Living and Working in Costa Rica

Old May 23rd, 2006, 06:23 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 4
Living and Working in Costa Rica

Living and working in a new culture can be an invaluable experience. When your job puts you in contact with mobsters it becomes an adventure. Read the true story at this blog. http://carlhutton.eponym.com/
luminouscarl is offline  
Old May 23rd, 2006, 09:19 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 3,885
No question that everything described here extists in Costa Rica. There's a definite seedy element to life here that, I swear, gets creepier by the year.

But there is no reason that any visitor or foreign resident has to come in contact with the gambling, the fraudulent investment and real estate schemes that sound way too good to be true, the drugs or the prostitution -- and child prostitution yet

Living and working in a new culture can be an invaluable experience, as you say, but I don't think that working in a sportsbook is going to give anyone contact with a new culture. Knowing the Costa Rica that most of here love requires getting out and meeting local people and partaking of the traditions that make this country special. There are wonderful expat-type organizations and activities too: The British community just threw a big bash for the Queen's 80th birthday. The U.S. and Canadian communities will have big doings soon for the 4th of July and Canada Day respectively. An English-language theater group has existed for almost 60 years. There are great charitable organizations too. I don't think anyone will see this from the inside of a sportsbook.

I'd hate for anyone to go away from reading this blog thinking that this is life in Costa Rica. It is for some people I've met, no question, and they always seem burned out way before their time, as I think the blog writer is saying. But there's no reason anyone has to be sucked into this seedy side of life here. I'm sorry to hear the writer had such a horrible experience, but this is not the Costa Rica that most of us who live and work here experience.
Jeff_Costa_Rica is offline  
Old May 23rd, 2006, 10:00 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 27
very interesting reading. I suspect it is all too true. The Tico Times started to make inquiries about some of these suspicious internet gambling practices a year or so ago but I have not seen much criticism recently. Costa Rica needs to be vigilante but in many ways instead seems content to soak all the money it can from yankee investors.

Oddly we gringos never seem to fully understand that finance laws and usery issues are very different in Costa Rica. I remember the Villalobos scandal a couple of years ago where millions of dollars of American and Canadian investors were totally ripped off through promises of 30% interest returns. A classic ponzi scheme that raked in tens of millions.

Many Ticos seem to think that ripping off foolish fatcat Americans is fair game. Unfortunately, a gangster is a gangster. And an emerging country like Costa Rica needs to be vigilante. I agree with Jeff, things seem to be getting "creepier", but maybe that is just because the Tico society/culture is becoming more transparent - maybe a certain level of corruption always existed.
toucantango is offline  
Old May 23rd, 2006, 12:29 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 590
The Ticos I know are very kind, warm-hearted and generous. They do volunteer work and help each other out and would give you the shirt off their backs. I've been touched many times by their generosity. But you're not going to find any of them downtown in the seedy clubs. If you're hanging out on the seedy side of town and in seedy businesses, that's what you're going to find. Same if you worked in Las Vegas or Atlantic City in the US. You wouldn't be meeting the best people.

Sandy
sandyc is offline  
Old May 23rd, 2006, 06:25 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 3,885
Well put, sandyc. You're just not going to deal with pillars of the community when you get involved in stuff like this. You can argue whether or not offshore gambling should be illegal in the United States, but the fact is, it is illegal. So these companies are circumventing U.S. laws, as the blog writer observed by their constant switching of credit-card processors. I think he came to realize that gambling isn't necessarily a victimless crime, as is so often stated.

Toucantango, I disagree with your statement that "Costa Rica needs to be vigilante but in many ways instead seems content to soak all the money it can from yankee investors." No, the gambling, prostitution, and most of the phony investment and real estate schemes are foreign-imported. (The specific one you mention was Costa Rican, however.) The Costa Rican government could strengthen the enforcement of its laws against these activities, but it's not Costa Rica that's doing this to foreigners. They're mostly doing it to themselves here.

