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Friday, January 6, 2012

Starting the New Year 2012

I was really hoping to write some nifty stories about Christmas and New Years in Cuenca, but it fizzled out.  After having my car robbed on Christmas Eve and having it towed away to Chrevrolet, I wasn't in much of a mood for partying.   Come New Years Eve, I went to bed at 8pm.   How's THAT for sad!!!???

I've been hit with pretty much a wham, bam, thankyou Dan in the past 10 days.  And, it hasn't been good.  Let me tell you about it....

First the robbery.   It has been 11 days since my car was hauled away.  In that time, Chevy has not been able to find the primary part it needs...the computer 'brain' that controls the engine.   Even though there's a gazillion Grand Vitaras crawling all over Ecuador, mine just so happens to be an oddity (but of course) because it's an automatic and 99.999% of the cars in Ecuador are manual transmissions.  Worried about their inability to find the part and my car becoming a very nice ship anchor, I went to see the Service Manager at Chevy.   He showed me the sheet that itemizes all the parts needed to get my car back up and running.   There was a VERY audible gasp in his office when I saw the number next to the computer....it was over $2,000!!!!   Yes...I did not type an extra 0!!!  And, to make the brick of shit (can I say that in blogspot?) that I was passing even BIGGER, they also needed the wiring harness which costs over $1,000!!!  OMFG!!!!   I asked why the thieves took the air filter box and ducting...what did that have to do with the computer?  He said it contained a sensor that works together with the computer.   GEEEEEZ!!!!

I was in a state of shock, looking at a $5,000 repair bill.   There are just no words.

Next.  For the past 10 days I have had lousy internet connectivity.   I've had to restart my modem 10-20 times a day.   No connectivity, slow speed, fast speed, disconnect, hours without, back up again, down again, nothing in the morning, and on and on it went.   Whenever I called ETAPA it would happen to be zippy at the moment and they said it was fine!!   So, I started keeping a log to prove my case.   They finally came to my house today and it APPEARS it has been fixed.  We'll see.  Thus, my ability to write my blog today.

NEXT.  In this same period of time, I ran out of hot water while showering.  Can't happen while washing dishes....nooooo.   Murphy's law applies the same here just like anything with a cord...it WILL, it MUST get tangled in something.  Hot water MUST run out in the middle of ones shower.  I digress.

The gas tank had run empty which baffled me because it didn't seem to last very long.   Then, my hot water heater (Calefone) came on.  It shouldnt't have because no water was being called.    A few days passed and I monitored it.  It kept coming on every 2-3 minutes then turned itself off after about 15 seconds.  I analyzed and analyzed and it just didn't make sense.  It is only supposed to turn on when water moves, and no water was being called...so why was there water moving and where the hell was the water going?  I looked for leaks all throughout the house...none.

I called Patricio, my all-around guy who's done a lot of work in my house.  He believed a pipe broke under my brick patio.   Of course, we had no clue what path the pipe took, so he had to chip out holes in the patio floor...nope, not there....nope, not there....nope, not there.   Finally found it.  The pipe indeed sprung a leak and the water was going straight down into the ground.   Fixed it, patched up all the holes.

Next.  Last Monday, I woke up to NO water.  I figured the city must be doing something so I waited a few hours.  Finally, I decided to ask my neighbors if they were without water, too.   Yes.  Good, I'm not alone.  Deciphering their Spanish, there was a large issue on a street quite a ways from us, so it affected a large area.   They said the water may not be on until 2pm or after.   While we were talking, many neighbors were coming and going to the neighborhood store and filling up on water in various cannisters.   GREAT.   I had a dinner party to go to that evening and I was scrungy.   So, I packed my knapsack, grabbed a taxi, and went to a hot springs resort in Banos so I could bathe.   $4 taxi ride (each way), $4 entry, enjoyed the turkish steam room, showered, and had a plate of fries and a large beer $3 and I was good to go.

