Friday, January 20, 2012

Prices in Coastal Ecuador

We were curious about the cost of various items in coastal Ecuador so we spent about an hour in a supermarket looking at prices.  It certainly helped that Ecuador uses the US dollar as it's currency.  Here's a sampling of what we found:

In Puerto Lopez:
Hand mixer $12.99 (quality of all kitchen appliances would equal the cheapest ones that we could find at Walmart in the US)
Slow cooker  $20.00
Small saucepan $8.00
Large saucepan $13.00
Window cleaner $1.99
Sugar per pound $.45
12 tortillas $1.99
18 eggs $2.09 (interesting that they were sold at room temperature)
100 grams Doritos $.99
Whole 5 lb 10 oz chicken $7.62
Pantene shampoo (13.5 oz) $5.59
Speed Stick deodorant $3.49
4 rolls of toilet paper $2.39
DVD player $35.00
5.5 oz WD40 $3.99
Gasoline $2.19 / gallon

In Guayaquil:
55" LCD TV $2890
Home security system $1000
Lee jeans $36 - $46
Hi top Converse sneakers $78

I did not bring a watch and did not want to spend all week asking Scott what time it was so I bought this watch for $5.00.  I think I overpaid by about $3.00.

We stopped by a small store in a small town run by a boy about 10 years old.  I bought a bottle of cold water for $1.00 and did not negotiate with him.  As we were walking away, he ran out of the store and high fived all of his friends sitting at a table in front of the store.  No idea what I should have paid but clearly, I paid the gringo price.

In a market where they sell fruit, vegetables, meat, and pretty much anything else available, I watched a local man negotiate and purchase two large crabs.  He paid $1.00 for both!  Wow!  I was curious about whether the two men were friends or if that is how low an average local can get the price down.  Unfortunately, I do not have any way to ask that question.

We bought a $10 Claro card - a prepaid telephone card that can be used at Claro phone booths around towns.  We thought it would be nice to be able to call some local folks that we were meeting with while there.  Also, the balance could have been used to call our families in the US.  The only problem was that we were unable to read the activation instructions and eventually gave up.  Instead, we went to the internet cafes and used their payphones to call the local folks.  Scott spoke to Barb for about 3-5 minutes and we paid $.78.  We completely skipped any international calls.  If you need a $10 Claro card, let me know :) 

For most of our trip, we relied on free wifi at restaurants or hotels to use the internet on our phones.  A couple of times, we wanted to print something out so we went to internet cafes for those times.  We paid $.10 to $.25 depending on which city we were in for up to 15 minutes.  What should have always taken about 5 minutes typically took around 8 because of our slow typing on the Spanish keyboard.  Printing in black and white was $.10 per page and $.25 for color.  We accidentally printed in color the first time and printed a web page where there was one line on the second page - the copyright info.  Oops.


We spoke to a gringo who has been living in Ecuador for 5 months and is getting ready to begin building a house on a lot that he purchased.  He said that he bought 8 6'x2' granite slabs for a total of $700!  Incredible!!

We bought ice from this girl's store a few times.  A bag of ice was $2.00.  She worked all day every day and was also there at night.  I do not know what time the store closes.

Here were some of the prices of meals that we purchased at restaurants:
Garlic shrimp with rice $5.00

Fried fish with rice and fries $4.50

6 inch Empanadas $1.00 - One empanada was plenty filling for a meal.  Scott had ham & cheese and I had chicken, which also contained some vegetables.
Bottle of water $.35
Breakfast of two eggs, bacon, cheese, tea, juice and toast $4.00 at our hotel in Playas

Breakfast of 2 eggs, 2 croissant, hot milk, juice $2.50 across the street from the hotel in Playas (we did not really like the hot milk - I think was whole milk but there was a stray cat who was more than happy to drink both of ours)


One night in Playas, we went to a fancy looking Italian restaurant.  Scott ordered the garlic shrimp (at $7.50 a lot more expensive than it was at the first restaurant where he ordered it) and I ordered risotto shrimp which was also $7.50.  I received exactly what I ordered but Scott ended up with a poor tasting filet of fish instead.  Since my dish was much more than I could ever eat, he ate his rice and shared my meal with me.  We did not say anything to the waitress because it was most likely our lack of Spanish that caused this mix up.  All restaurant employees came to our table at the end of our meal to find out why Scott did not eat his food.  The chef speaks great English and we explained that Scott did not order the food on his plate but that we were both full and wanted to pay.  They removed Scott's meal from the bill so we only paid for mine.  Very nice of them!

While we were in Puerto Lopez, we frequented the same restaurant several times because they had wifi that we could use while there.  They had some amazingly great food.  I had a huge crepe filled with chicken and covered in a wonderful sauce for $6.50.  The waiter spoke pretty good English, too, so we were able to ask him questions that we had about local customs and where to find particular items in town.

Until next time,
Emily


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