Security Message for U.S. Citizens – U.S. Consulate General Guayaquil

I just received this email from the US Consulate General in Guayaquil.


Security Message for U.S. Citizens – U.S. Consulate General Guayaquil
Widespread Fires

September 25, 2012

The U.S. Consulate General in Guayaquil advises U.S. citizens visiting or living in Ecuador that there have been an unusual number of forest and vegetation fires throughout the country this season.  Some of these fires have come very close to urban areas, including Quito, and one required the evacuation of several houses.  There have been no deaths reported, but smoke inhalation has been a problem.

Ecuador’s firefighters are responding to these fires and the government has declared an orange (2nd highest level) alert in the following provinces: Carchi, Imbabura, Pichincha, Cotopaxi, Chimborazo, Cañar, Azuay, El Oro and Loja.  This alert level requires that emergency operation centers are manned 24 hours a day and makes national resources, such as firefighters from other areas, available to respond to local hotspots.  U.S. citizens should monitor local media and follow the instructions of local authorities if asked to evacuate.

Please be extra vigilant when using any fire source-matches, cigarettes, BBQ, etc.  If you live near dry vegetation keep the plants and area near your house moist.  Clear away any dead brush or garbage that can help create a fire ladder to your property.  Make a plan for what to do-have your “go bag” ready, know your potential escape routes-should fire threaten your house.  Fire moves very fast and is very destructive-  it should be taken very seriously.  For more information on how to prepare for forest fires, please visit the U.S. Fire Administration’s <>  website.

Americans living or traveling in Ecuador are encouraged to enroll with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate in order to obtain updated information on travel and security within Ecuador through the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program <> .

U.S. citizens should consult the Country Specific Information <>  for Ecuador and the latest Travel Alerts and Warnings and Worldwide Caution at the Department’s website <> . Updated information on travel and security in Ecuador may also be obtained from the Department of State by calling 1-888-407-4747 within the United States or by calling 1-202-501-4444 outside the United States.

The U.S. Consulate General in Guayaquil <>  is located at the corner of Avenida 9 de Octubre and Garcia Moreno (near the Hotel Oro Verde).

·   The telephone number for American Citizen Service (ACS) inquiries is (011-593-4) 232-3570 during business hours, 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., or 232-1152 for after-hours emergencies.

·   Appointments for services are available through our website <> .

The U.S. Embassy in Quito <>  is located at Avigiras E12-170 y Eloy Alfaro.

·   The telephone number for ACS inquiries is (011 593-2) 398-5000.   Public call-in hours are Monday through Thursday 8:00 to 10:00 a.m.  For after-hours emergencies, contact the Embassy at (011 593-2) 398-5000.

·   Appointments for ACS are available through their website <> .

Anyone can follow the activities of the U.S. Consulate General in Guayaquil through our website <> , Facebook <> , and Twitter <> .

This email is UNCLASSIFIED.

Yacht Club Pictures

The Salinas Yacht Club had some damage done when we had the high tides associated with the tsunami. I have heard pounding and banging coming from the club for the  past several weeks. Yesterday I watched as new boat slip was dragged into place and attached to the sea wall.







Ecuadorian Sweet Potatoes – Camote

I have learned to love these sweet morsels. I know the color is odd, I know that the shapes are a bit strange but..if you bake these beauties until the outside skin is crispy, break them open, add a good dollop of sweet butter and a bit of cinnamon, you will be in heaven. I love eating the crispy outside almost as much as the silky sweet inside.

They really don’t look to pretty when you make them in a casserole, I have tried it several times and it turns a very strange almost dark purple color. Not very eye appealing so I am now just baking them and enjoying them that way.  The locals call them camote, I call them fabulous!

The above photo is a camote plant that I have planted on my balcony. Yes, you guessed it.  I allowed my sweet potato to sprout and because it was such a beautiful green/purple plant I could not just throw it out so I found a spot in one of my pots and planted it. It is a beautiful flowing vine and loves being on our balcony.  Next I will need to see if any sweet potatoes are actually forming…and then you can call me Farmer Nancy.

