Monday, July 30, 2007

Things You Can't Live Without When in Ecuador...

Dave and I have been in our new home for about five days and have already discovered what we absolutely cannot live without during the next two years:

Sunscreen: It is hot in these parts!! We knew that going in, but I don't think anything can prepare you for the blast of humidity that hits you as soon as the plane touches ground. And of course, it isn't as hot as it is going to get. It is winter right now in Ecuador--which basically means that it is not raining. Most people that we have seen have been wearing long pants and long sleeved shirts. The peoples' dress can be explained by two reasons; one is because they actually believe 77 degrees is cold, and the other reason is because looking nice and presentable is very important to them. Hardly anyone ever wears shorts or t-shirts, it is way too casual of dress. Dave was disappointed to learn that the majority of the clothes he brought would not work out for him. Many restaurants won't let you in the door if you are wearing shorts or jeans!

Water cooler: Dave and I were told many times that, "WE ARE NOT to drink the tap water." I guess it is a good way to lose a few pounds if you don't mind being ghastly ill. Due to that little fact, we have our own water cooler. The water man comes around every Saturday and will take our empty bottle in exchange for a new one for only $1.25. Great deal, yes? I have a feeling that most of our money is going to go to water suppliers, that boy can sure drink a lot of it.

The bottled water also came in handy when the water tank for our apartment went out. Not to worry, after talking to our British landlord's wife, who is Ecuadorian, in sign gestures and halted English/Spanish, we were told it would be fixed today. No problem.

Lysol Sanitizing Wipes: I think we are all aware of my "issues" with unknown germs and the possible sicknesses that can result. But you know Lysol wipes are important when Dave is asking for them to wipe off all possible surfaces and my boss says he can't live without them. The first thing we did when we got to our apartment, at 2:30 am Thursday morning, was clean the bathrooms. I packed a container, expecting it to last until we go home for Christmas. No such luck. We only have a few beautiful wipes left, there are just too many hard surfaces in our apartment! You can't find carpet anywhere in the city because of all the dust that finds its way in every crook and cranny. Every home has tile, good for sliding from room to room in your socks and for creating excellent echoes.

Off Bug Spray: There are many, many bugs in Ecuador. I think I saw the biggest flying beadle in the entire world today, a definite species left behind from the time of the dinosaurs. That baby was big. There are also many mosquitoes, the bug that I get along with the very least. Every mosquito bite I have ever received has swelled into a huge welt and knot. It gets dark about 6:20 in the evening right now and the bugs come out in full force at dusk. I put the bug spray on every morning and every evening, it has become part of my morning/evening ritual--right up there with brushing my teeth. Surprisingly, Dave does not seem to ever get a bug bite. He sails through the day without a problem. I hate that.

Other necessities include Purell hand sanitizer, I carry it everywhere and use it often; Vitalin, a magical concoction that disinfects fruits, vegetables, and kitchen utensils; and flower vases! Ecuador is one of the world's leading producers of roses, and of course has many more beautiful flowers growing year-round. You can get beautiful bouquets at the grocery store for under $2.00.

Ecuador is proving to be a beautiful, magical, wonderful place. We live in a beautiful apartment and in a very safe neighborhood. The people have been amazingly friendly and patient with our total lack of ability to communicate. We are so happy to be here and can't wait for visitors, just bring us some more Lysol Wipes!