NEXT!!  One good thing did happen.  I got my residency Visa after 9 months of waiting!!  Without it, I would not be allowed back into the country if I left for any reason.   Now that I can, I booked a trip back home to the Seattle area.  It took me 3 days to get the airfare booked because every frickin time I would almost get through the process, my internet connection would drop.  Finally, last Sunday I was making headway on getting all the way through.  I decided to forego a New Years Day party so I could be sure I could get my itinerary booked.

I booked my airfare on American and got it ticketed, so I presumed everything was AOK.  Then, the next day, I got an email from AA stating the charge was declined by Chase.  I called Chase.  I found out a slew of fraudulent charges have been hitting my account since New Year.    Chase called AA for me to approve the charge, but AA said they won’t take it because I have a foreign mailing address on the US-issued credit card.  (enter cuss word)  I asked them WHY then did the online system allow me to book the airfare and change the status to TICKETED!!!   No good answer.  AA told me I need to go pay for it in person.  There's no AA office in Cuenca!!!

Chase is expressing a new card to me.    I have to have it before I leave…..7 days from now.    I have to pay for my $1086 airfare before this Sunday or I lose it.  Meanwhile, I've changed my mailing address to my Mom's address, so hopefully I will have the card in time here in Cuenca, before I lose my airfare and (expletive) AA will accept the card charge because I now have a US mailing address!!!

To be continued....

I'm losing my sanity.  I'm a good person.  Why is all this happening to ME???

Please pray to the Chevy Gods for me.

A smattering of photos follows.


Oh where, Oh where could that little water leak be?   Just start drilling anywhere.
GRACIE....get out of the picture!!!

Nope, not there.

Ah HA!!  There it is!!

Had to put in a new line via a new route.

HUH??   This is part of the New Years celebration.  People buy these clothed, stuffed (with paper I think) human-like figures, then buy face masks (that might represent someone) and even go so far as putting wigs and other paraphanalia on them......then....they BURN THEM in the streets!!!!
 Many resemble political figures, or the devil, or maybe the ex-husband!!  By burning them, it is hoped all the evil associated with them will go away in the new year.

You can even burn effigies of Homer Simpson, Shrek, or Don-kay!!

Sorry for the blurred photos...I was riding in a Taxi...since I DON'T HAVE A CAR!!!!!


  1. Dan.That's a lot of bad news.But there are always bright lights.Your dog loves you,you are going "home",for a while.Lessons learned,if remodeling your house and its possible,get the tubing out of the walls.Use your car just occasionally and make sure its always in a safe position,when parked.The memory thing cost a lot.I always heard stories about $1000 to $1500.To bad you had to deal with all these bad things.

  2. Poor Dano, you are not starting out the year in a positive way! At least, you will be home for your Birthday on the 15th. I won't say how old you will be! Hope to see you when you are here. Mollie

  3. The silver lining is twofold:
    1) it all makes a great story NOW.
    2) at some time in the future it will even be a funny story. Though it is tough to accurately peg when it becomes funny

  4. Perhaps you should visit a bruja to get the curse removed...

  5. Waiting for an update on the Vitara, I myself worked previously for GM but the problem there is that the Vitara is a Suzuki so not sure about the price of there parts.....did you try to get them brought in from the US or Canada? Probably now allowed but $5000?!?!?!? wow

  6. I Hope things improve soon for you.


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About Me

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Palma, Mallorca, Spain
This is all about my transition from an American lifestyle and culture to my newest adventure, life in Spain, in the city of Palma on the island of Mallorca in the middle of the Mediterranean sea!! I moved from the USA to Cuenca, Ecuador, South America and lived there for 7 years before moving here to Spain in early 2018. To read about my adventures in Ecuador, check out my other blog "Ahhh Cuenca!!". I'll be recapping some of my day-to-day experiences (and mishaps) to highlight what it's like to live in Europe....across the pond.

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