Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Hague International Court of Justice, Río San Juan dispute.

The Court rules on Costa Rica’s right of free navigation and
Nicaragua’s power of regulation over the San Juan river
THE HAGUE, 13 July 2009. The International Court of Justice (ICJ), the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, today rendered its Judgment in the case concerning the Dispute regarding Navigational and Related Rights (Costa Rica v. Nicaragua).
In its Judgment, which is final, binding and without appeal, the Court,
(1) As regards Costa Rica’s navigational rights on the San Juan river under the 1858 Treaty,in that part where navigation is common,
⎯ Finds unanimously that Costa Rica has the right of free navigation on the San Juan river for purposes of commerce;
⎯ Finds unanimously that the right of navigation for purposes of commerce enjoyed by
Costa Rica includes the transport of passengers;
⎯ Finds unanimously that the right of navigation for purposes of commerce enjoyed by
Costa Rica includes the transport of tourists;
⎯ Finds by nine votes to five that persons travelling on the San Juan river on board Costa Rican vessels exercising Costa Rica’s right of free navigation are not required to obtain Nicaraguan visas;
⎯ Finds unanimously that persons travelling on the San Juan river on board Costa Rican vessels exercising Costa Rica’s right of free navigation are not required to purchase Nicaraguan tourist cards;
⎯ Finds by thirteen votes to one that the inhabitants of the Costa Rican bank of the San Juan river have the right to navigate on the river between the riparian communities for the purposes of the essential needs of everyday life which require expeditious transportation;
⎯ Finds by twelve votes to two that Costa Rica has the right of navigation on the San Juan river with official vessels used solely, in specific situations, to provide essential services for the inhabitants of the riparian areas where expeditious transportation is a condition for meeting the inhabitants’ requirements;
⎯ Finds unanimously that Costa Rica does not have the right of navigation on the San Juan river with vessels carrying out police functions;
⎯ Finds unanimously that Costa Rica does not have the right of navigation on the San Juan river for the purposes of the exchange of personnel of the police border posts along the right bank of
the river and of the re-supply of these posts, with official equipment, including service arms and ammunition; As regards Nicaragua’s right to regulate navigation on the San Juan river, in that part where navigation is common,
⎯ Finds unanimously that Nicaragua has the right to require Costa Rican vessels and their passengers to stop at the first and last Nicaraguan post on their route along the San Juan river;
⎯ Finds unanimously that Nicaragua has the right to require persons travelling on the San Juan river to carry a passport or an identity document;
⎯ Finds unanimously that Nicaragua has the right to issue departure clearance certificates to Costa Rican vessels exercising Costa Rica’s right of free navigation but does not have the right to request the payment of a charge for the issuance of such certificates;
⎯ Finds unanimously that Nicaragua has the right to impose timetables for navigation on vessels navigating on the San Juan river;
⎯ Finds unanimously that Nicaragua has the right to require Costa Rican vessels fitted with masts or turrets to display the Nicaraguan flag;
(3) As regards subsistence fishing,
⎯ Finds by thirteen votes to one that fishing by the inhabitants of the Costa Rican bank of the San Juan river for subsistence purposes from that bank is to be respected by Nicaragua as a customary right;
(4) As regards Nicaragua’s compliance with its international obligations under the
1858 Treaty,
Finds by nine votes to five that Nicaragua is not acting in accordance with its obligations under
the 1858 Treaty when it requires persons travelling on the San Juan river on board Costa Rican vessels exercising Costa Rica’s right of free navigation to obtain Nicaraguan visas;
⎯ Finds unanimously that Nicaragua is not acting in accordance with its obligations under the 1858 Treaty when it requires persons travelling on the San Juan river on board Costa Rican vessels exercising Costa Rica’s right of free navigation to purchase Nicaraguan tourist cards;
⎯ Finds unanimously that Nicaragua is not acting in accordance with its obligations under the 1858 Treaty when it requires the operators of vessels exercising Costa Rica’s right of free navigation to pay charges for departure clearance certificates;
⎯ Rejects unanimously all other submissions presented by Costa Rica and Nicaragua.
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Reasoning of the Court
The Court recalls that the dispute between Costa Rica and Nicaragua concerns the
navigational and related rights of Costa Rica on the section of the San Juan river which runs from a point three English miles below Castillo Viejo to the mouth of the river at the Caribbean Sea. The
Court points out that it is not contested that the section of the river thus defined belongs to
Nicaragua, since the border lies on the Costa Rican bank, with Costa Rica possessing a right of free navigation. However, the Parties differ both as to the legal basis of that right and, above all, as to
its precise extent.
1. The extent of Costa Rica’s right of free navigation on the San Juan river
(a) The meaning and scope of the expression “libre navegación . . . con objetos de comercio”
