We Are Finally Home

Trip Start Sep 26, 2009
Trip End May 10, 2015

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Where I stayed
City of Cuenca

Flag of Ecuador  ,
Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Can't see us getting anything but more fit as we do incredible amounts of walking, especially in the field ministry.  I accompanied Karin to her bible study.  Walked ten blocks, but the study's work schedule changed so she wasn't home, then walked ten blocks back, then door to door looking for English speaking persons.  My feet are screaming at me!

The other day, Fred and I had to do some errands, we were gone from 8am to 5pm.  Of course, part of the problem was that the passport photo place moved, so we therefore had to find it, then we had to find the Servientrega (a courier service) to have the photos sent to Nora in Quito.  People were extremely helpful though, as we had to stop a few on the street and ask directions, but my poor feet, even though we took the buses, which brings me to the next point. 

The buses run all over this European-like city, one definitely needs no car, but some stop at 7pm, some earlier.  The taxis are very plentiful, day and night, and very easy to flag down.

That day we had lunch with friends, the ones moving to Panama, as we needed to go to their apartment again.  We went to a pizza restaurant, La Fornace, next to the SuperMaxi on Las Americas.  It is a very good pizza chain and gelato place, lots of gringos there.  Been craving pizza lately, so I enjoyed that.  Learned that our favorite pizza place no longer in business, is gone only because of all the road construction near their shop, and not because their large pies were $14.00 each, as I might of said.

The other day, Fred went out in the ministry all day but I just couldn't, I needed to rest up.  The group went to Chicago Pizza for lunch; - sound familiar? 

Did manage to eat once again at one of our favorite restaurants that I said moved due to all the highway construction here.  It is an Argentinian Restaurant called La Parrilla de Hector, now located in yet another beautiful location, high on a hill with unsurpassed views of the city of Cuenca, right off the Autopista.  Ordered the meal for four  -- beef from Argentina.  Could not believe the amount of meat they put on our table!  Including the bottle of Chilean wine we ordered, the bill came out to $23.00 per couple.

The next day our service group went out to some very busy restaurant called Raymipampa, downtown on the Parque Caldaron, right next to the Ice Cream Shop Tutto Freddos that is always hopping.  Had creamy potato soup along with a different kind of tamale (humita) that was on the sweet side.  The soups are just so good in Ecuador!  Then the group had to show us a bakery a sister owns, and then a German bakery that makes excellent breads and pastries, that's on Mariscal Sucre & Hermano Miguel.  Can't say the bakery's are the greatest here, but there are a lot of them.  We'll be going back to the German one for sure, especially for the bread.

After service we went to another friend's apartment to buy a few things from them, because they will be going back to San Diego at the end of July.  So we bought their bed, dryer, and sofa table, and a few more things.  Believe we will then have everything we need to function. 

These concrete floors with tile on top are nothing short of feet-suicide, so ordinary slippers just will not do. Had to get some Croc-like shoes as the true Croc's here are double the price.  But I love the tile floors anyway.  In the bedrooms, we have Pergo-like flooring.  We live on a dirt road though, turned mud road as the rains have been relentless for a few days.  So must buy some boots as well.  A brother in Cuenca makes boots, so will have to check that out. 

Cuenca is just filled with mom and pop stores everywhere and they are thriving!  There are a lot of stores you just don't see anymore in the US, like shoe-makers and shoe-repair shops, tailers, dress makers.  Commercial sowing machines here cost around $400.00+. 

There are lots of restaurants, cafes, some coffee shops.  We like buying our coffee at a coffee shop owned by a sister in downtown Cuenca as she sells a dark roast and she grinds it fresh. Also stopped in Cafe Austria.  A cute place owned by, of course, an Austrian.  We only had a cappuccino and a Sacher Torte, an Austrian chocolate cake filled with apricot jam, topped with chocolate icing. The place was filled with gringos, of course, and the food looked good.

We moved from our friend's apartment and into our own, while Dan and Betty moved into the one we were in (because we bought the rest of their belongings) where they will stay until they move to Panama near the beginning of August.  On moving day, June 23rd, wouldn't you know, it rained all day.  I'm not going to complain though, as I have missed the rain tremendously; the mud, not so much.

