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Beginning Year Number Four as Expats...and loving every minute of it!

There is a saying that many expats just can't handle the "culture shock" of a foreign country, and elect to return home to a more secure lifestyle.  The test has been that if you stay for 24 months, and for sure for 36 months, that you will probably cut it as an expat...so...I guess we are on the downhill slope now...'cause we love it here!  In fact, there was never a day of doubt for either of us.

Of course, we have experienced temporary setbacks--but that's just life!  Setbacks never made us question our decision to settle in Ecuador.

That said...here are some of the "highlights" of our last three years.  If you wish to get all the details, just go the the bottom of the main page and click on the first entries, then just keep moving forward...

Here we are on the plane beginning our adventure...we sat in the bulkhead seats, and if I hadn't shown the flight personnel how to correctly install the bi fold door to the first class john, the pilot would have scrubbed the flight five minutes later.  Lots of free drinks appeared on our little tables from then on...plus applause from the captive audience watching the installation.

        

 

The flight was great...as was the landing, twice!  It was a great feeling to touch down in the middle of the night in Quito...and have no probs with X ray machines, and have a big sign with our name on it for transportation.

Our first meal out in a foreign country since 1973...a little scary, but it was sort of like riding a bicycle...you get into the rhythm pretty quickly...

 We like Quito, especially the Old Town where we stayed, but it was a little too big and busy for us.  We knew we wanted to live at the Coast, and that our first order of business was getting the type of car that we needed.  The KIA SUV that you see here has been beat to death on bad roads, but it still keeps on ticking...

 

We discovered an excellent steak house, owned by a Cuban expat, where the atmosphere was just like a Bogey movie...

 As soon as the car was registered, we headed for the Coast...and that is all downhill from 9400 ft to Zero!!!  We saw some of the most spectacular scenery ever...

 

 

 

We decided to use Manta as a base of operations, as we drove North and South to see if we could find our place in the sun and at the beach...this apartment was just right for us...

 

We also took Spanish lessons, for just two hours a day, as our brains couldn't handle more...This is Karin, our first teacher, who is now a friend teaching in Montanita...small world!

 

During our days searching, we stayed in a oceanfront hostel in Montanita...and a hotel in Salinas..l

 

 

Even though we were frustrated that finding a permanent home was going more slowly than we wanted, we also wanted to see the jungle, so we booked four nights on a floating hotel, and took off for Coca...which is the jump off point.  Here are some shots... 

 

 

 

We arrived in Coca and immediately found little critters to photograph...

 

 

 

 We liked the fan palm...

We met our guide the next morning and set off in this open air bus for a three hour ride to the put in point for the river...

 Then a three hour ride in these high speed canoes...

 Yes, those are big storm clouds, and yes, it all came down on us...very warm, however...

 

The Jungle Discovery was a welcome sight...hot showers and a change of clothes put everyone in a party mood...

 

We loved the jungle...there is no place like it...photos and vivid descriptions are nothing compared to actually being there...

 

 

The local villagers dressed up for us...

 

 

 

On the way home, we took some more photos, naturally...

  

 

We saw our first wild iguana while we were searching for a place to call home...

 

The owner of the Casa Blanca told us that his chef, Roberto, knew about several homes for sale in the Montanita area, so we made an appointment to view them the next day.  We didn't like anything he knew about, but Rox found this place on the beach, we called the owners, had a bunch of flip flops, but finally closed the sale...(please read extensive description in previous entries)...

 

Here we are on moving day...

 The place had been terribly neglected...and had never had hot water, ever...Rox painted every room, and the guys tried to hit those hard to reach outside places...

 

 

Had to have a new deck... 

The living room looked like this when we first toured the house... 

This is what the living room looks like now...

Agripina and Isidro also came with the house.  They are the caretakers, and they have a two bedroom house at the front of the property near the big gates.  We have a very symbiotic relationship--they help us a lot, and we reciprocate...here they are posing before their daughter's wedding...

We found out the the local kids got almost nothing for Christmas...just a piece of fruit...we didn't know what we might do to make them smile, but we hastily put together a little Santa Claus and Christmas candy afternoon for them...We didn't know what we were doing, but everybody had fun...

 

We had only been in our new home for two weeks, but we were able to put together a turkey dinner for Christmas, and get a live tree that Rox decorated...   

After Christmas, Rich and Nancy visited us, and we all explored the Coast a little more...they are now firmly ensconced in Cuenca, where they are the go to folks for expat questions...

 

 Later in the Spring, we went to Cuenca which seemed like a great place, enough so that we bought a cute little apartment.  Here it is after we had owned it awhile...

 

For that trip, we stayed at the Hotel Crespo, which we still recommend to folks...Here's Rox in our room overlooking the Riobomba River...

