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Saturday, November 16, 2013

I See Dumb People

As I sat down to write my next entry, I had to decide what the topic would be.   I have a lot stored up.   Lately, I've had on my mind to write about the whacko, dumb, puzzling, mind-numbing encounters I've had in recent months.  But, that might be construed as being 'negative' (maybe even spewing it) and/or dusting off my 'Ugly American' badge.   It was either going to be another travel entry with lots of pretty photos, or hit on some things that might strike nerves.   Sitting at my desk, I looked up at the black night sky and there was my answer....a FULL MOON.    Full moons and weirdos go together.

Thus, the title of this entry...a twerk on the movie title 'I See Dead People'.

So, don't blame me if you don't like what I'm about to tell you, blame the full moon.  Reality is real, and this is MY reality.

I meet a lot of people, either physically and/or online, because:
  • I write a blog that has a few thousand views per entry.
  • I have two short-term rentals designed for visitors and temporary re-locators.
  • I, from time to time, drive for those who don't have cars but want to see other places surrounding Cuenca.
Oftentimes, in social gatherings, people share their war stories encountering people who are intending to come here, or have already blessed us with their presence.   If they were to speak freely, they would find themselves wanting to say 'please, DON'T come to Ecuador!!!'.  Not because we're already here and want to shut the door and not let any more in...but, because we don't want any (or any more) spacecases coming!!!   Stay home!

