Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Global Warming - In Costa Rica?

Today on the news, reporters were talking about Global Warming and how it is going to affect Costa Rica in the coming years. What amazed me what the way they gave the news, come on, Global Warming is not going to affect Costa Rica in 2008, it has been affecting our country since several years now. All the rain, floods, tornadoes and drys we had this year are product of Global Warming, let's NO be so naive. Nature set records this year here in Costa Rica and around the world as well.

Another thing funny about this news is that the reporters talked about Global Warming like if it is something that is caused somewhere else, like if Costa Ricans has nothing to do with it and the worst part of all is that they don't alert people like if this was an emergency, because it is, I mean if we don't do something these climate problems are going to get really bad and we are going to get to the point where we cannot do anything about it. We have been polluting this world since a long time ago and now we are seeing the consequences.

The time is now, we have to stop polluting our world, stop throwing garbage everywhere, we have to recycle, categorize garbage, care more about how we maintain our cars and the kind of cars we buy, also we can do more car pooling. We have to be more conscientious about our nature.

In the Nacion newspaper you can find information about this news as well (go to http://www.nacion.com/ln_ee/2007/noviembre/27/aldea1330860.html). Here they say that 65% of our gas emissions come from transportation (cars, buses, etc.) and it is true because you can see here the oldest buses and cars in history throwing this really black smoke to our air, when you see that you just wonder "what is our government doing about this?", then you remember, "yeah! Our government has this wonderful private company doing our car revisions, RTV", but then you also remember that this system is so corrupt that it doesn't work, because if it works then you would not see those old buses and cars going around our country pollution our air.

Let's think about it, think about what you can do to help, how you can help to save our world, preserve our planet, stop this contamination, stop global warming!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Okinawa Restaurant - An Example of Good Customer Service

My boyfriend and I wanted to go to dinner to the Japanese restaurant Okinawa, so last Monday we called to make a reservation for Tuesday night in the grill area.

On Tuesday, I got a call from the restaurant manager telling me that on Tuesdays the grill area is closed due to maintenance of the grill. The manager was very polite and nice, he apologized for the mistake and offered us a discount in the meal and the chance to change the reservation, but we decided to keep the reservation for Tuesday and eat in one of the other areas, specially because you can still order foods made on the grill, the only thing is that they cook them inside so you miss the show :)

When we arrived to the restaurant, the manager was very nice, he gave us another table, a very nice cozy table. We ordered and later the manager approached us with a bottle of wine, Casillero del Diablo Cabernet Sauvignon, and a 30% discount on the meal. We were so pleased with the good service they gave us and very happy to see that there are restaurants in this country that actually care about their customers' satisfaction.

Okinawa became one of our favorites restaurants, they have excellent food and a great service. If you like Japanese food, we recommend it!

Okinawa is located in Curridabat San Jose, 100 meters south and 20 meters west from McDonald's (sorry for the so Costa Rican address). Its website is http://www.restauranteokinawa.com/

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Driving in Costa Rica

Have you ever driven here in Costa Rica? Well, if you have you know how terrible it is.

Driving in Costa Rica is like a race, everyone wants to be first no matter the cost. There are no signs to follow and no one cares for the friend in the other car.

Some of the very peculiar habits Costa Rican drivers have, are:
  • People love hunking the horn. If you are in a semaphore, as soon as the light turns green you will hear someone hunking the horn. Of course, they don't want to lose a millisecond of their precious time!

  • Also, if there is traffic they start hunking the horn, like if the person in the car in front is stuck there on purpose, just for pleasure.

  • No one, no one really knows how to use the circle ("rotonda"), everyone enters in the wrong lane and then try to change to the right lane in the middle of the circle ("rotonda"), causing, sometimes an accident, and if they don't at least, they scare someone.

  • People think that the yellow line aside the street is just for decoration or an invitation to "Park here for free!". You can find the smallest streets here in Costa Rica with parked cars in both sides of the street, then you wonder, "well, how can I go through?"

  • Pedestrians? Oh pedestrian don't matter here, they have the least priority. No matter if the green light for pedestrian is on, you have to be careful or you would be run over by some idiot who doesn't know that the red light means "stop"!

