A Travellerspoint blog

Ecuador

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)

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)

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