Thursday, January 30, 2014


Enjoyed a visit to the equator today with Ken. My third visit. It never gets old. I finally balanced the egg today and received my certificate!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Nice day ...

It was a very nice day today in Quito. We spent most of the day shopping at El Condado. Much to my dismay I have discovered that my shirt size here is XL!  Imagine that. Most clothes for men are XS, S, and, that means I can't even fit into a large. It's messing with my mind. Today was very warm. It's currently rainy and cool. Loving it. 

I am sorry to hear about the weather related issues in Atlanta. I'm sure all of my friends and family are totally stressed over the situation. The Governor of GA and the Mayor of Atlanta are not so bright. I'm in Ecuador and I was fully aware that a major winter storm was headed to the area. How can they claim to have been "taken by surprise."  Something seems so wrong about that. I assume they are ignorant and out of touch with reality. 

Here is my contact information:

Cell: 09-89062452
Landline: 07-285-0512
MagicJack: 404-874-1014 (toll free from USA)

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Back in Quito

We arrived in Quito last night.  The purpose of this trip is to complete our permanent residency visas and to receive our Cedulas.  We surrendered our passports today and paid the fees for our 9-II visas.  We are scheduled to receive our visas on Monday.  Then, we wait forty-eight hours to receive our Cedulas.  Afterwards, we are free to travel again.  We will also be able to vote.  In Ecuador voting is mandatory! There will be some travel restrictions.  During the first two years of residency we can only leave the country for 90-days in a 12-month period.  After two years we will be able to apply for citizenship in Ecuador.  The US will recognize dual citizenship with Ecuador so we are not giving up our US citizenship.  We will then be able to travel using either our US or Ecuador passport, enjoying the benefits of both countries, and yes, paying income tax in both too. So, now we wait.  We are at a beautiful property located on the equator.  Not a bad place to be.  I'm sure we will make several trips to downtown Quito over the next week and a half.


Sunday, January 26, 2014

Almost done!

The residency process is almost complete. We fly to Quito tomorrow to surrender our passports. I am in the process of getting a local cell number so the one you may have for me now no longer works. I can be reached by email, or on my Magicjack number 404-874-1014. This is a toll free number so don't be afraid to call me!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Furniture and Direct TV

The furniture was delivered today!  No more sleeping and sitting on the floor. 

Also, Direct TV hooked us up today. 

Just a few accessories to buy and a bed for the guest room. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Cuenca, Ecuador

We arrived in Cuenca Saturday night at 8:00. We then took a taxi to our apartment. The ride is just a few minutes; maybe ten minutes. Our landlady greeted us at the apartment building, and after we dropped our extra heavy luggage, she walked with us to a nearby store, Tia, to buy some breakfast items. This included instant coffee, which they seem to adore here, yogurt, bananas, spoons, and Doritos. Malena, our landlady said that gringos love Doritos. When we got back home we unpacked our suitcases. This was a great feeling. We had been living out of our suitcases for the previous eleven days. We were in bed at about 2:00am. 

Our first night was spent sleeping on the floor, well almost.  Malena let us borrow a mattress from a vacant furnished apartment in the building. Our first full day here was Sunday. Things are slow in Cuenca on Sunday's. But, that did not slow us down!  We walked three miles to one of the local malls and ate lunch before starting our shopping spree.  After lunch we went to Coral.  Coral is like a super Wal-Mart but even larger. The place was packed with people. The locals shop on the weekends. I think we will shop only on weekdays. It was a mad-house!  However, it was fun to see the locals and to explore new products that are not found in the USA.  After the shopping spree we did not walk the three miles back. We hailed a taxi and loaded up our purchases, with the assistance of a Coral employee.  Yes, they carry the items to your car! The trunk was packed and we had to put a few items in the back seat with us. The rest of the day was spent unpacking the coffee pot, toaster oven, etc and then we swept and mopped the apartment. We have no furniture yet so Malena said for us to take a table from the rooftop and use it until we purchased our furniture. It's a small, round, outdoor cafe table 

Yesterday, Monday, Malena took us shopping.  First stop, a TV. We were able to find a Samsung 46" Smart TV like we had in Atlanta. Malena negotiated the price for us and saved us $1,000.00!!!!  We love Malena!  Next stop, mattresses. We purchased two mattresses, pillows, and sheet sets. Again, thanks to Malena, we received a discount on our purchases. Next stop, furniture shopping.  WOW! The furniture store had exactly what we wanted. Took some pics for future reference. Next stop, lunch.  Malena's Aunt owns a restaurant, Willboj's. We had the typical Ecuador almuerzo lunch which consists of soup, mote, rice, popcorn, meat or pasta dish, salad, tea, and dessert. How much you ask? $2.50 per person. I was full. Even left a little on my plate. Next stop, a few more furniture shops. Then, we finally settled on the furniture we wanted. So, we purchased a dining room table and chairs, sofa, bedroom set, and entertainment center. When we returned to the apartment Malena took us to the roof and introduced us to the former tenants of our apartment, Bill and Barb from Minneapolis. They moved up two floors. Bill and Barb have a couple visiting them for a month. It appears that the couple have never travelled overseas. They seemed to be relaxed and having a good time. Afterwards, we went to dinner, Mexican, and then to Tia and bought some breakfast items. When we got home we noticed on the egg carton a notation stating that the yolks are orange, not yellow.  We did not eat them this morning. 

