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Monday, 27 February 2017

Carnaval 2017 in and around Quito

Hi all  I am hopeless at consistency when it comes to these blog posts just choca with work at the minute, anyhow Carnaval every year without fail my Carnaval has been spent on the beach soaking up the sun getting burnt and looking like a lobster while supping on a few beers,but living in Quito we decided to give it a miss and start exploring a few places, one reason being i have been asked many a time about certain areas and I could never give an honest opinion until now, so here are the 3 places in question
Otavalo
I hear of many expats living here or try to sell the thought of living here, but remember i am not retired so maybe i just see a different picture to all of this, it is quite a big place spread out lovely houses, which is maybe a good enough reason to move there? but the main attraction is the hand crafts Otavalo has to offer, they are really amazing clothes, rugs loads to choose from i was well impressed, a place where i will take my mother when she comes over  i am sure she will love it, but for me once you look past the crafts what else is there? i even asked my brother in laws and they both said nothing this is the main thing people come for nothing else fair enough, which makes you think how many times can you go to the same crafts place before you get sick? if you have never been i suggest you definitely go, but to live not for me, here are some pics we took then i will move on to Cotacachi.












                   Cotacachi

Ok for this place it is known as a Gringo community, not from my mouth but the locals, first impressions beautiful houses out the way of  cities the air seemed quite fresh, and looking at the billboards white water rafting must go on here pretty cool, when driving in the place reminded me of Conocoto in the valle de los chillos same sort of layout in my opinion, but Cotacachi is known for it´s leather products, some amazing jackets shoes ,bags that sort of thing some of the motorbike jackets looked like the real deal, if i get a bike i will come back and buy from here, prices are expensive though if you are thinking with an Ecuadorian mind, but if you are a tourist with money to blow you will find some nice things, Ambato is by far the cheapest and best in my opinion for these kinds of products or am i wrong?
So yeah it was ok being and yes i saw loads of Gringos loads, like a local get together, but we walked past a group and one man piped up and said ¨there are far too many gringos coming into town¨ as though what a shocker, my family understood as most of them speak English so they laughed as though to say rich coming from you, i never said a thing,  then we crossed the road had a look in a few shops and saw another group, was hard not to hear but they were whinging on about someone who had moved here and they clearly didn´t like the person, you know expat communities do they really work is this something you all want to be a part of? for me it´s a no these people must walk up and down the high street every weekend saying the same crap , because again when you look past the shops there is nothing there either, which we all agreed on. here are some pics of the leather products lovely stuff though.




Ibarra was the next place the climate being a lot warmer than previous reminded me a little of  Manabi but was bearable here with a nice breeze to it, ¨Yahuarcocha lagoon¨ this is where the Spaniards invaded years ago a war between them and the locals of the land, many died in the lake so they say all the blood from these people lies in the bottom of the lake, nice little story, so this was a great place you must go for yourself, we had some food if you drive around the right hand side many restaurants there, so we went for the fish rice salad and empanadas the fish comes out the lake quite nice, from then on we went to the main tourist part where we al hopped on board a boat and went for a lap around the lake, it´s quite a nice setting and worth staying over to really appreciate certainly in the pipeline for later in the year, here are a few pics shout out if you know the exact name before i post it






The final place was Atuntaqui
in most towns and cities you are sure to find places that sell clothes fakes made in Ecuador but some are really good , The marin in Quito is huge and so is this one, i was told this is where you get the best clothes from, and i will agree with some of the things i saw and bought, it wasn´t just busy for Carnaval it is like this all the time so i was told, anything you want you can pretty much get there food beers it´s all good, but take that away and again there is nothing, if  you want to live in areas like this go for it, but sometimes the novelty will wear off, i just think it is nice to go out to places like this for the day shop til you drop but then go back home, maybe i have missed something in all of these places, but i can most of this back in Quito without the long drive. didn´t get any pictures here but a video i will try to put up soon, i hope this explains a few things about these locations if you think i am wrong please tell me, final pic as we were heading home the mountains were so high the picture doesn´t do it justice

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Is it expensive living in Quito?

Is it expensive living in Quito?
This is a constant question being asked, that i  see on so many forums, and as you can imagine so many mixed answers,so my little take on this is a short answer of  No it is not expensive if you follow the correct path,
The path i am talking about is the normal one the Ecuadorian way, what is good for the goose is good for the gander. If you want to live a high-end luxury lifestyle here then expect to pay for it especially in the North if you want to spend over 2k per month on rent you can find places that charge that number or close to it,  this is all to do with personal preference,
If you mention the area Cayambe the first thing that comes out of an Ecuadorian mouth is Gringos and ones that have money automatically labeled just for living there,
But my favorite is a Gringo stating that if you live in the Sur then that means you are poor wrong!
many professionals Doctors Lawyers opt for  this life as they can buy or rent Property at affordable prices and simply travel to work like most,
For example you can rent a 3 bedroomed apartment for $180 per month and your bills including water power internet gas are a lot cheaper than living on the coast.  power and water here i have found is $25 a month all appliances on washing tv stereo that sort of thing generally that is the going rate Renting a furnished property  maybe $300 a month, but if you are planning on buying in the area you can pick up furniture at decent prices.

