We have been distracted lately by the task of renewing our cedulas (identification cards). This is our second renewal and, for various reasons, we were late in submitting our paperwork. However, there is a one year period of grace with a small monthly fine added and one must also obtain an affidavit from a lawyer giving the reason for the lateness. They are in Spanish and we required two affidavits, one for each of us.
When we first arrived here in 2011, one requirement to maintain our pensionado status was to show that $1,000 USD a month had been converted into colones. This was done at a bank and we kept the receipts and submitted them all with our other renewal documents. This requirement was discontinued and so we stopped doing conversions in November, 2016.
Renewal paperwork can be submitted at selected Banco de Costa Rica (BCR) branches. Unfortunately, Atenas is not one of them. Our first appointment on January 19th was at one of the BCR branches in San José. Everything seemed to be proceeding nicely until I was asked if we had bank accounts in Costa Rica. We did not - there has not been a need to have one since we own no property/vehicles here. We obtain cash by using ATM's. So no renewal on this day! We didn't know this was a requirement.
I opened a BCR colones account the next day and obtained another appointment on March 8th, at the same branch, at 9:00am. Normally, a bus ride from Atenas to San José is about one hour long. However, due to lane closures on ¨La Platina¨ bridge, we were worried we would miss our appointment so we caught the 6:00am bus. The bridge, on the General Cañas Highway and over the Virilla River, is undergoing major repairs and causing huge traffic problems. Trip times both ways turned out to be an hour and 30 minutes, so not so bad.
This time, all our paperwork was in order, we paid our fees, and went happily on our way. BCR will send all the documents to Migración and we can expect to pick up our new cedulas on March 12th, so we were told. This part is easy, because they will be sent to our correos (post office) here in Atenas.
Weather-wise, we have been experiencing a lot of strong winds and also ash falling from the Turrialba volcano. No rain of course, this being the dry season. I keep an eye on my orchids and make sure they are getting enough water. They are outside all year so easy enough to turn the hose on them.
The other day I was walking into Atenas when a car pulled up beside me with two men sitting in the front. Turns out it was Carlos (one of our regular taxi drivers) in his own car and he offered me a lift into Atenas centro, gratis. It is so nice to be recognized by the Costa Ricans - we feel like a part of the community.
Here are some photos we took in San José last week. These statues are located in front of Banco Central de Costa Rica and were created in 1982 by the Costa Rican artist Fernando Calvo and are named "Presentes".
A little bit of San José - the BCR branch we went to, around 8:15am.
And, just for fun, a scorpion that was in our bedroom. We "practice catch and release". We throw a plastic food type container over the critters, slide a plastic sheet underneath and release them outside - in this case, into a vacant field across from our house.