The Hard Sell

fulu todosautos.com.peI really must invest in sellotape…for the mouth. It would avert a multitude of problems.

Yesterday I saw a mention of a Chinese car newly imported to Costa Rica. It was small, it was economical on petrol – and it was, for Costa Rica, cheap.

Cars here are expensive…ruinously so…. given the import tax. We always had Audis in Europe….to afford one here we would need to have been politicians in the previous government, so we have a dust covered Japanese tin box called by someone with an inscrutable sense of humour a Galloper.
It has four wheels, four wheel drive for the hills and it starts. That is all I require…except for the small matter of it passing the Riteve – the M.O.T. – in August, which is advancing at a rate significently faster than that of the car itself.

The Men do not wish to know this. The Men are happy building the new house, organising planning permission to build another house on the boundary for Danilo’s sister, fencing off the cafetal for the bullocks and generally putting the world to rights.

When I wondered idly whether the small wooden wedge which keeps the automatic window opening device in working order would give the Riteve inspector the habdabs I was told not to worry about it.
So I haven’t.
I noted that the Cuban – car electrician extraordinaire – is on holiday….but apparently I was not to worry about that either.
So I didn’t.

Come August they’d better be right…..

However, I was not interested in the cheap new car for myself. I thought it would be just the thing for Danilo’s daughter, a nurse who is currently working the stand by shifts and finds herself travelling all over the area wherever clinics are short of staff.
Her husband gives her a lift on the motorbike when possible, her brothers do likewise, but she spends a lot of time either walking or waiting for buses in all weathers and has been saving for a small car, but even second, third fourth hand cars are expensive if they have all their wheels and an engine.

There were two models of the Chinese car….one tiny, the other the size of a mini, but the only technical information revealed was that one had one cylinder while the other had two.
This being at about the limit of my knowledge on cars I passed on the information to The Men at lunchtime.

Conversation changed gear rapidly…where was the dealer….what was the car like….how big was the engine?
I was shooed back to the computer to investigate further.

I found the original mention.
From that I discovered where the showroom was. On one of the busiest, most congested roads in Costa Rica.
Then I found the site put up by the events organisers who had ‘done’ the opening. There were two small and unflattering pics of the cars followed by any number of pics of predatory looking women in little black dresses being eyed by men whose gleam in the said eye would end them in hot water should their wives ever consider finding out about small economical Chinese cars.
Finally I discovered the name of the agency importing the cars. It did not have a website, only a Facebook page.
This showed artists’ impressions of the cars – the artists clearly being in their Mister Men period – and announced that the cars were economical, had air bags and could be paid for on tick.

The Men were off on the hunt. Did I want to come?
The showroom was on a road which is lined by various stores I am banned from visiting because of the traffic congestion, so the temptation was there, but on reflection I turned down the offer.
Either I would be hurried in and out by The Men on a mission or else they would drop me with promises to return and then get lost.

They departed and I took the chance to have a quiet siesta.

I had fed the sheep and cattle and chased most of the ducks into captivity by the time they returned and settled themselves on the balcony for coffee and cake.

How did it go?

Well!

The directions could not have been more clear…..on a straight – if busy – road. Opposite a commercial centre called Via Lindora.
Except that Via Lindora has no sign saying what it is….and The Men, when on this road which leads to the airport, pay no attention to their surroundings, intent as they are on reaching their destination so were unaware that it houses a number of chain restaurants and is lavishly adorned by their publicity signs.

Accordingly, The Men had stopped at the veterinary hospital to ask for directions. This took some time as the receptionist remembered them from the Alsatian’s visit last year and enquiries as to his well being had to be made and the vet who treated him called through to hear that he was fine.

They continued, and emerged at the airport end of the road.
They returned to the beginning and this time asked directions of the security guard at the builders’ merchant.

They emerged again at the airport end of the road…..

After a few more attempts they did the sensible thing and asked the man who sells football shirts by the roadside. He asked them why on earth they wanted to go to Via Lindora and they told him what they were actually looking for.
Oh…that! They’ve got a tent in front of the Porsche dealer….

