Tico Youth Making Fun of Themselves

In an effort to include some Costa Rica Culture in my blog, I copied this from the Golden Gringo Newsletter, which is okay because he copied it from a local online newspaper! 🙂 He came here a year or so before me from the states as a retiree (younger than me) who chose to live near a beach and fishing place, Quepos on the Pacific Coast near Manuel Antonio NP. He’s a lot different than me, but I semi-follow his newsletter for his impression of things here.

And note that the original list below was most likely aimed at and/or written by young adult or teen Costa Ricans (Ticos) as a form of humor. But there is some real culture here! 🙂

Feature photo is mine of young adult Ticos in an Atenas parade (for a traditional look), but the copied stock photo above is more typical of young people here! 🙂 Below copied from Golden Gringo Chronicles:


This gem appeared in the Costa Rica Star newspaper recently and GG thought it was interesting . . .

“We’re Not the Happiest on the Planet for Nothing” 🙂

You had your first coffee before you were 5 years old. Your mom would mix it with extra milk so it wouldn’t taste so strong. She’s the reason you developed an addiction to it and now drink at least 3 cups a day. (But their also have been numerous articles in the press in recent years on the health benefits of coffee)

You don’t refer to someone as a person, you say “mae” (pronounced my). ‘Mae’ is everyone and anyone, either feminine or masculine (esa mae or ese mae). When talking to your friends, it’s not uncommon to hear the word mae at least 50 times in one conversation. (especially among teenagers, the closest modern equivalent to “mae” in English being “dude”)

You include partying in your monthly budget.
It doesn’t matter if there’s nothing going on, you will find a reason to celebrate. You double your party budget if La Sele (the national soccer team) is playing that month. (in Covid times you can still watch the Sele on TV)

You don’t say 1000 colones, you say “un rojo.” (rojo, a “red” or un mil)
In Costa Rica the 1000 colon bill is red in color (rojo in Spanish), so you denominate money as un rojo, dos rojos, diez rojos, and so on. For example, you say “I paid diez rojos for that ticket.” One million is “un melón,” just because it rhymes.

You use trees and house colors to give directions.
From the mango tree, turn left and keep going 2 apples (blocks), it’s the third house on the right, watermelon color with a palm tree in the front. Street names — who needs them?

You know about Tico time.
If someone says: “I’ll meet you at 4,” you know it probably means the person might be leaving the house at that time. Not proud of this one, but we Ticos are not exactly known for being punctual.

You say Pura Vida for everything.
Used a hundred times a day to say hi, goodbye, thank you, you’re welcome, to express well-being, or to say something is good or nice, Pura Vida (pure life) is your mantra.

You eat tamales for breakfast, lunch, and dinner on Christmas and New Year’s Eve.
Your mom makes a huge batch of traditional tamales for the holidays and you are responsible for eating half of them, it’s your duty.

You honed your salsa dancing and merengue skills in family reunions.
Your aunt, uncle, mom, or cousin made you dance with them at all family gatherings. You might have hated it back then, but at least now you can dance.

You secretly speak Pachuca (street slang).
Even though you might not use it often, you can speak it fluently. You know that tuanis means good, that mopri (a mix of the letters of primo) means mae, that the police are los pacos, your car is la nave watched over by el guachi, and your job is el yugo. En ‘toas…it’s good, mae!

¡Pura Vida!

And for more photos of people & culture + art, see my People, Fiestas & Arts Gallery.

Güilas – “Kids”

The newest “Made in Costa Rica” Movie is Güilas by Tico artist/photographer SERGIO PUCCI.
In pure Spanish “güilar” is “to guide” – In Costa Rica slang, “güila” = kid or child
This is a collection of 7 stories of 7 kids, one from each of the 7 provinces of Costa Rica
I saw at Cinemark Cinema, City Mall, Alajuela, Costa Rica

TRAILER & Guilas Making Of: 

MOVIE WEBSITE: http://guilaslapelicula.com/

Tico Times Article in English:

First La Nacion Article (with videos):  (use your translator to read in English)

Second La Nacion Article (with videos):  (use your translator to read in English)

“The intention of the film is to highlight Costa Rican identity through the experiences of these kids, with an infancy full of games and mischief, outside in the fresh air,” said Editorial PUCCI in an email this week.

