Friday, October 10, 2008


"Every time we're out with company and you tell them the story about coming down from working and maybe in a few years we'll move to Vilcabamba, I roll my eyes, you know?" Shelley asked Brian. "I don't want to live in a town where you can walk down the middle of the street without worrying about getting hit by a car. I've already done my wilderness thing." (Ten years previously both Shelley & Brian had quit their jobs and had sailed out into the wilderness on Dowager (their boat) for a year. While they survived the experience & enjoyed much of it, it did take them a couple of years to get back on their feet again.)

We'd come off another roller coaster social week; coffee with a couple from Colorado, dinner with a fellow from New York/Florida, drinks with 2 other couples and lunch with a couple from Washington State & another lady from Australia/England.

"I like people and I love hearing their stories" Shelley told Brian. "But we're visiting so much I'm getting tired of your stories; you tell the same ones over and over again."

Brian shrugged, the ramifications of Shelley hearing his stories over and over again of no consequence to him.

"Well then you tell the stories" he said to her.

"I try to sometimes" she replied "but you always interrupt me!"

And on it goes.

An hour and a half at Etapa Gapal had us leaving with a modem in our bag and an appointment for a week later to get it hooked up. Upon entering Etapa Gapal you go to the information desk and get a number, depending on which department you are headed to. There were several people ahead of us waiting to talk to the internet guy, but 2 sets of them left before their turn came up. When we actually got to sit across from the internet guy we produced our inspection certificate and he inquired if the inspection team was polite and relatively on time. He then printed out a contract which indicated we had to pay $97 to cover the cost of installation, the modem and our first months rent. We then had to take the contract to a different department in order to pay it. Paying the $97 didn't take that long, but then we had to wait until it was our turn again to speak to the internet guy. Back at his desk with our receipt for $97, he set up the appointment and gave us the modem. The internet guy was quite patient throughout with our poor Spanish, seemed fairly cheerful despite the backlog of customers he had waiting and shook our hands when we finally left him.

We had tried to take the bus to Etapa Gapal this time, getting on a #14 that had "Gapal" on its sign. After several inquiries to the conductor when we felt we were getting into the neighbourhood, we got off the bus and wandered around on a Gapal street until we gave up and caught another cab. There seemed to be a really nice park just across the river from the Gapal street we were wandering on and we may try going back there again to visit. It was about a 10 minute cab ride from where we were wandering to where we wanted to go, so Gapal is a pretty big and convoluted street.

The telephone outlets in our apartment are in the kitchen, front room & main bedroom. We of course, want our computer to be in the spare bedroom/study. We've purchased a D-Link WiFi machine which is supposed to send the signal from the telephone modem through the air to our computer. Shelley's a little worried that it won't work as it doesn't say Mac compatible on the packaging (although Mac's are mentioned in the accompanying manual).

"The whole getting internet at home thing has turned into such a nightmare, of course it won't work" Shelley tells Brian.

Brian mumbles something about a super long telephone wire.

After weeks of alternating between supreme confidence and abject worry, we finally got a call from our lawyer saying that our permanent pensioners residency was approved. Amidst doing football type victory dances across our front room floor, we were advised that our passports were stamped and next week we'd go to the appropriate office and get our pictures & fingerprints taken yet again so that they could produce our residency card. Every permanent resident of Ecuador carries one of these cards (something like a social insurance number). The relief was tremendous. In our down periods we had tried to decide where in Canada we'd like to live if we had to go back; Brian was thinking Powell River and Shelley had discussed Nova Scotia ('cause it's different and the people there talk funny). Now that we knew everything was OK in Ecuador we revealed our reward plans; Brian wanted to go to Salinas for a week, Shelley had her eye on a $65 fish plaque.

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