Q and A for Sidewalks in the Jungle with Alfred Stites
What was your motivation to write the book?
I decided to write the book after hearing from friends about my living in "such a paradise," and seeing even the new travel books making no mention of the difficulties of living here i.e. the 10% inflation, crime, water pollution, the stifling bureaucracy, and more.
Why move to Costa Rica?
Toni and I decided to move when the U.S. became too expensive for a retiree on a small fixed income to live without working 'till he died, not to mention the inadequate health insurance, and most importantly the erosion of freedoms and the living in fear a senior feels more poignantly than do those who have grown up thinking "this is the way it's always been."
Why is this book needed?
Those who plan to visit as well as those who come here to retire should know the realities one will have to confront and thus be better prepared to live with the pollution, the rampant crime, and the government hassle encountered in almost every endeavor.
What do you like most about living in Costa Rica?
The kind and gracious people, the slow pace of life, and the lack of restrictions in daily living harkening back to a U.S. of 75 years ago.
What do you like least about living in Costa Rica?
The inflation, and the lack of government action on almost every needed project (just like the U.S. but in microcosm).
What is your favorite chapter in the book?
"Furnishings and Then Some." It reflects the roaring differences between this country and the U.S., but differences that one can get used to and that most often
just reflect the culture and what it's like to live here.
What are you working on now?
Having finished the editing and revisions of the autobiography of Edward Kemeys, the 19th C. sculptor, I am concentrating on getting it into print. I have also started research for a follow-up to Sidewalks next year and will include sections on
living in Nicaragua and Panama, having friends who have moved to these
countries with whom I am in weekly contract.