Let's look at some examples, shall we?  Questions posed, and how I would've responded if I had the guts (but I'm waaaay too nice to):
  • People who've posted questions in online open-public forums, where any reader can respond:
    • Question:  'What clothes should I bring?"
      • Answer:  'Where are you coming FROM and where are you going TO???  I mean, c'mon...if you're coming from Phoenix and you're used to 100 degrees, or you're coming from North Dakota, the answer will be completely different.   Likewise, where you're going TO.  The coast (hot/humid)?  The mountains (cool)?'
    • Question:  'My gas tank delivery guy hasn't been coming by anymore.  Does anyone know who delivers?'
      • Answer:  'Maybe you could help us out a bit by telling us what NEIGHBORHOOD you live in!!!!'
    • Question:  'Does anyone know where I can get Crest toothpaste?'
      • Answer:  'Soooooo....Colgate or Aquafresh or other brands that millions of Ecuadorians use won't suffice?  Are you really not able to live without Crest?'
        • People were whipped into a frenzy over this one, but we later found out that Crest USED to be on store shelves here but suddenly stopped being carried.  It wasn't a to-be Expat inquiring if they can get Crest before deciding to move here...they were already here and missed their favorite when it vanished.
    • Question:  'Where's the new location of Tiesto's restaurant?'
      • Answer:  'Well, you COULD check their website.  Or, you COULD call them.  Or, there's a huge sign hung over the door of their old location that provides their new location....3 blocks away.'
    • Question:  'We found a homeless dog and her 9 puppies.  They need a home'.
      • Answer:  'Gee, couldja/wouldja give us a smidge more detail?  Like, how old are they?  Male/Female?  Any inkling to their breed (based on the mother?).  Pitbulls or Poodles?  Large/Small?  Colors?  Long-haired/short-haired?'
    • Question:  'Can someone tell me a bit about some of the cheaper restaurants?  What will it cost me for breakfast, a nice lunch, and a very good dinner, and are restaurants commonly the way that Expats in Ecuador get their food, or do they mostly cook at home?'
      • Answer:  'ARRRGHHH!!!  Howzabout telling us what CITY you're referring to?  Prices in villages are way different than in Quito, a city of a couple million people.   What do you consider a 'nice' lunch or a 'very good' dinner?  McDonalds?  Spagos?  Yes, Expats in Ecuador 'get their food' only by eating out ALL the time.  We don't cook, we don't have stoves, and we certainly don't have time to go shopping at the supermarketl  Yes, we have THAT much money, which is the whole reason why we're here...because we're RICH!!'  Though I have heard some Expats climb trees and gather coconuts and bananas to 'get their food'.
  • Questions posed by people looking to book one of my apts:
    • Question:  'My (so and so) can't do stairs very well, what are your stairs like?'
      • Answer:  'Mine go up and, as a bonus, they work in reverse, too.  And you're coming to CUENCA?  The city of stairs and cobble-stoned streets and sidewalks?  A city where elevators are rare except for more modern buildings and only when 4 or more levels?'
    • Question:  'Please describe your apartment.'
      • Answer:  'Please read the VERY detailed description on the website under 'DETAILS', click on the map to see the location, review the chart that lists the specifics such as # of bedrooms/baths, sqft, internet available, etc, and view the dozen or so photos I've posted.'
    • Question:  'I would like to book your apartment from December 3rd to January 15th.'
      • Answer:   'First of all, today is Nov 15th and you're just NOW booking your international accommodations?  Secondly, there's a handy-dandy button/link on the website that shows you the calendar displaying which dates are already booked and which are still available.  If you were to look, you'd see RED for the dates you want.  That means 'No Room in the Inn'.  Sorry.'
    • Question:  'I'm thinking of coming to Ecuador, specifically Cuenca.  Can you tell me something about your city?'
      • Answer:  'Google it.'  Or (alternative answer)....'It has houses and buildings, paved streets, traffic signals, internet, cell towers, trees, cars, schools, churches, and graffiti.'
  • Those that stayed in one of my apts:
    • The very obese guest who complained about the 3-level walk-up (which is clearly disclosed on the booking website).  Then they emptied out their luggage and there's a Halloween-sized bag of Milky Way bars.
    • The young couple with a 6 year-old child (who had deafening screaming tantrums) who were very dissatisfied with the apt, because:
      • None of the 50 or so DVD's (movies, TV shows, comedy, serious, adventure) were to their taste.
      • Complained about the 'slow' internet speed of 2.5 mb.  They brought every electronic gadget they owned.  Wanted me to get the internet company to increase the speed just for the month they'd be staying there....yeahhhh, riiiiiight.  
        • You're visiting SOUTH AMERICA!!!  Put that sh_t away!
      • Felt they were being gouged on the rent because of what they heard from others.
        • Ummm...exactly WHERE do you think you can get a 2-level modern apartment with laundry, fully stocked kitchen, 2 flat screen TV's + 2 DVD players, etc etc...for less than $30 a day?  For that amount, you can go stay in an average hotel where you'll get a bed and a bathroom!!!  Back home, that won't even get you a Motel 6.
