Long Time No Read

Ok, 3.5 years since my last post.  What can I say, they were starting to feel repetitive, and I got bored.  And I wouldn’t be writing this one, except for Things that are Happening.  Things that I’d prefer to say once, and not over and over in e-mails and texts to different friends and family.  (I’m going to be scavenging some of that e-mail content for this post — see if you can spot the bits I sent you! 😁)  Which was part of the point of the blog to begin with, so I guess I’m returning to it.  For this, at least.

“Recent” Events

I should take a moment to say where I’ve been the last few years.  Most of you know most of this already, but it’s worth a quick summary.  Particularly if you would ever consider retiring outside of the country — I have felt like I’ve been shirking my obligations in not giving my reviews of the various places I’ve been, so as to save you the mystery of wondering if those places were viable options.  So, without further ado, here’s the list:

Place Grade Comment
Oslo, Norway A+, $$$$$, 🥶 2017: Where I left the blog. Beautiful city, feels super comfortable, and has more varieties of Gjetost than I had any clue existed. But pricey to live in, cool in the summer, *cold* in the winter.
Stockholm, Sweden B, $$$$$, 🥶 I stayed in a suburb outside of the city proper, and didn’t really see enough of the city to be sure. What I did see was… fine. As pricey and cold as Oslo, but not as pretty and less Gjetost. ☹️
Playa Santana, Nicaragua C-, $, 🥵 2018: Basically a collection of very simple beach huts on the Pacific Coast. Temperature hot, but with a nice sea breeze. Adequate internet, if you didn’t ask a lot (2.5 Mbps). Small, cheap grocery huts with minimal selections of mostly processed foods, trucks driving by with fresh fruit, and dust storms while I was there. And bugs. Expats live there, not sure why. Not the worst place I’ve stayed, but I wouldn’t go back.
Granada, Nicaragua F, $, 🥵 Very simple, stucco-lined town next to a huge lake with tons of islands in it. A couple of decent, large-ish supermarkets, *very* good chocolate, and an Irish pub were its strengths. Hot and super humid, with plenty of mosquitos, poor internet, and very little to see or do were its minuses. It led me to change my post Costa Rica plans, from Panama to Buenos Aires, to escape the heat. The country had a partial revolution just after I left. Haven’t checked on them recently.
Sarchi, Costa Rica C, $, 🙂 Stayed in a place up in the hills more or less above the capital of San José. Nice temperature range (cool at night, pleasantly warm in the day), moderate rain, adequate internet. Not bad if you don’t mind small towns.
Buenos Aires, Argentina B+, $$$, 🙂 Large modern city very reminiscent of New York. Subways, lots of traffic, organic grocery stores, good internet, normal mid-latitude temps. It’s worthy, and I went back the next year.
Montevideo, Uruguay B+, $$$, 🙂 Across a bay from Buenos Aires. Very good internet. No subways, not as large or fancy as B.A., a little more worn, but slightly cheaper than B.A., less traffic where I was and it felt more comfortable to me. I went back the next year and stayed longer, and I’d choose it over B.A., if I had to.
Quito, Ecuador C, $$, 🙂 2019: The capital. In the Andes, 9,000+ feet altitude. Good, modern infrastructure, huge central public park, great pizza. *Huge*, well organized groups of Pokemon players. (Yay!) But *so* much traffic (with attendant noise and car exhaust)  that I cannot recommend it except for a quick tourist visit.
Cuenca, Ecuador A, $$, 🙂 One of my 3 fave cities. Also high in the Andes, about 500K people, reasonable traffic levels, quite walkable, *great* weather, good infrastructure, great internet, very pretty. Popular with expats. I went back in 2020… more on this later.
Lima, Peru D, $$, 🙂 Coastal capital city, often overcast but rarely rains more than a vague mist. I stayed in a fairly nice, Santa Monica-style area, but most of the city is pretty basic and hideous, with basic block buildings, lots of concrete, tons of badly-organized traffic. Will not be returning.
Cuzco, Peru C, $$, 🙂 Mostly notable as the gateway to Machu Picchu. Small Andean town, with nice bits in the touristy areas — though mostly cobblestones and few trees. Nice, cool temperature range, pretty arid most of the year. Not terrible, but no real reason to return.
Medellin, Colombia B-, $$, 🙂 2020: Nice areas, friendly people, Ok internet, decent climate up in the Colombian mountains, popular with expats. Too much pollution for my taste, and I wasn’t really impressed. Got out *just* before COVID closed all the borders, and I’m super glad about that.