I'll say it again: There's no reason for any visitor or foreign resident to have to be sucked into these activities. Costa Rica is such a lovely place, as almost everyone on this board who has been here will agree, that it's not necessary to have any contact with this side of life here.
Jeff_Costa_Rica is offline  
Old May 24th, 2006, 07:30 AM
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 4
Costa Rica is a wonderful place with wonderful people. I experienced many of thses people during my seven months in the country. I used examples of the seedy side in my story about the casino because it helped to paint a picture to American readers how Costa Rica is a different world. You can't expect that the better business bureau will come and bail you out. Its like the American Old West you must protect yourself. Nothing I wrote was an exageration or inaccurate, however, it was selective. I appreciate those of you who have pointed out the good side of Costa Rica. http://carlhutton.eponym.com/
luminouscarl is offline  
Old May 24th, 2006, 07:54 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 5,545
Thanks for the blog. Too many people describe Costa Rica as a "Pura Vida" paradise.
The only place I've personally seen crime happen in front of me was Costa Rica (and I've travelled to dozens of countries).
RBCal is offline  
Old May 24th, 2006, 06:54 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 10,212
Well said, Jeff and Sandy.

RBCal, problems and risks associated with travel to Costa Rica have been well documented on this board. We all travel with those awarenesses. And most of us continue to enjoy ourselves and, yes, the Pura Vida. There must be some sort of general concensus on Costa Rica as a great travel destination, or there wouldn't be so many repeat visitors (and first time visitors).

No one has ever said that Costa Rica is a place you can travel to and not have to worry about watching your things or locking your doors. Most of us exercise that kind of caution wherever we travel, AND at home.

Crime happens globally. Just because you haven't "seen crime happen right in front of you" anywhere else in the world doesn't mean that it doesn't happen. And your experience in
Costa Rica, unfortunate as it seems to have been, hasn't been everyone's experience.

What is expressed here is an appreciation for the beauty of the country and the warmth and friendliness of the people. I don't think you are going to change anyone's mind on that issue.
shillmac is offline  
Old May 24th, 2006, 09:20 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 3,885
Hey, Carl, what you've said in your blog is one of the best things I've ever seen written on the subject. I've met enough other people over the years who work in casinos and sportsbooks to realize that every word you say is true. As bad as the experience was for you, I'm happy you eventually got out of the biz. I'm happy, too, that you have some good memories of the place.
Jeff_Costa_Rica is offline  
Old May 25th, 2006, 03:23 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 2,323
It was an interesting read , Thanx for sharing .We always need to have our wits about us ! As shillmac said , most here are well aware of the potential dangers associated with travel to Costa Rica , I do not think Carl's experiences fall into this category . It's a danger of a different sort I'm afraid . With the increase in tourism in Costa Rica , there is an increase in crime . This is unfortunate . It is still " Pura Vida " for me , which is probably something different for everyone .RBCal , you obviously find your " pura vida " elsewhere , that's A-OK !!
faithie is offline  
Old May 25th, 2006, 07:52 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 5,545
IMHO, the difference between tourism in Costa Rica and other places I've visited is that Costa Rica downplays and doesn't report crime. Again, IMHO, this is so that tourism won't be affected. Witness the gang rape last month in Manuel Antonio. The men were released and the crime was only reported in AMCostarica.
RBCal is offline  
Old May 25th, 2006, 11:16 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 27
My comments earlier were not intended to disway anyone from traveling to Costa Rica. I love to visit Costa Rica and try to travel there at least once a year. Traveling in Costa Rica is enjoyable, easy and very safe. (Use caution though, same as visiting Miami -never leave anything in your car ever, use some street sense if walking in San Jose late at night, etc.)

