Wednesday, February 23, 2011

"A Short Update"

When there’s nothing to write about…

This absence of excitement…
is mainly due to life (for me anyway) being in somewhat 
of a neutral state of affairs which by the way…
is not a bad thing.

Now this is not to say that I haven’t been active 
(OK…a little bit anyway).

I did take a day trip with mi amigo Charlie to a place 
called Ingapirca. This incidentally…translates to...
“Wall of the Inca”. Now don’t get bent out of shape as…
I’m not going to give you a lesson in Inca ruins (whew)...
that is…other than to say that these particular ruins are 
"tiny" compared to the ever-popular and world renowned 
"Machu Picchu" Peru.

In short we enjoyed a really nice day...even with the 3 
hours or so each way on a bus and...I got to see something 
other than Cuenca.

Other than the above and as I hinted in the previous Blog…
my big focus now is…on my upcoming trip to Thailand...
i.e. ...

“LOS” as in “Land of Smiles”

To tell you the truth…I feel like the mammoth and 
powerful rocket…tied to its Gantry…waiting for 
ignition and it’s subsequent “lift-off”.

In the meantime…my “hectic life” in these environs (LOL) 
take precedence and…must be endured. ..ahhhh…
such is life!

Now even though I’m a tad less than 2 months from the 
start of my East Asia trip…I am not idle.  My immediate 
focus is on finding a suitable and affordable place…to 
call my own temporarily…for my month in Chiang Mai.

Thankfully my friend Jim (living in Chiang Mai)...
is being an enormous help to me in checking out a 
couple of Guesthouses. This…after some fairly intense 
Internet searches. Also living the good life in Chiang Mai…
is my friend Larry who has suggested my staying in the 
Guesthouse that he’s currently enjoying.

Unfortunately…I can be “picky” and this time is...
"no exception". 

I have this “active focus” on staying within the bounds 
of Old Chiang Mai’ [Walled City] and not (even though 
it’s within walking distance) outside the Mote.

Some may call this being “thick-headed”…so be it! 

So…as of this moment…in my search for a guesthouse 
and depending on updates…I await and anticipate the 
offing from mi amigo…Jim. 

Incidentally…the aforementioned search has been 
narrowed down to [one] place with the easily pronounced 
name (LOL) for westerners of….
Fueng Fa [FWENG FA] Place! 

I may be jumping the gun…but here is the link to the 
guesthouse for those that are interested. The rates that 
you will see are in Thai Baht…which "currently" 
convert to roughly...30 THB to 1 USD...

So…now you have a fairly good (but admittedly) short 
idea as to what is happening in my life…
here below the Equator.

Until next time mi amigos y amigas...

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Internet Connection...Maybe...Could be...Possible...hmmmm

NOTE: You may notice different 
print heights and I can give you no 
clue or reason...but I do apologize!


The above comment has to do with 
what I am currently (and have been 
for quite a few months) experiencing 
...regarding my “actually” obtaining 
Internet service. I must say however 
that I do have inconsistent service 
(somewhat like pirating) by way of 
wi-fi from a hotel...half way up the 
street from my departemento.

Anyway not to get off the subject…
and going back in time…I had 
originally “contracted” with the 
premier Internet provider in Ecuador…
named  “ETAPA”. 

All was well until I received a call 
from them stating (and without any 
reason what-so-ever) they could not 
install the Internet to my residencia. 

Well…that was OK [then] as my free 
wi-fi was working pretty good. This...
is when the “S**T’ hit the proverbial
fan and my free wi-fi…all of a sudden…
required the much dreaded…password.

Well being a guy who hailed from 
Brooklyn…I took the “bull by the 
horns” so to speak…went to the 
Hotel-Restaurant where I was 
getting my [previous “free” wi-fi]…
sat down…invested in a good but 
overpriced appetizer and obtained 
the much the needed “password”. 
This by the way…got locked into 
my computer and I was good as 
gold…for a few weeks anyway.

Those few weeks became an 
exercise in futility as…I never new 
when and or if I would get on-line…
thus my decision…to once again 
try to get ETAPA as my Internet 

This time however I enlisted the 
help of Martha who over time…
in Cuenca has become not only my 
apartment finder…but a good friend. 
That brings me to my current angst.

Please take note…that this is now 
day three (3) of “trying” to obtain 
service from the illustrious 
organization known as ETAPA.  
It seems that "their" idea of “pronto” 
is M-A-Y-B-E…today, tomorrow...
or whenever !!!

Incidentally…you may have heard 
of the rumor that things move slowly 
here (and elsewhere) in South 
America. Believe me...

I’m getting a bit off the ‘ol track!

This latest chapter in my ETAPA 
dealings started three (3) days ago 
as in Monday. 

