Monday, July 28, 2008

What did we Learn in Ecuador Today?

We got on the computer and e-mailed one of the U.S. expats we'd met when we were down in Cuenca in the Winter and almost immediately got an e-mail back inviting us for an afternoon drink. Another woman from Germany came as well and we were shown around a beautiful 3 bedroom apartment that he'd purchased for $75,000. We talked about rents in Cuenca and the weather and how to hook up TV and internet once we got into an apartment. It was a delightful couple of hours and shows once again how friendly the people are here (both expats and natives).

Ecuador Forums contacted us through the blog and invited us to link with them and post on their site. Some of the postings were helpful to us. It's a relatively new site and should grow with time so it will probably prove to be a font of information for expats in Ecuador and those thinking of moving here.

We're sleeping like crazy. It's the altitude. Brian usually sleeps 6 or 7 hours at the outside but has now put in 2 ten hour nights.

You can't get ground coffee in the people's markets (only instant coffee), you have to go to SuperMaxi which is like the Safeway of Ecuador. We picked up a 500 grams of coffee for $3.46 and then went searching for cream. Twice Shelley went past it and didn't recognize it as such because they sell it in soft plastic pouches. As a consequence, we also picked up a glass cream container. We took a cab to the SuperMaxi as we didn't know where it was. It definitely turned out to be too far to walk (maybe 3 or 4 k). The cab cost $1.50. A terrific bargain when you consider that it cost $2.50 for one person to take a bus in Vancouver. When we learn the bus routes, it'll only cost us 25 cents to get there. When we got home we made a pot of coffee and it was terrific!

The people's market presented another great bargain with the purchase of a huge mango, 3 bananas and the equivalent of 2 baskets of strawberries for $2.60. This will provide an addition to our free breakfast for at least 4 days. While we were at the market Brian tried to buy a sweater (mas grande) but we couldn't find one big enough. The plan is to go back and have one made to order. It'll probably cost $20 for a very heavy alpaca wool.

If you've been following our blog, by now you're getting the picture that it is really cheap to live here. Once we get used to it ourselves we'll stop bragging about it but we're still amazed.

Monday has proven to be a landmark day with our visit to our immigration lawyer. A couple of minor glitches but she assures us that for all intent and purpose we can consider ourselves permanent residents. There is still a fair amount of paperwork to plow our way through but she does not anticipate any eventuality that would prevent us from staying in the country. So...we have done some fairly serious window shopping for furniture, primarily at a store we visited the last time we were in Cuenca. They have their own factory and produce hand crafted, gorgeous furniture at a fraction of what it would cost in Canada. We looked at completely furnishing a living room, bedroom and second bedroom/den/office well within our anticipated budget. We hope to be in our new digs by September 1st.

Tomorrow we're off to the Doctor for blood work to show that we are free of HIV and HEP B. This is another requirement for permanent status.

Shelley has a poopy cold. We're resigned to getting more colds than usual as the bugs are different here than in Canada. When we visited for 2 months we each got 2 colds and our friend Jan got a cold during his 2 weeks.

We went for pizza this evening and even though we thought it was rather expensive both ordered personal pan pizzas for $6.50 each. They turned out to be about the size of a medium pizza in Canada so guess what we're having for supper tomorrow.

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