10 Years of Blog Archive

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Amazing Cuenca Ecuador Last Video in September 2018

This is our last Video Log  (VLOG) for September 2018. Frank and Angie's videos provide real life reports, insights and entertainment about everything traveling and living abroad in Ecuador, Panama and Beyond!  Our mission is to show you "what it's really like to live abroad" without any agendas!   

Thursday, September 27, 2018

To REALLY Make America Great Again, You Need THIS from Latin Americans!

To REALLY Make America Great Again, We Need the Secret Sauce from Latin Americans! Latin America is home to some of the friendliest and happiest people in the world! Why do you think that is?   What's the secret sauce? What do Latinos cherish dear to their hearts that provides them with so much contentment and happiness?

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

What Are Gringos Doing to Rental Prices in Cuenca Ecuador, Mexico, D.R, etc... 2018-2019?

What Are Gringos Doing to Rental Prices in Cuenca Ecuador, Mexico, D.R, etc...2018-2019? We update our viewers with the latest rental prices in Cuenca Ecuador for both markets, the gringo market and the local market. We don't leave out the other touted countries like Mexico and the D.R, both heavily traveled by permanent resident gringos.  

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Tens of Thousands of Gringos Move to Developing Countries for THIS Very Wrong Reason, You Too?

If you ask expats "why" they moved to a certain Latin American country, whether it is Mexico, Panama, Ecuador, Colombia, etc...95% of them will tell you for THIS reason. However, a good portion of them leave and go back home" and that's because they were enticed to go there. When a person is lured by hyperbole and not told how something really is, they will have certain expectations already conceived in their mental state; the person will base all of their thoughts upon this hype and will envision something not the way it really is...and well, you know the rest of the story, disappointment will obviously set in, sooner or later...
This is not a new concept to us...if you want to read more about this subject, take a look at the article we wrote back in 2011 about not moving somewhere based on price: Do Not Move to Ecuador Just Because It's Cheap!

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Why We Didn’t Accept "House Hunters International" Feature Offer - UPDATED September 2018

This article was first published on January 25, 2012. Today we bring you the updated article and the video to go along with it. 

UPDATE 2018: Everything in this article still applies. House Hunters has done three shows in Ecuador since writing this article, that we know about. 

Last week House Hunters International asked Frank and me if we would like to be featured on one of their shows doing an episode about house hunting for rentals here in Cuenca. 

This version of HHI is a spinoff of the house hunters show. It was pretty exciting to be asked to do one of their shows and we gave it some careful thought. But we are not the type of people who just jump into something without doing the due diligent research first. What would the consequences of such a move be?
We did our research and investigation about this show and it is a very contrived reality show. Viewers do not realize that when they watch this show the people in it our actually “acting”! But that is not the scary part, the scary part is how they can and will slant anything they want from the four day shoot into their favor and say and do whatever they want. It's pretty much like watching the news or reading the newspaper. Is that what you want? we don't think it is. As our readers already know, we have our own show already.

Update 2018: In fact during the considerations we called them several times with our questions and they said we had to stick to their script and that's when things began to fall down hill from there and is why we decided not to do their show. 

We have a reputation to uphold for our readers and YT viewers and for ourselves and we feel it will do more harm than good. We have a pretty large readership now and our readers truly have an expectation from us, and we believe we owe our readers the low cost Cuenca, not the hyped up Cuenca with inflated rents. 

HHI is a very popular and well-known cable television show and for us to go on this show and pretend we like the hyped up rents and real-estate prices would be contradictory to what we teach people about how to live in developing countries.
We believe that if we were to go on this show it would inflate rental prices even more and that is something we are not willing to do. We cannot stop others from hyping up Cuenca with high priced rentals and real estate prices, but for us it is not an option. We love being the Frugal blog about Cuenca and we love being able to tell our readers about how not to be a gringo target and how to find good rental deals.
We live in a pretty nice rental now for only $250 a month and we know there are other rentals out there in the local rental market as well. If we were to go on the show we would be asked to look at high priced rentals that are actually out of our price range and that is not who we are.
This is how the show works and why we won’t do it: They open the show up with how we moved from the U.S all the way to Cuenca to make a new life for ourselves. Then they show us three rentals in Cuenca, one being the home we are in now. They take everything out of our house and pretend like it is just one we are looking at to possibly rent. We would be expected to act the whole time. (If it were our show our slant would be how to find three nice but economical houses or apartments between the price ranges of $250 to $400. We would want to talk about the three factors to look for when searching for these rentals. And the three things not to look for when finding these rentals)
The shows slant would be to show us expensive, gringo inflated rentals that in reality we would never consider in a million years looking at or telling our readers about. They would get a very popular real-estate agency involved like Caldwell Banker or Remax, both of whom are actually here in Cuenca and they would show us $500 on up rentals. Frank and I would have to “act” like these overpriced gringo rentals are something we would consider renting. Of course, in the end we’d have to say they are not really in our budget and we choose the $250 rental, the home we’re really in.
The bottom line is the show is really contrived and artificial, which is nothing like our videos we already have on YouTube. The videos we make for our viewers are never rehearsed—what you see is what you get…To see us on television would be like watching two people you already know and have become accustomed to seeing on YouTube and then be expected to not really know them once you saw the show. We know that are readers would be disappointed and we’d probably lose much of our devoted fans if we did the show.
You see, we already know that if you do your due diligence you can find a decent rental at the local prices of between $300 and $400, unfurnished. At least at this time in Cuenca. Things are changing, however in that area but we do not want to have any part of that new change. Prices are going up, yet we still rent for $250 per month.
Anyway, in the end of the show we would obviously pick out the house we are in now as the one we choose. They pretend like its 3 months later and they put all the furniture back and they show how we have adjusted to our new home, ladda, ladda, ladda.
We want to know what you think. Are we making the right decision by forgoing doing House Hunters International, or do you think we should do the show? What you think means a lot to us—we wouldn’t have this blog if it wasn’t for our devoted readers. You can leave a comment at the end of this post, or email us directly and tell us your thoughts.