After arriving with Martha (my 
translator in this...adventure) at 
ETAPA’s Sacred Ground (Main 
Office) we finally…after about an 
hour had all the T’s crossed & I’s 
dotted. We were told that installation 
would take place Wednesday (today). 
And…off we went to our business 
and I was HAPPY…HAPPY :)

The story…doesn’t end here 
(as if you couldn’t guess).

After the success at ETAPA on 
Monday…Martha made some calls 
(unbeknownst to me) and this was 
the result:

OK…it’s now Tuesday evening 
and I am now at Gringo Night at 
Di Bacco’s Restaurante…having a 
very good drink along with good 
conversation and “here comes Martha”
like a major storm cloud about to 
unleash a torrent”. She almost literally 
dragged me out of the restaurant 
telling me that the ETAPA installer 
is waiting for me. HELLOOOO!!

WOW I thought…this is amazing 
and of course I understood Martha’s 
rushing me (she tried calling me 
about ten (10) times). Anyway…yes 
the installer was piddling around with 
the building wires and I must say he 
did try…but he apparently (?) ran 
into a “Grande Problemo” and told 
me in broken English he would 
return at Ocho Media (8:30 am) the 
next day (today Wednesday). 


To continue (after a calming breath
8:30 turned into 10:30…and beyond. 
After calling Martha (many times
we decided I should go about my 
business and do...whatever.

Now…you are probably thinking 
that at least I had the rest of the day 
to enjoy life and I was…
[notice I said "was"]! 

At about Noon I made up to meet my 
friend Charlie for coffee or whatever 
and that I would just wait for him 
in El Parke Calderone. 
This mi amigoes…is when I got 
the phone call from Martha that…
they [ETAPA] were on the way 
and would be there [steady now]...

in cinco minutos (5 minutes)

Now…one would think that after 
living in Ecuador 8+ months I would 
understand the linguistic variances 
of five (5) minutos…NOT!!!

I rushed home and W-A-I-T-E-D...
BTW it was about 11:30 a.m.. 

At 2:30 I had given up! 
So…una mas vez (one more time)...
I called Martha and told her to call 
"THOSE" people and tell them to 
come manana as I had my 
appointment to meet mi amigo 
Gerard for a late lunch.  

You’ll never guess what happened 
next (or maybe you will)…as (and 
I still can’t believe this…although 
I saw it with my own eyes)…
Cammie...mi gato (my cat) is 
apparently half watch dog (cat…
what-everas…all of a sudden she 
stood up straight and statuesque….
staring straight at the door and then 
ran for it. 
The only thing missing was barking. 

Well lo and behold I opened the 
door and there stood two Etapa 
Installers. After a couple of quick 
calls and back and forth conversation 
between Martha and the Etapa 
hombres they swore they would be 
done in a half hour. In they came…
started doing what they (supposedly
do best and BAM
they hit the proverbial wall!

It’s Mac Attack time…

“Not what you think”…
no Big Macs but the realization 
that I have a “Mac” computer and 
“dos hombres” have absolutely... 
“no clue”.

Back on the phone with Martha (
owe her BIG TIME when this is done)…
it turns out that she and the head 
installer are good friends. Anyway 
he made a call after talking with her 
and to make this story somewhat 
shorter…manana he…his friend 
(who knows the ins and outs of 
Macs) (?) and Martha are all coming 
to mi departemento at 8:30 a.m.
(well see) to bring this installation 
to a final…and hopefully happy 
conclusion. Party time anyone?

Well…it’s now day four (4) of this 
debacle and OMG…it’s 8:20 a.m…
I have one sneaker on and there’s a…
knock on my door. Could it possibly 
be true…an Ecuadorian Service Person…”EARLY”?  

Believe it or not…not only is he early 
but there are now three (3) hombres 
and uno hombre is “familiar” with 
(but ecstatic).

They came…they fixed…and they 
said adios. Time elapsed…maybe 
15 minutes…and I now have my own...
wi-fi connection...YES :) 

So…my first order of business was 
to FINALLY secure my flight to 
Thailand (for about 2 months hence). 

This little jaunt is that 
hopefully one day the house in 
Thailand will be sold.  But…
first things first.

After about an hour of playing 
"yes/no/maybe" with 
and with some minor changes in 
flight dates…Yes…yours truly has 
succeeded in securing his reservation.

The only thing left now is to reserve 
“local to/from” flights…both within 
Ecuador and Thailand…but I have 
time to get his done. The important 
items were the Intercontinental Flights…
and right now I just can’t even “think” 
of making any more reservations!

There will be more information 
regarding these flights…as I get closer 
to my actual flight date. 

This by the way (if you’re interested)…
are my flight dates (excluding the 
“in-country” flights).  

I leave 4/20/11 and return 5/20/11.

So I guess it’s best to keep this 
current Blog on the short(ish) side 
and get outside for a bit and then…
yes...I can now get on mi
anytime I wish! 

Hasta Pronto y 
Tenga un dia agradable
(See you Soon and 
Have a Nice day) :)  :)