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Where Have All the Frogs Gone?

By Colleen M. Smith

As part of our ongoing efforts to educate people about the rainforest and its inhabitants, KSTR is tracking the decline of indigenous frog populations within and outside of Costa Rica.

For the past three decades, scientists in Central and North America have been closely following a wave of disease that has wiped out amphibians in the Central American highlands. The fungal disease, called chytridiomycosis, has been advancing at a rate of about 30 kilometers per year and eradicating dozens of frog species in its path. Scientists have identified this as the same disease that killed off Costa Rica’s golden frogs in the 1980s.Kids Saving the Rainforest Logo

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Quite the Contrary

By  Todd Pequeen

I expand my possibilities by cultivating the opposite in myself. When I was young I did not have much choice. As an adult I do, so I use my free will to be the antagonist from within. I understand that no matter how correct I think my decisions are, or how black and white a situation seems, there are always shades of grey or layers of circumstance that I may be unaware of. This requires humility beyond the four decades of lessons I have learned. A set frame of mind can be my own worst enemy. Cultivating the opposite moves my life towards the pursuit of liberation. Freedom from all lesser pursuits (that often revolve around money, food, sex, and power) can be greatly empowering. The value of seeking change and enlightenment enriches my days beyond what I have previously dreamed.

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Renewing Respect for Red Hibiscus

hibiscusBy Donna Porter

My heart goes out to the Red Hibiscus; a plant that seems as though here in Costa Rica has lost respect  and gained un-popularity through overuse and abuse. It is machete- massacred probably worse than any other plant around, and can no longer lay claim to even its very own spot in a garden or landscape other than being shoved into an overcrowded hedge.  Sadly, it appears as though its only purpose here in Costa Rica is to provide a living screen between neighbors or other unsightly nuisances.  This world- renowned, sacred to some, plant has been belittled, de-throned and Insulted and I would like to shed some light upon the Red Hibiscus in hopes that it will spark a new found awareness and appreciation for this unsung beauty.

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Hocus and Pocus – Strange Creeper Cats

By Jack Ewing

JaguarundiWhen I first laid eyes on the two black kittens a quote from a Robert Heinlein novel popped into my mind. It has been so many years ago since I read it that I can’t even remember which one is was, but I remember the quote. In referring to a complex subject Heinlein said that making sense of it was “… like searching in a dark cellar at midnight on a moonless night for a black cat that isn’t there.” These two kittens were that black without a hint of any other color. Even their eyes were black. In addition to their extreme blackness there was always an air of mysteriousness about them. They didn’t walk like ordinary cats, rather they walked all crouched down, more of a creep than a walk, like they were constantly stalking something. They never made any noises other than purring; they never clawed the furniture; they were never underfoot and never got into trouble of any kind. There was always something strange about them. We named them Hocus and Pocus.
Hacienda Baru

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Los verbos regulares

tico-talk-headerSe denominan verbos regulares aquellos que se conjugan en forma totalmente uniforme, sin modificar su raíz, y empleando las terminaciones correspondientes, en cada modo y tiempo, a la conjugación a que pertenecen.

En los verbos, la raíz es aquella parte de su expresión en infinitivo, que identifica la acción que el verbo enuncia; y la terminación comprende las dos letras finales: AR, ER o IR.
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Maicol Leroy’s San Juanillo

maicol leroyBy Jim Parisi

Make no mistake about it, Maicol Leroy has been Ticoized. Don’t get me wrong, I mean this as a compliment and I know he would be the first one to consider it as such. Hey, the guy has even Latinized his name… Sr. Leroy has been coming to Guanacaste for nearly a quarter of a century and living here for almost two decades. He has been playing guitar and harp since well before puberty. Take these two components, mix in a little stage experience, an early exposure to the blues and great songwriting ability and voila: you’ve got the new self-produced album “San Juanillo” by Maicol Leroy.

Jaime Peligro Books and Music

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Udon Noodles with Grilled Chicken Breasts

By Paul Rees

So, I think that after my last two calorie-packed recipes (Rene’s Banana Chocolate Chip Cake & Tiquisque Fritos) I’d give you a recipe that’s a little more healthful, but still satisfying and with lots of flavor. These noodles are also delicious with grilled pork tenderloin or steak.

