Sunday, February 26, 2006

Truck for sale (Sung to the tune of Love For Sale)

With our upcoming move to New Zealand we will be selling our 1991 Isuzu Rodeo 2-wheel drive. It is perfect for down here because it is high off the ground and a bright color. It is also big enough so that Taxis tend to get out of your way. It is a manual transmission and has good AC. We are located in San Pedro which is directly east of San Jose.

We have owned it since we have been here and prior to that it was imported from the states. There are approximately 131k miles on the odometer. The asking price is $3200 (price lowered for quick sale) US which is extremely fair for the condition.

It has been a fairly reliable ride since we have been here. When we got it there were a few minor problems that we had taken care of immediately. We had some suspension work done on it to tighten it up for the roads and there was an oil leak from the distributor that we had fixed. We also change out all the filters including the fuel filter and had a complete tuneup on it about seven months ago.

The motor is dirty but I don't want to pressure wash it since I feel that it looks like the seller is trying to hide something. That will just show that the motor is in good, non-leaky, condition and you can pressure wash it if you want.

We have a really good trustworthy mechanic that we can give a glowing reference for. He is located near Plaza Viquez if you will be living in the San Jose area. He has done wonderful work and I never feel like he is trying to rip us off.

Now for the not-so-good part of this truck. It is not a luxury automobile, if you want a clean, perfectly running auto then down here that starts at about $12k for something used. There are little things wrong with the truck that you should know about before you come and look at it. The back doors are a little finicky as one of them won't open from the inside and the other one the window won't roll down. The second thing is that the steering is a little looser than I like but it doesn't cause a problem, and it could probably be fixed rather cheaply. The rear speakers for the stereo buzz. There is also a scratch on the side but the rest of the body is in fairly good shape.

I would recommend coming to take a look at it and driving it around the block. You won't be disappointed. Please email me at takefive at speakeasy dot net.

Click for more pictures

Saturday, February 25, 2006

We might have to change the name of the blog.

Recently there have been a few changes with my employment which moved the management of the products that I work on to Auckland, New Zealand. With that they offered me a job down there on site. After much discussion with Roberta we decided to take it and make the move. Although the thought of moving to Panama or Guatemala is very tempting, the thought of moving to New Zealand has its own excitement. Supposedly New Zealand is a fairly hard place to get into.

We are planning on moving to Portland, Oregon in a little over a month and staying in an apartment while the immigration paperwork goes through. Since we have to send our passports off for the process we don't want to do it from here. Then after the paperwork comes through we will pack it all up and move to New Zealand. Sounds simple huh.

After that will will be under obligation by logic to change the name of the blog to "Moving to New Zealand - The story of a boy, a girl, and a cat moving to New Zealand."

Here is a picture of our good friends Ann and Brian who we will miss. They have promised to come and visit us in NZ though. That is a bold promise since it is about a 27 hour plane ride from here.

Click for more pictures

Friday, February 24, 2006

Car Jacking

The other evening I went to pick up Adam at the airport. I took the back roads because it's faster and easier. I was playing video games and was running late.

I was behind a taxi, a nice four door sedan and a semi stopped at a light. A skinny kid comes around the corner of the semi and lunges into the open window of the four door sedan. I thought they were just doing a drug deal. The car started shaking and then I see the kid pull his arm out of the window with a gun and walk off. I guess the guy in the car wasn't going to let go of it so easily. The light turned green and everybody rushed off. I'm just glad he didn't come for me.

Moral of the story don't take short cuts through bad neighborhoods at night and don't drive with your windows down.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Traveler's First Aid kit

What medicine always goes in your bathroom bag when you travel? This is my new favorite question I ask when chatting with other travelers. I've heard bag-balm, Pepto-Bismol tablets, weed, pain relievers, or condoms.

In the last 10 months we've been living in Costa Rica, but have traveled to Panama, Nicaragua and Guatemala. And being the hypochondriac that I am, I've put together a beat-em-up first aid kit that does not take up too much space. It has already come in handy. This is only my personnel list, hopefully it will get you thinking about what you should carry with you depending on where you are going, what type of traveling you intend on doing and the current status of your health. Do you really want to spend a couple of days sick than a few more trying to find the right medicine or doctor? Planning ahead and prevention is worth a pound of cure. Here's what's in my bag:

Pepto-Bismol Tablets, these are small pink tablets that help with most digestion problems: otherwise known as the Black Water Fever, otherwise known as shits like you’ve never known!

Ciproxina 500, this is a strong general antibiotic for infections that just won't heal. Or if you have a serious case of diarrhea and or throwing up you can take one of these and it will clear your system out of everything, but only for very serious instances. Don't take antibiotics on a whim; you don't want to develop resistance. I met a fellow traveler-pill popper who got sick, ended up in the (developing nation) hospital for five days and went through 3 strong antibiotics before getting better. The doctors never did figure out what the virus was.

Imodium, is for blocking up your system during diarrhea. I only take immodium when dehydration becomes an issue. It blocks both the good and bad stuff.

