VAT and Other CR Negatives

The featured photo today has nothing to do with the article, but I liked it and never found the right place to use it in all my reports on Xandari. It is a Rufous-capped Warbler peeking around a leaf in the Xandari Gardens. Now my post on both negatives and positives of living in Costa Rica   🙂

NEGATIVES

This last month we got a new tax in Costa Rica, as if we didn’t have enough, the “Value Added Tax” was passed by the legislators to replace a 13% Sales Tax on a limited number of items which in essence just expands the sales tax to almost all items and even services now, still at 13%. For example, my National Healthcare Insurance fee (based on my income) was 13% more this month with the VAT as was my meal in a restaurant last night. The Costa Rica Star English Language online newspaper had this article: Crazy New Tax Laws in Costa Rica That you Need to Know About. And remember that this is on top of one of the highest import taxes (Trump would love) making cars very expensive here. BUT, we have no income tax and one of the lowest property taxes in the world. So, maybe it evens out?

Yet Christopher in his “Live in Costa Rica Blog” had this to say recently with his biggest specific complaint being the economy of Costa Rica:

Negative Things About the “Real” Costa Rica
http://www.liveincostarica.com/blog/2019/06/negative-things-about-the-real-costa-rica.html?

Also from that blog is this interesting article, not necessarily negative, but for a lot of negative/critical Americans it is:

How Difficult is it for Retired Expats to Have Costa Rica Friends?      https://www.liveincostarica.com/blog/2019/07/how-difficult-is-it-for-retired-expats-to-make-costa-rican-friends.html

It really boils down to your attitude towards locals as an expat. One reason I liked Costa Rica better than Panama for retirement is because the retired Americans are not quite as segregated into English-speaking groups here as in Panama, nor is the country as “Americanized” as Panama, but unfortunately we do have segregation here too and some Americans who never intend to even try learning Spanish. (I’m not very good, but I try daily.)

Now as one who also tries to stay positive I cannot complete this article on negatives without at least two positive!   🙂

POSITIVES

Two stories of interest for anyone considering a move to CR or any other country: (1) About a man who came 50 years ago as a Peace Corp worker and still lives here and   (2) Another useful article on “Why move to Costa Rica?”

This link takes you to the online English Language Magazine, El Residente, for the organization Association of Residents of Costa Rica, ARCR that has articles like these in every issue. It is free for members and if thinking of moving here, I encourage you to join ARCR. They will be your biggest help when you finally take the big step! And that’s another positive!   🙂

¡Pura Vida!

 

A Timeline on Moving to Costa Rica

Over the last 5 years I have shared many details of my timeline of moving to Costa Rica, but it is always good to see someone else’s especially a couple’s and one of the best I’ve seen recently is

Our Moving to Costa Rica Timeline: All the Steps Along the Way, by Rob Evans

Version 2Now that link should take you directly to the article but if it doesn’t, then note that it is in this month’s or June 10, 2019 issue of the Newsletter from my friends Paul & Gloria: Retire for Less in Costa Rica    which link should take you to the issue of their newsletter with Rob’s article. Just scroll down to the article. And by the way, if you are seriously considering a move here, you need to subscribe to Paul & Gloria’s newsletter for so much of the little nitty-gritty practicalities and also to learn how they save money much better than me.

The Evans’ did not use ARCR like me and did a lot of other things differently. It will inspire you if you are one of my readers considering a move here. Check it out! There are many different ways to get here!  🙂

Living with Bugs!

For anyone considering retirement or otherwise living in Costa Rica, be forewarned that you must learn to live with the 300,000+ species of insects here on this land bridge between North and South America (with insects from both continents!). The featured image at top is of two “Jewel Bugs” or “Metallic Shield Bugs” I photographed in Corcovado National Park. Below photo I made this morning of a “Leafcutter Ant” on my terrace carrying a flower petal (bougainvillea) instead of a piece of leaf, which is common.

IMG_2503-A-WEB
Leafcutter Ant on my Terrace this morning.

Many of the insects that pester me seem to come in waves; like just before rainy season the little long-winged fliers that dropped or left their long beige wings all over my bathroom, or the first two weeks of rain was the invasion of houseflies (which Deep Woods OFF doesn’t seem to affect!), and right now there are hundreds of tiny little black & green beetles on the walls, around the lights and all over me! I even got one going down my ear the other night – ugh! They don’t bite, but a bother! Too small to photograph.