Feels so good to finally be home even though it's not completely furnished yet.  The place doesn't even feel like an apartment but rather feels like a house.  As mentioned previously, we have 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, a private courtyard with it's typical Ecuadorian sink, laundry room, an open floor plan with a nice size kitchen, large living and dining room, and the hallway is quite wide and the windows are large; for $230.00 per month.  

Our landlord John volunteered to take us around in his 4-door truck to do some errands, took us to get our internet setup and make sure we didn't get ripped off.  He even took Dan --the brother moving to Panama--to the company that provided his internet service and so helped him get it disconnected because that company did try to rip him off.

Confused as to whether we are in the rainy season or the dry as we keep hearing conflicting reports.  But last year in July and August, as a few people have confirmed, it was very rainy.  So guessing it's pretty obvious we are in the rainy season?--whatever!  It has also been quite cool, in the 50's because of the rain and overcast.  It is so funny when we try to describe the temperatures back home in the US.  I was trying to tell a few of the friends that Pueblo, Colorado can get up to 105 degrees, and they ask: what's that?  Of course, the rest of the world, as the US has to be different, goes by celsius, meters, hectares, liters, libras, kilos, etc.  Aaaaaahhhhhhhh!

Fred gave his first talk Friday night, the number 3.  The Spanish friends said they could understand all of it as Fred didn't speak too fast and enunciated.  Funny, I don't think of English as a a fast language.  A family in the English Congregation, say that the Ecuadorians on the coast speak much faster than they do in Cuenca; they have to tell those Ecuadorians to slow down.

This last Sunday was such a long day.  Not only did we have our meeting, but then afterward we had the rehearsal for the drama at the Spanish Assembly Hall here in Cuenca.  (The English do not go to that Convention Center, by the way, as we will go to Guayaquil, to the Branch's semi-outdoor Assembly Hall).  Guayaquil is 3 hours by car.  In fact, our speaker this last Sunday was from there.  He spoke excellent English.  Anyway, Fred is the slave who fans Pharoah in the drama.  So now we have the task of getting a costume made for him and must track down a fan.  One brother suggested we go to the Coral and get an electric one--ha, ha.

After they rehearsed the drama twice, we then headed over to a bible study's house for a going away party for someone who got accepted to the Guayaquil Branch Office to serve as a volunteer. Anyway, this women who hosted the party is amazing!  She moved here with just herself and her 3 kids.  Her goal is to move around the world.  After they are comfortable with the Spanish language they will move on.  She has been here for about 1.5 years and will probably be here for an additional 1 to 2 years.  Her cousin, who is visiting, said she's been planning this around-the-world travel/living thing for a long time.  She wants her kids to learn Mandarin next.  What a warm, wonderful, not to mention, adventurous person she is.  

Went to the Mall Del Rio, real nice mall, close to our house and not so crowded as the Quito Malls.  There is at least one other Mall here is Cuenca; there may be more, not sure.  I do know, however, that there are four Coral Hipermercados here (the store that has everything).  The Mall Del Rio has one as well.  There is a Restaurant there, not in the food court, that looks like quite the fancy one with it's cloth napkins, but the meals are running only about $6.00 - $10.00!  We did have a meal in the food court, a traditional Ecuadorian meal of lentils, rice, beef or chicken, fries, and a small salad.  It was quite large, the beef was tender, and we loved the lentils -- $3.75 each.  The food court also had a SnowBiz, Burger King, and of course, a KFC, and the popular ice cream shop, Tutto Freddo. 

Were told recently that the best doctors in all of Ecuador are here in Cuenca.  Good to know!  A friend here gave us a name of her Chiropractor who charges around $5.00, and a message place that charges about $3.00 to $5.00, but I must confirm that. 

They must have some kind of sweet celebration going on here, as there were rows and rows of tent vendors selling nothing but sweets of all kinds all over the downtown area.

What a difference a fresh coconut makes.  Fred just cut one open, juicy and lots of coconut water.  We'll have that in the morning!

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