After I had come to Costa Rica, and purchased a home, in the full thrall of a limerant romance with the country, its people, its history, its biome, and the overall beauty of the place, I was struggling with some paperwork or other and a realtor told me the following morality story: remember the ruby slippers.

Costa Rica is like the Wizard of Oz. You will recall, I am sure, that Dorothy was told that she had to kill the Wicked Witch of the West in order for the Wizard of Oz to help her leave Oz to go back to Kansas. After many ordeals, Dorothy killed the Witch. In fact, she melted her with a bucket of water! Then back she went to the Wizard, expecting her recompense. But the Wizard looked at her with deeply puzzled look on his face, and said, “What about her broomstick? Why didn’t you bring her broomstick? Everyone knows you need to bring the broomstick to prove that she is really dead.”

So back Dorothy goes, through many hardships, and she collects the broomstick and returns to Oz. The Wizard takes the broomstick and puts out his hand. “What about the ruby slippers?”

‘“What ruby slippers?” says Dorothy.

“You must have forgotten that you needed to bring the ruby slippers too. We can’t make the spell to get you back to Kansas without those ruby slippers…”

Of course, in the story and the movie, Dorothy retrieves the slippers as well, and by clicking her heels together three times and murmering “There is no place like home, there is no place like home, there is no place like home,” she is magically transported back to Kansas.

I don’t think I am going to be so lucky. Here, it seems, the rules change, and nobody discloses the new rules. Discrimination is encoded in the laws. Even airline fares are cheaper if you have a cedula than if you are a tourist. I hope that things get easier, and I respect Costa Rica’s right to make the country safe and pleasant, but insulting law-abiding people who will add richness to the community is not a great place to start.

One more thing: if any readers speak Spanish and want to look up the new law for themselves, it is on page 47-48, Artículo 91, Comisión Permanente Especial de Redacción, Atendida Sala VII, paragraph b. Expediente N. 18.032

I hope that people pass this blog to others who are considering retiring or starting a business or joining a business in Costa Rica. Perhaps the government can make a more reasonable set of laws.

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