The Court considers that the 1858 Treaty of Limits between Costa Rica and Nicaragua
completely defines the rules applicable to the section of the San Juan river that is in dispute in respect of navigation. It observes that Article VI of the Treaty in particular grants Costa Rica, on
the section of the river which follows the border between the two States, a perpetual right of free navigation “con objetos de comercio”. It notes that the Parties are in deep disagreement as to the
meaning of that phrase.
The Court has first to determine whether the phrase “con objetos de” means “for the
purposes of” ⎯ as Costa Rica contends ⎯ or “with articles of” ⎯ as Nicaragua contends. The Court is of the view that the interpretation advocated by Nicaragua cannot be upheld. The main
reason for this is that ascribing the meaning “with goods” or “with articles” to the phrase “con objetos” results in rendering meaningless the entire sentence in which the phrase appears. The
Court is of the view, by contrast, that Costa Rica’s interpretation of the words “con objetos” allows the entire sentence to be given coherent meaning. It finds that the expression “con objetos de
comercio” means “for the purposes of commerce”.
The Court then has to determine the meaning to be ascribed to the word “commerce” in the context of Article VI of the Treaty, so that the exact extent of the right of free navigation can be defined. The Court notes, first, that the term “comercio” is a generic term, referring to a class of activity. Second, it points out that the Treaty was entered into for an unlimited duration; from the outset it was intended to create a legal régime characterized by its perpetuity. The Court infers
from this that the term “comercio” must be understood to have the meaning it bears on each occasion on which the Treaty is to be applied, and not necessarily its original meaning. The Court accordingly finds that the right of free navigation applies to the transport of persons as well as the
transport of goods, as the activity of transporting persons can be commercial in nature nowadays, if a price (other than a token price) is paid to the carrier by the passengers or on their behalf.
(b) The activities covered by Costa Rica’s right of free navigation
Two types of private navigation are covered by the right of free navigation pursuant to Article VI of the 1858 Treaty: the navigation of vessels carrying goods intended for commercial transactions and that of vessels carrying passengers who pay a price other than a token price (or for
whom a price is paid) in exchange for the service thus provided.
The navigation of vessels belonging to the inhabitants of villages on the Costa Rican bank of the river in order to meet the basic requirements of everyday life, such as taking children to school
or in order to give or receive medical treatment, is also protected by the right of free navigation, not by Article VI, but by other provisions of the 1858 Treaty.
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The navigation of official vessels, vessels which are the property of the Republic of Costa Rica, is not covered by the right of free navigation pursuant to Article VI of the 1858 Treaty unless it is undertaken for the “purposes of commerce”. The Court is of the opinion that, as a general rule,
the navigation of Costa Rican vessels for the purposes of public order activities and public services with no object of financial gain, in particular police vessels, lies outside the scope of Article VI of
the 1858 Treaty. Nonetheless, the Court considers that the navigation of Costa Rican official vessels used solely for the purpose of providing the population living on the river bank with what it
needs in order to meet the necessities of daily life is covered by the right of navigation such as it can be inferred from the provisions of the 1858 Treaty as a whole.
2. Nicaragua’s power of regulation of navigation
(a) General observations The Court notes that Nicaragua has the power to regulate navigation on the section of the San Juan river on which Costa Rica enjoys a right of free navigation. In its view that power is not unlimited. Indeed, a regulation is to have the following characteristics: it must only subject the
activity to certain rules without rendering impossible or substantially impeding the exercise of the right of free navigation; it must be consistent with the terms of the Treaty; it must have a legitimate purpose; it must not be discriminatory; and it must not be unreasonable. Moreover, the Court is of the opinion that Nicaragua is under an obligation to notify Costa Rica of the regulations
which it makes regarding the navigational régime on the San Juan river. That obligation does not however extend to notice or consultation prior to the adoption by Nicaragua of such regulations.
(b) The legality of the specific Nicaraguan measures challenged by Costa Rica
(i) Requirement to stop and identification: the Court is of the opinion that Nicaragua, as sovereign, has the right to know the identity of those entering its territory and also to know that they have left. The power to require the production of a passport or identity document of some kind is a legitimate part of the exercise of such a power. Nicaragua also has related responsibilities in respect of law enforcement and environmentalprotection. To that extent, the Nicaraguan requirement that vessels stop on entering the river and leaving it and that they be subject to search is lawful. The Court cannot,
however, see any legal justification for a general requirement that vessels continuing
