Ecuador

Once you have made the decision to move to a foreign country, the next thing most people start to think about is “what should I bring with me?” This is an important question, but like most decisions when it comes to moving abroad, the answer is different for different people. When we decided to move to Ecuador, my wife and I shipped a 20-foot container. But I know several expats who brought only a couple of suitcases and are just...

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There's a moment of clarity, just before you begin, when you think calmly to yourself, "Why am I doing this?" Then the calm is shattered by sheer terror as you are flung out over the abyss. Now your brain is screaming "WHY AM I DOING THIS?!" This was my experience with the "Casa del Arbol" in Baños, Ecuador. Sometimes called "the Swing at the End of the World", this site was made famous by a 2014 photo taken for a...

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I could feel the urge building over the last few weeks, and then this Sunday, it finally happened. I woke up with a raging gumbo-ner. I just had to make my favorite New Orleans meal. Gumbo is not something to be taken casually. It is not one of those "one pot" dinners that you can "whip up". To do it up right, you really need to dedicate the whole day to preparing one meal. Sure, there are "quick and easy...

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Recently, we left our home in Salinas, Ecuador to visit the US for the best possible reason – my daughter had just given birth to twins, one boy and one girl! We had a great visit, but as always, there is some “reverse culture shock” to deal with when we are confronted with life in the States. I had one incident in particular that I found both amusing and instructive. As you might expect, I spent a lot of time...

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When you live in the most popular beach resort in Ecuador, one thing you can always find is a restaurant. Here on the southern Pacific coast, there is no shortage of places serving fresh seafood, traditional Ecuadorian, and even familiar fare like pizza, hot dogs and hamburgers. Heck, the Salinas area even has two French restaurants now. But like every tourist area, there are the “tourist trap” restaurants, and then there are the one’s where us locals like to eat....

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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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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 88,237 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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