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.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

What’s familiar and what’s hard to find

We seem to be always writing about what is different and unusual in Ecuador but that really doesn’t help someone who is thinking of moving here who wants to know what to bring and what familiar items they can get here at the stores.  While we will list things common to someone who lives in the US, please be aware that there are many, many items both locally made and imported that are available in addition to this list. This list is far from complete. Some familiar items may be available and we have not yet found where to get them. These are just some hundreds of familiar products that will make purchasing easier until you get to know the less expensive, locally made products. Almost every product listed here has a local counterpart, often as good or better and certainly cheaper.  It took us a while but the only items on this list we still buy regularly are Colgate toothpaste, Reynolds wrap and Cascade dishwasher soap.

Drugstore items – Colgate toothpaste; Speed Stick, Dove, Mitchem & Arid deodorants; Head and Shoulders & Pantene shampoos; Nutrogena and Nivea products, Listerine mouth wash; Centrum Vitamins;  Phillips Milk of Magnesia; Eucerin & Lubriderm body creams.

Supermarket items – Cascade dishwasher soap; Dove hand soap; Sprite, Coca Cola & Pepsi; V8 Juice; Aunt Jemima Pancakes; Clorox, Ritz Crackers, McCormick spices, Jiffy peanut butter; Huggies Diapers; Scott Toilet Paper; Kleenex; Dasani & Evian bottled water; Kraft American and Velveta cheese; Reynolds wrap; WD40; Splenda & Sweet and Low sweeteners; Royal puddings; Berio Olive Oil; Kraft mayonnaise; Del Monte Creamed Corn; Twining and Celestial teas; Ruffles, Dorito, and Lays chips, Motts apple juice; Haagen Dasz Ice Cream, Heineken, Bud, and Corona Beer; Almost every liquor and wine found in the US.

TV – Samsung, Sony, LG

Computers – Toshiba laptops; blank CD’s & DVD’s; Epson, Canon & Lenmark printers

Cell phone – Nokia, Samsung & Blackberry phones

Stationary Store – HP printer paper; HP and Canon ink cartridges; bic pens; Stabilo Boss highlighters; Scotch tape; Duracell & Energizer batteries

Cars – New and used Hyundai, Chevrolet, Toyota, VW & Subaru; BMW & Mercedes less obvious but you see some.

Driving – right side of road; international road sign shapes but in Spanish.

Money – Ecuador uses dollar; ATM’s; familiar banking systems.

Electricity – 120 volt; common plugs.

Water – Cuenca has excellent drinkable city water.

Obvious omissions (these may be things to bring) – English books; Household cleaners; English software; English keyboard; yellow lined pads; Printer compatible photo printer paper; B vitamins; US DVD players don’t play Ecuador DVD’s; incandescent light bulbs; Braun power tooth brushes; Vick’s NyQuil cold medicine; High end camera equipment; High thread count sheets; Wireless headphones; 8 ½ x 11 paper and file folders.

The lists of familiar products and those hard to find could go on and on. This is just to give some inkling of the large amount of popular products sold in the US that are available here. 

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