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The Friendliness of the Costa Ricans

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Home / Preface
5 - Costa Rica in Brief
6 - Map of Costa Rica
8 - Symbols of Costa Rica
9 - Introduction
12 - Getting a Bird's Eye View
14 - Why Choose Costa Rica?
18 - Costa Rica Has Many Firsts to its Name
22 - A Place That Accepts All Races
30 - The Friendliness of the Costa Ricans
33 - Ticos are Individualistic
35 - Ticos Are Different and Procrastinators
38 - Why Others Have Gone Abroad
42 - Specific Reasons for Leaving Home
45 - Culture Shock
48 - Enjoy Your Retirement by Adjusting
49 - Ways to Adjust to Your New Life
56 - Making Your Stay More Satifying
58 - Cost of Living
67 - Addresses and Directions
69 - Your Car and Driving
71 - How Not to Be Obnoxious to Locals
74 - Adjusting to the Weather and Climate
76 - Choosing the Right Climate for You
77 - City Living versus Country Living
79 - Where to Live in Costa Rica
82 - Living in Your American Style
84 - Top Quality Health Services
87 - Medical Centers in San José
89 - Dying in Costa Rica
91 - Security and Safety in Costa Rica
94 - Personal Experiences of Petty Thievery
98 - Sex and Romance
101 - Going into Business Yourself
105 - Expatriates Production Enterprises
110 - Expatriates Service Businesses
114 - The Business Environment
120 - Helpful Tips for the Newcomer
125 - National Holidays and Festivities
128 - Religion, Churches & Support Groups
131 - The Optimism and Health Link
133 - The 8 Point Formula for Anti-Aging
134 - Obtaining Insurance
136 - Early Colonial History in Brief
139 - English Language & Tico Expressions
144 - Misdemeanors That Are Now Felonies
146 - Closing Words
148 - Bibliography
149 - For More Information and Contacts
151 - Appendix
155 - Index

More Inherent Aspects of the Costa Ricans

The culture of the pobrecito (poor little one) has always been well ingrained in the nature of the Tico. This is evident when wrongdoers get off easily, petty thievery is overlooked, or judges are lenient with criminals in giving them short sentences. The feeling of being sorry for the perpetrators is so prevalent and has spawned so much robbery and crime that citizens are now demanding stiffer penalties and sentences for the wrongdoers. The pobrecito principle, however, is generally not applied evenly. While a poor man can get a jail sentence for stealing a pig or chicken, an influential politician or banker, who has siphoned off thousands, perhaps millions from public funds, might get off with a very light sentence. Such is life. But not all is bad. The virtues found in the people of Costa Rica far outnumber their weaknesses and that should be comforting.

In 1976, Donald Lundberg, professor of the University of Massachusetts, in his book Costa Rica noted that "the common man will often extend himself in a real way further than the higher income groups. The shopkeeper is likely to take an active, fatherly attitude toward the American housewife shopper in her selection of the right merchandise.

Ask a working man his name and the reply is 'Juan José', invariably followed by a 'a sus órdenes' (at your service). Costa Ricans seems to enjoy the handshake, the abrazo (shoulder embrace), and the physical contact with friends. Handshaking is constant, expressive and seems to be reassuring to most Costa Ricans." Kissing a man, woman or child is done on one cheek alone, not on both as in Spain. The abrazo paid-off beautifully for presidential candidate Abel Pacheco who used the abrazo very skilfully as the main theme of his 2002 campaign. Needless to say, he won the presidency of the republic by an overwhelming majority.

The Rorstads, whom I mentioned previously, said that in spite of their not knowing Spanish, when you ask in English a Spanish speaker for directions to a bus stop, he walks you about one mile to the correct bus stop, shakes your hand and walks away. And he does it smilingly. They also remarked that the "ticos are friendly and polite (except while driving). We have walked many miles and met many people. Perhaps one in twenty has not responded in a polite and friendly way. We doubt that there is a country in the world where this would be experienced.

'We were taken by the long-term experience of observing school children. It took perhaps six months before we saw an altercation between children. The same was true of adults. How do you describe a culture where people tolerate other people without resulting to violence --- pretty unusual and pretty pleasant. We recognize that there is a dark side to family relations --- abuse of women and children, but the problem is in every liveable environment.

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All texts of How to Retire Happily in Peacefull Costa Rica are copyrighted © by Frank J. Thomas Gallardo and Editorial Texto Costa Rica. We recommend to buy a hard copy of How to Retire Happily in Peacefull Costa Rica.