Why Do Ecuadorians Play Their Music So Deafeningly Loud?

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Below was a question posted on an Ecuador Focused Facebook Site. If you wish to be a “fly on the wall” to the many expats who are living in Ecuador, this conversation is a great opportunity to hear their thoughts on living in Ecuador:

I am not trying to start a war or ruffle feathers, but I honest to goodness want to know: Why do Ecuadorians play their music at deafening levels? There is no regard for neighbors or even the people attending. The party last night started at 8:30 and blasted till 6 this morning. Not all the pillows and ear plugs in town could drown it out. 

(Please Note: I have taken out the names to protect the privacy of the individuals who replied:)

EXPAT RESPONSES

*** Welcome to Ecuador..

*** One thing a loud music culture, the other is insulation is not needed on southamerican homes, therefore with the same party in the states there wont be as much loudness scaping to the neighbour

*** My husband and I are country people. We need quiet. Therefore, we cannot live in towns. We live out in a finca area. About once every six months they have a big party. Fortunately it is far away and we have ways of muting the sound.

*** Some people love city life and the noise that comes with it. We don’t. So we found we will never do well in town.

*** Fyi..talk with the police. There are ordanence in ecuador. There was in galapagos and in guayaquil. I sent a letter to a city hall office. The neighboor was horrible.. dogs too. They have the same laws in ecuador. It is a $200 fine if you dont comply to the complaints.

*** They enjoy noise and a party atmosphere. So do many young people world wide. People and cultures have different preferences.

***Don’t tolerate this. First time, they get a polite request. Second time, they get a less-happy request. Third time, they got a policemen brought to their door. No policemen around? Bang on their door at 7am… or just start hootin’ and hollerin’ like you’re part of the party.

***You want to be in their country you should be more tolerant. You are the guest.

*** Isn’t life too short for BS like this??????

*** That how it is in Vilcabamba downtown. Lots of parties on weekends!

***  This is a Latin thing and found in all Latin based countries even the Philippines. I think they subscribe to the idea that MORE and BIGGER is better grin emoticon

*** Partying, drinking, cockfights, and loud music.. I have found thiem in every Latin country I have visited LOL

*** I think they enjoy being with friends and family and this is one way they celebrate it. I love to see them happy and far be it for me to try to put a stop to it!

***  In my example, the guy was sitting just inside his front door, all alone, with his giant speaker just outside the front door. At 630am.

*** I try to make everyone leave by breakfast.

*** The parties are so interactive, dancing, eating, men telling ‘cachos’, dancing some more….drinking and hungry again.

*** So, who cares about all the many neighbors trying to sleep? Who cares about them? Some may say that is selfish. It is possible to have fun without that crazy high noise level.

*** I tell my neighbors and invite them and I am cognizant of the noise level. I care, I cannot answer for others. I am sorry that you jumped into conclusions that I was okay with being disruptive with the noise….rather, I was explaining as to why the parties last so long.

We have had the exact same problem. I just went to a wedding of friends and there two competing parties with loudspeakers full blast. I finally got it after 5 years. They really enjoy it so now I know I have to leave every major holiday or suffer the consequences.

*** sounds like Thailand too.

*** Es es muy malo ,pero cuando eso suceda llamar a la policía y ellos tendrá que resolverlo las fiestas están permitidas máximo asta las 3:00 de la madrugada no más

*** Wait until one of your neighbors decide to have a Karaoke party. Is even worst they would sing songs out of tune for hours.

*** Shoot me, please. I would go crazy.

*** Had this start blasting one night at 300 am … Sad drunk love songs … Was kinda funny … Luckily I went right back to sleep … The crazy disco lights were actually worse than the music coming thru the window … Musta been laser lights … Doesn’t happen often so I can live with it as luckily I am retired and have no pressing engagements to worry about … Ever smile emoticon

*** Summers here in Rosarito, Mexico, exactamente. And year round there are many restaurants I don’t frequent because I can’t have a conversation of any sort due to the shear volume of the music, forget the noise from the patrons. Think it’s those Latin genes.

*** Isn’t it wonderful that the problem is music? At least you aren’t in the USA where people are being beaten up for the color of their skin.

*** Is it really necessary to interject USA racial issues into a discussion about loud music? Wanna talk about the bad water in Flint as long as you have totally changed the subject from loud music in Ecuador? I lived in St Louis, is there police brutality in America, yes. But more than 50% of the citizens of St Louis are black, and 99.9% can walk down the streets without police brutality.

*** And at least it’s not gun shots … I’ll take party over violence noise every day !!! And night !! We are so uptight in the north Americas we really have lost the ability to live and let live and I hope we don’t ruin Ecuador with our Norms and appreciate and assimilate into the culture or leave to seek more familiar surroundings

*** Sorry to hear that, that doesn’t happened ever here where i live , and this is Ecuador too.. ooops… lol …. have you tried and talk to the police if that happens too often ? .. if it is once a year.. well…

*** I think their hearing is so damaged from previous parties that they need to turn it up! Think about it! These people have been taking their INFANTS to these noisy parties from birth! There has to be some repercussions, hearing damage!!!

