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My 100th Issue!

Full cover July 2018July 2018 is my 100th Quepolandia layout! Thank You Ana, Pat, & Dave for giving me the opportunity to work at such a fun & satisfying job. Thank You to all the Readers, Advertisers, and Contributors for keeping the Quepolandia alive & growing for 20 years. Looking forward to issue #200!



Shambling through paradise headerAfter 15 years at the beach, I was back in the city of San Isidro del General. I had come full circle from the 1990s. The place had not changed much, except there were double the people and triple the vehicles. This made things difficult, as the bicycle had previously been my preferred means of transport. Over the years I liked to joke that I was signing my death warrant every time I went out for a bike ride on our narrow potholed roads. Now it was even more daunting with more cars, more people—and with the addition of cell phones and texting, already easily distracted drivers were all potential killers.

Back in the 90s I had ridden just about every road that existed in the San Isidro/Perez Zeledon vicinity. I had just gone through a messy divorce, and cycling was a fantastic outlet. To give you an idea of how avid a cyclist I was, I would sit my son and daughter, then aged 5 and 4, across the long frame of the bicycle, make sure they had solid holds on the frame, and pedal them the 5 miles or so up and down hills, through traffic, into the center of town to drop them off to their mom on the occasions they stayed with me. My daughter had a child’s bike helmet, my son preferred to wear a too-large motorcycle helmet that a previous housemate had left behind. (This is one of the many things that made Costa Rica great in my eyes—had I cruised around a busy city street in the states in this manner I may well have ended up facing a panel of child protection services agents and been stripped down to an occasional supervised visit; here, where it was not unusual to see a family of four hanging on to one another while puttering down the road on a 125cc motorcycle, no one batted an eye).

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Fiddlin’ Around – May/June 2018

Fiddlin'Around headerUsually at some point in my articles I nag you folks to get out and listen to real people playing music together, and there are good reasons for my nagging! Now of course this is partly self-serving, as I play around here a lot and I totally prefer to play for people as opposed to empty chairs. Most musicians love it when an audience is receptive and having fun and getting into the music, but it’s also because something special happens during live performances. It’s a one-time-only kind of deal that will never be repeated in exactly the same way. A live show is always unique, no matter how rehearsed or scripted or pre-meditated it might be. Part of it is the energy and spirit coming from the audience. Part of it is the time and place. Part of it is the communication between the musicians. Maybe it’s about the moon or how much sleep the players got the night before or how many cups of coffee they’ve had or whether the guitar player is getting along with the drummer, but it will never happen exactly the same way again.

Edison and his phonograph

Edison and his phonograph

Thanks to Thomas Edison, a recording device was invented which brought music and speech to listeners with the proper equipment. Later, flat records evolved which remained the playback medium for the next 60 years or so. There were reel to reel tapes, and cassettes and 8 tracks and CDs. The radio brought previously recorded music to the masses, and nowadays there are many ways to hear music through the internet, whether it be live broadcasts or the recording some guy with a ukulele made in his basement. With a click on your computer you can hear radio stations from all over the planet, or download stuff from years past or last nights’ show. But standing in front of a speaker listening to a band playing live is still a special and wonderful thing.

I like doing studio work, but it requires a different set of skills, equipment and approach than playing live. Many times I have been called in to a studio to play just a few pertinent parts, never really hearing the whole song or knowing what it was about. The recording part of my career started back when actual tape was used to record onto, and the mixing part was as important to the ultimate sound as was the musical content. Sometimes we tried to record as many of the instruments and vocals at the same time, striving for a ‘live’ sound. Sometimes all the parts would be recorded separately onto their own track, cleaned up later of any unwanted noise, adjusting the volume levels and tone of the instruments or vocals, then it would all be finalized in the mix. Engineers who were really good at mixing would make notes about little details—where to turn up the singers volume for 5 seconds, or erase an unwanted cymbal crash or brighten up the horn parts for a short time. Back then, when you made a final mix it often involved several people manipulating the tracks, and sometimes the mix was inspired and everyone worked beautifully together. Sometimes it was lackluster and stiff or over-produced. I can remember the tension and cooperation between the studio engineers and the musicians when doing a final mix—there might be half a dozen people hovering over the mixing board, each with their role to play. Now you can do anything you dream up in the studio and there is no ‘final’ mix that can’t be changed. If someone sings one note that is flat, you can isolate that note on the computer, correct the pitch and save that adjustment to the computer and never have to worry about it again. Or worry about the singer hitting the right note. All the technical advances have in some respects made recording much easier, but you can also lose that ‘live’ enthusiasm and spontaneity in the process and end up with robot music.

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Bahn Mi

Chef's Corner logo
First we must thank John Montagu (1718-1792), the 4th Earl of Sandwich, who had the genius idea of encasing cold meats in between two slices of bread so that he didn’t break from the gambling tables for a snack.

