Poco a poco. Little by little. Along with “siga no mas,” this seems to be the Ecuadorian knee jerk placatory reaction to most situations. For me, an American, born of a German mother, descended from Prussian generals, it is a source of hair loss. Another thing happens that is un-be-lievable. Poco a poco, says somebody. I smile politely, choking off a rabid scream.

However, I need to be kind. This is not my country; I am a guest here. I will be reasonable and understanding. Poco a poco is actually similar to my mother’s family motto: festina lente. Slowly but well. Festina is a cognate to English fast; not rapid, but secure, as in “hold fast to that which is good.” In general Ecuadorian construction guys work fast, and sometimes well, as in any country.  What really drives me mad is the bureacracy. Burrocracia.

However, I don’t need to be a fool. Need to sign off so I can call my lawyer to see if she followed through on the permit for the bodega which was supposed to be included with the permit for the casita for which I paid the $250 bribe two months ago.