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Who Reads The Tico Times?

July 4, 2008

George Prosser bought 14 hectares of property in Golfito in 1993 for $8,000, after seeing an ad in a small Los Angeles paper called The Recycler. He never saw the property, but knew that if it wasn’t underwater, he wanted it.

“I was enchanted by the idea of living in a free country, as opposed to the United States, which is not free,” Prosser says.

In his 15 years in Costa Rica, he has created a new life for himself in the southern Pacific port city, where he lives in a rustic, two-story home with a pack of dogs. Prosser, 71, lives much as his neighbors do, getting around with a machete swinging from his waist on his trusty steed, a palomino named Blondie.

A constant contributor to The Tico Times letters pages, Prosser has also established himself as arguably the paper’s fan número uno. It would be a safe bet to say he hasn’t missed a single edition since moving to Costa Rica.

“I could see it was a real political paper, and I fell in love with it,” he says. “I’m a publicity hound. I’ve got to be seen and heard.

I wrote a letter that said (President) Oscar Arias was a schizophrenic megalomaniac, and they printed it, which really surprised me and gladdened my heart.”

Prosser also holds the distinction of having sent the paper not one, but two handmade gifts in recent years. The first was a sculpture representing his take on Costa Rica and the Central American Free-Trade Agreement with the United States (CAFTA): a motorboat driven by pigs, headed straight for the rocks.

He followed that up with a small rancho over some tacks, titled “Tack Shelter” – “shipped anywhere, $100.”

Prosser has never been back to the United States, and says he will never return.

He has found contentment in Costa Rica, charmed by the nation’s socialist history and friendly citizens.

A conservationist and man of ideas, Prosser has compiled plans to build a pipeline for vegetable oil to eliminate the diesel tanker trucks currently carrying the product from nearby palm plantations. According to his plan, the pipeline would run along existing train tracks, as would an electric trolley, to draw tourists.

Prosser has also recently proposed building a “People’s Pleasure Pier” in Golfito: a wide, kilometer-long pier to service boats, seaplanes and tourists. He envisions the pier lined with shops and public fishing, while nonpolluting vehicles ferry visitors along its  length. Ten percent of revenue would be given back to the community, he says.

While waiting for those ideas to take off, or garner some funding, Prosser is building an eight-by-four-foot sensory deprivation tank on the second floor of his home.

“They say you can regress all the way back to the birth experience,” he says. “I just had to see what was in there.”

–Leland Baxter-Neal

 

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