Sunday, February 24, 2013

Slowly learning....

We're still excited about our exploratory trip to Ecuador in April, we're counting down the days. We only have a couple of things left to get done. The first is seeing our doctor for any immunizations he feels we will need as well as written Rx to carry with us in case we run out of our normal meds.

The second, and the biggest, issue is learning Spanish. Neither of us have hit a perfect way to learn. We listen to works daily on our phones. We try the computer lessons. We read the work books. We try to pick out words on television and the Internet. Will we know more than a few phrases when we arrive? I suspect not, but we hope that immersion into the language while we are there will help us leap forward a bit.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Interesting Articles & More About Books

Just wanted to pop in and post links to two interesting articles for anyone considering an move to any where outside their home country.

The first is After Shock!: Transitional Phases Expats Experience and the other is One Divorce You'll Never Get [related to finances].

On a side note about research, my lat post mentioned several books. So far the most informative one for me has been Living and Retiring in Cuenca: 101 Questions Answered. I did read the newest one I mentioned, ECUADOR 2013 - RETIREMENT FACT FINDING TOUR, and although it was interesting (especially the photos), I didn't find much that I couldn't have discovered via blogs and other posts. Why Ecuador for me is a distant second place with some great nuggets of information almost hidden in the middle of too many personal stories. ;-)

55 days and counting!



Sunday, February 17, 2013

Books about Ecuador

While researching Ecuador I've come across several books and I've bought several. Here is another book that is up for free at Amazon Feb 17-18. I plan to nab it and hope it will provide more insight to this country.

ECUADOR 2013 - RETIREMENT FACT FINDING TOUR:
This is a look without the normal hype at our on the ground research of Ecuador as a possible retirement country. A review of prices, people, attractions, hotels, restaurants and history. We visited Quito, Guayaquil, Cuenca and Manta.

Over 225 pictures included. This information is based solely on our criteria for retirement living abroad. It is a journal of 11 days in January. We do not claim to be experts however, in preparation for the trip we read every blog, magazine and book we could get our hands on. Our goal is to share our findings and let you make your own decisions about your future abroad.

Here are the other books we have bought. Each brought out something of interest and has been helpful. The first two I bought as e-books, the last is paperwork.
Here are the books we have bought to help us through the translation/transition of Spanish to English and back again.
    Hoping these references will help others in their search for information.


    Friday, February 15, 2013

    Moving to Ecuador - Part Two

    Part Two of the blog post, Moving to Ecuador, posted today. I was particularly struck by this paragraph:
    Are Ecuadorians friendly? They are among the friendliest of people anywhere in the world. However, we are seeing some conflicts between locals and a growing number of arrogant, ignorant, and loud expats who do not approve of life in Ecuador. One long-time expat resident used a bit of hyperbole to describe the situation in a couple of Ecuadorian towns as “war zones.” That is exaggerated, of course, but Ecuadorians do have a limit to their tolerance. As increasing numbers of expats seek to isolate themselves in walled communities and high rises – whether for security or to stick with fellow expats — locals feel offended and even make fun of certain areas by referring to them as “Gringolandia,” a term that foreign residents often repeat without realizing it is local sarcasm. Foreigners who yell at government officials, bank tellers, and waiters because they are too slow or because they do not speak English are fomenting a gradual backlash that has been seen in some areas. We hope Ecuadorians will not paint us all with the same brush.
    Great article and helps portray a realistic view of moving and adapting to life in Ecuador. Yes, we're still excited!


    Thursday, February 14, 2013

    A personal post...


    I wanted to share the good news is that my first cozy mystery novel, Not a Whisper, is now live on Amazon. Remember, you don't need a Kindle to read it. Amazon has readers for computers, tablets, smartphones, etc. HERE. You can also download the free Klondike Kompanion and learn a little more about the main characters.

    Soon I'll be starting book two in the series, Barely a Spark, due out this year. Please pass the word and for those of you that buy the book, I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.


    When Cherie Marshall catches her fiancé and best friend in a compromising position, she cancels her upcoming wedding and jumps at the chance to escape to quiet Klondike, Pennsylvania to care for her elderly aunt. She thought her biggest issue would be adapting to life in the middle of a National Forest, so very different from her upbringing in the deserts of Arizona.

    But that was before she met State Trooper Fire Marshall Jamison "Jazz" Maddox at the scene of a mysterious fire. As they both become acquainted with the close-knit Klondike residents, things get complicated as Cherie and Jazz find themselves in the middle of a local crime wave where arson, kidnapping, embezzlement and a decades old murder are just the tip of the iceberg.


    Mystery not your cup of tea? How about romance? You might want to try my romance novel, Home Again, available on both Amazon and Smashwords.



