What Was The Hardest Thing About Leaving The United States

This question was asked of me by Lynda a blog reader. I have talked in detail about the wonders of living in Ecuador and the great food and people and of course the beach but never once have I been asked about the things that we left. It brought up some wonderful memories and some very hard things that we had to deal with.

I would say the hardest thing to leave behind was our daughter Jennifer. When we moved to Panama back in 2006 she was in her last year of college. Leaving her behind was very difficult but she was an adult and had her own life to lead but that was probably the most difficult.

Next I would have to say my sister Janice, we have been pretty close. When Joe and I first moved to Florida back in 1976 Janice and her best friend Mary moved to South Miami and moved in with Joe and I for all of two or three days. They found their own apartment, new nursing jobs and eventually husbands. We remained close even when she moved to Vero Beach and then to Atlanta and when Joe and I moved to Atlanta in 1994 we moved in with Janice, Peter and their son Justin until we found our own home. It was difficult leaving her….

Then the next few items kind of run together. Our home outside of Atlanta was our dream home. A two-story traditional painted white with black shutters and door, it was our perfect home on a cul-de-sac with a nice sized deck that overlooked our back yard where we had planted peach and pear trees that extended into a 100 year flood plain surrounded by huge trees and a brook where we placed a wood bench under our own weeping willow..It was a very special home. Next it would have to be the Buford International Farmers Market what a fabulous place to spend a Sunday afternoon. They have foods from all over the world, a Mexican bakery, an Indian bakery, fresh cheeses, fruits, meats and seafood including many tanks with live fish, crabs you name it this was just a fun place to spend a few hours. Then a quick stop on Buford Highway to one of our favorite pho restaurants for a big bowl of beef pho soup with fresh spring rolls and a Thai iced coffee. Next it would be the many thrift shops that were in our area always filled with surprises for very little money, inexpensive books was our first stop then we would just roam these stores looking for that special treasure.

I miss these things and many more but we have been blessed to find a beautiful country, filled with gracious giving people.

We are content with our choice of San Clemente and pray that we are allowed to enjoy our dream in our Beach Hut for many years to come.

Prices, Shopping and Services!

We have been in Salinas for a bit over a month now.  I have noticed so many differences between here and other places we have lived and wanted to share our experiences.

Salinas Beach - before

Salinas Beach - Before

Salinas Beach - After

Salinas Beach - After

Lets take buying a plant for instance — they don’t use pots they sell you a plant in a black plastic bag. Cost for a big beautiful asparagus fern $4, house plants around 2 ft tall $2 – $2.50, a large palm $8 and a 30 lb bag of soil $1.70 all 5 plants and soil packed in a cab and delivered and unloaded to our apartment for $3.  Internet seems to be slow but at least it does not go out for hours at a time. The cost is $34 per month.  Here in Salinas we do not have power outages in Puerto Lopez every day the power went out for a few hours and in Dolega we had our share of the power cuts as well but what was worse were the power surges – you needed to have surge protectors on everything especially your refrigerator.  Let’s talk thunderstorms we saw our share while living in Miami but nothing to compare to Dolega it would shake the house and Joe and I would bring chairs and sit in the hallway away from the windows after unplugging everything in the house. Salinas and Quito have a water system like in the states. Puerto Lopez has no water of it’s own and it is hauled in by trucks each day. You cannot drink the water and must use bottled water for cooking, brushing your teeth etc.  You have a cistern in P Lopez and must remember to have it filled or you could find yourself without water.  The sun does not shine every day in Salinas, this time of the year,  it’s bright and it does not rain but the sun may be out for several hours 2-3 days a week and 2 days full sun all day the rest of the time it is nice, warm but not tanning weather but that does not stop you from going into the water.  Veggies and fruits, are inexpensive especially locally grown items like strawberries $1 a pound, blackberries, papaya $.30 for a nice size, pineapple $1 for a large and many other tropical fruit and veggies. We found most basic vegetables were available in Panama but if you wanted mushrooms, brussels sprouts, asparagus or anything a bit out of the ordinary you could not find them often and when you did they were very expensive. The above list is found locally at very inexpensive prices: white mushrooms $1.50 a container, .626 kg which would be almost 1 1/3 lb. container of asparagus $1.90 and brussels sprouts .81 looks to be a pound are just a few of the items I purchased this week.

We were told that toothpaste in Ecuador was $5 a tube – that is not a fact, what we found was Quito, P Lopez and now Salinas you can get almost any brand of toothpaste at a reasonable price. What is most common is Colgate and the cost is as low as $1.50 a tube or if it is for sensitive teeth maybe as high as $3. Don’t buy it on the malecon as the price will be double these shops are for the tourists go one block off the malecon and you can find good prices.  Bathroom tissue in Panama was $2.35 for a 4 roll pack equivalent to Scott’s here I get Scott’s brand in a 12 pack for a bit over $4.

Telephone local service is $6 a month with .01 cent a minute for local calls, .02 cents a minute for the region, to call cell phones is .145 cents a minute.  I opened a PO box yesterday it was prorated for the balance of the year to $12.50 in January I will pay $20 for the year. No home delivery of mail in Ecuador I think you could get overnight or express type mail delivered but I have not looked into that yet. I understand that if a package is over 5 pounds it must go through customs in Guayaquil where you must pay customs fees and pick it up yourself but if it’s under 5 lbs it will be delivered to our local post office with no customs fees.

Clothing shopping here compared to Panama is better for us because I can find sizes that are similar to the US. In Panama everyone seemed to be shorted, thinner and both Joe and I could not fit in any of the clothes.

Going out to eat is very inexpensive we go to Cevichelandia which is around the corner from our apartment, for lunch we order almuerzo which means lunch for $2.50 each we get a bowl of shrimp soup, a plate of fried fish, rice, a few pataconies (twice fried green plantains) and a salad with a glass of fresh fruit juice. Dinner ranges from $3 for a fish dinner to $4 to 6 for shrimp and there are street vendors that sell many different items for a few dollars or very nice expensive restaurants where you can get great steaks. It just depends upon what you are interested in.