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Written By: Gary on January 16, 2009 No Comment

It’s been a week since the 6.2 earthquake in Costa Rica (Jan. 8, 2009) and while I’ve been updating my original post with info I thought I’d post another entry.

The death toll is at 23 people with 11 missing. Over 2000 people living in shelters and abut $100 million in estimated damages. This really sums up the whole tragic disaster.

There is a nice graphic of the area up at The Tico Times to give you some idea of location and details.

Speaking of The Tico Times, the latest issue came out today (it’s a weekly paper) and has a lot of information in it (they do sell a pdf of the paper on-line), they generally don’t publish very many full stories on-line other than by subscription but they’ve had a lot up there this week. The first 11 pages of the January 16, 2009 issue of the Tico Times is full of info on this earthquake, including a history of earthquakes in Costa Rica, info/diagrams of seismic plates in Central America a safety quiz and more. I’m not trying to sell you the TIco Times but it’s really got a lot on the earthquake this week and I do like The Tico Times.

I didn’t realize that this was the biggest quake in 18 years. Lately, I’ve heard mention of earthquakes, but I didn’t think I’ve heard much about them before a year or so ago. But I’ve spent more time there lately (4 trips in 12 months) and I’ve been getting The Tico Times delivered to Michigan so I’m catching more news that I would have missed before. I’m assuming it was my lack of information that led me to that misconception and not that they’ve had more in the past year.

There are volcanos in the area of the quake, the closest is the Poás Volcano which is about 10km from the center of the earthquake (about 90 km is the Arenal Volcano, the worlds most active volcano. Volcanos tend to follow fault lines and Costa Rica is right off of the one that becomes the San Andreas fault (if you follow it up a map you’ll see it). . Volcanos and earthquakes in the same place make me extra nervous but that doesn’t seem to have caused any issues. On a side note, the Poas Volcano National Park is closed through Monday due to some unrelated volcanic activity; it seems coincidental but maybe it closes all the time, but I haven’t noticed it in the paper before…

If you haven’t read it since I first put it up, I have added more links and news to my post from last week.

Written By: Gary on January 9, 2009 No Comment

Costa Rica had a huge earthquake yesterday (Thursday, January 8th, 2009), 6.2 on the richter scale (I’ve seen reports that say 6.1). Just north of the San Jose area. This is the biggest one that I’ve heard of in Central Valley. The Tico Times has a lot of the earthquake coverage (you do have to do some clicking and scrolling, they’re mostly a subscription service).

costricaearthquake-2009bpba.pngThey’re reporting about 23 dead with 11 still missing (at least that’s how I’m piecing everything together, I’ve seen numbers all over the place; as high as 30 dead). Lots of damage, mud slides and people trapped in various areas. 1,000+ people relocated and another 1,000+ stranded. If you check out the news stories from around the world there are definitely conflicting reports (especially on the death toll). Lots more earthquake details here and if you’ve got Google Earth installed there are some additional visual details if you click on the spot of the earthquake.

I can’t imagine the chaos and devastation that something like this causes. My thoughts an prayers go out to everyone affected by this…

I’ve been having a hard time getting my head around some of the damage, I found some photos at Inside Costa Rica and a video clip (in Spanish).

You can see many of the areas that felt it on this map, people can actually report it and that’s what feeds the map (don’t know how long they keep these on-line).

How many people are affected by this that I’ve met on my various trips down there? Places that I’ve visited or stayed at the I don’t recognize the names. I wonder how much it freaks out the tourists, imagine if they didn’t speak the language. I don’t speak Spanish well enough, in a crisis, without my translation book, I don’t know what I’d do…

There was a slightly bigger one (6.5 richter scale) in November when I was there, but I didn’t feel it and I don’t remember this much death and damage, but it was way at the south end of the country (I think it might have been in Panama) and if it was a few of my more isolated days I wouldn’t have gotten much news. My biggest earthquake ever was also in Costa Rica (4.3 richter scale) but most people didn’t even notice it (it was just after midnight).

A slightly erratic post but these thoughts have been in my head and wanted to share them…

I’ll add more links below:
Pictures from the Tico Times newspaper (more landscapes and buildings are towards the end).
Photos from al Dia from La Cinchona de Sarapiquí, Heredia
La Paz waterfalls had to close down. I believe some people took shelter there when the roads got cut off (I might be mixing the location up).

FYI, I’ve been updating the details in this posting daily, it was originally from January 9, 2009 but some of the details might be from up to a week later.

Written By: Gary on August 17, 2008 No Comment

The Tico Times is the english weekly paper from Costa Rica. For the last eight months I’ve been subscribing to the paper edition of The Tico Times. I’ve mentioned my Tico Times delivery issues before, it usually takes a while to get to Michigan but it’s much easier to read on paper than on the screen (they also offer a PDF subscription).

