Sunday, February 16, 2014

On the way to the mall in Guayaquil

Guaya Mall Shopping- A modern clean, busy, upscale, urban experience.


If you like cream or creamer for coffee, bring some in packets that will get through TSA because cream and creamer are hard to come by.  Same with mustard for some reason.  Ketchup here is not the same either- it is very sweet and not at all like we are accustomed to, so may want to put that on the list as well.
Pharmacies are great.  Have diarrhea?  No problem.  Walk in ask for Cipro 500mg.  1 week supply $9.00, no Rx needed.
They even have a no Rx Lunesta ( Zetix 7.5 mg, Dalay(medication for $10.00 in case you can’t sleep.  Just ask for medicina para dormir (my Spanish is so bad, I’m thinking I wasted both those years in high school?), but anyway, you can get a lot just by asking and it is cheap.
Thankfully I didn’t need any dental care.  I did want to visit a hospital to see how this “great” care really is, but that will be next trip.

Now a serious word.  A number of internet sites like “, and to a lesser extent,” get a LOT of press these days as they pander to baby boomers on the precipice of retiring, but perhaps without the financial means.

I strongly urge everyone who is thinking about relocating to another country to look at these sites with about a million grains of salt.  Hear me now, hear me loud and hear me clearly.  Everyone has a motive.  I stated mine at the beginning of the blog (I want to have a central repository of things I have learned about Ecuador that I could refer to, and I wanted to educate anyone who also wanted to learn.  I wanted an excuse to use my camera, and to write.  My final “agenda” is to have an adventure to share. Those are my only agendas- period.

Now back to the “expat” sites.  Look at them carefully. You will notice that they have one agenda- to get your money.  I don’t begrudge anyone the right to make a fair wage for fair work, but when it comes to moving to a third world country, you are in the Wild Wild West, and you may see your money disappear before the ink dries on the page.  Worse yet, you may inherit liabilities that you never imagined.

Here are some stories that I heard, and I heard them regularly, so I believe them to be true.

*Land ownership issue- Builders build on land they don’t own.  They hope to be able to buy it with sales of the units they sell, but guess what??  Nope.
*Double Dippers, Rope-a-dopers- No MLS or real estate regulation.  The realtor may just charge commission to everyone (double dip).  Another classic move is to ask the seller what he wants- say $50K.  He meets buyer, sells for $70K + double dip, keeps the extra 20K- ouch.
*Rental properties- a good thing to do for 6 months to a year to see how things work and be sure you want to live in an area.  Be careful here too, as I have heard that many managers will refuse to service the units with problems, especially on weekends.  See and see recommendations section.
*If you go to a country, find a variety of expat sites.  If they have “Ambassadors” etc, ( , beware of these as they are usually somehow profiting from your move into the area.  I advise trolling the bbs’s or trying to meet people who have nothing to sell.  Strike up friendships.  Personally, I made a pen pal from Canada.  I went to Ecuador first and reported back to him.  When he goes, he will report back to me.  Best Intel ever
*My best advice is this.  Once you cross the border, you are on the road to adventure or highway to Hell.  The road is one in the same.  The only thing that makes it different is the attitude of the traveler.  Go to another country BECAUSE you want to experience something new to you and different to you.  Go to a 5 star resort in the USA if strange looking sights, sounds, and smells are going to offend you.

If you have read this far, I will risk assuming that you are a fellow adventurer.  On the road in South America, you will stand out as a white face.  Not to worry however, you will be welcomed.  The problem however is that not many people speak English, so learn as much as you can.  If you know no Spanish, that is the best reason to come- now.  What an adventure.

Here is the deal.  There are a few Ecuadorians who speak English and are glad to practice with you.  Gringos are around here and there and they are also usually, actually unusually friendly and helpful.  When all else fails, you will get by.

When you get to a new town, find out where all the gringos hang out, and go there to get the “skinny” on things.  They will set you straight, tell you who to avoid, whom to go to, etc. 

Remember, life is and adventure.  That highway doesn’t go straight, and sometimes, you just see a side road that beckons and you have to explore it.  Don’t resist it.

Street Scenes on the way to the mall:

Limon vendor in the busy street-$1.00/bag

  Street vendors selling balloons

Mall of the Sun entrance under renovation.  

  Ladies in a kiosk making fresh squeezed fruit juice- very sour.

Store with ladies cosmetics.  They advertise that they accept credit cards.  Also notice the modern, fashionable dress.

Not interested in cosmetics?  How about a new home in a gated community?

Pick your house style and payment plan.

Despite being a Catholic third world country that is supposed to be very “conservative”, there is a strong sexual undercurrent that is barely beneath the surface.  In any event, Ecuadorians have exploited the fact that sex sells.  This young lady is hawking prizes in exchange for signing up for something.

Also notice in the background is Cinemark Multiplex Movie Theater with current release movies-English with Spanish subtitles.

Food court like many in the U.S.A.

Burgers, Pizza, you name it, you can get it, and it is cheap.

With Dunkin’ Donuts, you know you will be safe- cops all over the place- right?

Currency is the U.S. dollar.  The brass coins are dollars, which they use in addition to our paper currency and our coins.  A dime is pictured bottom left.

This kiosk is a great idea, and one in which I had to partake in.  The Magnum Ice cream bar comes without any chocolate.   Tell the clerk how you want it personalized, and bingo, it’s all yours, and it is yummy.

Tomorrow, we will check out a hostal.