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How Not To Be Obnoxious to the Local Population

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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

"Try not to tell people how to run their country, get workers to be more efficient, solve government problems, or criticize slowness in doing things." In Latin America things generally move slowly and you must be very patient. Sometimes at government offices you have to wait in line while the attendant is away brushing her teeth, polishing her fingernails or putting on make-up. If you complain, you're liable to get poorer service. There's a feeling among some workers that if they work too fast, the value of the work is lessened or depreciated, and not really appreciated by the one who is receiving or paying for it. I attribute the real reason to be a lack of motivation, which though to a lesser extent, also exists in private enterprise.

"Try not to gush or give out undue compliments." Those receiving them are not dumb. Sincerity that is false usually is not rewarded with friendship. Flattering that is too extended or visible doesn't produce good results.

"Be careful when you make in public to a parent or friend a bad comment in English about the country." You might feel you are not being heard but in Costa Rica many of the local population understand English and someone close by could hear you and feel bad about your criticism or wisecrack.

"Keep away of telling dirty jokes or conversations based on sex to try to break social ice "You will mostly be embarrassed or misunderstood. What appears to be a good joke or piece of conversation to you may be badly received by your listener. Jokes and puns in English usually do not translate well into Spanish and it's difficult to capture their real tone and meaning. Thus, if you're not sure how it might be received, don't tell it".

Good Manners Will Win You Points

Don't be boisterous or speak loudly nor blatant in manners or dress. Politeness and speaking softly go hand in hand especially among Costa Ricans. They appreciate this and consider it good manners. This is in contrast to the loud Spanish speaking Cubans, Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, Panamanians, and northern coast Colombians. This usually occurs with people living in coastal areas. Perhaps that's why Mardi Gras and such carnivals and rowdiness are much more common in coastal cities than in those inland. In highland Guatemala, the uplands of Mexico and mountain areas of other Latin-American countries, the people speak in even lower tones than they do in Costa Rica.

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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.