The Ecuadorian is an enormously friendly person. There are many rumors that it is impossible to get close to an Ecuadorian if you are a gringo. We have not found this to be the case and thankfully have made a number of close friends with the locals. There is a much stronger cast system here than we have ever seen before, a real division between the have and have-nots, the educated and the working class, or those with Spanish heredity and the indigenous Indian population. We shocked our Ecuadorian friends when we greeted our Indian maid with the ubiquitous Ecuadorian greeting hug. Speaking of hugs, it is very common when you first meet someone to give them a hug and a bus on the cheek. Friends, male and female, almost always greet each other this way. When you thank someone for something with ”Gracias,’ the common reply is “De nada,” or literally “It is nothing.” When you ask directions to a store or a street you are unfamiliar with, the person you have asked will always tell you something whether they know the answer or not. It is embarrassing to them to not be able to give you the answer to your question. It would make them feel foolish, so they tell you something, anything to seem knowledgeable. However in contrast, downtown, if you stop in a store and ask where something is, more often than not if it is close by, the clerk or proprietor will walk you there to show you. Such gracious and unsolicited friendliness is the rule not the exception.
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.