Import Taxes. The EC government is cracking down on products being brought in from elsewhere in an attempt to encourage locals to buy local products. Therefore, a hefty import tax is being levied on many products. I used to buy Vodka (such as Sky or Finlandia) in the neighborhood of $15 - $20. Recently, I went to buy a bottle of booooooze and was shocked....I say SHOCKED...to see the prices had skyrocketed to $40+!!! Even SCHMEEERNOFF was sky high!!! GET OUTA HERE!!! Luckily, I have found a good Ecuadorian rum that remains cheap and a good tasting vodka for $9. But, forget whiskey or scotch. GE and Whirlpool appliances and TV brands like Sony are going through the roof.
Returns. EC businesses HATE giving refunds and/or taking back merchandise as a return. It's next to impossible or, at the very least, made a long and exasperating process. Case in point. I bought a nice bath towel from SuKasa. After I went home, I noticed the price I was charged was $28, not $18 that was on the shelf and on the tag. A few days later I took it back and pointed out the price difference. The cashier called a Manager to come down from the lofty offices upstairs. He said the correct price was what was in the computer...$28. I asked him how he could tell that when the computer price could be wrong and the tag/shelf price could be the right one? He was vehement the computer was right...all prices were entered in Quito and he couldn't imagine how the computer would be wrong. I wanted to buy another towel of a different color and its price was inconsistent between the computer and tag, too!!! LOL!! He got very frustrated. In the end, I was not given any credit. 2nd case in point. Retailers do as much as possible UP FRONT to avoid returns. I have seen them check every frickin light bulb to make sure it works. Recently, I bought a microwave. A clerk gave me a ticket with the item # on it. I couldn't buy the one on the shelf. I had to go pay for it and they would bring one up from the bodega (storage) area. I went to the checkout stand and paid. The bag girl took the ticket and receipt to another person in charge of the bodega. He unpacked the microwave with the help of another person, plugged it in, found a plastic dish and dipped it into a bucket of water, put it in the microwave, cooked it for 1 minute while 2 employees stood and watched. I verified the water was hot by dipping my finger in the bowl. He repacked the microwave back into the box and sealed it. Then he escorted us to a security guy overseeing in/out traffic who registered it on a sheet on a clipboard, then we were free to go to my car. GET OUTA HERE!!!
Elections. Yoo hoo are from the US of A just finished a year-long campaign for political positions, the most visible being the position of the President. You endured an endless barrage of mind-numbing, idiotic, backstabbing, finger-pointing, fact-twisting, out-of-context garbage hurled at you via TV, radio, newspapers, yard signs, billboards, and whatnot. I visualize slitting wrists and nooses. Our Presidential election is coming up, too. The election is in February, 2013. WAIT!!! HUHHHHHH???? 3 months away??? Yep, that's right. Our current President, JUST ANNOUNCED his candidacy to re-run. DID YOU HEAR ME RIGHT??? THREEEEEEEEE months away!!!! Political repugnates in the USA would say (all together now).... GET OUTA HERE!!!
Daring and Stupid. I am constantly amazed a the number of vehicles that have a blown-out headlight, no tailights, tailights wired to the back-up lights, motorcycles with a man and a woman and a child and a baby sardined in-between them with no helmets, and motorcyclists who drive in the narrow space between two side-by-side cars. My favorite the other night....a black motorcycle with the driver wearing black clothes, at night, with no lights, zigzagging thru traffic. GET OUTA HERE!!!
No Water. A few weeks ago, our neighborhood had no water come Monday morning. Dunno why. I had some dirty rags I had soaking in the kitchen sink with bleach. Tuesday, no water. Wednesday morning, I woke up and walked downstairs with my water glass in hand. FWWWOOOOPPP!!! Down I went as my foot hit the tile floor and the glass when flying and shattered somewhere. Damn near did the splits. Ruined another pair of pantyhose. DAMMIT!!! I got up. There was water all over the first floor of my house!!! WTH???? (for Mom to read). WTF???? (for all others). Apparently, I left the kitchen faucet slightly in the 'on' position and when the water came back on...it filled the sink, since it was plugged with my soaking rags, and overflowed....and overflowed....and overflowed onto the floor. If ever your water is shut off, for whatever reason, make SURE all your faucets are turned OFF!!! GET OUTA HERE!!!!
