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Ecuador During a State of Emergency - Surfing the Shortages


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And last night was my guest's birthday! She's celiac, so we baked her a corn and quinua shortcake - with plenty of strawberries and whipped cream, of course!

 

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Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

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9 hours ago, Panaderia Canadiense said:

 

I bring my backup generator online. It's Eolic; I don't need to worry about fuel for it that way.

 

And I learned a new word today. I knew "aeolian," but never saw that usage w/o the "a" at the beginning. Thanks!

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"There is no sincerer love than the love of food."  -George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman, Act 1

 

Gene Weingarten, writing in the Washington Post about online news stories and the accompanying readers' comments: "I basically like 'comments,' though they can seem a little jarring: spit-flecked rants that are appended to a product that at least tries for a measure of objectivity and dignity. It's as though when you order a sirloin steak, it comes with a side of maggots."

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1 hour ago, Alex said:

And I learned a new word today. I knew "aeolian," but never saw that usage w/o the "a" at the beginning. Thanks!

 

Another synonym is "bean fueled".

 

 

 

Teo

 

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Teo

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One of the weirdest parts of this shortage is what has become scarce after week one.  That dairy and meat products would disappear was expected, but carrots are also gone.

 

Thinking about it, though, it's not so surprising - carrots come into the city from the páramos of Bolivar province, which are on the other side of five roadblocks.

 

My local grocery is starting to look sparse... But the owner has a small farm inside the roadblocks so they're slowly reprovisioning the fresh shelves.IMG_20191010_135058.thumb.jpg.a8ba86fc3ef5f7264d5a0925e614573e.jpg  IMG_20191010_134922.thumb.jpg.440f32087592cf71e5cee6f0ccae754c.jpg IMG_20191010_134918.thumb.jpg.22f3c34d46059814a8a067e1bf6daa87.jpg IMG_20191010_134907.thumb.jpg.95789b6ee7748a98a1cfcc2ba14c2a54.jpg 

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And my local corner stores are starting to thin out as well. At Belen's, there's no milk or cheese but she still has vegetables and most non-perishable goods.

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Carmita has milk, though - and not for the reason one might expect. She says that yesterday she went across the river into the rich neighbourhoods and bought most of the stock out of their corner stores!

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Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

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The stress of this kind of situation has a way of killing the appetite, so we made the best of the situation of too many ripe avocados and had chips and guacamole rather than a full dinner.

 

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Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

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Today was another day to head out in search of provisions - I got to both major grocery stores.

 

I hadn't been to Megamaxi in over a week; last time I was there, it looked like a normal grocery store. Today, it was alarmingly empty. Fresh produce, milk, grains, sugar, flour, toilet paper, water, potato chips, meats of all kinds, seafood, dog food, and bread are all distant memories. The store looks like the lead up to a hurricane.

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Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

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Hipermarket wasn't much better. The interesting thing about this, is that my local corner stores are actually in a better position than the big corporate shops. They've got small, independent supply lines, and keep a greater variety of fresh produce on the shelves.

 

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Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

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Dinner tonight was a simple stovetop spaghetti - cooking isn't a challenge only because of ingredient restrictions: there's no LPG left in the city, so the tank I have has to last as long as possible. This means that I'm cooking meals that use the smallest possible amount of gas - as a consequence I'm trying to avoid my oven as much as possible.

 

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Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

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It's day 10 of the protests; formal covered markets and plazas in Ambato have been closed for about five days now.  Informal markets are starting to spring up in local parks - this one, which is about four blocks from my house, is selling rice, pasta, grains, button chorizo sausage (an Ambato specialty), eggs, and, for the first time in a week in the city, fresh milk.

 

The milk sellers told me that they paid the protestors at the roadblocks in milk to be allowed into the city, but will gladly do it daily to avoid wasting their product and losing money.  The milk line had close to 150 people in it today.

 

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Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

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14 hours ago, Panaderia Canadiense said:

Dinner tonight was a simple stovetop spaghetti - cooking isn't a challenge only because of ingredient restrictions: there's no LPG left in the city, so the tank I have has to last as long as possible. This means that I'm cooking meals that use the smallest possible amount of gas - as a consequence I'm trying to avoid my oven as much as possible.

 

Do you have an electric appliance that your wind generator can drive?

 

The loss of jobs as well as food must be wearing for people too. This is quite a saga. Thanks for providing a firsthand account.

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
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"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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2 hours ago, Smithy said:

 

Do you have an electric appliance that your wind generator can drive?

 

The loss of jobs as well as food must be wearing for people too. This is quite a saga. Thanks for providing a firsthand account.

 

I kept intending to get a countertop element, but the shops all closed before I managed to.

