Saturday, October 23, 2010

Costa Rica -- Day Seven and Eight

(Paul at breakfast this morning)

We've been working the last couple of days, mostly. Though there always seems to be time to read our books or sit by the pool, too. :) Just the thing for tired out folks.

On Friday we had a leisurely breakfast at the hotel (free) and then we drove into Dominical, which we hadn't yet explored, and finally made it to a beach!

We walked along it a ways, picked up a couple of rocks to bring back home and got our feet wet. The water was warm! Not the Pacific Ocean I know. :)

We've started noticing itchy bug bites on ourselves. Strangely, we notice the read mark with no symptoms, and then a day or two later it starts itching. Weird. And some of the bites visually present differently then mosquito bites, too. So we are thinking it's coming from some other biting bug. And my guess is they are biting (me, at least) at night, because I never see bugs around me during the day; I never feel bugs biting me. I haven't worn bug spray since I got here. And I had maybe three bites. I don't need bug spray for three bites. However, these delayed itchy bites have a cumulative effect, as Paul says, so that all of a sudden (it seems) on our last day here we have all this itchy bites. :)

After checking out the beach and walking through the town in Dominical, we had lunch there at a Thai restaurant called Coconut Spice. Yummy.

Then we went to a bank to see about a construction loan for the house. Big Fat Zero.
Due to the economic crisis, they aren't loaning money to non-residents. 

We let Ricardo and Jim know and they said over here it's really important if you know someone who knows someone. So, Ricardo called his friend Alex and the two of them met us at a bank and then a credit union on Saturday morning to have Alex introduce us at the banks. Strike Two. Strike Three.

Across the board -- they won't loan money to foreigners. You need to be a resident for eight years before you could qualify for a loan. Or. Marry a Tico.

Ricardo says to not give up hope. Jim knows some private mortgage companies that lend money.

We go back to Dominical and talk to a guy from the States (but was actually born and raised in Panama with American parents) that worked in a real estate office and was affiliated with Alliance Mortgage Company. They have a pool of fifteen lenders that they can access so he was real hopeful we could get a construction loan. Especially when we told him we'd own the land.

We came back to the hotel fairly confident and then also received pone calls and emails from Ricardo and Jim about three other banks to try -- one a for sure deal (Scotia Bank) they say, because it's an international bank. 

So we have four or five leads in our pocket now to take home with us. We're feeling much better and we'll know -- most likely -- within the week if we qualify for a loan with any of these lenders. If so, we close on the land, we close on the construction loan, we start building in january and we have a house built by July or August.

The plan is to take a family vacation there then, to see the house all done and pretty and then to start renting it out to tourists. And then when Aniela's out of college and Paul's not helping to pay her rent while she's in Portland, and Aubrey's out of private middle school and Paul's not paying the tuition for that, and he's done paying off the 401K loan he borrowed against himself to buy the land, we can move to Costa Rica and our Spanish Colonial house with a courtyard. (We've been talking house plans with builder today.)

It'll be tight, but doable. When Paul quits his job in three-ish years after all that stuff I just listed happens, we'll have my social security and VA income for a couple more years and hopefully by then (when my survivor benefits stop) our businesses over in Costa Rica will be creating enough income for us to live comfortably. Our living expenses will be lower with most all our food being provided for.

Check back in the coming weeks to read more about our businesses for Costa Rica and how we get those started remotely. Jim would like the ice cream shop to be operational by December. !!!! Recipes, C.R. corporation, equipment and hiring someone to make it, hand out ice cream and collect the money. All in a month's time? I don't see how, but we'll get it going asap anyway.

Tomorrow we pack up here, settle our bill, drive to San Isidro in the mountains to visit Jim and meet his family and see his house, drive to San Jose by 4pm to return the rental car, and get checked into our hotel. The next morning (Monday) we fly out for the States. With all the changing of flights and layovers, we won't land in Eugene until just before midnight. We'll taxi home and sleep in our. own. bed. <3

(relaxed at lunch this afternoon)

(Ooh! Ooh! And we finally had banana flambee for dessert tonight!
They've been out of bananas every time we order it and get the pina one
instead -- which in some ways is better -- but finally Paul said he was walking 
through the bar today and Olmar "waved his banana" at Paul (we laughed at Paul's 
choice of words there) and so we finally got to experience Olmar's own recipe. Delish.)

Random observation: Apparently my Costa Rican name is Ballerie. Even when I correct them with an accentuated "V" they just smile and nod and say, "Ballerie." So, Ballerie it is.

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