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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

More on Costs

I'm constantly amazed at what such-n-such costs here versus back home.  In my last blog, I gave some stunning examples of the cost of services (ie; weld repair) and the a ripoff I experienced by a well-known plumbing service back in the Seattle area.

Well, here's some more examples of how great it is to be here.  After all, it's these kinds of savings that allow me to be here in the first place.

Now that my house remodel is progressing nicely (painting 95% done, furniture arrived) it was time to start adding the little touches such as plants.  We don't have large nurseries here, they are small neighborhood types.  In fact I have one just up the street.  A wonderfully sweet lady named Joanna owns/runs it and it's pretty rustic to say the least.  Not only did she sell me pots and plants at dirt (ha ha, get it?) cheap prices, but she POTTED the plants for me, adding dirt and even ground cover to decorate the top of the soil, and carefully wiped every pot clean.

Then I went to the flower market downtown where around the rim of it are a handful of vendors selling live plants.  A very squatty, older, indigenous woman wearing the standard Panama hat, started rattling off plant names and prices and deals, etc that did nothing but whiz over my head.  Rooted roses were $2.50 each, or 3 for $5.  SOLD.  I needed tall plants, short plants, inside plants, outside plants....everything under the sun.  So, I bought and bought and bought.  Now I needed pots (messettas).   I've never seen a shop that sells them so I wondered where I would get them.  Solution.  She marches me a half block down the street and into a typical colonial building, to the interior courtyard and unlocks an old door.  She climbs over the debris and motions me inside.  I hit the motherlode!!  Behind that door was a huge pile of clay pots that looked like a dumptruck had simply backed up and unleashed its' load.  So, I climbed and clamored and scrounged and found pot after pot....large, medium, small, flat-sided (for hanging on walls), long rectangles, you name it.

Now, soil.   Where does one buy soil?  No problemo.  She had big gunny sacks piled high filled with nutient-rich hummus composted organic STUFF.  Ok, gimme one of those, too.

End result?  Five 4ft plants, 2 palms, 2 large Hybiscus, 5 roses, 1 orchid, 25lbs of dirt/mulch, 1 diffenbachia, 2 geraniums, 1 fern, a half dozen 4-6" plants of various types, 5 large pots, 6 med pots, 5 small pots, 2 long rectangular pots, 2 wall pots (with 1 flat side).   That's 2 dozen plants and and 20 clay pots!!  Cost?  $160.  What I got would easily be over $500 in the US of A.

All that would make a guy hungry.  So, I went to lunch at a cafe on the edge of the main park.  With table service, I had a double-layered grilled club sandwich with chicken, bacon, lettuce, tomato, cheese, and egg with potato chips.  And a latte.  Ended it all with a chocolate dipped ice cream cone.  Cost?  $4.70

I just got home from the grocery store.  When it comes to the mainstream supermarket, I don't see stunning price differences, but I have observed significant differences in the stock.  For example, there are very little refrigerated items in grocery stores here, aside from the meat section.  Milk and juices are in rectangular boxes on the shelf, eggs are on the shelf (gasp!).  AND I have yet to see ONE product anywhere that resembles Lean Cuisine, Weight Watchers, Healthy Choice, etc etc.  No frozen pizzas (but there's plenty of fresh pizzarias around town) and only a small section of ice cream.  Hmmm...wonder what all this says?  Absolutely no doubt, Ecuadorians are not push-button meal-makers.  They cook from scratch....like my MAMA did!!

Some of my pots-n-plants stash.  I admit, I'm a plantaholic!!

4 comments:

  1. Looks wonderful! So, how did you get all those items home? Chris

    ReplyDelete
  2. Good selection. Wish I was there now. Soon!
    Bob.

    ReplyDelete
  3. After seeing your yard in Bremerton, I can imagine what your EC yard will look like...beautiful! Mollie

    ReplyDelete
  4. So cool - I'll need to do this type of shopping when we move to our house in Ballenita. Is there some way to subscribe to your blog? I can't see it on the page. Thanks, Leigh (thaiquila@yahoo.com)

    ReplyDelete

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About Me

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Cuenca, Azuay, Ecuador
This is all about my transition from an American lifestyle and culture to my newest adventure, life in Cuenca and greater Ecuador. I'll be recapping some of my day-to-day experiences (and mishaps) to highlight what it's like to live here.

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