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Saturday, June 4, 2011

Our Third Day

Another amazing day, starting of course with the delicious buffet breakfast at our hotel. We were up early because we had an appointment with our lawyer, RĂ³mulo Pacheco Sibaja. He is handling our pensionado application and we were so impressed with the service he offers.

Took a cab to his office and were met by one of his assistants who drove us to Interpol to be fingerprinted. One thing that has blown me away about San Jose is the level of entreprenerial spirit that exists here. We needed to have passport sized photos taken and this was done by a fellow with a camera outside a church. We stood against the church wall, he took our photos, then we went around the corner of the church where he settled down on his large paint bucket and printed our photos off his really small printer that was also sitting on a paint bucket. I think our cost was two bucks U.S. He even trimmed the edges and put them in plastic holders.

Then we lined up to get through the Interpol gates - lots of police - Lance got the "magic wand" experience but I got two winks from one of the guards. We eventually entered and stood in another line....sat actually, because they did provide chairs outside. Everyone is so polite. Our personal assistant helped us all the way - even tho he did not speak much English and our Spanish is non-existent - a lot can be understood with hand waving and pointing.

Had the fingerprinting done and entering of information into a computer and that was it. I'm not sure if we were actually at an Interpol compound - it was definitely a large police station - and maybe the information gathered plus the fingerprints is sent to Interpol.

All that is left for us to do is go to the Canadian Embassy on Monday, get one last piece of paper and register there, pay some government fees, take the paper back to Romulo and that is that. Now we wait for our official pensionado status, could take up to a year, but we do not have to leave the country in 90 days like the tourists.

Last night we ate at a soda (a neighborhood restaurant) - this one was the Soda Isabel just a block or so from our hotel. They are everywhere, ma and pop operations, could be a tiny hole in the wall or a bigger place. These are the places to go for inexpensive home cooking. The portions are enormous. We had plates of fried chicken, rice and beans, vegetables, coke and a beer each and we couldn't finish half of what we were given. Total cost: 11,660 colones, or about $23 Cdn. 

It was my turn to go into a bank yesterday and change U.S. dollars into colones using my limited Spanish. I managed to say "dinero a colones, por favor" but forgot "quiero cambiar" (I'd like to change). Oh well, the effort is always appreciated and it's the only way to learn.

We're taking a lot of cabs around the city - so inexpensive. You have to keep a sharp eye out when walking on the sidewalks because of the deep gutters, broken and uneven pavement, unexpected holes ... real easy to trip and break something.

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