These places basically took me from September 2017 to the present, almost 4 years. Part of that was that I took 2 runs through Latin America, staying 2-3 months in each place, during 2018-2019, and went back to Buenos Aires and Montevideo in both of those years. Then in 2020, I was supposed to go to Medellin for a month, revisit Cuenca for 3, and then go on to a couple of towns in Panama for the rest of the year. 2021 was going to be New Zealand, and maybe Bali and a couple of other places in Asia, and 2022 would maybe be back to Europe and hit up Estonia, and maybe Berlin, and Scotland again.

Then COVID happened.

I had spent February 2020 in Medellin, and planned on being at one Airbnb in Cuenca for March and another (where I’d stayed the year before) for April and May, before heading to Panama in June, where I’d stay in 2 highland towns for the next 5 months. But I’d been in Cuenca for just 2 weeks when everything stared shutting down. The city went into lockdown, and national borders started closing. I did move to my April/May Airbnb as planned, but Panama was, like, literally closed and I couldn’t go on.

So I had to cancel the June-August reservation, and then as things continued the August-November reservation as well.  (Panama was struggling. It’s not a huge amount better even now.)  Fortunately, when Ecuador went on emergency status that March, they suspended all of the visa expirations — partly because there was no one in the immigration offices to process visa extension requests. So they just said, look, there’s no one in the office, so if you got into the country legally, fuck it. Just stay until the emergency’s over, then we’ll worry about it.  Exceptionally sane of them, compared to how you expect government agencies to handle things.  They kept extending the emergency status, and didn’t end that until January. 

So, with Panama canceled, I just stayed here in Cuenca. There was no point to getting onto a packed plane to fly back to the U.S. for the holidays the way I usually do — via a plane filled with folks of indeterminate COVID status talking and coughing and breathing around me for 8 hours — and no point to being a disease vector to the friends and family that I visit.  Or to getting it myself in the U.S., being hospitalized, and having U.S. healthcare costs.  And once I got into the U.S., there were like 3 countries I could have flown to that would have let Americans in then, so that very nearly meant that I’m stuck in the U.S. and my travels would have to stop until it all got back to normal. I had to be stuck somewhere….

Of course, the State Department kept copying me on e-mails about evacuation flights from Ecuador (and Panama, where they knew I had been going) to the U.S. — typically to Miami. And I’m like, really? Leave Cuenca where they’re kind of keeping it more or less managed and they take public masking seriously? And fly to Florida of all places? To COVID-central?   Leave a place where, if I did get it, I could at least afford the healthcare, and fly to America where the healthcare costs would break me? Hell no!  I’m staying right here, thank you very much.

The Staying

Fortunately, Cuenca is a great place to get stuck in.

A view from the hills to the south, just below the Church of Turi, looking out over the city. A heck of an uphill walk.

It’s called the City of Eternal Spring, and it pretty much is. 9,000+ feet up in the Andes, temperatures range from the mid-50s to the mid-70s every day, and the weather cycles on a daily basis between early spring (cool and rainy) to late spring (sunny and kind of hot) and possibly back again. Never super cold, never super hot. (Rainy season in spring and early summer, but pretty balanced all year long.) Great internet (you can get fiber optic lines with 500 Mbps). 4 rivers running west-to-east through the city with lovely tree-filled parks running for miles along them. Lots of buses and one light rail line, and while it has traffic it’s not at Quito’s level, or Buenos Aires’. Some very good grocery stores, accessible organic food. Lots of expats, if you like talking to people. (I’m told that some do.) Even local brew pubs making their own beer.

