Year: 2017

It was 1995. We were living in Charles Town, a little community of 3500 in the Shenandoah Valley of West Virginia. Early that summer, we attended a carnival in the even smaller town of Inwood with some out-of-state friends. Our Maryland friends were delighted with the small-town flavor of the carnival, and were amused to see you could win a rabbit pitching Ping-Pong balls at goldfish bowls. Seeing this, my son (Jonathan, then age 10) could not rest until he...

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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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We have been spending time each day now preparing for our written Ecuador citizenship tests that we will have to take later this year. This involves working on our Spanish, in addition to trying to cram some information into our old, tired brains. As I struggle to try and memorize the names of Ecuadorian Presidents and their accomplishments, the provinces and their capitals, major geographic features, dates of holidays, and random cultural facts, I find myself thinking about both the...

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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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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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I've been thinking a lot lately about women's rights issues. It is not an easy thing to do for a person of the male persuasion, much like how a white person who grew up in a middle-class suburb really cannot understand completely what is it like to grow up black in a ghetto. But with all the things going on politically in the US that seem detrimental to women specifically, you can't help but wonder exactly what is going on with...

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Happy Anniversary to me and Rita! It as 8 years ago today (May 3rd) that we had our first date. Although to be honest, I did not know it was a date at the time. Let me explain. I got married in December of 1983 to Carolyn, and we had two children. We had a happy marriage, which ended in December of 2008, just a few days short of our 25th wedding anniversary, when she died of complications arising from breast...

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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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