Thursday, May 16, 2013

Q&A - A few little notes....

As always there are things that I forget to put in the blog that might interest others about this journey to living in Ecuador. Here are a couple that popped into mind after a great night's sleep here in the US after 36+ hours of unbelievable traveling.
  • Q: Doesn't tossing used toilet paper into a trash can bother you?

    Nope, not at all. But then again, we've been RVers for more than a few years and have done this ourselves to help the waste tanks in our rig perform better. You dispose of it frequently and there is no real odor.
  • Q: Did you have trouble living at over 8k feet (altitude)?

    Not really. We did get an Rx from our doctor here in the US for Diamox (which can have some side effects). We took it two days before and after our arrival. The only side effect either of us experienced was a little tingling in extremities on the last day.

    It really helped us survive both the altitude and climbing the mountain of steps that first day. Then we stopped at every landing. By the time we left we were stopping mid-way only. Every day was different. For me, if I was talking while walking uphill, I had to slow or get out of breath. But in general, no major issues (maybe a little insomnia).
  • Q: Is it true that you can't use any bill higher than a $20?

    Pretty much. A twenty is the largest bill bigger places will accept and many won't have change for that. We also got a lot of Sacajawea dollars back in change. Why? Because they outlast paper dollar bills. :) We'll get a couple of rolls to take back with us.

    It does seem strange to travel with a pocket of change after years of using a change jar on the counter. It's especially important when out and walking a lot - some public baños (restrooms) - cost a dime. At the mercado (market), it's best to have exact change whenever possible.
  • Q: Do you have to shop at the open markets? Isn't there a Wal-Mart?

    No, you don't have to shop at the open markets. We did a little but know we got gringoed (overcharged) because we weren't fluent enough in Spanish to haggle. There are Wal-Mart type stores such as Coral that carry everything from groceries to baby items to appliances to minor construction equipment to musical instruments to...well, you get the idea. There is also SuperMaxi for groceries and a few household items. We picked up our pillows at our first SuperMaxi trip.

    Of course this all applies to Cuenca. Quayaquil and Quito are also large cities and have their own flavor of stores, including department and specialty stores. The coastal towns are smaller and there are many more rural areas where the markets are your only shopping spot.
Got a question? Post it in a comment and we'll try to answer in a future post!

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