*** Because it’s a different culture…

*** Occasionally there are the loud all night parties with the same ol reggie tone booming out. There is some great latin dance music, but seldom hear that, just the same ol crap. What I don’t understand, I have driven down to where the parties are at 4AM or so and NO ONE is there, but the music is still blasting. Why?

*** They are all dead drunk

*** When this happens in Pto Lopez, we presume that the party givers paid for the DJ and the DJ will always give them their monies worth.

***  Its not “Ecuadorians”. Its some Ecuadorians, not all. And it is quite burdensom. Also Colombians, Peruvians, Brasilians, and other Latinamericans do this, with utter disregard towards their neighbours. Its the culture I guess. And often, not much you can do about it. Unfortunately.

*** I am with you on this issue. I live in a noisy neighborhood and am a light sleeper. Loud music through the night! Ugh! I strongly dislike Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 7:30-8:30 when the Zumba music is played at the highest level possible right outside my window. My Windows shake! I have to make myself not go out and turn down the volume.

*** I mean I love music I listen it to it all day As I don’t have a TV! However I would never inflict it at all times on my neighbours. I don’t mind a bit of music daytime even if a bit loud (can be hard when I work at home) but all day everyday all night etc. it is tiresome. I feel manners go along way. I notice sometimes here can be lacking like when driving say in UK we put our hand up to say thanks etc when someone gives way. Or when my kids or me walk across a road and a car stops To give way i have taught them to raise their hands as a thank you etc etc I haven’t seen anyone return the same courtesy not once. However I accept that lots of people here will say good morning when standing in a crowd waiting and that def doesn’t happen in UK! So it’s yin and yang I suppose with all things. I will persist with my UK style of manners too ingrained and automatic for me maybe it will catch on?!

*** I don’t get comments like these ones. With all due respect, we’re here in Ecuador as foreign guests. No one is forcing us to be specifically here. If there are things we don’t like about Ecuador, we can move.

Not only that, but as others had mentioned it’s a massively huge (and in my opinion inappropriately racist) generalization to say that “Ecuadorians” play their music loudly. My girlfriend’s mother certainly doesn’t, nor does her grandma, her brother, her brother’s wife, her uncles, her aunts, etc., etc., etc….

*** I do not think anyone said everyone!! I certainly did not as I am married into an Ecuadorian family who do not do this. Also I think we are allowed to have our opinions and little moans just because we live here we shouldn’t have to say “Hey everything is great, all ok, and I accept it all whether I like it or not”. This really is simplistic. This thing of saying “well if you don’t like it then leave” that is racist. I hear that all the time to migrants in the UK!

*** I doubt anyone expects a whole culture to change!!! As I said when I can I will move to a quieter area. I think it is perfectly ok to let off steam here in the expats group.

*** I think expecting an entire country’s culture to be changed in order to accommodate people coming here for a low cost of living is quite absurd.

*** Exactly correct. It’s only some, not all.

*** I am with you on this issue. I live in a noisy neighborhood and am a light sleeper. Loud music through the night! Ugh! I strongly dislike Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 7:30-8:30 when the Zumba music is played at the highest level possible right outside my window. My Windows shake! I have to make myself not go out and turn down the volume.

*** I mean I love music I listen it to it all day As I don’t have a TV! However I would never inflict it at all times on my neighbours. I don’t mind a bit of music daytime even if a bit loud (can be hard when I work at home) but all day everyday all night …

*** I don’t get comments like these ones. With all due respect, we’re here in Ecuador as foreign guests. No one is forcing us to be specifically here. If there are things we don’t like about Ecuador, we can move

*** I do not think anyone said everyone!! I certainly did not as I am married into an Ecuadorian family who do not do this. Also I think we are allowed to have our opinions and little moans just because we live here we shouldn’t have to say “Hey everything is cool…

*** My comment was a reply to the person making the post, who did use the term “Ecuadorians” as a generalization. The difference is, migrants in the UK are probably in the UK for much, much different reasons than most of the people making and commenting

*** I doubt anyone expects a whole culture to change!!! As I said when I can I will move to a quieter area. I think it is perfectly ok to let off steam here in the expats group.

*** After a few nights in Cotacachi with the roosters, musical garbage trucks, early morning blaring loudspeakers and the music it was a no brainer that ¨city¨ life was not for me. So we bought a short distance from town.

*** When you say, “Ecuadorians”, you generalize. Not all “Ecuadorians” are created equal. I could say the same thing about people, here in the States, but that would be like putting everyone in a certain category. Signed, an Ecuadorian.

*** Estoy totalmente de acuerdo con usted.

*** Yes I suppose reading the op the poster could of used a better choice of words. I am sure it was not meant in an offensive way. Come on people we all generalize as some point in our lives no one is perfect – look I just did i just said all us Brits are moaners….please UK expats I don’t mean it honest its just a joke!