I’ve wanted to see what’s going on in the country when I’m not visiting. I’ve been paying attention to opinion pages, letters to the editor, classifieds and more local ads. Of the five times I’ve been there it’s all been in April or between the end of November and beginning of January (and really only covering half-a-dozen different weeks) so I’ve really only seen a portion of the year while there. So I’ve been paying more attention to the non-tourist type articles; when I’m there traveling I’m generally looking more for what’s going on there at that time.

Written By: Gary on April 2, 2008 One Comment

NicoyatipwhereSo far I’ve only explored the southmost point of the Nicoya Peninsula and stayed in Montezuma. I want to explore more of the Pacific coast next trip (later this month).

I’m looking for tips on where to travel and places to stay. As requirements for places to stay go: walking to beach distance, hot showers and air conditioning (not fancy, cheap is better). There was a pullout section of the TicoTimes a few weeks ago but it only seemed like it covered the ultra fancy hotels and resorts.

I just want to wander around the towns and the ocean and find some waterfalls and stuff like that.

Nocoyapeninwhere

Any thoughts or suggestions on what not to miss? restaurants to eat at? or hotels to stay at?

Written By: Gary on March 15, 2008 No Comment

So I’m not just talking about regular mail, I’m talking shipping and receiving from companies and just getting deliveries. The way things arrive and the order in which they arrive is just strange sometimes.

My most recent computer order is one example, I ordered a computer (with a larger hard drive so it had to be “built”), a spare battery and spare charger. The computer has already been assembled and shipped, the battery didn’t ship until a day later than the computer (I assumed it would have shipped the day before the computer) and the charger hasn’t shipped yet. Maybe, this is all a plan from Apple, they know how fast everything will get here so why have someone rush to ship the battery when they had something else to do, the computer system could be smart enough to do that. It just seems strange. Although, I find it strange it’s cheaper to do the final assembly in China and ship them here one at a time via FedEx.

I’ve been on vacation and mailed postcards on the same day (from the same mailbox) to people in the same city and they arrive weeks later. Where was the other one? Stuck in someone else’s magazine? Did it travel a different route?

I’m currently subscribing to the TicoTimes, it’s a weekly English paper that covers Costa Rica. It’s published on Friday and sometimes I get it the following Wednesday (5 days later). I’m not sure when they actually mail it, I’m sure on Thursday or Friday. But sometimes I get it days later, I think the record is 12 days (I think I got it 4 days later, on Tuesday once). Why such the time difference? It looks like they ship it from Costa Rica, I wonder if it makes more sense to ship all the US customers in one package (shipped faster) and have them re-mailed from the US. I know they ship to a few US newstands to sell them so the re-shipping wouldn’t be too hard.

And I find it really strange when I order something from Amazon (in stock) and in the same order I get a used book from one of their used-partners and I get the used book days before the new one…

Most of the time when I order from places like CDW, I get the item the next day even when I don’t pay for fast shipping (I almost always choose the cheapest).

And my absolute favorite is when I pay big buck$ for overnight shipping and I don’t get it for 3 or 4 days. Their reasoning, we didn’t get it shipped the first day, but when we did ship it, it went out overnight. I love that Amazon clearly marks when you’ll get it with one-day shipping if you order it in the next “3 hours and 5 minutes” or something like that. When my oven broke a few months ago the GE site, clearly stated that when I ordered it by a certain time it would ship that day, I could of paid less ($10-$15) from a few other sites, but I couldn’t be certain when it would actually ship; so with that little piece of knowledge, GE got my money instead and they got a premium…

Written By: Gary on November 29, 2007 One Comment

So a few weeks before I left I subscribed to the TicoTimes. It’s a weekly English nation-wide newspaper about the size of Metro Times or a magazine from the Sunday section of a newspaper that comes out on Fridays in Costa Rica. A month’s subscription included the ability to download the PDF file every week. It’s a little hard to read on the screen, I think I get one more electronic issue, but I’ll probably buy a copy tomorrow.

ticotimesIt was nice to get a feel for what was going on in the country. From a to do list it wasn’t very helpful to me. It comes out on Friday and the calendar generally doesn’t stretch much past the weekend. So I might go somewhere else tomorrow and I should have stayed here for something, but I’ve already made my arrangements. I did find out about some kind of air festival in the northwest but I forgot all about it, I’ll have to check on that…

From a news standpoint I did know the rainy season was dying down early, I know the colon was going to go up in value (their “Greenspan” changed something), that the phone company might go on strike (they didn’t) and a few other things. It’s definitely worth the $8 to get the four issues on-line if you’re considering traveling the country. I recommend this for anywhere, I’ve gone to the bookstore and picked up a newspaper for London, England to get an idea of what’s going on there too (you might have to reserve these in advance).

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