Monday, September 15, 2008

September - Nice Days --ALSO--WARNING to TRAVELERS

Costa Rica has had such a beautiful September this year. The days have been full of sunshine, and late afternoons have been rainy, some hard rains, and mostly clear nights. So nice to be able to get out and enjoy the mornings, throw open the house, and air everything out. Laundry has even had time to dry on the line.

The B&B has had several guests, and it has been an interesting month. Again we have had a reminder of how important it is for travelers to be alert, and use your normal street smarts when in Costa Rica. A very nice young couple visited the B&B this weekend, and in route, they stopped in San Ramon, in front of the park and church. Their car was a small rental, with no trunk, open to view was all their luggage. While they were walking around, relaxing, thieves made off with their 5 pieces of luggage, cameras, laptop, and all the things they had brought, including clothing, and business items. They were going to do some work, while on vacation, and came prepared. It is not something they would have done back home, and were just not thinking as they walked away from their cars. This is a very common thing that happens to travelers, in a foreign country, and the thieves know it. The park and church, in any town, are prime targets for thieves, and San Ramon is not different. Usually, tourists take off to explore the area, and as they are walking away from the car, the thieves have already made them, and are ready to pop the lock, which takes just a moment, and no one even notices, that it has not been entered with a key. That is how quickly it happens. Apathy takes over among even the most alert person watching. The luggage is quickly wheeled away, yes, wheels have made their job easier also, and put into another vehicle, and away they go with any and all things that you may hold dear to you. You may want to check to see if your travelers insurance, or car rental insurance covers you in a case of 'laps of judgment', because it happens to the best of travelers. It is only too easy to relax, away from all the stresses of home, and forget that even the normal precautions you would take at home, are as important on vacation also. Costa Rica presents another problem too...unless you go to 'Goodwill', or something similar here, or are a small person, male or female, purchasing clothing is not easy here. Ticos are a small people, and though they have many stores, the size you may need may not be available. Think ahead, and know that no matter where you are, there is an element of "wealthy Americans" attached to gringos, here and in many other places around the world. Thievery is easier than working a regular job. More profitable also.

As a footnote, added Jan 2009: In November, we had a nice retired couple visit, and on their way here, they had a mishap also. They were walking to catch a bus and were swindled, in a 2 person scam to rob them. One person stopped them to point out some building structure, and another took one of their small bags while they were distracted, and the first got his wallet from his back pants pocket. They spent days on the internet, canceling cards, applying for a new drivers license, not to mention the beautiful day trips they missed. I say this only to help you as you travel to this country, please, use ALL the street smarts you can. Know where your money, passports, and important papers are all the time! Don't put them in a bag, or in your back pockets. Use concealed money packs, and don't carry a lot of money, or cards with you. It is easier to guard a small money pocket, inside your garment. Make copies of cards and passports, and email them, as well as important phone numbers and email addresses, to yourself before you leave home. And carry a photo copy. That way, if something should happens, you can get to an internet cafe or phone, and start the daunting task of recovering from the theft. Doing it in a foreign country is always harder, but take the excruciating pain out of it, before you leave. If you are careful, you will have a very nice vacation and return home not knowing the suffering a theft can bring.

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