Ecuador

Another picture-perfect day in Salinas. May is a great month here, with most of the snowbirds gone, and kids back in school. We have a lot of days with blue skies, temperatures in the low 80's, and cool breeze coming in off the water. Rita and I took a beach walk in Chipipe yesterday, and plan on going back today for some lunch empanadas and maybe a coco batido. On our walk yesterday, I was marveling once again at all of...

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Rita and I just returned from an 8-day road trip through part of southern Ecuador (hence the gap in blog posts), and we had a really wonderful time. We saw some of the most beautiful landscapes on the planet, and met interesting people in some great cities and towns. We know several people who have made trips around Ecuador and South America, but our trip was a little unique in that we decided to rent a car and drive ourselves....

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When considering whether to live in another country, the availability and cost of quality health care is always a big consideration. My wife and I have had personal experience with this in Ecuador, and all-in-all we have been very happy with our results. It is a difficult issue to compare, because it is almost impossible to do an "apples to apples" comparison. From the very start, Ecuadorians look at health care differently. Here the goal of doctors is to keep...

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One thing I really enjoy about living in Salinas, Ecuador is when we have an excuse to visit the 'Tad. That's what Rita and I call La Libertad, which is the next town inland from Salinas, and the commercial center of the peninsula. We love to jump on a bus and ride into the 'Tad. Although La Libertad is home to the modern El Paseo Mall, that is not where the action is, or where most of the locals shop....

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It is a question many people are asking themselves right now. For my wife and I, our answer is yes, we are staying. This is our home. Maybe we would feel differently if we were in one of the areas of destruction. Our hearts go out to those who are struggling to survive. We recently traveled between Manta and Canoa, and we met wonderful people that we are very concerned about. Here in Salinas, if you were dropped into town...

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Things are very quiet here in Salinas, Ecuador today. As you can see in the picture, the beach is nearly deserted, only a few boats and jet skis out. This is a resort town for Ecuadorians, and most of them have left to go check on their homes and families in other parts of the country. We normally are very happy to see the "touristos" clear out (see The Most Wonderful Time of the Year), but today it feels very different....

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The picture above was taken at 6:55PM last night, local time here in Salinas. I stepped out on our balcony and took a quick picture, just to see if it would capture the colors, which were truly spectacular. Three minutes later, 210 miles away and 12 miles down, a sudden shift happened. Have you ever been to Disney World or Universal Studios, and taken one of the earthquake rides? They simulate the shaking, things slide towards you or tower over...

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A great benefit of traveling and spending any amount of time in a different country is getting a different perspective on the world. In the US, we tend to think that we have the best of everything, and that everybody in the world would rather be in the US, or at least wants to be like the US. This turns out not to be the case. For example, the trains in Europe are miles (or kilometers, I guess) ahead of Amtrak....

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I have to admit, I was a little nervous about renting a car again. It had been three years since I drove in Ecuador, and that experience was very limited. We just drove to a hotel in Playas, the next day drove to a hotel in Salinas, and didn’t get in it again until it was time to leave. And even then, we had an Ecuadorian riding with us to give me directions to the airport. Rita and I both...

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If you should ever find yourself in Manta, the Hotel Perla Spondylus is a very nice place to stay. It sits about a block back from the Malecon, on a road that runs directly from the famous Tuna on a Stick statue, which makes it easy to find. In fact, when our cab driver wanted to pretend ignorance of the hotel name and drive us around a little, I just said “cerca de la estatua de atun” – which may...

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