So, I decided. I had planned to be nomadding for 6-8 years and 2020 was year 6 (and it’s now year 7), and I like Cuenca, so I’m staying for a while until the world is past all of this and travel is easier again. I started Spanish immersion classes, and they went pretty well until they ended in December. (My Spanish is still pretty minimal, but I’ve had some small wins in talking to people. I need to knuckle down and study harder though. I’m not a fan of the language — it’s not super rational, and the exceptions are the rule — but if I’m going to live here, I gotta. To show respect, if for no other reason.) I applied for and got a temporary residence visa, as of January, good for 21 months — at which point I can apply for a permanent one.  And then I started house hunting, with the idea of moving my stuff down here, living here for 7-8 years, and then possibly moving back to the U.S.. I don’t currently see staying here forever, but ask me again in 7 years. And in a couple of years, I’ll go on trips to visit New Zealand and Estonia and Berlin, but Cuenca will be my base of operations.

House Hunting

I could tell a fairly detailed story of my house-hunting, but I have bigger fish to fry so I’m going to gloss over that. The short form was that most houses *in* Cuenca are like houses in any city — wedged between other houses without a lot of yard or view. (Crazy cheap, mind you. Want a 4 bedroom home for $100K, or for monthly rent of $350-400? This is your place.) I stuck to houses outside of the city, and there were a couple of very promising ones, but the highways passing through their respective valleys, even when fairly distant, sent car noises far across the landscape — usually not loud, but definitely noticeable — and made those houses undesirable to me. I did find a couple of possibilities that didn’t get distant traffic noise, but by then I was realizing that if I lived that far out, I was never going to see another human being in person. Except for twice-a-month visits to the city for groceries, and those would end up being get-in-get-out trips and I’d still rarely see anyone. Lords know I’m a hermit, but I’m a hermit who still likes to know that people are around. I like having a favorite coffee shop, and a place I like to go for lunch once or twice a week, and people to see on the street as I walk around.

So I started looking for condos in the city. Condos in nice, green-ish areas that didn’t get a lot of city traffic noise, and at the penthouse level so there would be no one above me and I’d have a nice view and a sense of space. This turned out to be a bit challenging. Traffic noise carries *amazingly* well, especially upward along hills, and places that are high up and have broad, city-wide views tend to also have line of sight to busy streets. I was determined to have little-to-no traffic noise, and at this point I might have turned down my Santa Monica condo based on the relatively modest noise level of Montana Avenue, which was almost below me.

As an aside, I should mention that house hunting is weird here. The entire home acquisition process is weird. It’s not as regularized as it is in the U.S., and some homes have multiple realtors willing to sell them, and contending for their cut of the commission. I picked up a buyer’s agent that I liked, Lourdes, but several seller’s agents were cagey about the locations of their properties, to avoid other agents “stealing” them. One seller’s agent, let’s call her VA, kept putting us off and not scheduling showings, and I finally told Lourdes to just quit trying. That VA probably didn’t want to split the commission with Lourdes, and that’s why she was putting us off. The problem was the VA was the representative for a *lot* of properties in the area, and it was hard to avoid her.

So I finally worked out with Lourdes that I’d contact VA directly, and not mention that Lourdes was my buyer’s agent unless we actually found a property that I wanted. So, I sent VA an e-mail saying I was interested in some properties she was selling, and lo and behold we started seeing places the very next day, without any delays at all! Go figure!

In person, VA seemed perfectly pleasant, and we saw 4 or 5 places together, until she started to get a sense of what I was looking for. After seeing one place with a *great* view, but just too much distant traffic noise, she suggested a penthouse place that, at $350K, was more than the $300K that had been my upper limit. But she said it was a good fit for my criteria — penthouse, view, open floor plan, little or no traffic noise — and I said that I *could* do $350, but it would have to be pretty much perfect. So we saw it a couple of days later and… well… it was.

Practically Perfect In Every Way

The listing is no longer on the MLS service, but I’d copied out the pictures and the text before it vanished, so I’ve inserted them below. Curiously, this *exact* listing had been sitting open in a browser tab on my laptop for a couple of days when VA mentioned it — too pricey, I figured, but it had caught and kept my attention. When VA suggested the place, and I got back home and noticed that what she described matched the listing I had open, I sent it to her and she confirmed it. So, here it is:

Agent’s info obscured, on principle.

