Monday, September 17, 2007

E- Turrialba or bust

There's been quite a bit of press lately about my work site because a local union is currently in court seeking damages against my employer. The basic complaint is that the workers, almost all of whom have been brought in from Costa Rica, are being exploited because they are making less than Canadians on our site. This may technically be true on an hourly basis. However, when you factor in that they get two flights a year and all food, accommodation and local taxes paid for, it's obvious these guys are doing alright. I talked to one young guy yesterday(I can't believe that I can call someone in their mid-twenties young now) who told me his 5 bedroom house in Turriabla costs about $10,000 US. By the time he finishes his two year contract he will have bought his fourth house, which will provide him a good rental income. I don't think too many Canadians making $20/hour will be doing that around here with the price of real estate being what it is.

Luckily Les and I are really happy in our Co-op and are used to living in smaller spaces from our time in Europe. If not, I think we would be going crazy trying to keep up with the real estate market. $1.5 million gets you surprisingly little on the west side of town. Even in areas further East like Fraser and Main, you're generally looking at a fixer upper on a small lot if you want to spend under a million dollars. It seems so out of whack with rents and people's salaries. I've heard the beaches are pretty nice in Costa Rica. I wonder how the school system is?

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