My biggest deterrent to the many kinds of bugs are the Geckos that live in literally every room of my house and I think eat most types of insects. From my first day here I have tried to photograph the larger insects (some are just too tiny) and you can see my collection in the gallery named INSECTS CR under OTHER WILDLIFE in the main gallery. There are more than 100 species of insects in my gallery and especially interesting or unusual are those in the sub-gallery Other Insects, like the above Jewel Bugs, many of which I have not been able to identify. And all of which serve a purpose in the cycles of life. Of course the most popular sub-gallery is Butterfly & Moth (81+ Species).

A Break From Blogging

For regular readers, I assume you have noticed several days without a post. Sometimes I just doesn’t feel like writing and/or in this case got focused on my old photos again as I am slowly adding them to my galleries, particularly the Pre-Costa Rica TRAVEL  galleries. It is a slow and labor-intensive process that eventually I will complete. I uploaded all of my international trips first and now working on USA trips from the most recent going back. Then comes the most, Tennessee travels. And most of these are after my retirement began at the end of 2002. I have been blessed to have seen so much of the world and get to know so many cool people!

20190604_111253[1]-A-WEBSunday afternoon I was a part of the Board of Directors meeting for the local children’s home, Hogar de Vida. The rest of the board seemed surprised and appreciative that I am the first person to include the children’s home in my will. But I am not a very good board member because I am not fluent in Spanish, in which all business is carried on!  🙂

Living Slow

Otherwise I am “Living Slow” as my sloth T-shirt says!

 

A fast approach tends to be a superficial one, but when you slow down you begin to engage more deeply with whatever it is you’re doing. You’re also forced to confront what’s happening inside you – which is one of the reasons why I think we find it so hard to slow down. Speed becomes a form of denial. It’s a way of running away from those more deeper, tangled problems. Instead of focusing on questions like who am I, and what is my role here, it all becomes a superficial to-do list.

— Carl Honoré

How to start a slow living lifestyle.

¡Pura Vida!

 

Good Country Index

Based on United Nations statistics, a group ranks countries on the amount of good they do for the people living there, called the Good Country Index. You can see on the list that though not at top (like those Scandinavian countries) Costa Rica is the highest ranking Latin American country and of course ranks higher than the United States.   🙂    Photo above is one of my shots from the 2018 Oxcart Parade, Atenas.

I learned about this recognition from Christopher Howard’s newsletter/blog in his article More Accolades for Costa Rica.

¡Pura Vida!

Retire in Columbia?

Featured photo is one of mine from a 2011 cruise ship stop in Cartagena, Columbia.

A few days ago I posted a link to a great birding video made in the nearby South American country of Columbia which claims to have more birds than Costa Rica (maybe).

Also a year or two ago I told about a neighbor who moved her retirement home from Atenas, Costa Rica to Medellin, Columbia. Because of the lower cost of living there, many Americans and Canadians are considering it as an excellent tropical retirement home. Thus I did a similar post in Jan. 2018. If still considering your retirement plans, Columbia is worth looking into.

Christopher Howard of “Live in Costa Rica” blog and tours has just expanded his business to include a new “Live in Columbia” blog and tour. Yesterday he posted this article on his Costa Rica blog:  Violent Columbia vs Peaceful Costa Rica

I’ve discussed earlier here that I seriously considered retiring in Panama before choosing Costa Rica and after a blip of enthusiasm from other retirees and organizations over Ecuador and Columbia and even Nicaragua, I am still happy with my choice of Costa Rica and anticipate staying with it for the long haul!   🙂   And it is easy for me to travel to these other nearby countries when I think it worth the trip.

IMG_1485
On a birding trip in Cartagena, Columbia, 2011

Often when you think you’re at the end of something, you’re at the beginning of something else.Fred Rogers

¡Pura Vida!

A Weekly Blog Post?

A Change in the Blog . . .

I am thinking about a purpose and need for this blog, my goals, and what the 20 to 100 actual readers per day want to see here.  (Tell me!)

As I re-evaluate the blog I see it in danger of becoming a personal journal, more about me than my original purpose of “How to Retire in Costa Rica” or now about “Being Retired in Costa Rica.” My retirement hobbies of travel, birding and photography don’t speak to all, but that’s a given.

Beginning this coming weekend, my new “trial approach” is to post only one weekly, quality article on Friday, Saturday or Sunday (flexible day).  I will seek to:

  1. Use fewer/better photos with a gallery link for those wanting more.

  2. Try for shorter, easier to read posts. This is already too long!   🙂

  3. Try to include some “inspiration” though not always my purpose.

  4. Try to improve my photography so one photo says it all!

Please Give Your Input  —  Reader Survey

Use the Comments box below or email saying:

  • Keel-billed Toucan on my Terrace

    What subjects you would like me to include?

