A Travellerspoint blog

Getting Lost in a small town and relearning Spanish

sunny 71 °F

Wednesday, 9/29/10. Well, today was another adventure. I got lost twice. The first time I was taking a ride with a bicycle driver and he kept taking me further and further out of town. I could not make him understand that I wanted to go into town, so I finally said Coco Bongo, which is where I’m staying, and he gave me a dirty look and turned around. What? It wasn’t my fault he didn’t understand when I kept pointing back toward town. Then later, I had gone to three different stores to pick up some things and got totally twisted around. I finally saw a lady walking with her daughter and I said “Coco Bongo?” They politely walked me back to my home and I thanked them with a $1. People are so nice here and they really want to help. The other day when I got some money out of the ATM, it shorted me so my hostess took me to the bank and explained what happened. Then at lunch, one of the expats told me to contact my own bank. I thought that was a good suggestion.

The beach here isn’t what I thought it would be so I’m thinking I may head down to Manta in November and further south to Salinas in December. During high tide, the water comes up to the sea wall and then during low tide, there is beach but it is always wet.

Thursday, 9/30/10. This morning I went over to Kurt and Judy’s apartment. They are my new expat friends. They have a new, two bedroom with a beautiful view of the ocean for a measly $450 a month
Every morning an Ecuadorian friend of Judy’s, Janeth (pronounced Janet) comes over and they help each other learn Spanish and English. There is a wonderful website called StudySpanish.com where, among the many features, you can type in a sentence in either language and it translates it into the other one. We practiced our Spanish pronunciation for over an hour and helped Janeth practice her English. After Janeth left for work, we walked down to the market. I bought salad fixings for dinner and it cost me less than $1. Then we went to Dona Luca restaurant for lunch which consisted of juice, either split pea or asparagus (we couldn’t tell for sure), fried fish filets, beans and rice. Always too much food and I can never finish it all. If I leave anything on the plate, it’s the rice.

Left them after lunch and came back to my room for a nap. To my surprise, the front door was locked. Apparently, there were riots in Quito and Guayaquil because the President wanted to cut the government workers’ benefits. The police went on strike and all the banks and everything where money changes hands closed down. We were in lockdown just for safety’s sake and it felt weird. I went to my room at 8:00 and did some computer stuff then went to bed early. Couldn’t sleep much as there are barking dogs all over the place. Speaking of dogs, I think they all came from the same gene pool as they are all lanky, light brown short haired mutts. There are dogs walking freely all over town. However, city workers are always out cleaning the sidewalks and streets so Bahia stays fairly clean.

Twenty Gap students checked in last night so the hostel was fully occupied.

Posted by Jan Foster 11:34 Archived in Ecuador Comments (0)

Getting Lost in a small town and relearning Spanish

sunny 71 °F

Wednesday, 9/29/10. Well, today was another adventure. I got lost twice. The first time I was taking a ride with a bicycle driver and he kept taking me further and further out of town. I could not make him understand that I wanted to go into town, so I finally said Coco Bongo, which is where I’m staying, and he gave me a dirty look and turned around. What? It wasn’t my fault he didn’t understand when I kept pointing back toward town. Then later, I had gone to three different stores to pick up some things and got totally twisted around. I finally saw a lady walking with her daughter and I said “Coco Bongo?” They politely walked me back to my home and I thanked them with a $1. People are so nice here and they really want to help. The other day when I got some money out of the ATM, it shorted me so my hostess took me to the bank and explained what happened. Then at lunch, one of the expats told me to contact my own bank. I thought that was a good suggestion.

The beach here isn’t what I thought it would be so I’m thinking I may head down to Manta in November and further south to Salinas in December. During high tide, the water comes up to the sea wall and then during low tide, there is beach but it is always wet.

Thursday, 9/30/10. This morning I went over to Kurt and Judy’s apartment. They are my new expat friends. They have a new, two bedroom with a beautiful view of the ocean for a measly $450 a month
Every morning an Ecuadorian friend of Judy’s, Janeth (pronounced Janet) comes over and they help each other learn Spanish and English. There is a wonderful website called StudySpanish.com where, among the many features, you can type in a sentence in either language and it translates it into the other one. We practiced our Spanish pronunciation for over an hour and helped Janeth practice her English. After Janeth left for work, we walked down to the market. I bought salad fixings for dinner and it cost me less than $1. Then we went to Dona Luca restaurant for lunch which consisted of juice, either split pea or asparagus (we couldn’t tell for sure), fried fish filets, beans and rice. Always too much food and I can never finish it all. If I leave anything on the plate, it’s the rice.

Left them after lunch and came back to my room for a nap. To my surprise, the front door was locked. Apparently, there were riots in Quito and Guayaquil because the President wanted to cut the government workers’ benefits. The police went on strike and all the banks and everything where money changes hands closed down. We were in lockdown just for safety’s sake and it felt weird. I went to my room at 8:00 and did some computer stuff then went to bed early. Couldn’t sleep much as there are barking dogs all over the place. Speaking of dogs, I think they all came from the same gene pool as they are all lanky, light brown short haired mutts. There are dogs walking freely all over town. However, city workers are always out cleaning the sidewalks and streets so Bahia stays fairly clean.

