Ecuador

Living in Ecuador, we have a big money problem. Or rather, we have a problem with big money. The sad truth is that the cost of things like cabs, buses, fresh produce, lunches, haircuts, and so on are so low, that no one likes to break large bills. Taxis frown at anything over a $5 bill, and trying to use anything larger than a $20 anywhere but a major chain store or restaurant is almost impossible. So here in our...

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It has been 378 days since Rita and I first got the crazy notion to hike the Inca Trail. Since then we have logged 1817 miles of walking/hiking; we've climbed and descended 36,237 stairs in our condo building; we've completed a dozen practice hikes at altitudes between 9,000 and 13,000 feet; we've improved our overall health; I've lost over 60 pounds; and we've had a hell of a time exploring new places, seeing beautiful sights, and just generally growing closer...

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I recently was able to do something that was rather exciting for me. It may not seem like a lot to most people, but it was a significant event in my life. What was this watershed moment? I walked into a Lee store in a mall, and bought a pair of jeans off the shelf. These were normal jeans, straight off the rack. There are no elastic expansion bands in the waist, no drawstrings to help keep them up, no...

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I've got some good personal news to report, and another important milestone in our quest to prepare to hike the Inca Trail - now just 53 days away. As I was able to announce to the attendees at International Living's Quito conference, "Hooray - I'm Fat!" Constant Readers among you may remember that back on October 11 of 2016, I was able to announce that I had cracked the 35 BMI barrier, and was then considered "obese" rather than "morbidly...

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At the risk of sounding like saps or even worse, fuddy-duddies, we have always tried to follow the correct paperwork procedures in each step of our lives overseas. When we applied for Visas, we collected all of the documents according to the Consular website and our Ecuadorian attorney's advice, and took no shortcuts or "money-saving" steps. Maybe it is just coincidence that our Visas were ready for pickup at the DC Consulate's office three weeks after filing, but I think...

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Greetings all, and time for the update on the second leg of our practice high altitude hikes in preparation for the Inca Trail, now just 60 days away. Really getting down to the short hairs here! We are back in our home at sea level, on the coast of Ecuador, and ramping up the training. We had a great time in Quito, as we hosted an information table at the International Living: Fast Track Ecuador conference, and I gave four...

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Here we are, just 76 days from setting off on the Inca Trail, and we have successfully completed our first major tests of hiking at altitude. The results were mostly positive, but also quite sobering. I think at the moment we both feel that we can probably do this, but it is going to be, pardon the pun, an uphill struggle. We began this new phase just four days ago on Friday. For me, the day did not start auspiciously....

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It is true that there are some unusual things to get used to when you choose to live in another country. Speaking a different language is something that is high on most people’s list in this regard, but I have found myself noticing some of the more subtle and interesting differences. Here in Ecuador for example, consider something as basic as food. Of course there is an adjustment to be made in the types of food available here, and this...

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I have to confess, I am a foodie. Although not a chef by any means, I love to cook, and I love to sample local dishes whenever we travel. So Ecuador is a perfect place for me to indulge in this weakness. Not only do I have access to incredibly fresh and healthy produce, meats, and seafood to use in my own kitchen, but there is also a wealth of local and traditional meals to experience. Best of all, even...

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Time to take a break from the Exploring Ecuador series of just looking at places to live, and take a look at places to enjoy life in Ecuador. If you like walking around in the great outdoors, then Salinas has a great place for you to get your hike on. The picture above shows the westernmost point of Ecuador (excluding the Galapagos), a national park called La Puntilla de Santa Elena. Opened in October of 2008, La Puntilla is a...

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