We saw it the next day. The owners were an older American couple, who’d been in Cuenca for 12 years, and bought this place while the building was being built 5 years before. They were very nice, sensible people, who’d made a point of buying the under-construction penthouse only if the builders would make some changes — like turning a small 4th bedroom into a large walk-in closet off the main bedroom, and running a dedicated fiber-optic line from the local internet provider’s hub directly to the condo. (So they’re not sharing internet bandwidth with anyone else in the building, and getting 150 Mbps for about $65/month.)

The 5 story building overlooks the Yanuncay River; one of the more southerly rivers running west to east down the length of the Cuenca valley. The closest thoroughfare is on the other side of the fairly wide river park, and you don’t really hear traffic noise from it, especially not over the sound of the river. The road below the building is a 1-way street with no bus lanes and little regular traffic. It’s an upscale area, about a 20 minute walk from where I’ve been staying these past 15 months, and a modest walk from a good-sized mall (with a 6(?) screen movie theater, once that’s a thing again) and from a branch of the Supermaxi high-end grocery store chain that I mostly go to. (A 1-1 comparison to the U.S. would be something like Vons, but in Cuenca-relative terms it’s a Whole Foods. Better, higher-end foods, more imports, and notably higher prices.) There’s a large international school to the east, on the side with the master bedroom and, as a school for grades 1-12, only busy during daylight hours, so no night noise. There’s a low building housing the Peruvian consulate on the corner below — in what is basically a Historic Preservation building, so it won’t be replaced with a high rise, and the other buildings around are all fairly new and/or well-maintained buildings unlikely to be replaced any time soon.

Of particular note: the building elevator is accessed via a security keyfob, and for the penthouse it opens *directly* into the condo like you’re Bruce Effing Wayne. Woo-hoo! 😁

The only downsides were the $350K price, and the $250/month HOA dues, both high for Ecuador. But a long, detailed conversation with my financial advisor persuaded me that those shouldn’t dissuade me. It turns out, I could spend a *lot* more to buy the place, and I could be spending a lot more per month than I am now, without in any way jeopardizing my financial future. (Knock on wood that the markets continue to be at least minimally kind.) I’ll still be saving money over the Airbnb-based lifestyle I’ve been living the last 6+ years, if not saving quite as much as I’d hoped. But it works.

So, back on April 15th, I made an offer of $340K, and they quickly accepted. 🎉

I might have offered a little less, but VA claimed that she’d gotten them 2 previous offers of #330K and they turned them both down. I’m pretty certain that she was fibbing here. I’ve since heard stories of the two prior offers, and it seems that they were both accepted but fell through afterwards. (The first fell through because the buyer was a bigamist, with wives in both the U.S. and Ecuador, which it seems made the purchasing paperwork impossible at the end. And the second was probably a mob boss complete with a Jersey housewife, and at the end wanted the owner to fly back to the U.S. with him and accept payment via a large suitcase full of cash — which, unsurprisingly, the owner wasn’t willing to do. 😂) I won’t fault VA too heavily for the fib; that’s part of the game. I will say that, after the offer was accepted, I said very matter of factly that my agent Lourdes would be representing my interests during the process, and that I’d be paying her commission myself since I’d gathered that VA didn’t seem to be interested in splitting it. VA responded with surprise, and claimed that no, that was completely fine, she often worked with other agents, and it was perfectly normal for her, and in fact she would be splitting her commission with another agent already! I saw no real benefit in pointing out the way she’d dodged us before, when Lourdes was involved (I don’t think VA had realized that *I* had been Lourdes’ client then). Notably, later, when all the paperwork was drawn up, VA and Lourdes were both mentioned as agents getting 3% commissions, with mention of any other seller’s agents being involved. So, whoever VA was supposedly splitting hers with, they were mysteriously missing at the end. I didn’t point this out, either. It’s VA’s karma to work through, and I see no need to waste my own time with any drama about it.

