A Travellerspoint blog

Third World Country

overcast 74 °F

Tuesday and Wednesday, 10/5/10-10/6/10. The last two days are a blur. The expats say I have been doing too much. I don't really think so as there is not much to do here. Anyway, last night's evening ended at the nice restaurant at the marina with a going away dinner for a couple who is moving to Salinas tomorrow. Salinas is on the southern tip of Ecuador and is supposed to be a wonderful place to be. I am thinking about spending December there.

Anyway, I wanted to remind you that although I am living well here, this is a third world country. Being so, there is no middle class. Here you are either poor or rich. On my measly Social Security I am considered rich. Only the "rich" send their kids to school as it costs about $200 a month plus uniforms. The poor grow up and take manual labor jobs and create another generation of poor. Girls have babies at a very, very young age. They look like babies themselves to me. Amenities here are few and far between. No movies, no video rental stores, no places for entertainment at all. Grocery shopping is a challenge because although the open market has lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, fish and chicken, canned goods are almost unheard of. I am even picking up some bacon in Manta for Susie as there is nowhere in town that sells it. Mansions and shacks reside next to each other and almost every building needs a paint job. The street vendors use the beach as a bathroom (thank God I didn't go down there before I heard this) and most dishes are washed by hand as there are no dishwashers. Now I will tell you that most people are very clean. Kids school uniforms are always clean and pressed, clothing is always hanging on the lines and the city picks up garbage every day. My room and bathroom are cleaned everyday and my bed is made. I sent my clothing out to be washed and they came back clean and neatly folded.

This is a wonderful experience and adventure for me. I'm so glad to be able to do this. I will never again forget to be grateful for all that I have. Most of us complain about not having enough money and things. Most of these people would kill to have what we do. So let's try to remember how fortunate we are and think about these third world countries that, even though they are evolving, will take years to make a difference in their residents lives.

Posted by Jan Foster 10:50 Archived in Ecuador Comments (1)

Little beach town but always something to do

sunny 77 °F

Monday, 10/4/10. I had a very busy and fun day today. Breakfast was a torta with vegetables which is like an egg omelet. Then I headed over to my Spanish class. This instructor is so good and I am learning a lot. I asked her where I could get just a sandwich and she said next door, but all they made was cheese sandwiches. So I walked down to the marina and got a deli sandwich with French fries (splurge @ $5). Stopped and bought a washcloth and a couple of hooks on suckers to put on my bathroom tile. Total cost? $.75.

Came back to my room, balanced my checkbook (isn’t the internet wonderful?) and took a nap.

Andy, my son, finally got my cousin Karen set up on Skype so she called me and we had a long and fun talk.

Judy and Kurt came by at 6:00 to pick me and Susie up for dinner. We went to the BBQ place for ribs (pork in case you’re wondering). This isn’t typical BBQ, this is more of a soy sauce marinade but they were juicy and tender and tasted wonderful. Dinner also came with fried banana chips and salsa, new potatoes, corn and salad. $5.50. Tom, part of another couple, is from Texas, so he loves this place. In spite of all that I am eating, I believe I am losing weight from all the walking I'm doing.

I am figuring out that everything here is about one half of the cost of things in the United States. The only things I have heard that are more expensive are things you would buy in the US that they have to import, such as brands of mouthwash and contact cleaner. Other than that, everything from rent to food is cheaper. It is so much cheaper to eat out than to cook and the only time I eat in is when I have a taste for something I can’t readily get in a restaurant here. So far, that hasn’t been much.

After dinner, we went to the marina for a nightcap and just sat near the ocean and talked. Got back around 10:30. I have learned how to download TV shows, so I watched a Rizzoli & Isles episode and it relaxed me enough so that I could go to sleep. Not much planned for tomorrow as I only have Spanish class on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Posted by Jan Foster 12:37 Archived in Ecuador Comments (1)

Slow Sunday in Paradise

chicken feet

sunny 77 °F

Sunday, 10/3/10. Today I woke up feeling a bit better. I went downstairs to see if I could help Susie with breakfast, as the Gap students were still here. But she took one look at me and told me to sit down. I watched as she and Judy and Kurt and Gustavo worked with precision serving breakfast. After breakfast, I went back upstairs and laid down for a while. Then I got up and walked over to a little restaurant to get some chicken soup. As I was moving it to a bowl I noticed that there was a part of it I had never seen in chicken soup back home-the feet. I gingerly spooned them out and gave them to the cat. The soup, however, was excellent!

One thing I worked at today was learning how to download my favorite TV shows. With the help of my good friend, CeCe, I was finally able to figure it out and not only get a few downloaded but was able to watch them. I'm in heaven! I must confess, I am a TVholic and I was missing that part of my life. They download very slow so my routine will be set them up to download overnight and watch them the next night. They are not the most current episodes but good enough that I can keep up.

Some of you may know that while I was still home I was doing extras work on the set of LoneStar. I thought it was a great show and James Wolk, the star, was very nice to look at. I worked on the Pilot and episodes 3, 4, 5. They cut my scene in the pilot and after episode 2 was shown, they cancelled the show. Darn! I guess I wasn't meant to be a TV star.

Posted by Jan Foster 14:48 Archived in Ecuador Comments (0)

A day of rest

sunny 72 °F

Saturday, 10/2/10. I am in bed today. Last night I started getting sick and although I didn't vomit, it was coming out the other end in torrents. Ugh! I never get sick but I was told that this is normal and happens often to newcomers. I didn't dare stray from my room and later this afternoon, Susie (my landlord) came up to check on me. My stomach does not feel good either. I don't have an appetite so the only thing I've had to eat today was a vegan snack I brought with me. I hope I feel better tomorrow.

Posted by Jan Foster 10:32 Archived in Ecuador Comments (3)

Expat Dinner

sunny 75 °F

Friday, 10/1/10. This morning I had my first Spanish lesson. Remember on Thursday we had no police protection. However, as I walked past the Municipal building today, I saw large signs and heard songs of support for the President. It gave me a comforting feeling. Because I had had Spanish before, my new instructor, Olenka, concentrated this lesson on a review of the basics; such as, tense, gender, family members and numbers. My head was full when I left but my stomach was empty so I stopped and had lunch by myself for the first time since I arrived. I didn’t understand what the host was telling me, so I gestured for him to bring me whatever and I ended up with a nice soup, fried fish, rice and beans.

I was headed to the store to see if I could get some bottled iced tea (Te helado) when I ran into my landlord. We walked to the store together and back to the hostal. The Gap students were on their computers so I couldn’t get on the internet, so I did the next best thing, I took a nap.

On Friday nights there is always an expat dinner at one of the restaurants and this week it was at the Arena Bar. It is actually a pizza joint. I ordered a small pizza and it was very good! Got to meet a couple of new people but surprisingly I had met the bulk of them already. There are several American men/Ecuadorian women couples. My Spanish teacher is one of them so I got to see her again. When we left, I was the only one going in my direction and although I only had about four blocks to walk, I was a little nervous as it was about 9:00 pm. But no problem, I arrived home safely.

One of the nightly customs at Coco Bongo is sitting outside and talking with anyone who stops or walks by. I sat out there for about an hour then went to my room and tried to download “LoneStar,” the TV show. I gave up around midnight and went to sleep. Ahhhhhh, another day in Paradise.

Posted by Jan Foster 11:58 Archived in Ecuador Comments (2)

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