      • Didn't like the blender I bought to replace one that wasn't working.  Had to go buy another one.
    • The guest who said the ice maker wasn't working.
      • Try putting water in it, let it freeze, then flip the handle to empty it out!
    • The guest who wanted to know how to grind the coffee beans....should he use the blender?
      • I THOUGHT I had purchased grounds, but I quickly rushed my coffee grinder from my house to the apt for him.  I DID buy grounds...he just didn't open the package and assumed they were whole beans!
    • Same guest.  Had to buy a cheese grater because he couldn't find the one that was there.
      • I guess it was hard to find.  After all, there were 4 kitchen drawers to look in.
    • The bleach lover.   He lovvvvvves bleach.  Lovvvvves the smell.  
      • My eyes were burning when I went to clean the apt after they checked out.  Colored towels and a sheet set suffered bleach splotches.
    • The kitchen sink is too small, and not enough counter space.
      • It's an efficiency apartment, less than 500 sqft....as noted on the booking website and clearly shown in photos.   Competitors apts have many of the same quirks.  What do you expect for $30 a night?
    • A friend of mine who also has short-term apts for rent received an inquiry resulting from seeing her ad online.   They wanted to know if $45 was nightly, weekly, or monthly?  I KID YOU NOT!!!
      • HUH?   Can you get a whole apartment, furnished, and fully stocked for $45 a week (or month) anywhere else in the WORLD???  Hmmm...maybe Tijuana.
      • My friend responded it was 'nightly'.
      • The inquirer replied back berating her stating she was 'effing high...and part of the problem'. After all, they had been able to find rooms for $10 - $20 a night.
      • Yes...a ROOM....not a 2 bedroom APARTMENT!!!   HELLO!!!!
      • They informed my friend "Jesus loves you".   
    • The guest who demanded a cast iron skillet to cook in as they 'don't do Teflon'.
      • Sure, we'll just run out and get one for ya.   Might you have asked about that before you BOOKED the apt?
    • The guest who was infuriated with me because his flight didn't leave until 8pm but check-out time was 11am.  'You mean I have to go to the airport and sit around for XX hours?'  'I checked your website and it didn't look like you had anyone checking in so I just figured I could stay'.  'And, besides, I booked through the 8th so I'm actually checking out a day early!!!'
      1. Check-out time is clearly stated on the website and on your booking confirmation.
      2. You don't just make your own decision to stay longer.  As with hotels, you check with the front desk.  Same with me...check with ME first.
      3. No, you didn't book until the 8th.  Here, look at your original inquiry request.  And, look at your booking confirmation.  (he did not want to look at it).  He knew...he was just playing me, trying to make me feel guilty so he could buy time.
      4. I had a new guest checking in, in an hour, and the place needed to be cleaned up and laundry done.   He said he would help me.  He did nothing but throw the laundry in the washer and kept interrupting me with questions about this or that while I was busting a sweat trying to get the place ready in time for the new guest arrival.
  • Inquiries sent to me directly:
    • Question:  'We're looking for a house to buy.  We want to be across from the river, minimum 3 bedrooms, single-floor house, with a pool, preferably not contemporary style, and under $125K.
      • Answer:   (Thinking to myself...be calm....be cool....think of your blood pressure).  'You obviously have not done your homework.  Cuenca is a city where the average temps are low 70's.   Pools are very rare here.   Also, 90% of the homes in CUE are 2 stories or more.  That's because Latinos tend to have large families and the kids (typically) live at home well into their adult years, sometimes even after they're married.   You want the house to be across from the river?  So, does everyone else.   For $125,000?  Laughable.   Please stay in your ritzy suburban San Diego home, you won't be happy here.  If you haven't done your homework, you don't get dessert...the privilege of living in a place like Ecuador.'
    • Question:  'What's the water pressure like in Ecuador?  Should I cut my hair before coming or risk getting it cut there?'
      • Answer:  'You're asking about the water pressure in ALLLLLL of Ecuador...the ENTIRE country?  WP is different in every city and village, whether you're on a spring or well or city water, whether you're at the bottom of a hill or the top of a hill, bottom floor or top floor.  It's affected by the diameter of the pipe that comes into your house or apartment, which can be small/old or larger/newer.  It's affected by how many people or applications (ie; washing machine, shower, etc) are drawing water at the same time. Your hair?  REALLY???  Risk?  There are millions of people who get their hair cut here from barbers to high falootin hair salons, and we all seem to survive.  Just like back home.   How's your Spanish and sign language skills?  You're going on an adventure to SOUTH AMERICA for cripes sake, be adventurous with your hair, too.'
  • Other loonies among us:
    • So, there's this guy (I'll call him Lamer) who attacked a Florida woman during his aborted bank robbery attempt.  He skipped bail, changed his name, married, and lived on the lam in another state for many years until the cops caught up with him.   But, he got out of the country, never serving time.  Now he's in Cuenca!  He's been banned from several online expat forums due to his rude, condescending behavior, and forced out of an apartment building through the efforts of many tenants who complained of him (ie; letting his dog poop in the elevator).  Now he's operating a bed and breakfast with his new Ecuadorian wallet...errrrr...I mean....wife (who clearly doesn't know his background).  Woohoo!!!
    • I'm always amazed at those who yap, yap, yap and don't stop yapping....completely clueless of any signals emanating from the listener...such as glazed-over eyes, not participating in the convo, looking elsewhere (seeking help!), etc.  Once, I was sitting in a cafe and ordered my food and a Diet Coke.  Across the cafe, a guy started informing me of how bad DC is, stating studies, cancer, etc etc.  He went on and on and on and on.  I barely uttered a word as I didn't want to contribute to the conversation because it would just encourage him to continue.  When my order came, I tried to shift my focus to my food.  Maybe he would shut-up and let me eat.  Yammer, yammer.   Somehow the one-sided conversation got all the way to how he used to own and drive a long-haul truck in the US, cost of gas and insurance, what he used to make, the hauls he made.....ohhh, my head hurts just remembering this scene.   Whenever I see him in social settings, I want to run in the other direction.  
    • Then, there's those among us here who seem to be know-it-alls.   You can't say 'boo' without them interjecting 'You know, the term 'boo' came from the 13th century Scots...blah, blah, blah'.  SHUT UP!!!
    • Or the guy who repeats things, repeats things (and sometimes is a yammer-er, too).   'I was walking down the street on Tuesday around 4pm...or maybe it was 3:45pm...no, it was 4pm...wearing my new suede coat I had custom made for me by this old gentleman on Simon Bolivar and that cross street near the Cathedral, ummmm, Luis Cordero and I ran into Sally, a 60 year old woman I recently met.  Oh wait!   It's not Luis Cordero, it's Padre Aguirre!  Well, Sally helped me redecorate my house a couple of months ago and it was so cheap!   She worked really hard for me...and she's 60!!.  I think she did a really good job.  (10 minutes later).....You know, I really was wondering if I could trust Sally, but she really came through and did a great job and being 60 she's one of those from an era where you can trust people.  I was lucky to have been introduced to her.   (15 minutes later)....I've been thinking about re-doing my office/den.  I don't know if I should hire Sally or not or whether I should do it myself.  But, you know, when she coordinated the remodel of my kitchen she was always on time and so nice.  For being, 60 she really did a great job.  She's a hard worker that girl, especially for being 60!!!!  (5 minutes later)....If you ever need someone to coordinate work done on your house, or a good designer, you oughta call Sally because she really came through for me.  I don't know how that 60 year-old had the energy to work so hard.  I think I made the right decision hiring her.  And, at 60 she probably needs to supplement  her income, right?'
    • One of my favorites (NOT).  Retirees who gush and dote and squeal and eat, live, and breath for their dogs.  Everyone knows I'm a dog-lover, but I have lowwww tolerance for those who:
      • feel they have to carry ...yes, CARRY....their dog from one place to another.  God forbid, the dogs paws ever have to touch the ground!!!
      • don't train their dogs and get away with everything including yapping (for all the neighbors to enjoy) at anything and anyone that moves within a hundred yards.
      • must, must, must have their dog accompany them everywhere they go, including INSIDE a restaurant.  Ohhh....but they're in their cute little knapsack (wearing a sweater no less)!!!   And, every day they spend hours at Coffee Tree (they must not have much of a life) with their friends and, of course, Pookie.   Pookie likes to pierce the eardrums of those dining around him/her whenever someone happens to walk into the patio area.   Ohhhh....shush our dear little Pookie!!  No No!!!   You're so cute when you bark and make people jump in their seats and give us dirty looks.   You're so PRECIOUS!!!  5 minutes later...rinse, repeat, rinse, repeat.  Nothing learned here.
  • Last but not least, one for the Ecuadorians:
    • Remember that yellow sign hung in car rear windows that said "Baby on Board"?   I hated that thing, but someone probably got rich off of it, (and people's stupidity).  Well, we got 'em here, too.  Except they say "Bebe a Bordo".   WHAT...because you have the sign in the car I'm suddenly supposed to drive MUCH safer around you?  But, if you don't have the sign in the car, I can go back to driving 'normal'???  So, a baby on board that car is MORE IMPORTANT than if there's just regular ol' teenagers and/or adults?  Everyone else who's NOT a baby has no value therefore drive as crazy as you want.  Besides, half the time there's no baby on board anyway even though the sign is posted!!!  The baby is at home with Mom and the Dad is out running errands in the car.  How am I supposed to know whether I have to drive extra cautiously around that car, or whether I can be reckless and carefree?  Then there's those who's 'baby' is now 12 years old but they (Marcelo) haven't taken the sign down!!!
If they're going to have those stupid signs, they should make one that says '82 yo Bingo Player on Board'. Then the rest of us can steer completely clear of THAT car!!!!  It's probably a big Buick, too.