They were by now on the right side of the road and after only one mishap they found the tent – a sort of arabian pavilion bearing no signs.

Not only were there no signs….there were no sales staff. The cars were in place…the small one which looked like a snail and the larger one which looked quite swish…in colours of dove grey, neon red and a blue such as was never seen on land or sea….but there was no one in sight.

This was an invitation to The Men. The doors were unlocked so they could test the seats…the bonnet was unlocked, so thay could see the engine……

Might be a bit underpowered, thought Danilo.

Couldn’t be worse than the Citroen Ami, replied Leo. And I drove from England to Spain in that over the Pyrenees…

Then a man appeared, dapper in a sober suit.
Could he help them?

Indeed he could….they asked about engine power, fuel consumption and whatnot and he gave the information they required.
The price…did it include all the taxes?
Certainly…then, confidentially, in a lowered tone, there was a special price on these cars…

A promotion?

Not exactly…they need the money to pay the taxes to get the rest of the shipment out of the customs area at the port…

Could they take a test drive?

No…the cars don’t have batteries. Otherwise they might be stolen, what with nobody being around…

But you’re around.

Oh, I don’t have anything to do with the cars….the salesman had to go off somewhere and asked me to keep an eye out.
I’m the waiter from the Inka Grill next door…

37 Comments

Filed under cars, Costa Rica

Who is the enemy?

I had my mother on the ‘phone today to give me her shopping list but, once finished with that, she told me what was on her mind in respect of the civilian aircraft downed over the Ukraine.

You don’t know who or what to believe, she said.
It wasn’t the way it was in the war….though I know that there was propaganda then too: wouldn’t do to let the people know how their pre war governments had left Britain powerless…how the war effort was directed by people with connections rather than by people with brains…but here they are treating the deaths of some three hundred people as pawns in a power game. You can’t have any respect for politicians who do that.

She grew up in the aftermath of the first World War, seeing the men in the invalid carriages, some choking up their lungs after gassings – the smell of the rooms in which they were immured.
As a girl she saw wartime aces earning a living from offering rides in the biplanes which had brought death to so many and were then turned into attractions – the circuit and bump rides in areas which might provide a clientele with enough money to keep the man and aircraft paying their way.

Not much of a home for heroes.

She remembers the rise of Hitler…..she heard him on the radio from Nuremburg, with the masses singing ‘Wir fahren gegen Engeland’…and the Mosleyites in Britain.
She had knitted herself a black jersey with red and white bands at the sleeves and was surprised to be greeted as a comrade by the followers of Mosely when she went to do her mother’s shopping in Kingston market. The jersey was swiftly discarded.

She was an athlete, a sprinter and hurdler, hoping to qualify for the team for the Helsinki Olympics planned for 1940…

But along came the second World War.
She could not, as she said, have given a thought for other countries; sod Poland if you hadn’t gone in to protect Chzechoslovakia…her effort was to prevent her own from being invaded and to beat the hell out of Germany.
She joined the army…..the Auxiliary Terrioral Service…and found herself meeting David Niven at Winchester; trainee tank drivers at Castle Barnard; ghosts – and my father – at Naworth Castle and working under continual bombardment at Park Royal, Wembley, assembling radios for the use of the Resistance in France and in the Dutch East Indies.

But through it all, she said, she knew what she was fighting for. Not just the survival of the U.K. as an independent country…but the transformation of the U.K. into a country where privilege no longer ruled supreme.

She had been sent to a farm in Suffolk for a break from the bombing in London and, brought up on a farm herself, noted how the country folk lived much better than the people in the towns; but not far from the farm was an airfield housing bomber squadrons…flying Avro Lancasters.
She watched the ‘planes taking off on their night bombing raids…and watched the returns, the rows of ambulances lined up to take off the surviving crews…from those aircraft, running blood as the doors were opened, which managed to return.
The rate of attrition in Bomber Command was phenomenal…and she determined that, nomatter how misguided the strategies which had sent those young men – not only of the U.K. but also of Canada, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa – into hell, their monument would be a better society.

