To Move or Not To Move,

That is the question

5 years before moving to Ecuador, my wife and I were scouting it out to see if it would work for us. My father, who is from Ecuador made a very startling statement. He said, “Rick, I don’t think it’s as cheap to live in Ecuador as you might think.” I suddenly realized that I had not done a thorough search regarding prices and cost of living. My wife and I immediately went to one of the local stores in the area and began writing down the prices of everyday things. Then, when we went returned to the U.S. we went to Walmart and wrote down the cost of comparable items.

Once we moved here, we found out there were two other things that we had not considered. While we were fairly comfortable moving here, we found out there were a number of psychological factors that prevented others from staying here – at quite a bit of a cost to them, financially and otherwise. Furthermore, there were a number of things that we would have liked to have known, before moving here, that could have saved us hundreds of dollars. Lastly, for those who could move here, but might have a tough go of it, there are a number of smaller details that might make their transition much more tolerable.

Therefore, the purpose of this website is to provide all the tools I can think of to help a person decide if this move is right for them. If it is, just how much will it cost to live here. What are the pros and cons. What would I have liked to have known before we had moved here that would have saved us money and frustration? For example, I wish someone would have told me that my pantry at home had between $500 – $1000 worth of food in it. That if we had eaten it down in a methodical manner – yes, even the mole and teriyaki sauces that we never used – the money we would have saved, could have been used to stock the new one we would have here in Ecuador. Instead, we ended up giving most of it away to a needy friend at the last minute – which is fine. I just wish I’d thought about it rather than being forced to go in one given direction.

The website is subscription based because I wanted to be free of editorial conflict of interest. If I say we love a certain restaurant or store, I want it to be free of suspicion, not because they advertise with us. BTW, I won’t say I saw a rat at a given restaurant, or we always get diarrhea when we eat there, I will merely say, “It’s rather popular. But we prefer…” If we like it, I say so. I also give split decisions, such as, “My wife and mother love it, but I think it’s just ok.”

Mas Despacio is Spanish for “more slowly”. This is a phrase we often use when trying to understand what someone is saying to us. But it also is a frame of mind. I’m trying to get people to slow down in their decision making. I want to try and persuade those who are going to wash out anyway to consider another alternative. Yes, we rent a 2,500 sq. ft. house for $700/mo. It has a fireplace, a good-sized yard, wood floors, 5 bedrooms, 3.5 baths, a nice kitchen, a glassed-in atrium and tarantulas. A yardman costs around $40 twice a month – what? The tarantulas? Oh yes, they’re usually ¾ size and we only get one about once every 6 – 9 months. They’re fairly slow and easily moved into the garden, though some of our friends choose to simply kill theirs, while others live 5 stories up where they’re not a problem… Do you see the point? Mas Despacio, por favor. Please slow down as this is a fairly large decision.

The website is still under construction. We have the main book MasDespacio, which helps a person to see the tarantula stories, as well as many of the other issues that we’ve confronted – such as the pantry issue. Oh, we brought our dogs – save yourself, save yourself! We also shipped a container! How many post-it notes are there in that box? How many pens, pencils, paperclips, notebooks…ugh. The e-book version sells on Amazon for $9.99 and is around 300 pages including index and over 70 pictures. I edit it and the website simultaneously. While the updates are immediate on the website, I upload a new version of the book every month or so.

What is not in the book are the charts listing costs of groceries, hardware, automobiles, motorcycles, etc. In July 2023 we are adding a used auto price list comparing them to similar cars for sale in L.A., Houston, and Miami. Videos, a newsletter, blog, and audio book are also on the to-do list. Right now, I’m adding more photos and finishing a third draft of the book – hopefully done by August 1, 2023.

If this website sounds like something that you might find helpful, great. If not, my web developer is adding a comments section so that you can say, “Rick you scurvy dog.” Or “This is what you could provide that would make me more interested.” Or “Why did you do this? If you had done it this way, I might have been interested.” Either way, I wish you the best in your decision-making process, and if nothing else, perhaps you will go Mas Despacio, por favor.

Still unsure whether this site is for you, take a look at some of the questions that are answered here

  1. For those who like Bailey’s Irish Cream, how easy is it to find it here, or something like it?
  2. In the market it is common to be offered what? What might be the best way for an Expat to respond?
  3. What’s the name for two different types of Ecuadorian cornbread and how do they differ?
  4. President Theodore Roosevelt made an honest reply to a simple question that inadvertently impacted Ecuador. What was it?
  5. For those who are simply visiting, what are some items worth taking back to the States?
  6. There are two things that are very useful for one’s dashboard here, what are they?
  7. What are the three most common brands of Cars here, and why might that matter?
  8. An Expat has a full set of Snap-on tools in the States. If one breaks here, how easy will it be to get it replaced?
  9. How comfortable would a person with Celiac disease be in Ecuador?
  10. For those wishing to learn Spanish, what characteristic might make such difficult?
  11. What’s a tope? What are the three most common styles here? Why might they elicit screams, or at least disgusted grunts in the car, particularly at night?