Wow! A beautiful movie! You know how “coming of age” movies are usually big in the states and also funny kid movies – Well Sergio Pucci took that concept plus the beauty, variety and adventure of Costa Rica  combined into a 7-part (7 stories) about the 7 Provinces of Costa Rica through a day in the life of a child in each of these very different provinces. Magnificent! The photography, the kids, the country, the real life growing up experiences, the cultures and the color.

If you live in Costa Rica, this is a must-see movie! And if not, well watch the arts theaters, specialty TV, or maybe on DVD someday soon. Of course it is in español, but the stories speak a universal language making the words almost unnecessary!

¡Pura Vida!

More of San Jose: Interesting People

After School in the Park with Skateboards
San Jose, Costa Rica


Fresh Fruit & Veggies on Every Corner
San Jose, Costa Rica


And Sometimes In the Street!
San Jose, Costa Rica


Many Pedestrians Everywhere!
San Jose, Costa Rica


Old Man American Tourist
Watches Tico Teen Skateboarder Walk By

San Jose, Costa Rica


Children Play in Fountain
Plaza de Cultura
San Jose, Costa Rica


Feeding Pigeons in Every Park!
San Jose, Costa Rica


Clowns Sell Facepainting
San Jose, Costa Rica


Indigenous People Music
San Jose, Costa Rica


And Vendors Everywhere!
San Jose, Costa Rica

My Photo Gallery on San Jose

¡tenga paz! Stay Calm!

My new Tico T-shirt (la camiseta)
It has a local slang expression to ask another person to “stay calm.”

For locals, I got this at Arteria, a little shop with many items using local slang, located on 1st Avenue in San Jose, across from Tribunal Supremo de Elecciones.  (The link tells of other locations.)

I will wear it to my Su Espacio Lingua Fiesta tonight.  🙂

SpanishDict.com & GoogleTranslate both say:  “have peace”

15th of September Post 5: FACES

Teen in one of the school bands

Okay. I’ll stop after this, though there are a lot more photos from the parade that I like. 🙂

I could have made this Faces post all children, but since I used some faces of them in Post 1 (children), and a cool youth face in Post 2 (bands), and another youth face in Post 3 (flags); this is mixed, even with adults.

I’ll go back to bugs and bird tomorrow, but Wednesday I head out for 4 nights in the Talamanca Mountains, so more new stuff then! Maybe a better photo of a Resplendent Quetzal! Then the following week to the Nicaragua border on Visa Run again. And the week after that to the Caribbean again. Never a dull moment! 🙂

And don’t you like the looks of the Atenas Ticos?

Do you not want me to make this photo?

“The face is a picture of the mind with the eyes as its interpreter.” 
― Marcus Tullius Cicero
Pura Vida!

More School Relationships

They really get into decorating for these Spelling Bees! And they served me food and drink too!

I’ve been too busy to process 650 bird photos from the boat trip on Rio Tarcoles, thus that report will be delayed another day or more. So, a report on two more schools I’m relating to:

One of the Student Coordinators of the
Spelling Bee at Colegio Tecnico Professional

Wednesday I was asked at the last minute to help with the English Spelling Bee of a second High School, Colegio Tecnico Profesional de Atenas, more of a job & skills training school than Liceo, last week’s high school. It was wonderful and again the kids so friendly and helpful and hard working. I was “The Pronouncer” of words for this one. It hurt me every time a youth misspelled a word, as if I did not pronounce it clear enough, but we had to get down to one winner just like before. The winner was an extrovert 14 year old boy, one of the younger students, who was born in Dallas, Texas and moved here 7 years ago at age 7. He talks/acts like a real Tico, but did have an unfair advantage in the English Spelling Bee since his parents still speak English at home. But he won! He will go to the regional and maybe the national English Spelling Bee. I learned that the program was started here several years ago by a Peace Corps worker. And you wondered what they did?

Then today, I went with with Corinna, the wife of David Castillo and co-director of Su Espacio, to visit with the principal of Escuela Los Angeles (Los Angeles is a barrio of Atenas), received a tour of the school (as I got yesterday at high school) and she showed me their construction needs for and outdoor theater (to be their auditorium) and playground construction needs. They are going to have a Garage Sale, Venta Garaje, on October 3 that Su Espacio is co-sponsoring and I have been asked to help with marketing and promotion, especially to get expats to donate good clothing, etc. for the Garage Sale. Plus next week I will attend their arts festival!