I hope Costa Rica someday begins to crack down on the practices of these internet gambling sites, but I suspect it is low on local law enforcement priority -if there are even any laws governing them. We should all do our part by never using these offshore internet gambling sites and spread the word about their abuses. Thank-you Carl. Costa Rica would be better off without their growing influence.
toucantango is offline  
Old May 25th, 2006, 11:21 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 2,323
So Rb, where are your " pura vida " destinations ? can you provide a place similar to Costa Rica ( with it's boom in tourism ) , that is NOT careful about reporting it's downside , I would seriously like to know . Inquiring minds type of thing .....
faithie is offline  
Old May 25th, 2006, 12:46 PM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 5,545
Compare the hoopla about Aruba and Holloway to the non-hoopla of the event at MA.
I find the Pura Vida hype overblown and pretentious.
A place with that is more "Pura Vida" is Queensland Australia. It has rainforest, the Great Barrier Reef, the best snorkeling and diving in the world, amazing wildlife and almost no crime.
RBCal is offline  
Old May 25th, 2006, 01:14 PM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 2,323
Duly noted.
faithie is offline  
Old May 25th, 2006, 02:28 PM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 346
http://www.thesundaymail.news.com.au...55E421,00.html
airwayvz is offline  
Old May 25th, 2006, 03:48 PM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 2,323
Horrible story indeed , dangers are everywhere , potentially in our own backyard . As always , common sense , a sense of perspective , good wits , and an open mind are needed when travelling outside what we think of as our protected cocoon. I am definitely stoking the fire but , RBCal and I have a bit of history , and dare I say he seems to "wallow" in all the bad about Costa Rica and never acknowledge the good . We are all capable to read and research , hence the Fodors site ... Obviously most know about these dangers associated with Costa Rica , which compare favorably if put side by side with other central american countries and Mexico included . Crime exists here , corruption exists here , dangers lurk .... YES. BUT , the good outweighs the bad for me , at this point those few bad apples are not spoiling things for me !I'm glad Carl posted his information , as well he should. But , long live Pura Vida !!!! Wherever you may find it . Rb..?, It continues to strike me as odd , almost like a vendetta, that you search out posts like these, and have in the past posted numerous links to negative events .... Donning my protective gear as we speak .
faithie is offline  
Old May 25th, 2006, 04:20 PM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 5,545
Believe it or not I actually like Costa Rica. But I also believe it is overhyped (and this leads to it be over visited).
I say bad things about other places too (and other people complain about those statements too). Good and bad things are equally important for travellers to hear, IMHO.
RBCal is offline  
Old May 25th, 2006, 06:59 PM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 10,212
Costa Rica may very well be "overhyped". That would account for the sharp rise in tourism in the past 2 years. However, it doesn't explain why so many continue to visit time and again. Must be something to that "hype"! At least for many of us. . .

As for the recent crime to which you have referred in Manuel Antonio--if I'm not mistaken, the young (I assume she was young) lady returned home without filing charges. Hard to hold the bad guys if no one formally accuses them. Please correct me if I am wrong.

It was a different story with Karen Martin's (University of Kansas student completing her thesis in Costa Rica) murder in Golfito 5 or 6 years ago. That made all kinds of news--here in the states as well as in Costa Rica.
Like the Natalie Holloway case in Aruba, her parents pursued justice for years. I believe there was a conviction a year or two ago.

Good grief, there isn't a beach in the world that I would consider walking on in the wee hours of the morning with no one else around (even with a male companion), although I might be perfectly safe 999 times out of 1000. Those odds aren't good enough for me!

As Faithie mentioned, most people understand that where there are tourists, there will be crime, and tourists would do well to be conservative when it comes to safety issues--ESPECIALLY in areas where tourism is more concentrated.

I don't doubt that Queensland is lovely (Percy said it was!) and has a low incidence of crime. No doubt the police force is a little more substantial; and perhaps the court systems are more expedient.

For me, trying to compare Australia with Costa Rica is a moot point. Costa Rica is much more affordable. I will always be attracted to countries where people know how to be happy and content with very little. Everytime I go to Costa Rica I am inspired by that kind of joy--the essence of pura vida.
shillmac is offline  
Old Jun 7th, 2006, 06:52 AM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 2,323
ttt for L.Carl
faithie is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
mlgb
Mexico & Central America
13
Jan 31st, 2016 05:52 PM
marysmommy
Mexico & Central America
9
Jun 3rd, 2008 06:54 PM
Jeff_Costa_Rica
Mexico & Central America
5
Dec 30th, 2007 11:16 PM
muffin
Mexico & Central America
10
Sep 27th, 2004 11:28 AM
orangetravelcat
Mexico & Central America
8
Nov 13th, 2003 10:19 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

FODOR'S VIDEO