This And That

Trip Start Sep 26, 2009
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Trip End Ongoing


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Flag of Ecuador  ,
Thursday, June 16, 2011

We went to the large market, the Feria Libre Monday June 13th.  As mentioned in my very first blog entry, in 2009 that is where Fred's old camera got pick-pocketed.  We're on to that place now and a little wiser - at least I hope.   There are plenty of mini restaurants in the food court to choose from.  Ecuadorians make excellent soups and juices.  At the Feria Libre they have juice and smoothie stands.  As I was trying to decide what juice I wanted, an American woman (along with her Ecuadorian assistant) suggested to me a delicious smoothie made with yogurt and some green stuff.  She gets enough to last her all week.  It costs us $3.00, but I was literally handed a pitcher and two glasses. 

The Feria Libre eating holes were pretty crowded so we went to this small place around the corner for lunch which costs a whopping $1.25 each.  We had the usual appetizer of Aji sauce and popcorn; a large bowl of beef, noodle, potato and cheese soup which was very good; and a glass of fresh juice. We thought that would be the whole lunch, but then she came out with a large plate each, which consisted of a small amount of beef in some delicious sauce; rice; a slice of avocado; and a large piece of plantain.  We could not eat it all.  --By no means, are these meals gourmet, as some get the impression that eating out no matter where they go will only cost them $2.00 -- not true.  These are traditional Ecuadorian lunches -- at eating holes (literally), in small, some quite tiny, restaurants (some quaint), or portable road-side stands.  The good restaurants, Tiestos, Cafe Eucalyptus, California Kitchen, etc., will run about $6.00 to $10.00 and higher.

After all that, we walked around the downtown area.  (you can look at my very first blog entry for some pictures of Colonial downtown Cuenca)  I was way too tired to go back to the Feria Libre for groceries before heading home, so we ended up at the SuperMaxi.  Found Scoop Away cat liter!  But that is probably the only thing we may buy there as their prices are higher than the Coral store, which is closer to our house anyway and as I mentioned before, they carry everything under one roof. Not a bad store though, much like a Super Walmart perhaps, but with a little more stuff, like building supplies.  SuperMaxi offers what Sam's Club in the States offers, a membership -- for $44.00 you can become a member and get a discount off your groceries. Coral offers a discount card for $5.00. Update: A new law was just passed, (around March/April 2012) and these stores can no longer charge for their discount cards. 

The gas man came around.  Each apartment is equipped with 2 small propane tanks chained up and enclosed outside.  When the propane guy comes around, which is almost everyday, he beeps.  To have a tank changed out costs $2.00. (Update: it has gone up to $2.25-Oct/2011. This apartment, for 2 people, we were told, goes through about two of them each month.  Can't remember if I mentioned it before, but our rent here is $230.00/month.  We do not have access to the 3rd bedroom; it is locked up with the owner's things inside.  It has 2 full baths.

As we were out and about we noticed many school children.  Their school year ends much later here and all of the kids seem to be in uniform.  The school buses are the familiar yellow but most are vans, not actual buses.  Quite a few students ride the public buses also.



Well, now it is Wednesday, June 15th.  Nora flew in yesterday so we could take care of business needed in order to process our residency visas.  Bob and Diane, the couple we met at our Hostel in Quito, Fred, me, and Nora had to go downtown to the Notary and give Nora Power of Attorney, and also hand over our passports to her so they can receive yet another stamp.  It is not really a big deal; we have our Censos and so far, we trust Nora; this is her official business.

UPDATE: Some people have been unhappy with the services of Patrick and Nora, they did well for us, but not for some others, evidently, so make your own informed decision.

While at the Notary, I was talking to Diane and she said I would not believe the horror stories she has heard from other expats.  One single woman told Diane that her lawyer did not do a single thing for her residency visa for 5 months. When she found out, her tourist visa was soon to expire in one month.  She was frantic, so therefore had to ride them to get them moving, but managed to get results in the nick of time. Update: As long as you applied for your residency visas and you are in the system before your tourist visa runs out, you are fine. You are not considered illegal.

I have been so tired, so Fred went out alone to the Feria Libre. Wednesday is the really big day as there are more venders, as if they really need more.  It is a gigantic place to begin with!  He bought a really handy basket on wheels to carry all the food home.  So here it goes: he purchased a huge bunch of green onions for 25 cents; 2 lbs of strawberries for $1.50; 2 lbs of fresh tuna-$4.00 total; large shrimp for $3.00/lb; about one lb. of purple onions for 50 cents total; 7 medium tomatoes for 50 cents total; 5lbs or so of carrots for $2.00; large avocados for 25 cents each; 20 oranges for $1.00.  You negotiate on everything!  (We were told to be careful of the strawberries)  UPDATE Oct. 11, 2011:  We have not had any problems with the strawberries, have seen other foreigners buy them as well, and our landlord John is not aware of any warnings on the strawberries. Wash them well, at the very least.  

I did manage to go downtown with Fred today to buy a cell phone as we are finding it difficult to find a dealer who can unlock our US phones so they can be used in Ecuador.  Here you only pay for outgoing calls, not incoming and we do not have a plan, just pay as we go.  Having a cell phone, I now feel somewhat normal again!  So, with that one errand I did today, I'm exhausted.  Hope it is just a matter of an altitude adjustment.  On the up side, my cloths are fitting looser!

We had an appointment at 6pm to see an apartment nearby: 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths for $230.00 per month.  It is large; brand new, so never had a tenant; has a laundry room; private secure patio; it's own entrance; on the first floor; tile and Pergo-like floors only; owner speaks English; and is a short distance from the bus line.  Could not pass it up.  Now all we need is, well, everything!  -- stove, refrigerator, washer, dryer; bed, etc.  What I love about most of the homes and apartments in Ecuador is that they come equipped with built in dressers/closets, so at least that is pretty much covered.  This kind of apartment in Pueblo, CO would probably go for at least $1,000/month, if not more.

It has been pretty chilly here the last couple of days and rainy, so must wear jackets.  No house or apartment is equipped with a furnace so Fred turns on the stove in the morning to take out the chill.

Our tiny English Congregation is quite sweet.  The singing sounds really amazing -- sounded like the Hall was full of people and not just the 30 or so.  We shared a taxi ride with some friends who live close.  The Hall was remodeled since the last time we saw it.  The carpet is out and is now completely tiled, new chairs and the bathrooms are now off the main hall rather than outside and down the stairs.

My two years of studying Spanish has really come in handy, but I have a long way to go.  And to be honest, I'm just not sure that I will ever be fluent, still hoping though.

Fred got a hair cut down the street for 2 bucks.  Not too shabby huh.







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Comments

Ken Laughlin on

Fred it looks like things are real cheap their, and the rent is excellent, I can't

believe the price of propane. What is the tempture the day you wrote this blog? It seems like it was a little cool. I hope you and Lora have a good time their?
Miss you?

Love you Both


Ken & Mari

ecuador_expats
ecuador_expats on

Hi Kenny & Mari,
To answer your question, the temp was about 50 that day. Glad Honolulu was fun. Miss you too.

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