She thought it was on the way to being achieved in the post war settlement….but the Thatcher and Blair years have left her wondering whether it was worth resisting Hitler at such a cost.
She might not have the fear of the Gestapo at her door in the early hours…but the policy of recent U.K. governments, brown nosing those of the U.S., has left so many others open to not only that risk, but the risk of violent death at the hands of fanatics financed by these governments…and to what end?

Certainly not that of life, liberty and the pursuit of
happiness.

52 Comments

Filed under politics, terrorism

Let Sleeping Lambs Lie

2014-07-11 19.45.32

Hold on…who goes there?

2014-07-11 19.46.30

Friend or foe?

2014-07-11 19.46.33

Refuse to answer, do you! Have at you, sir!

42 Comments

Filed under animals

Bennie Hill and the Bold Gendarmes

We’ve had a plethora of visits just lately….from neighbours dropping in for coffee  to friends coming for dinner via the Man from the Water Board, the CID (or the OIJ as they are known here) and the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

The Man from the Water Board came to inspect the great water reorganisation project and succeeded in arousing the fury of The Neighbour (cut off from said project) to the extent that he has been busy turning off the stopcocks all over the Three Valleys  in order that pressure higher up the system will burst the pipes…

Let no one say that he lacks a knowledge of physics and roll on the date of the penal court hearing for non respect of the law….though it is rumoured that the man with the tilapia farm is not prepared to wait that long to see The Neighbour get his comeuppance.

I don’t mind the Jehovah’s Witnesses….they feel called to spread the Gospel – which is considerably more than the local Catholic priests get round to doing – are perfectly polite, not at all pushy and we revel in common stupefaction that I can read aloud the Spanish language verses of the Bible  which they present to me.

All I can say is that with the shades of my Scots Presbyterian headmistress hanging over me I am prepared to give it a try in any language….Miss Dickie’s views on reading the Bible were trenchant and had distinct staying power.

Further, the Jehovah’s Witnesses have the approval of Monty the lamb, who has decidedly territorial instincts allied to a fleet turn of foot, an acrobatic capacitywhich would put Olympic champion ice dancers on their mettle and a good line  in charging and butting.

The Witnesses pet him and he behaves…like  a lamb.

The CID (OIJ)  - two young men imbued with a great deal of legal theory and sociological claptrap – came as part of an investigation into The Neighbour’s recent activities, hydrological and other.

Apparently the Fiscalia (Prosecutor’s office) can’t (or more likely won’t) investigate any complaints about The Neighbour while he is awaiting his appearance in the superior penal court for crimes of omission and commission.

Undaunted, people have taken their complaints instead to the OIJ who are not altogether pleased by this, occupied as they currently are by a major fraud on  ‘movement of cattle’ dockets in the local branch of the Agriculture Ministry involving the husband of a mayor; a public employee whose dispute settlement procedure involves a claw hammer and a link to an Anmerican run paedophile pornography business flagged up by the FBI.

I suspect that the boss decided that sending these two tyros out on the track of The Neighbour would get them

A. Onto the ground

and

B. Out of his hair.

They refused to get out of their car until the Alsatian was persuaded to have his siesta inside the house and then sat down with us in the porch, brandishing clipboards, forms and biros…..

Was this our complaint?

Yes it was.

Did we want them to go ahead with it?

Yes we did.

Were we sure that the whole thing did not arise from our failure to understand Costa Rican culture? After all we came from a North American background, did we not, where everyone kept themselves to themselves whereas Costa Ricans were continually in and out of each other’s houses, the relationship between neighbours being most important….

No we were not North American. Scribble, scribble on the form.

Costa Rican culture was very like that of France, where the relationship with nearest neighbour,  ‘le grand voisin’, was extremely important. Scribble, scribble….

Further, we were not aware that Costa Ricans and more exactly The Neighbour expressed their relationship with their neighbours by trying to hire someone to bump them off, even if done incompetently.

No, it was not normal, they agreed, but how did we know about it? Since we were still alive, as it were.

