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Old 05-09-2010, 12:23 PM   #41
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I don't think stray dogs seemed to be a problem during my visit to Vietnam, either, but for (ahem) different reasons.
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You are absolutely right Kramer. Did you visit the "dog restaurants" village just outside of Hanoi? When I was there in 95, there were at least 20 such "restaurants" right next to each other, and they were all relatively crowded with customers. The variety of dishes were impressive, to say the least.
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Old 05-09-2010, 12:34 PM   #42
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The dogs in Ecuador are starving. That's why they are mean. While traveling there I was shocked by the disregard that Ecuadorans had for the welfare of the street animals. They just ignored them completely. I saw a scrawny dog standing patiently next to a woman cooking food at a road side stand who just totally ignored the animal. It was clearly, to me, her dog.
I'm not sure I see things the same way. Those street dogs, however craggy, however starved, are free. Free to live their live unmolested by their owner. I'm not sure which is considered "shocking disregard", to be well fed but castrated/neutered and "killed" when no longer appealing to the owners, or to be free but wholesome in despite of lack of materialistic needs.
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Old 05-09-2010, 01:58 PM   #43
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I agree that Cuenca is the gem of Ecuador. Also, I think (?) they have year around decent weather. The place is probably too cool for me, but I think many would like the temperature range. There is a rainy season in March, April, May.

As I have helped other travelers, I realize now that many do not handle altitude so well. So that would be a big consideration for someone in Cuenca (2560 meters, 8400 feet).

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Old 05-09-2010, 02:02 PM   #44
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You are absolutely right Kramer. Did you visit the "dog restaurants" village just outside of Hanoi? When I was there in 95, there were at least 20 such "restaurants" right next to each other, and they were all relatively crowded with customers. The variety of dishes were impressive, to say the least.
Sam, when I was in Saigon, a tour guide really talked up the dog restaurants and convinced me to go to "dog alley". He also explained that middle sized dogs were the best.

Well, I was planning to go to dog alley that evening and probably try it out, but I was with some Brits (2 girls and 1 guy with whom I had learned to scuba dive in Nha Trang) and the girls couldn't stomach the idea, and apparently the dog alley restaurants serve only one kind of meet, canine, no other options, so we passed.

I did try horse in China and it was actually pretty good. My Chinese friend had me taste it before telling me what it was.

I did not try cuy (guinea pig) in Ecuador, unfortunately. The locals did stress that if I did try it, I should go to a good restaurant.

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Old 05-09-2010, 03:25 PM   #45
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Off topic, but we tried cuy in a ramshackle cafe outside of cusco. We were touring ruins with our teacher from Spanish school and his wife who was a tour guide and moonlighting tom take us around.

The cuy was delicious, once you got past the fact that it was roasted whole, complete with little claws on their little paws, and little ears on their little heads. Stuffed with weeds local herbs and roasted over an open fire, they couldn't have been tastier. However, we wouldn't have even managed one bite but for our desire not to offend our charming hosts.
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Old 05-09-2010, 05:07 PM   #46
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I did not try cuy (guinea pig) in Ecuador, unfortunately. The locals did stress that if I did try it, I should go to a good restaurant.
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The cuy was delicious, once you got past the fact that it was roasted whole, complete with little claws on their little paws, and little ears on their little heads. Stuffed with weeds local herbs and roasted over an open fire, they couldn't have been tastier.
Great! Something to look forward to on my next trek to Latin America.
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Old 05-10-2010, 09:43 PM   #47
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I have been to Peru four times and have lived there a total of three years, but I have never tried cuy. I have little desire to do so. I have eaten alpaca meat, and it's ok.
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Old 05-22-2010, 04:32 PM   #48
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Though this is not my report, I thought it might interest readers of this thread. It's an account of an expat's experience with the health-care system in Cuenca, Ecuador.

Hospital in Cuenca - Santa Ana
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Old 05-22-2010, 08:43 PM   #49
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Are you at all concerned about government hijinks? When I was on a Galapagos tour in 2008 the guide was very unhappy about some new government legislation that would in effect confiscate inheritances. This would not affect ex-pats of course. But just the idea of living in a country with a really high handed government would make me nervous.
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Old 05-22-2010, 11:00 PM   #50
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Are you at all concerned about government hijinks? When I was on a Galapagos tour in 2008 the guide was very unhappy about some new government legislation that would in effect confiscate inheritances. This would not affect ex-pats of course. But just the idea of living in a country with a really high handed government would make me nervous.
I became friends with a guy from Quito who lived across the hall from me. An upper middle class or upper class man. He married an American woman and has no plans to return to Ecuador because of his view of their politics. His mother is living in Florida and trying to get residency.

Third world countries have a tendency to be fine until they are not. Check Thailand for a recent example.