along the San Juan river, for example from the San Carlos river to the Colorado river, stop at any intermediate point.
(ii) Departure clearance certificates: the Court considers that the requirement on vessels navigating on the river to obtain departure clearance certificates, for legitimate reasons of navigational safety, environmental protection and criminal law enforcement, does not appear to have imposed any significant impediment on the exercise of Costa Rica’s
freedom of navigation.
(iii) Visas and tourist cards: the Court recalls that the power of a State to issue or refuse a visa entails discretion. However in the present case Nicaragua may not impose a visa requirement on those persons who may benefit from Costa Rica’s right of free navigation.
In these circumstances, the Court finds that the imposition of a visa requirement is a
breach of the right pursuant to Article VI of the Treaty. The Court adds that Nicaragua is entitled to refuse entry to the river to a particular person for reasons of law enforcement and environmental protection. In such circumstances, it is not a breach of the right of free navigation. As for the requirement by Nicaragua that tourist cards be obtained, the Court observes that this does not appear to be intended to facilitate Nicaragua’s control over entry into the San Juan river. It notes that in the course of the proceedings Nicaragua
referred to no legitimate purpose as justification for imposing this requirement. The Court consequently finds that the requirement that passengers wishing to travel on Costa Rican vessels which are exercising Costa Rica’s freedom of navigation on the river must first purchase tourist cards is inconsistent with that right to freedom of navigation. (iv) Charges: as for the claim by Costa Rica concerning the payment of charges for the issuance of departure clearance certificates, the Court finds that, while Nicaragua has the right to inspect vessels on the San Juan river for safety, environmental and law enforcement reasons, those measures do not include the provision of any service to boat
operators. The Court considers that, in respect of Costa Rican vessels exercising freedom of navigation on the river, the payment must thus be seen as unlawful.
(v) Timetabling: the Court recalls that the exercise of a power to regulate may legitimately include placing limits on the activity in question. The limited evidence before the Court does not demonstrate any extensive use of the river for night time navigation. The Court thus infers that the interference with Costa Rica’s freedom to navigate caused by the
prohibition of night time navigation imposed by Nicaragua is limited and therefore does not amount to an unlawful impediment to that freedom, particularly when the purposes of the regulation are considered.
(vi) Flags: the Court considers that Nicaragua, which has sovereignty over the San Juan river, may, in the exercise of its sovereign powers, require Costa Rican vessels fitted with masts or turrets navigating on the river to fly its flag. This requirement cannot in any respect be
considered an impediment to the exercise of the freedom of navigation of Costa Rican
vessels under the 1858 Treaty.
(vii) Conclusion: the Court concludes that it follows from the above that Nicaragua has exercised its powers of regulation regarding the matters discussed under points (i), (ii), (v)
and (vi) above in conformity with the 1858 Treaty; but that it is not acting in conformity with the obligations under the 1858 Treaty when it implements measures requiring visas and tourist cards and the payment of charges in respect of vessels, boat operators and their passengers exercising the freedom of navigation.
3. Subsistence fishing For the Court, the failure of Nicaragua to deny the existence of a right arising from the practice of subsistence fishing, which had continued undisturbed and unquestioned over a very long period, is particularly significant. The Court accordingly concludes that Costa Rica has a
customary right which Nicaragua is obliged to respect with regard to the inhabitants of the Costa Rican bank of the San Juan river who engage in fishing for subsistence purposes from that bank.
4. The claims made by the Parties in their final submissions
The Court declares in particular that it will uphold the Parties’ claims in the operative part of the Judgment to the extent that they correspond to the preceding reasoning and will dismiss the others.
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Composition of the Court
The Court was composed as follows: President Owada; Judges Shi, Koroma,
Al-Khasawneh, Buergenthal, Abraham, Keith, Sepúlveda-Amor, Bennouna, Skotnikov,
Cançado Trindade, Yusuf, Greenwood; Judge ad hoc Guillaume; Registrar Couvreur.
Judges Sepúlveda-Amor and Skotnikov append separate opinions to the Judgment of the
Court; Judge ad hoc Guillaume appends a declaration to the Judgment of the Court.
A summary of the Judgment appears in the document “Summary No. 2009/4”. In addition,
this press release, the summary and the full text of the Judgment can be found on the Court’s
website ( under “Cases”.
Information Department:
Mr. Andrey Poskakukhin, First Secretary of the Court, Head of Department (+31 (0)70 302 2336)
Messrs. Boris Heim and Maxime Schouppe, Information Officers (+31 (0)70 302 2337)
Ms Joanne Moore, Associate Information Officer (+31 (0)70 302 2394)
Ms Barbara Dalsbaek, Administrative Assistant (+31 (0) 70 302 2396)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

