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Sunday, April 28, 2013

A Little of This, and a Little of That

OMG!!!   At this very moment, I am just 64 clicks away from hitting the 100,000 views mark!!!   Ok, so it isn't like my blog is a big hit on YouTube that's gone viral and millions have taken a look.  But, I'm damn proud that each new blog entry gets nearly 2,000 hits!!!  Like Sally Field once said 'You really like me, you really LIKE me!!'.    Well, 99.999% of you do anyway.  I do have to adjust for those folks who send me downright rude/nasty/mean comments.   They're just 'spewing negativity'.  I don't pay them no never-mind anyway.   Umm...wellll...I TRY not to.  Once in awhile I do have to yell at my Mom to KNOCK IT OFF!!!!

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
Luckily, an individual saw my detailed post and sent the link to the Agencia Nacional Transito (ANT).  They immediately contacted me through this blog and asked me if I would help them in their on-going efforts to put the kabosh on corruption.  So, I had gender-reassignment surgery and went undercover.    NOT!!!  My case was turned over to the head of the department and I provided all the details to him, as well as the photo that was taken.  They were right on top of my communications, responding immediately.  Ultimately, they sent me 4 photos to identify the 2 who were part of the extortion.   I'm guessing right about now, those two kinda sorta wished they didn't do what they did.

For those of you considering coming here, or live here, consider the following:

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.


  1. Glad you're feeling better. Hope you can make Gloria's party on Saturday - we'd still love to meet you since your blog was THE first blog I read about Cuenca (and here we are, taking our exploratory visit).

  2. sorry you had to erase my comment, I enjoy your blog, cheers...

  3. So glad that they are going after the scum that scammed you. Keep on writing - your readers really do enjoy it and you will hit the 1,000,000 mark before you know it. Hope your house sells soon (it looks fabulous).

  4. ok, I admit it, I am a lookieloo.

    one question after viewing your house in the US for sale: did you rob banks for a living?

    ok, I lied: second question: are you hiding out in Cuenca?

    Charlotte NC

  5. It is best to opt for original car parts to ensure that your car is in top condition. If you chose to purchase a foreign car, it is important that you know where to get replacement parts. This post is very helpful, not just for those who drive private cars but even to those who drive Des Plaines taxi cab (for instance) because they might be using an imported vehicle. It is always good to learn more about something, like in this case - cars - to enrich us and make better decisions in the future. Thanks for sharing!

    Lone Mountain Truck Leasing


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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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