Thursday, April 18, 2013

Final Farewells

The last week is here. I must say I don't think I will miss the buses here. Thursday we went down to Cuenca for a convention and a chance to see our friends on more time. The bus ride was nearly 8 hours and long. No matter how many times it happens, I will still not get use to a lady sitting down beside me, pulling out here breast, and feeding her baby, then just letting it hang out for a while in case the kid gets hungry again.

Aidan and Monica
In Cuenca we had a chance to spend some time with new and old friends. I must say that our organization is truly the greatest in the world. Who else can have true family, Anywhere, Anytime, with Anyone even though they don't know anybody in a given town or country. The friends and family here of every race and culture that we have made will be there forever. So good are these friends that Sunday was a difficult day to say goodbye. I think we were among that last 15 people to leave the convention.

Back in Banos for our final few days, we have now had a chance here to say goodbye to friends. Again a difficult thing. We've only known them for a few months but it seems like forever. To have people who you've only spent 2 months with coming to you, hugging you, and asking WHEN not IF
The boys are back in town



Our Family in Banos


you will return. Again last night I think we spent about 45 mins taking pictures with different families. I can only say that we truly have an international family.




Today and tomorrow we will try and relax a little and Friday night Saturday morning is the big day. See you soon. And to the next adventure we go. Or start to prepare for our next one.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The cost of going home

Sad to think down to the wire and less then 10 days left on an incredible journey. Off to Cuenca for one last visit tomorrow for a convention and then we head home and have 4 days left. As we prepare to go home you get a realization it will cost a lot to go home. In fact I bet I could live here for several months on that cost.

Things to factor in that maybe you don't think about before coming but realize as you head home. We sold our house and now will need to rent an apartment. In Ottawa rentals run at about 1200$ a month and we will need first and last months rent. Our car we kept so thats a good thing but that being said it's been sitting for 9 months so needs some work probabky somewhere between $500-1000. And if you are going to drive you need insurance so there's another $1000 for the year. These are the basics but unfortunately there is more.

Clothing here in Ecuador is not well made and with all the walking and washing your clothes take a beating. Plus you will probably lose weight so now you need to buy clothes when you get home. And yes one final thing technology here is expensive so you are best to bring items that you don't mind selling. The nice thing about this is that the money you make selling your items you can use to buy new items back home.

One of the last factors is work. If you have a job to come home to then that's great and helps. But remember you may not have a check for 2-3 weeks after you start. If you don't have a job it's time to hit the pavement looking. At least I do have a job to go home to which helps a lot. Everything having been said is it's definitely worth the time and money to have an adventure such as this. And personally I look forward to doing it again. Maybe Mexico next time.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

One month left

Sitting here in my wife's hammock in our living room it dawns one month left, in fact a little less. One month of being home with the family everyday for more then a few hours. One month of enjoying life the way things were suppose to be. And though I say the way things were meant to be I guess if you live here and need to work you would dispute that fact.

To have to work 8 hours a day for 300$ a month. To live in a home with nothing more then a cement slap for a floor and one room with a bed that converts to a table. Everyone sleeping in the same room and yet they are happier then most of us in North America could ever be. Why, how can that be. They have what they need. A roof over their heads, food for the day, and most important Family. The struggle seems little, but the rewards are large.

We have made some good friends here. Close friends, in fact I would say that it is hard to find friendships like this back home. Its great to be able to just pop in on someone or have someone pop in on you. To then spend 3 or 4 hours playing cards and chatting as best as you can even though you don't know the language that well. Our friends have helped us greatly and we will miss them.

But as much as I will miss our friends and life here there are things I look forward to back home. To enjoy a savory hamburger again, or the taste of a poutine, and nothing like a good breakfast with buds. I look forward to golf and hockey again. Sad to say its not an easy sport to play here as the courses are expensive and for members only.

And I also, sad to say look forward to heading back to work. To see clients and work closely with them. But most of all I look forward to seeing old friends and hope that I can give them a little more insight into the life we have and the things we miss because of what we have.

Ecuador you will be missed.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

A crazy weekend

What a weekend. We had some friends down from Cuenca and what a blast it was. On Saturday we returned to Pailon Del Diable. Its quite the waterfall. I've written about it a few times and for the 1.50$ to visit it really worth the trip. If in Banos hop any bus headed to puyo or tena and get off in Rio Verde, once there its a 5 mon walk to the entrance and worth the walk and the money.

Sunday we went to Rio Negro where we had our meeting. I had a privilege to conduct the watchtower in Spanish. It took a little getting use to plus I had to fight the tendency of using french words but we made it through and no laughed to hard. After that we went into the back yard and the was a parrot sitting on the branch in the yard saying Hola! He was not a domesticated bird, he was free one just flying free. We then had a nice little lunch at a local restaurant called Abulos. Food was good and the price was okay. The problem was getting home. We had to wait nearly an hour to actually get a bus to stop for us.

Monday. A trip to the jungle. We returned with our tour guide from last time Sixto. Very reliable, knows his stuff, and is training some new staff. We had a great time. Took a hike through the jungle, visited the waterfall and had a great lunch. No monkeys this time but definitely worth the trip. we tired our friends out but I think they had a good time. If I could I would love to stay here and guide gringos on trips like this. To show them around and see how they enjoy the new scenarie. It is worth every minute. 

