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Peter, sounds like a nice trip overall

The cost of Costa Rica to me is not a wise real estate investment today, so it sounds like you made a wise decision. It was years ago, but I'm not sure the smart money is going there for real estate, but rather for lifestyle.

If I weren't marrying a Salvadoran I'd be tempted to invest in either Uruguay or Ecuador. The prices are better investments and Uruguay offers a nicer environment than many Central American countries.

For us, family makes the difference. We are improving his mother's house, building apartments onto the house, so she can retire with income, and seeking our own place to buy. If those factors didn't influence our decision, my eyes would be open.

El Salvador does have some wonderful benefits. In many places, it has an almost American California feel. In other places it is a bit more colonial-rustic. I'm not much on seeking the barrio experience to feel as if I've been celebrated as Latin American, like so many cheles I read about. I can have that in any Los Angeles ghetto, so I don't see the point. I am a bit more interested in celebrating comfort, than celebrating my ability to wear my hands out scrubbing floors with bleach. So I won't be a favorite among the pretentious who seek what they figure is the Latin experience (which to me seems slightly racist to assume we are all poor campesinos, but what the heck, let them have their silly fantasies). El Salvador offers this for me. Costa Rica? Too many snakes, chinches, sonpopos, and the cantos de cigaros would have me screaming, "Shut the hell up!" .Here, those putty colored geckos are cool. They eat the bugs and I don't mind their chirping. I don't want to hear a pit of snakes making the same sound though.

The birds here are fabulous. They wake you each morning singing, "Buenos dias, dias, dias!" And the strangler vines and bromeliads are incredible. The heat is tolerable, but I wouldn't want to amp it up a notch to Costa Rica's level. It's just right.

I think there are more hotheads here, but in a way I prefer that. It's honest, whereas I've heard that Costa Ricans can be back stabbers. I certainly have very little respect for Costa Ricans who pass judgment on Nicaraguans, when they are viewed in the same light by the world. It seems hilarious and a bit pretentious. I know they claim Nicaraguans are thieves, but of all the countries, Costa Rica has the WORST reputation for selling it's own daughters to pedophiles, so I'm not sure where the smugness comes from.

But anyway, I'm glad you had a good five months there. And to the snooty ones? Laugh your ass off. Nothing like a snooty provincial person to give you a good laugh in life, is there?

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