This is my first post on My Costa Rican Diary.  But first let me introduce myself.  My name is Zadik Shapiro.  I retired in February after thirty years as a criminal defense attorney in San Francisco, California.  While I have lived most of the last 38 years in San Francisco, for the past six years I lived in Pittsburg a suburb of the city.  I am divorced and I moved to Costa Rica by myself.  I am currently living in Sarchi, a small town in Alajuela Province which is located in the Central Valley.  I am renting a one room cabin in the middle of a coffee field.  Sarchi is known for wooden souvenirs and furniture.

I came to Costa Rica on a tourist visa.  Well there is no real visa, but they stamped my passport going through customs.  It is a 90 day renewable permit to stay in the country which means that I have to leave the country every ninety days and return. Not bad–I can go to Nicaragua or I can visit friends and family in the U. S.  I plan to become a pensionado.  For that I need a pension of at least a thousand dollars a month (my Social Security) be in good standing with US law enforcement etc.  It requires all sorts of paper work–some to be completed in the United States and some to be completed in Costa Rica.  Prior to coming I got a copy of my birth certificate and a statement from the Pittsburg Police Department.  It will happen eventually but it will take some time.  Once I become a pensionado I can come and go as I please.

Costa Rica places a number of restrictions on those with tourist visas and I will be glad to become a pensionado.  For example, with a tourist visa I cannot get the internet in my name.  It’s in my landlord’s name.  Prior to my arrival someone, perhaps the landlord, forgot to pay the bill therefore I had to wait a month to get it reconnected.  I had planned to begin this blog as soon as I got here with my day to day impressions of Costa Rican life and the adventures of an ex-patriot.  But now I have been here for a month and a half and in future posts I will elaborate on the life of an American in Costa Rica.  The blog can be found at http://mycostaricandiary.com  I hope that you will travel along with me on this adventure by reading the blog and by commenting on my posts.