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.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

DVD Stores

Almost all DVD’s for sale are a pirated version of the original. You have to bend your ethics a little but there are few other choices in Ecuador if you want to purchase a music, movie or game DVD.  On almost every street in Cuenca, you will find a small Mom and Pop store with the walls covered with rack after rack of DVD’s in jewel boxes. Inside is a copy the original disc and a copy of the label on the outside of the box. 
Most cost $1.50 though some games run as high as $3.00. There is generally a good selection of movies that, with a click of the remote, can be switched from Spanish to English if necessary. Just ask the proprietor if your choice is available in English. They will put it into a DVD player and check for you. Music DVD’s have a more limited selection. There are very few classical or jazz discs available, a good selection of American rock but an absolute gold mine of Latin music. In the places we shop, they even have three disc music compilations that cost $5.00. Our apartment now vibrates to the Latin beat. Games are available but are limited in the Mom and Pop stores. However, at the mall there are a number of game shops where they have good choices for almost every game system. But a word of warning when buying pirated copies of originals. 
We bought new computers in Ecuador from one of the many computer stores. At our request, they put an English version of Microsoft Vista on both new computers. These were not licensed versions as licensed software in English is extremely hard to get in Ecuador. The Toshiba laptop has been running just fine as they installed a Toshiba version on it. But, the desktop, which was made from generic parts, had an unlicensed English version of Vista installed. Everything worked well for about a month until Microsoft shut it down automatically possibly because they were alerted it was an unlicensed version by the frequent updates or cookies or something we are not aware of. We installed it again and the same thing happened in about a month. The computer just went dead and could not be started. The computer store tried a half dozen distributors in Ecuador looking for an English version of Windows 7 and finally gave up. We then installed a Spanish licensed version of Windows 7 and all has been perfect. The only problem is deciphering all the commands which are in Spanish. But it has been a good way to expand our learning of Spanish. Though our experience with Windows has been frustrating, the pile of inexpensive movie and music DVD’s just keeps getting higher and higher. 

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