Pailon Del Diable 

Zip line baby

We could have spent the night in here


The warriors are ready
And even though our friends were leaving Tuesday we still managed to have a blast. We started with the zip line. Quite the rush 1km out and a 500ft drop over the water. It had to be done once. I took my camera and turned on the video and in the shuffle of getting set for the launch i must have powered it off so I got no footage of the trip down. Which means I'll have to try it again.  We then made our way into Banos for Kone pizza and in the fashion of most Ecuadorian business what was suppose to open at 1 was not open yet at 2. On our way home we got on a bus and a gentleman on the bus beside us had a bottle of water that did not contain any water. He was singing and dancing like there was no tomorrow. Quite humorous for us but not for those on his bus. Then as our bus was backing out he hit the bus behind us. At this point we are thinking who else has a bottle of water that doesn't have any water. So we sit and wait for the drivers to work things out and while we are waiting what happens across the street but a car T-bones a jeep at the intersection. Now they say bad things happen in threes and the fear is what will happen on the way home. Fortunately nothing, BUT, the driver lost time because of his accident so drove even crazier then usual around the 500 foot drop mountains.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

ManaƱa

So another day in paradise. Its quite nice being here in the small town of Rio Verde, although it does present some new challenges. The bus being one. We have had to wait upwards of 30 minutes in the rain to catch a bus home, which can be a pain. Since there is no butcher in town we asked our neighbor for a chicken as she provides this service and somewhere lost in communication we got a chicken except she cooked it and provided soup as well. Not a bad thing just a bit of a surprise when it arrived and we had already had supper. And laundry can be interesting. As mentioned Heidi does a hand wash of the basics every morning and once a week we end up busing into town to drop our bedding and larger items for wash. We brought our stuff to the 2 hour wash the other day at 10 in the morning she weighed the items wrote everything down and then told us it would be ready at 8 pm. I guess the 4 had fallen off the board from beside the 2 (24 hr wash). Either way it was okay as we had a meeting at 6:30 that evening and I ran over after the meeting to pick up our stuff.

Service has been quite fulfilling. Our first day out we spoke to quite a few people in our little town. The territory is worked every 3-4 weeks but people are still willing to talk. Someone studies with our neighbor across the street so we had a chance to meet them and know them a little better. Next week we have to hike up the side of the mountain and see 4 houses there. Plus in town here no ties necessary. We went into town on Saturday for service and that was just as productive. We met a gentleman in his sewing shop who had studied with someone twice a week and then I understood he suddenly stopped coming. That evening at the meeting I asked the friend I was with who the person was that was studying with the gentlemen we met as it turns out he died 11 years ago. So I guess I have my first study here.

Meetings are very good and we are really starting to understand a lot of the language. I really hope by the time we go home to be fairly fluent. Next weeks meeting will be even better as the hall we are associated with is split into 2, since the territory is so large there is a meeting in the next town over from us every Sunday. There are only 14 friends that go there. When I told them we were going to be going they were quite happy. In fact I may even have a chance to do the reading on Sundays once in a while. Practice, practice, practice.

Manaña - so here we are, why Manaña. Living in this sleepy town has given a new appreciation for tomorrow. The running river is relaxing, our king size bed is relaxing, the fireplace is soothing, the coffee although it takes 30 minutes to make seems all the more enjoyable, and the beer is calming. I wake up some days and just want to do what I have to do, manaña, as today I want to do nothing. And today may well be one of those days. Its the election so everyone is busy voting and nothing is up and running so I think neither will I.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

One Week In

So here we are 1 week later. Its a cozy little place but different living without certain amenities. For example every 2 days Heidi washes the clothes by hand since we don't have a wash machine or dryer. Then we hope the day stays nice and warm so that the clothes dry. Our oven is a square block that has 2 settings very crispy or extra crispy. The banana bread turned out good but the pan is another story all together. I don't think she'll make it. For coffee we have to boil some water, and then we have a 1 cup percolator for the brew. As for food, there are 2 small tiendas or convenience stores in town which provide the basic necessities.  We can get milk, eggs, fruit, veggies, penguino which is ice cream, as well as cerveza. Anything else we need to make our way to town which is about 15 minutes away and a different story altogether. Oh ya and if we want chicken for 10$ we can pick one across the street and our neighbor will kill and pluck it for us. So if that big black one comes back on my property oh baby look out.

Interestingly enough my internet is better here then in the great modern city of Cuenca, go figure. We also have cable and a TV. The kids are so happy for TV again.

The way to town. So the bus goes by and sometimes goes by again and again but, finally one will stop and pick us up. The process can take 20-30 minutes to catch a bus to Banos. Or in some cases you can catch the bicycle taxi as in the picture below. Now the other issue is don't miss you're stop like we did. We were about 5 minutes out of town and realized things didn't look quite right and had to taxi back to make our group for service only to realize that we were the only ones who showed up. Thats okay it gave me a reason to come into town for my favorite, Breakfast.

Back of bicycle taxi

Under the falls

Pilion Del Diable 
Life here is a little too nice and easy going. Kids can go outside and play in the river behind the house, we can go for hikes up and down the mountain side, and yesterday we went to the Pilion Del Diable a beautiful powerful waterfall. Its funny I was complaining about having to pay 1.50$ each to see it, but then we realized if you wanted to see and stand under Niagra Falls it would cost somewhere near 30$ so I guess I can deal with 1.50$ for now.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Home for a month or so

So in the Tessier manner we have moved again. Actually nice to be able to do this on a short term basis. We got a house in Rio Verde which is about 15 minutes outside of Banos de Ambato. Its a quite little town. There is a park, a tienda, and a massive waterfall. Its called devils caldron. We live about a 10 minute walk to the waterfall.

The house is exactly what we wanted. Brick and wood house with 3 bedrooms. A beautiful fire place. And the house is sitting in front of the river, nestled between the mountains. We live down a dirt road that apparently leads to another waterfall. We will have to explore and see. I've included a few shots of the house. Amazing to see the creation all around and enjoy Gods natural beauty.

We're down to the wire, 10 weeks left on the adventure. Do we stay here for the remaining time or head back to Cuenca. Time will tell but for now this is the place to be.