A New Kind of Blog

There is a world of information about Ecuador. It is one of the most popular countries for people who want to retire to a place where the dollar goes much farther than in the US, a place for adventuresome families who want to experience a new language and exciting culture. However, much of what you read or hear does not touch on the practical, the problematic, or the local information necessary to make things work. There are many blogs which are basically daily diary’s from people who live here. But this blog will be different. We know how hard it is to get accurate and timely information. We have been through it. All of us who live here have learned step by step and we question whether it is necessary to have every newcomer reinvent the wheel. We hope this blog will help shorten the learning curve. There are many hurdles but all are surmountable. What is required is patience, an understanding of local ways, and a realization that you are going to live in a country which is not the same as the US, Canada, or Britain. Our choice was to live in the wonderful city of Cuenca in the Southern Sierra but this may not be your decision and you will therefore have to look further to find the answers you need for different areas like the coast or the Amazon. Please realize that all the suggestions and ideas are based on our experiences. Ecuadorian regulations change rapidly and must be checked before you make any investments or major decisions. Please email us at Sailorburr@gmail.com and let us know if you have any questions or comments.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Jonny's new book

Seems like Jonny, at the age of nine, is taking after his mom and dad. He's just written, with a lot of help, a book about believing and trust called, The Forgetful Loopers.  For those of you with children, grandchildren, or young friends interested in supporting his youthful enthusiasm, the book can be found in eBook or print form on Amazon.com. He'd really appreciate your reading it.

Now that this is finished, he's been telling us some tall tales about time travel and space exploration, sort of in the style of the Doctor Who British TV series. We've written a few and will publish them soon in the name of, The Magic Litter Box, a boy and his Siamese cat stumbling from one adventure to another.

All of us hope the New Year brings happiness and good health to all of our readers.

Friday, September 6, 2013

New Website

The past year has seen a great deal of changes in our lives.

First, we moved back to NC for family reasons yet spent the month of July in Cuenca so we could visit old friends and hope we can do the same on future summers. It was a wonderful time for each of us. Cuenca has certainly changed. On the few occasions we went to expat haunts, we hardly knew a soul. A whole new contingent has arrived and looked like they were thriving. Jonny quickly had his Spanish back. We've tried hard to keep it going during the school year in NC, however, the Spanish children at his school only want to speak English. But, we toss him into the Spanish mix as often as we can.

Secondly, our book, Retire in Ecuador has done very well in both the eBook and print edition. People have commented that the photos bring Cuenca to life like nothing else could do.

Bill has put out a new website at www.WilliamBurrBooks.com The website is crammed full of photos, descriptions, and links on more than a dozen of his books. If you like adventure novels, how to guides on boating peppered with personal experiences, and his book on retirement in Ecuador, please take a look.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas to all our friends

The best Christmas present we have had is the wonderful reception we have gotten for Bill's new Amazon eBook, Retire in Ecuador. From all over the world, people interested in Ecuador have downloaded to their mobile devices and tablets, this book chock full of ideas, hints, and tips on retirement abroad. Our wish is for each and every one to fulfill their life's dreams and a happy holiday for all. 

Friday, September 21, 2012

New Book About Retirement

It's been a while since we posted on our blog and we apologize. This has been a wild year with lots good and bad happening. About six months ago we returned permanently to North Carolina for various family reasons after spending three years in Cuenca. Like everywhere else on the globe, Ecuador fell short of being paradise in some ways but lived up to our original expectations in more ways than we thought possible. For us, it was the adventure of a lifetime. We reluctantly left our good friends and will hopefully return next summer on vacation to visit them. We miss the constant weather, the wonderful mountain scenery, and our close connection with two Ecuadorian families.  We also noticed, in our three years there, a sharp rise in real estate prices and imported goods as well as becoming aware of a huge increase in the expatriate community from some three hundred when we arrived to ten times that now.  But this increase in the expat community has made it more vibrant than ever. In no other part of the world have we found an international community quite like it.

Because we are authors, it has been suggested many times, that we publish our blog, "Our Ecuador" into book form so that those interested in this wonderful country could have a ready reference. We have followed this advice and published an eBook on Amazon called "Retire in Ecuador" by William Burr that offers the complete blog interspersed with numerous topics on how to make retirement the best third of your life. If you are interested, please go to Amazon and type in "Retire in Ecuador William Burr." In just a minute it will be downloaded to your PC or Kindle or iPad reading device to peruse at leisure for the price of a cup of coffee and a donut. Read in its entirety, "Retire in Ecuador" will give a prospective retiree or someone already retired a huge number of facts, photographs, hints, and personal observations not available elsewhere, an eBook specially created to help make this late life journey one of excitement and lasting fulfillment. 

