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Four more days in Ecuador

Only four more days in Ecuador, then I take a 1:30 a.m. flight to Miami, then on to Phoenix. Have I mentioned how much I hate to fly? I think it’s become a chore for everyone these days….will my flight get cancelled? Will my luggage arrive with me? I have six flights in the next month, each with two checked bags containing pretty much all my worldly goods so it’s a big worry, especially since one of the flights goes through Heathrow where there’s already thousands of mishandled bags piled up. I do have travel insurance so I guess I’d get compensated, but I’d still rather have my stuff.

Look at the beautiful bacon & pork chops I got here! The Plumrose brand bacon is not cheap, around $6 a pound in the grocery deli. The pork chops came from the mercado and were $2.50/lb. Yum!

I haven’t been sleeping worth a darn since I got here and I don’t know why! Most nights I’m awake until 4 or 5 in the morning and sleep til 10. Ugh. Right before bed I take magnesium and melatonin but it doesn’t seem to help. I was wishing I had some Ambien but the last time I took that, I got up at 2 a.m. and wrote crazy emails to three people, and had no memory of it the next day! One of the lucky recipients was my doctor, who thought it was pretty funny when I explained. But he strongly advised not taking it any more.

There’s an ice cream store in La Libertad that sells “helado con queso”. Ice cream with cheese?!! I’m told it’s very good, some kind of sharp shredded cheese sprinkled on the ice cream. I’ll just take their word for it.

You know that Ecuador uses American currency? Yeah, isn’t that strange! You won’t see any dollar bills here though; they use gold-colored one dollar coins. These can be Ecuadorian or US minted. I was advised to bring small denomination bills with me so I brought lots of 1, 5 & 10 dollar bills. Some of the vendors looked a little skeptical of the $1 bills. And nobody here will accept any bills that are torn or really worn! I hear the banks have a day once or twice a year where you can trade your “bad” money for good.

My two week tent camping trip to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is still on…advance weather forecasts look good (no rain please!). I’m going with my bestest and oldest friend Cindy Carroll; we’ve been friends for 70 years! Cindy has not camped since we went to Alaska together in 1986. Most of the neighborhood kids used to often sleep out in a big old canvas tent in her back yard when we were growing up, with the older boys always trying to scare us half to death, but she got out of the habit when she grew up. Neither of us is looking forward to sleeping on the ground at this stage of our lives but it’s the only way we can afford to go, so we’ll endure and survive. I’m quite sure a video of us trying to get up off the ground would quickly go viral!

Kitty. So sweet when she’s asleep!
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3 More Weeks in Ecuador

Three more weeks here! I’m trying not to “wish my life away” but I confess Im anxious to start my New Real Life in Albania in September.

Look at the goodies I got at the mercado, all for $4.60! I also got a whole pork tenderloin for $3, ground round for $2.50 a pound and Dodie and I shared a whole beef tenderloin that was $4.50 a lb…$10.50 each for the whole big chunk of filet mignon! I already had some and there’s enough left for at least 4 thick filets. Yum!

Zucchini, 2 bell peppers, 6# tomatoes, carrots, broccoli and cabbage!

The internet connection in my room was out for over a week. Boy I didn’t realize how much I use it! I was able to get a wifi signal from one of the other rooms though, called the Sirena Room. It’s really cute!

The shower is on the other side of La Sirena!

I tried to call British Airways about the horrible flight change they assigned me. Like other airlines, BA has been having so many problems with cancelled flights, thousands of pieces of luggage piled up at Heathrow, etc. It’s kind of funny, their automated phone response is pretty much “Go away and don’t bother us right now”! The change is for the return leg of my round trip ticket so I just accepted the new flights on line, but I should be able to get a refund for trading a 4 hour layover in London for a 16 hour layover. I’ll see what I can do once I get to the airport.

There’s some kind of horrible bug that’s biting me (but apparently no one else!) It looks exactly like black fly bites, and they do have them here. I’m getting huge bright red welts with a white center that itch intensely for two days. Ugh!

Oh my gosh! Breaking news! There was an armed robbery that just took place less than 1/2 block from here, at the beach entrance! It was caught on our next door neighbor’s security camera. Two guys on a motorcycle pulled up to a guy sitting in a parked car, one jumped off with a gun, jerked open the car door and apparently took the driver’s keys and money, jumped back on the motorcycle and took off! The victim started running up the street chasing after the robbers. It’s crazy that this just happened right HERE!

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Ecuador

Staying Home

Lately I’ve been mostly staying home, as there’s a national strike going on here. People all over the country are protesting inflation and high rates of crime and corruption. The roads leading in and out of all the biggest cities are blocked so people, food & goods are not moving.

Here on the peninsula it’s been pretty calm but grocery stores and the booths in the mercado are starting to run out of fruits & produce.

We were thinking about going to the mercado today but decided to stay home.

The longer the strike stretches out, the more it’s possible to get flash mobs of looters or protesters, and we sure don’t want to be in the middle of that! I am out of some fresh produce but have plenty of meat and salad fixings, so I’m fine. The last national strike back in 2019 went on for 11 days and got violent in Quito. This one I think is in it’s 6th day, and so far President Lasso has not responded to the strikers.

Last night we all went out for Father’s Day dinner at a nearby bbq place. They had run out of two of the items that were supposed to be part of our dinners….but the price was the same. In Ecuador they cut meat differently. In the US, meat is cut against the grain. Here they cut with the grain, so the pork ribs we had were 1/3″ thin slabs of meat about 3″ wide, with the end cuts of the rib bones showing along one side. It was good but that’s the second time I’ve been out to eat in a week, and it’s not that cheap here anymore. I’ve got to quit doing that! My omelet & coffee last Wednesday ended up costing over $12 with tip, and last night’s meal with a water was $11. It wouldn’t be so bad if I was able to eat everything included, but staying on Keto pretty much means eating just the meat or protein and nothing else. So I’ve had my fling, now I’ll be a good girl again and stay home and cook.

There are some people who live here during the week but go to their homes in the barrio on weekends, Jessica and her daughter Jessie, and Dairiana. They stay here so they can have clean clothes for school and nutritious food. The girls are really sweet! They used an online translator to make Fathers Day cards for Randy, whom they consider to be their unofficial godfather. Here’s a photo of the girls. Jessie is the tiniest 10 year old I’ve ever seen, and Dairiana is 12. They’re the best of friends and often run around here holding hands.

And here’s a photo of Randy, Dodie and I with one of our favorite taxi drivers, Frank. I look like I’ve been sucking lemons. Hmmm, Frank has kind of a diabolical look on his face…what is he planning??

Boy I’m really glad I don’t have to fly anywhere right now; there’s no way to get to Guayaquil!

And have you seen the messes at the airports, especially London? Thousands of cancelled flights, huge piles of unsorted luggage, pure bedlam! My flights to Albania go through Heathrow so I hope they’ll have everything sorted out by September. Meanwhile, I’ll just stay nice & tranquilo here in our little paradise.