Of all the inventive meat-and-bread creations since this historical milestone, the Vietnamese Banh Mi is one of my favorites. Fresh and crusty bread, and the sweet pickled carrots and cucumber (daikon too if available) and cilantro are key, the rest can vary according to taste.

This recipe is the authentic street vendor version.

For the bread

About 9 inches of fresh French baguette cut lengthwise leaving both halves still attached. 

For the pickle

  • ¾ cup of shredded carrots
  • ¾ cup of thinly sliced, peeled and seeded cucumber
  • ½ cup shredded daikon, if available
  • 2 tablespoons of rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt

Mix all of the above and let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes, drain before using.
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Meet The Sloth Institute Costa Rica

The Sloth InstituteBy Deanna Fisher, TSI Marketing Director

You may have noticed the Sloth Mobile or members of Team Sloth around Manuel Antonio and wondered more of our purpose. Founded in 2014, The Sloth Institute Costa Rica (TSI) strives to expand scientific knowledge and education about the charismatic sloth species found in Costa Rica. The goal: to enhance sloths well-being and assure their conservation around the globe.

Rihanna the slothUtilizing the skills and passion of Team Sloth members has provided TSI the opportunity to expand our goals and vision with other like-minded institutions dedicated to preserving sloth’s place in the wild.

TSI’s ongoing dedication to research, specializing in the behavior, health and welfare of recently released, wild and captive sloths, has allowed for increased understanding of proper care and conservation needs of the species. With this new knowledge and successful reintroductions via Saving Sloths Together with Toucan Rescue Ranch, TSI continues to work to shift previous belief that hand-raised and captive sloths could not flourish in the wild. With every new release, we are confident in our belief that together, we can save sloths.

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One of Nature’s Many Puzzles

By Jack Ewing

Fluffy yellow flowers carpeted the trail. How beautiful. Then the odor overwhelmed my nostrils. Garlic! “Oh my god,” I exclaimed turning to my friend Juan Ramón. “Are these flowers from the ajo tree?”

Juan laughed. “There it is right over there,” pointing to a tall, thick, straight tree about 20 meters off the trail. “Haven’t you ever seen the flowers before? I know you love the tree.”

As you can see in the photo the tree is not only enormous, but also tall, thick, and straight. The wood is strong and very resistant to water. Ranchers sought them out, felled them and used the wood to make boards for corrals. It was also one of the preferred woods used for railroad ties when Costa Rica’s railroads were being built. Other uses include structural supports for bridges and buildings. In the last century so many of them were cut that very few are left.

40 meter tall Ajo tree

40 meter tall Ajo tree

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The Neighbor Next Door

Please don’t be the neighbor the next door. The one that always looks angry, frustrated, and troubled. The one that cannot rally a pleasantry such as “good morning” or “hello”. For life is exponentially better when we choose to be respectful and caring for those around us. When we as individuals live too much in our heads we go through our days with only ourselves in mind. To think of just ourselves is a path to no where. If motivation to action is purely with selfish intentions in mind, the outcome will always and only lead to a temporary satisfaction. We are all in this world together and thus we must rise above the so called “struggles” of the day. Bob Marley once wrote, “every man thinks his burden is the heaviest.” When we engage our minds and understand that every single one of us is struggling, has periods of ups and downs, and are all simply working toward a better tomorrow, life will begin to flow more easily. Modern day living is racing toward a more alienating state of being particularly with “social media.” How is it possible to feel more alienated or lost when information and activity is so close at hand? The answer lies within our ties to community. The physical and mental needs to feel part of a tribe is as old as our genetics themselves.

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What Are the Languages Spoken in Costa Rica?

Manuel Antonio Spanish School logoBy Rebecca Fox

Although Spanish, or Castellano, is the official language of Costa Rica, you can find other living languages spoken here on a daily basis. Before Spanish conquerors arrived in the early 16th century, a great variety of different languages were spoken by the indigenous population.

Indigenous communities in the Northern province of Guanacaste spoke languages derived from the Nahuatl language family and were strongly influenced by Aztec culture. The Southern inhabitants used languages from the Chibcha language family, and are thought to have developed these languages after they migrated to Central America from the areas that are now Colombia and Venezuela. There are five different pre-Columbian languages that have survived to the modern day.

  • Maléku or Guatuso is spoken by around 600 people across three towns in the province of Alajuela.
  • Cabécar is the indigenous language with the most native speakers in the country, approximately 10,000. Speakers of Cabécar reside mainly in the indigenous reserves of the Talamanca mountain range.
  • Bribri is the only indigenous language currently taught at university level in Costa Rica and boasts around 6,000 native speakers.
  • Ngäbe or Guaymi is spoken by more than 100,000 people on both sides of the Costa Rica-Panama border, with most speakers residing in Panama.
  • Bokotá is the dialect of Buglere spoken in Costa Rica. Buglere is spoken in the same border regions as Ngäbe and the two languages are closely related.