  12. An Expat needs an MRI. How hard/easy might that be to acquire?
  13. Can one purchase Milwaukee power tools here?
  14. A person wishes to back up their computer on a thumb drive. How realistic is that here?
  15. Which U.S. Shampoo has a large share of the market here?
  16. How many active volcanoes are there in Ecuador, and where are they found?
  17. In 2022, the U.S. State Department issued warnings regarding what two Ecuadorian cities? Why? What happened in one of them in 2023?
  18. Who or what is Tia Mia?
  19. For those who are fond of Yachting, how easy will it be for them to pursue their passion here?
  20. What types of razors are most common here and how do they compare to the U.S.?
  21. The airports in Guayaquil and Cuenca are about the same distance from their respective Terminal Terrestres as the crow flies. However, in which city might it be best for an Expat to take a taxi and why?
  22. A person without a car has several errands to run. What might be the cheapest and easiest option to use in this instance?
  23. In Cuenca, there are five, government sponsored mercados, besides the Feria Libre. What are they and where are they located?
  24. Of the many parks in Cuenca, there is one with a rather infamous history, a great view, and an ironic name. What is it?
  25. A person has an expensive vacuum cleaner in the States. What are the chances of finding the same one here and why?
  26. In what ways is the Terminal Terrestre in Guayaquil remarkable?
  27. What’s a “mule” and how are they very helpful for many expats?
  28. How easily are hamburgers found here and what should one know before ordering a “Deluxe” Hamburger?
  29. There is an Ecuadorian Hotel Chain which one could use to make a very nice circle tour of Ecuador. What is the name of this Chain?
  30. How common is smoking in Ecuador and what might be a factor in that statistic?
  31. Ecuadorian Terminal Terrestres are generally found where and have what common amenities?
  32. In 2022 an Expat could expect to find what in about half the movies here?
  33. What’s Arandano, where is it located, and why is it important?
  34. Parque de la Madre, besides the obvious, is known for a number of other things. What are they?
  35. How common is Pizza here in Ecuador?
  36. Paying one’s water, electric, phone bill can often be done where?
  37. What’s PedidiosYa, and of what use might that be to even a visitor?
  38. In 2022 a movie, popcorn, candy, and a coke cost about how much for two people?
  39. In Cuenca, who owns the “Old Cathedral” and what difference does that make?
  40. What does Cuenca’s name have to do with where, or if one buys a home here?
  41. How does Carnival differ in Ecuador from, say, New Orleans or Rio De Janeiro?
  42. Before renting or buying, why might it be wise for an Expat of any belief to see how far their home is from a Catholic Church?
  43. There is at least one thing that should never be done with an apostilled document. What is it and why?
  44. Why might Airbnb or a similar company be beneficial for an Expat even if they decide to move here?
  45. Like most international airports there are two immigration lines here in Ecuador. However, when might an Expat be allowed to use the Ecuadorian line, and only under what circumstance should they do so?
  46. What’s a matricula and how much can they cost?
  47. An Expat is shown a beautiful home where they can hear the sound of the river from their patio. What would it be wise to consider before renting or buying this home?
  48. What item found in around 50% of all U.S. homes is absolutely forbidden when shipping household items to Ecuador?
  49. What is one way of handling U.S. mail while living in Ecuador?
  50. When flying to Ecuador, there is one thing that is easily overlooked when booking an airline ticket? What is it?
  51. What’s a standard fare for taking a taxi from the airport to downtown: Cuenca, Guayaquil, Quito? Why is one of them so very high compared to the others?
  52. What are the chances an Expat will need to pay a bribe when applying for a visa?
  53. When looking to purchase or rent what has been the pattern here regarding availability?
  54. What is one main difference an Ecuadorian Citizen has over an Expat when it comes to shipping a container?
  55. What are some good hotels in Guayaquil and Quito and roughly how much do they cost?
  56. In 2023 Quito had something that few other cities in South America had, what is it?
  57. Even if one does not speak Spanish, at the immigration line at the airport how can one generally tell which is the local’s line and which is the foreigner’s line?
  58. Before leaving the U.S. for an extended period, what is one thing that it might be best to set up at their bank and why?
  59. Many major airlines require what when shipping an animal? Why is that?
  60. In mid-2023 there were only two international airports in Ecuador. What are they, and what might it generally be wise for a visitor to do immediately after getting out of customs?
  61. What are the names of the major Transit hubs in Quito, where are they located, and why is there more than one?
  62. An Expat decides they must bring their prize-winning Poodle. Ok. How hard/easy will it be to find a groomer?
  63. When it comes to Medical Insurance, what choices are there, how much do they cost, and what are the benefits/drawbacks to each?
