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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Let me tell you about one of my proudest moments. I'm not sure why I thought of this today, since it is sunny and close to 90F here on the Pacific Coast of Ecuador, because our story begins on a snowy evening in Washington DC. I was working as a computer and network engineer for the US Senate. Our office was in the basement of the Russell building, and it was time to head to Union Station and catch my...

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There are events that can have profound effects on your life, in ways you cannot not possible see while they are happening. It is only the perspective that time gives you that allows you to see their significance. Looking over my life, one of the things that affected me most seems a little mundane. I'm thinking of a job I held in the late 70's, working mostly in a warehouse. Sounds trivial, I know, but working there I learned a lot of...

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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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Now that I’ve retired from my job as a Network Engineer, I took a position with International Living Magazine as their Ecuador Coastal Correspondent. This is great, because it gives me a chance to do some more writing, which I really enjoy, as well as the excuse to travel around Ecuador, which my wife Rita and I both wanted to do anyway. Partly in celebration, but mostly to gather information for an assigned article and some future ones, we planned a...

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There was a back-to-school commercial for an office supply store a few years back that I always enjoyed. It showed a father dancing behind a shopping cart as he strolled around the store, tossing in new school supplies. The music playing was the Christmas favorite, "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year". The best part is you then see two school-age children, a boy and a girl, following their dad as he dances. They are walking slowly with their heads...

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Recently I wrote an article for International Living dealing with the issue of homesickness. Someday, they may even publish it - if not, it will eventually find it's way here. Anyway, homesickness can be a very real issue for expats. For those of you not familiar with the malady, homesickness is not missing your friends and family, as much as missing the things you associate with home. For many of us who live in foreign countries, a big part of that...

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