Thursday, Aug 11, 2016

I really appreciate having my Magic Jack here in Ecuador. Before I left the states to move here I had looked at getting one, but never got around to it. After living here only a couple of weeks I realized the convenience it would have offered me.

Not only calling and talking with family and friends, but calling businesses…my bank, my brokerage firm, and other places that are not going to be on Whatsapp or FB messenger. I found work-arounds using Skype, but it is not as simple as using a phone connected to the Magic Jack.

If I remember correctly it has to be activated in North America too. I ended up ordering one, having it sent to my sister’s house in the states, having her son activate it, and then having it muled to me here in Ecuador. It was a bigger hassle than it needed to be if I just would have been proactive.

One last benefit is that there are many expats here who have Magic Jack, so calling each other on these phone numbers save minutes and money on the local cell number.

Heidi and I went to San Francisco market today to find some wall hangings to cover up some odd things on a couple of our walls. We weren’t finding what we were looking for until an Ecuadorian man grabbed our attention and took us inside a building, up two flights of stairs, and into a room filled with hundreds of alpaca blankets, hand woven wall hangings, alpaca ponchos and the whole shebang.

Heidi and her friend Donna have actually been here before. It was probably the same dude that grabbed their attention and took them here. Anyway, we did some negotiation and got what we needed. Negotiating is interesting here because there definitely is a price point on any item that individual vendors will not go past. There is some variation in vendors, but really not much.

Wall hanging designs

Wall hanging designs

When we got the wall hangings home, Heidi pointed out she didn’t understand how anyone could make them by hand for what we paid. Now before you think I am negotiating like some child slave-labor factory owner, I’m not. I only got the guy down $5 total. The fact remains that even at the offered price some high quality, hand made items are ridiculously cheap here. And this is something my wife has to remind me of since I am always wanting a deal…that part about me is true.

When we were finished at San Francisco market we walked a couple blocks to Tostao’s for a cappuccino. Having received our caffeine fix, we headed to the Rotary Market to look for some pots for Heidi’s flowers and also a cheap book shelf.

The Rotary Market, or Plaza y Pasaje de la Rotary, located on Gaspar Sangurima y Mariano Cueva, is filled with basic wood furniture, either unfinished or stained, wooden utensils, metal works, woven baskets, and pottery. It is one of our favorite little street markets here in Cuenca.

As we approached the entrance to the Rotary today we saw a very small girl sitting at a stack of colorful baskets. I’m sure her parents were close but I couldn’t tell who or where they were. This is such a different sight to witness coming from the US. There is no way, today, that any parent in the States would let their small child out of reach in such a busy market place. Although shocking on one level, it feels very comforting to not have that kind of stress and tension present here.

Rotary Market

Walking into Rotary Market, little girl playing

Little girl playing at stack of baskets

Little girl playing at stack of baskets









After finding a few pots that Heidi could use for her plants, we flagged a taxi and headed back to our place. The weather held up and although a cool wind was blowing, when the sun stayed out it was pleasantly warm. I am finding I’m doing much better mentally lately, and I swear it has to do with amount of sun I’m getting the last couple of weeks. Whatever the cause, I feel pretty damn good.