Relaxing on Sunday

Our first Sunday here in Casa Rosada…and some adjustments!  Night noises- we could hear the carnival celebration until 4 am, and some sort of demon cricket was driving me crazy, but Kelly slept like a log!   Second, the appliances have instructions in Spanish (good thing we packed the dictionary)!  One word at a time…we changed some things around…the house is sparsely furnished, but all we need.   There is no air-conditioning and you burn small pieces of wood in the fireplaces or use a propane tank heater (on wheels) if you get too cold at night.  There is a “gas shed” that holds 3 tanks of propane (at a cost of $3 per tank- one for the hot water, and one for the dryer and one for the stove).  These tanks last about 3 weeks with normal use.  The electric bill is around$17.00 per month.

We ate leftovers from yesterday, along with some fruit for our meals.  I popped popcorn and was very proud of myself- it’s a gas stove and I’ve never used one…heck, I never used an electric one much! You may have noticed in the photos that there are no light fixtures here- just a few paper lanterns to cover some bulbs.  Light fixtures are expensive, and are not provided by the builder.  We love this style of house – Kelly is really interested in learning more about this type of construction.   We are about 25 minutes from town if we walk, which we’ll wait and do tomorrow.  Today, we’re a little tired and just trying to acclimate to the altitude.  Today is cool and cloudy and we went exploring nearby.

The roads around us are cobblestone or dirt.  The dwellings range from very poor to the affluent, and most of them are guarded or sheltered with gates…this is a leftover from the Spanish Inquisition era.

The country here is pastoral…we walked to some newly constructed condos that we had seen on House Hunters International and the views from there are spectacular.   You can see our house from there too.  Bentley, our gracious neighbor is friends with Carolina, the realtor we saw on HHI showing these same condos!  Can’t wait to meet her.

We came back and opened windows…I think I found the perfect climate for any woman in menopause!  Around 65-70 degrees during the day and 40’s at night.  It’s very peaceful here and we are looking forward to exploring the village of Cotacachi tomorrow.  The shops open at 10am, close from 12 to 3, then open again until 6 pm.  You have to plan your shopping trip! Ecuadorians seem to be more motivated by spending time with family and friends than anything else.

So glad we got Skype to call family and friends, but the internet connection here is very, very slow – especially if it’s cloudy or raining.  Please be patient with us!

We saw two beggars on the street yesterday…it breaks my heart, just like it does anywhere else- then Bentley told me that the woman doing the begging owned half the block!  She comes out on the weekends and gets money from the gringos!

Found out that it costs $1.00 to mail a letter, and we have to go to Ibarra or Otavalo.  It also costs $1.00 to receive a letter…you do not get mail at your address here like in the States…although it is very “small town” and everyone knows where you live! No UPS or FedX…there is a DHL in Otavalo, but shipping something is expensive.  We were advised to buy a nylon duffle bag in Otavalo, and stuff it with the items we want to take home (as a carry-on).

We met our next door neighbor today, Christina who is a lawyer from Washington. Tomorrow we’ll explore the village and I’m pretty pumped about Calle de Agosto (leather street)!

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