Sometimes I have to shake my head in wonder as to how these people made it through life, much less uproot their lives and move all the way to SOUTH AMERICA, a new culture, a new language, and a new brand of toothpaste!!!   I want to say to them....'You mean to tell me you raised kids, held down a job, maybe even held a management level position with authority over others, saved money for retirement, qualified for mortgage and owned a home, managed your debts and obligations, etc, etc, etc and actually MOVED to SOUTH AMERICA.....and you're looney-tunes?'

You'd THINK those types would never dream of moving to South America, yet alone do it.  THEY'RE HEEEEERE!!!   Yep, all those folks I mentioned above are either here...or they're coming.   OI VEY.

OK....next time back to pretty photos, butterflies, puffy clouds, posies, and all the wonderful things that are Ecuador!!!


And now, a word from our Sponsor (me)


  1. Great! You nailed it again, Dano....granny

  2. Great blog post,Dan.Liked it.But where is Gracie!

    1. She's downstairs writing her piece about "I See Dumb Dogs".

  3. LOL Dano...I love it...had to read it all aloud to the family...hysterical...

  4. Gosh Dano, I wanted to come there to get away from all those crazies you spoke about but it seems they have infiltrated S. America as well.
    The blog was great. My fave was the Buick lady. They are here in Texas as well.
    Texas Larry
    When I come I want to rent one of your apartments for a while and will take very good care of it and not complain a bit. I am not one of those rich folks who seem helpless without the maid.

  5. Another masterpiece. I think Gracie too has had enough.

  6. A blog without Gracie is like a day...

    You know the rest.

    Charlotte NC

  7. Dano, First time I've read you blog and I love it. I know a couple of these ding dongs and have read some of the goofy questions. You have said a lot of what I was thinking as I read from all the weirdos.

  8. You always make me laugh Dan, keep it up !

  9. I love it. You forgot my favorite. Screaming at the Ecuadorians because they don't speak English, \\\\\\\\\\\\demanding they should learn.

  10. Ummmm? I'm coming to Cuenca soon. I want to rent one of your rental units. Not the fancy- smanchy modern one, but the smaller one. My biggest concern is: How big is the bathtub? This is a very legitimate concern of mine, as my crocodile is 5 and a half feet long. You can accommodate, right? If not, you have two weeks to make the required adjustments. Much appreciated, Neil ,The Croc Man

  11. [giggle-snort] Sure am glad that your blog was the first I found and read when we started our research. While I have learned a lot from the forums/groups, it does seem to have taken a nasty/dumb turn lately.

    See you in less than a month! WOOT!!

  12. Gawd, I love a good snarkfest first thing in the morning. Always look forward to reading your blog posts.

  13. Such negativity on your part! Why are YOU here?

  14. WOW! I have never read your blog and won't again. You are very sarcastic and rude. So you have an apartment to rent, but dislike what people ask about your apartment. You think dogs do not belong in Restaurants. And who are you? The self appointed mayor of Cuenca? You are a bully as I am sure you always have been. Talk about getting a life to others. You spend hours writing your stupid sarcastic blog. Who here really needs to get a life? Once a jerk always a jerk.

  15. Typical arrogant American rant.

  16. You left out one we love: I am going to Quito and need a place to stay. The reply was, "Try the Marriott". The counter? "Do you have that phone number?"

  17. Funny!
    I think you hit it on the nailhead, Dan!

  18. Ecuador would be better off if you left.

    1. At least Dan signs his posts, "Anonymous." And he's funny too. Ecuador would be a vastly less colorful and interesting place without Dano and his blog.

      And what exactly is it that you contribute, "Anonymous"? Didn't think so. Right.

      Cordially, John

  19. My understanding about the "Baby On Board" signs on vehicles is that they were first introduced in Europe as a result of a series of serious accidents involving overturned vehicles in which babies had been discovered trapped many hours after the accident. The signs were introduced so that if the vehicle was involved in some grave accident, the rescue team would be aware that there were infants occupying the vehicle at the time of the accident. The signs were intended to be used ONLY when a child was riding in the car. They were not intended to be permanent stickers as most of them are now.


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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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