*** And another generalisation from another Brit……we fell in live with Ecuador and Ecuadorians. Does NOT mean we cannot voice our opinions or little moans. We think the main issue with living in Ecuador is the expats who seem either to be delightful, warm and friendly, or little arses.

*** I reckon I am somewhere in between Frankie, delightful, warm and friendly ass? smile emoticon !

*** it’s OK! I had the gall to complain about a corporate grocery chain, TIA, cause they do not sell kitty litter and rarely sell Diet Coke. OMG did the spears fly! I was told to get the f*ck back to America.

*** Before we bought our land and built our home in Puerto Lopez, an Ecuadorian friend gave us great advice. He said neighbors are everything here…get to know them BEFORE you buy anything. We did. I think we have the best neighbors in town.

*** I agree with most of you..not all Ecuadorian used to do this ..

***I think some of you are bing nit picky about the choice of words, especially referring to Ecuadorians. Maybe it would have been more PC.

What do you think?

In  my  new book, Words To Thrive By for World Travelers: Footprints in Ecuador. I talk more specifically about All. Things. Ecuador. Feel free to purchase my new bookWords To Thrive By for World Travelers: Footprints in Ecuadoravailable both on Kindle and Paperback formats. Personally, I prefer the kindle version as all my photos are in color in that version. However if you like a traditional paperback in your hands where you can make your own notes, feel free to purchase that version where the photos are in black and white.

Words To Thrive By for World Travelers: Footprints in Ecuador

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Cheapest Places To Travel For Each Month Of The Year

“You’ve heard the myths: Tuesday is the best day to book airfare. Wednesday is the best day to fly. January is the cheapest month to travel. All of them are up for debate, to a certain extent. But according to new data from Booking.com, you can count on getting good hotel values by picking the right destination for the right time of year.

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ONLY INTERESTED IN ECUADOR?

If you came here to this blog really only wanting to know more about Ecuador, feel free to buy my new bookWords To Thrive By for World Travelers: Footprints in Ecuador. My book is available both on Kindle and Paperback formats, though I prefer the kindle as all my photos are in color in that version.
Words To Thrive By for World Travelers: Footprints in Ecuador

Words To Thrive By for World Travelers: Footprints in Ecuador

Essential Items To Bring If You’re Moving To Ecuador

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Words To Thrive By for World Travelers: Footprints in Ecuador

Words To Thrive By for World Travelers: Footprints in Ecuador

A Woman posted this question on the Ecuador Expat Facebook page today:

“What items of clothing are most important to bring? What did you regret not packing?”

I thought her question and all the replies from people who actually live in Ecuador were so good, I decided to reprint them here on my blog. The many helpful answers people on the Ecuador Expat FB page really stand on their own for anyone wanting to know what essential clothes and other items to bring to Ecuador that you cannot get there.
(Note: It’s a closed group that I belong to so in order to protect everyone’s privacy, I’ve removed all names except ones who could be good references. Here is the link for your reference if you wish to request to include yourself in the Ecuador Expats FB group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/EcuadorExpats

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Quick question. We are moving to Ecuador in March what items of clothing are most important to bring? What did you regret not packing. Thanks all. Countdown is killing me 57 days and counting lol
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A. Long pants and running shoes. We brought mostly shorts… big mistake!

 (Thanks so much…trying to reduce my wardrobe to two suitcases is my trauma for the month)

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A. Look up “capsule collections” on Pinterest. It is a whole new world of women who know how to get 30 days out of 14 pieces. I’m sure someone has done your trip. You will be shocked. I’m looking for “professional teaching summer” and the options are unbelievable. I’m a terrible shopper and this is really helping me. Here’s “capsule collection vacation” so you can see it. https://www.pinterest.com/search/pins/…

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A. Where will you be living?
(We are not sure at this stage , we fly into quito then to Cuenca to lodge residency and have a look. we have met on facebook some amazing people from Cotacachi so that is pretty high on the list. Coming from Australia everything looks good.)
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A. We wear one type of top when we get up in the morning; change around 10:30 because it gets quite warm and then about 4:30 go back to our cool weather clothes. Bring clothes that can be layered and changed into and out of.

You might bring a raincoat or umbrella if you plan to be out and about in the predictable rainy weather. Decent shoes. Either sturdy walking shoes or strong sneakers.

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A.  I moved to Cuenca and regret not bringing enough warmer clothes. It can get quite cool at night.

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 A. Saltine crackers frown emoticon ….LOL
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A. We live in cotacachi. Why are you doing your immigration work in Cuenca. Why not Quito.
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(Because I am so dumb that I asked for recommendations and went with a lady recommended and did not find out until I had paid deposit that she was in Cuenca not known for the brilliance of my intellect)
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A. Have you met Jeanne Martin yet? She is also from cotacachi and from Australia.
(Jeanne and I have messaged a lot She is fantastic with so much good advice)
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A. Hi! I regret not bringing more sneakers, blankets and raincoats. I’m in Quito. I did not regret my umbrella, my make-up, sunscreen, socks..  Also, bring your own cellphone, laptop or desktop, kindle if you have one…
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A. Cuenca will be a nice look around. Enjoy your time there.
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A. When you visit cotacachi you will already have friends.
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A. Jeanne stayed with me a week in Cuenca. She’s great.

