About Me

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Cuenca, Azuay, Ecuador
We are from Connecticut originally and have most recently lived in North Carolina, USA. We are starting a new life in South America so our retirement $'s will go farther toward a new way of life and a new adventure.Prior to June of 2010 we never thought a move such as this would be possible or advantageous for us. And, that is why we call this blog "Retirement: Plan B" We intend to see and do as much as possible in our retirement. Spend quality time with family, friends and each other.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

By popular demand

  Ok the popular demand is really just my daughter, Lisa, telling me it's been too long since I updated the blog. So Lisa, here are the pictures from our trip.
This first picture is from the bus window while on our way to Quito. The bus trip from Cuenca is about  9 hrs. The scenery is terrific and we got to see what it is like to ride the bus but it is a long ride.We saved a lot of money by taking the bus. It is only $14 per person vs. something like $70 per person to fly. In the future I think the bus ride will be at night for us so we can sleep a good bit of the way. We didn't feel as though the driving was unsafe and as a matter of fact the bus coming back was frustratingly slow. We didn't have to worry about going hungry on the day bus because vendors got on every once in a while to sell fruit, baked goods and even ice cream. 
This is Garth and Orilla, our travelling companions. We enjoyed their company and had a lot of laughs together. In this picture they are standing on the "equator" at the tourist attraction "Mitad Del Mundo".
It was an enjoyable couple of hours just outside of Quito. Although, this is a tourist attraction it wasn't a total ripoff as so many places are. The prices of souvenirs and food were reasonable and there are several exhibits worth seeing.

  We signed up for a tour to an overlook of a volcano and the crater where people are living in the shadow of the volcano. Our guide Fernando, has been going to this place for 20 years but it was very apparent that time has not dulled his enthusiasm for this spot. In the picture I am standing on a ledge overlooking the crater 400 meters below ( about 1200 feet) the land is being farmed and is very fertile because of the volcano and the accumulation of clouds keeping the land moist. The people living below have water but not electricity and have to walk a switch back trail 2000 meters to come up from the crater floor to take their goods to market. Fernando says there are people 70, 80 and 90 years old walking the trail. Fernando is attempting to buy land in the crater inspite of the fact the gov't has found signs of activity in the volcano. Good luck Fernando.
This is the trail out of the crater. The picture really doesn't show how difficult the climb out would be.
This is Joan as we rode in a gondola to an overlook of Quito the capital city of Ecuador. 
A small portion of that little city of Quito. The camera doesn't have a wide enough angle to capture it all.
From Quito we went by bus to Mindo about a 2hr. ride  (about $2 each) We stayed at the Bio Hostal. The outside is not indicative of the inside. It wasn't a bad place at all 
We hiked to waterfalls. Why do they always have to be a long hike down and a hard climb up?

We visited a butterfly farm. Mindo is known for the birds, butterflies and flowers in the area. The lady above is pointing out the stages of butterfly growth.

This is the area of the farm where we got to walk around among the butterflies and the garden.
How do you tell a male butterfly from a female? I guess we need to ask Joan

Then it was on to the Otavalo outdoor market one of the largest craft markets in Ecuador. This is where we got to practice our bargaining skills. It is not, of course a simple matter of asking how much and then either buying or moving on. There is a process that is expected and appreciated. Below is just a few pictures of some of the things sold at the market.

It was a good trip all traveling done by bus. Quite a bit different from the trips we have taken in the past. I am adding one final picture of our traveling companion, Garth.
Oh, you Canadians are such fashion experts.
Garth and Orilla thanks for being such good travelling companions.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

It's been a year already !!!!!

  The 15th of June will mark our one year anniversary of arriving in Cuenca. We have lived a very different life than the one we lived before becoming expats. Of course the biggest change is that we are retired and can do what we want when we want for the most part. We have gone through the residency process and are now officially residents of Ecuador. We have found an apartment with a view of the Caja’s, the mountains surrounding Cuenca. We have opened bank accounts and bought furniture and have done all the things we needed to do to settle in our new home..

The View
The Building
We go out to dinner and socialize a lot more than we did in the past. Our eating habits are somewhat different than they were. We have eaten more rice in one year than we did in the entire rest of our lives. We are walking a lot more and we know a little more Spanish than we did before we got here, but not bi-lingual by any stretch of the imagination. A trip to the bank this morning really brought that point home since no one there spoke English and I couldn’t read the withdrawal slip to fill it out correctly. I know it has been a year and I should know by now.
  We have been swimming in the Pacific ocean and eaten foods we never knew existed. We have seen people get really excited about soccer (futbol), we still will say from time to time “Can you believe we are living in the Andes mountains? Joan has taken up weaving and is enjoying it immensely.
  We have met a lot of people in the past year, both Ecuadorians and expats. We now know people who have traveled all over the world and have lived in different countries. Some (most) are really nice and some we can do without. There are good and bad everywhere and Ecuador is not an exception to that rule.

The Pacific Ocean at Salinas Ecuador

Local fare

  As I have written before Cuenca is not paradise and as I meet more people I am hearing others have not found that place yet either. We are enjoying our new life and I would suggest that others might want to consider the expat route. There are people here who are retired and then there are others who are here to work whether they are of retirement age or not. We recently met a man who has been an expat for 25 years and has lived in several countries over that time.   
  From as far back as I can remember the U.S. was always the best place in the world and there was no where else that was anywhere near as good. While I still believe the United States is a great place I no longer believe it is the only place. I will concede that it might be the only place for a lot of people though. We have met some of them here and they didn’t fit in or stay long. They were the ones who thought everyone should speak English and “that’s not how we do it in the states” were the first words out of their mouths for any situation they found uncomfortable or different.

We are planning to see a lot more of Ecuador in the near future. We have yet to spend any time in the Quito area and while we have been to the coast we haven’t seen all of it or really taken the time to explore life there. There is the jungle to see as well. So we expect the adventure to continue and we will report about the interesting stuff as best we can.

No Gracias, Kid, I think we'll walk.

Hasta Pronto, 
Dale and Joan

Saturday, May 26, 2012

hats in Cuenca

We have been seeing lots of different hats in Cuenca. Some are silly and I think they probably want to be. Some hats I don't think the  wearer realizes they are silly, and some are just hats that anybody would look good in. But, then again, it is only one man's opinion and maybe I look silly and don't realize it when I'm out and about. This is not a call for people to tell me one way or the other I would rather not know. Ignorance is bliss right????
So go ahead and form your own opinions

 Hasta Pronto and happy Memorial day
Dale and Joan