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Strange habits – Stories by a Former Expat in Costa Rica

Estimated Reading Time: 5 Minutes

Strange habits - Stories by a Former Expat in Costa Rica

In Costa Rica, people have sometimes strange habits. They do a lot of things differently.  When people ask me about Costa Rica, I talk all day, especially about strange habits.

I just thought about a few more interesting things about living there and the house.

We always thought the home was well built.  Still not sure that wasn’t the case.  It was mostly concrete and built to earthquake standards.

One night I woke up and heard these pounding noises. My first thought was that my dog was scratching against the bed.  I got up to find that we were experiencing an earthquake and the hot water tank was bouncing off the wall!!!  After that, I was amazed that there were no cracks or signs that the house had been shaken!  I can tell many stories about that house and no one would believe me.

Strange habits - Stories by a Former Expat in Costa Rica

The Septic Tank

One feature built into the house was a special drain on the septic tank that you could open up and send the sewage down the mountain into the creeks that went into town!!!  Believe it or not.  I do not know if that was ever done, but gringos learned to love the rainy season because they said it cleaned everything up!!!

The Fallen Tree

The day before we moved in, we had a wild rainstorm.  When we went to the house, we found that a large tree had lost a branch that barely missed the house.  We got a local person to finish it and clean up the mess.  This Tico showed up with a machete and a rope on his motorcycle.  He proceeded to clean up the branch where it had broken off.  Then he said there was another one that would definitely hit the house and needed to come down.  We told him to go ahead and do it.

He proceeded to climb the tree like a monkey and crawled out on the branch and proceeded to chop it off with his MACHETE!!!!   This was 20/30 feet in the air hanging over a sharp decline in the mountain!  As to clean up, he proceeded to cut it up into 6-foot sections (no chain saw). Then he proceeded to dump it all where our property went downhill toward a fence of the neighbors.  He said that is the way they did it there, another one of those strange habits.

At a later time, I took my truck and chain and dragged it all up to my front yard, and burned it.  It took several days since we were talking about big trunks.

Strange habits - Stories by a Former Expat in Costa Rica

The Cement Truck

On to the land development above us.  One day I was watching the workers and a cement truck came to the property.  One of a very few in the country, at that time.  They mostly mixed concrete by hand.

The truck was entering the property where they were going to have the entrance gate. The driver either turned too sharp or the soil was too soft, the cement truck went into the ditch.  The whole unit turned over on its side!  That was when they were building the swimming pool.  It was like watching the keystone cops for a few days.  Cheap entertainment.  They disconnected the concrete tank and then uprighted the truck cab and chassis and hauled it off.

As days progressed, they had men go into the tank with a hammer and chisel to get the cured cement out.  I do not remember how long it took, but it was fun to watch for a long time.

My wife and I first went down to Costa Rica in 1993.  We owned a coffee plantation for 12 years and physically lived in Escazu for 4 years.  Of course, we would not trade off that experience for anything in the world. For more, check these expat recommendations and experiences.

The Author

The author of this blog, FloridaTico, lived in Costa Rica during the ’90s. He and his wife moved to Florida and look back often to the great time they had in Costa Rica. This is one of his stories. 

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