Tuesday, March 31, 2009

You win some, you tie some

Sunday was a big soccer day here in the south land: In women’s action, the mothers of Grade 4, Escuela Raúl Pavón Mejía, beat the pre-Kinder moms 4-1 in the finals of the parents’ tournament. Kristen, named by opposition goalies “La Amarilla,” came through with 1 goal and 2 assists. In men’s action, Goalie Paul, “El Arquero Grandota,” punched, caught, dove and kicked to backstop the Grade 4 fathers’ team in a 3-2 win over the Grade 5 dads to make a clean sweep of the tournament for “Cuarto de Basica.” In other action, Ecuador tied Brazil 1-1 with a late game goal in the preliminary round of the World Cup. We watched with a couple dozen neighbors on the big screen at our favorite restaurant, charming way to pass a Sunday afternoon.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Welcome Zuri

to the blog (see 2 comments so far). It appears we've attracted an Ecuador booster with our scintillating prose. I guess that places us in a new category of blog; perhaps I should feel validated. Or perhaps just mooched upon.

All well. Hugs. P

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Toothbrush and clean underwear

Raise your hand if those two items were on the packing list for your last government appointment. Long story short, we got our visas renewed and can stay legally until June. And I didn’t even need to use the underwear.

We entered Ecuador in January on the tourist visa that's routinely given at the airport. Until recently, perhaps last month, that visa was renewable for a second three months. So we showed up at the National Police office in Quito and instead were told that we needed to apply for a Visa 12-IX, at a different office in the city, the following week. We staggered off to pick up our visiting friends at the airport and figure out our futures.

Options facing us as the time included getting the different visa application pulled together in days, staying illegally (done commonly, it appears, with a $200 fine on departure), and heading out of the country within the week before we overstayed our visas. I got kind of fired up about seeing some of Peru, we considered heading home early for a driving tour of the US West, and both girls seemed really clear that they weren’t ready to leave yet, a nice complement to the periodic pleas of “I want to go home.” Although we'd been told that one didn't need to apply in person for the visa, Althea informed me that she really did think we should all make the trip as planned, "just in case they need us there."

The Embassy had a few words of advice, much appreciated since it’s not really their responsibility. The South American Explorers’ Club made me feel less like an airhead for getting blindsided by this: “It’s been totally chaotic” was his comment. A friend in Otavalo spent 3 weeks and 5 trips to Quito getting her renewal. The Ecuador government website told us exactly what to bring to apply, but not where or when.

We headed into the visa office at 5am last Tuesday with both girls in their school uniforms for verisimilitude and cuteness factor. We were fully expecting to spend one day applying, a return trip getting an answer, and a third trip in 7-10 days picking up the paperwork. No phone/mail/fax shortcuts here! Instead we left the office one hour after we turned in the papers with the visas all done. Another hour at the National Police and we are all officially-registered foreigners, with Ecuadorian identity cards to prove it! So we get to stay…but I’m still thinking a trip to Mancora and Machu Pichu might be really fun near the end... - Kristen

Thursday, March 19, 2009


Several folks sent us with stuff to give away down here. Through the kindness and generosity of our dentist friends (Drs. Burton and Marshall) we have 150 toothbrushes and floss packages to share with the community. I asked my friend Maria de Imbabuela to help me distribute them in her tiny community. She told me to come to the community center on Tuesday and we did the deal. Notice her demonstrating how to use the floss to the kids; I used the great line "you don't have to floss all your teeth, just the ones you want to keep". So great to bridge from HR to here, and then have her help bridging the final step.

Thanks Docs! P

The bug !

Here you go.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Coast!

To the Coast with our dear pals Chuck and Sue. This is the pair who first suggested Ecuador to us. We were researching many opportunities in many different Latin countries and they steered us this way. Indebted. They had lived here for a year 12 years ago and are now on their first return trip. We met in Quito and proceeded together to explore the Route of the Sun, a lovely stretch of beaches mid-coast. Hotter and dryer than the Amazon, I’m a fan. Sunny every day, swimming morning and afternoon (including some epic body surfing runs from curl to sand), healthy stomachs, few bugs (albeit one huge one (pic) which our host removed unharmed barehanded), stunning beaches and great fun (including some very sweet godmother Sudoku on the iPhone (pic)). My birthday was one to remember: watching a Pacific sunset, over the offshore rocks, serenaded by the restauranteur on Happy Birthday, eating the cake C & S had special ordered on the sly earlier in the day, baked with the flour the boss had driven to town to pickup specially, with old friends and family around. Yowza.

Back home, all well. P

Monday, March 9, 2009

Post from Dad

My final few days in Otavalo were filled with people and places I will treasure in my memory for a long time. With Paul and Kristen I got to be comfortable with their end of town. We journeyed to the girls' school where I had a lovely visit with their (and now my) friend Adelaida. Her English was marginal and my Spanish was virtually nada, but we communicated with more facial gestures and hand signs than anything else. I promised to learn more Spanish before I see her again. Paul and I visited a lovely woman named Maria (I didn't get last names) in her village outside Otavalo. She is an indigenous person, a descendant of the Inc as. She showed us her garden - you can garden year-round at the Equator. It was so good to be included and I felt honored to be treated so warmly. On my last day, we took in the Saturday market which was a busy and wonderful array of all sorts of goods. I did some shopping and thoroughly enjoyed the process, including the very modest prices. That evening, Paul took me to spend time with some native musicians who played for us. Again, I felt honored to be so thoroughly included. There is more, including a visit to a 9000' crater lake which we viewed from a restaurant overlooking it. I thank Paul and his family for offering me this opportunity which I shall never forget.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Planet Money

For those who missed KD's awesome publishing accomplishment the first time through, see here for her great submission. P

Mail !

Just received our first letter (postmarked 2/9). Blessings on Jane for sending us photos and news clippings about the goings on back home. Amazing to see and read an English newspaper. Thanks, Jane! P

Request for information

So, by my math, Friday’s stock market close put the Dow at under 50% of the the ’07 peak for the first time. That feels significant to me. In our hometown of Hood River, we’ve lost since we departed the last new car store – none of the big 3 nor any imports (never had ‘em) remain – and a huge landmark hotel.

Any stories of what it’s like out there? Any news stories out there you can refer me too for more reading? Links much appreciated. Thanks. P

Latest Comments