Moving on. Press-on (Lee nails).
First item on the agenda:
Follow-up on the Police extortion saga.
With the family back in Nashvull, Tinnisee and Granny back at 'the home', keeping the stock of the boxed-wine industry displaying green up-arrows, I began to follow up on what transpired on our Puerto Lopez/Montanita leg of our recent trip (see recent posts). I wasn't going to just do nothing (as several people suggested as, after all, it's part of their culture....adapt). I decided to do two things:
- Inform others via Facebook, GringoTree, Expat forums, etc
- if they own a car, don't be fooled by their matricula expiration date...pretty much means nothing
- provide suggestions on how to possibly avoid being extorted
- Inform the authorities
For those of you considering coming here, or live here, consider the following:
- Review the list of suggestions to PREVENT this from happening. I posted them here:
- Report it, by:
- Calling 800-DELITO (delito is the espanol word for 'crime')
- This is also used for reporting any form of crime or observance/witnessing a crime or possible crime in motion (ie; drug selling)
- Email the issue to: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Tweet on Twitter to: @CTEcuador
- Fill out a form online at: http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.dnpj.gob.ec/inicio/2012-06-27-21-46-46/2012-06-27-21-51-54/denucia1800delito.html&prev=/search%3Fq%3D1800delito%26rls%3Dcom.microsoft:en-us:IEAddress%26rlz%3D1I7ACAW_enUS400US400&sa=X&ei=Vbh1UfPnK5S00AH7yIDACw&ved=0CDcQ7gEwAA
Follow-up on my car 'situation'.
I'm so grateful to my friend Marcelo who dropped everything to come out to the autopista and pick us up and deliver us home. AND, that he knew of a tow-truck operator who he had follow him to our miserable site and haul my car away. AND, that Marcelo knew of a good mechanic to take my car to, instead of Mirasol Chevrolet who would be far more expensive.
3 weeks later, I got my car back. This was no minor breakdown. The engine had to be pulled out, then stripped down to bare bones to ensure all the internal damage was found and rectified. To see my engine with all its guts hanging out and pieces and parts and bolts and nuts lying around in various pans reminded me of the days I worked on my old cars with Dad and, invariably, would end up (after reassembling the engine) with a handful of nuts/bolts we had no idea where they belonged. EEEEK!!!
What went wrong? A piece of bushing inside a sprocket that turned the chains that turned the overhead cams went PFFFFFFFTTTT!! And, the pieces of metal went flying into various parts of the engine which gouged, scraped, and scratched other parts.
Two piston arms (connecting rods), 24 thingies that press down on the valves, new sprocket, new bushings, fuel injectors cleaned, starter cleaned, alternator cleaned, radiator core cleaned out, re-surfacing the cam-shaft, new oil pump, new water pump, and all new gaskets....came to......$1800. Now, THAT, back in the USofA would've required a 3rd mortgage. The labor was $450. In the USofA, that would get you 4 hours of labor. Here, it got me 3 weeks.
I went out on a Friday night and had a beer with a friend. I was hacking a bit, which seemed odd. During sleeptime, I hacked allllllll night long. With each hack, I was destroying my throat more. No sleep. The next day, I seem to feel better. Until that night. ALLLLLL NIGHT LONG...hacking uncontrollably. No sleep. Sunday I rotated from bed to couch to bed to couch to...... No sleep.
Monday morning, I kept staring at the clock...is it time? Is it time yet? Ugh...3 more hours to go. 2 more hours. Should I go in early? Will there be a line? I dragged my ass outa bed, threw on a hat and went to the Coopera doctors office. I don't think they appreciated me showing up naked wearing only a hat, but I digress. Luckily, I was the only one there and saw her immediately. It was all I could do to lay my head on her desk. I felt like I was a dead man walking.
She gave me a prescription for a list of items. I went to their pharmacy and got them filled, then returned to her office where she injected a couple of them in my butt-tocks (Tom Hanks - Forrest Gump). Within a few hours I was feeling better and feeling like I was actually going to live.
Next day, after a night with 9 (yes, I counted them) episodes of diarrhea, back to the doc. The penicillin dehydrated me and my intestinal flora needed help. More meds. In a few days, I was back to normal. Visited the doc a 3rd time to ensure everything was cope-uh-set-tick.
Cost? $2 doc visit (times 2...3rd time was free), $40.61 in prescriptions which became $8.61 after 70% coverage, $2.63 a month medical premium. Total: $15.24
The bluest skies are always found in Seattle....errrr....screeeech!!! CUENCA!!
The past 4-5 days, we have had a very unusual weather anamoly....completely clear blue skies! Now, you might think 'big deal', but it is here. It is VERY rare to have completely cloudless skies in Cuenca. Weather is always on the move here with most days seeing a mixture of clouds/sun and maybe rain. Look up at one moment, then look again 20 minutes later and the skies will look completely different between the two times. According to the papers, some jet stream (it's always a jet stream isn't it? Damn jets!!!) from Peru is responsible. Not a cloud in the sky for several days which means intense sun, but temps only reaching mid to high 70's. LOVE IT.
House For Sale
Anyone wanna buy a waterfront home on 1/3 acre with drop dead stunning views of the Olympic Mountains near Seattle for a ridiculously low price? Selling my house in the states. Need buyer. You don't really wanna move to Cuenca, do you?
Sorry, no photos this go-round. But, tune in to my next entry where I'll tell you about (and show you) my orchid farms tour and the recent re-opening of the Parque de la Madre after a major overhaul.
...and now, a word from our Sponsor.