Fluconazol is a one pill antibiotic for yeast infections. For me, this is only for use in remote areas. For a natural cure for yeast infections go here.

Bandages and band aids, include various sizes. Also don't forget. moleskin, if you plan to do serious hiking.

Antibacterial skin cream for various scrapes and open wounds. In the tropics you can never be too careful.

DEET and Anti-itch cream, I just discovered Jungle Juice, which is %100 DEET. Anything else is pathetic. Spray this on; don't take a shower for a couple of days and you are good to go. Yes, there are health problems associated, but it works for me. But it might kill you or make you insane. Dengue is a serious problem in Central America, which is transmitted by mosquitoes. Plus bites are prone to infection. I contracted mange, the skin disease, in Mexico after a bug bite. It lasted for six months because I refused to take antibiotics. Now I carry them everywhere!

Pain killers, I carry a little bit of ibuprofen, aspirin and vicadin. Ibuprofen is for headaches and cramps. Aspirin doesn't do anything for me, but I heard it is good for heart attacks. And the vicadin is for serious broke your arm kind of injuries. Or for hellishly long plane rides!

Sun Block I didn't think I had to list this but we had some guests come without, so here it is on the list. It's up there with toothbrush, toothpaste, and dental floss. Sun block is expensive down here so please, if you come to visit us, bring your own sun block.

So that's what's in my bag. For more information on healthy traveling see The Travel Clinic hosted by a doctor specializing in traveler’s health. Also it's helpful living in a country where you can buy your own drugs over the counter from a knowledgeable pharmacist.

PS: Do not pet cats and dogs on the street. I just saw a well fed and well taken care of dog with ring worm. And we all know what ring worm leads to....

Good night, I'm going to go cleanse my colon and puke.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Guatemala and Tikal

We went to Tikal at the end of January. We flew into Flores and than took a tour to Tikal. I would recommend taking a tour of Tikal because the guides are very knowledgable. For us we didn't do that much research about Tikal before we went, we just heard that we HAVE TO GO! For our Guatemalan trip we utilized the services of Nancy at Guatemala Reservations. She was very easy to work with via e-mail. This is the first time we went with a travel agent because we didn't have a guide book and we were looking for recomendations for hotel and travel arrangements for Tikal.

For more information about Tikal and Mayan culture here are a couple of good websites:

-Good Tikal Maps
-Wiki Tikal
-Mayan Calendar
-And don't forget Tikal the strategy game board, which we bought a couple of years ago

During out trip to Guatemala our camera broke so we bought a disposable camera that took OK pictures.

Check out the rest of our pictures here.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Zancudo and Taj Mahal

Roberta's mom and sister came into town for the yearly Taj Mahal show that is out at Zancudo. It had been a while since they had been on vacation so this was a treat.

The first night we were in Zancudo we heard rumors that there was going to be an impromptu show by Mudcat at Sol y Mar. We went down there and grabbed dinner and a bunch of drinks before the show started. Then the friends that we made before the show kept buying us drinks after the show started which is a viscous spiral that leads nowhere good. Mudcat was awesome. He has more energy than a puppy at Christmas.

After the show at 1:30 in the morning we were trying to find a ride home. The one taxi in town was no longer running and Sol y Mar is a ways from our hotel. Willy said that he would give us a ride home on his motorcycle one by one. The only problem was that we were buying Willy drinks. Oh well, seemed like our best option at that point.

The next morning for me was not a good day. I spent 6 hours of the day in bed with a bad hangover. It finally went away in time for the Taj show. There were a ton of people at the show. It looked like the whole town came out for it. We missed Mudcat on the main stage but got there for a couple bands before Taj. Taj was definitely the highlight. He has a great sound that was huge with just a drummer and a bass. The crew that we came with had purchased a bottle of Cacique which is just cheap white liquor. They all proceeded to get rip roarin’ drunk.

On the way back from the show I was literally dragging Roberta, not because she didn’t want to go, but because she could barely walk. I think that we have all learned an important lesson about Cacique.

When we got back the rest of the crew was sitting next to the pool chilling. The Joan, not knowing her power of suggestion, dared Roberta to jump in the pool. Roberta thought about it for about two seconds and was in with all of her clothes and shoes on. Hilarious.

The next evening Roberta and Andrea started walking down to an Italian restaurant down the road and Karla and I were going to wait for a bit and take a cab. There was this other guy who I had seen cruising around the hotel but I hadn’t talked with him yet. He walked by and I started up a conversation. Pretty much the first thing out of his mouth was how much money he makes. Then he went on a tirade about how horrible it is to get stuff produced in China. Then he started talking about how he has been sued 5 times in the past year. Then he starts going off about how horrible Zancudo is because there is nothing to do. Then to cap it off he said that he wasn’t impressed with the Taj Mahal show last night, and I quote him, “It wasn’t like seeing Celine Dion in Las Vegas”. He then proceeded to jump into the pool which caused huge chuckles from Karla and me since the guy weighs probably 300 pounds and caused a mini-tsunami. Oh yeah, he was from Florida.

Enjoy the pictures