Gary’s Blog: Driving Tami to the bus stop and other happenings and perspectives

March 31, 2015

From: Gary


Home alone, Tami went to Bugaba on truck plates paper chase.

She is learning the ropes here, and limping along gamely on her current Spanish.

Yovany the neighbor kid has been doing his job well, he spends an hour or two most days, chattering with her, and helping her do things. Tomorrow he is sked to come help her cut more ripe banana stalks, it keeps them both busy, lugging them up to the shack etc. and dividing the loot.

It’s the biggest banana sale that Tami has ever been to… fill your cart ladies, get more carts, hope you drove a station wagon.

I drove Tami up to the bus stop in Whistler, the usual 6×6 practice. Today picked up a neighbor who rode on the running board and chatted with me as I dodged the holes and wound around the corners, and shifted gears up and down the hills.

I’m looking forward to more visitors, so I can give them that ride. This ain’t Kansas Dorathy… most of the culverts as you get near home, are too short for the wheel width, and I’m often hanging the outside duals off the edge, or relying on the other axles to get the one biting air to bridge the gap. The worst part is where a land slide took out the road, and after clean up, I can just make it though, by using the truck’s outside mirrors as feelers, so that the truck stays in tight to the upper cut, and doesn’t go over the edge and down into the creek 50 feet below.  I noticed this morning that I was driving most of the road on auto-pilot, but still gearing down to absolute Granny, and paying real careful attention through that spot… ‘Wouldn’t want to test that roll-bar that I built and installed. It needs a couple braces to the floor first, before I go driving in that creek.

And that’s how life is here, somewhat of an adventure, whilst one is attempting a semblance of normalcy.

So far the herb starts we bought last trip out to the big city are all doing well,   Tami seems to really like her little plant friends now that there is more rain, and we are done with the terracing.  We are starting to try to use up the boughten dried seasonings we brought all the way from the United Snakes, Because we will soon have fresh home grown organic replacements. And the live plants cost less than the little plastic jars of the corporate version.   Soon, a “Super-Garden” instead of a supermarket….

It’s a hard one for people up north to wrap their cerebral cholesterol lump around, with factors like no bleeping winter to connect the dots on. What that means is we can have fresh everything all year long. Even corn if we want to dribble some spring water out of a hose on it during the dry season.  Realistically though, one gets lazy, and tends to grow things in the easy season for this or that item. Even Tami has figured that out; that one needs to vary things a bit to take advantage of seasons.

Lately I have been thinking about ordering some 3/8ths steel rod to use as cloche wire,  for chicken cloches and some rain cloches for tomatoes in the wet end of the wet season.

I will make the chicken cloches as one piece welded units that we can pack around and set where ever we need the hell scratched out of an area. Tami seems to have an attraction to chickens, I suspect it is latent farmer’s wife genetics from being a flat-lander.  She reads these books on animal trainers, about people who talk to dogs, or are horse wisperers,  But I think her expertise is in being a Chicken  “career councilor”.

She is the only person I’ve ever met, that squeals with delight at chickens in the road.

While I am doing the driving and trying not to get them stuck between the aft duals.

Anyway, the great weather has gotten even better lately, getting enough rain to make the plants grow, but not enough to be unpleasant, especially at the temperatures here.

This morning we were talking about skiing accidents, as if they were something that happened on another planet. It’s also that way now for shoveling snow etc. we hear about it on the news. It just happens to less fortunate people in far away places that are difficult to even contemplate living.

It’s like a bad dream the night before; one wakes up thinking about how it is in the US now, with the thieves realizing the power of government, and doing what is basically a great train robbery advertised as a charity drive.   With the right and left wing of the thieves guild firmly in power on the TV sets.(Much like the pigs in Orwell’s Animal Farm.)

Oh! Master Thieves!  How far have we come since farmer statesmen?

And why doth no-one think about the obvious outcome of perpetual legislation?

You would think there should have been an excess of laws generations ago.

But I guess if the dynamics is control of small people for the robber barons, there is no limit. You can always use just one more law to squeeze the chickens out of more eggs.

Yes, it is April!  The joys of spring; Cherry blossoms, Daffodils, And nightmares of government forms, where you subtract from line 28A what you got when you multiplied 5C, after you entered line 36 from your W2 form, and woe to anyone who doesn’t look normal, the Wolves of IRS will be on you quicker than a limping calf in a buffalo herd.