  • What you think of a weekly approach?
  • Do you read this for information or photos?
  • Are your interests (1) Retirement in CR?  (2) Costa Rica in general?  (3) Nature photography?  (4) Travel?  (5) Birding?   or  (6) Keeping up with me?

If your prefer a private message click Contact on top menu to email me.

 ¡Pura Vida!

The Dilemma of So Many Photos . . .

First Plan Was Everything on this Website

Even though WordPress websites have photo galleries and I could put all my photos on the website – my original plan – so far they do not have the flexibilities and quality options that I have with my SmugMug.com photo gallery which recently purchased and incorporated Flickr where I also still have a small class-related gallery. https://www.flickr.com/photos/charliedoggett/   I will eventually close it, even though free.

Currently I Have 2 Large Online Photo Galleries

Now back in my first 12 years of retirement in Tennessee I chose to use the online photo gallery called Pbase, which the Nashville Photography Club used. Images I sold in galleries and arts & crafts fairs are there in 5 categories plus all my travel photos by trip, and others. It is a great database type program with lots of sub-sub-gallery possibilities, etc. but not quite as user-friendly or as visually attractive as SmugMug which I chose as my new photo gallery after moving to Costa Rica and comparing several online galleries, thus came   Charlie Doggett’s COSTA RICA,  which has had only Costa Rica photos thus far.

Move Both Galleries With Website & Blog or Not?

This year when I decided to move my website AND blog to WordPress (from Joomla & Blogger), I really wanted to move all my photo galleries here too – the luxury of everything in one place! And WordPress has that option! But I quickly learned that the more photos I put on this site, the slower it runs! And that is with me reducing the size of most photos since the web does not need large files, but then they are not good for you to download and print if you want. While I upload full-size photos to SmugMug & Pbase that are not only good for you to download and use but they are big enough (except some zoomed in birds) for you to use the SmugMug “BUY” Button and order prints, wall art, etc.

Thus I changed my mind and decided to not move my photos to the new website. Though I will continue to use photos on the site & blog (web-sized), since photography is central to almost anything I do or write about.

One Gallery As a Linked Part of the Website

So on the top MENU of this site is the 3rd item GALLERY,  which is a link to my SmugMug Gallery that I want to become my only gallery. And what about the hundreds of photos still on Pbase? Well I started with some of the Family History photos as inefficient little galleries within this website’s articles, adding to the slowdown. Then I decided to move all of those to the SmugMug gallery which is created to handle a volume of pix. That means I have now started my first non-Costa Rica gallery inside my Costa Rica gallery!  🙂

Just Added Family History to My Photo Gallery

It is called Family History Photos and currently has 4 sub-galleries:

Only the first two sub-galleries are moved now from Pbase and they are both a part of the web pages Family History that includes much more like cemeteries and stories from WWII, etc. While the other two sub-galleries will eventually have their own web pages and likewise include a lot of other information! So lot’s of work still to do here. Keeps me out of trouble!  🙂

More Non-Costa Rica Galleries Coming!

One of my “Best Sellers” in Arts & Crafts Fairs in TN

Then I anticipate at least two more non-Costa Rica sub-galleries on SmugMug:

These too will be related to and linked from pages on this personal website. Eventually it will seem like my whole life is reported somewhere on this website. I cannot explain why I have a passion to do this, but somehow I am driven to complete it all long before I die. It is like my passion for nature, travel, photography, stories, my family history and reporting on it all here!

 “I would rather die of passion than of boredom.”

—Vincent Van Gogh

🙂

¡Pura Vida!

 

 

Building A New Info-Rich Website

One of my regular activities when not traveling and photographing nature has been to work on the total rebuild of my personal website while continuing to build a collection of Blog Posts or Articles about being “Retired in Costa Rica” which is now at the same location of my website, charliedoggett.net.

I moved my personal website that was Joomla-generated and continuing to give me technical problems to an easier-to-use WordPress.com hosting service. And since WordPress.com started as a blogging platform and is considered by many to be the best for blogs. I transferred/moved my blog from Blogger.com to WordPress. The blog part transferred everything but the subscriptions so that I still have my blog history of the big move to Costa Rica and now with many more ways to find articles about different subjects I have written on, though most are under “Nature” and the “Places” I have discovered here. But there are some  practical articles about actually moving here, residency processes, healthcare possibilities, and even some more mundane daily life issues for the followers who are considering a move here.

