Life as an Expat…the bumps, the bothers, the beauty

Archive for the ‘Customs & Culture’

Happy New Year from Ecuador!

January 02, 2009 By: admin Category: Beaches, Cuenca, Customs & Culture, Dry Season, Eating & Drinking, Expat Life, Real Estate, Uncategorized No Comments →

One thing I do miss a lot about Panama was spending New Year’s Eve in Portobelo at the home of my friend, Sandra Eleta .  Being the great lady that she is, it was always fascinating and since I spent a one night with her when I was in Panama a couple of months ago, missing it was felt all the more.  Her Portobelo compound was always filled with the most interesting people no matter when you visited, but New Year’s Eve was special.  It instilled in me an appreciation for new spiritual traditions.  The custom of burning a muneco (doll in English, but almost a life-sized scarecrow-like rendition in real life or as most foreigners here call them: effigies.) of someone you dislike was something I adored in Panama, so I was very glad to see it’s just as much of a custom here in Ecuador.  In Panama, they’re called munecos.  In Ecuador, they’re called ‘Ano Viejos’.   (more…)

Ecuador’s Cotacachi, Cuy, Otavalo and Skye, Scotland photos

July 19, 2008 By: admin Category: 9-11, Art & Culture, Artesania, Cuenca, Customs & Culture, Dogs, Ecuador, Expat Life, Learning Spanish, NYC, Shopping, The Cajas 1 Comment →

Been a little busy here folks. Went away to Quito (again) for a week and went up to Cotacachi and Otavalo for the weekend. Had no time to do anything but work and sleep in Quito, but had a wonderfully relaxing weekend in Cotacachi…I even left my computer in Quito so I wouldn’t be tempted. Must get some photos so you can see for yourself. Cotacachi, about 2 hours north of Quito, sits right in the center of two huge extinct volcanoes, Cotacachi and Imbabura. Pretty amazing views when the clouds let you have a peak. (more…)

Sunday Almuerzo in Ecuador

June 02, 2008 By: admin Category: Art & Culture, Artesania, Cuenca, Customs & Culture, Eating & Drinking, Ecuador, Expat Life, Learning Spanish, NYC No Comments →

Yesterday, I was invited to have lunch with an Ecuadorian family. It was quite an experience for me as we spent roughly 4 hours together between lunch and conversation afterwards…in Spanish. While quite a bit of time was dedicated to American politics, quite a bit of time was also dedicated to discussing various events and tragedies in various powerful families in Cuenca. (more…)

Expat Culture: Panama vs Ecuador

March 29, 2008 By: admin Category: Cuenca, Customs & Culture, Ecuador, Expat Life No Comments →

Because I lived in Panama for a few years and because I tended to be somewhat outspoken about my observations of life there, I was recently queried by a Panamanian the following: “On foreigners: Ok Leslie, so I will ask you personally. When you said that you would prefer if Americans (not sure if you said Americans or foreigners) would NOT move there, what prompted you to say that? My apologies for putting you on the spot.” So I thought I would share my response there…here: (more…)

Post Casco Viejo

September 07, 2007 By: admin Category: Baseball, Casco Viejo, Customs & Culture, La Casona No Comments →

I no longer live in Casco Viejo. It changed and/or I changed or time marched on to separate us, but in response to questions about how I saw the changes, and especially the mass eviction of squatters who had lived in those buildings for over 20 years, this is what I answered. (more…)

Christmas in San Blas; NY’s Eve in Portobelo

January 02, 2007 By: admin Category: Beaches, Customs & Culture, Kunas, Portobelo No Comments →

I have had a couple of holiday traditions since moving to Panama. One has been to ‘play Santa Claus’ for about 1000 kids on 4 islands in San Blas. It is always treacherous and taxing to get there as the weight I take out mandates a trip by other than air. Last year, it was an overloaded canoe over the ocean in 15 foot swells for 7 hours after a bus ride from Hell. This year, we passed over the mountains near Chepo on a dirt road that grew progressively worse as we neared the Atlantic side until we were simply sliding down sideways to seemingly certain death. I repeat, mud is to driving in the tropics what snow and ice are in the US mountains. That was one of the 2 scariest drives of my life. Flying back and looking at that ribbon of a road
that runs along the very peak of the mountains, I knew that if I had seen the realty of the drop offs beside as we slid sideways down the steep grade that I would never have considered going up there to begin with. The old addage is true, ignorance is bliss. (more…)

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