Equator Gringos

January 10, 2013

My Review of Cocoons OveRx Slim Line M Sunglasses Black

Filed under: Ecuador — lstollin @ 10:30 am

Originally submitted at EZContactsUSA

cocoons oveRx slim line sunglasses Black frame OveRx frames are the real thing it s committed to quality and innovation. The Cocoons Slim Line frame is one of those pairs of sunglasses you don t move without. Take it wherever you go….. Superior fit over your prescription frame and stylish too! ov…

The best Over-your-glasses Sunglasses

By Luke Climber from Austin TX on 1/10/2013


5out of 5

Sizing: Feels true to size

Pros: Durable, Scratch Resistant, Comfortable, Adequate Tint, Good fit, Good Protection

Cons: Unattractive Design, Bulky To Store Away

Best Uses: Travel, At The Beach, Driving, Athletics

Describe Yourself: Practical, Comfort-Oriented, Active

Was this a gift?: No

I keep losing my Cocoons, and so I’ve tried other brands as stop-gap measures, like the over-your-glasses sunglasses that they sell at Wal-Mart. They look superficially similar, but there is really no comparison. For me, the Cocoons medium slim-lines fit to my rather narrow face, AND fit over my glasses without argument.

Cocoons provide fantastic coverage, featuring the obvious wraparound side panels, but also a nice top “brim” that blocks light entering the top, so I’m not a victim of all kinds of top and side glare on bright days. In my opinion there is really no better pair of sunglasses (short of something like Julbo Mountaineering glasses with leather side panels) for complete protection from glare, with or without prescription glasses underneath!

Cocoons have a pleasant texture to the rubbery frames, and the earpieces have a good texture and the ability to bend in or out to hold in place. Besides the fit which is superior to that of other brands, the optics also seem superior to me, particularly in terms of scratch resistance. Basically I lose them before they get scratched — not something I can say of those other options I’ve tried.

By the way, once you’ve gotten hooked on your Cocoons, don’t make the mistake my father-in-law did of choosing new regular glasses frames without bringing your Cocoons along for a test fit. He wound up with glasses that didn’t fit under his cocoons, which is how I wound up with his old pair and discovered that one of the larger sizes (that worked well for him) doesn’t work for me – it’s too wide and doesn’t fit stably on my face.

I was lucky and found my first pair of Cocoons at an optics store and found the size that fit me. The hardest part is finding the ones that fit your head AND fit over your glasses. Once you’ve gotten that worked out, you’re set for life — just keep ordering a new pair right before you lose the old ones!

The only real downside is that my Cocoons are 1) not highly fashionable and 2) they are bulky, and so when I’m trying to cram them in the top of my backpack, they take up a lot of room. I compensate for that by leaving the huge soft zippered case they come with at home, and instead put them in a cut-off old sock, or a light flannel stuff sack I found that’s obviously made for glasses. Nevertheless, I wouldn’t trade a more compact frame for more glare and less coverage! Thanks Cocoons for a great product!



December 27, 2009

Holiday Newsletter 2009

Filed under: Ecuador — lstollin @ 3:53 pm

Joy & Luke Arrive in Austin (from Joy)

Happy Holidays!

Hope this email finds you and your family happy and healthy.

What a difference a year makes! Last year this time we were hanging out in hammocks on an idyllic Panamanian island – on winter break from school. Now I’m sitting in our cute little house at my dad’s old desk, enjoying the Texas weather.

Rather than extending Luke’s teaching contract in Quito for another year, I convinced him to come home to Austin with me. There were a lot of motivating factors (like the two attempted break-ins at our apartment, the addition of a fourth barking dog by our landlord, and our car being stripped), but the primary reason was that I was ready to go back to work. I loved my time off, but I was starting to get restless (now I’m just impatient –hoping for a permanent job to come through that I applied for months ago)!

We had several milestones this year. Luke turned 47 in March; I turned 40 in May; we paid off our house on my birthday, moved home to Austin from Quito in June, went to my grandma’s funeral in Tennessee and celebrated our 15th Anniversary in July, celebrated Luke’s grandma’s 90th birthday in Pennsylvania in October, and welcomed my mom and step-dad to their new home in Austin in November.

I used some pretty serious bait to get Luke to come home with me: offering him a year off. And he’s been taking full advantage of it! Even though we had pretty good tenants, there were a lot of things around the house that needed attention after two years. So Luke’s been doing dozens of fix-it projects. He’s also been rock-climbing to his heart’s content, hiking, sewing, and taking lots of road trips – putting more than 10,000 miles on his car since we got home six months ago.

We’ve had a big 2009, and hope that we’ll get to see more of you in 2010.


Joy & Luke

May 12, 2009

Car back – Wanna buy a car?