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A. Clothes are expensive and not very good quality. I would take a maximum of clothes if possible. And i would defintely bring good quality towels!

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A.  it is now 6,50pm, I am still in a tshirt in the Cotopaxi province, inside, doors shut with no extra heating, but yes, some evenng can be cool, I disagree with the expensive clothes, they are dirt cheap here. you just need to know where to go.

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A.  I agree whole heartedly about the price of clothes

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A. Bring whatever you normally wear, and bring good quality. If you normally wear jeans, blouses and flats, bring those and make sure they’re good quality. People here do dress up to go out for dinner or other things, so if you just bring heavy-duty travel-type clothes, you’ll stick out.

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A.  Very long extension cord

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A. really, we have loads of 10 metre extension cords, how long do you recommend, if we want longer we join them up. or just buy a 100 metre cable put the plugs on each end. we also have those for building
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A.  Extension cords are everywhere in Cuenca. Heavy duty, light duty, short, long, indoor, outdoor, 2-prong and 3-prong.

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A. For the Sierra: Lightweight cotton sweaters, medium-weight shawls & scarves, warm socks & slippers, extra pairs of walking shoes. Umbrella and sun hat with chinstrap. Rain slicker. No shorts. And a clip-on fan. If you go to the coast or the oriente, it’s a whole different story!

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A.  I also want to add that the different regions of Ecuador treat clothing very differently….Not as many folks dress up here in Cotacachi as I suspect dress up in Quito, Cuenca or Guayaquil. Where you settle will determine fashion modes.
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A. It depends on the city and even your group of friends, for sure. Here in Ambato it’s definitely the norm to dress nice-casual when going out for lunch or to run errands across town, and business casual and up is not unusual for dinner or going to a friend’s house. However it’s perfectly acceptable to go to your local tienda in your PJs

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A.  Clothes depends on size of person. I’m near 6′ and Ecuador people smaller so clothes to small. But if leather goods they can make it. Bring size smaller in jeans. And extra walking shoes

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A.  But they have really amazing tailors and seamstresses who can make just about anything you can point at in a magazine!

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A.  Flannel pj’s!

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A.  a smaller size pair of jeans….could sure use them right about now….

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A.  “Pelileo,” near Banos and Ambato is full of jean shops. I bought a pair and love them! There is such a huge variety you may need to try a few stores.
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A.  If you are comming to Quitó, from Australia.. Bring your normal clothing but in layereable combinations.

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A.  Rain coat and down jacket and down vest. rubber boots,Sheets, Pillows. No one ever wears tank tops, shorts or summer ware in Cuenca or surrounding area.

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A. Bring undergarments if you are larger than a size medium. Also,all the shoes if you are bigger than size 8. And slippers.

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A. I see people in tank tops and summerware such as shortsand I am in.Cuenca, not many but a few do wear them…not the tourist either…lol

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A.  Bring good sheets. They sheet cheaply made ones and they cost alot. They do not sell flannel sheets . Good pillows cost a lot as well.

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A. Really good walking shoes. Comfortable pants with front pockets that close. Cotton T-shirts. Hat to protect you from the sun but you can get that here. Socks!!!

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A.  I noticed no one has mentioned bras, everything else can be bought even bras, but they are all small sized, they dont fit the properly here.

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A.  ta heck with bras—I like the sport tops that afford support. Smiles.

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A.  Aquasocks if you plan to be in the ocean.

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A. Dress for the climate you are moving to. I bought some long sleeved blouses for Cuenca as it is quite chilly there. And all my summer clothes for Vilcabamba. You didn’t ask about food but I did before I came and came with a lot of peanut butter and h

A.  Onion soup mix……… can’t get it here…..

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A. outer wear, under garments are a waste of packing space!!  wink emoticon

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A.  One of my favorite clothing items that I have here is a ultralight rain jacket. Because it is so lightweight and folds down into a tiny square, I can easily take it everywhere on those days where rain may come out of nowhere and last 20 minutes (which happens almost daily during certain parts of the year in Cuenca)

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A. My friend recently moved there… things I’ve sent or she wishes she had…
Good sheets! Towels, baking soda, witchazel, sewing needles and pins, shoes, tea, hair conditioner. Hope this helps

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A.  Not clothing but I see your from brissy so bring lots of tim tams, Milo, vegimite, butter menthols, iced vovos and eucalyptus!

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A.  Walking shoes or sneakers, socks, bras and undies, towels and linens, tea if that’s your thing, and electronics.

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A.  I’m from Australia too, but live on the coast in Manabi. Climate aside, I really wish I had bought way more underwear and bras. Unless your fine with plain cotton. Also wish I’d bought more shoes. Size 9 can be found, but with wide feet, it’s difficult. Also, anything ‘fancy’ or ‘dressy’ is rather expensive here. So if you like to dress up for special occasions, and have some favourites, bring them.