Because the young man concerned had been to see us to assure us that if we were bumped off it would not have been by him, as

A. He had no desire to go to prison

B. He was not at all convinced that The Neighbour’s revolver was untraceable as claimed

and

C. He had made enquiries and six hundred dollars was well under the rate for the job.

Scribble, scribble…….

And then Monty appeared.

The gallant duo rose to their feet as one, clutching clipboards and pens to their persons and they and Monty performed a Benny Hill chase round and round the coffee table, Monty becoming more excited at each turn and finally leaping into the air in his version of a triple Salchow and ambushing them on their side of the table at which point the pair fled to their car and shut themselves in.

Disapppointed, Monty peered through the window and they shrank away. They drove away, seen off at the gates by Monty who had by then taken a dislike to the car which was depriving him of his playmates and was keen to make his feelings known.

Why, I wonder, did I find the words and music of The Bold Gendarmes running through my head…..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

50 Comments

Filed under Costa Rica, crime, police

After the Ball was Over….the European Elections

 

Marine Le Pen, leader of the Front National

Marine Le Pen, leader of the Front National

 

Hello, Clement! Quiet evening, thank goodness.

Do you mean the European election results last night…..or the ruckus you had in here this afternoon?

Oh, that….! You think you’ve seen everything when you run a bar, but this beat the band! What can I get you?

Zizi tells me that you’ve managed to get something from Antoine….

Yes, I was lucky. He had a client who let him down….there you are……what do you think?

A good drop….you had a bit of luck getting his grolleau gris now it’s become fashionable!

Well, yes…fashionable…but the fashionable bastard from the fashionable Paris bistro who ordered it couldn’t pay up front and Antoine doesn’t do tick; well not to Parisians anyway…

Ah well, his loss our gain…..it’s getting to be something when you can’t get hold of decent wine because some blasted journalist comes down here on his holidays and puts his ‘friends’ in the know…

Well, as it turned out it was lucky for me…that’s a nice drop he makes.

So it is! Hang on…here’s Victor! The gendarmes let you out did they?

Hello, Victor! Glass of Antoine’s?

On the house I hope…all the custom I brought you today!

Custom! Don’t talk to me about custom! After his gorillas carted you lot off that obnoxious pest Malfrat was here sinking it as if there was no tomorrow!
Mark you, I gave him that stuff you offloaded onto me…your- what was it – biodynamite stuff that you were going to sell to the English…

Serve him right…enough to kill an ox, that stuff, even the English wouldn’t drink it….I don’t suppose he paid you….

Pay! He’s a gendarme! Don’t make me laugh!

Well,  all that will change once we get into power! No more swilling for Malfrat…and he can keep a civil tongue in  his head while he’s about it….I haven’t been called names like that since my time in the army!

Oh, no, Victor, please! That’s how it started this afternoon!

What do you mean…’when we get into power’….didn’t see your name on a ballot paper!

Of course you didn’t, Clement! I’m not standing for office at my age, and anyway I don’t want my tyres let down…let alone be forced to go to Belgium with all those foreigners…….No, our party, the Front National! And our lovely leader, Marine Le Pen, next President of France!

Oh, come on, Victor! Your lot only did so well because people couldn’t be bothered to go out to vote…come the real elections in 2017  it’ll be a different story! No one’s going to vote for a party that blames everything on immigrants!

Ho! Don’t you be so sure! That’s what Theo said this afternoon; typical know all communist that he is – always knows best. Well, as I said to him then and I say to you now, just you wait! People didn’t turn out this time because they know there’s nothing you can do about the European Union…the parliament members are just so much whitewash for the crooks and madmen running the place on our money…but the Presidential is the real one and all the people who are sick and tired of being taxed to the hilt to keep a bunch of freeloaders in foie gras will be out in force! Then you’ll see…which is what I said to Theo, but he wouldn’t have it.

That’s as may be, Victor, but you didn’t have to push his wheelchair outside and set it off down the hill…

Oh, he didn’t come to any harm…and it’s hardly a hill, just a slope down  to the Place d’Armes….and there’s no point trying to argue with him, he’s always right!