  64. Roughly what percentage of autos have insurance?
  65. What interest rate can one expect on a CD at most banks here?
  66. There’s a 3000 m2 of land and another of 300 m2. Which is likely to cost more? What about $/m2?
  67. Leaving a dog outside all night makes it vulnerable to what here?
  68. What’s a standard price for a lawyer here?
  69. Venezuela’s difficulties impact those living in Ecuador in several ways. What are they?
  70. There are some issues with CD’s here. What are they and why should an Expats care?
  71. How do rental prices compare with purchase prices and how might that impact maintenance for those who rent?
  72. An expat needs a tooth filled. Is this a problem? What about a crown? Implants? Dentures?
  73. What type of Visas are there for those wishing to live here?
  74. An Expat pulls out a $100 bill for an $89 auto part. How big a deal might that be? Why?
  75. How does the political scene here compare to the U.S.? Of what should an Expat be aware?
  76. When bringing money into Ecuador, as is often the case with investment visas, of what should an Expat beware?
  77. An Expat feels compelled to pick up after their pet when on a walk. Are poop bags even sold here?
  78. There are two types of prisons here. What are they, and what do they mean, besides the obvious, for those who find themselves in them?
  79. An Expat decides to break several $100 bills at a bank. What may they be asked to do?
  80. An expat is waiting in line at a bank. What are they very likely to see that is rare in the U.S.?
  81. How common are Credit Unions here and which is the biggest?
  82. In deciding whether to get a mortgage here, there are at least two things of which Expats should be aware. What are they?
  83. Why might the song “Wichita Lineman” make an Expat driver here in Ecuador sigh, cringe, and shake their head in disgust.
  84. Why is buying a standard cotton t-shirt a problem for some?
  85. A waiter takes the order at a restaurant. What’s likely to happen when the food arrives?
  86. What accommodations will a disabled person find in Cuenca?
  87. After arriving in the Cordillera, what are at least two things that should not be done for a couple of days and what is one thing that absolutely should be done most days, but particularly after arriving?
  88. What does Seco de Pollo or Seco de Carne mean and why are these very important to know?
  89. There are some significant differences between U.S. and Ecuadorian Notaries. What are they?
  90. What will a divorced vs. a non-divorced Expat need to do and how might knowing the answer likely save $100’s for those who decide to move here?
  91. Where is the “Land-of-Eternal-Spring” and what “challenges” does this bring for those living there?
  92. There’s one city where previous Expat actions have made it difficult for other Expats thinking of moving there. What is it?
  93. There are drawbacks and benefits to living in Cities vs. rural areas. What are some of them?
  94. An Expat sees a pile of beautiful looking strawberries for sale on a wheelbarrow. There are three things they should probably beware of before buying, what are they and why might they decide to buy anyway?
  95. There are some good local chocolate candies. What are they?
  96. Why might buying Band-Aides here make one smile?
  97. Why might an extra D-Size battery be a good idea in the Cordillera? If one decides to replace their gas valve, which brands tend to be better?
  98. An Expat packs a Monopoly game when coming into the U.S. Was that reasonable or silly?
  99. There are numerous websites given in MasDespacio to allow Expats to see with their own eyes what exists and how much they cost. But there are two issues with these websites that Expats should know. What are they?
  100. An Expat has an LG Fridge, stove, dishwasher in the U.S. Before deciding to ship them here, what should they know? What about Frigidaire, GE, or Electrolux?
  101. What is Ecuador’s general attitude towards animal control? Why? What impact does this have on most residents?
  102. Many Expats use the term “Monopoly Money” when referring to what? Besides being ill-mannered, what logical reality are they ignoring?
  103. What three basic types of stores sell produce? Which is generally cheapest?
  104. When boarding or alighting a city bus, there are at least three things concerning which one should probably be aware. What are they?
  105. Cacao pods are not uncommon at certain produce vendors. What do they look like, and what two things should one know about them?
  106. What should a wheelchair bound pedestrian know about curb cuts and wheelchair ramps in Ecuador?
  107. What do the words Parasol, Burrito, and Polvo have in common?
  108. In what two colors does pitahaya come, is there a difference, and what is one thing a person should absolutely know before eating this wonderful fruit?
  109. In Ecuador the Spanish word “Cámera” has several meanings not found in at least one electronic dictionary. What are they, and what impact could that have on someone here?
  110. These three Spanish words [Asistir, Bravo, Exito] have what in common? Why is this important for anyone who wishes to speak Spanish? (Spanish teachers, please sit down.)
  111. A woman at a fruit stand offers a potential buyer a free Grape, Cherry, or Strawberry. What might a be a prudent response and what might happen if one is not prepared to answer?
  112. What are some common questions Ecuadorians have about Football, and what are some tactful responses an Expat might give?
  113. What are some common embarrassing questions an Ecuadorian might ask an Expat, and what are some tactful responses that would politely diffuse the situation?