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A. GOOD walking shoes (and if you wear over a womens 8/5 or a mens 10.5 bring EXTRA!!), my daughter and I live in T shirts and jeans much of the year…bring jeans/etc in a couple sizes smaller….most people lose weight when they move here! Larger sizes (Tall / XL etc) hard to find as well…bring sunscreen and a few months supply of any meds you take regularly. We each brought one basic black dress and a pair of dress slacks …LOL

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A. Of course, by now you have figured out the answers ‘depend’….on where the respondant lives, their size, their ‘thermostat.’ I am really cool if not cold much of the time in Cuenca. Right now, others are complaining of the heat and I’m perfect! From 8200 feet in Cuenca to sea level on the coast … good luck bringing all the right clothes in two suitcases!

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A. LOL…yup…if you are a person who “runs hotter” you’ll be good in tshirts, if you run cold, you’ll want a few sweaters, etc…The weather can change many times in the course of 24 hours, so I usually have on my Tshirt, carry a light shawl/scarf/and a hat (plus the standby sunscreen and umbrella)

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A.  If you have larger size feet, shoes!

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A. Fleece is too hot here for me. I’d bring only one if feel need to. 3/4 length tee shirts are a must

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A. I get very hot in Cuenca . Wish I had brought more 100% cotton tops.

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A.  Clothes are easy…. but if you have quality cookware…. bring it. VitaMix, and some food things like spices are very weak here….. Clinton’s onion soup mix… MAPLE SYRUP. If you wear sports bras… you can’t get them here at all.

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A. Great to have the pants from Lands End where the legs zip off to make shorts or zip on to make long pants.

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A.  I like Liptons soup for when we have a cold. Comfort food

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A.  For meat balls, meat loaf, dips. It’s the only packaged food I use, and you can’t duplicate it.

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A.  I buy my shoes and clothing in the US. I just bring more with me every trip. Horshradish, pickles, saurkraut, good sheets, down pillows are hard to come by…….why are down pillows hard to get? I don’t know.

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A.  I put my clothes in space bags. It took up less space in the luggage

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A.  I brought about 80 pairs of shoes, but the only footwear that I wear is 2 pairs of sneakers. Bring sneakers, they are expensive here.

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A. Bring socks and under ware. You will not shrink out of them. Don’t buy extrs pants, you will lose 20 lbs. here in the first six months. Three or four jackets. Especially to repel rain. It is not cold enough for a winter coat. Good walking shoes (three pair). Hats to protect your skin from the sun.
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A. Sleep ware (PJ’s), it is cool at night. House shoes. A backpack.

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A.  I wish I’d brought more comfy raggedy sweats and lazyclothes.

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A. I figured I would lose weight so I brought the next size down jeans. Now I’m one size down from that.

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A.  Anything you may need assistance with please keep my contact information I will be very happy to help you on anything , Monica Gonzaga I’m a Facilitator monicagonzaga.facilitator@gmail.com

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(Great info from all
Now excuse me while I go and repack for the third time.)

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 A. Definitely bring sneakers since brand name shoes cost ~3 times as much because of import taxes, same thing with good quality jeans since you can’t really get levis here without breaking the bank. Socks and underwear are never a bad investment either. Also, bring extra chargers for all your tech because you could easily end up paying $25 for a phone charger you could get for $3 on ebay in the states

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A. Wish you the best! Hope to visit soon.

A. Things that are hard to find or expensive in Ecuador:

Good sneakers / sandals

Good jeans
Quality cotton linens
Electronics of all kinds and their chargers
Good cookware (stainless steel very expensive)
Sonicare type toothbrushes
Electric blankets (for mountain living)
Baking soda
Good quality underwear
But really, how many of these items do we really need? Even in Las Vegas I wear only a few items most of the time. Most of us gringos are just well trained to overconsume. Unless you have some specific hobby or business needs, you really don’t need to bring that much stuff. Bring the basics and learn to get the rest locally.

It will be challenging to find or replace things you are accustomed to, but if you’re committed to life in Ecuador you will figure it out….

Also I wouldn’t bother bringing too many clothes. You will almost surely lose weight. I would bring a few good basics and use the rest of luggage space for the other items which are expensive like good walking/hiking shoes, a few linens, maybe your fave pillow, electronics, electric blanket, fave cookware etc.

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A. Bring all of the clothing you can because buying clothing in Ecuador is super expensive. You may lose weight, but the clothes have high resale value, due to the import taxes.

Unless something has changed in the last 9 months since I lived there.

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A. Light weight jackets or sweater cardigans that you can tie around your waist. Cross body (long shoulder strap) purse.

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A. I live in el Centro in Cuenca. If you think you might end up there-or in any noisy area-bring a sound masking machine. You’ll be glad you did.

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A.  Bring a hat with a wide brim.
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A.  In Cuenca – Think & Bring Layers. + a small day pack, a light rain jacket/windbreaker that you can stuff in your day pack, a compact umbrella, pants with zipable or snap closure pockets, and extra pairs of your favorite walking shoes or light hiking shoes and favorite socks. & Like Gerard Trettonsays, bring a favorite wide-brimmed sun hat & your favorite sunscreen.