Well it’s hardly an advertisement for your party, is it…pushing old cripples down hills if they disagree with you! What about the rest of your party’s policies?

Unbeatable, mon pote! And a surefire election winner among them! Out of the Euro…just think about it! We’ll be able to use the francs we’ve been hiding in the mattresses all these years!

You haven’t still got francs in your mattress! Not even you, Victor….

Yes…I couldn’t work out a way of converting them all into euros at the changeover without the taxman getting wind of it or someone denouncing me and, anyway, I was sure the euro couldn’t last…and now I’ll be able to use them again! That’ll get the people out to vote, you see if it doesn’t!

But what about the racism…all the anti immigrant stuff…people won’t stand for that, you know…

What’s racist about saying that you can’t come to France and expect a free hand out? And you can’t say we’re prejudiced…if we pull out of the European Union all those English can go back where they came from too unless they can afford to pay their way…not just the Arabs and Africans from the colonies…

Bit much, that, Victor…having a go at the English because they wouldn’t buy your wine….

Look at them! Come over here, buy places you wouldn’t keep a respectable pig in and think they own the joint! Even stand for local councils! No more of that, I can tell you….France for the French!

But that’s absurd….and trying to get out of being called racist by lumping the English with Arabs just won’t wash!

See, I give you a reasoned argument and you come back with rubbish! Just like Theo when he came back this afternoon with his mates from the old peoples’ home. Mob handed they were…I told them it just showed the weakness of their arguments if they had to resort to violence…

Violence! Old boys in their eighties!

In their eighties they might be, Clement, and so’s Victor after all, but most of them were on the railways when we still had steam trains and they can handle themselves! It all started peaceably enough, having a go at Victor over a few glasses, but then he took offence when  Jerome called him a capitalist lackey and things got out of hand…

Capitalist lackey…better that than a lackey of Moscow and so I told him!

So you did, Victor, so you did…..and then Lionel whacked you in the shins with his crutch and you grabbed Jean-Michel’s zimmer frame and laid about you until you got it caught up in the coat rack and they were on to you! Pity the national rugby coach couldn’t have seen them…they’d do better in the scrum than the current lot…

And which spoil sport called the gendarmerie, I’d like to know! I was just getting my second wind when they burst in and trapped me behind the door! Nearly put the false teeth through the back of my neck! And as for being manhandled down to the paddy waggon…! No respect, that’s what! You’d think we were a bunch of Arabs in the Paris suburbs…though they’d never have dared come the old acid with them as there’d have been hell to pay! Half the bleeding hearts who live well away from the suburbs writing to the newspapers and looking disapproving on the television…

I tell you, come the revolution – I mean when we get into power -  there’ll be changes!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

61 Comments

Filed under elections, Europe, france, immigrants, politics

And When Did You Last See Your Father?

W. Yeames... historyonthenet.com

W. Yeames…
historyonthenet.com

Those of a certain age will be familiar with the picture above. This nineteenth century painting by Yeames shows an imagined scene from the aftermath of the English Civil Wars of the seventeenth century.
His house captured by the Parliament forces (Right but Repulsive) the son of a king’s man, a Cavalier (Wrong but Wromantic) is questioned as to the whereabouts of his father in the presence of the sobbing females of the family.

This image came to mind today in receipt of one of those ‘know your customer’ forms from a brokerage firm. As they are about to be taken over I imagine that this is because the new owners want to have spotlessly clean noses in the eyes of what are laughingly known as financial regulators – the whitewash merchants of the house of cards that masquerade as financial institutions.

Leo hasn’t dealt through these brokers for some time and was quite surprised to find that his remaining holdings there had any value at all, but there was enough to make it worth cashing in so that was what he decided to do.

Except that he could not.
Not until he had filled out and returned the form together with proof of his identity.
It might be his money, but he couldn’t have it.

So, moaning at the expense of having to have his passport certified, he started to look at the form itself.
Which is where ‘And when did you last see your father?’ comes in.

After questions as to one’s name and address, and for some mad reason telephone numbers….for goodness’ sake, when do brokers ever ‘phone their clients…the form got into its stride.