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That’s Fishin’- May/June 2018

That's Fishing header

You are visiting Costa Rica at an excellent time with less people and the start of our afternoon rains to cool the air and give the jungles the water they need to spring back to life after the dry season.

Tuna!With the rains, our Ocean temperatures now begin to cool which makes way for some of the best Tuna fishing of the year. Big Yellow Fin Tuna with a few Big Eye Tuna mixed in can be targeted 20+ miles off the coast during a full day Offshore trip. Smaller fish in the 20-50lb range can be caught using artificial lures such as Bucktail Jigs, Tuna Bullets and even dark coloured Bass worms fished on a Jig head have been working great this season! For the bigger Tuna Livebait is always the first choice and a Live Bonito takes some beating but Blue Runner, Goggle Eyes and Sardines can all work well too. Good livebait and the right Tuna school will put you in with a chance of catching an 80lb plus fish and there are many larger fish out there too with many 100lb plus fish landed this year and even some 200lb plus monsters. Wicked Tuna stuff for sure!

We might not get the Sailfish numbers in May & June that we do December through April, however, we see Sailfish on most Offshore trips, there will be a few Dorado out there and it is an excellent time to fish for Marlin.

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Welcome to Canton de Quepos

Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Tourism of the Canton de Quepos logoBy Harry Bodaan, CCIT President
Phone: 2519-9130

As President of the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Tourism of the Canton de Quepos, I would like to welcome you to the Canton de Quepos.

We are a prosperous Canton of about 520 km2 with 33,000 inhabitants and one of the most popular destinations in Costa Rica. Every year we have approximately 700,000 visitors of which more than 500,000 people visit our Manuel Antonio National Park alone. Our four main industries are the Tourism, Palm Oil, Commercial Fishing, and the Marine Industries. No less than 13 of the 15 main reasons why tourists visit Costa Rica in the first place can be found right here in our Canton. Only a volcano and a museum are missing!

Thanks to very close cooperation between the local private sector, Municipality, and Central Government, our Canton is one of the safest in the entire country. Just like in other areas and countries, this does not mean you can let your guard down especially in the bustling Manuel Antonio area.

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Let’s Talk About Birds – The Resplendent Quetzal

Resplendent QuetzalResplendent Quetzals are startling emerald jewels of the cloud forest. They shimmer from one shade to another, blending almost magically with the wet green background of their constantly misty high altitude homes. Their color seems ephemeral for a reason; quetzals are not green at all. It’s hard to believe, but quetzals are actually brown.

They are colored by melanin, the same pigment that causes tanning in humans. Highly magnified, quetzal feathers are alternately translucent and dark brown. The magic comes from melanin pigment stripes regularly spaced 5,400 angstroms apart causing interference that “traps” most colors of light but reflects green light, which bounces back to your eye.

A similar interference pattern with different spacing on Morpho butterfly wings are what make them appear blue.

The optimal viewing season corresponds with the breeding season which varies from February through July over the quetzal’s range in the mountain cloud forests from Southern Mexico to Panama.

Furnishing Your Vacation Rental Property

Design Wise logoThere are vacation rental properties, and there are great vacation rental properties. Make yours stand out from the crowd.

By Shelagh Duncan

Owning a great rental property can make you stand out from the competition and will ensure that your property is rented as often as you’d like it to be. This will also ensure that you not only get top dollar, but good reviews and repeat customers. There are two types of rental properties—those that are used by the owners, and those that are not. Often those used by the owners are favored as they tend to be kept cleaner, better equipped and more up to date. Regardless of whether you choose to use your rental or not, let’s help you to create a great rental property.

Blue sectionalFURNITURE

Choosing your furniture carefully will give you better returns on your investment in the long run. Do your homework—and set a realistic budget! The rule of thumb when buying furniture is to buy the best quality you can afford, even for a rental property. If you use a local company to supply a ‘package’ of furniture for your rental and you chose one within your budget, you will benefit from their expertise in coordinating all the pieces, and they usually will deliver and set it up for you too. It may not be as personalized as selecting each piece yourself, but you can save yourself a lot of stress, time, and probably money in the end.

If you like decorating and prefer to do it yourself then the most important items to concentrate on are the sofas and the mattresses. If your renters are not comfortable sitting or sleeping they will not be happy, and unhappy renters give bad reviews! At the store, I have had many conversations with renters who have had bad experiences like this because there is nowhere for them to relax in comfort—and it’s their vacation! Cheap sofas can become uncomfortable quickly and start to look shabby. Better quality sofas will have superior construction and use durable fabrics that are easy to clean.