Twenty Gap students checked in last night so the hostel was fully occupied.

Posted by Jan Foster 18:41 Archived in Ecuador Comments (1)

Travel from Guayaquil to Bahia de Caraquez

overcast 75 °F

Tuesday, 9/28/10. I arrived in Guayaquil about 10:30 last night. The airport was new and very well designed. I made my way thru customs with no problem and the hotel had sent a driver to pick me up. Good thing, as I didn’t want to mess around at that time of night. The place that I stayed at was Casa de Romero. It was a clean and updated facility that was surrounded by old and dilapidated buildings in the center of town. I had a lovely room with private bath and AC and had no trouble falling asleep. The next morning, Helen, the proprietor, fixed me breakfast and a pot of my own decaf coffee. Ecuadorians apparently do not know what café sin caffeine is so I am glad I brought mine. She also called a taxi for me to take me to the bus terminal. I had a bit of a scare when the taxi driver appeared not to know where he was taking me, but he called his dispatcher who told him where I was going. So far, I have encountered very few who speak English, which was sort of a shock to me as I have travelled quite a bit to other countries and never had a problem communicating.

I think I made the taxi driver’s day. Because he hauled my suitcases into the terminal, got me to the right bus company and explained to the ticket guy where I was headed, then walked me to the correct spot where the bus would come in, I was very grateful. When he told me my cab fare was $5, I gave him $10 and told him to keep the change. Cabs are so cheap here. In Dallas, I don’t think you can go across the street for $5 in a cab.

Shortly, the bus rolled in, they packed my suitcases in the luggage compartment and headed off toward my destination. I was sitting near four women and they were all curious about me. Did I mention there are hardly any blondes here? I stand out as an obvious foreigner and everyone wants to talk to you. Anyway, there was one lady who has been living in New York and spoke a little English so she translated for me. Curiosity abated, they all fell asleep. I was fascinated by the countryside which was dotted with tiny little houses. I don’t think they were bigger than 500 square feet and probably a lot of them were much smaller. In about an hour, the novelty wore off as the scenery was pretty much consistent, so I fell asleep too. We stopped in two cities along the way. I got off at one to grab some cookies (I was starving) and the bus almost left without me. It was a six hour ride to Bahia and I was glad to get off the bus by then.

When we arrived in Bahia, one of the passengers spoke English and knew my hostess very well so he told the taxi driver where to take me. Total fare? $2. I checked in, walked a block to a restaurant, had a quick meal of shrimp and salad ($5) and came back and went to bed. A very tiring day.

Posted by Jan Foster 13:30 Archived in Ecuador Comments (2)

Off to Ecuador

Monday, 9/27/10. I awoke very early this morning. I’m excited about the trip. I have a few last minute things to attend to, like a few loads of laundry. I tried to log onto the computer, but apparently my wireless service had already put me on vacation. After several phone calls from friends wishing me a good trip, I finished getting ready. Having checked with the airline, I knew my baggage allowance was two 50 lb. bags. So after completing the packing (and I do mean packed), I weighed my suitcases. Woohoo! 48.8 on one and 49.2 on the other. I do have two allowed carryons and they are packed tight also. Even though I have 100+ lbs. of stuff, I feel like I am taking only the bare essentials. I just hope I can haul it all!

Next door neighbor, David, offered to take me to the airport. At the agreed time, he backed his car up in the driveway and we loaded up the bags. I hope I didn’t give him a hernia. I arrived at the airport 2 hours ahead of my flight time. I ate lunch as I didn’t know when I was going to eat again. Then I spent the rest of the wait on the phone.

I flew American Airlines on my frequent flyer points and both the flight from Dallas to Miami and from Miami to Guayaquil was on time and uneventful.

Posted by Jan Foster 17:54 Comments (0)

Sunday-Taking Pics and getting them on the blog

The suitcases are bulging, the house is clean, and the extra “stuff” is in storage. I think I’m ready to go. I’m breaking down the computer today because I will only be taking the laptop, the webcam, and my microphone.

I was talking to some friends yesterday about loading pictures onto my computer. I have always taken the memory card out and put it in the slot on my printer. Since I won’t have my printer, I was wondering how I was going to do that. One of the guys said that there should be a cable that runs directly from my camera charger to a USB port on my computer. I checked and sure enough there is a slot on my charger for one of those cables. I know that cable is well stored away so I will have to purchase a new one but that can wait until I get there.

I am looking forward to being able to post pictures on my blog. One more techie thing I will have to learn about! But I don’t imagine it will be that hard. So, as soon as I arrive, getting the cable will be my first course of action. I want all of you to be able to see this beautiful country too!

Posted by Jan Foster 17:38 Comments (2)

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