 

I do have a Crockpot and a rice cooker, and I have a half-barrel charcoal grill and about 50lbs of charcoal layed in; this grill also works with wood.

 

Job loss is something that is starting to loom - small employers are going bankrupt trying to pay their employees, and small businesses are mostly shuttered. A 3pm curfew with full military presence has just been ordered in Quito.

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Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

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18 hours ago, Panaderia Canadiense said:

. Today, it was alarmingly empty. Fresh produce, mi... dog food,

 

 

This one struck me. Feeding a pet that doesn't know how to catch their own can get pricey. Both dogs & cats need meat and cats are obligate carnivores. I worry more about feeding my 3 fuzzballs in an emergency than feeding myself. I can live on pasta, even if it's not great for me. Are pets popular? I know it varies widely, from pampered pooches to barn cats that catch their own. 

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Joanna G. Hurley

"Civilization means food and literature all round." -Aldous Huxley

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3 hours ago, gfweb said:

So what will end the problems?

 

Historically, this kind of thing ends in one of two ways: dialogue or deposement.

 

3 hours ago, Allura said:

 

Are pets popular? I know it varies widely, from pampered pooches to barn cats that catch their own. 

 

Dogs are immensely popular, cats less so. I have two cats and a dog, and I stocked up on food for them before I ever thought about how the shortages might affect me.

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Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

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I understand from NPR this morning that the standoff has been resolved. The president capitulated and restored the gas subsidy. Is this correct? If so, everyone must be breathing a big sigh of relief. Having been in Ecuador in the past when the indigenous were blockading roads, I can understand the feeling of insecurity and apprehension. Combining that with food shortages means everyone has been very tense.

 

Nancy in Pátzcuaro

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2 hours ago, Nancy in Pátzcuaro said:

I understand from NPR this morning that the standoff has been resolved. The president capitulated and restored the gas subsidy. Is this correct? If so, everyone must be breathing a big sigh of relief. Having been in Ecuador in the past when the indigenous were blockading roads, I can understand the feeling of insecurity and apprehension. Combining that with food shortages means everyone has been very tense.

 

Nancy in Pátzcuaro

 

That's a bit misleading, actually - what's happened is that the Government has agreed to strike Decree 883, which contained not only the gas subsidies that the North American media fixated on, but also the other austerity conditions including cuts to temporary contract workers' salaries (these people are overwhelmingly indigenous), the opening of native lands to mining and gas concession, and a host of other measures that disproportionally hit the most impoverished sectors of the country.

 

The striking of Decree 883 is only the opening of peace talks: it was the basic condition demanded by CONAIE (the indigenous federations) to come to the table.  Roads are now partially opened in some areas of the country, although my own city remains largely isolated, but it's still a huge sigh of relief.

 

However, the indigenous leaders have signalled that this is still only the first step - it's not over until everything has been hashed out, and a new deal can be hammered out that doesn't put the majority of the burden of austerity on the backs of those least able to support it.

Edited by Panaderia Canadiense (log)
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Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

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Well, at least it's a start. Ideally everyone will negotiate in good faith and perhaps a problem that has existed since the Spanish arrived can at least start to be resolved. Or is that too much to ask right now, given that there are centuries of mistrust and abuse to overcome?

 

Nancy in Pátzcuaro

Formerly "Nancy in CO"

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It does look like we're going to be calm right up until DÍa de los Difuntos - the largest workers' union has a national strike called for 30 October.  However, on the upside, it won't interfere with the 5th annual International Festival and Competition of Guaguas de Pan, which I'm part of again this year.  Last year (my first entry) I placed Bronze in a field of 50 bakeries, and I'm hoping that I can hit Silver or Gold this year.

 

On 10/14/2019 at 1:40 PM, Nancy in Pátzcuaro said:

Well, at least it's a start. Ideally everyone will negotiate in good faith and perhaps a problem that has existed since the Spanish arrived can at least start to be resolved. Or is that too much to ask right now, given that there are centuries of mistrust and abuse to overcome?

 

Nancy in Pátzcuaro

 

Ummm... It's complicated.  The truce is shaky to begin with, and there's no way that the government is going to be able to address hundreds of years of human rights abuses in one set of negotiations.  It will hopefully be a start, but the way that the government is trying to cover up the human rights issues even during the uprising (which are serious enough to have prompted the ICC to send investigators for crimes against humanity) isn't a very promising opening move.  Everybody is following the situation very closely, and I find myself happy that I've got stock laid in because I truly don't see it remaining peaceful until New Year's.

Edited by Panaderia Canadiense
Realized I could answer other questions; it's neater this way. (log)
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Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

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