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.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Census Update

Today is census day in Ecuador. At 7:00am, we looked out the window at a seemingly deserted city of a half-million people.  It was apparent that the lock-down was total.

Not a car, person, or bus was in view.  The streets were deserted. A few birds flew by the window that were not paying attention to the curfew.  They were all that moved.

Minutes later, six policemen in dress uniform walked abreast down the center of our street.  A half hour later a man and young boy, both carrying backpacks, meandered down the street, the first of many census takers that we would see on the street. In the previous weeks, High school students had been trained how to take the census and were today often seen in the company of their teachers as they made their way from house to house. It seemed strange to look out of our windows at the thousands of homes and apartments with the knowledge that, in every one, there were families waiting for the doorbell to ring. No one was at work. There were no church services this Sunday census day. No markets or restaurants were open. Everything was closed for the day. And, strangely, there were no fireworks to wake us in the morning. The entire population of Ecuador was at home waiting for the door bell to ring. 
Our day wore on, ten, twelve, two o’clock and the world outside remained as still and unchanged as a photograph. A fast and furious rain squall at two o’clock must have drenched many of the census takers. At three, two young men from our nearby high school arrived to fill out our forms. Seventy-four questions and a half hour later, they put away the forms and went on to the next of 15 households they would visit. After a polite goodbye, they dragged their tired bodies up to then next floor to do it all over again with our neighbors. All the rumors and apprehension we had anticipated were over. It was simple, direct and involved no questions about wealth or money, required no signatures or identification, and seemed mostly concerned about the quality of everyone’s living conditions. At five, the city came alive again, as if time had been asleep. 

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