Shopping malls yes this is where you can say it is expensive, if you want to buy your favorite original designer brands as you would back home expect to pay a lot more sometimes triple the price, it might sound crazy but importing these good in pays the price hence why it is expensive, but having said that this is Ecuador and not everyone would go and spend $150 on a top, which is why there are endless amounts of stores back street shops that sell everything for next to nothing copies fakes,but they are very good fakes could you really tell the difference with some? if you don´t like what you see there are many highly skilled tailors ho can make whatever you want still at a very low price, sizes here are a problem for the taller or larger person sometimes custom made is the best way.

Coffee shops restaurants in a mall, this is where the prices are bumped up, you can find all of this outside street food or local watering holes ou can literally walk past a cafe or restaurant every 30 seconds so you will be spoilt for choice.

I am not saying stay out of shopping malls, because i like to spend time there with my family it isn´t all expensive, but when food is a high demand fresh produce etc i suggest go to the market,  the Mercado is seriously a big place they  sell everything all  your meats fruits and vegetables you can get a lot for your money there and also haggle to get an even better deal, just looking at the layout is an experience in itself so much to choose from highly suggest you shop there.

Looking away from the mall and focusing on some recreation time with the family or friends we have two huge parks minutes away, football pitches,tennis courts kids play areas,go karting paintball,inflatable castles,bike track or just places to sit chill out eat and drink from the stalls,value of this priceless, you will find Quito really is a great place for family activities especially on a Sunday nice day out and costs nothing really.

Schools there are many to choose from my boy is at a private school, which has a transportation service to and from the house price wise it is on par with his old school in Portoviejo, but i feel he has a great set up here teachers are great, the school itself is secure and very well organised  also boasting a  good standard of English so if the teacher doesn´t understand what he is saying in Spanish he simply tells the English teacher, It´s a relief knowing he is settled already from the teachers reports he is enjoying  it and working hard even though he tells me he does nothing, so if you are coming over with kids, don´t worry you will find a school no problem

Not everyone´s preference  but i feel the car is not needed here unlike living in Manabi, because everything i need is right here the local Quicentro Sur is only a few minutes away, transport accessibility is brilliant the Trole bus going from South to North,right on the doorstep  the main terminal Quitumbe gateway to Ecuador isn't far either, you see i really don´t need the car up here, if anything it would just be sitting there or i would waste a lot of time and petrol for a simple commute that i can make for 25 cents because that is all the buses cost,only time i ould really need a car is if family come over day excursions  to and from the airport other than that  public transport is a thumbs up for me.

I can´t lie some days i do miss my Manabi life, but there is so much opportunity up here, the people are great always saying hello to me where ever i go  and because i am the only Englishman or should i say foreigner living in this area i am recognised on a daily basis all smiles and some commenting on the football, didn´t take long for them to know my team is Newcastle, its as though people search into  my team just to have a quick convo or maybe my team really does make the rounds over here?

So enough of the babbling the initial post was is it expensive to live in Quito?
Answer no for more information or some general advice just leave a comment below or you can message my email simondo1981@live.com  and i shall get back to you as soon as possible

Friday, 19 August 2016

Ecuador Earthquake the day Manabi fell

Ecuador Earthquake the day Manabi fell

Hi guys I wasn´t going to write this story/report but its out now, although it was a living nightmare, not just for me and my family, but the whole of Manabi, we are glad to be alive that´s the main thing, the government are doing a great job Raphael Correa really has impressed, hopefully within 5 years Manabi will be in a position to attract tourism again, this was totally unexpected something the people of Manabi will never forget
I would like to thank all who donated it really did help,
Since we have moved up to Quito there will be less posts on Manabi apart from the ongoing progress, which i shall keep you up to date with, we are still having earthquakes of a lower magnitute even here in Quito, ca´t say when this will stop, but if you are planning on coming here do some homework, or i can give you my honest opinion in the comments below
Ecuador earthquake view of Portoviejo after the devastation
Add caption

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ecuador-Earthquake-Manabi-fell-expats-ebook/dp/B01KNJ8UCC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1471619730&sr=8-1&keywords=ecuador+earthquake 

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Ecuador Expats living in Manabi the truth!