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Old 05-23-2010, 12:24 PM   #51
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Are you at all concerned about government hijinks? When I was on a Galapagos tour in 2008 the guide was very unhappy about some new government legislation that would in effect confiscate inheritances. This would not affect ex-pats of course. But just the idea of living in a country with a really high handed government would make me nervous.
Having lived in Latin American (Peru), I know it can be great and it can get ugly. I someone decides to move there, or anywhere, they might want to consider a backup plan in case things go sour.
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Old 05-23-2010, 09:24 PM   #52
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Having lived in Latin American (Peru), I know it can be great and it can get ugly. I someone decides to move there, or anywhere, they might want to consider a backup plan in case things go sour.
"Ugly" is probably an understatement in many cases. I hope you weren't in Peru during the Shining Path terrors.
But at present Peru is a beautiful country. I liked it much more than Ecuador.
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Old 05-24-2010, 02:40 AM   #53
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Retiring to my condo in Costa Rica and hope to do some traveling.
Thanks all for the lovely post of areas close by.
I done most of last 20 years vacationing in Thailand and Philippines.
I bought a nice place in Thailand but decided a friend needed it more than
myself so sold it to him and picked up condo in Jaco Beach C.R.
I lived and worked in Germany for 12 years in the 70's thru early 90's ( on and off). A trip back to see some old friends would be nice but need to get strated
on retirement again, tried it a couple years ago but failed on first time, think I am ready this time. Maybe start a little pub or something somewhere, not for the income just a place to hang out when bored.
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Old 05-25-2010, 03:56 PM   #54
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"Ugly" is probably an understatement in many cases. I hope you weren't in Peru during the Shining Path terrors.
But at present Peru is a beautiful country. I liked it much more than Ecuador.
I was not there during the Shining Path, but the aftermath still has people spooked. I did have a young man grab me and pull a sharp knife on me at an outdoor market in the San Martin de Porres area of Lima in January 2009. Fortunately, the Peruvian bystanders yelled at him to stop, and re ran off. No harm no fowl. I blame myself for even going into such a market. With more wisdom on where I went, I felt perfectly safe under all circumstances after than, especially when we were up in the high Andes. The Peruvians there were wonderful to us.
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Old 05-25-2010, 11:26 PM   #55
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Scott, can you tell us more about Peru?

Oldbabe? How about you?

It is sounding interesting.

Thanks.
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Old 05-26-2010, 12:21 AM   #56
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Scott, can you tell us more about Peru?
Peru is enjoying a good economy, with a fast-growing middle class--at least in Lima. Peru had one of the fastest growing economies (percentage wise) in the world, or at least that's what the country's president said last year. Outside of Lima, I see much of the fruits of the improved economy.

My wife and I were able to live in Peru for about $1300/mo, which including rent, food, travel (lots of it). We were missionaries there, so we didn't live high on the hog.

I didn't meet any ex-patriots while there, but I did meet a couple who spends their Canadian winters in Lima and their Canadian summers in Canada. They had a nice condo near the beautiful beach in the upscale Mira Flores area. DW and I went to the condo once. It had a spectacular view of the Pacific Ocean. I don't know how much it costs them.

Things in Lima seemed to run well--good telephone and Internet service in our apartment and good public transportation throughout the city. We lived there in a gated, guarded community, so we felt safe. Well-to-do people who lived outside of guarded communities needed good security systems. Those who didn't got robbed. (Some Peruvian friends of ours got robbed three times before getting their security system installed!)

In the mountains, where we lived for 7 months, we felt safer. Peruvians seemed more honest and didn't try to overcharge us as the taxi drivers did in Lima. But the mountain towns seem to have more strikes, which shut down public transportation for a couple days at a time. (We didn't have our own car, so we relied completely on taxis.)

I would hesitate recommending Peru as a retirement location unless the retired persons spoke Spanish and/or had other with Peru or Peruvians.

I can't think of what else you might want to know.
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Old 05-26-2010, 10:59 PM   #57
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Many thanks, Scott. Spot on.
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Old 05-27-2010, 12:47 AM   #58
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I had dinner last night with a professional class Ecuadorean man. He says that the large mountain cities have such bad air that you feel like you have a cold all the while you are there. He also says that there is no way he would return to live there. He is in his mid thirties, and first came to the US for university.

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Old 05-27-2010, 10:03 AM   #59
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I had dinner last night with a professional class Ecuadorean man. He says that the large mountain cities have such bad air that you feel like you have a cold all the while you are there. He also says that there is no way he would return to live there. He is in his mid thirties, and first came to the US for university.
I'm really surpised by this. The opposite is true in Peru. The mountain cities have wonderfully clean air, whereas Lima is very polluted. For the 4 months in 2008 that DW and I lived in Lima, I had bigtime problems with my asthma. As soon as we moved to Tarma (10,000 feet above sea level in the high central Andes), I went off my asthma medicine. We traveled almost weekly to large mountain cities between 10,000 and 14,000 feet (Huancayo, Huancavelica, Junín, etc.) and they all had clean air, except the La Oroya (12,400 feet), which has many mines and refineries, and according to one TV documentary I saw, is the most polluted of any inhabited city in the world!
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Old 05-27-2010, 10:16 AM   #60
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I'm really surpised by this. The opposite is true in Peru. The mountain cities have wonderfully clean air, whereas Lima is very polluted.
I think he meant cities, not towns. Quito and Cuenca.

My personal experience of air pollution, not of Ecuador, is that living in a huge city in a bowl in a sunny place usually means bad air.

When his mother was last here she spent a lot of time remarking on our clean air; and we are not the best at all.

Ha
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