  • Also, if you want to be a taxi or a bus driver, you have to have the worst habits, you have to be worse than everybody else, you have to forget about any sign or driving rule your country has, even though you have passengers on your vehicle! For example, if you are a bus driver and you stopped at a bus stop than you want to be in the left lane, don't turn on your turning light, just turn, no matter if others cars are coming, they would stop because no one wants to die crashed by a bus.

  • If you see a small space ahead of you, run and take it, so you can advance faster. You might find a car coming while you are trying to advance, but who cares, the others cars will have to give you space so there is no accident.

In addition to this, you have very bad streets full of holes, no signs to guide you, no directions, no traffic police, so basically, you are on your own!

My advice is pray before you leave your house, try to be patient, be nice and do your best driving...ah and be careful!

Monday, November 19, 2007


Here in Costa Rica we have this so called "I don't care culture" where no one wants to be held responsible for anything that happens in the country. I can talk about some examples here!

When we have our president selection, a lot of people don't go to vote, but then when the new president makes mistakes they say it is a bad president even though they didn't go to vote when they have the chance to select someone else, also they blame the ones who voted for the elected president for voting for him.

We have a referendum last October, 2007 to people decide weather or not the CAFTA would be approved or not. Only 60% of the people voted. 40% of the people in Costa Rica let others to make their decisions for them, later they complain.

Our country, like many others in the world, is very contaminated. The rivers are full of garbage and toxic waste, we are losing our forests, which is one our greatest treasures here. But a lot of people don't care, they just continue throwing their garbage in the rivers and on the streets. People here don't recycle either, I know the government doesn't have specific policies to deal with recycled things, but there are some private companies that do, so taking our recycled things to them doesn't cost a thing and it helps a lot.

There have been a lot of talking about the increasing in poverty. However, we can see everyday a lot of young students dropping school. They don't study, then they don't get a good job, then they don't have a good salary, then they complain and in some cases, they even steal. I know, there are cases where the people didn't have the opportunity to study, but most of the people do, cause education is free here in Costa Rica, they just need to really want to do it and then make an effort.

Another thing I've noticed is that everyone hates rich people, but they want to be like them without hard working, they want everything for free and what I learned in this world is that if you don't study hard and don't work hard, you won't be able to have a good life with the things you need and want.

We need to start taking responsibility of our lives and the choices we make. We need to study and work hard, that is the only way we can make this country progress! We are smart people, we can do it, we just need to start!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

A Philosophy for Traveling

I would like to share with you one of my philosophies!!

When I lived in Spain we used to travel a lot to some of the most important Spanish Cities and also to the most famous European cities.

We went to Lisbon, Amsterdam, London, Rome, Paris, Florence and Venice and while I traveled that much, I learned a few things.

If you travel to a place to visit a town or a city and you know you won't spend to much time in the hotel, -- you use it just to go to sleep and take a shower --, then find a nice hotel not so expensive that is cheap, clean and with the things you need, -- a nice bed and a clean bathroom --, so in that way you can use the money for other stuff like food, tickets, wine, etc. Sometimes you can even find that perfect little cheap hotel with breakfast included, you just have to look for it. If you think we are going to spend more time in the hotel then you need a nicer place, otherwise cheap, clean and quiet will do, believe me!

For example, when we went to Florence, there were so many things to see that we got up at 8 am, get showered, eat breakfast and then went off to check all the cool stuff you can see in Florence. We got back to the hotel around 8 or 9 pm. just to fall sleep because we were so tired that we couldn't anything else. So, definitely we didn't need a big room for that, it would have been a waste.

Obviously, if you have the money to stay in a very fancy hotel and still get good food, pay all the museum tickets and anything you need, I would just say, GO AHEAD! ENJOY!!

Monday, July 09, 2007


Well, as you might be thinking, yes, this is a post about the new TV Series, Heroes. I'm amazed by it, it is so entertaining that I compare it to Dan Brown's book Angels and Daemons.

You are probably wondering why?, well definitely not because of the story of course, both are totally different, but for how the heroes story grabs your attention so you always want to know what's next.

I remember when I was reading Angels and Daemons, every free moment I had I went and grab my book and start reading. Something similar happens to me with Heroes, I don't want to miss an episode.

I haven't watched the whole first season yet, I've just seen the first 15 episodes and the good thing is that they are always introducing new characters, mixing them more, making the story even more complicated, so you start guessing about what is going to happen, knowing that what you thought is not what is going to happen.

It is a really cool TV show, it makes you wonder, what would you do with all those powers? Would you lose yourself? or Would you use them to make good? or Would you prefer to be normal? Not a hero?