Lotsa Water. I was asked to house-sit for a lady who was headed back to some god-forsaken place call Tinnehseee for a few weeks. I went back to my house on a daily basis to feed my kids, Bozo and Chip. Well, one of those days I opened the front door and saw a sea of water covering the first level of my house. NOT AGAIN!!! Then I looked up. The ceiling was soaking wet, dripping water, and the paint was gone. I thought...OMG....I left a faucet on AGAIN!!! I ran upstairs, but to my surprise everything was dry!! I figured a pipe must've burst or sprang a leak. I called the landlady who said she would rush home. Her son shut off the water to the house. Her housekeeper and I swept and sucked the water out of the house. But, the ceiling was soaked and it had to come down. So, I started cutting into the panels. Every panel I cut into, I got drenched with a gallon or more of water. Over and over and OVER!!! No one helped me. Now, there was soggy stucco panels all over my floor and MANY more gallons of water mixed in. I cleaned it all up. No help. The landlady's family was all snug and comfortable in their home, 30 feet away from my front door, having lunch. I was livid. Afterwards, several of us searched and searched for the source of the flood but could find nothing. Everything was seco...dry. Meanwhile, I had to leave for a 4pm appointment to meet with the sellers of the apartment I was about to complete purchasing. I arrived at the meeting, late, soaked to the bones, and pieces of stucco ceiling in my hair and schmooshed in my clothes. Afterwards, I returned to the house I was sitting. The next day, I checked my house...nothing was being done. 2nd day...same thing....nada. 3rd day...nada. I went over to the landlady's house and asked why noone was working on fixing my house? She said it was because they figured it was MY FAULT!!! They believed I left a faucet running!!! I had told them before, that I had not been at the house, and that everything upstairs was dry and no faucets running. I then challenged them with FACTS....something that seems to be foreign to EC'ers. We knew the water was coming from the upstairs bathroom because when we poured water on the floor, it flowed right to a corner and thru a hole and onto the ceiling below. I explained, using something very foreign....LOGIC....that the shower wasn't the source because the shower drain has no plug, therefore the water could not have built up and overflowed. Now, to the sink. The sink couldn't have been the culprit because it, too, has no drain plug and even if water did build up, it has an overflow channel. That left the toilet....how would the toilet suddenly back up and overflow? And, if it did, why not the 1st floor toilets first? GRRRRRR!!! It was 'point the finger, case solved'. GET OUTA HERE!!!!
The river 'Denial'. It frustrated me that, even though the family said they now believed it was not my fault....that there was still no explanation to the mystery. I needed to be vindicated. During my investigation, I discovered a long gap between the house and the roofing in which water could easily fall down onto the kitchen ceiling. However, it would only happen in a strong wind situation with hard rains. Not impossible. I felt it was a flaw ripe for a similar situation to happen again. I informed the owners. We also found, as mentioned before, the hole in the floor of the upper bathroom that, if water exists, will allow water to escape onto the ceiling below. A few days later, I discovered water on the floor of that bathroom again!! MARIAH!!! MERGATROID!!! ....or whatever that word is for enlightenment. Water was escaping from a corner at the top of the toilet tank. The tank lid has a concave shape inside it and, if the flushing tube mechanism is positioned just (un)right the top of the tank cover will press on it, causing a flow of water. The tank itself was not level, therefore the water ran to the corner edge and over the top before it could go down the drain tube as it should!!! VOILA!!! Mystery solved. I have vindicated myself no matter what anyone else thinks!!! Fast forward a few days. The ceiling is now fixed and everything is back to normal. But...the owner has chosen not to bother to seal the gap between the house and the roofing. They have not sealed the hole that allows water to fall from the upstairs bathroom to the ceiling below. They have also not bothered to level the toilet. And, I spent 7 hours cleaning up the mess left by the ceiling installers where white goop was flung all over the walls, kitchen cabinets, floors, you name it. No help. GET OUTA HERE!!!!
I'm moving again. NO WAY!! GET OUTA HERE!!! Yes, I made a big guffaw in moving to my existing digs. At the time I looked at the place, I was in a bit of hurry due to the gouging by the wicked woman Macrina who tried to charge me $200 a month for utilities. I didn't know the landlady who lives in front of me had.....4 yappy dogs, 1 screaming at the top of his lungs 3 year-old, 3 fully grown adult 'children' who each own their own alarm-screaming cars on top of the 2 adult car-owners, making a grand total of 5 alarm-screaming cars, and 4 parakeets outside my front door.....though they're down to two because 'some kitty kat' knocked the stand over and two got away. Not say'in WHO's kitty kat it was. The family is clueless that all these noises affect their tenant a mere 30 feet away. When I came home one day during the house-sitting gig, I took a nap for 1.5 hours. During that time, I heard ( and COUNTED) their car alarms.....36 TIMES!!!! I kid you not. GET OUTA HERE!!!!
OJ. The other day I was shopping for groceries at SuperMaxi (equivilant of Safeway, QFC, Ralph's, etc). I spotted a 2.75 quart jug of orange juice made by Tropicana. Price? $12!!!!!!! Give me a break....I can buy 40 juice oranges for $2 and make my own fresh orange juice!! Who the HECK would pay 12 bucks for this? Why stock it? GET OUTA HERE!!!!
Now, the photos.
|When I looked up....This don't look so good.|
|You can't tell, but there's water covering that floor.|
|The panels as I cut them down.|