    Wednesday, February 13, 2013

    High Expectations - False Expectations - Realistic Expectations

    [morguefile.com]
    We feel we are being realistic in our expectations about life in Ecuador. In fact Stu is trying to have no expectations. ;-) But many do not do the research or talk to the locals before making the leap. I have already chatted with several who made the move without ever having visited the country.

    Today one of the Ecuador blogs I follow posted an excellent article that everyone who is considering a move to another country should read. Moving to Ecuador Part One

    Stu has started playing around with the Spanish Lesson DVDs and I've downloaded a dictionary app to my phone. I'm behind in starting to learn and will tackle it head on once I've finally gotten my latest book published. Early reviews have been good and that's gotten me excited about starting the sequel but know I have other things that have been neglected.

    I'm still following several blogs and forums where I'm learning more about daily life in Cuenca and still think it is the best area for us. We love the idea of walking to local restaurants and stores. Being in town will help keep us active. We just have to see how well we tolerate the noise. The downside of being out of town a couple of miles is transportation and isolation. I've also read some horror stories about landlords but we can encounter that anywhere. ;-)


    Friday, February 8, 2013

    One more item ticked off...Murali Hostal

    After a lot of research, personal recommendations and price checking, we have booked a room in Guayaquil for the night we arrive. We are staying at Murali Hostal, also called the Guayaquil Airport Hotel. You can visit there website HERE.

    We have a double bed for $56 including the 22% tax compared to the $120+ with tax at the Hampton Inn. We won't arrive until after 10 pm and we'll be taking the Super Semeria bus to Cuenca the next day so this works out fine for us. We have prearranged an airport shuttle to the hotel, should run $5-$10 max, well worth it after a 15+ hour travel day. Hey, we're old farts! ;-)

    Stu is working on loading the Spanish MP3 files onto his iPhone and iPod. He's played with the DVD a bit and I'll be tackling it next. Some words will be difficult for me, I've never been good at rolling the letter R. I'll just smile a lot....



    Tuesday, February 5, 2013

    Things we think we need to bring....

    As I said earlier, I'm a planner and list maker. One of the lists I am making is what we need to bring for our month long trip to Ecuador. Some of it is pretty basic, like computers, cameras, batteries/charegers, and clothes. Clothes that suit the weather and the culture of the area - dark pants, long-sleeved blouses and collared shirts, no shorts, warm jackets and rain gear. But there are other things, things that will come in handy and things that might not be easily available. Here are a few on the list:
    • Reusable shopping bags (My favorite are the little Chicobags that store in their own pouch, clip to your purse or belt and you're always ready. They even come in mesh for fruit and veggies.)
    • Basic OTC medications like Aleve, Pepcid-AC, Benadryl, Suda-fed and Immodium
    • Triple antibiotic cream and band-aids
    • Small pocket flashlight
    • Bug spray with DEET (hopefully we won't need it in Cuenca) and After-Bite sticks (chiggers)
    • Sunscreen and Aloe (just in case)
    • Small power strip for all our chargers (Monster MP OTG400 BK Outlets To Go 4 Outlet Travel Power Strip - This one is the size of a five dollar bill..love it and bought two of them.).
    • Folding hiking sticks (We already had these for hiking while on the motorcycles, will work great.)
    • Disposable panchos (We keep several of these on hand at all times.)
    I'm sure we'll think up a few more "essentials" for the list. Can you think of any we might have missed?


    Friday, February 1, 2013

    Step by step...we inch closer

    Step one was booking our airline tickets. Got that checked off the list. With travel dates in hand, step two was finding a place to stay for a month. There were many suggestions given on various blogs, forums and Facebook groups but we finally narrowed it down to a one bedroom on the first floor (garden side) at Apartmentos Otorongo.

    They come highly recommended by numerous folks who have stayed there. I sent off an inquiry on the website and in less than an hour we had negotiated our room location and made our deposit. From the website:

    Our apartments  are suites, and each one has its own kitchen, kitchen utensils, cable Tv, hot water, fiber optic internet, bathroom, and phone. The main room (2 beds or 1 matrimonial) has wooden floors and in the living room there is 1 sofa bed for 2 kids (sheets and blankets upon request ). We clean the suites and do the dishes daily. If wanted, we can take care of your laundry.

    Our rates:
    2013 65 USD per night- 300 per week-580 per month
    High season June, July, August, December, January Month rate 696 USD
    Next is finding a place to stay in Guayaquil the night we arrive, one with a reasonable rate and free hotel shuttle from the airport. We plan to take the Super Semeria bus to Cuenca the next day, the cost should be in the $7-$9 range (based upon what we've read). The trip takes about four hours and from what we hear, it's very scenic.


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