What would you do?

Monday, June 04, 2007

Me and Soccer - Part 3

Hello again!!

I haven't written much lately, I guess I've been a bit busy!

I want to let you know my advance in soccer! :) I have now several months of playing, I must say that I feel a lot more comfortable now, I don't get as tired as before and most of all, I'm getting use to it and enjoying it, who would have thought?

I also enjoy spending time with the team, it is a lot of fun to play with them! I have learned a lot from these girls!

It is being good for my health too, now I feel a lot better!

I can also say, that I can make a few goals in the games, maybe I'm not so bad, who knows, this is a really complicated game :)

I'll let you know how things are going with Ateneas!

Talk to you later!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Me and Soccer - Part 2

Last Wednesday, February 28th, me and my team used for the first time our new t-shirts. That was just something new.

My t-shirt number is 16 and it says "Mari" in the back. I like my new t-shirt, it's very comfortable and it has some of my favorites colors: dark blue, light blue and white. I like the design too, it was made based on some of the girls suggestions, then one of my teammate's brother designed the logo, which is really cool.

We were so proud about our uniform that everyone started taking pictures of their own t-shirt, front and back or even with the whole team, it was a real party.

My lovely boyfriend was there with me, he was using his new camera for the first time, taking pictures of me in my new uniform, so you can imagine how many pictures I have of that day. It was real fun ;)

We played between us, we didn't have a game with another team, so it was relaxing, we had time to do some exercise, use our new uniform and play some soccer.

We have a game with some girls we don't know yet. I hope we have fun today, no punches of any kind, just enjoy the game.

I'll let you know how it goes!

See you next time!

Monday, February 26, 2007

My favorite quotes

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. - Albert Einstein

Quality means doing it right when no one is looking - Henry Ford

Even a mistake may turn out to be the one thing necessary to a worthwhile achievement. - Henry Ford

An ounce of loyalty is worth a pound of cleverness. - Elbert Hubbard

In politics, if you want anything said, ask a man; if you want anything done, ask a woman. - Margaret Thatcher

Every morning I get up and look through the Forbes list of the richest people in America. If I'm not there, I go to work. - Robert Orben

Love is not blind - it sees more, not less. But because it sees more, it is willing to see less. - Rabbi Julius Gordon

Rage is the only quality which has kept me, or anybody I have ever studied, writing columns for newspapers. - Jimmy Breslin

In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable. - Dwight D. Eisenhower

I never think of the future. It comes soon enough.- Albert Einstein

Wine makes a man more pleased with himself; I do not say that it makes him more pleasing to others. - Samuel Johnson

When buying and selling are controlled by legislation, the first things to be bought and sold are legislators. - P. J. O'Rourke

Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes. - Mahatma Gandhi

The secret of staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age. - Lucille Ball

A theory is something nobody believes, except the person who made it. An experiment is something everybody believes, except the person who made it. - Albert Einstein

Real heroes are men who fall and fail and are flawed, but win out in the end because they've stayed true to their ideals and beliefs and commitments. - Kevin Costner

If you think you can do a thing or think you can't do a thing, you're right. - Henry Ford

I don't want any yes-men around me. I want everybody to tell me the truth even if it costs them their jobs. - Samuel Goldwyn

I'm a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it. - Thomas Jefferson

The secret of joy in work is contained in one word - excellence. To know how to do something well is to enjoy it. - Pearl S. Buck

In the beginning there was nothing. God said, 'Let there be light!' And there was light. There was still nothing, but you could see it a whole lot better. - Ellen DeGeneres

Good judgement comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgement. - Unknown

The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority. - Kenneth Blanchard

Monday, February 19, 2007

Me and Soccer

Like a year ago some girls at work started a soccer team, its name is Ateneas FC. They asked me to be part of it, but I wasn't really interested in playing soccer, my passion always has been basketball. Besides, in that time I had to go to classes so I didn't really have a chance to play.

This year, one of my new year's resolutions was to do some exercise to improve my health and lose some weight, so I gave soccer a chance.

It has been interesting, but also it has been a challenge since it's a completely new sport to me, I mean, I can kick a ball, but I can't really run with a ball with several girls beside me trying to take it away from me, it is really complicated. In addition to that, it seems to be a more dangerous sport than basketball, since the first day I played, I was hit with the ball, then somebody push me to the ground and the last time somebody hit my face with the ball, it was very bad for my nose.