(Serves 2 – 3)

Chicken Ingredients

  • 2 boneless chicken breasts with tenders, fat, & skin removed, lightly score both sides with 2 or 3 shallow cuts
  • 1 clove garlic, mashed
  • ½ tsp. ginger, mashed
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • ¼ tsp balsamic vinegar
  • Pinch paprika
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 3 Tbs barbeque sauce

Udon Noodle Ingredients

  • 6 oz (180 g) udon noodles
  • 2 cloves garlic, mashed
  • 1.2 tsp ginger, mashed
  • 2 Tbs lightly crushed peanuts
  • 1 C carrots finely sliced lengthwise into 2” pieces
  • ½ C finely sliced red onion or chopped green onion
  • 1 C red pepper finely sliced lengthwise into 2” pieces
  • 1 ½ C green beans, cut diagonally into 1“ pieces
  • ½ C cucumber, peeled, seeded, finely sliced lengthwise into 2” pieces
  • 4 or 5 sliced mushrooms
  • ¼ C fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbs lime juice
  • 1 – 2 Tbs hot sauce (to taste)
  • ¼ C soy sauce
  • ¼ C pineapple juice or chicken broth
  • 1 Tbs sesame oil
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • Spray oil
  • 3 Tbs chopped cilantro

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On Being a Supporter of the Colts Football Team

By Anita Kiesel

Today’s mail brought the October issue of  SOUTHERN LIVING.  Page after page of the magazine had pictures of pumpkins, trees and shrubs clothed in fall foliage, recipes for using the bounty of fall vegetable gardens and descriptions of tours designed for the traveler to experience colorful country scenes.  The magazine did not mention what seems to be indicative of autumn here in Indiana – football season.  On Friday nights, high school rivalries dominate the television screen.  On Saturday one has a choice of Purdue, Indiana University and Ball State football games.  Since I am not a alumna of any of these schools, I have decided that my loyalty will be directed to the Indianapolis Colts.

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By Matt Casseday

It was my first month in Costa Rica. I was living in Dulce Nombre de Coronado, a suburb in the hills northeast of San Jose. It was October, the rain fell daily, and the temperature early in the morning hovered around 50 degrees when the sun was obscured by clouds. I was living in a standard Costa Rican 2 bedroom, 1 bath, cold water cement block bunker. The rent was 11 thousand colons a month, which at that time was around 110 dollars. The neighborhood was Tico working class. From my front door I had a view of the narrow street running in front of the house and a sudden drop beyond that widened into a 100-foot deep chasm. The locals used this depression as an impromptu landfill.
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¿Qué Pasa en Quepos? – November 2010

Bienvenidos/Welcome to our slice of Paradise here on the beautiful Pacific Coast of Costa Rica…we are green- green- green with the waning days of rainy season and happy that we will begin to dry out & de-mold!…..You may still run into some rain but it shouldn’t slow you down much………..Those of us that call Quepos/Manuel Antonio home are happy to have all of our favorite eating establishments open and ready to serve after their much earned vacations……….we have heard that Byblos has added new menu items and Express Pizza Delivery……….Miguelito’s in Quepos has added buffalo wings to their menu and having just had them for dinner I have to say they are very tasty! I had to miss the Chili Cookoff this year at La Hacienda Restaurant but understand Chip took home 1st Place and the People’s Choice Award – congrats! Our friends Bill & Tracy that started the cook off and previously owned La Hacienda have moved back to the states but wanted to say “good-bye and thank everyone for their friendship and great memories over the past four years”……….moving on now to our cover photo we would like to thank Harrison Hitt of Manuel Antonio & Century 21 for the great shot of the nesting hummingbird in his backyard………..our covers photos are sent in by our readers and we are happy to announce we have put them together for the first Quepolandia Calendar now on sale for $10 at Dos Locos & Jaime Peligro Book Store as well as thru Quepolandia at 2777-1113 or use the PayPal link on the left. They will make a great gift and come with a mailing envelope plus $1 from each sale will be donated to PAWS- our local animal rescue/adoption group that you will find at a booth on Saturdays at the feria on the seawall……..well that about wraps it up for this month so get out there and enjoy your visit and if you are here for Thanksgiving and crave that traditional dinner then check out El Gran Escape for a wonderful dinner – just like home …………………caio……P

Measuring a Musician’s Success

gamboa book & cdBy Jim Parisi

To become a commercial success, a musician needs to have talent. But in the formula for success, a little luck and timing have to be factored into the equation. Still, there have been many very talented troubadours who have been in the right place at the right time and did not catch the train to fame. Usually, it’s because they overslept or “spaced out” and forgot all about it. And herein lays the key to fame and fortune: good management. Of all the musicians I have met, the successful ones have a dependable manager, usually a spouse or family member, taking them by the hand to catch the plane to Boston for a gig or to the dining table because it is time for lunch. Musicians live in a different dimension than the rest of us and that is one of the reasons we love them: they have a unique perspective and are able to articulate it, through poignant lyrics, blazing guitar riffs and amazing drum flurries that touch our souls.

