly, broken down Pacific banana port of Quepos, which seemed to me then to be the veritable armpit of Costa Rica — it was far from being the shiny tourist paradise it is today. That year, it was my good fortune to be recruited to organize the first oil palm production cooperative in Costa Rica, thus ending the United Fruit Company/Chiquita Banana monopoly and making plantation workers into land owners.

Quepos had been in a gentle downward transition since the 1940’s, when the United Fruit Company had given up farming bananas after the Panama banana disease had somehow followed them from Limon. Oil palm took the place of the bananas, but was much less profitable and employed many fewer people. The company railroad tracks were torn out in 1970 and the first vehicle road to the outside world was built in its place.

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On Being a Supporter of the Colts Football Team

By Anita Kiesel

Today’s mail brought the October issue of  SOUTHERN LIVING.  Page after page of the magazine had pictures of pumpkins, trees and shrubs clothed in fall foliage, recipes for using the bounty of fall vegetable gardens and descriptions of tours designed for the traveler to experience colorful country scenes.  The magazine did not mention what seems to be indicative of autumn here in Indiana – football season.  On Friday nights, high school rivalries dominate the television screen.  On Saturday one has a choice of Purdue, Indiana University and Ball State football games.  Since I am not a alumna of any of these schools, I have decided that my loyalty will be directed to the Indianapolis Colts.

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How Wind Power Works

By Mary Jones

You don’t have to become a geek to know how wind power works

Wind is the result of the uneven heating of the Earth by the sun and the fact that temperatures are invariably attempting to reach an equilibrium (heat is obviously moving to a cooler area). With the rising price of energy and the damage to the environment from standard fuels, it is starting to be equitable to harvest this renewable resource.

The advantages of wind energy are that it’s virtually free (once you purchase the equipment) and there’s no pollution. The disadvantages include the fact it’s not a constant source (the speed varies and many times it is insufficient to produce electricity) and it typically requires about one acre of land.

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“Giving and Serving” Program

delphinesThe School “Centro Educativo Los Delfines” from Quepos; participated in the annually Olympic Race for children sponsored by Program Giving and Serving.

Josué the physical education teacher and parents took a group of children all the way to Coronado in San José at the Olympic Facilities. This participation was possible thanks to the financial support from Scott Cutter and Sol Scharf who provided private transportation for the kids and parents. The kids had a fantastic time and also had the opportunity to participate in the video clip that won the Central American Games San José 2013.
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Quepos’ Finest Bounty

By Ollie Bass

Much has been said about the beauty of Manuel Antonio and our little corner of paradise.  From the mountains to the beaches, the sunset views, the rivers and waterfalls,  the selva with all the varieties of flora and fauna what more could you ask for.  This article is not about that.

We all know about the multitude of activities available here in Quepolandia.   Surfing,  whitewater rafting,  horseback riding,  canopy tours,  world class sport fishing,   yoga,  ocean kayaking,  scuba diving…….  This article is not about that either.

What I want to write about is available every day, and often overlooked. We have in Quepolandia some of the finest bounty, the most delicious food available anywhere.  The intersection of fine ingredients and culinary artistry that exists here is exceptional.

Think about it, tropical fruits and fresh vegetables:  mango, avocado, tomatoes, strawberries, bananas, pineapples, lettuces. Seafood: snapper, wahoo, shrimp, river prawns, lobster, mahi mahi, tuna, robalo, calimari, mussels from New Zealand, fresh and smoked trout. Meats – pork,  chicken, now even beef, imported lamb. Fresh baked breads. Dairy and cheese products. Fine wine. Gourmet coffee. All here in fresh abundance.

Prepare any of the above with the creativity brought to Quepolandia by chefs from all corners of the world: Italian, French, Indonesian, Thai, German, Polish, Mexican, Californian, Japanese and you end up with exquisite dishes. Now fuse this. Morph it. Imagine the possibilities of tropical ingredients and knowledgeable traveled experienced imaginative innovation. We have that here.

Think of this as an invitation or maybe a reminder. We have some of the best cuisine available in the world. Get out and try some at our wonderful restaurants.


La Pura Vida de Costa Rica

By David Gee, El señor del norte

The sun played well its roll today. It changed a cold desert into a less cold but glowing desert at sunrise. It back-lit the Organ Mountains. Then it warmed the desert floor and inched it’s way into dark corners and brightened them and warmed them. The day grew warmer and brighter with each passing hour.

At mid day it was a delight to have lunch at a sidewalk cafe. Alone, yet not really alone, lunch was leisurely and interesting. People came and went. Some spoke, others not. Some looked terribly busy. I wondered how their day was going.

Rush hour ushered in what could tentatively be called a hot afternoon.

By sundown all was warm. The white patches of cloud which drifted into the valley late in the afternoon were being underscored with heavy dark rain clouds. I doubt there was water in them. They just looked threatening.

Shadows grew long and stretched endlessly up the gentle slopes away from the Casitas and towards the Organs. Suddenly a puff of air. . . . and it was cool. How fickle the sun made the breeze. I made some hot tea and sat in my chair on the porch to watch the Organs change colors. I drifted off…..

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Costa Rican Dog Days

ApolloBy David Seyhun

So about three month’s ago, I decided I’m going to Quepos for a nice extended stay.  There’s nothing going on in the states and some years before I had visited the area and told myself I’d be back to do more exploring.  So here I am, with my dog  Apollo.

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A Sunday Morning with the Kiesels

By Anita Kiesel

I awaken early and head for the kitchen.  My plans are to fix a delicious gourmet breakfast for me and my husband Hank.  We will dine leisurely, enjoy the Sunday paper and watch our many feathered friends as they visit the two bird feeders  we have in our yard.  It’s lovely entertainment.

My husband Hank wanders into the kitchen, walks to the window for a closer look at the birds.  He says, “Oh look, our first robin!  Spring is on its way!”  We both note that the robin seems extremely happy as it munches on a juicy worm.  We are happy.  Everything is right with the world.  We sit down for breakfast.  And then the drama begins.

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Adaptation

By Solar Costa Rica

As a solar energy company, we hear from a lot of people who want to reduce their energy bills.  Some, like us, want to “save the world” by using renewable energy, others want solar or battery backup because of blackouts and excessive power bills.  Either way, the first step is to look at how much energy is being consumed in the first place.

Solar energy does not reduce your power consumption.  It simply supplies electricity from a different source.  The equipment for capturing solar energy is expensive, which means that the first step is to reduce your need for energy, thereby reducing the size—and cost—of the system.

Even if you don’t plan to invest in a solar or battery backup system, taking stock of the construction of your home or business and your energy use patterns is a great idea that may allow you to dramatically reduce your bills and increase your comfort!  Humans are very adaptable animals; some simple adaptations to your home and habits could significantly improve your day-to-day experience.

Solar Costa Rica

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