Sorry! Human error! But have you sent me mail?

Part of “Pura Vida” is not getting bent out of shape when things go slowly or go wrong. That is part of the warm climate attitude or lifestyle and if you can’t adopt it, go with the flow, and live with something going wrong, you will never be happy here. That is probably one of the biggest reasons some Americans don’t make it here or they are not happy here.

If you have in the last four months to my Costa Rica PO Box, it was not delivered. Read on to see what happened to your letter.

In late February I announced I had my own PO Box and you no longer needed to send mail by way of the apartments PO Box (where I received several Christmas Cards and letters just fine). You may remember that I was proud of my own address, bragged on how much easier it was to get that than open a bank account, and even posted a copy of a business card with the new address and my phone number. Yet I never received any mail in it. But I didn’t really expect it to be used except for local and Costa Rica business.

When my health insurance policy was completed the first of April I was expecting hard copies of the policy and an insurance card for my wallet. I never got it. Around the same time a friend in the states sent me an important letter that I never received. That is when I told everyone to use my Miami PO Box address for mail from states. Well the friend had the letter returned two month later as “not deliverable” or something like that in Spanish. They emailed me a photocopy of the returned letter and today I took it to the Atenas Post Office.

The older man who had set up my box was not there (learned later he was fired). The first person, a younger man, had trouble understanding and seemed to be looking for the letter somewhere. Then he called the woman over (exactly what I needed to solve my problem – really!). She managed my poor Spanish better AND when she understood what had happened, she had the insight to go to my box 441 and look at it (from the inside). I heard the rip of tape peeling off. She came back and said “Discuple” (Sorry!). Then someone else translated her explanation: The guy rented me a box with someone else’s name still on it and did not put my name on it like he was supposed to. So the mail-sorter would not put mail for me in such a box! The guy who sold me the box evidently made other errors because he no longer works there! And now that I am adopting the Costa Rica ways, I took three months to figure it out! And I will not worry about it. But if you sent me anything important, let me know! 🙂

I just called my Pricose INS Insurance agent about my medical insurance policy and wallet card. They will re-mail it all today! (Yep! Their mail bounced too!) See! Everything worked out! The world didn’t end! Life goes on! Pura Vida!

And though it can take up to a month from the states, my local mail address will work now (they say!).

Sr. Charlie Doggett
Apdo. 441-4013
Alajuela, Atenas, Atenas

And yeah! It is not written like you do it in the states! That second line is my Province (state) first, then the Canton (county), and then Pueblo (town). Last line is the zip code BEFORE the country name. But honestly, the Miami address is still more efficient and usually here in 5 business days.

Charlie Doggett
PO Box 025-331
SJO 170066
Miami, FL 33102-5331

2 Month Anniversary: Bank Account & PO Box

Boyero Monument
A National Monument to the early years work of oxcarts and their drivers
It is on the old highway from San Jose to the beaches where many saw it
as they entered Atenas, home of the Annual April Atenas Oxcart Parade.
Expect oxcart photos in April!  🙂

I arrived in Atenas on December 24, 2014, two months ago today! I celebrated in two ways:

  1. I OPENED A BANK ACCOUNT at Banco Nacional to include a debit card and electronic banking. I get my debit card and electronic account connection tomorrow along with training in how to use both (“bring your laptop”). Neat! Never got training in the states! It took nearly two hours at the bank, my local lawyer with me, stacks of paperwork, plus I still have to provide proof of income which I was not told earlier. 
  2. I GOT A P.O. BOX at the Atenas Post Office which I now prefer you to use instead of the one I gave before arriving. It was the apartment’s PO Box and works, but the apartment management has to deliver mail to me which could be another delay :-)!  Below is the exact way the Post Office asks that you address letters to me. So you understand the strange order and double-Atenas: Atenas is a pueblo (small town) in the Canton of Atenas, in the District of Atenas, in the Province of Alajuela in the country of Costa Rica. And yes, they say put the postal code BEFORE the country name of Costa Rica. Mail did get to me with the other address form, so don’t worry. And I prefer that you not use the Miami address since letters are costing me $1.50 each and I have to travel to Alajuela (the city) to pick them up. And packages via Miami require an invoice to declare the customs value (or you send me a scan of invoice). I’m not sure yet how Customs and the Post Office work together here, but I will find out! Others do get packages via Post Office. The Miami address is perfect for my internet orders which may be the primary use and for some other U.S. businesses. The U.S. Post Office now has one international postage stamp (round) that costs $1.10 for any country in the world for most letter weights. Letters can arrive in one week or four weeks, who knows why?  UPS or FedEx packages will have to go to the Miami address for now until I learn how to get them locally. Here’s my new postal mail address
Sr. Charlie Doggett   (The P.O. put that “Senor” in front of my name! 🙂
Apdo. 441-4013
Alajuela, Atenas, Atenas
How’s that for an anniversary celebration? I forgot to take my phone this morning, so no photo of bank or post office yet, but I may add those tomorrow, as both buildings are revealing. 
And if you didn’t get MY PHONE NUMBER from an earlier post, it is still 011-506-8410-9916 with the 011 getting you out of the U.S., 506 the country code, and though some instructions say use a cell phone code, don’t – it is just the first four digits of the number. The above # should work. 
Well, not as pretty tonight as all the bird photos, but that is life!