4th of July annual picnic

SOS, 4th of July picnic

This past Independance day picnic was a morning to reunite american expats in Costa Rica, to celebrate the 233rd year of of freedom.

Like every year many arrive to the national beer company to meet with friends they haven´t seen in a while, have a few hotdogs and beers for breakfast, they take the kids to have free ice cream and pop corn and enjoy the games and competitions.

However in recent years it seems that it has not changed for the better, many people were complaining this past 4th of July, stating that in such a short period of time, much of it was being used for talking too much on stage, mainly about data which not many were interested in knowing, most of us agree that the ceremony and the protocol is important and must be kept, but please keep it to a minimum.

To make things worse, people had to wait for hotdogs and beer for an hour during the time all this was happening, the only reason it seems, is that it is a way to save on expenses, although I believe a lot of items are donated.

Its been a long time since my first 4th of July picnic in 1970, I remember shaking hands with President Pepe Figueres at the american ambassadors house, the traditional oxcart ride for kids and adults around the ground that has been forgotten, the famous blueberry pie eating contest which was a favorite and has not been done in years, there is no cotton candy and no T shirts, free or for sale, except for some of the volunteers and no more free entrance.

Another big issue many can´t understand is how can a celebration be exclusively for american citizens and not their relatives or close friends that are acompanying them.
Do the organizers expect for us to enjoy a party alone or leave our children, wife, girlfriend or person who is with us at the entrance gate ?
This was never a problem until two years ago and makes no sense, it seems that instead of increasing the attendance they are trying to diminish it and this year it was very obvious, the attendance was a fraction of what it was in past years.

Three years ago the the picnic was canceled apparently because of lack of organization and help and according to some comments heard through the grape vine, the organizers were too tired to deal with it.
It seems they would ask for help with this large task of organizing a traditional celebration, I personally have offered to contribute in the board of directors and volunteering during several years but have had no response.
Lic.Gregory Kearney Lawson.
Attorney at Law/Real Estate Broker
Rohrmoser, San José

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Costa Rica ----- Happiest place on Earth

Costa Rica tops happiness, 'green living' poll

SAN JOSE (AFP) - Costa Rica is the happiest place on earth, and one of the most environmentally friendly, according to a new survey by a British non-governmental group.

The New Economics Foundation looked at 143 countries that are home to 99 percent of the world's population and devised an equation that weighed life expectancy and people's happiness against their environmental impact.

By that formula, Costa Rica is the happiest, greenest country in the world, just ahead of the Dominican Republic.

Latin American countries did well in the survey, occupying nine of the top 10 spots.

Australia scored third place, but other major Western nations did poorly, with Britain coming in at 74th place and the United States at 114th.

The New Economics Foundation's measurements found Costa Ricans have a life expectancy of 78.5 years, and 85 percent of the country's residents say they are happy and satisfied with their lives.

