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Not only is mine bigger---But, I'm going to show you how far...

Note:  To our Ecuadorian friends who read this blog...The following story is ,in no way,  meant to be insulting to you, your culture, or to Ecuador.  It is only a story about one man.


As you have read in the various handbooks relating to Ecuador, there is no prohibition against asking the most personal of questions when meeting folks for the first time.  The custom is that if you don't wish to answer, you just change the subject, or guide the line of questioning off on a different tangent.


Well, last night, we had this natural curiosity custom taken to a new level...we met a delightful man who owns a construction company that makes roads all over the country.  He was over at our place, because we were looking at doing a little construction.  We should note that he lives in the most exclusive of exclusive neighborhoods in Salinas, and that he was up here staying at his home here in Olon, while his wife was still at home. 


So.  after he had given us a bid on the job, we invited him and our contractor up on the new deck for a beer---he just had coffee, so the contractor said coffee was fine with him, also.

So...off we go...first thing he observed is that the beach in Olon was much better than in Manglaralto, as are the houses...(Actually, the beach is very wide, but the waves are so far from folks homes, that you can barely see them).  Rox and I were very aware of Olon real estate, because we had looked at that area and concluded that these mansions were a little out of our league.


Next, there is the inevitable question of "how many kids do you have".  It is unheard of here, that a couple might make a choice not to have children.  So. naturally they shake their head when we say we have no children, and then they proceed outline their family tree.  And Mario was no exception...He asked for a piece of paper and drew out his extended family from four kids, their kids, and their kid's kids. and so on...


By now, Mario was just warming up...He wanted to know how old I was, and then wanted us to guess how old he was...turns out he beat me here, too--He's 70...  So, we shake his hand and tell him that he doesn't look that old, and during the handshake, he makss sure to show me that he has a super strong grip...bout a tie there...


Next, he wants to know what we did in the US before we came here.  Turns out that our experience and education sort of trumps his, so that was a short comparison.  Down here, my MBA with an emphasis on economics, qualifies me to say that I am a "Master de economia"--somthing, I would never even mention in the states, but big deal here.


Moving right along, he wants us to guess how much he paid for his Dodge Lariat, Crewcab, pickup with all bells and whistles ($85,000)...He wins this one, since our 2003 KIA wagon was a lot less.


Then we move on to how much real estate we have...Turns out we are pretty equal here...he even makes the comment that we should trade equties, and he would just go off to the States and manage our stuff...

By now, he decides that we are not just back-packing hippies, and he want us all to jump in his truck and he will take us up to see some of his miniture horses (we don't have any), and view one of his ranches.  Well they are really nice 100 hectores, I believe.   They overlook all of Olon and view out to sea...nice sunset about then.  He was going to try to get the little horses to just go into their stalls, but the little buggers sort of ran all over hell---kinda scared us...they are strong and fast--and there were a lot of them running around all over the place. 


By now, we were hoping that things would kind of wind down, but Mario insisted that we take a look at his house on the beach in Olon...and as we drive there, he asks Rox how old she is, and is stunned to find out that she is only 2 year younger than his wife.  I believe that he thot she was a child bride that I had managed to steal from her mama.  Rox devinitely won that one...


To make a long story longer, the home was built nicely, very expensive, but the floor plan was non-existant, and the view of the ocean was a little patch of blue a quarter mile away from the house...bout a tie here...(I like ours better).  About now, the sunset is bright gold all over the sky, so we sit outside in a circular, exposed agregate, covered patio with a thatched roof--very elegant--and the maid brings us Cuba Libres.  I have to tell you that these drinks were mostly rum and hold the coke, cause when I took a whiff of the drink, it about curled my nose hairs...and being a non-drinker, i was also a little overly sensitive.  So...to be polite, and as the light was fading, I gradually poured my drink into the flower bed behind me as Rox and Mario drank theirs.  I am sure that this morning there is a smoking crater in that flower bed.


Finally, we convince Mario that we have to go home to take some calls, so he gives us a huge bag of large shrimp from the freezer, and off we go.   We now have invites to see their home in Salinas, and a firm bid for our construction project...


All in all, it was an interesting experience, gave us a little clue on how the super rich live, and made us happy to sit at our dining room table looking at the waves, munching on brown bread and cheese.




Posted on Sun, January 13, 2008 at 05:03AM by Registered CommenterBob & Roxanne | CommentsPost a Comment

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