In addition, as with my old website, there are many “static” (WordPress label) pages about me, my adventures, family and  family history as aids to those writing and researching their own family history related to my family lines. i.e. I have several family cemetery inventories with photos, lots of old family photos and reports on family reunions, etc. I also have extensive research recorded on my Uncle Earl Doggett whose plane was shot down in World War II.

For both fun and to get to know me better I have an extensive About Page full of details and fun “Life Stories,” “Biographies,” “Schools,”  “Doing Good,” “Art Lover,” “Photographer,” and more! And a lot of fun and interesting history is wrapped up in my extensive research on the ship or Frigate Charles Doggett in the 1800’s with ties the Mutiny on the Bounty, the nickname of “Old Glory” for the American Flag, the American Civil War, Nashville, and South Sea Island adventures! As I approach the end of my life I will have it all documented or reported on right here on this website and along with the failures and disappointments, some great experiences and accomplishments to help me see that my life did have value. And maybe a tiny bit of inspiration for someone.

So, for a boring, rainy day you might want to explore my website which is still being built. The Header Menu or Top Menu could be divided into these three sections:  (1) BLOG,  (2) LINKED PAGES, and  (3) STATIC PAGES

BLOG

  • Home – has an excerpt from the most current blog post and I may add some more introductory information there later. I have 8 or so favorite Costa Rica Photos that pop up in rotation here full screen which was how I wanted people to enter my website.
  • Blog – This is where all my blog posts reside in reverse chronological order, most current on top, going all the way back to my June 2014 emphasis on “The Costa Rica Decision Process” where I debated the pros and cons online and made the decision to move here publicly on this blog. The drop-down menu has “Categories” (WordPress term) and sub categories to help you find the articles of your interest. Plus the right sidebar or right column has several ways to search for articles by category, tags/subjects, and by date.

MY 2 LINKED PAGES

  • Gallery – My Costa Rica Photo Gallery, “Charlie Doggett’s COSTA RICA” is my pride and joy and located on SmugMug.com which simply has a better presentation than I can currently get within my WordPress site. That could change later and reside on the website, but for now I encourage you to see my images of Costa Rica and for birder friends I have quite a collection of about 270 Costa Rica bird species that is growing! Plus more birds from neighboring countries!   – – –   For those familiar with my old Pbase photo gallery, it is still up now with all my past commercial and Tennessee photos, travel photos and family photos. But I am slowly moving them to this website in the simple galleries and slideshows that my template provides here, which will help liven up my family and travel articles and will be the new residence of my historical photos, in time!
  • Bookstore – Since before my time in The Gambia I was trying out different online photo book publishers as a way to preserve my many photos which otherwise got lost in closets, computers, or scrapbooks. By around 2003 I settled on Blurb.com as my book publisher of choice, mainly because they provided me with a free “Bookstore” of just my books that continue to be available for order indefinitely. Here you can see the many subjects and trips I have produced books on and even “Review” every page of every book on your computer. Pretty cool! No pressure to buy!   🙂 These books and the above Photo Gallery are the only places for my photos.

“STATIC” PAGES

  • Travel – is where all my many pre-Costa Rica trips will be reported with those photos from Pbase.com, but more than that, with pages on places I lived and about my jobs in these places and just about everything else that doesn’t fit somewhere else on the website!   🙂   I have not started this page yet.
  • Family – I have started with Family History pages and will work back through both my family or origin and family of marriage, probably first with photos, but just barely started at the time of this post writing.  Only Family History now.
  • His Spirit – In some ways I no longer want to be considered “religious, Baptist or Evangelical,” but maybe “a man of faith” or better yet a “Follower of Christ.” I try to explain this here with more writing than photos, though it seemed to be the best place to report on being a missionary in The Gambia, West Africa, thus one of my most exciting adventures is recorded here with lots of old photos or copies of print photos and some of my best stories! It is still in progress, but a lot already here!
  • About – Biography, personal interests and hobbies, and the beginning of a collection of “Life Stories” that I hope will be both entertaining and inspirational. I am still in process of writing these!  🙂  It is my personal history and hopefully not too much ego!
  • Contact – Your basic online contact form and all my addresses and one phone number. At the strong encouragement of WordPress, I removed my email address from this page which they say spammers and bad guys know how to harvest. The form will give you a response on my email and you can collect it that way.   🙂

I’ll try to make future blog posts shorter!

But I felt like I needed at least one thorough explanation of my new website/blog combination. You got it! Contact me with any questions and I try to respond quickly to all comments on blog posts.

Interesting Link

Why we need to break down the barriers between us and nature. 

