Saturday, Apr 30, 2016

It is my anniversary today! Thirty three years journeying this planet with my wonderful wife who is beautiful both inside and out. It’s been hard; it’s been fun; it’s been rewarding for me in more ways than I count as a man, a husband, and a father. I’m waking up this morning next to my wife…we are semi-homeless, survivors of a major earthquake, in a country thousands of miles away from what we know as home. Happy Anniversary sweetheart! Diamonds and pearls are overrated; it’s not every husband that can give you this gift on number 33.

We are out looking for a place to live. Easton had called on an ad and arranged for a local Ecuadorian realtor to pick us up and show us some apartments. There is a 5K race to raise money for the earthquake victims happening right now. The realtor called us to say the roads are blocked and he can’t get to us, so we started walking to meet him.

After a few phone calls we finally coordinate and meet. His name is Daniel. He’s 33 and looks like he’s in his early twenties. I like his pleasant attitude. Oh, and he speaks fluent English. Bonus for the gringos today!

The first place he drove us to is a house in an area that feels pretty far from El Centro. As we are waiting outside for the owner to show up and let us in, Daniel’s phone rings. The owner is drunk and not coming. Well! At least he told us. I didn’t like the area anyway so no loss as far as I’m concerned.

The next place we look at is an apartment on the 9th floor of a condo building closer to where I want to live. It’s a completely modern 3 bed/3 bath, furnished, laid out fairly well, and has a nice balcony. The owner wants $800 per month.

A short distance from that building is another apartment that is much older, and unfurnished on the 5th floor. It’s $400 per month. Although it had some character, the bathrooms were so old and grimey that it would require a complete remodel to feel comfortable living there.

The other places Daniel had to show us were unavailable to see until Monday, so he dropped us off back at Otorongo.

Easton had also set up an appointment with a local Realtor named Carlos. Carlos picked us up and showed us a brand new apartment on the 3rd floor in a nice building in a nice neighborhood. It’s $800 per month. The problem is that almost every window looked at a brick wall of the building standing next to it.

The next one he showed us was a furnished apartment in a building that was one of several high rise buildings that had a “project” type feel to it. The apartment was old, relatively nice for it’s age, but windows looked onto walls of other buildings.

The last place Carlos showed us was in a neighborhood by the airport. I immediately didn’t like the area. It was just too far from anything that interested me. The apartment was on the 3rd floor of a 3 story house. There was no elevator. A very cute Andean grandmother type was there to show us the place. She was warm and friendly. I believe her family lived on the second floor.

She tried to show us the large, enclosed patio area in front of the house where she said everyone joins each Saturday underneath the big umbrella covering the large round planked table, surrounded by loads of flowering potted plants, for a BBQ lunch. I would love her as neighbor. The apartment however isn’t going to work out.


An interesting building in El Centro

Carlos drove us back toward our place and we asked him to drop us off in El Centro. We were hungry and going to find a place to eat. After we were dropped off it started pouring rain.  We walked 30 min through El Centro looking for a place to eat, but everything we saw was closed. We finally found a restaurant very near to the Otorongo Apts and we had a great lunch and some very good, hot coffee.

We lingered there over lunch talking about what we saw, what we liked and didn’t like, what we wanted in a place to live. Easton’s phone rang. It was Daniel. He just found a house. It was a brand new remodel. The top unit was a 3 bed/3.5 bath with a terrace close to the Yanuncay river. The bottom unit was a 2 bedroom. The owner said he would furnish it for us. He was asking $750 per month.

Daniel drove over and picked us up to go see it. By the time we got there it was dark. The place looks great. The layout is such that Chase and Easton could have their own space on the top floor, Heidi and I on the main floor. We asked to see it tomorrow during the day.

The owner was there and through Daniel we asked him about an oven. This place doesn’t have one. I guess in Ecuador it is very common for homes not to have one. They have stove tops and microwaves. Daniel said most Ecuadorians don’t do any baking. At any rate the owner agreed to put an oven in. Hopefully this place will work out!