Those figures, taken along with the fact that Costa Rica has a small "ecological footprint," combined to push the small nation to the top of the list.

A 2006 New Economics Foundation study designated Vanuatu the world's happiest nation, with Costa Rica at second place.

Sociologist Andrea Fonseca said Costa Rica gives its citizens the "tools" to be happy, but cautioned that happiness cannot be calculated just by looking at life expectancy and environmental practices.

She added that the country's rise to the top of the Happy Planet Index "has a lot to do with social imagination."

Costa Rica has a peaceful reputation because it does not have an army, and is also known for its protected ecological zones and national slogan "pure life," she said.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Presidente de Honduras, Manuel Zelaya desterrado de su país.

El Presidente Manuel Zelaya arribo a Costa Rica hoy momentos después de ser derrocado por su misma gente cuando quiso copiar las artimañas de otros colegas de Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia y Ecuador.
Al pretender hacer una nueva constitución para beneficiarse, el pueblo Hondureño que se caracteriza por ser defensores de sus ideales de democracia y libertad no permitió que su presidente se convirtiera en dictador.
Inmediatamente el ejercito nacional Hondureño captó la preocupación de muchos de sus ciudadanos, los militares lo sacaron en Pijamas de su casa y lo escoltaron a Nuestro País.
Hoy mismo sale hacia Nicaragua para participar en la cumbre de SICA con otros presidentes.
Entre 9 y 6 de la mañana hay un toque de queda en todo el país según autoridades Hondureñas han notificado a la población.
Esta claro que Honduras no permite dictadores que pretenden consolidarse enternamente en el poder, algunos lideres políticos se enamoran del poder y luego no quieren soltarla, tienen la cáscara de poner su voluntad sobre la de el pueblo que los eligió.
El Ejercito Hondureño esta cumpliendo con su deber de defender la constitución de su país y no va a permitir a nadie que la viole aunque sea su propio presidente el que intente violarla.
Lastima que el ejercito Venezolano no tiene los huevos que tienen en el ejercito de Honduras.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

President Manuel Zelaya kicked out of his country

President Manuel Zelaya of Honduras was kicked out of his country and brought to Costa Rica moments after trying to imitate the sneaky habits of some of his collegues from Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador.
He is trying to change the nations constitution to Benefit himself by allowing himself to be reelected indefintely just like President Chaves did with his country.
The people from Honduras who are well known for defending their ideals, their democracy and their freedom did not allow their president to become a dictador.
The national army immediatly was able to recognize the worries of their citizens and act accordingly without delays, the military did good in removing the President in his pijamas and kicking him out of the country before it was too late.
It is clear that Honduras will not tolerate wanna be dictators, some leaders start out well and then fall in love with power and their political job and don´t want to let go, trying to make their will more important than the will of the people who elected them.
The Honduran army is defending their freedom, their constitution and won´t allow anyone to break there laws, even if it´s the president who thinks he is above the law.
Too bad the Venezuelan army doesn´t have the balls that the Honduran army has.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Meeting Michael Jackson

I had the opportunity to meet Miachael Jackson in person on several occasions, one of those occasions was the night of the Oscar awards, after the ceremony, we were at Liza Minnelis father s´ house at a party which I had gone to along with some friends.
We took some photos there and had a chance to talk to Michael for a while, afterwards we said good bye and left, later on that same night we were at another celebrity event and Michael went by in his red limo.
We decided to follow him, my mopther was acomanying me that evening, we arrived to another house in the Hollywood Hills, I got closer to him and when he saw that it was the same Photographer that he had met earlier he relaxed a bit.
Liza was with him and the Chofer/body guard..... Michael entered the hosue and Liza waited outside in the car, she invited me to sit inside while he came out.
About 10 minutes later, he came out and and we cahtted a little more, I told him that I would like a few autographs, one for my Mom and he happily signed several fotos, a couple of Thriller Albums.
After chatting some more he took off his dark shades and was going to let me have them, I thanked him but told him that I would prefer the glove he was wearing, which was his trade mark. H e smiled and thought about it for a second and proceded to take his glove off and give it to me.
We left very happy and excited, his white glovehas a seal stamped on it which was the invitation used for the famous ¨Thriller¨ party.
When we arrived back to Spago, the famous celebrity restaurant in Beverly Hills, we told all the other paparazzis about our adventure and meeting with Michael Jackson.