Occupation….where the line for ‘Other’ proved tempting.
Lion tamer? Saggar maker’s bottom knocker? Arslikhan yoga specialist?

If you were retired, what was the name of your previous employer – and probably when did you last see him….
And what, were you to be one of the few not employed on a zero hours contract, was your gross annual income…..
Why they should think that income is derived exclusively from employment is beyond me…..the lack of correlation between politicians’ salaries and their actual income being a case in point.

The form is eating up the miles now…

What, it seeks to know, is the intended purpose of the account.
They are brokers…what do they think that their clients want to do!
They want to buy and sell traded stock, not to use the expertise of the firm to set up a whelk stall – as clearly they would be incompetent to do so, nor arrange a piss up in a brewery – ditto.

It then turns to what it laughingly calls your ‘wealth’.
It wants to know how much you have, which in Leo’s view is for him to know and for others to refrain from finding out.
It also wants to know how many years and months it took you to fill up your piggy bank…and where.
Leo is not minded to turn the pig upside down to check the origin of the coins within and the level of its Plimsoll Line is no business of his broker.

The form gets heavy.
It wants to know how much of the contents of your piggy bank comes from employment….and who employed you…and for how long…
Up a gum tree there…Leo classes himself as unemployable by reason of sanity.

Have you made any pennies from trading activities?
White slaving? Fitting out an East Indiaman?
No…..they mean the stock market, though this is nowhere clearly stated.
What types of investments have been traded?
Well, there were rubber plantation stocks when there were still rubber plantations…
Average size of investments?
Whatever cash was going spare in the back pocket.
Describe the expertise that enables you to profit from such activity.
Doing the opposite of anything recommended by The Financial Times.

The form is breathing heavily by now…
Has any of your wealth been derived from inheritance?
Chance would be a fine thing….
And if so how did the deceased get his claws on it?
Unfortunately no one had thought to interrogate the grandfather on the source of his wealth, probably fearing a sharp retort and clip round the ear for impudence.

Has any of your wealth derived from selling assets?
A list of properties bought and sold over the years would require a mini Domesday Book and if anyone thinks Leo can remember at this date all the buying and selling prices then they are in for a severe disappointment.

The most tempting section is the last…has any of your wealth been derived from a different source to those listed previously?
This is where all the drug dealers, bankers specialising in derivatives and other criminals must be breathing a sigh of relief.
At last they can unburden their souls…at last they can declare all!

So I imagine that that part of the form will remain forever blank.

The wide range of the questions is in itself questionable. The firm may be concerned for the origin of the monies supporting the trading activities of its clients…but has no business putting its snout into the totality of its clients’ affairs.
But if the client wishes to extract his money, the form must be filled out.

Under Common Law, in the period from the Middle Ages until the eighteenth century, the law took a dim view of those who refused to plead either guilty or not guilty and would have them carted off to a cell where they would be stretched out on the floor and have heavy stones placed upon their chests until they either decided to plead or died.
It was known, and aptly so, as the ‘peine forte et dure’….but there were those who preferred to die in this way to avoid being found guilty and having their estates confiscated, which would have left their families destitute.

This form is another demand that you should plead…but as yet the penalty for not so doing is financial rather than physical. You lose your dosh.
But give the regulators a few more years and I wouldn’t mind betting that they’ll be putting out contracts for heavy stones…

43 Comments

Filed under Financial regulators, money laundering

A Glass Half Empty Day

building works 003I’m a sort of optimistic pessimist…if the glass is half empty then there’s room for a top up….but there are days which leave me in no mood even to pick up the glass in the first place.

Yesterday was one of those…..on the face of it a fine day for being up on the building site, deciding where to build the corral and chicken housing and planting more trees and shrubs.
The work had, despite the early start to the rainy season, been going very well so what was there to spoil the mood?

A prat, that’s what.

