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Showing posts from January, 2019

Costa Rica Dental Visit Notes

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We met Mike and Liz. They're from the UK and they really travel. They put my thoughts of travel to shame.

For instance, they spent a year traveling across Australia. They kitted out a land rover they bought and used it for traveling and camping. They seem about our age. We couldn't do that. Or I wouldn't do that. I'm not sure which.

Now they are on a five week hiatus around Costa Rica. I might be getting some of the lengths of time wrong, but there it is.

Also, we met Horst and Petra from Berlin. They are here in Costa Rica for five MONTHS. Just traveling. They want to visit New Orleans and Mississippi so they can hear real blues and eat true Cajun food. I'm sorry Mississippi. I told them they only needed to visit N'Orleans.

Horst needs some dental work, but for him, in Germany, the work is essentially free.

Hello? USA? Did you catch that?

Kayleigh from Massachusetts came for dental work, more extensive than ours, but she's an adventurer and drove all over the ar…

Dental Tourism - Cost Analysis

People ask me whether I trust the dental work here. The short answer is "YES" and I'm not alone. Many of the nice people we met at our hotel came here for dental work with at least three local dentists, and everyone was a pleased customer. I like Dr. Kriebel, of course, since he is the one who worked on my teeth (and I won't hold it against him that he is an Ohio Buckeye).

That leaves the question, was it worth the time and trouble? There are two parts to that analysis. The first part is the cost estimate in the USA.

Here's what one dentist gave us.

Darling: 4 crowns @ $1624 apiece* with 4 visits: $6616 USD
Me: 1 crown @ $3131 and 9 surface fillings @ $348 apiece and 3 surface fillings @ $306 as well as gingivectomy for $393 in five visits: $7574 USD

You can see the total was $14,190 and our doctor near home was willing to take cash, credit or a payment plan - right then.

We walked away and I started checking on dental tourism.

Quality has to be an issue. We want well-t…

Dental Tourism - Finished

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Wednesday, the day for my standard post, and I can report that, by later today, we'll be finished with our Costa Rica dental work.

Would we do it again? Absolutely.


Not that we love dental work, but because the dental networks in the United States are brutal to those of us without dental insurance. Which also means it is an underlying cause of other problems for those with insurance.

I can go through the numbers, but that will be one more post, after I have all the costs associated with this trip compiled.

I used to read a well-known magazine for international travels and they always touted Costa Rica as an inexpensive place to visit.  English? No worries, they said, everyone speaks some English.


We've been eating at Rosti Pollo, a local eatery. It has cost us about $20 USD per meal for both of us, and the meals are not fancy.  No, they do not, by and large, speak English, so we end up pointing at the pictures of what we want to eat.

Please don't misunderstand me. I think if we …

Dental Tourism, Part 3

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I skipped a day. You want to know why?

Because I felt, as Bill Cosby joked once, like my bottom lip was in my lap.
Let's look at the working schedule, mostly so I don't forget it, but also so you can decide if you can handle this sort of routine.
We flew into San Jose on Tuesday night and we got to the Apartotel la Sabana hotel around 10pm. We were tired and crashed.
The hotel has a very nice breakfast buffet, so we eat our most important meal by the pool every day.
The next morning, Wednesday, we walked from here to Dr. Kriebel's office for a 9AM appointment. Darling saw him first and I followed. He took x-rays and developed treatment plans which were much less extensive than the plans of a hometown dentist we visited (and the one who prompted this wild escapade).
We had lasagna for lunch (very expensive) and Subway(TM) for dinner. We each saved half a Subway(TM) sandwich.
Thursday was 1:30PM. We hung around the hotel room and eventually ate the sandwiches, then hopped over to t…

Dental Tourism, Part 2

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We met Margaret during breakfast yesterday, before we went to see my chosen dentist. She traveled here before for dental work with  Dr. Arnoldo Anglada in San Jose. A friend of hers recommended him to her. In turn, she recommended him to Doris, who flew here from New Jersey. Both ladies were delighted with their Tico dentist.

My heart beat faster after talking with Margaret at breakfast. What if I chose poorly? I did all my dental research on the internet, and that, as we all know, can be fallible.

Like I said, our room doesn't have a couch, even though the picture showed one. (See my grumble in the last post.)

Our appointment with Dr. Kriebel started for one of us at 9AM, and the other immediately after.

I initiated communications with Dr. Kriebel's office last September, before the epic train voyage across Canada. Vivianne spends much of her time coordinating patients from other countries, and her kindness and helpfulness won me over. She speaks and writes perfect English, which…

Dental Tourism, Part 1

We're traveling.

I'm not loving it because travel is hard, even though the trip is to beautiful Costa Rica.

Southwest earned high marks for customer service. I'm sure the Oreo cookies they gave me had no bearing on my thinking.

I did my normal doze off until drinks and snacks, then doze off until wheels-down. I still got off the plane exhausted.

A guy at the airport almost berated me for not tipping him, even though he did almost nothing for us. That is not typical of Ticos.

We spent about $38USD for lunch. The restaurant was a little upscale, but the Italian food wasn't that amazing. I was warned it was pricey. I think we might have different definitions of good Italian food.

On a lighter note, Subway is Subway wherever we go, and the prices are consistent. That's where I just grabbed dinner and brought it back to the room.

Darling's feet are swollen and her ankles hurt. We didn't do much walking, but enough to cause some problems. She's tired, too, but she c…

Banff

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Lots of pictures in this post, so be patient.

As our tour guide said, Banff is a lovely small city, as long as you remember what it stands for: Be Aware, Nothing For Free.

We stopped at a number of lakes on the way from Jasper to Banff. Peyto Lake astounded us with a turquoise-blue color that seems to be from a fairy tale.
Brewster Tours included the Ice Explorer Glacier Tour as part of the trip. Blinding white sunlight reflecting off the ice and snow does not allow you to take good pictures, but Darling managed anyway.

Darling says she needed her sunglasses and so did her camera. Make sure you bring both if you visit the Athabasca Glacier (that's the official name).

Theall-terrain Ice Explorersthey use for touring the glacier are huge, costing a million and a half dollars apiece. The tires are taller than I am. Twenty-three of these monsters exist in the world, twenty-two of them at the glacier - one at McMurdo Base in Antarctica. 


We also stopped at the Glacier Skywalk where Darling m…

Just Pick a Place

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Happy New Year. We've crossed that mystical and imaginary boundary between years and now live in Anno Domini 2019.

Goodbye, 2018. We'll try to think fondly of you.

A sweet couple at church travel a lot. I asked her how we should travel.

The question is not that odd, if you think about it. The answer she gave me is just as simple as the question.

Pick a place you want to see and go there.

So here is our list of places we'd like to see. Call it a traveling bucket list.

Ireland (The Cliffs of Moher), London, Germany (again), Italy, Spain, Bahamas, Bermuda, Australia. Maybe the Great Wall of China, though I'm ambivalent about that one. I haven't much interest in the Far East.

But there are still a lot of places in the USA to visit as well. The Grand Canyon tops that list. The Florida Keys. Visit the kids in Denver. Visit my brothers in Michigan and Maine. I'd like to see Alaska, so a cruise there is a good idea.

Let's check the wallet and see where we can afford.

Taco B…