Happy 3rd Anniversary to me!
Last month marked 3 years I've lived in Cuenca, Ecuador, South America!!! Also, 3 years into my retirement which was pretty much kicked off by the fact I was kicked out of job after job by Corporate America. Maybe I should thank them for being the impetus for retiring early (albeit poor). But, you'll never hear it coming outa MY mouth!!!
Kinda like looking back over the past year on New Years Eve, let's take a gander back at what transpired over these past 3 years, shall we? It's not like I spent a lot of time in my rocking chair, or Barc-o-lounger in front of the boob-tube.
In no particular order:
- I bought a house, I remodeled it, I sold it.
- I bought 2 apartments and marketed them as short-term rentals for travelers who wanted more than just a room with a bed and bath for their stay.
- I moved 3 times. Once because my landlord, who lived in front of me, had 5 yappy dogs who yapped all day long at anything and everything and nothing, plus they had 5 cars which yelped (their alarms) every time they unlocked and locked their car and even let their car alarm wail and wail and wail while they casually vacuumed the interior!!!
- I bought two sofas, two love seats, a dining set, two beds, dishes, a desk, a washer, a dryer, a dishwasher, a TV, a lawnmower, artwork, and a partridge in a...oh....wait.
- Oh, and two cars
- The day I purchased my 2nd (and current) car, the window was smashed out and petty items stolen.
- I transported my dog Gracie, and my two orange kitties Chip and Bozo from the USA to Cuenca.
- My little boy Bozo died after only 1 month living in South America. He was only 8.
- I adopted Marcelo from my friend Marcelo...thus, the name.
- I visited back home (Washington.....no, not DC....STATE) twice. Once, for my Mommy's 80th birthday. 83 coming up on 3/26!!!!!
- I had diarrhea many times.
- I've eaten in over 50 restaurants in Cuenca alone. Yes, I kept track of them. I have many more on my list to try.
- I attended Symphony concerts.
- I've gone to 5 of the 6 Banos (thermal baths/resorts) located in Cuenca. I regularly go to one of them at least once a week.
- Didn't play a single game of Bingo. Hi Mom!!!
- Visited several cemeteries because their architecture I find fascinating.
- My car broke down SEVERAL times!
- Walked into every church/cathedral I encountered, if the front door was open. Never got struck by lightning.
- Went to a disco built in and around an old airplane.
- Climbed the steeples of the Basilica in Quito.
- Wandered amongst Iguanas in Guayaquil.
- Rode the Devils Nose Train.
- Went to places around Ecuador, such as:
- Montanita (3 times)
- Puerto Lopez
- Poor Mans Galapagos island
- Quito (3 times)
- Banos Ambato (4 times)
- Edge of the Amazon
- San Bartolome
- Santa Isabela
- San Fernando
- Saw more waterfalls than you can shake a stick at.
- Attended a fundraiser/auction that raised over $7,000 to support spaying/neutering the out of control dog population in Cuenca. Cats welcomed, too.
- Got Marcelo tutored (or that's what I told him anyway) and his front tires declawed (my drapes are happy).
- Been to many, many outdoor indigenous markets around the country.
- Orchid farm tour.
- Trebol rose farm tour.
- Malls in Guayaquil and Quito.
- Up the side of a volcano via an aerial tramway to 13,000 feet overlooking the city of Quito below.
- Flown between Cuenca and Quito, and Cuenca and Guayaquil.
- Went to the Ingapirca ruins.
- Went to the Equator and straddled the North and South hemispheres.
- Published 157 blog entries, with over 150,000 views.
- Got my permanent residency Visa and Cedula (Ecuadorian Id).
- Got my Censo, too....but they don't require it anymore...that is, 3 months after I was denied travel home because I didn't have my Censo card (but I did have a valid Visa and Passport) because I kept being told they were 'out of paper' and couldn't issue the Censo because of it.
- Encountered a lot of stupid Bureaucracy.
- Was hired by 46 clients to drive them where they wanted to go, 54 times (obviously, some were repeats) covering over 4,600 kms (about 2,700 miles).
- Planted hundreds of plants and flowers and shrubs in my current house yard. Two dump truck loads of dirt, somewhere well over 75 individual bags of dirt, lots of grass seed, and 210 bricks to create planters. Even made a water feature by using a bathtub ripped out of one of my apts, sinking it in a hole, and installing a fountain pump.
- Painted the entire interior of 2 of my homes.
- In the little more than a year I'd owned them, I had 66 bookings in my apartments with an average stay of 12 days each. Therefore, I have cleaned the apartments 66 times, too!!
- Taken over 3,600 photos of people, places, and things in Ecuador. Organized into 143 folders.
- Been pulled over by the police several times...even got extorted by one!!! But, I got my revenge, too. hehehhehehehehe
- Had my car broken into and the computer 'brain' stolen from it. $3,500 to replace.
