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Ecuador Salinas Ecuador Uncategorized

Bird and Marine Sanctuaries

Big adventure yesterday! Randy & I went to the mercado early. Look at all the stuff I got for $4.50! A big bag of beautiful tomatoes, a giant zucchini and two avocados. I also got some pistachios, walnuts, blackberries, blueberries, more of that delicious swordfish and some chicken breast. (no flies!) I wonder how these chickens are raised, are they free-range? Factory farmed? There’s no point in asking because Ecuadorians are famous for telling you what they think you want to hear. They don’t consider it lying, just making you happy. Unfortunately I guess not many people buy pistachios here; they taste like they’re about 20 years old! And maybe they are. Oh well, live and learn.

Then Dodie, Randy, their godson Marco and I all piled into Frank’s taxi and went to a bird rescue center in Colonche (about an hour north), to celebrate Marco’s 13th birthday.

We stopped for lunch at an oceanfront restaurant called “My Bar at the Beach” I had chicken soup. The chicken part was in one large chunk, complete with bones, so had to be cut up. It had noodles in it but I was able to eat around them. Marco got this really impressive seafood rice dinner with a huge whole fried shrimp on top! It was a work of art!

Then we continued on to the bird sanctuary. This breathtaking barn owl was the first thing we saw upon entering. Wow! We actually got to pet it!

L to R: Janis, Dodie, Randy, Marco & Frank. I forgot the owl’s name.

Then we moved on to a demonstration of some raptors in flight, and walked around looking at all the other hawks, eagles, more really cool owls and a small petting zoo. I loved the owls best! These are all birds who have been injured. If they can be rehabilitated, they are released back into the wild.

The birds in this enclosure all had leather hoods over their heads to keep them “tranquilo”.

Then on the way home we stopped at a small marine rehabilitation sanctuary in Valdivia. Also pretty cool! They had some aquariums with seahorses, lobsters and some spiny urchins, penguins, pelicans and blue-footed boobies, a couple really big tortoises and other turtles.

This guy was massive!

On the way home we passed the New York Mets Motel, which Frank says is a “motel de amor”…three hours for $10! BYO partner.

Then we went to the jeans store in La Libertad, only open on Saturdays, to get Marco some new clothes. I got a $10 long- sleeved tee shirt for the cooler days coming up. The biggest size they carry was a men’s Large, which barely fits me! (I wear a women’s small or medium shirt size in the US). Ecuadorians are tiny!

Thanks to Dodie for all the photos!

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Ecuador La Libertad Ecuador Salinas Ecuador Uncategorized

Danger!

I know a lot of you are wondering why I don’t just stay in Ecuador. It would make sense in a lot of ways…I already have friends here, I know where to shop and kinda know my way around, and do speak some rudimentary Spanish.

Well I’ve been avoiding the elephant in the room…. it’s become very dangerous to live here. Sadly, Venezuelan drug gangs have moved in and apparently bribed the high ranking police to do nothing about their activities. There are now lots of rapes, robberies and other violent crimes being committed at gunpoint. A lot of it is in the capital city of Guayaquil, but it’s also here. In Ecuador, only the police and criminals have guns.

And it’s not just gossip or vague rumors, it’s happening to people I actually know! One of the teen girls who lives here during the week was robbed at gunpoint for her cellphone, right here on our own little beach. And last week, an expat’s adult daughter was on the main street going past the beach in Salinas when a gang member opened fire on a rival across the road, and she actually felt the bullet whiz past her head. In broad daylight!

I had envisioned myself taking long walks on the beach every day but now I’m afraid to go, except on the weekends when there are families there. I’m pretty sad about that. When I lived here before, I rode the bus nearly everywhere but now it’s not safe; I have to take taxis. I feel especially vulnerable….if you were a thug, which would you choose, an Ecuadorian who might make $350 a month, or a well-dressed skinny old gringa?? I may as well paint a bull’s-eye on my back! At least that’s how I feel, anyway.

I guess this kind of thing is becoming more and more common all over Latin America.

So that’s why I’m still planning to go to Albania. It’s cheaper than Ecuador and very very safe. There are no bars on the windows; that oughta tell you something! The expats in my Facebook groups all agree that they feel perfectly safe walking around at any time of the day. I guess there is some unwanted male attention at times but I really doubt that will be a problem for me, unless someone has a Grandma fixation!

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Ecuador La Libertad Ecuador Salinas Ecuador Uncategorized

Casa Blanca at Playa Cautivo

After the long ride and stressful day yesterday, today is muy tranqilo, thank goodness! I’m just laying around reading my book in paradise.

Here’s where I’m staying… it’s amaaazing! It’s about 1/2 block from the beach. It’s not visible from here but I can hear it! The sea here is always filled with 30 or more ships that are waiting their turn for the fuel docks nearby.

Playa Cautivo

Casa Blanca was a thriving B&B until Covid hit. Ecuador clamped down really hard on movements in the first year of the pandemic. There are five beautiful little casitas; three are bedroom & en suite bath, one has a little kitchenette and mine is the only one that has a complete kitchen. It’s so nice to be able to cook anything I want! I am eating pretty much the same as I did at home, though I’m getting more and more anxious about not having a scale to weigh myself. Is my belly getting bigger??? I used to weigh myself daily!

It’s very tropical here, with passion fruits hanging from vines, and even a banana tree over near the pool, complete with a bunch of bananas! There’s lots of beautiful greenery.

Lounge area and entrance
One of the cute casitas
Plumeria

The first dinner I cooked here was Trumpeta, Trumpet fish. It was very good, much like cod. They sure look weird though!

Trumpet fish

I haven’t been to the open air mercado market yet, I went to a big supermarket because I needed all the basics. The produce was super cheap! Bell peppers 9 to 16 cents, a giant bunch of broccoli $.30, fat funny-looking carrots $.27, packaged lettuce $.68. On the other hand, the cost of some things made me recoil in shock…like $6 for a very small package of chia seeds, which I eat every day, and $6 for a tiny jar of coconut oil or avocado oil. If it’s made in Ecuador it’s really cheap but anything imported is super expensive, including things from China. There aren’t any Dollar Tree type stores here; if you need a kitchen implement it’s gonna cost at least $3-5.

The carrots are short and fat but delicious