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A.  Yeah, a baseball cap doesn’t cut it for protection of all of face, the neck and the ears.
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A. You can buy hats here in Cuenca. They are bulky to pack. You can buy umbrellas here too, all sizes. If you buy the wind-resistant umbrellas and bring them, you may “forget” them in a taxi anyway. Over four years of living here, I’ve forgotten about ten umbrellas in taxis. Bring underwear and shoes! check out for free: www.goldengirlincuenca.com for recommendations from various women. Don’t forget your Kindle or Nook!!! Enjoy the anticipation!

For Golden Girls, learn vital info about retiring to Cuenca, Ecuador, before you leave the U.S. Filled with…
GOLDENGIRLINCUENCA.COM
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A. Oh, yes…. DON’T forget your kindle!!!!

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A.  If you wear a shoes larger than 8.5, bring shoes. Don’t bother bringing a winter coat. Cuenca is a hat-making center to don’t bring one. Life is very casual here–people don’t expect you to show up wearing a brand-new ensemble every day. Folks don’t wear shorts in Cuenca. An electric heating pad (for aching muscles, etc.) is very expensive here. I’d bring one.
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A.  Gee! I wish I had asked the question before I came–could have been smarter–like –don’t bring one pair of comfortable walking shoes—bring lots more–geesh!
(Wow thanks everyone I definitely need a bigger suitcase… maybe my own plane lol)

would rather just know a bit more about Ecuador, feel free to consider my new book: Words To Thrive By for World Travelers: Footprints in Ecuador.  I know that you absolutely and totally WILL be grateful for all the helpful tidbits and stories about Ecuador that I share in my book. I’ve lived it. I know it. And in my book I show it. So you can totally trust it!

Gratitude Day 3: Grant Us A Heart Wide Open To All This Beauty.

How I like to think of my days here

How I like to think of my days. Period.

In Day 3 of my 9 Days Of Gratitude commitment, I thought I would share something really personal with you. The very first thing I say to myself within the first 17 seconds of waking up is, “Something truly AWESOME is going to happen to me today. Thank You! I am GRATEFUL!”

Whatever We Focus On Expands

Whatever we focus on expands and so I choose to focus on GRATITUDE. I want to focus on creating a heart wide open within myself to all the beauty and joy in the world.What do you focus on when you wake up?

A Thanksgiving Prayer For Every Day

Below is a “Thanksgiving Prayer” written Walter Rauschenbusch that could be repeated any day of the year. I hope you enjoy it.

Thanksgiving Day Prayer

For the wide sky and the blessed sun,

For the salt sea and the running water,

For the everlasting hills

And the never-resting winds,

For trees and the common grass underfoot.

We thank you for our senses

By which we hear the songs of birds,

And see the splendor of the summer fields,

And taste of the autumn fruits,

And rejoice in the feel of the snow,

And smell the breath of the spring.

Grant us a heart wide open to all this beauty.

• Walter Rauschenbusch •

Another thing I am thankful for is my freedom and ability to write about what I think of and see in my travels around the world. My experience in Ecuador has been truly life changing. Want to know more about that? Here ya go:

“Words To Thrive By® for World Travellers: Footprints in Ecuador” http://amzn.to/1KWKVs2 

There’s A Huge Difference Between “People Like You” and “You.”

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about fear and how it blocks our ability to see clearly. Often our fear not only prevents us from seeing ourselves and our opportunities clearly, fear also prevents us from seeing “The Other” clearly and what they may have to offer us. As Seth Godin so poignantly comments in his blog “Not People Like You” today, (entire original blog text printed below) when we allow fear to rule our judgement, we just “stripped away not just someone else’s dignity, but our own.”

Godin goes further to suggest that questions such as “What have you done?” “What do you know?” “Where are you going?,” asked with genuine curiosity rather than outright eliminated by our closed minded fears “are a great place to start, to choose people because of what they’ve chosen, not where they started. Not because this will always tell us what someone is capable of (too many people don’t have the head start they deserve) but because it is demonstrably more useful than the crude, expensive, fear-based shortcuts we’re using far too often.”

I love this idea. Giving people the opportunity to allow them to tell you who they are and where they are going and what they have done that they are proud of is a far better way to get to know them and for them to feel safe to reveal themselves to you.

Right now, I am living in and writing from Ecuador. I have seen the worst of the “Ugly American” all over Ecuador, the ones who are technically “Guests” here and yet walk around with an attitude and giving off this air of “I’m better than you,” treating Ecuadorians with disdain, distrust and dismissal.

I will have more to say on this subject in a future blog. But for now, as I see it, it is the “Ugly Americans” who are red lining the majority of Ecuadorians. As Godin points out, “The challenge with redlining, beyond the fact that it’s morally repugnant, is that it doesn’t work. There’s a difference between “people like you” and “you.” You, the human being, the person with a track record and a great attitude and a skillset deserve consideration for those things, for your psychographics, not your demographics.”