Jaime Peligro Books and Music

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tico-talk-headerViajar por Costa Rica es muy fácil.  Solamente hay que tomar un autobús y…   listo.  Esa es una de las ventajas de vivir en Costa Rica: es muy fácil transportarse.

Costa Rica es un país pequeño, tradicionalmente se usaba la  carreta con bueyes y el caballo para transportarse de un lugar a otro y llevar cultivos o alguna otra cosa; actualmente, la carreta ya no se usa para transportar gente pero en el campo la utilizan los agricultores para transportar cultivos o madera.

Ahora usamos autobuses, automóviles, motocicletas, bicicletas, avionetas y tren para transportarnos de una ciudad a otra.  El tren también se usa para transportar cargas pesadas a ciudades lejanas como Limón y Puntarenas.

Para viajar largas distancias, viajamos por aire; usamos los aviones, y si viajamos por mar, usamos los barcos y las lanchas.  En Quepos, por ejemplo, los niños que viven en Isla Damas o en playa Cocal deben usar un bote para recorrer parte de su viaje a Quepos centro.

Algo muy interesante es que en Quepos las señoras van a la tienda en bicicleta y motocicleta;  ahora es común en el Valle Central el uso de motocicletas para realizar los mandados.

Los fines de semana, muchos turistas visitan Manuel Antonio y otras playas en autobús, en avión o en carro rentado.

En fin los medios de transporte en Costa Rica son variados y muy útiles.
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Please Don’t Swim with the Crocodiles

Caiman 1.5 meters

Caiman 1.5 meters

By Jack Ewing

It never occurred to me that bathing in the Barú River might be dangerous. We used to go there every day during the dry season, around 4:00 in the afternoon. Sometimes when the tide was in, I wondered if sharks ever came into the river, but we never saw any. We once saw a snake swim across the river. It was partially submerged, and even though it came pretty close to us, I couldn’t tell what kind it was. We saw lots of caimans in the mangrove estuary at Hacienda Barú, but not in the river, and the ones we saw were more afraid of us than we of them. Most of them were a lot smaller than a human and didn’t look like much of a threat. 
Hacienda Baru

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Tiquisque Fritos

By Paul Rees

Tired of French fries? Wondering how to cook those dirty brown tubers you see in all the markets?

In Costa Rica they’re called Tiquisque. Around the world, they belong to a crop as important and widely eaten as rice and potatoes. Although slightly different species, they’re most commonly called Taro, Ñampi, Dasheen, and Cocoyam among other local names. Growing wild or in the garden they’re known as Elephant Ears.



Tiquisque are a good source of fiber, vitamins B6, C, & E, and minerals potassium and manganese among others. However, they also contain Calcium oxalate which is poisonous when raw but rendered harmless when cooked. Calcium oxalate can also be a skin irritant, so wear gloves during preparation if you have sensitive skin.

Tiquisque are available in every food store in Quepos – Manuel Antonio, and probably Costa Rica. When buying them, they must be firm without any soft or rotting spots. The freshest still have purple growing tips at one end. When cut open, they’re creamy white with tiny pink striations in the flesh, and begin immediately to sweat starchy white sap. Green season seems to be the best time to buy Tiquisque because I’ve been seeing some beautiful ones over the last couple of months. During the dry season they’re often dried out, thick skinned, and slightly spongy. An old soft Tiquisque does not make good fritos.

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Sharing An I.C.E. Moment

By Matt Casseday

I recently received an afternoon visit from a squat, unsmiling man who arrived at my house on a small motorcycle and without a word of warning cut off my electricity. His bright yellow shirt easily identified him as one of the seemingly tens of thousands of people employed by ICE (which for the uninitiated, is our national electric and telecommunications company). A visitor to my house saw him removing the cap to the meter and came inside to alert me. By an amazing coincidence, I was at that moment attempting to pay my electric bill via internet. It was not easy, as I only have one option for internet where I live (controlled by ICE) and the speed with which I receive the service puts me in mind of those old time room-sized univacs that probably took a couple days to warm up once they were turned on.
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