Yup! Minimalism means letting go of April tax rituals, and just being smugly happy that one’s Tax liability is a big fat goose egg.   Let me know if you want out. If there is enough of you, we can schedule a seminar.  ; )

Normalcy looks so boring, except for the fear parts.

You have to really think about what you are doing now and then. And whether it’s in your own best interests? There’s like a few billion sheep eyeing each other trying to figure out exactly where normal is, so they can stand on that line.

Later, picked Tami up at the bus stop, almost two hours late, she got the run around at the Bugaba bureaucracy on truck papers, a Chinese fire drill would have made more sense.

About four hours to get one piece of paper,  with maybe four trips down the street to a copy machine, sometimes for copies of the same page she just had to go get copies of etc.  But that’s the way it is here, things don’t have to make any sense, and sometimes you get knowledgeable people and good service and sometimes it’s a shoot them all and let God sort them out situation.

But we only supposedly have one more office to do to get the truck plates, so if true, seven office visits not counting the customs which was another four visits, to get the truck legal in country.

The good news is it gets easier; next year should be a cake walk. And the funny part is the RP government thinks scads of foreigners want to live here.  Usually 90% don’t make it more than a couple years.  After they go through the residency process, they are fed up with bullshit and go back to the US. Tired of having their economic udders squeezed flat. 

The problem is the limits of Latin imaginations; they can only think Americans have a wallet with a printing press inside. So they pile on bureaucratic “necessities” until they break the camel’s bank.

Most Americans come here thinking to retire in a more affordable place to live.  They are herded through a gauntlet of bureaucratic ‘Paja” with all kinds of absurd requirements, all designed to create jobs for worse than worthless bureaucrats and office workers, and every document requires certification, stamps, signatures, copies, and trips to banks to pay fees.  Documents from the US government have to be recertified by the US government and the Banana republic consulate in the US, who don’t like to answer emails or phones, and the fees can often be several hundred dollars for a fancy seal and a signature just to certify a US document.  Basically its Alice in Wonderland level absurdity.  And all this so you can go buy an overpriced house in a gated community, or in an area with a high density of foreigners, while your rights and security issues are at best a façade in front of a wink-wink, nod-nod corrupt reality.  Mostly what Latin governments are best at is shooting themselves in the foot; all of these requirements limit the number of retirees who live here. And in the interim they are constantly hassling those who try to live here without jumping though all their corrupt hoops, or who don’t qualify. (These people invariably bring money into the country, but are undocumented, i.e. have not played the paper-chase, and pay absurd fees. And probably add up to a fair section of the overall expat community.)  and for instance: I have a Costa Rican daughter-in-law, who is planning on making me a grand father soon,  but because she wants to use their medical insurance in the US, the kid will not be born in CR, and so I can’t qualify for residency…   Same genetic mix, but sorry, has to be born here etc.

All the other residency status qualifications are about as absurd, hundreds of thousands of dollars of investment required, to live in a country where most are poor unless working for the government, or otherwise preying on the poor, It is basically “ECONOMIC DISCRIMINATION”, (and the US government does the exact same things),  and here,  where you can have your house broken into, or be robbed on the street, and nothing will ever be done about it, except a form filed.

So basically the game is; beating the game, and trying to live here cheap while they try to milk you to the last man, and to your last cent.

Really you have to be crazy to live in Central America. They should pay us to live here. We long term expats may be a bit strange, but we probably better the local honesty and sanity stats. Personally I expect the mega crash to happen eventually, and pretty much all government to slide into the black hole it deserves. What a bunch of bull. We probably don’t need ANY government to get by.  And instead we have tiers of government everywhere all over the planet.  In the highest Himalayas there are government offices, in the farthest deserts, and the most back-water ports.  There to hold you up for hours, and make it seem like a favor to charge you fees, for a rough grade of toilet paper, with their rubber stamps and signature flourishes.  People you hope you never have to look at again. The world would be better off if we just paid them to stay home. 

Governments used to be a “necessary evil” in the American revolutionary period. This was before internet, and its person to person internationalism, or its “Big Brother” Police state tech,  it was before semi-automatic arms for home and village defense, and it was before nukes..  which all adds up to big governments now being more of a dire threat to common man,  than a benefit.

And the thing to remember, is these hassles with the government are universal, Tami stood in line for hours with truck drivers etc. wasting their lives so the government could hold them up for money.  This stuff holds back the economy.  And it’s the same all over Latin America.  They literally can’t be involved in online business because of government hold ups.  This means they will fall farther and farther behind.  

“Poverty is caused by the functionaries eating up all the money in taxes.” (Tao)




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