Just Some Interesting Facts

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

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Flag of Ecuador  ,
Monday, July 11, 2011

1)  Many of the flowers, especially roses, sold in the US come from Ecuador.  They are so plentiful here. In fact, while a group of us (about 20) went to a restaurant called Creta in the Mall Del Rio, each of us ladies were handed 2 large roses each, and the oldest couple with us was also given a very large bouquet of red roses.  Why? Don't know, but they surely have a lot of holidays in Cuenca. So, maybe it was some holiday. This restaurant is a place you would go to for a wedding anniversary, it is that good.  Believe I mentioned the place before.  Average cost of dinner, about $6.00 - $10.00.  Here I go talking about food again! 

That was on a Sunday, by the way.  I mentioned before that the Mall Del Rio was not so crowded like the Malls in Quito.  Well, not on a Sunday!  The Mall was packed, especially the food court.  The gaming center and bowling alley were also pretty active -- nice bowling alley--has it's own snack bar--a game costs $3.00 w/shoes.   Take it that Sunday is Ecuador's fun day.

2)  Telephone poles here are made of concrete.

3)  Homes here are constructed with concrete and cinder blocks.

4)  M-80 firecrackers are legal all year-long and they set them off anywhere, at any time! 

5)  They have open-air meat and fish markets, pretty much all exposed to the air.  But a friend here who was a butcher back in another country says it is pretty good meat, and not bad at all to eat.  We buy tuna steaks from the Feria Libre -- muy bueno!

6)  Raw milk is legal here. But, John, our landlord, will not sell us raw milk from his mom's farm.  He and his mom are too afraid that we will get sick.  They will not even drink it raw themselves, they boil it.

7)  Propane tanks are kept inside most homes.  We have three inside our new place.

8)  Not only is most milk and most yogurts sold in a bag, but much of the milk is shelf stable!  Sorry, but something is wrong with that picture.

9)  Some of you have asked if Cuenca gets big bugs.  Well, left the front light on for Fred one evening and I won't be doing that again!  Right after Fred stepped through the door we had mosquitoes, some were large and may or may not have been actual mosquitoes. Also saw the biggest beetle I have ever seen. 

Fred saw Milo playing with a large spider in the house.  I did not see it.  All I cared about was how it measured up to the tarantulas back home.  Much smaller, phew!  Fred said this one flipped itself onto it back, with fangs out trying to protect itself against Mr. Milo. Update 11/10/11: Yep, there definitely are tarantulas here, right outside our front door!!

We do have a poisonous spider, much like the Black Widows back home, except the red mark is on it's back.  And supposedly, they are not as poisonous as the Black Widows, but as my research has shown, they are about the same.  Don't care, don't like them anyway.

10)  Most movies in the video stores are pirated.  Even saw The Pirates of the Caribbean #4 already in stores.  Can't imagine the quality to be very good.  They charge $1.50 for them in Cuenca.

11)  Not a lot of places will serve drinks with ice, if any.  Heard, and this is hearsay, that the Ecuadorians think it is not too healthy.  One owner of a fast food place in Quito even refused to give Fred and Patrick some ice.   I don't get it, because the refrigerators come with these clever, cute little built-in ice-trays.  You pull out the draw that they sit in and attached to by a spring, to fill them with water, (there's usually two trays). Then when the cubes are ready, you just turn the handle of each tray and flip them.  With this spring action, the ice falls easily into the draw below.  --Also, the refrigerators made in Ecuador are small.  We can find large ones, in fact, we can find many of the American-made appliances, but with a hefty price tag as well.

12)  Not only are the taxi drivers here crazy, but the bus drivers can be nuts too. So I just don't pay attention anymore, because it can get ridiculous at times.

Oddly enough, do not know why, but we do not get the munchies here.  Always had to fight the munchies back home.  Maybe it's just temporary or we can blame it on the altitude.  A friend said they blame everything on the altitude!  When we break into a bag of tortilla chips, for instance, we just don't get that urge to keep digging in, that feeling like we can't stop.  The Nacho Cheese tortilla chips are made here (good, but not as good).  Anyway, could it be the lack of GMO's, maybe high fructose sugars or MSGs?  Don't know. Fred has been dropping the pounds noticeably  My cloths are looser, but that is all I can really say for myself thus far.

Some of the popcorn we have bought is exceptional.  We got this one batch at the Feria Libre. Fred did not particularly care for popcorn when I made it in the States, but here, I give him the bigger bowl.

Many of the friends here get their cloths tailor-made.  I've seen some of the suits our female friends have worn and they paid only about $50.00 or so.  There are many tailors and cobblers here, and they do excellent work.  So, looking forward to getting some cloths custom done but without the price tag, also shoes.

Preaching in downtown Cuenca is very enjoyable, even though much of it is business territory. The people are very cordial and most are not at all upset when we stop in at their place of work or business.  

