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.

Friday, December 25, 2009


Christmas Eve

Christmas is upon us and the frenzy is palpable.Tonight, the evening before Christmas eve, there were events everywhere. We insisted Jonny take a nap this afternoon as we knew he would be up late, then a taxi into town to conserve our energy and into the huge New Cathedral on Parque Calderon. Along with a thousand other revelers, we sat in a pew right by the orchestra and listened to the Cuenca Symphony play both English and Spanish Christmas carols. The cathedral is so huge that the acustics were not the best but the enthusiasm of the audience made up for it. Jonny clapped and sang along with the chorus.

We decided to go to the other Navidad event at the parque and entered the Old cathedral just across the square. As we entered, we heard a girl’s choir singing just prior to a very elaborate Christmas manger pagent.  After listening to them sing and act out the nativity scene, we went out into the parque where the 30 man Ecuadorian army band was playing rousing military music, slightly inappropriate but nevertheless very lively.  Jonny was rubbing his eyes by this point so we didn’t stay for the huge standing fireworks display to explode in all its glory. When we got home, the children in our building were all crowded around a huge paper balloon that had somehow chosen our yard to drop into. We looked up into the night sky which was filled with at least 15 paper balloons. More and more followed. They are like miniature gas balloons made of colorful paper around a frame that supports a wad of burning cloth. The heat from the fire causes the balloon to rise into the air where the wind takes it where it will. When the flame burns out the balloon falls gently to the ground. We watched one very large one rise up from town shooting off fireworks that lasted for at least five minutes. An amazing amount of balloons rose up from at least 9:00 to 11:00PM. At the stroke of eleven, we heard loud explosions and saw the smoke rising from the huge ground fireworks display at Parque Calderon.  Our only regret after such an evening full of Christmas was that there was so much going on in town that we might have missed something.  Tomorrow is the Children’s parade, a 6 hour long parade through town that is an absolute “don’t miss” event. Christmas in Ecuador is a more grand extension of our past Christmas’s and confirms, once again, that this country absolutely venerates children. Almost every event we went to was crowded with children and many were elaborate events directed just at them.  At the very least, Christmas in Ecuador brings out the child in everyone.

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