Sorry about the delay in new posts, but Rita and I just spent 10 days exploring parts of the northern Andes in Ecuador. Once again, we are almost overcome with the beauty and variety that this small country has to offer. I'm sure there will be more details on our trip here and in various International Living publications and web content, but for now, let me give you a brief overview. We started by flying into Quito's airport on a Friday, where...

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I thought I could ignore the goings-on this week, and just let it all slide. After all, like most Americans (if polls are to believed), I really don't like either candidate for President. I got no horse in this race, no dog in this fight, no clowns in this circus, no turd in this bowl, whatever metaphor you prefer. But if you've read some of my other posts, you know that something that gets right up my left nostril in...

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"Honey, we're out of eggs. I'm going to the mercado, do you need anything?" "Yes, we need poop bags for the dog," my wife replied. For those of you without pets, she meant for me to pick up a pack of small plastic bags used to collect and dispose of the little gifts our Corgi leaves around the neighborhood. So this morning, I set out to the mercado for poop bags and eggs. As I walked to the market, I...

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Two friends we made here in Ecuador decided to sell their homes and move back to the US recently. They enjoyed their time here, but for various reasons had to move on. We will miss them, but wish them the best in the continuing adventure of their lives together. Their departure reminded me of an interesting discussion I saw a few months ago in social media. A blogger was convinced that the “retirement/travel industry” was hiding a deep, dark secret...

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We had a close call the other day, and we may not be completely out of the woods yet. We woke up Thursday to find my wife's 11-year old Corgi, Joey, who is usually in the bedroom before sunrise, huffing and puffing for someone to get up and feed him, lying on the floor in the dining room. He was not moving much, and at first, my wife thought he was dead. She saw he was breathing though, massaged him...

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Jerry Seinfeld once pointed out that in surveys, people consistently list "public speaking" as one of their biggest fears. In fact, it usually ranks higher than "fear of death". Mr. Seinfeld points out that this means for most people, if they are at a funeral, they would rather be the one in the box than the one giving the eulogy. This is certainly true for myself, which always surprises people who know me, and some of the things I've done in...

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Here we are, back in Ecuador after a visit with family in the States. Back there they are celebrating the start of summer, but of course for those of us south of the equator, yesterday was the first day of winter. The picture above shows the sun going down last night, as far to the north as we ever see it. This solstice is the longest day back in West Virginia, but here it is our shortest day - 11...

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Long time no blog, sorry about that. We're in the US right now, visit our east coast kids and grandkids. Most evenings we get back to the hotel with almost enough strength left to collapse. Fun, but exhausting. We fully expected things to seem a little strange, returning to the US for a visit after an absence of about 10 months, but I don't think we were quite prepared for this level of weirdness. Not only is there the overwhelming hate,...

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I often hear people cite "they speak a different language there" as a reason not to live in a foreign country - or for some, even not to visit. I also know expats whom, after moving to another country, refuse to learn any of the local language. In fact, some are even proud of their refusal to give up English as their sole means of communication. To each his or her own, certainly, but to me this is as hard to...

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I wonder how many people know the significance of June 3rd in the world of popular music? And this year, 2016 is the 50th anniversary of this important event. Give up? June 3, 2016 will be 50 years since Billie Joe McAllistar jumped off the Tallahatchie Bridge. How many of you just heard a bunch of strings playing a descending scale? I'm speaking of course of the Bobby Gentry song, "Ode to Billie Joe", released in 1967, that starts with the...

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