- Attended many parties at Granny's. Washed the dishes afterwards.
- Stood in line at the Post Office waaaaaaaaay too many times waiting for that piece of mail that took between 10 days and 2 months to arrive!
- Partook of many of the festivals. Corpus Christi, Carnival, Independence Day, Day of the Dead, Christmas, Parade de Innocentes, New Years Eve burning of effigies, etc.
- Purchased (at $1.50 - $2 a piece) and watched over 150 movies on DVD.
- Cleaned my house myself, mowed my lawn myself, washed my car myself, did all my laundry myself. But....my dishwashing machine washed my dishes!!!
- Was an extra in a short film/video about family of circus/clown performers, whose father just died, and one of the sons failed at being like the others and became a banker.
- Helped clients find apartments/houses, furniture stores, buy and set up cell phones, appliances, move, set up utilities, etc.
- Got my EC drivers license.
- Gone without water in my house for 10 days. I'm now 'down' to an average of 2-3 days a month where the water has been turned off for unknown reasons.
- Voted in EC elections.
- Said goodbye to two friends here in EC who died way too early.
- Signed up for the EC government medical program which covers 100% at $69 per month.
- Ate Cuy (guinea pig).
- Explored off the beaten paths on my motorcycle, discovering many treasures such as old-fashion 1-lane wooden bridges.
- Hosted one visitor from back home. ONE. And it was my EX!!!!!!
- Met people from Texas, Oregon, California, Winnipeg, Alaska, Rhode Island, Toronto, Idaho, England, New Zealand, Colorado, Argentina, Florida, and lots more.
- Of course, in the mix from all these points North, South, East, and West were whackos, ding-dongs, and downright clueless, such as:
- The guests who complained over paying $30 a night to stay in a 900 sqft modern fully furnished 2-level apt. I was over-charging them.
- The guest who complained an iron skillet wasn't provided.
- The guest who complained I didn't pre-inform him to bring his laptop so he could watch American TV while in Cuenca....Ecuador....South America.
- The guest (same folks from the 1st bullet) who complained the internet speed was too slow for all their internet streaming devices they brought with them....to.....Cuenca....Ecuador....South America.
- The lady who asked how the water pressure is in Ecuador (the COUNTRY).
- The obese man that complained about all the steps, while he unpacked large packets of Snickers bars.
- The whacko who attacked a woman in the USA, changed his identity, married a woman who didn't know, escaped the Law and moved to Cuenca and married an Ecuadorian to use her money and get his residency and run a Bed and Breakfast!!!
- The people (there's several) who can't be more than arms length from their dog, or let their dog set foot on the ground, or must be accompanied by their dog everywhere they go, and of course could never NEVER train their dog to not bark incessantly at anything and everything that moves (or doesn't).
- And, one of my favorites, those who don't know when to shut up. Somehow, they are able to breath without missing a beat in their endless yammering.
- Ok....one more....kinda like David Letterman's Top 10 List. Those that refuse to learn Spanish. They expect the locals to understand them, or they pawn the task off to one of their friends who HAS learned Spanish to do it for them. Why should they learn Spanish? It's not like they're in Cuenca............Ecuador...............South America!!!!!!
What's left to do?
Well, there's Peru (border is 3-hour drive away) and Columbia (Bogota, Medellin, Cali) right next door. Still more restaurants to hit. The Zoo and the new Planetarium are still on my list. Haven't been to Crucita and Bahia de Caraquez (northern coast) yet. Banos beckons me back again (before the volcano obliterates it). There's always more plants to plant. Maybe one day I can go to that new restaurant that just opened up that has purty murals in each room. But, alas, at this point I can't because I can't have a table to myself or even with my date unless I'm willing to be glommed together at a larger table of strangers I don't wish to share my private conversations with. SOME day us single folk or those that are identified as a 'couple' will have the right to enjoy their own private table. Sighhhh.
And, there's my short-term apartment rental guests who keep coming and coming from all points of North America to either get away from the cold, or the hot, or the government that caters only to the rich and powerful, or the wars, or the insane medical costs, or the abandonment of common sense, ethics and integrity, or the Kardashians....or, all of the above.
Enjoy the photos. All just random stuff I've been saving to publish 'some time'.
|Common tree around here. Flowers are referred to as 'Angels Trumpets'.|
|Someone decided to dump a truckload of dirt smack dab in the middle of our road. It was there for several days before someone finally scooped it up and tossed it over the fence.|
Video (click arrow) of homemade fireworks from the past weekends' Carnival kickoff in Parque Calderon...the center of the universe in Cuenca. I love how the pinwheels reverse direction towards the end of the video. Click the lower right-hand corner to enlarge the screen.
|Gracie in the dog house.|
And now a word from our Sponsor....ME!!!!!
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