In my last article I talked about how after moving from NYC to Tamarindo I was surprised to find that there are many similarities between the two cities. These are lovely, funny little things like sunset drinking and street meat. You can read that article here.
So now for part 2, I’ll look at the the dark side of NYC and Tamarindo. Or the two things I had hoped I would leave behind in NYC that still haunt me in Tamarindo: 1. Real Estate and 2. The fake hug with a kiss on the cheek.
NYC real estate is a hassle. You can’t even start looking for a new place until it’s 30 days or less before you need to move. Often times your forced to picked the best of the worst because the market is so competitive and moves so quickly. You hunt Craigslist hoping to avoid the useless broker fee. When you make viewing appointments, you may show up to find that the place has already been rented. You also better not come to a viewing without your official bank checks for first and last months rent ready. Once I went with a broker to the bank to get my official checks immediately after viewing the place in order to secure it.
I was sure NYC, being the capital of the world [for nearly everything except maybe wine…the NY wine is not that good], was the exception not the norm when it came to real estate. Enter Tamarindo…
In Tamarindo your choices are also limited and the market is very competitive. You’ll find that brokers/owners offer you odd deals like three months at a low rate and three months at a very very high rate because of the influx of tourists. You’ll also have those who won’t rent long term and others who haven’t learned the art of negotiating. Leases in Tamarindo are usually verbal and vague except for one of my friends who happened to be renting from a lawyer. Unfortunately, this means renters usually lack rights or any control.
Not only did I have a nightmare of a situation trying to find a place to live in Tamarindo but I also endured four months of pure hell dealing with an apartment manager who violated basic apartment guidelines in addition to being utterly disrespectful. To top it off when I came back from vacation my owner/manager shut off my electricity for no reason other than to get me out so he could rent his place for significantly more now that it was high season. This move left me homeless in the middle of high season with no apartments available!
I’ll spare you from talk about cockroaches as it relates to real esate. Just typing that word makes me squirm. But yes, there are lots and lots of cockroaches in both NYC and Tamarindo. Enough said.
The fake hug with a kiss
I’m originally a West Coaster and what I love about West Coasters is that when we hug we do it with purpose. It means your part of our inner circle – we’re peeps. If you don’t know where I’m from and where I’m going, (and I don’t mean the coffee shop on my way to work – I mean my story) then no hug! Simple. So when I arrived in the Big Apple ten years ago, I was a bit thrown back by this new style of hugging with the cheek kiss (one or both depending on how snobby the targets are). Not only did I not like this fake, pretentious style of a greeting but I hated that I was now hugging (and kissing) everyone – friends, friends of friends, clients, coworkers, business connections, bosses, waiters and bartenders at restaurants you frequent often, doormen, STRANGERS, the list can go on and on.
When I left NYC for Tamarindo, I was excited to come to a more relaxed country where fronts and masks were gone and people were real. Now that I’ve been here awhile I see that this is mostly true; however, the hug with the kiss is more popular in Costa Rica than NYC. I was shocked, how could this be! The phony hug is everywhere and not only do these people hugging and kissing me not know my last name, they don’t even know my first!
The good news is I always run in to New Yorkers on vacation down in Tamarindo and often we can laugh over our mutual hate for sleazy New York real estate brokers, our awful 6-floor walk-ups, and the many times we had to awkwardly hug/kiss our bosses after they got drunk at holiday work parties. I haven’t yet found the humor in Tamarindo but I’m working on it!