Lic.Gregory Kearney Lawson.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Conociendo a Michael Jackson

Tuve la oportunidad de conocer a Michael Jackson en persona en varias ocasiones.una de esas ocasiones fue la noche de los premios Oscar, despues de la ceremonia estuvo en la casa de una actriz famosa Liza Minneli en una fiesta donde yo tambien asistí con otras amistades.
Ahi nos tomamos unas fotos con el y conversamos un rato, luego nos despedimos.Mas tarde en la noche estabamos en otra fiesta de los artistas y pasó cerca de nosotros en una limosina roja.
Nos pusimos atras a seguirlo mi mama que me acompaño esa noche y llegamos a otra casa en Beverly Hills, yo me le acerque de nuevo y cuando vió que era el mismo Fotógrafo se tranquilizó un poco, Liza tambien estaba con el y el guarda espaldas/chofer.... Ahi el entro a la casa y ella me invitó a sentarme en la limosina con ella mientras el salía.Como a los 10 minutos cuando el salió le dije que me había faltado unos autografos para mi mama y me firmó unas fotos y dos albumes Thriller.
Despues de conversar otro ratito se quitó los anteojos oscuros y me los iba a regalar, yo le agradecí mucho pero le dije que mejor me regalará el guante que llevaba puesto que era su tradicional insignia.Se sonrió y pensó un momento y luego se lo quitó y me lo regaló.
Salimos muy contentos, el guante blanco tiene un sello que era la invitación a la fiesta de el lanzamiento de su disco mas famoso, ¨Thriller¨ .Al regreso a Spagó, el restaurant famoso de los artistas de Beverly Hills, les contamos nuestra aventura a los demas paparazzi.

Lic.Gregory Kearney Lawson.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Comments about San José and customs

San José, the capital of Costa Rica also shares the name with the central province of the country.
I sometimes hear comments from expats, other blogs and websites as well as visitors talking about San José, distorting or misinterpreting the city.
San José is a small city compared to cities in the USA or Canada, like most of those cities you will also see that the crime rate increases, it is not as clean, has smog from cars and factories and has a faster pace in lifestyle than most other places outside of the capital.
You will see some narrow streets, more cars and people than in Heredia, Alajuela, Puntarenas, Santa Cruz, Liberia or Golfito.
Costa Rica values tradition very much and although there is a lot of American and European influence, it still keeps some customs which are a mixture of the influence of it´s roots, it´s inhabitants and it´s traditions, which by the way are very unique and different than other latin american countries.
Their is a party attitude among the general population specially among people in San José, many young adults, older adults, university students are always going out dancing, drinking beer, whiskey or wine, singing karaoke, eating bocas /finger foods), this goes on all week long, mondays included.
Bull fights: Costarrican Bull fights are similar to the Mexican and Spanish bull fights where a bull is let loose inside a closed ring, the difference is that in Costa Rica the bull is not hurt or killed, approximately 50-100 improvised bull fighters run, jump and tease the bull, until the animal starts chasing someone and many times catches them and throws them in the air, some are seriously hurt but most are just seriously scared after a close call, on rare occasions the bulls kills someone.
Sometimes to make the bull fights more exciting and as an incentive for the bull fighters, they put a bill between the bulls horns.
San José has many very modern malls, theaters, bars, fancy restaurants, museums, live music, movie theatres, parks, stores, internet cafes, hotels, art shows etc.
One thing you will notice all over the country and not just in San José are the houses with bars on the windows, this is basically for two reasons, 1- decorative purposes and 2- security.
It has been a tradition for many years even before the security issues that have risen in the past 10- 15 years or so started, most people when buying a new house choose what type of iron decorations they will have made for their windows and gates, through the years these bars are now used for security also since in recent years there have been break ins to homes and in the last 5 - 10 years or so there have also been some home assaults in some areas.
Luckily this is not even close to being near as dangerous or as common as it is in most cities in the USA, Canada, Europe.
Friendliness is a trait that most costarricans have in San José as well as every other corner of the country, people are friendly and like to make foreigners feel at home, it is a place where you can make friends very easily, however also beware that there are also people who prey on innocent people, natives and foreigners who are cons or people of bad reputation, use common sense and precaution at all times no matter who you are with or where in the world you are located when meeting someone for the first time.
Avoid going to dark allies, streets, whore houses, bars with prostitutes and the red light zone, if you are looking for illegal activities you will most likely find trouble more soner than later, although prostitution among adults is not legal it isn´t illegal either, it´s more or less tolerated in certain areas.
Central avenue is the main street that runs from east to west and divides the downtown area, it begins at the bottome of the hill below the Legislative Assembly (Congress) known as Cuesta de Moras and goes a few miles and turns into Paseo Colon until it gets to La Sabana Park where the statue of Leon Cortes is located.
Directions in Costa Rica not just San José are given by landmarks, even though the streets and avenues have been numbered for many years, nobody uses them to give directions, the only exceptions are central avenue and second avenue.
Avenues south of central avenue are even numbers, north of central avenue are odd numers, the streets are also divided the same way with a central street, however not many people are sure of which street that actually is .
A common address in San José as well as anywhere else in the country is ¨Del Teatro Nacional 100 varas o metros al este y 25 varas o metros al norte, casa de verjas blancas ¨, translation is ¨From the National Theatre 100 meters(1 block) east and a quarter of a block north, house with white bars¨.