Friday, January 17, 2014

Immigration Day

Today was our appointment with immigration.  The first thing we had to do was stop at the Notary office to have all of our documents notarized.  Afterwards, we walked down the street a bit to have photos made that were then attached to our application for permanent residency.  Next stop was the Immigration office.  Here we had to take a number and wait a while to be cleared by the police.  Once cleared we had to get back in line, take a number, and wait again.  When our number came up our immigration advisor submitted our application for residency.  We then had another picture taken and we were on our way.  This may sound simple but I am leaving a few details of the day out.  Let's just say it was hectic.  It was nine hours from the time we left this morning until the time we returned to the hotel.  We are tired.

Now we wait for approval.  The approval process may take seven to ten days.  So, we are flying tomorrow night to Cuenca.  Cuenca is where we have our apartment and where we will be living.  The only issue is we have no furniture.  Tomorrow night we may stay in a Hostal and then go shopping for a bed on Sunday.

When we receive approval we will have to surrender our passports which means we cannot fly.  We will then take the ten hour bus ride back to Quito to receive our visas and cedulas.  When we have those two things we will then officially be permanent residents of Ecuador. 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Pictures from Quito

I downloaded the new Blogger app. Let's see if I can post a few pics for you. Also, feel free to send me a Facebook friend request if we are not already friends. 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

More fun in Ecuador

Monday, 1/13, Patrick drove, Monica, Ben, Keisha, Mike, and me to the equator. He dropped us off there and we took the tourist tour.  Mike and I did this before but we suggested that the others go because it is so interesting, fun, and educational.  The most interesting parts of the tour are the experiments that you can participate in.  One interesting fact that we learned is that a day is 3 minutes and 46 seconds short of 24 hours. The time shown on our watches and clocks is not the correct time according to the position of the sun.  This can be seen on sun dials.  If I knew this I had forgotten it.

After the tour we walked up the street a bit to Fiambre's, the restaurant where Andrew Zimmern taped his television show.  This is also the place where he ate cuy, or guinea pig.  There are cages filled with guinea pigs; apparently, you can pick the guinea pig of your choice.  Similar to choosing a lobster at Red Lobster.  Several cuy are roasting on the open fire pit outside.  A huge stick is shoved up the body of the cuy before the grilling takes place.  It's a shish-kabob without the veggies.  Ben and Keisha ordered the cuy, Mike, Monica, and I enjoyed more normal dishes.  Chicken or fish with rice. Here comes the good part...while we are eating and older man approaches our table and tells us how much he loves us and then proceeds to give each of us a hug.  He zeroed in on Keisha and told her at least one-hundred times how beautiful she is and how much he loved her.  Obviously, the old man was drunk and get this, he was the owner's husband.  Wifey was not too happy with his behavior.  She kept telling him to leave us alone but he never did.  He just continued telling us how much he loved us.  We played along because it was rather entertaining.  He wanted to play music so that we could dance with him.  He would climb onto a chair and he tried his best to turn on the radio.  The radio was not participating and we were pleased.  At one point he got up from the table to get himself a beer.  When he returned I motioned for him to give it to me.  He did.  Mike and I drank it.  Guess what...the wife charged us for it, boo!  Hey, we tried :-).  We then left the restaurant and caught a taxi for the ride back to the hotel.

Tuesday we hung out at the hotel until the afternoon. Late in the afternoon the five of us walked down to a store in the La Pampa community.  It was about a mile and a quarter there, not so far.  We bought whatever we needed at the Pharmacy and walked back. After dinner Patrick drove us to see our friend Jack Abercrombie. Then, Patrick surprised us and took us to the sacred grounds of the wind god. This is where babies were sacrificed to the god. The babies had their heads chopped off and then were shot into the canyon with a sling-shot! Upon our return to the hotel Monica prepared her special drink the "Medori Hooter."

Today was a very nice day.  The weather was perfect, mid-seventies, so Mike and I decided to take a trip to Teleferico.  You hop on a cable car, chair lift like at a ski resort, and take a two mile ride up to the top of a mountain.  All I can say is that the view was breath-taking!!  We walked a trail and found it difficult to breath due to the elevation.  We were walking at a slow pace but my heart was beating as if I was running a marathon.  Breathing was so difficult we had to stop several times to catch our breath.  Denver thinks they have a high elevation...they should come to Quito.  After that trip we took a taxi to the Condado Mall.  I got a McFlurry and Mike had yogurt.  We then grabbed a taxi and came back to the hotel where we just finished a delicious meal of pork chops, green beans, and macaroni and cheese.  Yes, they have macaroni and cheese in Ecuador.