The other thing about the higher-than-locally-normal price is that, during my 2-3 months of house/condo hunting, I got a fairly good sense of what the market was like, and how it was trending. The real estate market in Ecuador did really slow down during COVID, and places were taking a lot longer to sell. But prices were still going up, with more bigger, fancier places being built for higher prices. I saw houses out in bedroom communities that were large (but less appealing, for my needs) in the $350 range, and I saw a couple of condos still under construction, not far from this place, that were going for around $320K and were maybe half the size and not *remotely* as nice. And this isn’t even an expat-driven market. There are plenty of us here, but my agent said most of the sales are being driven my locals, as the economy grows and more folks move to the cities. So, my guess is, when I eventually sell (in 7-8 years?), I can get $400K for this place fairly easily, and possibly more. And, in truth, I could sell for a slight loss (counting moving costs) and still come out ahead in the end. So, in the end, it seems worth it.

The Purchasing, and What Came After

This was far more involved that it needed to be, and I won’t burden you with all the little annoyances along the way. But, suffice it to echo what I said above: it’s just not as regularized here as it is in the U.S.. It took 2 weeks to draw up the Agreement to Purchase. I needed to hire a seller’s attorney, who negotiated with the buyer’s attorney, and together they worked up a purchasing contract. Then the agents and attorneys and the sellers and I all met at a local notary office not far from me to sign the agreement. Notaries here are an amazing racket. They’re not the minor functionaries that they are in the states. There are only 22 licensed notary offices in Cuenca, and that number is limited to 22. You pretty much have to have family connections to become one, they charge through the nose, and a notary can make $100K a month here. (I paid about $1400 when this agreement was notarized, and the same again when we signed the contract. And that place was *packed* with customers both times.) The agreement was for a 45 day escrow, and we signed on April 29th, so the next 2 steps were obvious.

When I started all of this traveling at the end of 2014, I had packed up almost all of my stuff and had it moved to a 20′ shipping container in Washington state where my sister Sarah lived. For the last 4-ish years, it’s been stored at a marina that stores boats and stuff, and that container had to be moved down to Ecuador, so that my old stuff could fill my new place. But before that, I had some boxes of anime and manga at my friend Mark’s place, that I’d left for his son Donovan to enjoy while I traveled. So that had to be picked up and moved to the container — as well as some new stuff. I’d given away my TV and a bunch of electronics that would just go out of date while I traveled, so I needed new ones, and there some other new stuff that would be useful down here (for example, I have yet to find a French Press in any store down here, and I really looked). So I started ordering things to be sent to Mark, and contacted a moving company and made arrangements for the old and new stuff to be picked up from Mark’s and taken North.

And then the other thing was for me to start arranging to have my old and new stuff imported from the shipping container in Washington, where most of it has been sitting for 6+ years. Back in December I’d contacted a person who imports people’s furniture and stuff when they move here, and gotten the sense it could cost $2-10K depending on what was being imported. So I’d told the guy I would get back to him when I was ready, and I did… only to discover a *very* unpleasant truth. I’d have to return to the U.S. to count every sock, fork, electrical connector cable, etc, in every box, and create an inventory spreadsheet, with every box (or furniture item, or other standalone thing) clearly labeled with sequential numbers and a detailed list of what was in them.  This quite took the wind out of me. It seemed like a nearly unconfrontable task, challenging enough if you were currently living in a home and counting everything as you boxed it up, but absolutely insane to go back and try to delve into that 20′ shipping container and reckon up every single tiny item in it! If I’d known ahead of time I’d have to do that, I might have given up on the whole idea and moved to Portland instead.  But I’d already put down a $20K deposit on the condo — and, more importantly, *agreed* to buy it. So there was no helping it.

So I started making arrangements, canceling the movers I’d booked 2 days before (who were going to move stuff I had at Mark’s house to add to the container in Washington before shipment, until I realized I had to go back anyway and should just do it myself), booking air travel (Travelocity screwed that up and I had to rebook it 😡), renting a cargo van so that I could drive the stuff at Mark’s up to Washington myself over 2 days, booking Airbnbs and hotels depending on the place and local prices, setting things up with the firm arranging the import of my stuff, hiring movers in Washington to transfer my stuff from my current shipping container to the one used for importing, selling the old container, arranging flights back via SF (where I visited my aunt), and more Airbnbs and hotels and rental cars down here, scheduling my first Pfizer shot for when I first flew into LA, and my second one for when I returned to LA (3 weeks later) before flying back.  And I’m leaving a bunch of stuff out… I had to make 2 spreadsheets to keep track of all the steps and make sure they happened.