  114. Immediately after entering a taxi here, what is one thing that virtually everyone must do?
  115. Why does Spanish have single syllable words with accents on them?
  116. How easy or hard is it to get a tattoo here?
  117. One person is looking for steel wool, another for Brillo pads. How successful will either be?
  118. Who or what is “Toni” and why should an Expat care?
  119. Why is it a terrible idea to get on the Tranvía, (LRT, Tram) in Cuenca without paying?
  120. These two words [Abrazar (Embrace) vs. Abrasar (Burn, Scorch)] highlight what issue with Spanish?
  121. An Expat pleads with someone to borrow their cell phone. They seem to agree but keep saying something about their “Saldo”. What are they trying to say and how can the problem be easily remedied?
  122. Prawns (Spanish: Langostinos) have different meanings depending on where one is in the world. What do they mean here?
  123. A person is about to login into the website for an Ecuadorian bank. What is one thing they can almost certainly expect.
  124. It is a common belief among expats that most landlords are reluctant to maintain their property. What is one basic reason why that could be considered understandable?
  125. What’s the difference between anti-perspirants and deodorants and why does it matter here?
  126. Is right-turn-on-red legal in Ecuador?
  127. If one wishes to fertilize their yard, of what should they be aware?
  128. By deposits what are the four largest banks in Ecuador?
  129. What are the most common security systems here, how can they all be thwarted, and what does that prove?
  130. What types of flooring is most common, why, and why is that particularly relevant in the cordillera?
  131. Why might living by a park cause some challenges a couple times a month?
  132. At a bar a person is told that a Margarita costs $12. Is this a good, bad, or average price here?
  133. When transferring money within Ecuador, what is one thing a person should expect.
  134. True or false, scorpions are not found in the cordillera?
  135. What is a pito, how is it used, and why is it both endearing and at times a bit tiresome?
  136. A couple wants a good red wine for dinner. How hard is that to find here? What about white?
  137. What’s the going rate for a gardener / yardman?
  138. How easy or hard is it to find an ATM here in Ecuador?
  139. When ordering delivery, which phone application is most important here and why?
  140. A car’s upholstery needs replacing. How easy or hard would it be to have leather installed?
  141. Though sliced turkey is easily found, how hard is it to find a whole turkey? What do they cost?
  142. There are two principle differences between U.S. and Ecuadorian furniture. What are they and how can one work around them?
  143. At a bank, the teller in Cajero #1 signals to the guard that she’s going to step away. Why will this concern everyone in line and what will usually happen immediately so as to calm everyone down?
  144. When driving in Ecuador, which phone applications are most common and what are their drawbacks if any?
  145. Generally, there are two styles of honking in Ecuador. What are they, which is most common, and what do they mean?
  146. What are some ballpark prices for land, apartments, and houses in different parts of Ecuador for 2022 and 2023? What about renting?
  147. What are the chances of finding a “craft” beer here in Ecuador?
  148. A person’s shower alternates from lava scalding hot to iceberg freezing cold. What are the five most common causes for this and how are they remedied?
  149. A person is thinking about shipping their household items to Ecuador. Of what should they be aware?
  150. A person’s watch battery dies. How hard will it be to get it replaced? What about a hearing aid battery?
  151. What is a Gringo Guillotine and how might it impact the way one walks down the street?
  152. A recipe calls for chili powder. How big an issue might this be?
  153. What is a standard rate for a lawyer here in Ecuador?
  154. What’s a mixto and when are they particularly helpful?
  155. One Expat buys only an oven for their apartment. Another buys a normal stove with an oven. Why the difference?
  156. An expat needs to get their pet to a vet. How hard are vets to find here? What might be the most difficult part of the visit?
  157. What is a “vigilante civil” and who cares?
  158. When looking at pictures of a home to rent a person spots a rather large contraption attached to the shower pipe. What is this, and how might it affect their decision to rent or not?
  159. A motorcyclist pulls up beside a police car and then blows through the red light. The police car waits for the light to turn green and then continues as if nothing happened. Why?
  160. Is there title insurance in Ecuador?
  161. What are some things to be aware before bringing a dog to Ecuador?
  162. Just like the U.S. there are white lines at most traffic signals. However, what will likely happen if one pulls up to one here in Ecuador?
  163. When walking down a sidewalk in Cuenca, what two things is it wise to constantly do?
  164. A person has a rather expensive set of pots and pans. What should they know before deciding whether to bring them or not?
  165. What’s a common amount to tip a taxi driver here?
  166. How common is it to see homeless people here?
  167. A person desires to see a recently released movie. How easy will this be?
  168. How hard is it to get a lawnmower in Ecuador, why, and why might the question be irrelevant?
  169. Why might the basic minimum wage have a relationship with burned out taillights?
  170. What is a Botellón, why is that important, and what are three ways to use it?
  171. What is the “Ugly American” and how can an Expat turn that to their advantage?
  172. What two things are common in an Ecuadorian auto accident that are rare in the U.S.?
  173. Before parking on a street, one should look for what two things?
  174. There are four things that are often allowed in U.S. banks, but not here. What are they?
  175. How hard is it to get a fishing license in Ecuador, and why?
  176. What’s Sanborondón and why would an Expat care?
  177. A Police officer pulls an Expat over. What are at least two things the Expat would be wise not to do, and what are some things the Expat should expect?