Royal Palm Interiors

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DO NOT Feed the Wildlife!

KSTR logoBy Karma CaseyMonkey eating a banana

Hello again Quepolandia readers! Its Karma, the spokes-kid for Kids Saving The Rainforest. Today, we are going to be talking a little bit about feeding wildlife, and how it affects them. You might think feeding wildlife is harmless fun, but you are actually hurting the animals and putting them in danger. Here are ten reasons not to feed wildlife you may not have thought of.

  1. Monkeys are very susceptible to diseases on human hands. They can even die from the bacteria transferred off your hand that has no effect on you. We can also get diseases from them.
  2. Migration to human-populated areas increases the risk of dog attacks, electrocutions, and being hit by cars.
  3. Abnormal feeding leads to aggressive behavior.
  4. Contrary to the stereotype, bananas are terrible for monkeys! Bananas have a lot of sugar in them . The sugar leads to aggression, sugar addiction, and sometimes their teeth will even rot out!
  5. Feeding wildlife creates a dangerous dependency on humans. That diminishes the animal’s survival abilities. Their whole lives are based around finding food in the wild, and feeding them changes their habits of looking for wild foods such as seeds, insects, small lizards, and fruits growing in trees.
  6. Contact with humans facilitates poaching and the pet trade.
  7. Pregnant monkeys who are fed bananas, will not give birth to healthy babies. The babies will be malnourished, or die before birth.
  8. Monkeys need to travel an average of 17 kilometers each day to be in good physical condition. Once people start feeding them, they stop traveling for their natural foraging.
  9. Not only do we pass disease on to wildlife, but they can pass diseases to us as well.
  10. The Law of the Wildlife says that it is prohibited to feed wild animals unless they are going to die. This is the rainforest. There is plenty of food everywhere, and animals don’t need our help to get it!

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¿Qué Pasa en Quepos? – May/June 2018

May/June 2018 coverBienvenidos… Welcome and thank you for coming. The Southern Pacific has so much to offer we are sure you will not be disappointed. Whether you are exploring our many National parks, fishing for a record Marlin, enjoying our spectacular beaches or many exhilarating tours. This is the place to DO IT. After a day of adventure don’t forget to pamper yourself with massage or Reiki. Maybe even a private chef to prepare your meals. Remember it is your vacation. You deserve it.

May/June is the beginning of green season and the turtle season. Happy Mother’s Day and Father’s Day to all. World Oceans Day is June 8th so while enjoying the beach make a habit of bringing something in which to collect some trash and leave the beach better than when you arrived.

June also kicks off World Cup Soccer. Costa Rica’s national team will be traveling to Russia to defend their remarkable performance from Brazil in 2014. I have never ever seen a whole country come together in such a celebration of true pride and joy. Catch all the action and celebrations at Jolly Roger and Sancho’s on the mountain, Double Hook at the marina, or Fuego in Dominical.  So get out and be part of history as Costa Rica goes all the way in 2018. 


Thank you to Paul Gerace for the incredible rainbow photo for the May/June cover. We also want to welcome our new advertisers to our pages Ask Zipy, Canton de Quepos Chamber of Commerce, Spice of Life, & Tony Corona Tours.

We hope you enjoy this magazine and it helps guide you through this enchanting paradise we call home. You can always follow and share us here or facebook.com/quepolandia. We appreciate and welcome your comments.

Peace and Enjoy…D

Fiddlin’ Around – April 2018

Fiddlin'Around headerYou can tune a guitar. You can play a tune on it. Some people can ‘carry’ a tune. Some people couldn’t sing in tune if their life depended on it. You can tune an instrument with ‘perfect pitch’ or with ‘relative pitch’. There are tuning forks and electronic tuners. What does it all mean?? Well, basically it’s all about adjusting an instrument to play a note which everyone has agreed upon. A pitch that is defined by the number of vibrations per second that are produced. Electronic tunerThat’s what is meant when someone says they are tuning to standard A 440 Hz—they have adjusted the A note above middle C on their violin or their oboe or their harp to produce 440 cycles. But if you think it’s difficult to get a group of folks to agree on where to go for lunch, then imagine trying to get millions of musicians throughout history to agree on a common note to tune their instruments to. I’m not even going to mention Middle Eastern tuning, or Oriental, or Indian, or even Louisiana home-grown Cajun music!

First I’m gonna talk about orchestras. There are four different designations within an orchestra. The String section, the largest of the four, includes the upright bass, (the lowest in pitch) cello, viola, and violin. Since the strings make up more than half of the total musicians in an orchestra, the violins are usually separated into first and second sections. The first section players generally deal with the slightly more important and difficult parts, and there could be as many as 15 violinists in each section.

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