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Monday, April 18, 2011

Poh Puree

Anyone who knows me knows that Excel spreadsheets are my life.  I track everything with a spreadsheet.  So, naturally, I have one to track all the subject matters in my blog in hopes that I don’t repeat myself, nor forget something I wanted to write about.  So, when something pops in my mind, I throw it on the sheet.

My sheet runneth over.

So, in an attempt to knock a bunch of subjects out in one swell foop, I am going to do a brain dump, shortie style.

  • EC has what is called SOAT.  In essence, it's insurance for the victim(s) of an accident and everyone who drives a car MUST pay for it on an annual basis.  It's run by the government.  It doesn’t matter who or why the accident was caused.   Any person involved in the accident, and gets injured, receives certain benefit payments.  Simple.  Cost?  Depends on the year of vehicle and size.  But, generally $20 - $40 per year.  It does NOT cover any damage to property or vehicle(s).
  • April is RAIN month here.   Generally, when rain comes, it comes NOW.  WHOOSH, instantly without warning (except for those big black looming clouds overhead).  And, when it rains here, it comes down in torrents….gushers…the kind that makes you go to the window and look out.  Of course, with all the glass skylights, glass covered sun room, and hard-tiled roofs it makes a lot of noise! The mall nearby has metal roofing and when you’re inside it’s a loud roar when it pours.  Last week, we had a couple days in a row where there was thunder and lightening and they were BIG boomers, too!  The river near me was so full and rapid I could hear it a block away.
  • Elections are coming up.  In EC, EVERYONE 18 and over is REQUIRED to vote, or face a fine.  GOOD!!  Makes everyone be part of the decisions, not just the 29% who turn out in the US.
  • Cuencas’ anniversary was April 12th.  I went to a arts/crafts fair.  Had a 2-scoop ice cream cone for a buck.  Speaking of cost of food, I went to an open-air market yesterday and bought a pound bag of large strawberries ($1), two large cucumbers (.40 cents), and two onions (.20 cents a piece).  Today I purchased 5 DVD’s for $1.50 each.  Lunch, had a big bowl of cut fruit and an espresso for $1.80.
  • More on costs….
    • Locked myself out of house.  Locksmith came, couldn’t get it open.  I rode with him back to his shop to get other tools.  Returned and got the door open.  Cost?  $5
    • Had a guy hook up my icemaker water line to the fridge, connect a gas line to my cooktop, as well as one for the oven which also required him to run to a store and buy an electrical plug to fit to the wires.  Took him 75 minutes total.  Cost?  $25
    • The weld on the hinge to my front gate broke.  Welder came over to look at it, drove back to his place got his equipment, came back and re-welded it.  Cost?  $10
    • My lawn had reached 10-12” as I had nothing to mow it with.  My favorite taxi driver knew someone and brought him over.  An older man and a kid about 10.  Almost no one uses lawnmowers around here…not even the city maintenance crew!!  They all use weedwhackers.  So, he whacked while the kid raked.  Cost?  $10 per month which includes his taxi fare to/from.   He doesn’t own a car so he throws his tools into whatever taxi he takes. 
    • Back home in Bremerton, my tenant experienced water back-flowing out of the toilet whenever they used the sink.  Plumber came and unclogged the line.  Cost?  $350
  • With EVERY purchase at a place of business (versus a shanty or open market stall), you must give the cashier your Cedula, which is your ID in EC.  If you don’t have one, then your Passport until you get one.   Buying hardware?  Groceries?  Furniture?  Pampers?  Whip out your ID.
  • With the advent of the rainiest month, Cuenca set out to clean out their drains.  Crews went along the streets and used specially angled shovels and scooped out all the muck into a wheelbarrow, then wheeled it to a nearby spot and dumped out the pile.  Then, a truck came along and collected all the piles.  Now that I think of it, with all the downpours we’ve had, I have not ONCE seen a street or intersection underwater because of backed up drains.  Hmmm….see them all the time back home ‘flooded street closed’.
  • Perfect segue.  One of the reasons Cuenca appealed to me is because it is so clean.  Even though there is poor around, everything is kept neat and clean.  Part of this is due to the street cleaning crews.   Crews wear bright, single-colored coveralls and walk the streets pushing a 50 gallon drum on wheels and carrying a broom and/or scoop.  They pick up garbage from the ground, curbs, plazas, etc.  I’ve seen an orange crew, blue crew, lime green crew, but don’t know what the significance (if any) the colors have.  No, they’re not prisoners as they are not supervised.
  • I’m itching to buy a car.   Taxi’s are great but not so much when you want to run a series of errands, or unplanned stops when you spot something that intrigues you, or simply for getting out and exploring more.  As I mentioned before, whatever price you see, it’s the price you’ll pay.  So, if the price of the car is $10,000 you don’t have to consider….oh, it’ll be an additional $1,200 on top of that for tax.  Tax is already included.  Nice.
Ok, well I think that’s enough for now.   Knocked several off my list!!  Guess I’ll throw in a few pics for your entertainment as well.  
The river as it was when I first came here

The river after a rain gusher

Brown water river rafting anyone?

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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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