Some more Tico specialties: Dos Pinos, Reductores, Cabling and Reciclaje

Dos Pinos – more omnipresent than “Emmi” in Switzerland

All milk products – really all milk products – and many juices carry the label “Dos Pinos”. The two pine trees (or pinos) are omnipresent in Costa Rica. Here is the example of a fruit juice, and we are asked to enjoy it (disfruta). (Later I understand that in Monteverde thery also sell dairy products under the label “Monteverde”).


In Switzerland, Emmi has a large market share for milk products. So – in a way, “Dos Pinos” is “Emmi” in Costa Rica.


Reductores are called “muertos”

Ticos are quite fast and flexible car drivers, overtaking, when there is a double line and you can see ahead, doing “rolling stops” at the “Alto” or “Stop” signs, overtaking in the right hand lane… but there is one thing that stops them: Reductores – this is what they are called officially. But the Ticos call them “muertos” – quite a daunting term.


My cousin met her husband at the university of Fribourg in Switzerland. He is American and she is Tico with German roots. Later they worked for some time in Switzerland and my cousin’s husband had to pay a fine. “This was a rolling stop”, the policeman pointed out to him severely. Later he drove a car in Costa Rica, and there was a stop (alto) sign. Remembering the event in Switzerland he stopped carefully and immediately a Tico car bumped into him from behind. “This was a stop sign”, the husband of my cousin said. “Oh, yes, but the road was free, so why did you stop?” the Tico answered angrily.


The cabling – impressive mess with obviously some order in it

One morning on our way to school we observed this electrician repairing the cables. We were impressed – how can he make sense out of all this mess of cables? But, there must be some order in it, because we never encountered problems with the electricity.


We also liked the ladder matching the t-shirt – a perfect combination of colors.


Reciclage y basura

It took us quite some time to understand the Tico concept of “reciclaje” (recycling) and “basura” (rubbish). The bucket pin on the left hand side contains “basura” and the black sack contains “reciclaje”.


This is, how it works: All paper, bottles, pet, plastic, tins etc go into the reciclaje. Our family carefully washed every bottle, tin, yogurt cup, coffee filter paper or whatever it was, before throwing it into the reciclaje. All the rest such as left-overs from cooking and from the bathroom go into the white rubbish pin – they are basura. I believe that someone later separates the cleaned reciclaje carefully and the basura will just be burned.

Well we handle that differently in Switzerland. For us cooking left-overs are often turned into fertilizer. And we have recycling stations, where we separate bottles from tins and pet, and our old paper is picked up at home once a month. So for us it was difficult to understand that cooking left-overs are “rubbish” and not “recycling”. But when thinking about it, the Tico system of reciclaje makes sense, too, when applied uniformly in the whole country. And we found the reciclaje and the basura pins at all the places we visited on our round tour.


Oh yes, pura vida!

“Pura Vida”, this is what the Ticos say, when they enjoy life, and they seem to enjoy it often. We also enjoy it – right now in a beautiful small hut in the middle of the cloud forest at San Gerardo de Dota visited by squirrels and colibri birds.




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