Thank gods my sister Sarah volunteered to help me.  We’re a pretty meticulous family, and she’s an accountant, so I knew I could trust her to count stuff.  We spent 3 days, the weekend of May 24th, Saturday through Monday, basically all day each day (34 hours total). Moving things out of the container to get at them, or to get at the things behind them, unboxing contents, counting, adding stuff to the Google spreadsheet via our phones, moving stuff back into the container to lock it at the end of the day, moving it all out again the next morning to get at more stuff, covering temporarily exterior boxes with random sheets of tin sitting out near us to keep the intermittent, light, Seattle rain off of them,…. It was *insane*.  But, with the two of us doing it, it was, weirdly, kind of fun.  And we were both impressed at being in better shape than either of us tend think about being, especially being in our mid-50s, with brainy lifestyles.  But we labeled 314 things (boxes of stuff, furniture, etc), and the item count was around 8,600 things that we counted.  It was good to be finally done, that Monday afternoon.

Then the stuff had to be transferred into the official shipping container, nearly identical except for the fact that it was certified for international shipping AND was basically a rental that would not require me to find a way to get rid of it afterwards, in Ecuador. (A surprising number of people, at the marina where my old container was stored, were interested in buying it from me, and so I sold the old one for about 2/3 of what I’d bought it for years earlier.) Thankfully, my importer guy was able to schedule that transfer for the time that I was there, so the next step was the 2.5 hours on Thursday, working with a team of local movers to move all that stuff again, this time into the import container, and then waving bye-bye to it.  (Don’t get me started on how insanely hot one of the movers was. O. M. G.)  Then, that weekend, Sarah and I went to the Nordic Museum in Seattle, and the Museum of Popular Culture, and ate a bunch of sushi, and just hung out, which was nice. 🙂  I left Seattle on Wednesday, flew to SF, hung out with Aunt Florida and saw museums and stuff, which was fun, flew back to LA on Tuesday, July 17th, rented a car, and stayed in a little Airbnb cabin the Topanga Canyon area, which was all quiet and naturey and I wish I could have hung out there longer but there just wasn’t time.  Tuesday night was dinner with Mark and Jane and Jenni and Rob, before going back to the cabin and crashing. Wednesday I got my second Pfizer shot, then visited my mother for a few hours, with the goal of getting back to the Airbnb that afternoon before any post-shot symptoms kick in. Which they very much did.

Headaches, nausea, achey joints, sensitive skin,… The doc who gave me the shot said that people with strong immune systems tend to get stronger reactions, and that was certainly the case. Wednesday night was rough.  Thursday, I was functional, but shaky.  Not so shaky that I couldn’t turn turn in the rental car and switch to the airport hotel for Thursday night, but shaky enough to be unhappy doing it.  Then early Friday, mostly Ok but still headachy, I flew back to Quito, Ecuador (via Panama), and then finally back to Cuenca on Saturday.  Which slightly weirded me out by feeling like I was coming home. Maybe not super surprising… Cuenca is one of my favorite cities anyway, and I’ve lived in this Airbnb for 15 months, longer than anywhere I’ve been in 6+ years. But it’s never stopped feeling like a nice, extended, temporary stay. And now it’s not.

We closed on the condo the following Tuesday, June 15th.  Barely.  The actual closing date seemed to be kind of up in the air, and my buyer’s attorney didn’t bother to tell me about money she needed in advance for some closing costs, and I didn’t find out about either of those things until I started prodding her about the closing date the prior Tuesday, while in L.A, and so I just barely got the money to her in time for Thursday deadlines. Then there was last-minute confusion about when and how I should transfer the remaining amount for the condo. I swear, the local people were just making all this up as they went, while us buying and selling Americans rolled our eyes discreetly at each other. 🙄)

But Tuesday arrived, we met at the notary again that afternoon, signed the last of the paperwork, the sellers had had my payment wired to their U.S. account that morning, and I got the keys. And there was much rejoicing. And, while we waited, the sellers told me the stories of the previous selling attempts and complimented me on my sanity — a compliment I returned. Partly because they *had* been delightful to talk to, and partly because they had left me a list of all of their contacts — a great plumber and a great contractor (both trained in America), their *expert* internet guy who has an in with the ISP (very important here), doctor, dentist, maid, taxi/facilitator guy, gardener for the patio plants,…. It’s honestly kind of amazing. The sellers were both very clear-eyed, competent people, and not introverts, and they’ve built a network, and I’ve inherited it. It’s a huge leg up, and I appreciated it.