A rainy morning in Salinas

We woke up this morning to the sounds of splashing as cars drove past our apartment. There is not a drop of water on the front balcony, no signs on the back windows, but the back balcony is very wet. The roads are slick and not just a mist but a nice coating of rain.  Yeah!!!! We need a good soaking, not just a light mist once in a while to just clean the sidewalks, streets and dare I say the smell off the beach…there I said it.  Someone asked me several months ago if there was one thing I could change about Salinas what would that be. Without hesitation I said “Bathrooms” . To elaborate on that just a bit, I guess I would have to say changing rooms and bathrooms. It is so heartbreaking to see young boys to full-grown adult men sidle up to the walls around the malecon and whip their penises out and pee… It is a bit off-putting to those of us who like to stop, sit and try to enjoy the water or people watch having to see this as well as smell it afterword  and second this is a resort town and it is sad to think what folks think about us when they walk the malecon and smell the scent of urine.  Sorry off my soap box and back on track.

The rain must have started before dawn and it was so misty that you could not see the tankers waiting in line out to sea.

It stayed that way until well past 10am but now the mist is gone, the vendors are set up on the sand and the weekend has begun.  I heard that school starts in the highlands next week, that should mean that Joe and I will have the beach to ourselves.

Juggling School, yeah right

We do see some odd things going on at times on the beach or malecon. On this afternoon Joe saw these tents set up near the yacht club side of the beach. Low and behold each of these guys standing in front of a tent started to juggle. Two are juggling pins while the one is juggling balls.

Animation of 3 ball cascade , also known as a ...

Image via Wikipedia

On my trips around town or to Libertad I have seen several jugglers who will walk out in front of stopped traffic at a light. They will juggle for a minute and then walk from car to car looking for tips. I guess it is better than trying to wash your windshield with a dirty rag.

Seco de Chivo

This weekend I went to the Mercado Salinas and my favorite butcher to see about Chivo (goat). Joe has enjoyed Seco de Chivo at several restaurants first in Quito and then when we can find it here in Salinas. So I decided that I would try to make this goat stew. First I asked the butcher what cut of meat I needed for the Seco and then asked his wife what I needed to add to it. The list is easy enough. The first thing needed was a glass of beer –  no problem there. I just walk downstairs and ask my Amiga Margarita for a few 22 oz bottles of Pilsener.  Some to cook with and some to celebrate the goat stew!

First you take the meat and cut it up into nice size chunks. Make a marinade of the beer, garlic, cumin, oregano and salt – marinate for a minimum of 1 hour.

Remove meat from marinade and set liquid aside. Brown meat and add onions, achiote and bell pepper.  Saute for 5 minutes until onion is soft. Add tomatoes, cilantro, hot pepper, naranjilla juice, beer and balance of marinade. Add grated panela sugar and allspice. Simmer for 2 1/2 hours on very low heat.  When ready to serve add additional salt to taste and chopped cilantro. Serve over rice. Yummy….even better than lamb.

Discount Cards

I just love using the local discount cards –tarjetas de descuento.

I just purchased the Pharmacy discount card, there are two Pharmacy stores in el Shopping Center. It cost $5 for a year. Every time I use my card I will get a discount. The card says the discount is 20% on medicine and products – also a 50% discount on services at Salud, I will need to ask my new friend Belen if this is true. I have used it but it does not look like I am getting 20% more like 10% but that is okay with me if I am savings on drugs and supplements. I very seldom leave the store without spending at least $60. I would get $6 x 12 months or $72 dollar savings or $67 after the cost of the card.

The second card is the Mi Comisariato supermarket card. This card cost around $30 if I remember correctly and is good for a year. I replaced this card in June and it has saved me hundreds of dollars on items that I have purchased at Hipermart. If you shop at Junior the small store located one block off the malecon they do not require that you show your card but still give you the regular store discount as well as on Wednesday for fruits and veggies and on Friday for all meats but if you go to Hipermart in the mall you will need to show the card to get the discount.

The last card is my Supermaxi card this was $44.80 and is also good for one year. This also saves you on your grocery purchases.


Salinas and the towns around us are what I would call arid – I know how can it be – arid on the coast? Well we are so far down the coast and so close to Peru that it is actually dry here. Annual rainfall is under 5 inches, less than Las Vegas.   Most yards are not grass but concrete with small concrete planter boxes around the inside walls as well as the outside walls.  As we walk around we see some beautiful flowering plants and trees.  Below are some of the pictures I have gotten over the past several months. Hope you enjoy!

Cuba Libre anyone?

Up until about a month ago Joe and I only bought Abuelo Rum but we have seen this San Miguel Rum both the silver and the gold all over. So we decided to give it a try. Well our first test is Joe drinking it warm straight – if his stomach can handle that we are good to go.  This is our second bottle and it has been a very pleasing experience. It tastes darn good, smooth with no bite – and the price is out of sight at a little under $5 a bottle.