Here in Ecuador, the Ecuadorians are treated by the majoity of “Gringos” and “Ugly Americans” as demographics instead of psychographics. It is truly heartbreaking for me to watch.

Perhaps this is one of the reasons that I responded so deeply to Seth Godins blog today, “But Not People Like You.” See what you think. I would love to hear your thoughts.

Till next time….

But not people like you

We’re hiring, but not people like you.

I’m looking for a doctor, but of course, not someone like you.

We’re putting together a study group, but we won’t be able to include people like you.

Redlining is an efficient short-term selection strategy. At least that’s what we tell ourselves. So the bank won’t loan to people in that neighborhood or people with this cultural background, because, hey, we can’t loan to everyone and it’s easier to just draw a red line around the places not worth our time…

The challenge with redlining, beyond the fact that it’s morally repugnant, is that it doesn’t work. There’s a difference between “people like you” and “you.” You, the human being, the person with a track record and a great attitude and a skillset deserve consideration for those things, for your psychographics, not your demographics.

When there’s not so much data, we often resort to crude measures of where you live or what you look like or what your name is to decide how to judge. But the same transparency that the net is giving to marketers of all sorts means that the banks and the universities and the hiring managers ought to be able to get beyond the, “like you” bias and head straight for “you.”

Because ‘you’ is undervalued and undernoticed.

When we say, “I don’t work with people like you, I won’t consider supporting someone like you, I can’t invest in someone like you,” we’ve just eliminated value, wasted an opportunity and stripped away not just someone else’s dignity, but our own.

What have you done? What do you know? Where are you going? Those are a great place to start, to choose people because of what they’ve chosen, not where they started. Not because this will always tell us what someone is capable of (too many people don’t have the head start they deserve) but because it is demonstrably more useful than the crude, expensive, fear-based shortcuts we’re using far too often.

In a society where it’s easier than ever to see “you,” we can’t help but benefit when we become anti-racist, pro-feminist, in favor of equal opportunity and focused (even obsessed) on maximizing the opportunity everyone gets, early and often.”

~Seth Godin

PS: Would you like more ACCURATE, AUTHENTIC and UP TO DATE INFORMATION about ECUADOR?

WORDS TO THRIVE BY FOR WORLD TRAVELERS: FOOTPRINTS IN ECUADOR by Mary Anne Dorward

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Reverse Culture Shock: Back In The USA

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Well I made it back to the USA and am now in the throes of what they call,”Reverse Culture Shock.”

After living in Ecuador since last October, I found myself wandering around Costco here yesterday thinking, “WOW. There is so much STUFF available here all in this one place that I cannot get in Ecuador!! It all seemed so excessive as I looked at everyone’s carts packed to the gills with food and stuff and electronics and and and….And it was so very easy to get caught up in the thought, “I need this! And I need this! And I need this!” I felt a little like one of those TV shopper shows where you try to get as much crammed into your cart before the buzzer goes off.

And then in the middle of Costco, I just stopped. Literally. Stopped.

I looked at my cart loaded with stuff and I thought, “OMG. There’s no way I’m going to get all this into my suitcase when I go back to Ecuador in June. What was I thinking? So I put most of it back. But I did keep the large jar of Kalamata Olives which I have been longing for for my entire time in Ecuador. SOMEHOW I will get that 3 pound jar wrapped and bagged in my suitcase and hope the Customs people don’t seize it. Do you think if I tell them it’s for my olive bread and I have looked in every store all over Ecuador for these particular olives that they will let it through? (Keep ya posted there.)

Anyway, what I most observe is how fast people walk, how their faces are full of stress, how fast they eat, how fast they drive how fast everything is moving in the US.

The most surprising thing of all though has been how little has changed in my friends lives. They all tell me how stressed they are feeling, how little they sleep, how they don’t have time to see their friends and kids, how they need more money than they have, how deep in debt they are, how they are losing their homes or their lives or their stuff and how upsetting it all is.

One partner of a good friend told me that she goes a million miles at her job during the week, she barely unwinds during the weekend as she tries to cram in everything she had to let go while she was working during the week and is so fried by Sunday night she can barely speak and then it all starts again on Monday. And how he was worried for her but that was just how her life was, it’s what she chose and it never stops.

“It’s what she chose” kept ringing in my ears. “It’s what she chose.” I wondered if she was choosing to run herself right into an early grave. I wondered if she would be dead before she ever had the chance to enjoy her “retirement years” of supposed free time she had worked so hard to earn.

At the same time, every one of these friends of mine are making the same choices in their lives, trying to live up to the same standards that look so good from the outside with the bigger and more expensive cars and homes and clothes and the “good life” that more money was supposed to buy and hoping against hope that something will change.

When I compare all this to a cash society like Ecuador where people don’t spend what they don’t have, live in shacks with sand floors if that’s what they can afford but at least they own it, take time out to really talk, take time be with and talk with their families, move slowly through their tasks and their lives, smile a lot even though they really have very little, I shake my head in wonder. How can they do that and have such a “quality of life” on an average monthly wage of $380.00 a month (yes three hundred eighty dollars a month)? I remember living in the US and not being able to even get my monthly food bill to less than $500.00 let alone my rent, and gas, and car and other expenses added in.

