Wednesday, October 7, 2009

"Stuff' happens

The 'stuff' of life!

A few tidbits of info and some pics to share....
(and addressing some questions we've gotten off-blog).

Politics... those who know us, will know we are 'political animals'... well, we were in the US. Here, we don't really turn on the TV much, even though we get CNN International in English. We mostly read our news online.

Seems politics is alive and well here, too... we were in the SuperMaxi just the other day and wondered why the shelves were so empty. Politics. Apparently, the recent protests/demonstrations blocked the roads, so the supply chain is affected. (Don't worry -- we've got opinions but we won't get into that here.)

It's not like we're be going hungry though. A shortage at Supermaxi just means we'll be shopping more in the local markets... and, maybe, eating lots less chicken. Right now there is NO chicken at Supermaxi, and we hear there is none in all Cuenca (not sure if that's entirely true or not). We're sure it will all sort out soon.
(Update: Rich just got in and reports the latest... he was at Supermaxi this morning and shelves are stocked! Supermaxi is jammed with senoras, with traffic around the block. Back to normal, with chicken!!)

We've been working through some property title 'stuff'. A few loose ends needed to be 'perfected' on both the Fragata and the adobe properties. We're glad we have good atorneys working on our behalf! But, sometimes, one just needs to take the 'bull by the horns' and get it done.

Our realtor and attorney got busy, so...

Rich spent many hours at ETAPA (the utility company), an attorney's office and the Notary, to get a land line phone transferred to our name from the Seller's for the adobe... a little complicated since the line was in the Seller's deceased Mom's name. We also learned that Cuenca has no more phone land line numbers available, so we wanted to 'save' the line for us. Walking the papers around, getting more papers, waiting, going to the next stop... waiting some's all done, finally! Whew! A lesson in patience, for sure.

In the meantime, work continues on the adobe re-model... the workers begin sanding the plank floors today (about a 3 day process) and the appliances arrive next week.

Construction seems to still be doing well in Cuenca, overall. Still lots of activity at the building across the way, as well as a start-back-up of construction across the street. Lots of folks working away, and that's good!

The Fragata property deed had a few glitches, mostly due to interpretation of the law vs. what's customary. Our attorney, Nelson, is busy sorting it all out for us and we're sure it will be resolved soon. Thank goodness for good attorneys!

To share info on medical insurance and 'the water' and safety/security..

About insurance, we're certainly not experts on the subject. But, we can tell you that many expats choose to 'self-insure', rather than purchase insurance. Medical costs are low here, compared to the US. Some say that the total cost can equal the deductible costs you'd expect to pay in the States. Yes, we're impressed with our Dr Parra, at the Mount Sinai Hospital. He speaks perfect English, trained in the US (office visit is $24). There are other doctors here who speak English, too.

You can order your own lab/x-rays here and you 'own' the results and the x-rays. A doctor can 'double-check' the results for you or you can do your homework on the Net, either way. (For a doctor's time and expertise, it's another office visit at $24).

About the water... yes, we drink Cuenca water! It's 'hard', meaning a high mineral count, but no tummy aches for us (though we've heard of some who can't tolerate the mineral content.) For laundry, you might need more soap though. But, there is good laundry soap, even Woolite and baby soap here (and white vinegar for laundry, too). In most restaurants you can order bottled drinking water, sin or con gas (with or without bubbles).

About safety... Please remember you need to be mindful of your safety and security, wherever you are. We've heard stories of pickpockets, as well as a particularly scary home invasion out in the country. You just need to keep your valuables safe and pay attention. Nancy doesn't carry a purse (her infamous black jacket with lots of zippered pockets IS her purse!) and we don't carry alot of $ on the street, just what we might need for the day. We have velcro'd/zippered pockets (or we pin pockets shut to slow down the 'opportunity' of pickpockets). Basically, take the precautions you'd take, say, if you're walking/living in any City.

We mostly feel safe, but we try to minimize the risks... there is no way we'll be mistaken for Ecuadorians (we're too tall and our Spanish is better but by no means fluent!), but we don't feel like Gringo targets.

Here are more pictures from our walks -- always 'stuff' to enjoy.

Not sure what we were enjoying here at the main square one day. Vendors with food to sell, military band and lots of folks having fun. (School fundraisers?)

We never tire of all the beatiful flowers for sale!

San Blas Church (outside/inside).

A public health poster promoting treataments for parasites. Pills are recommended every 2-3 years. Many Ecuadorian families do this...not sure of details...

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