The last two games we had to play with a team that seems to be more experienced (they must be because they kicked our buts) and also more violent, even though they win they started pushing, kicking and punching us, it was terrible! One of our teammates got injured in both games by the same girl!

The one in the picture is my friend Iriana, she's the captain of the team I guess, she organizes everything.

It has been a totally new experienced, since I'm not used to play with a whole team with rules and a referee and everything, I even had to buy soccer shoes, socks and shin guards.

It's been fun so far, I had had the chance to learn new things, meet new people and do some exercise which is something that really want! I just hope not to get injured ;)

Friday, February 16, 2007

Café Moro

As part of our Valentine's Day, my boyfriend and I went to a Mediterranean restaurant called Café Moro, in Barrio Amón, San José.

I must say that was a relief the food and the service were so good, because as most of you might know, on Valentine's Day restaurants tend to lose their good fame (the food is not the best and the service is terrible), due to the big amount of people they serve that day.

Café Moro was not the case, the food was excellent, the appetizers and the main dishes were really good, also the service was excellent. We asked for a plate of several cheeses and a Mediterranean medley as appetizers, a Chicken in porcini sauce and a Steak in pepper sauce as main dishes, everything was just delicious and we had Sangria to drink, of course.

Café Moro is a restaurant that worths going, it's a nice cozy place decorated in a Mediterranean style, it's comfortable and the service and food are excellent, the prices are a little high but they worth it.

I really recommend it!!

Cantera at Jazz Café

Last Wednesday, February 07th, the CEO of the company I work for, Mario Chaves, invited me and Carlos to listen to a Flamenco group at Jazz Café. I hadn't listened Flamenco since I got back from Spain, so I couldn't refuse the invitation.
From Flamenco Jazz...
Carlos and I were in charged of arriving to the restaurant earlier so we didn't lose the reservation, it wasn't very full when we got there and Jazz Café was as cozy as always and it had that particular quite environment that characterizes it. While we waited for the other guests, Carlos and I had something to drink, he asked for a Belgian beer and I had a Frozen Daiquirí, which was an excellent choice.
From Flamenco Jazz...
Around 9:30 my boss arrived, he also ordered a beer and then we ordered a pizza Jazz that was really good, excellent flavor.

When it was ten o'clock Cantera started the show, it was really a big surprise, they had excellent musicians, the guys in charge of the guitars were just exceptionals, the singer put some Spanish style to the music and the Flamenco dancer made the show even better with her hands movement and the music she made with her shoes.
From Flamenco Jazz...
The only bad thing was the group announced their break up, because their two guitarists were hired to play in some other countries, one of them is going to Spain. It's really sad because, even though was the first time I saw the show, I was really impressed with their performance.
From Flamenco Jazz...
When you have the chance, go see them ... while they are still together!!

Friday, February 02, 2007


Last Thursday, February 01st, I enjoyed a great concert of one of our finest Costa Rican musical groups, Malpaís. The concert was in Jazz Café Bar, San Pedro.

This is their third concert I go to, I might say it's the best, not only for the quality of it but because I could share it with some friends and coworkers.

I was so lucky I had the chance to listen, not only theirs well known songs, but the new ones, that are as good as the old ones.

These concerts really make you feel, not only because of the music and lyrics, but also for the sentiment the musicians put in their performance when they are playing their instruments. Also, the main singer, Fidel, he really enjoys when he's signing, it's just awesome.
The first time I listened to the group was in a concert at Jazz Café too, I've never listened to them until that day, but when I did, they really conquer my heart with that emotion and sentiment they have when they sing and play in each one of their concerts.

You seat their to listen to this group wishing that the concert never ends, you sing, you scream and there are even some who dance in spite of the small space and the crowd in the bar.

Yesterday, Carlos and I bought their last record, Malpaís En Vivo, I must say it's really good, listen to them playing live it's just great. I also, liked the little book that comes with the CD, it has great pictures and good texts. I enjoyed too, the voice of Daniela Rodríguez, I honestly think she should get a chance of singing more in the group, she has a great voice. Come on guys, think about it!

I really hope, they keep having the great success they have had so far, that they keep composing and giving us this wonderful music that makes us feel so proud of the Costa Rican music.

Pictures taken by Ana Garcia!