I’m getting more involved with Ticos and local activities as opposed to just with expats like some. This has been my plan from the beginning and it feels good to participate in the local community. I love Atenas and the wonderful residents! Everybody helps me with my Spanish! And this evening I started a second Spanish Class, which emphasizes Costa Rica Spanish, which is unique in several ways. And I need all the help I can get to speak Spanish!   🙂   This is so much fun!

No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. ~ Aesop

Love your neighbor as yourself.   ~ Jesus, Matthew 22:39

A Happy Birthday in Atenas!

One portion of the sidewalk I cleaned off. A community project, not the city!

I decided a few days ago I wanted to start a new tradition for each birthday: Do a good deed, service project, or something that helps other people. One I have been wanting to do is contribute to the neighborhood community-built sidewalk on the road leading to my subdivision. So this morning after breakfast I spent an hour and a half, before getting too hot, shoveling gravel and dirt and sweeping parts of the sidewalk. In short, someone left a pile of gravel for the concrete on top of the sidewalk so all of us who use it have to walk around it into the street. So the first thing I did was use my very small garden shovel to move the pile of gravel off the sidewalk onto the shoulder of the road. Hard work! Then another longer section of the sidewalk has a dirt wall along side it that is crumbling onto the sidewalk with each rain or bump of anything into the wall. I started shoveling a drainage ditch between the walk and wall and putting the dirt in the street which will be removed when they come to repave and widen the street. Then I swept the sidewalk and parts of the street. By 8:30 it was very hot with no clouds and I had to quit. But I plan to go back and finish the job! Lots of women and children and old people use this sidewalk and I want to help make it safe and usable!


Birthday Present  to myself is two handmade wooden rocking chairs.
That’s sillas mecedoras in Spanish
Sometimes you just don’t want to sit at the table!
Now I’m looking for a matching small table to sit drinks, etc. on.
That will be mesa pequeña in Spanish. No luck yesterday.


For weeks now I’ve been eating most all my meals at home which are generally better, healthier, but also more work! Today I went for a late lunch to La Carreta Restaurant and had a Casado with a new meat for me, a shredded beef called “Carne Mechada” which is Venezuelan in origin. His English translation of “Meat Loaf” on menu is not a good translation! It was very good and I recommend it! Also walked by the office supply store across from the Central Market to get a printer ink cartridge. 

David & Corrina with their full-time assistant at Su Espacio plus helpers Jason and Roni walked to my house at about 6:35 PM and they later found in my baby book that I was born at 6:35 PM – spooky huh? They are all young and full of life and brought everything for my feliz Cumpleaños party. It was a blast! And Jason even brought a gift, a Pura Vida coffee mug! My Tico friends are my best friends here and I will always remember this birthday party!

And tomorrow morning my neighbor Anthony is taking me to Kay’s Gringo Postres for and American Style Breakfast after we walk over the big hill here at Roca Verde! So you see I am getting plenty of attention on my birthday! And being 75 doesn’t feel any different from being 74! Pura Vida! Really now, how can life get any better? A simply great 75th birthday! 

Tico Love Affair with Limons & Mayonaise!

Limon mandarinas is the full or official name. They are neither lemon nor lime.
They are the green things in the middle that look like limes,
though tree-ripened ones can be almost orange in color. Sold in bags of 12!

They are squeezed on everything from salads to your favorite meat, yet I am yet to see them made into a drink. A wedge of one is stuck on or in the glass of some drinks in bars and restaurants. I no longer use any kind of salad dressing, but just cut up a limon and squeeze it over my salad with some herbs. Delicious! You can read more about them online. But another surprise about Ticos is their love affair with Mayonaise!

More varieties of Mayonnaise than any other condiment at Coopeatenas!
And an even larger variety at Walmart! But the unquestionable favorite is
Mayonnaise con Limon!

Yep, in that photo everything to the right of the brown bottles is mayonnaise! And the brown bottles are another Tico favorite, Salsa Lizano! It is particularly loved on Gallo Pintos (special beans and rice dish) eaten most often at breakfast with eggs. It is somewhere between Worcestershire Sauce and a vinegary steak sauce. More about food here later!