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Reading abroad

 Living in Ecuador is off the beaten track but fortunately it allows both of us to write, publish, and communicate with the world of authors and readers in a number of ways.
Over the last two years, this blog has enabled us to visit with readers from 111 countries more than 36,000 times.  For us, it has been a huge success because we have interacted with countless families throughout the world. Some, who have moved here, have become good friends. Others have had a steady discourse with us over long periods of time. But, coming up with new postings has become more difficult because many subjects of interest to possible expats have already been covered by our blog or by other blogs. We would appreciate your comments on subjects that you might be interested in. We will research them and give you our take on the problem or question.
            Meanwhile, we continue to write. Loretta is in the process of finishing a memoir called Jonny First which will be sent to her agent in New York by the end of July.
Loretta has also just published her first ebook novel on Amazon.com called, Soulmates, a Story of Love, Passion, and Obsession That Transcends Life. Bill too has published an Amazon.com ebook, a Caribbean adventure novel called Chinchorro Reef, Kidnapped at Sea.
Electronic books like these are the new publishing trend. Already Amazon.com sells more ebooks than conventional hardbacks and paperbacks. What is interesting for those of us who are expats is that an ebook can be downloaded to a PC in less than a minute and can then be transferred and read on your PC, Kindle, iphone, iPad, Blackberry, or Android device at your leisure. Often an ebook at Amazon costs between 0.99 cents per book all the way up to $10.00 which is considerably less than a print book. Some are even free. Sample chapters can be downloaded at no cost before you purchase a book.
The other great advantage for expats is that very few English title books are sold in Cuenca. Purchasing a print book from the US and having it shipped via USPS almost doubles the cost of the book and it takes weeks to get here instead of a minute with an ebook.
Reading an ebook on a hand held electronic reader like a Kindle is a change from the familiar and comfortable feeling of holding a bound paper book in your two hands but it is remarkable how quickly it begins to feel completely natural.  It appears to us that ebooks are the way to go for voracious readers located in places where English language books are not readably available.  Ebooks are a change in how we read but, when you think of it, the reason we read is for the content inside not the device we hold.  

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Cuenca lifestyle

When you are thinking about a move to a foreign country there are a thousand questions that must be answered. Some are easy to find the answers to but others are less obvious. Here are a few observations about where Cuenca differs from other towns and cities in Ecuador.

Unlike the coast and the Amazon, there are almost no bugs in Cuenca, at least, none of the pesky mosquitoes and noseeums which can make life miserable.  But, because there are few bugs, there are also very few birds.

A great advantage is that the tap water in Cuenca is drinkable and we have been drinking it for the last two years without problem. This is not true in most of the other communities in Ecuador where you should purchase bottled water.

There is a constant spring like climate with no real hot or cold weather. We do have changes of season from wet to dry but even that is erratic. Mornings are cool. Midday is warm. Afternoons often have a rain storm and evenings are cool enough to wear a light jacket.

Because of the abundance of rain, there are flowering trees, shrubs, and gardens year round.

The electric system is 110 like the US and we use the same plugs as in the States.  All of our appliances from the States just plugged in without any converter or problem. The only difference is the regional code that prevents DVD players from the US from being used here. BluRay players have the same region as the US and work just fine. DVD players are inexpensive in Ecuador so there is no point in bringing them. Cell phones should be bought here or, as an alternative, have your US cell phone unlocked for about $10.

Ecuador uses the US dollar so there are no currency fluctuations like you will find in other countries. This provides for a more stable budget than with a fluctuating currency.

Gasoline costs $1.48 per gallon and, because it is subsidized by the government, has been constant at that price for the last two years.

There are many other subjects like what is available in the supermarket, electronics availability, vitamin and pharmaceutical product accessibility, office supplies, etc. but we have found that with few exceptions most items we need are available either as imports or as local substitutes.  There are exceptions but, if the item is small, it can easily though slowly, be mailed from the US.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Lawyers in Cuenca

We would like to make a recommendation, our personal recommendation, for a lawyer here in Cuenca. It is our opinion, though not shared by everybody, that it is always a good practice to hire a lawyer when you are involved in a major transaction in a society that is not familiar to you and where the laws are often not the same that you are used to. While Ecuador is not the litigious society that the US is, it is still, like almost everywhere else, filled with legal pitfalls. Here there are few of the citizen protective laws governing real estate transactions, car sales, and other major purchases. Also there are the difficulties of dealing with your application for residency, driver’s license, and car registration to name a few tedious projects that are full of complications which take a long time and much energy to complete.  Wills and trusts are totally different than in the US and should always involve an attorney.  Because there are few regulatory laws to govern transactions like real estate, it is easy for ineffective lawyers to cut corners, avoid due diligence, and just move on leaving their client with little recourse if there are problems.

It is hard to find a lawyer who fills the requirement of honesty, reliability, and expertise at a cost you are willing to pay. We have friends who bought a home on the coast only to find out later that the seller did not own it even though they had a lawyer draw up the sales agreement (honesty).  We sold our house six months ago and the buyer’s lawyer still has not delivered the deed to the new owner (reliability). We have other friends who, in the finalization of their residency and after delays that ran into months, fired their lawyer, hired another and had their residency within weeks (Expertise).  Almost everyone we know could tell a story.

Most of our friends here fall into one of the three following categories, those who do not use a lawyer for anything and wing it on their own, those who are most interested in finding the least expensive lawyer for their needs, and those who want the best and most reliable lawyer they can get to avoid any future problems.
It is our opinion that the third choice, a good lawyer who speaks English and Spanish, is honest, reliable and has the expertise, will  open the doors to the complex bureaucracy in Ecuador that requires a great deal of leg work and too much risk to try on your own.

There are hundreds of lawyers or Abogados in Cuenca and you will find them tucked away in little store fronts throughout the city.  Inside there will be a table or two and a few chairs. But almost none of these lawyers speak both English and Spanish which is quite important to a newcomer and we would not suggest using them.

Probably, and only through word of mouth, will you be able to find the right fit for you. That said, we wholeheartedly recommend that you interview Grace Velastegui and her husband, Nelson, our lawyers for the last two years. They have taken us through the residency process, the purchase and sale of our home, the complex re-registration of our car when our registration was lost, Ecuadorian wills, and the complexities of Ecuadorian custody law for our grandson, Jonny.  Every cent we have spent with them has been worth it. They are honest, have a high level of expertise, speak English, and can be counted on to be prompt and efficient.

It is easy to correspond with them at gracevelastegui@yahoo.com.  We think it will be well worth the effort.