A bit of good news we received today is that we have an appointment with immigration Friday to have our picture made and to get fingerprinted.  Everything is moving forward, right on schedule!!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Tour of Quito

Today we took another expensive taxi ride into the city of Quito with three new acquaintances that we met at the hotel. Last time we were here we took a tour on the Hop-On Hop-Off tour bus and enjoyed it a lot. I wanted to take the tour again so we invited our three new friends to join us. This was their first visit to Quito. My main goal was to tour The Basilica again. Once inside you walk across the catwalk above the vaulted sanctuary. Then, you climb up three sets of stairs that are literally straight up, like being on a ladder. Two of the sets of stairs are hanging precariously on the outside of the Basilica. The climb is 375 feet straight up to one of the spires. Once there you have a breathtaking view of the city. We then climbed down the stairs, went into the Basilica, and climbed more stairs, this time spiral stairs, into the Belfry. There you can see the guts of the clock and bells inside the tower. Amazing stuff. We then boarded the bus and went to the top of a mountain where there is a huge statue of an angel that overlooks Quito. Here, we got caught in a hail storm with marble sized hail. Mike and I, along with Monica, used the facilities and quickly hopped back on the bus. Benjamin and Keisha were brave and walked to the Angel in the driving rain. Of course once we boarded the bus and made the trip back down the mountain the rain stopped.  We completed the tour and then went to the mall Quicentro. This mall is like Atlanta's Phipps Plaza. Very high end. Mike and I enjoyed Pizza Hut! Yes, Pizza Hut. This was just a snack!!  We then took another very expensive taxi ride back to the hotel where we had a delicious dinner of potato soup. It was soooo good. One thing is for sure, the meals here are awesome and are HOME COOKED!!!!

Tomorrow, we may take another tour of the equator!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Sunny Saturday

Our fourth day in Quito has been relaxing and fun. We slept late, which seems to be the new norm now, ate breakfast and got up to date on all of our social media. We then took a walk to a restaurant called La Parrillita for lunch. It was a tiny little place. You would walk right past it if you were not looking for it. Mike had chicken on a stick (kabob) fries, salad, and beer. I had a hamburger, fries, and a beer. Total bill was $8.00. Each of our beers was one-liter. Yesterday we went to Condado Mall and each had grilled chicken, rice, beans, and a coke. The total bill was $9.00. Some meals are $1.50 to $2.50 so we are spending more than we have to. I have seen pizza and a coke for $1.20!!

A few minutes ago we attended a birthday party for a well mannered 14 year old young man.  He is the son of the hotel owners. All of the guests here attended and enjoyed cake and ice cream. It was fun and we had a lot of laughs.

I have really enjoyed spending time with the other guests. So many different life stories. Some sad and others inspiring. I feel like I have lived in total isolation for the last 49 years. There has been, and currently is so much going on in the world that I have not been aware of. Talking to people from other parts of the US and from other parts of the world is so educational. You've heard me say it before and I'll say it is the best education anyone can have. Books are a nice introduction but you must get out and explore what the world has to offer in order to fully appreciate it.

It's almost dinner time. The food prepared at the hotel is delicious. I thought I would lose weight here but I'm not so sure now. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

First day in Ecuador

We arrived in Quito at 1:00am and took the one hour taxi ride from the airport to Quito Hotel Bonanza located near the Equator.  La Mitad del Mundo.  We quickly fell down on the bed and passed out.  Woke up at 11:30am and ate breakfast.  A few hours later we took a taxi into the city so that we could stop by the bank and pick up our original Certificates of Deposit; the last items we need related to our application for residency.  We walked around a bit.  Stopped at the pharmacy to buy sunscreen and snacks and enjoyed a cup of coffee at a local restaurant that we have been to before.  I almost forgot, we visited one of the local malls called Spiral something...the inside of the mall spirals upward with stores only on one side.  There is an open area in the middle from top to atrium I guess.  We summoned a taxi for the ride back to the hotel and quickly realized that we do not speak Spanish.  You should have heard me attempting to negotiate the price with the driver.  As we drove off I quickly realized that I had agreed to $50.00.  I said, "excuse me, I meant quince, or $15.00.  We finally agreed on $25.00.  It is an hour trip back to the hotel so I guess $25.00 was ok.

The warmer weather here is so nice!   It is the rainy season so there are showers during the day.  Nothing to hamper us from getting out and exploring.  The showers only last a short time.

Just finished dinner, the hotel provides us with three meals a day.  Tonight we had pork chops, rice, vegetable salad, bread, and fresh fruit juice.  The rest of the evening consists of relaxing and maybe some reading.  My resolution this year is to read.  Let's see how long that lasts!

Friday, January 3, 2014

St. Simons Island

Happy New Year to you.  I am currently on St. Simons Island with Mike and we are visiting with his sisters and friends before we head off to Ecuador on Tuesday.  As is always the case, it rained on the trip down which makes for a stressful drive.  Getting dark at 6:00 doesn't help either.  However,  I always enjoy our time here.  It is fun to hang out with everyone and have a few laughs.  I miss the hot tub at the old house but guess what...they have one here at the hotel.  Running out to get a swim suit in a few minutes.  It's nearly 11:00 and I am actually still in the bed.  Well I have showered and partially dressed.  Just being lazy!  Guess I better go out and enjoy the day.  It's cold but sunny.