  178. How easy is it to find flowerpots as well as the plants that go in them?
  179. Is marijuana legal in Ecuador?
  180. Minimum, there are two of what in every bank, and why?
  181. What are the two major differences between Ecuadorian doctors and those in the U.S.?
  182. Almost every Ecuadorian Chinese restaurant has what item, yet what item is rarely found?
  183. How common are hot water heaters and why or not might that be an issue?
  184. In Ecuador, how many people are legally allowed to ride in a vehicle?
  185. What is the easiest way to buy a tank of natural gas, and how much does it cost in 2023?
  186. Which two Ecuadorian cities did the State department warn Expats from visiting in 2022 and why?
  187. If one wishes to hike in the Cajas national park, what are they required to have?
  188. In 2023 roughly what % of Cuenca city buses are lift-equipped?
  189. Why is driving in the right lane in an Ecuadorian city generally a bad idea?
  190. A person is renting a car in Quito. Before driving off the lot, what two things should the person do and what could happen if they do not?
  191. Except for Cuenca and Quito, before getting into a taxi what should one do?
  192. A cheesecake recipe calls for a graham cracker crust. Is that a problem?
  193. One well-meaning Expat friend tells you your U.S. driver’s license is all you need in Ecuador. Another tells you that all you need is an “International Driver’s License” which can be acquired online. Lastly, someone says that you have 180 days after entering Ecuador to acquire an Ecuadorian Driver’s License. Which, if any, are correct?
  194. In Cuenca and Quito, what should one do after getting in a taxi?
  195. It’s the day before lent. Of what should a person be aware?
  196. While shrimp is plentiful, delicious, and costing around $3/lb. what is one thing that might put a fly in the ointment?
  197. Which of these types of restaurants can be found in Cuenca? Mexican? Indian? Chinese? French? Barbecue? Vegetarian? If so, where?
  198. What is required before getting an Ecuadorian Driver’s License, and which of these is best done before leaving the U.S.?
  199. What’s a good habit just before walking away from one’s parked car?
  200. What should one always do before getting out of a taxi?
  201. An empty discarded pack of cigarettes lies on the ground. Why might it be wise not to look too closely at it?
  202. What websites might one use to find the price of household appliances here in Ecuador?
  203. How many people are required to wear a seat belt when riding in a car in Ecuador?
  204. On an autopista, a driver sees a small pile of shrubs near the curb on the far-right lane of traffic. What does this mean, what should be done immediately and why?
  205. What is “Baby Alpaca”, how much does it cost, and why might PETA be ok with it?
  206. What is “Negroni” and why would anyone be interested in it?
  207. Why can driving in the left lane in an Ecuadorian city be a problem?
  208. When at a Panaderia, what is one thing an Expat should probably know before ordering?
  209. If a restaurant says “Parrillada” what do they likely serve and what should a person keep in mind?
  210. A guest overspends while visiting. How hard will it be to find luggage and what quality might they find?
  211. When having friends or workers over at the house, why might it be better to offer them the glass bottled Coke rather than the plastic bottled variety?
  212. Between DHL, FedEx, and UPS, which is the 400lb gorilla for shipping packages / letters to / from Ecuador?
  213. When buying fresh cookies here of what might an Expat want to know?
  214. What are the four general types of Ice Cream sold here?
  215. What’s light tan with pink dots and is not a potato?
  216. At a department store, some rechargeable batteries are behind a locked case. What will likely be required to purchase them? Why?
  217. At an Artesenal market there are pricy varieties of Ecuadorian Chocolate. Is there a cheaper way to get these?
  218. There are at least three types of “Tortillas” here. What are they?
  219. What’s the difference between Arriba chocolate and what most of us eat and who cares?
  220. When a person’s iron dies, what one option is available here in Ecuador that is unheard of in the U.S.?
  221. When trying to buy a fresh pineapple at a tienda, the owner asks “Blanca” o “Hawaiian”? What’s the correct answer?
  222. A passenger is waiting at the correct stop when the bus they want flies by being only partially loaded. The next two do the same with even fewer passengers. What can cause this and how can it be avoided?
  223. What’s Salcedo Ice Cream and besides going to Salcedo, how else can one buy it? Of what flavor should one beware?
  224. A recipe calls for butternut squash. Is that going to be a problem?
  225. What are three ways to clean fruits and vegetables? Is it necessary?
  226. What is required for those wanting 600mg of ibuprofen here? What about insulin?
  227. What’s Churrasco? What do they normally cost and for what should one be prepared?
  228. What are “sueltos” and why does this word often frustrate Expats?
  229. A person hears your name and exclaims that the two of you are “tacayos”. What does that mean?
  230. What is “Cuy” and what are some things an Expat should know before ordering it?
  231. Though $1.50 almuerzos can be found, what might an Expat want to know before ordering it?
  232. What should an Expat know before ordering a brownie here?
  233. What is “Morcilla” and why should some people never order it?
  234. What expectations should an Expat have with regard to paper napkins and restaurants?
  235. At a classic ice cream store, what is one flavor an adult should probably taste first before ordering?
  236. A restaurant says “BBQ” outside. What should one expect?
  237. A man on the street opens a large plastic container filled with beautiful, giant, donuts for sale. What should an Expat know before deciding to buy one? What about Brownies? What about cupcakes?