 We have made road trips to Loja, Banos, Bahia, and many of the wonderful little villages surrounding Cuenca, and they are described further back in the blog...

We have had a bunch of house guests, and these folks appear back in the blog, also...

We also had a better organized, and much larger Christmas Party for the kids in 2009...

 

 

After the party, we had Kodak print 156 happy pictures just like this,  to be given to the happy moms.

 

 

And...here are a bunch of happy moms...

 

 We got a visit by President Correa...as you can see we were able to get a close as we wanted...

Here's a shot of old Army Buddy Ron sitting with Rox at the Casa Blanca...

 

Of course, we made the papers this year as the fierce waves, coupled with monster tides, took out the beach, and then removed a large portion of our front fence.  The local people didn't think that the authorities were helping us out fast enough, so they called the press and TV folks--that got things moving in a hurry.  The boulders that the State put up have done the job of protecting us, and now they say that they have a new seawall planned...

 We were on all the TV channels, and the next week the Manager and several clerks at SuperMaxi told us that they saw us on TV and were concerned that we were OK...

Our fence posts were secured by concrete in four foot deep holes, but when the hole disappears, then it doesn't matter that you have concrete attached to nothing but air and water...

The State rushed in this big excavator and dozens of loads of huge boulders to finally tame the ocean erosion...

 

A lot of you folks commented about our story of saving the little burro--here is a shot of Alfredo, who is Papa Noel, doctoring up her wound...

 

Rox's Brother Ward, wife Vee, and daughter Rolanda visited us for fun in the sun...'course It is always fun when we dine at the Casa Blanca, with Hector as our waiter!

 

 

 

 Here's Hector and the bartender putting on a little show...

 

This year Allan stopped by for a visit after leading his teacher-students all over the Galapagos.  What was special this time was that he brought over 100 pounds of teaching aids for needy primary school kids.  These will be included in the Kid's gift bags, which Papa Noel will distribute...

You regular readers know that we feature lots of wonderful sunset shots, but what about this?  It is a MOON SET! 

 

Rox took this shot of a high masted yacht sailing right thru the sun at cocktail hour!

 

And, Finally, the joy of our life...our little boss called Coquita...naturally she thinks she runs the house, and she's pretty much right!  You see her in many of the shots in the blog, and here she is at her second year  birthday party!

 

As you can see Folks, we like it here, so stay tuned for more adventures!!!

 

Posted on Sat, October 2, 2010 at 12:30PM by Registered CommenterBob & Roxanne | Comments9 Comments

Reader Comments (9)

Happy anniversary you two, actually you three.....Coco included.
It has been a pleasure to have been able to share in
your life in Ecuador. I suspect a great dinner at Casa Blanca is in order! Cheers, Shelagh and Peter

October 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterShelagh

Wow, what a nice summary! You know, sometimes we forget just how much you have accomplished here in 3 years. A boatload of fun, too.

The very best to you 3 as you go into the 4th year...and counting...

See you soon!

Love, N and R

October 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRich and Nancy

Hi Shelagh and Peter...

Well, you two always say the nicest things!!! We predict that some day, other folks will be living vicariously thru the descriptions of your new adventures! Hang in there, and thanks again for the nice vibes...

Bob & Roxanne

October 3, 2010 | Registered CommenterBob & Roxanne

Hi Nancy and Rich...

Not only fellow travelers, family, but kindred spirits where it counts the most--Now how lucky is that!!!
thanks mucho!

love,
Bob & Rox

October 3, 2010 | Registered CommenterBob & Roxanne

Happy Anniversary :-) May you have many many many more happy years in beautiful Manglaralto!

October 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJula

Wow, You have done alot in the time you have been there. I can see why you are an integral part of the community. We hope to come down your way this month. Maybe we can meet up at your favorite cafe!

October 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKaren Kimbler

Hi Karen...thanks for the good vibes...drop us an email when you are in the area...we'll meet up...

Bob & Rox

October 6, 2010 | Registered CommenterBob & Roxanne

Nice to see that everything is well with you two. I've learn so much more about Ecuador, from your coastal postings. Your pics really have me interested in visiting the jungle areas. It's also nice to hear from expats who have been in Ecuador for more than a year or two. Why does that apartment in Cuenca have a familiarity to it--a feeling of deja vu?

October 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJim Mola

Hi Jim...great to hear from you! Hope you are having a bunch of nice fall weather in the Chicago area...If your students ever wish to see an example of excellent writing, they should look over your last entry describing Cuenca--it's just great!!!
http://cuencaperspectivesbyjim.blogspot.com/
Thanks for the good vibes, and keep thinking Ecuador!
Bob & Rox

October 9, 2010 | Registered CommenterBob & Roxanne

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