Filed under: Ecuador — lstollin @ 8:40 am

As usual, I’m not punctual with my blog entries.  We ended up getting our car back just a few days after that last post.  I asked for the so-called documentation of the so-called new brain, but then paid the deductible without further ado, because I wanted the car back in the worst way.  Since I’d seen the car’s electrical system in major disarray during its long stay at the mechanic, I tried to go over everything before we drove away.  First, the left headlight didn’t work.  Then it was the dome light.  A couple of screws were missing that held down the console around the shift lever.  One by one and fairly quickly the mechanic fixed those things and we drove off.  By the next day we realized the fuel gauge wasn’t working, so we took it back and they fixed that too.  In every case, they just needed to plug in something.

So now the car works, and seems a little more powerful than before!  So, you wanna buy it?  Since we’re leaving Ecuador in June, we need to sell it.  Here’s the link to the attractive, you-too-could-visit-gorgeous-remote-places-if this wonderful-vehicle-were-yours action photos.  Thanks to Academia Cotopaxi former colleague E.J. Lux for the “pictures of car in amazing places” as a marketing tool idea – he made his junker Russian Lada look like a supermodel last year.  We’ve had a couple of people interested, but nothing firm so far.  Tell all your Ecuadorian friends and expats!

April 13, 2009

How much of your car did they steal?

Filed under: Ecuador — lstollin @ 7:15 am

One Thursday night in late February the guard didn’t show up to keep watch outside “La Cueva,” the little climbing gym I go to once a week.  When I left the gym, our 1997 Chevy Vitara (Suzuki Sidekick) had been broken into, though it seemed like only my hat and jacket had been taken.  But it wouldn’t start. Under the hood quite a few things were missing:  spark plugs, distributor, air filter.  Oddly, the battery was still there, and they hadn’t taken the stereo.  The next day I found out the most expensive piece was actually taken from under the dash: “el cerebro,”  the brain – the car’s computer.  Thus began a Engine with missing things markedbig headache.

We had the car towed to the school (where there was a guard to watch it all night) and again towed the next day to the mechanic the insurance company authorized.  This was February 26th.  Now it’s April 13th and we still don’t have our car back.  It’s always something, real or invented, that gets in the way.  After a couple of weeks, my ever-upbeat contact at the mechanic, Santiago Alban, told me over the phone that they had all the parts but the wiring harness.  I went over that afternoon to see what they had, and not one single part had been delivered for my car.

They never could find even a used harness. Finally they were able to find just the little multi-wire plugs that go into the brain, which would then need to be soldered one wire at a time to the sixty or so severed harness trunk wires, all without making a single mistake.  So they’d been at that for a week or so.  Every time I called Santiago, he assured me we were just days away from getting our car back.  “This afternoon we are going to start it up.”  “Tomorrow it will be running.”  “This afternoon we are getting the diagnostic tool we need.”  Finally, “you will have your car for Holy Week.  I am sure of it.”

They couldn’t get it to start, so our Vitara was sent by tow truck to another mechanic.  Upon returning to Quito after spring break, I had an email from the Insurance broker that the car had been tested by the insurance representative last Tuesday and was going to be sent that afternoon back to the original mechanic.  So I got right on the phone and found out that it was still at the second mechanic’s shop, and they would not give it back to the first mechanic until the bill had been paid.  So that’s where it stands.  Who knows when we’ll get it back.

I can’t believe it never occurred to me that once the car was fixed there could be a whole new set of roadblocks before we actually got the car.  Is the car actually running?  Is it really fixed?  When will we get the car back?  Are the mechanic and insurance company people in cahoots to defraud the insurance company and us?  Are the used brain and harness plugs the very ones that were stolen from our car in February?   Will we have to keep taking the car back to the mechanic to fix ongoing problems?  Will we even get to use it before we have to sell it in June?   Will anyone buy it from us?     Stay tuned!

February 9, 2009

San Blas Islands, Panama

Filed under: Ecuador — lstollin @ 7:59 pm

 resized-Panama San Blas 28-Dec 08 We’ve been remiss not getting this post up since we got back from Christmas Break…  We discovered possibly the most idyllic place we’ve ever been – Franklin’s Island, Panama in the San Blas Archipelago in the Caribbean Sea.  Deeply shaded by palms, fringed with white sand, surrounded by crystal clear waters, and with only 15 people total on the whole island, it was almost comically perfect. 

We spent three days and nights with no shoes, just laying around in hammocks and padding around on the water’s edge. 

Franklin and his staff called us to meals by blowing a conch shell.  No electricity, no running water (bucket baths), just a sand floor in a bamboo hut, and three squares – all for $17.50 per person per night. 

The slide show should give you a pretty good feel for the place, but nothing’s like being there (for best effect, click on the show to link to a slightly larger version at slide.com).  Although we try not to go anywhere twice, we’re seriously considering a return visit on our way back to the States this summer.

I enjoyed my conversations with the guy who runs this place, Elixto Franklin.  A Kuna Indian (the Kuna own this whole semi-autonomous region), he received this responsibility almost a year ago and found the place a shambles.  He’s done a lot to improve the place, Cabañas Tubasenika (but called Franklin’s Island by everyone who stays there).  His place has no website or any other publicity, so I want to pass along his cell phone number: (country code 507) 6540-5478.  We wish him all the best.

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