There is a big reorganisation of water rights and usage going on in this area after the mess made by The Neighbour when the developer was trying to get permission for housing further down the valley.
It has taken ages…meetings, checking title deeds, visits to government offices, more meetings, gentle persuasion exerted on the man who thought his neighbours should pay him for permitting the new main pipe to run through his finca, appointments with a taxation tribunal to arrange who should in fact pay what to whom, and finally, more checking of title deeds, but we seem to be in sight of the objective…water for everyone (except The Neighbour) at an agreed usage.

Being a glass half empty person, it occurred to me that long before this process ended we would need to begin building and as part of The Neighbour’s reorganisation had seen the water removed from our cafetal where we wanted to build we had to get a secure supply there to enable work to start, rather than waiting until the big reorganisation was completed.

There is a convenient spring on the finca next up the mountain…and until the Neighbour started messing about the pipes had run over that finca and through our own so we thought we would ask the owner, a North American, if we could come to some arrangement by which we could use that water and reinstate the pipes.
We had only met him once before….when he stopped us on the road to tell us that unless we paid him for the telegraph posts which carried the ‘phone line over his land he would sell them to someone else and leave us without a ‘phone.
ICE – the electricity board – did not take his attempt at blackmail kindly; especially as the posts were theirs…

So it was no surprise that he refused downright to help us out in the matter of water – even though there was a partial right of way and customary use over the whole line had been established for more than forty years.
So we told him that we would seek a concession to take water from the spring from the Environment Ministry and re establish the right of way for the pipes.

His response came a few days later when his North American neighbour came by for a coffee and got straight down to business.

We did not want to apply for a concession.

Yes, we did.

No, we certainly did not. X (the owner) doesn’t want anyone on his property.

He won’t have anyone on his property. Once the line is laid there’s no need for anyone to go there. No one did before when the pipes were there.

You don’t understand. X doesn’t want anyone on his property. You don’t want to go ahead with this.

But we do.

No you don’t. Y won’t like it. You don’t want to upset Y.

Who the blazes is Y?

You don’t know Y?.

We had never heard of Y, but enquiry showed him to be another North American, living a high life and popularly supposed to be involved in the drugs trade. He did not come to call and was found hanged in his garage some months later….

So we went ahead and – after much dirty work at the crossroads – obtained our concession. The re establishment of the right of way is taking longer, but the Environment Ministry inspector said that if we took the water pipe from the source down the bed of the stream that runs from it then we were on state property – the state owns all watercourses – and so not trespassing on the North American’s finca.
It meant going about three times as far with the pipes…but if it got the work started…fine.

And so the foundations went down and the walls went up.

Then we had a call from the owner of the finca. He wanted to see us to talk about the water. He would come to the building site.

He duly arrived. He was chatty, admired the site and the house and then said

I’m cutting off your water.

We have a concession.

No you don’t. My lawyer has seen the Ministry lawyers…there were irregularities in your application. Its not worth the paper it’s written on. I’m getting a concession…that will be the only one…and I’m cutting off your water. This week.

It was suggested that he leave before Danilo’s dog Rowley took a dislike to him and after saying how disappointed he was in our lack of willingness to discuss the matter he left.

So what now?

We know we have a legal right to the water…..but what do we do if his workmen rip out our pipes?
Replace them of course and sue him for the damage but it all takes up time better spent on building.

Do we believe the ‘irregularities’?
No, but as he has a lawyer whose list of contacts compensates for his ignorance of the law it is well to check with the Ministry.
More time wasted…but I believe in belt and braces.

Nothing we can’t cope with.

But what I find so depressing is that someone could set up a meeting at the building site….appear to enter into our enthusiasm for the project and then pull the ‘cutting off your water’ stunt, designed to ruin everything we were working to achieve.
He has to have a strange sort of mentality to find that satisfying.

Don Freddy dropped by at the house later on and we were discussing it with him.
He repeated what we had already heard about X’s none too savoury way of life…..taxi drivers talk….and provided a possible key to explain the behaviour.

You building up there, on the road to his house, must bother him….you’ll be able to see who comes and goes.

But we’re not interested!

That’s not a risk he wants to take.

Don Freddy might have a point.

50 Comments

Filed under Costa Rica, dispute settlement, expat