  238. What, not who, is “Lisa Asada” and why might it best to have a friend handy when ordering it?
  239. What’s should an Expat know about Donuts here?
  240. How common are “Panaderias” (Bread Stores) in Ecuador and why?
  241. How common are Chinese restaurants, how good is their food, and what one dish can one almost guarantee will be on the menu?
  242. How easy is it to find yogurt here and what should one know before buying it?
  243. What is “Cazuela” and where is it most commonly found?
  244. What is Golf sauce, what is it not, and what should one expect when it is served?
  245. What are “Salchipapas”?
  246. Between Quito and Cuenca it is common to see rotisseries on the side of the road. In addition to the chicken there is often a meat that looks like what? What should a person know before trying it?
  247. How do McDonald’s hamburgers taste here, compared to the U.S. and what U.S. chain is 4 times bigger here?
  248. A recipe calls for evaporated milk. Will that be an issue? What about condensed milk?
  249. At lunch time a waiter hands the Expat a menu. Why might that be an issue?
  250. When is Skype preferable rather than making a normal phone call?
  251. One person loves barbequing with charcoal, the other with gas. Will either be able to enjoy their passion here in Ecuador?
  252. A store clerk or government official asks for your 2nd “Apellido” (Last Name). What is the correct response?
  253. How does one add a diacritic to a word in WhatsApp, and why might that save a person a good deal of money?
  254. A store clerk tells a customer that they need to go to a Banco de Tornillos (Bank of screws). What is he / she recommending?
  255. After returning an empty Botellón to a tienda owner, the customer is directed to a stack of full ones. What is the customary price for such an exchange, and of what should the buyer beware?
  256. What’s a “cable” and how hard are they to find here?
  257. What is IESS and why do many Expats find it better than the alternative?
  258. An electronic document asks for the Provincia, Cantón, and Ciudad. To what is it referring?
  259. A woman is walking down the street with a basket full of what looks like potato chips. She continues to yell, “¡Chifle! ¡Dulce! ¡Chifle! ¡Dulce!” What is she selling, and of what three things should an Expat be aware?
  260. When asking for a cubeta of eggs at a local tienda, the owner will often ask, “Criollo o no?” What is a cubeta of eggs, what is “Criollo”, and how much is a standard price for each?
  261. When backing into or driving out of a parking space, an attendant or a “vigilante” will often say, “¡Delelelelele!” What are they saying, and what will the “vigilante” desire when the car leaves?
  262. What is the proper pronunciation of the word, “Ecuador”?
  263. On the freeway, yes they have freeways here, there is a sign that says “Falla”. What does that mean, and what are some things a driver might want to do?
  264. Out on the street, an Expat couple looks for a restaurant serving breakfast. What will they likely find?
  265. When speaking to a shop owner the owner will occasionally reply, “¿Mandé?” What did they just ask?
  266. What is the Registro Civil and of what use is it to Expats?
  267. When ordering a steak, what are the common words used to describe how done the customer wants the steak to be?
  268. When buying some tomatoes, the shop keeper asks “Riñón (Pronounced Reen-yón) or del arbol (Áre-bowl)?” What’s the correct answer?
  269. A visiting youngster says they only eat Frosted Flakes for breakfast. What could be said to the youngster?
  270. At a U.S. style Grocery store, an employee helps take the bagged food to one’s car or waiting taxi. Is it customary to tip them for this service? If so, how much?
  271. In Cuenca, a popular Expat retirement community, it is very common for people to say that it is safe to drink the water. Is that true?
  272. A person gets so ill that leaving the house is questionable. What two options might the patient have in Ecuador that they probably would not have in the U.S.
  273. What is the Ecuadorian Equivalent of Medicare and what impact might this have on an Expat?
  274. An Expat finds regular 7-Up and Sprite for sale at $2.00 / can. Is this a good price?
  275. An Expat finds numerous gyms in the country for around $30/mo. Why might they roll their eyes at this option?
  276. After a delicious meal at a restaurant, the waiter clears the table, but fails to bring the check. Why?
  277. What is a cedula and why does it matter?
  278. At an American Style grocery store, the check-out clerk hands the customer their receipt, their change, and several smaller pieces of paper. What are these and what should one do, or not do with them.
  279. An Expat just loves those memory foam bathmats. What options do they have should they decide to move here?
  280. An Expat decides to have all of their documents translated into Spanish before arriving to Ecuador? Is this wise or foolish?