After being asked various questions i have finally created an ebook to help you with everything, many of you have similar queries which is understandable, the book is called Ecuador Expats living in Manabi the truth!
Book about life in Ecuador living in the Manabi province as an expat

Many people assume i am retired and just living out my years here, but this really isn't the case, if you go back through all of my posts you will see that all of this began from just a simple holiday on my own, which escalated into living here full time.

As previously stated Manabi or Ecuador even is not for everyone, people simply can not adjust to the culture or do without their usual comforting luxuries,and i don`t hold that against them, it is a lot to ask for at times, many people i have came across have lasted only a matter of weeks even days before having a change of heart , not what they expected, and rightly so, you see you find a lot of people who write about Ecuador but never tell you the bad side to things, they only tell you the good, and as a result they try to sell you this amazing life, but forget to show you the small print.

In my opinion the people that do this are retired Expats they have plenty of money and not a care in the world, but when things go wrong they can be like vultures preying on a new Expat to arrive, butter them up and before you know it you are doing business with them, renting a property from them or even being persuaded to buy this cheap property that isn't so cheap after all.

There are probably many of my readers present Expats,who will be cursing me saying i am talking out of my behind, but i have briefly chatted with a few people who felt cheated when they came here, but more so they felt disappointed because they thought they could trust their own, which is shocking behaviour who do you trust?

I am not saying every Expat does this, but there seems to be quite a trend going on, even i have been approached on a few occasions, maybe i have signed up to an Ecuador group, people seem nice then all of a sudden they are pushing me to invest, when they realise i have been living here longer than them they ease off, Another example a foreigner tried to fool me into buying a property for 30k more than the asking price, it`s not nice and really angers you so i tread very carefully when meeting Expats,

By reading Ecuador Expats living in Manabi the truth! you can see for yourself all of the mistakes i made, some that would just make you throw in the towel and walk away, but before making any commitment visiting here, the idea is to educate yourself through the resources i have provided and also understand  what to expect the moment you get off the plane,and what to expect to pay for life here,but most important to come with an open mind this is key to a successful trip.

Legal
Transportation services
The process of checking if cars are up to date with papers before you buy
Architect for advice
Personal translator
And many more are included to help get you started in your quest to becoming a future Expat

If you take a look at the book and have any further questions or simply fancy a chat all my details are listed there
I shall look forward to hearing from you
regards Si

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Why some expats could be destroying Ecuador

Why some expats could be destroying Ecuador
This is an interesting topic that has recently been brought to my attention is it really true? is it possible that some expats could be destroying Ecuador? at first i thought  it could be the over crowding in certain hotspots? because i do realise that more and more expats seem to reside in the same area and the community is growing largely, so i have listened to some views from a mixed group of Ecuadorians and here are some key points, which i totally agree with after speaking about,
Ok first off  ¨Change¨ yes Expats are trying to change areas to suit their needs,and not fitting into the society, is it intentional? no i don´t think so, maybe bars,cafes, restaurants that sort of thing in my eyes is normal,people who are not retired need to make a living,which also gives people a choice on what food they eat, but if it is affecting an Ecuadorians business because of cheaper prices, then yes they may have a point here, which brings me onto the main issue that has been highlighted here

Real Estate 
This really is ugly at the moment, and i hadn´t realised until it was pointed out to me, but Expats that are looking to make money big time over here, are the ones who buy up land in cash, build department complexes etc and charge a ridiculous price for them both for sale and for rent,which no Ecuadorian can afford,

Now a doctors salary isn´t bad depending on the level, but i briefly commented on a 3 bedroomed property 1 floor that is going for $70,000, nice area etc, he said it was do able, but he felt it was quite expensive,and he could get better for the same or for less, so he nearly had a heart attack when i showed him a new listing that i found on the internet, a 2 bedroom apartment  on the beach, which isn´t really developed yet it has a long way to go yet as it still doesn´t have basic amenities, but this was going for $205,0000, so quite a few swear words there, who the hell puts a tag on a property like that? simply a foreigner no intention of selling to the locals, but simply to sell to some other foreign MUG! yes a MUG, because only a complete idiot would go there and say that is reasonable.
So yes i am starting to understand how some people are thinking now, too many properties being built at extortionate prices, which in turn may eventually drive some locals out , what is good for the goose is good for the gander, if a foreigner can command that price and high rent why can´t an Ecuadorian, simple because knowone has the money to do that,

