Aug. 24, 2010
To the post office (correo)
The trip to the other end of town by bike is starting to become routine, although I have to be very careful riding down “main street” with all the activity. I had two letters to mail ($1.40 total postage, 700 colones) – one to my brother Garth and one to my daughter, which was technically not a letter but three checks I needed to endorse for her to cash – not for me but for future mail forwarding. The last envelope she sent by certified mail cost $28, so it ain’t cheap. Plus, she also has sent (I think) some stuff I ordered from Walmart. I may have to rethink the latter in the future, as the postage and any tariffs they might impose on this end might make U.S. clothing too expensive to buy and ship. It’s worth the experiment for one time anyway. The lesson here is you want to reduce any mail forwarding to you to as little as possible. I know one couple that has a relative scan documents as PDFs and then sent via Skype, has cancelled their magazine subscriptions and receives very little mail from the U.S. I’m working toward that goal.
Jack’s decided he has to help me find a cat but I’m in no rush. That would be a responsibility that could curtail my mobility but at least my apartment is now cat-confinement friendly. My new screens are doing the job insect-wise, as well.
Got to talking with Jack about restaurants, as I still haven’t fulfilled my promise to experiment with the local fare (although most of the restaurants here would more accurately be called American fare). He mentioned a place, Poseidon, that offers two full meals for about $25 and also recommended a soda where I could get a good meal for about $5.
I have realized that I may not need a phone here after all. All I need to do is open a Skype account for calls I want to make to people without a Skype account. So, for example, I can call a local cabbie or friend for a low per-minute rate. I can even call mobile phones. This would be far cheaper than getting a landline or mobile phone, especially since I really don’t have anyone to call here on a regular basis, except Jack, and he can get a Skype account for that anyway. UPDATE: Today, (Aug. 24) I went ahead and bought Skype phone service for a year for $34.
I’ve been putting this off for some time. Had my last haircut the end of May so it was getting pretty wild. Always hated getting a haircut from someone new because you don’t know if they will cut it right. Denise in Sarasota did a great job – and she was hot to boot! Anyway, there’s a shop just down the main road past the first bridge, off on a side road. Figured I’d try that. There was a woman already getting a cut, so I waited. The stylist said it was three mils (3,000 colones, or $6). I was expecting somewhere between $4 and $8. She said her name was Bonicia, or something like that. I tried to tell her what I wanted and she said to say it in English. I did ask about the haircut in Spanish when I arrived (corte de pelar, cuanto es?). Well, it looks like I now will be able to wait another three months for the next haircut. It hasn’t been this short since the military. All my curls are gone. Yikes! Oh well, it’s clean and will grow out. She actually did a nice job (if you want your hair short) and even trimmed my eyebrows, which I never let Denise do but this one just assumed it was part of the service. She also put some sort of stuff on my hair to stiffen it. It’s the style here but I will wash it out. As I was leaving, two lovelies came in to have their nails painted – to look good for their customers tonight, I guess.
While I was roaming about I stopped at a bookstore and they do carry the two magazines I subscribe to – National Geographic and Playboy. NG sells for 3,300 colones ($6.60) and Playboy for 5,500 colones ($11). That’s way too expensive and means I will continue to subscribe and have them forwarded – but I will try to send them regular mail and not certified mail. My last certified mail package cost $28, like I said, and most of the weight was the two magazines. Buying
On the way home, I decided to stop at the dentist’s office on my block. This is the dentist that Jack uses and who just put a whole bunch of crowns in Jack’s mouth. I need to get my teeth cleaned and start up with a new dentist here and Jack says this guy is good – and reasonable. He apparently is into all the latest technology, including digital tooth scans instead of x-rays. Apparently, teeth cleaning and scanning all my teeth will cost less than $30. I walked in, told the receptionist why I was there, and made an appointment for next week.
While my new screens are doing wonders keeping the insects out, the same cannot be said about the ants. normally, they’re not a problem, but twice in the past week I’ve had invasions. The first was in the kitchen. I had put some powdered sugar (that I bought by mistake – damn language!) in a baggie and put it in the cupboard. Apparently, I was not careful and spilled some. Well, there was a line of ants on the wall above the cabinet, one row going to the cabinet and the other to the ceiling. And the cupboard was filled with ants. Some spraying and cleaning fixed that mistake. Then, the other day, I had the same problem on the bathroom sink. I guess they were after the toothpaste or mouthwash, both of which contain sugar. You have to be real careful here about keeping everything clean or the ants will find you. Certainly don’t want to eat in bed.