Update 2018: As our long time followers know, we have now lived in three different houses, in three different locations of Ecuador and have never spent more than $300 on 4 bedroom houses, and we do not intend on doing anything of the sort for a long time. 

Stay tuned for our price update about the cost of living in Cuenca Ecuador for 2018! You're going to be surprised. Here's the DIY Cuenca Landing Guide! 

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Oh My Gosh! It Feels Like We’re Living in the 70’s Era in Cuenca Ecuador VLOG

Hey guys, we're enjoying our afternoon and we're ready to share with you. We Spotted That '70's Show and a Little Bit of Argentina in Cuenca Ecuador Today.  We just went back in time! Frank and Angie's videos provide real life reports, insights and entertainment about everything traveling and living abroad in Ecuador, Panama and Beyond!  Our mission is to show you "what it's really like to live abroad" without any agendas! Here it is!

Sunday, September 16, 2018

This Tragedy Was Not Happening Before in Ecuador, Why Now? September 2018 VLOG

I was scared to death, seriously. This Ecuador tragedy wasn’t happening before, why now?  Frank and Angie's videos provide real life reports, insights and entertainment about everything traveling and living abroad in Ecuador, Panama and Beyond!  Our mission is to show you "what it's really like to live abroad" without any agendas! Check it out.   


Thursday, September 13, 2018

Let There Be NO Doubt What’s Really Happening to Panama, D.R and Mexico vs. U.S

Let There Be NO Doubt--What’s Really Happening to Panama, D.R and Mexico vs. U.S. The.truth shall set you free! You do want the truth don't you? We mean, you really don't want to keep getting lied to, right? Well then better subscribe to our YT channel and...we have a lot of great information coming up!

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Insider's Guide to Mercado Shopping in Latin America

Curiously, after watching all the YouTube videos with gringos bragging about the cheap prices at Mercado’s around the Latin American world, you’d think that they were the cheapest food finds. But contrary to that popular belief, Mercados are NOT always the best place to find bargains on food.

When are Mercado’s the best place to find food bargains? 

1.  When they do not have a big gringo market
2.  When gringos are not giving out tours of the Mercado’s to other gringos
3.   When you speak enough Spanish to be able to negotiate prices
4.  When you realize it’s a game between the seller and you
5.  When you take the time to know all the store prices and know the rule of buying at the Mercado

                                    Gringo Price Level

When many gringos go to the Mercado and do not negotiate and talk real loud in English about how cheap everything is, vendors end up raising their prices to the gringos.  She figures, if one gringo will pay a certain amount for her produce then the next gringo will too, and usually they will! 

The price is now at a gringo price level, at least for awhile, until she hears in English real loud, “Wow honey that’s cheap”…and she again raises the price once more. Pretty soon, the prices are no longer cheaper than the regular grocery store.

1. Never compare prices in Latin America with North America
2. Mercados are meant for negotiating, so negotiate!
3. If you do not speak Spanish then you can’t negotiate and Mercados are not for you!
4. If you are not willing to play the game then grocery stores are a better fit for you.

When prices at the Mercados start to become as high or higher than the grocery store, it’s time to say, “Bye-Bye Mercados.

In most of Panama and in Argentina prices are marked on all the fruits and vegetables at the Mercados; that means, everyone pays the same price and that’s what we’re waiting for Ecuador to do, once they start putting set prices on the produce, it will make shopping there a much less tedious and stressful shopping experience for everyone.

                                   Favorite Gringo Foods

Here’s what we’ve noticed. When favorite foods the gringos like are cheaper at the Mercado like sweet potatoes, blueberries, shrimp, etc….what happens is the great price ends up on a gringo forum and then all the gringos go to that vendor in the Mercado and what do you think happens next?   