Coming into this country throwing your weight around because you have money is so wrong, by all means set yourself up nice house, if you need to earn a small income, there are many ways, but day light robbery to hit the big time is pretty bad, maybe you should of done this in your own country before you came here?
This is the main conversation i have with people here now Why some expats could be destroying Ecuador,
I myself, live like an Ecuadorian i respect the culture, i do not try to change things here,although i am married to an Ecuadorian, i am still really here as a guest in a foreighn country nothing more than that and never will be really, it is me that has to adjust, which isn´t easy, we all have our daily struggles and don´t agree with certain things over here,
Is this posting something to worry about if you are an Ecuadorian? yes if foreigners continue to buy into these houses, but honestly the way the country is now, i think it will be very hard for these expats to sell, maybe a school boy error that they may see in time, But if you are thinking of becoming and expat here think out of the box don´t follow the sheep, i hope this post Why some expats could be destroying Ecuador interests you, some input to this would be great, as there are always 2 sides to a story maybe this is good for the country in other ways? Leave a comment below and let´s voice some opinions

Friday, 12 February 2016

Housing complex in portoviejo

Housing complex in Portoviejo
I am quite excited to be the first person to share this new housing complex in portoviejo with you,
If you have been to Portoviejo or have researched it online, then you will know that there is a hospital called the Solca, a big white building located out the city between via crucita and leading to to the paseo lateral road, that specialises in cancer and other conditions, the company that built this magnificent building, have returned to Portoviejo to create a new housing complex, Fop Furoiani Obras Y proyectos is the name and are highly recommended for some of their previous work, designing one off mansions to peoples preference and with their head office being in Guayaquil they have built many projects some providing each house with a jacuzzi and swimming pool out the back. here is their video  of what they are aiming for along with a few images

housing complex in portoviejo

housing complex in portoviejo entrance

1 floor housing complex in portoviejo

2 floor housing complex in portoviejo


layout of housing complex in portoviejo  rows of houses with communal areas
The Portoviejo project is no different they are integrating their style by building 3 types of housing to compete with local housing projects currently going at present.This is not for anyone, mainly for professional based people, that is what they are aiming for, bringing a bit of luxury to the area and continuing to provide Ecuador with quality workmanship.

Following on from a post about why living in Portoviejo is a great place to live rather than the beach, i can further back this up, by illustrating the problems locals are now and have been facing lately in areas such as Crucita San Alejo pretty much all of the coast, where expats are eager to reside, unfortunately most of the roads have recently been wiped out due to adverse weather conditions,on the beach fronts some say was El niƱo? But it has left some peoples houses in tatters, and the big clean up is now beginning, truck loads of rocks on their way, to try to repair the main beach front roads.

Portoviejo is a short journey to the beach whatever direction you go.for me it´s a case of what´s good for the goose is good for the gander.

By purchasing a property in this new housing complex in portoviejo it will also guarantee you the resident visa, which so many look for these days if not going for the retirement stage yet. simply invest and once all is complete the local attorney will have everything sorted for you,


I am not a real estate person nor do i pick up any commission, but if you would like more information you can contact Jessica Garcia who also speaks English whatsapp 0998255343 or call direct 0980875629 7 days a week
To learn more about life in Manabi check out this newer post

Friday, 22 January 2016

English speaking Beach tour of Manabi

English speaking Beach tour of Manabi
From the last post about an English speaking guide in Manabi, i have had numerous emails  ranging from where i would suggest to live in Manabi, a request for some kind of english speaking beach tour of Manabi, that could be completed over a few days or even turn it into a weeks worth of travelling stopping over night at each beach.
This is exactly what myself and Marlon are trying to achieve, by showing you all of the lovely coastal areas that Manabi has to offer, you can decide for yourself we don´t need to sell it to you,

On this beach tour, which we are currently devising, you will have the opportunity to spend the day and night if desired, itinerary will consist of visiting potential property, walk along the beaches, finding some areas of outstanding beauty for you to take pictures while soaking up that sea air. stopping for a bite to eat whether it is a light lunch and a beer or to taste what the coast has to offer.we will also organise for you to ask questions to a few locals who will be happy to tell you a little history about the area, what it has become and what they feel it will be like for the future, an honest opinion,

While doing all of this if you wish to participate in any activities, such as boat trips to various islands, or even having a go at fishing then this can be added to the list.

Every beach has it´s own uniqueness  by the time you have finished your tour, you will have found your desired hot spot.

So the answer to  the first question (where i would suggest to live in Manabi?) really this all comes down to you, there are plenty of areas to choose from, either join an existing expat community or search for your own private retreat. myself i opted for living in Portoviejo, why? the main reason beach life seemed too hot for me, great going for a few days, but full time i may of struggled.

Although most people go for the beach as a first choice, some tend to change their mind through factors such as climate and basic amenities, for example you can check out my post on why live in Portoviejo over the beach, i shall look forward to your emails and please comment below, as there will be more coming soon once we have completed our packages for English speaking Beach tour of Manabi