  281. Whether moving or visiting Ecuador, what is one important thing a person should do before purchasing an airline ticket?
  282. What is a botellón and why might they be important?
  283. What are some considerations before deciding whether to bring a shipping container or not?
  284. An Expat has an antique gun collection that has been in their family for generations. How likely is it that they will be able to bring it into Ecuador?
  285. What is an apostille? When are they needed? How might the answers to those questions be the difference between $100’s vs. $1,000’s of dollars?
  286. Why are Panama hats common in Ecuador and why might it be unwise for an Expat to bring this up at a dinner party?
  287. At an expensive barbeque joint a group of Expats are seated immediately, while there is a line of about 20 Ecuadorians waiting to be seated. Why and what is the appropriate way to react?
  288. When driving on the road, there is a square sign with black numbers inside a red circle. What does that mean? What if there is a “t” after the number? What if the words “LIVIANOS” is below it?
  289. What is a “paro” and what impact might it have on an Expat?
  290. What’s the correct way to ask for cherry tomatoes?
  291. It is fairly easy to find land or homes with fabulous views. What are some things to take into account with these views?
  292. There’s an HDTV with a price tag of about twice what they cost in the U.S. Is that a good price?
  293. There’s a good football game on TV this afternoon. What are the chances a person in Ecuador will be able to see it?
  294. A German Beer is being sold at around $3.75 a can. Is that a good price?
  295. What are some advantages and disadvantages of using Skype in Ecuador?
  296. After ordering delivery from one’s favorite restaurant, the Moto driver calls and asks for the “Ubicación”. What’s a Moto driver, what is an “Ubicación”, and what’s the format they generally prefer?
  297. When using a public restroom, for what big surprise, might an Expat need to be prepared?
  298. When seeing a nice piece of property or a car for sale there are two phone numbers listed. What’s the easiest way to tell if it’s a conventional (land-line) number or a cell phone and why might that matter when and Expat is asking for the price?
  299. After moving to Ecuador a person goes shopping for a desk and chair. What are their choices and what’s a ballpark price for such?
  300. After deciding to move to the Cordillera, a person goes looking for a Queen-sized down comforter. What’s the Cordillera, how likely is one to find a down comforter, and what is the Ecuadorian way to say, “Queen-sized”?
  301. One family loves their bone china, another likes medium-quality stone ware plates, but neither likes low quality dishes. How likely are either to find what they like here?
  302. After paying for a meal in dollars, an Expat looks at his change and sees one that says “Ecuador” on it. What should they do?
  303. At dinner party an Expat is offered an alcoholic beverage. Clearly visible are some high-end Gold Label brands. What should the Expat do?
  304. After dinner, a host offers coffee. After a guest accepts, the host asks, “con leche or Americano?” What have they just asked, and what’s the correct answer?
  305. After using the toilet in Ecuador, what is the one thing that should absolutely not be done – particularly if one is a guest at someone’s house? What should absolutely be done?
  306. A person is looking for a good Mexican Restaurant in the Cordillera. How easy is that, and why?
  307. Which are the two biggest players in the Cell Phone Market here?
  308. How likely is a gardener to find packaged seeds in Ecuador?
  309. A cat owner runs out of kitty litter. How big an issue will this be?
  310. Before buying a new car, what might a person be required to do that is unheard of in the U.S.?
  311. On an interprovincial bus a person gets on the bus and begins handing out “free” candy. Should one accept it?
  312. There is a skinny two-inch long black bug in one’s garden. What should they do?
  313. A cell phone company offers unlimited local calls and 100 minutes of international calls for $40 / mo. Is this an average deal, a good deal, or a great deal?
  314. While waiting for a cab, a four-door pickup truck with a green stripe down the side and a bunch of official-looking numbers on it pulls up to you. What’s about to happen?
  315. What are some of the most common dog foods in Ecuador?
  316. How common are automatic transmissions in Ecuador and why?
  317. What is/are needed before acquiring a driver’s license in Ecuador? How might knowing this before leaving their home country save them hundreds of dollars, if not more?
  318. What are the benefits of renting vs. owning in Ecuador and vice versa?
  319. Before renting what 20 things might one want to take into account?
  320. How might Ecuadorian home construction impact one’s use of WIFI?
  321. A person is fond of hanging artwork in their home. What will one likely need before doing so in Ecuador?
  322. What might it be wise to consider before allowing a worker into one’s home?
  323. When deciding to take a bus or a van between two cities, what factors might one want to consider?
  324. How many people can an Ecuadorian cab driver allow in their vehicle?
  325. In Ecuador, a person gets a hankering for some Starbucks coffee. What are their options?
  326. Before getting into a cab in Ecuador there are at least two things that one should do, what are they?
  327. At many panaderias there are one or more stray dogs loitering around outside. Why is that?
  328. Roughly 30% of Ecuador is at or above 8,200 ft. (2,500 m). At that elevation what percentage of oxygen is there compared to sea level? (Yes, I know it’s a trick question.)