An article on the BIRDLIFE website.  I have to include a little nature in all posts! The birds require it!    🙂

Giant Swallowtail

The Giant Swallowtail is a fairly common butterfly here and even in the states, but I haven’t shown one in a good while, especially the under-side like the photo above. The topside of this fellow (below) is the more familiar black and yellow shown here on the same butterfly photographed above! Yeah, I know, they look different as do the top & bottom of many butterflies. Read about Giant Swallowtails on Butterflies and Moths of North America.

 

A butterfly lights beside us like a sunbeam, and for a brief moment, its glory and beauty belong to our world… but then it flies again, and though we wish it could have stayed… we feel lucky to have seen it.       ~Unknown Author

 

A New Blog Feature in this New Website

You can hover over the top Menu Item “Blog” above for  Category Sub-menus that will drop down. Go down to “Nature” and its submenu “Butterflies” to see all the blog posts I have made about butterflies since 2014. In this case, 6 pages of butterfly posts! Some old posts are mixed subjects with too many photos. Now I am trying to stay focused on one “category” (WordPress term)  at a time with no more than 2 photos per post and a short, easy-to-read post like above. And you will see that there are many other “Categories” to follow if interested, with “Birds” being the largest and more are being added. And of course you can click on “Blog” Menu item and see all the posts in reverse chronological order or most recent on top.

All of the posts are also searchable in the right hand column or right sidebar by tags, categories, or by date. This makes my blog posts the main focus and main information found on my website now with multiple ways to find old posts. This is the strength of WordPress hosted websites, being blog-focused with many ways to utilize collections of posts.

You will also find a lot of “static” (WordPress term) or non-blog pages which I will tell about in another blog post.

Feel free to explore your interests now within the blogs through the pull-down menus or search boxesI am having fun creating little articles about my interests, especially when I can share nature photography from my new home country of Costa Rica!  

Rebuilding my Web Presence in One Location

The new Home Page image at charliedoggett.net now under construction
MY WEBSITE WILL CONTINUE TO BE PHOTO & INFORMATION RICH

I have just started rebuilding my website, meaning if will be skimpy for awhile as I learn the processes inside a WordPress Website. But I will bring to it most of the content from the old website, just presented in a better way I hope. There are several family history and cemetery articles that can be helpful to those doing family history research, along with personal stories and history and about my photography. Much of my content has been and will continue to be information for people doing research on several topics. Plus as a personal website it will continue to be partly about me, documenting my life and pointing to my interests.

MY BLOG WILL MOVE INTO MY WEBSITE
WordPress began as a blogging program and they excel at blogs. They say they can move my blogger.com blog into a new WordPress blog. We will see how they mesh. I believe that will strengthen both the blog and the website and basically blog posts become articles on my website that can be organized in categories or similar subjects as a seamless part of the site.
THEN I MOVE MY PHOTO GALLERIES INTO THE WEBSITE
WordPress has many good gallery templates and attractive presentations as well as organizing tools, though possibly not as many features as my current SmugMug Costa Rica Galleries, so it will be my last move and maybe most difficult. Though WordPress has tools to move my SmugMug galleries into WordPress and I think the same from my older PBase Gallery. Hopefully I will then have all my photos together and well organized. Plus they will be easier to use or link to in both the blog and website articles.
CONSOLIDATED
Maybe that is what it will be – consolidated – or everything in one place! And I hope more beautiful! I have been using Joomla for my web design and it is complicated and difficult to use and a lot of things I simply do not like about it. I like my web host, a friend in Nashville hosting out of his house in addition to his regular job. But now I will use one of the WordPress Hosts call DreamHost and will supposedly have more help, more plug-ins, and more possibilities! Though they host businesses and commerce and I could try to sell photos, I will not. I’ll keep my CafePress Shop and if WordPress adds 3rd party vendors of my photos without any production on my part, then maybe. But I am not in business!
ANOTHER FUN HOBBY
And maybe the best part is having another creative outlet for this strong desire to always be creating something of beauty or value. The creative part is fun! The technical stuff drives me crazy as the last few days trying to get my domain name moved over has. I almost changed my domain name to Retired in Costa Rica which will continue to be the overarching theme, but decided that I needed to stay with my domain name used since 2000 in The Gambia.
AND A NOTE ON LINKS TO MY PAGES

If you have any links to my family history pages, the Nashville Hardgrave Cemetery page or Uncle Earl’s WWII page, etc., then you will need to relink after I get the new site up and running. Links will be different.

AND SUBSCRIPTIONS TO THIS BLOG
You will most likely have to resubscribe to the blog once it is on WordPress. I will let you know in advance.
¡Pura Vida!