Our English Convention, we have just learned, will be attended by not only the small English congregations and English groups in Ecuador, but also all the other language congregations and groups, which will include the Chinese, etc.  How cool is that!  Will let you know how that goes.

Cannot wait till my doctor puts me back on my thyroid medication, as I need to be off of it for 10 days until the iodine test is complete, so the test can be as accurate as possible.  Have not been sleeping well as a result, so Fred is out in the ministry without me for a while.  But we need to do some important errands together today, therefore I will hop on a bus and meet him downtown somewhere. Hopefully, not too many of the stores will be closed for siesta.

If I do need surgery, a friend originally from CA tells us not to worry, as Cuenca has some really good surgeons.  Glad to hear that yet again, because I am pretty sure that I will need it, as thyroid cancer runs in my family quite a bit.

Found a good place to shop for organic vegetables; fruits (some organic); organic meats; and possibly organic chicken.  It is the Co-op (Coopera) near the De Las Americas SuperMaxi.  There are more of these co-ops around town.  It is clean, indoors, looks and operates like a grocery store, the butcher spoke excellent English, and the prices are very good and you don't need to negotiate.  Saw gigantic papayas there, and we got 1 kilo (2.2 lbs.) of large shrimp for $6.00.  You may even purchase their discount card. Believe it is $20.00 and does not expire.

While at this co-op, we were stopped by an older woman.  She could tell we were American and wanted to rent us an apartment; (3 bedrooms, 2 full baths for $300.00)  Then she wanted to know if we had any friends who were looking.  It is in a high-rise with beautiful views of Cuenca, she said.  They do love Americans to rent from them. This has happened to me three times.

Got a hair cut and style at a salon just around the corner from us for $2.00.  The gal did quite nice.  All I did was show her a picture of what I wanted because I couldn't say I wanted it layered.

Been seeing some venders who have a machine that will extract the juice from the whole sugarcane for you.  Maybe we'll buy some sugarcane and try that.  Pretty cool!

I have to bring up the coconut milk again.  Fred and I are going through about 3 coconuts a week, just drinking the coconut milk Fred makes from it.  Who needs cows milk, I say, it tastes that good!

A friend from Switzerland and I are going shopping next Monday as she and her husband will visit friends and New York for the first time and she wants help picking out some small gifts;  She told me about Tagua, a vegetable ivory. The Awake magazine had an article on it, although I do not remember reading it.  They make all kinds trinkets from it, including jewelry. This one store here will custom make anything you want -- he even has a copy of that Awake article hanging up in his shop. So I am looking forward to buying some and perhaps learning more about it.----(By the way, they got their plane tickets to and from New York for only $280.00 each (with only one stop) and that includes all the taxes and fees.  They go through the site: www.despegar.com

She turned me on to wearing scarfs, light-weight ones that we can purchase here for $2.50 each.  They make all the difference here when it's a bit chilly and rainy plus they complete an outfit.  So will shop for more of those as well.

Found Saffron in the SuperMaxi for about .55 cents in a decent-sized baggie.  Not sure of the quality, we'll see.  Oh, and we found sour-cream, finally! (called Crema de Leche at SuperMaxi)  It comes in a small container and tastes different, creamier.  Not sure about it yet, need to give it a chance.

This might be worth mentioning: We stopped into a deli for a loaded up hot dog each.  The hot dogs came with a small drink for, so we thought, $1.50 each.  So, I handed the gal $3.00, we went to the counter and ate, then got ready to leave.  Then the girl stopped us and proceeded to hand me money along with my receipt.  I was shocked. (PS: I don't like the hot-dogs around here).

Fred says he feels like a celebrity.  Little kids seated in the back seat of their parent's cars will try to get Fred to wave at them as they drive by.  He does stand out here.  Would be so cool if he learned fluent Spanish, that would blow them away!

They like cooking with aluminum pots and pans in Ecuador..  They are made here and very cheap.  Although, you can readily find stainless steel.  So, if I end up more mentally disturbed, or whatever bad things aluminum does to you, you'll know why -- it's not the altitude.



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Eugenia on

Love it thanks for the web site for plane tickets. Mom & I are still planning for this fall

Jeanine on

Hi Laura! Sorry to hear about your thyroid, but am confident everything will be okay; it sounds like you are in good hands with your doctor there.
I was reading this to Phil and he brought up something about the ice cubes. He said maybe they don't like to serve ice because the water is not so good there, and they especially don't want foreigners getting sick and blaming it on them. I thought that sounded reasonable too, but you tell us...is the water okay to drink there? Anyway, looking forward to your next entry on your surgery or anything else you got for us! Love you and miss you...:)

Erika on

Very happy you both are doing fine.
Yes drinking very cold beverages in not so good for you
especialy after you eat.
You are in my prayers.
Love Erika

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