  329. Normally how would an Ecuadorian write out the following number: $1,795.13?
  330. If an Expat receives an invitation to a party on 3/6/24 what day would that be?
  331. If one wishes to buy a car with the greatest chance of finding parts for it down the road, which brand(s) might be best to purchase? Which would be the best to avoid?
  332. Because they’re human, a person leaves their cell phone visible in their car. Upon realizing this, what will the person’s reaction likely be if the car is parked in a parqueadero? On the street?
  333. A recipe calls for, among other things, a graham cracker crust, cinnamon, a cup of Passion Fruit juice, and whip cream. Which, if any, of these ingredients might be an issue?
  334. An Expat has pictures of a piece of furniture that is long gone, but which they treasured. What’s the chance that they can get it duplicated here?
  335. There’s a formal wedding coming in six weeks and a person wants a new dress or suit. However, they are over six feet tall, 1.8 m. What are the chances that they can have what they need at a reasonable price in time for the event?
  336. For the same event they want new shoes. What are the chances they will be able to get them? What would be the best way to do so? (Assuming they have fairly large feet.)
  337. A woman is selling fruits and vegetables on the sidewalk, which is illegal. Would it be wise to buy from her? Why or Why not?
  338. A person wants to buy their own home. What are the benefits and what are the risks unique to Ecuador?
  339. There’s a car parked against the curb in both directions allowing only one car to pass between them. What will likely be the reaction of cars coming from opposite directions at this bottleneck?
  340. At a fairly popular department store, there is a 65” HD TV with a sticker price of $85. Why?
  341. As one approaches a check-out lane at a U.S. style grocery store there are a number of empty shopping carts, including one against the conveyor belt at the clerk without any customers. Why, and what should one do in this situation?
  342. An Expat finds several cans of the following at a grocery store: Cranberry sauce, Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup, and Enchilada Sauce. Assuming the Expat will want all of these in the next 12 months, what would be the normal response to each?
  343. Why is the selection of lawn mowers so limited and weed eaters so plentiful here?
  344. A diabetic Expat runs out of the triangular needles on her / his insulin “pen”. What will be their reaction?
  345. A flower delivery service offers to bring two dozen fresh roses to one’s house, every week for $20 / week. Is this a good deal?
  346. A reliable mechanic confirms that a used car is in good shape. The owner is asking 50% more than the U.S. price for the same exact year, make, and model. Is this a good price?
  347. There is a Ferretería just down the street and a True Value across town, which will likely be best for buying: Some paint? A nice planter? Needle nose pliers?
  348. At a Ferretería the woman asks, “¿Consumer Final?” What is she asking and how should one reply? After replying she gives the price and points down the counter. Why?
  349. It’s 12:30 p.m. at a government office. After waiting 30 minutes, true story, the guard says that it’s “Almuerzo” and come back later. What should one do and not do?
  350. After boarding a bus the driver says, “Sigue, no más.” [Continue no more]. What should one do?
  351. While waiting for a domestic flight at an Ecuadorian airport a well-dressed airline employee is seen carrying a small cardboard box with a company emblem on it. What should one do?
  352. At KFC a person has finally become next in line when an older gentleman quietly steps up beside the person first in line. What is about to happen, why, and how will everyone respond?
  353. Why do Expats often go shopping for a fridge? Where are the best places to go? What four things should one check before buying one? What’s the safest way to pay for a fridge?
  354. At an American style grocery store a stocker is sitting on the ground stocking the bottom shelf. Before asking him / her anything, what will be required?
  355. For those who decide to move here, what are some things that would be best done in the States and how might they save the Expat thousands of dollars, time, and headaches?
  356. For those wanting a Visa, a Driver’s License, a Car, and a license plate. Which of the following is best for each item: Company, Lawyer, Handler, Facilitator, or do it oneself?
  357. What are the benefits and drawbacks to buying a car that are unique to Ecuador?
  358. How long are U.S. driver’s licenses legal here?
  359. What are the advantages of an Electric motorcycle for an Expat? What do most of them lack?
  360. When would buying a whole Ecuadorian cabbage or squash be a good or a bad idea?
  361. At a mercado or a tienda an Expat asks for a dollar’s worth of tomatoes. The vender asks, “Riñón (Kidney) o Árbol (Tree)?” What’s the correct answer? What if one desires Cherry tomatoes?
  362. An Expat goes to buy some water at a tienda. The tienda owner responds, “Con gas o sin gas?” What is the correct answer?
  363. At Coral, Ecuador’s version of Walmart, the checkout clerk asks, “Con datos o sin datos?” What was just asked and what are the various reasons for the response?
  364. After paying, the clerk hands a person what look like three receipts. One is a regular receipt, and the others are short little ones. What should one do or not do with the little ones?
  365. A person drives into a parking lot of a store and a guard hands them a ticket. What is the best and worst thing one could do with that ticket?
  366. A person’s iron stops working. What might be the best thing to do before buying a new one?



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