That’s right, she gets a steady gringo traffic and so raises her prices, again, and again, and again…until these favorite gringo foods are no more good priced at the Mercado. In most cases the prices rise to the level where you could just go to the store and buy the item…amazingly, in some cases with favorite gringo foods, the prices go higher than U.S prices! We have shown you this price anomaly in videos and articles.

One such example is shrimp. Gringos brag about the price of shrimp at the Mercado like it’s so cheap…and that’s because they are comparing shrimp prices to North America! We already know what the price of shrimp should be at the Mercado… so we checked around town and actually found shrimp cheaper at the beautiful, clean, grocery store than at the Mercado! See our video about that below.

You know there is a problem with gringos mentioning prices on social media when that product becomes higher than the North American style grocery store sells it for!  That’s just one example but there are many that we could talk about, really.

              Buying Seasonal at the Grocery Store!

One way to stay ahead of the shopping game and keep your food bill low in these countries is to learn which fruits and veggies are in season. You can buy seasonal produce at the regular grocery stores and keep your food costs down that way. Or, sometimes the wheelbarrow vendors will give you a good price if you negotiate. But you will have to negotiate; otherwise they’ll give you the price the gringos are willing to pay. It’s a game and you’re the target but if you negotiate, you really aren’t a target. You see?

Negotiate with Street Sellers
Sometimes, not all the time, you can actually find a street seller that will give you a good deal on whatever they are selling, especially if it is a seasonal fruit or vegetable. The best way to get the local price is to listen to what she is selling it to the locals for and then get that price. If she won’t go that low because you’re a gringo, play the game and walk off.

Vendors on the street and at the Mercados are more likely to give you a better deal when you buy “more for less”. Most people only buy a half a pound or one pound for the asking price, but buy three pounds and ask for a lower price per pound and they’ll think about it for a second and then say, “ok”. It’s because they are getting more money. You’re thinking “value” and their thinking “more money” at the moment.

If You want to be Treated Like a Local, Stop Acting Like a Gringo!

The most important thing about shopping for food in local Mercados in these Latin countries is this. Just have fun playing the game; we’re never disrespectful; in fact, the best way to “play the game” is smile real big and say, “no gracias” and walk away!  You might end up walking away a lot. Next week, go back to that same vendor and watch what she does. Nine times out of ten, she lowers the price!  

And folks, these are our gringo secrets for paying local prices at the Mercados! 

Of course, if you're just a tourist and only staying a few months you probably don't want to spend all this time developing relationships with the food sellers. But if you live anywhere in Latin America and if you want to be treated like a local when it comes time to pay, stop acting like a gringo. (We're being facetious of course...LOL)

However most gringos don’t have time for that, so then again,  you really are better off avoiding the Mercado and going straight to the grocery store. 

Unfortunately, with all the silly YouTube vidoes out there about gringos paying way over the going price, Mercado’s are over rated!   And now that they’ve been showcased on social media and on RAMM magazines (Retire Abroad Media and Magazines), we seldom use them now a days and besides we don’t recommend them for hygienic reasons.

We know that gringos will pay a bit more for stuff at the Mercado and we're willing to pay that little bit more but when it becomes "outrageously more" that's just plain silly.

We hope you got something out of our Insider's Guide to Mercado Shopping. We want to share our secrets, tips and tricks with those who actually appreciate the work we do to bring you the best updated information available in the travel abroad world.

 Here’s a few more articles below about shopping and prices you might find interesting. Thanks for your patronage.

Sunday, September 09, 2018

Going Local in the Ecuador Amazon - El Oriente VLOG

Going local in the Ecuador Amazon. Our son Brandon and family spent a week visiting relatives in the Ecuador Amazon. Ecuadorians call it the "El Oriente". Thankfully, he took lots of photos and allowed us to share them on our YouTube channel. Here's their adventure. 

Thursday, September 06, 2018

Where Are All the Gringos? --- Cuenca Ecuador VLOG

Where Are All the Gringos?  We spent most of the day on Saturday in El Centro and only saw a few gringos. Where did they go? Are they leaving Cuenca Ecuador? Not sure but we'll find out!       

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

The Terrible Secret about Mexico’s “Best Place to Retire” Lake Chapala - Exposing the Truth and Hype!

Hello gullible travelers! How can a place be claimed the best place to retire knowing this! The Terrible Secret about Mexico’s “Best Place to Retire” Lake Chapala! What you don't know can hurt you. Do your in-depth research! We considered moving to Lake Chapala-Ajijic Mexico but ended up moving to Cuenca Ecuador instead.  Telling it like it is!

Sunday, September 02, 2018

Silly Things Gringos Love to Do Abroad, But Not You

There are some really silly things gringos love to do when they move abroad. Yes, we gringos do some silly things....and no, we're not saying we've never done these things before. But, after being here a few years and understanding that these behaviors have ramifications, you realize it's time to give them up for good and start blending in better.