We tried mailing out several post cards, leaving them at a mail box at an artisan's shop, but 6 weeks later no one has acknowledged receipt. Recently we've mailed off a letter to one of the kids sending it directly from the post office. This is an experiment to see if this technique works better.
After 13 years on a boat, living in a 2 bedroom apartment opens up vistas to us that were heretofore denied. We have the true luxury of having a bath from time to time. When we first moved onto the boat, we'd borrow a bath from one of the kids or a friend on occasion, but having to face someone with how wonderful their bathtub was took quite a bit of the fun out of it. After awhile we stopped borrowing and lived with our tiny shower. Lying in a hot tub of water, not rushed, not having to face an audience when you're done is marvelous! Shelley's not enamored with the amount of housekeeping required compared to the boat, but if you add sanding and painting to the boat's maintenance, the housekeeping graph for the apartment goes way down. We still have the option of getting a housekeeper but haven't looked into that yet. Having room to keep your clothes in and walls to hang pictures on and several kitchen cupboards for storage and small kitchen appliances is a treat, but we both miss the close ambience of the boat; that tight, dark, cozy, calm.
Our days have now taken on something of a routine: Brian gets up and has a cup of coffee and watches TV while Shelley snoozes. When Shelley gets up, we both have a leisurely cup of coffee and then a shower and then our breakfast of Ecuadorian buns, Ecuadorian cheese, mora (blackberry) jam and fresh fruit. Around 10:30 or 11:00 we set off on our daily chore: doing internet, picking up food, going to the Post Office, searching for that elusive detail for the apartment, etc. Back at the apartment around 1:00 or 2:00, Brian has his nap and Shelley reads in the sun (if it's out). Then it's time to think about supper. After the frenzy of the last 6 months, it feels good!
There are no Ecuadorian wines that we've found. We were surprised that wine is about the same price as in Canada and we were told, when we asked about it, that it's because it's all imported; Ecuador has no real seasons and grapes require seasons. Most of the wine we've been getting is from Chile. Apparently in certain areas of Chile they do have seasons. They sell eating grapes, at a very reasonable price, in the People's Markets though(?)
It'd been almost 6 weeks since we talked to our lawyer and we gave her a call. We were told that our papers were still in Quito and it was a matter of them getting to the top of the pile. "Call back in 2 weeks; there's no panic" we were advised. We'd asked the lawyer if there was any reason why we shouldn't get set up here and spent vast amounts of money and she assured us it was OK. It'll feel better, however, when we get our residency papers.
We got a notice from SuperMaxi that a certain amount of money from our grocery shopping is tax deductible. As all of our income will be coming from Canada, we won't be paying taxes here (15% in Canada - they have a tax treaty with Ecuador) but we were curious and got the following information: staple food, rent and education is all deductible from taxes in Ecuador. "Way to go!" we thought.
Walking through a crowded People's Market, two women aggressively bumped into Brian and Shelley shouted ahead to him: "Check your wallet!" A few minutes later the same two women bumped into Brian again. He was concentrating on his wallet but seconds later noticed the camera on his belt was missing. He immediately turned around and grabbed the women, who were only a few feet away. They acted very indignant and opened their shopping bags while a security guard looked on impassively. There was nothing else we felt we could do. A man standing a few feet away said in English, "Be careful!" We walked away with that sick feeling you get when you are violated, came home, vented in the blog and then went out to buy a new camera.
Damn them, to make us feel this way. Damn them!
During our search downtown for a new camera, Shelley noticed she'd lost her electronic Spanish/English translator. We don't think this was stolen, we believe it fell out of her pocket. It's the second time it's done that. Cameras were surprisingly expensive, ranging from $140 to $800 with most in the $400-$500 range. It's obvious the regular people in Ecuador do not take pictures as $500 would represent a couple of months wages. We settled on a Canon as that's what we had before, but for the cost it's not as good as our previous one (which was a gift). We've noticed that electronics cost more in Ecuador. All in all, it was not a good day. It started to rain pretty heavily when we were downtown and we decided to go home and brood.
Over that intense sick feeling by the time morning came, we both had a bad night replaying the incident over and over in our minds and cursing the thieves. "It's that, it's not going to happen to me thing" Shelley commented to Brian over coffee. We'd received warnings about being extra careful if someone bumped into you and should have twigged to what was happening faster. "We should have insisted the security guard do a search" Brian moaned. "It's just so foreign to us. We're too polite."