March 2, 2016
It’s been a while since I wrote, but we have been a little busy finding a place to live and getting everything together for our new apartment. We looked at 15 different apartments and ended up with one we saw on the first day. Lorena, our real estate woman, was absolutely wonderful, even though she didn’t speak English and we don’t speak Spanish very well. When we decided on a place, she went out of her way to set things up for us. We had the internet connection hooked up on the day we moved — which turned out to be Monday, Feb. 29th — we moved in a day early.
We had to say good-bye to our hosts for the month of February and their wonderful dog, Ringo. Ringo looks like a miniature version of our last dog, Max. He was a great dog and would come over to our little casita and hang with us (of course, the treats and petting helped).
Here’s some shots of Ringo:
Besides Ringo, Janice and Ed had two macaws.
They were very loud when it was time to feed them, but not nearly as loud as the wild parrots which would flock into the mango trees on the property. There had to be at least 10 of them and Bob would egg them on by imitating their screeches. Here’s one that landed in the pine tree near the pool (the mango trees were too dense to see them when they landed there). If you look very closely, you’ll see the parrot at the top of the tree (tree was at least 40’ tall, and I had a long lens — but not long enough)
Now on with our apartment hunting. We had several apartments to choose from, but the one we chose had a balcony overlooking the beach at Ballenita and we just fell in love with it. The complex is owned by a most interesting Spanish couple. The two brothers of Jorge, the owner, were Ecuadorean senators — and the class system is alive and well here. There is a caretaker, Eduardo, who lives in a small, one-room building with his wife and three kids. It’s hard to imagine how they can cope in that tiny space, but they are always smiling and pleasant and ready to help with anything we need. One of Eduardo’s daughters will smile and say “Hola” to us, but she won’t look at us!
Bruni and Jorge prefer not to rent to Ecuadorians, so since we were from the US, it was in our favor. We spent time with them when they were here on the week-end, and somehow seemed to meet their standards. Bruni invited us to a luncheon when they are back again. They have the space above our little apartment and it is very nice (and huge!) Here’s a shot of the patio leading into their space (I didn’t want to take any photos once we were inside)
This is just one of two outdoor spaces they have — both just as big as our apartment. Our balcony is a lot smaller, but it’s still a balcony! In fact, I probably would have gotten to this email a lot sooner if we didn’t spent our time:
Sittin’ on the (balcony)
Watchin’ the tide roll in,
Then we watch it roll away again,
Just sittin’ on our (balcony) wastin’ time
OK, so we haven’t just wasted time — every morning we go out to the store to get things we need for the apartment. Even though it is “furnished” in the Ecuadorean sense, there are things we need as spoiled gringos. The bed was just a full-size and there is no way we could sleep in that — Bob would be pushing me onto the floor as soon as I fell asleep. So they took the full-size bed out and we replaced it with a queen-sized one (the room was too small for a king-size and we really don’t need one that big anyway). We needed a dresser with hanging space for all our North American clothes, and we needed a comfortable place to sit. The furniture here was all white rattan with little pillows and since we haven’t had a comfortable place to sit since we came to Ecuador, we really, really wanted something padded. The chairs in the apartment in Cuenca were very well made and stuffed with something as hard a a rock. Our temporary place in Ballenita had a built-in type bench made out of concrete, with very poor cushions. Luckily, we found a loveseat that we both felt comfortable with — but now we spend a lot of time on the balcony with our two chairs and small table.
Here’s Bob on the balcony (ignore the look):
Before we moved in, Bob and Ilene were already spending time on the balcony.
The courtyard to our apartment
Another view of the beach from balcony
Even though it looks like a big complex, the owners apartment takes up the majority of the space. There is only one other apartment in the space besides ours but I don’t think they want to rent it — I think they want to keep it for when their children come down — they all live in New York. We met Carlos, their son who lives on Long Island. And another good thing is that the whole family speaks English — so we aren’t muddling around guessing what is being said.
Anyway, we had the bed, dresser and sofa delivered on the same day we bought them (and had Eduardo, the caretaker, let the delivery guys in). That’s most of the big stuff, then we needed a lot of small stuff, too (like a blender so I could make chocolate milk shakes!) Then we had to get sheets for the bed since we left all the sheets back in the States when we were trying to keep the weight of our suitcases under the plane limit. We could use a lot of stuff we left at Sheri’s, Jessica’s or in the storage space. We’ll get what we can when we come back in May. The second bedroom has two single beds and I gave away (or threw away) all our single bedsheets. Don’t want to buy them down here because the linens are not very good — look out Bed, Bath and Beyond. Of course, Bob needed a coffee pot, and I forget all the other little things we had to buy to get comfortable. But we’re on our way, and just love it!
We have been doing other things too — but I just realized that including all the other info and photos would make this way too long. So I will send another next week with all the other adventures we’re having.
Hasta luego, Bob and Edana