What Remains

So, at this point, I have an empty condo! I’ve been there a couple of times since the sale last Tuesday, mainly to water the patio plants. I’m going to contact a couple of the experts on that list to get a little work done before my stuff arrives. Like, I’d like to turn that walk-in closet room into shelves for a library — there’s plenty of closet space off the master bedroom already, and I don’t need a whole room for more clothes. I’d like to get a hot tub installed on the back patio — the sellers said that they didn’t take baths, so they didn’t have any put in when the place was being built. But I’d really like a bath to soak in now and then, and that patio seems like a great place for it. I need to buy some things locally, like patio furniture, a treadmill and some other simple exercise equipment, a couple of single beds for the 3rd guest room that can be pushed together into one large bed when needed. (When will I use them? That will be up to you guys! 😁)

And I need my stuff to arrive from Washington! That was supposedly going to be mid-July (July 2nd in the port city of Guayaquil, and 12-14 days later it would arrive here.) But a few days ago I was informed that the ship that my stuff was meant to travel on didn’t arrive in Seattle until almost 3 weeks later than expected. Which meant I was on the hook for $100/day in container storage costs ($2k, pay us now please. 😱), and the container wouldn’t make it to Guayaquil until July 18th. So, in theory, if nothing else goes wrong, my stuff arrives at the end of July, beginning of August.

I’d already extended my stay at my Airbnb until July 19th, based on the previous estimate, but I can’t really extend it further as my host has started booking new guests for after my departure. The first is booked just a few days after I leave. Good for him, of course, but… darn. Fortunately, my place already has internet, transferred to my name from the prior owner without interruption. (Interruption, I learned, might have been bad. There are waiting lists in that part of town right now.) So, if I get the patio furniture and the guest room beds, and pick up a couple of towels and a pot and a kitchen knife, I should be fine for a couple of weeks until my stuff arrives. It will feel a bit like camping out, but I like camping. Particularly if I have internet.

And, Lastly, My Place

I’d be remiss if I didn’t give you a better look at the place. And far be it from me, after all that prelude, to be remiss!

Here’s a picture of my place from the outside.

You can see the red brick building dead center, and the top floor with the bit of glassed in balcony on the right side.

And here’s the video I took of the empty insides, a couple of days after buying the place.

And, of course, a photo of the Pokestop whose nomination I submitted and is now right under my balcony.

I was hoping I had an in-game map view, but I forgot to snap one of those and now I’m much too far away to get one.

I was hoping they’d make it a Pokemon Gym, and it might eventually become that, but I’ll take what I can get. 🙂

So, that’s how things stand. I’ve got a month before I move there, and 6 weeks before my stuff (hopefully) arrives, but in any event: here I am, Carlos con condo. I’ll post again once my stuff is in and (more or less) arranged, and you can compare the before and after.

You’re all welcome to visit, anytime. But I strongly recommend waiting until after I have proper furniture. And a TV. And more bed sheets. Just on principle.


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3 Responses to Long Time No Read

  1. Florida says:

    Fantastic! Now I feel like I’ve been there. Looking forward to seeing the place once your furniture is delivered and set up.

  2. M says:

    I think I’ll remember…

    • His sister is an accountant too!
    • And only he can make me read something like that and enjoy it.
    • So much that it inspired me to use all of his emojis
    • Charles made a spelling error?! “stared shutting down”

    Congratuatloins ~

    * We’re all sending VA our bad karma for you

    • M says:

      ^^ My reply had all your emojis sorted and attached appropriately but I don’t think it accepted it in my reply so I look a little silly on that one 🙁

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