So right now my head is spinning. I will write more soon.

PS: Would you like more ACCURATE, AUTHENTIC and UP TO DATE INFORMATION about ECUADOR?

WORDS TO THRIVE BY FOR WORLD TRAVELERS: FOOTPRINTS IN ECUADOR by Mary Anne Dorward

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Life In A Foreign Country: A Dance of Submission and Resistance

Flower: Ecuador

Flower: Ecuador

I received this email today from a dear friend of mine in the US and it was so wonderful, I wanted to share it with you. It so speaks to the Heart of the Expat experience, where we’re always balancing the need for the familiar with our desire for the exotic. Living here in Ecuador, I’ve definitely found that my life in a foreign country, shifting from being one of the Americans living in Ecuador and becoming a true World Citizen is always a dance of submission and resistance. See what you think:

Good Morning Ecuador!
Everyone should have a friend who is an inspirational speaker, writer, and doer! I am so incredibly lucky to actually have that person in my life. Thank you for reminding me to always take the high road, and for offering people, places, and things to think about: for example, Vishan Lakiani and his company Mind Valley. I also have loved reading your posts about all the cooking you have been doing lately. Sounds so great!!! You are really digging in now!

In going through boxes in the garage, I found this little gem destined for Second Hand Books, Expat: Women’s True Tales of Life Abroad. So I fished it out. The editor of this anthology, Christina Henry de Tessan, is formerly from Seattle, and now lives in Portland. She published through Seal Press, an imprint of Avalon Publishing Group, Inc. This came out the year we came back to the States, 2002, and I remember thinking , ‘that’s my life.’

Here are some excerpts…

When we travel, we are craving a break from routine, so we seek out the different and exotic at every turn because we know that in a week or two, we will be back in our safe little worlds. But when we move away, the home we’ve left behind can tug at us in surprising ways. We go abroad with our sights set ambitiously on change, but find we crave something recognizable and tangible, things we may never have known we needed: flavors and foods, love and companionship, routine and purpose, being understood for who we really are—whether it’s our incandescent wit or our skills as a chef. Instead of fantasizing about the new and exotic, we might find ourselves daydreaming about the familiar: No, I don’t want a thimbleful of bitter French café, I want a huge paper cup full of American coffee that will last all morning.

Having wanted to take travel to its furthers extreme, we end up coming full circle as we learn to cope with the most mundane tasks in a foreign place. Ultimately, real immersion—and the real challenge—occurs during this shift. Balancing the need for the familiar with our desire for the exotic is at the heart of the expat experience.

Life in a foreign country is a dance of submission and resistance. Self-knowledge comes in small repeated shocks as you find yourself giving in easily, with a struggle, or not at all. What can you do without? What do you cling to?

Time and again, the women in these essays display a dazzling inspiring resourcefulness as they struggle to find the right balance for themselves. Forced out of the familiar zone of twenty-four hour Safeways, longtime friends, and cultural and linguistic fluency, these essays are glorious proof of our powers to adapt. They overcome fears and shyness, make themselves understood, re-create a sense of home, find what they need.

These stories make me want to pack my bags once again, but they also remind me that it is not as easy as it sounds. I recall how much I craved friends and colleagues who could understand me, how humbling it was not to be able to express myself as I would have liked, and how quickly I had forgotten the hard parts.

That said, I also remember how gratifying it was to assemble the myriad pieces of a life from scratch. I was as wide awake as I have ever been, for better and for worse, and for that reason alone, I would do it all over again.

I couldn’t agree more.

XOXOX, Laurie

So what are your thoughts?

PS: Would you like more ACCURATE, AUTHENTIC and UP TO DATE INFORMATION about ECUADOR?

WORDS TO THRIVE BY FOR WORLD TRAVELERS: FOOTPRINTS IN ECUADOR by Mary Anne Dorward

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If you would like to read my First Impressions of Ecuador, please go to: http://wp.me/47vLx

Additional Links:

For More on the Life and Work of Mary Anne Dorward, please go to: http://www.maryannedorward.com
For Professional Speaking Coaching and Speech Writing, please go to: http://www.myrealvoice.com or for video http://bit.ly/1fmLjuL
To Learn more about my book, “Words To Thrive By: Powerful Stories of Courage and Hope,” please go to: http://www.wordstothriveby.com or for video http://bit.ly/1hlyGoc
To Buy The Book, go to Amazon: http://amzn.to/L9NYkl
For more information, to schedule an inspirational speech or interview, please contact Mary Anne at ma@maryannedorward.com.
Note: All photos in “Footprints in Ecuador™: An American Woman’s Life Changing Journey” have been taken by Mary Anne Dorward unless otherwise credited.
All photos and writing on Footprints in Ecuador ™ are a Copyright 2014 by Mary Anne Dorward. All rights reserved.