Friday, January 16, 2009

23 bodies found and many more injured, several still missing

The amount of bodies recovered after last weeks earthquake has risen to 23, over one hundred people were injured and recieved attention from the red cross, over 500 families are now homeless and awaiting for help while they spend the days and nights in shelters.
Over 20 people are missing and have not been found yet.
One of the most difficult rescues was the one done by the Colombian rescue squad who showed their repelling skills while recovering the body of a Dos Pinos (milk company) employee who was in his car trapped in the middle of a cliff completely buried except for a hand that was showeing outside of the vehicle.
Police, volunteers and rescue experts continue to search for missing residents, 26 kilometers of roads are completely destroyed and the government is analizing whether to reconstruct the roads or build a different road from Vara Blanca to San Miguel of Sarapiqui.
Food and clothing has been donated by several charity groups and private citizens such as the Lions Club of Costa Rica, Channel 7 news, Red Cross, the government of the USA donated $50,000 and the government of Colombia $100,000.
Loses from the earthquake amount to over US 100 million dollars.
9 counties hve been declared in a state of emergency, they are Alajuela, Grecia, Poas, Alfaro Ruiz, Valverde Vega, Heredia, Barva, Santa Barbara and Sarapiquí.
The area where the most disaster occured was in Cinchona a small town which virtually dissapeared, Vara Blanca, Poas, Poasito, Fraijanes as well as the waterfalls in that area.
The families in the shelters are needing medicine supplies, underwer, personal hygene items such as toothpste, soap, toothbrushes, tapons, diapers, shampoo, medicines, batteries, dogfood, and veterinary supplies etc
Many strong aftershocks are still being felt, the last aftershock was about 30 seconds ago, my guess is that it is a 4.8 on the richter scale.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

6.2 Earthquake today at 1:20 pm. 2 children and 2 adults dead

Many people were shaken this afternoon in Costa Rica, two children died after a landslide buried them between the towns of San Isidro and Fraijanes in Heredia.
Two children and two adults have died so far from this eathquake.
Approximately 20 people injured in Cartago and 20 in Poas of Alajuela.
Several people who were driving are also still trapped in their cars and left uncommunicated.
At least 250 aftershocks so far have been felt in many parts of the central valley.
Houses in Cartago have also collapsed.
Poas of Alajuela, San Isidro of Heredia, San José, Vara Blanca and Fraijanes are the towns most affected.
The National Emergency Commission is recommending that people stock up on water and canned food as well as batteries and flashlight as a preventive measure.
Yesterday Costa Rica had a 4.0 earthquake and El Salvador also had a strong earthquake, minor damages were reported.
Costa Rica usually has earthquakes during Christmas and Easter week, but because of the absence of high rises, most of the time there are minimum damages.