The Expensive Side & Immigration Info Update

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

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Flag of Ecuador  ,
Saturday, August 13, 2011

The weather has gotten a little warmer here and without as much rain.  Blue skies, most days, -- Spring-like.  I still try not to leave the house without at least a sweater.  If a cloud cover comes, and the breeze kicks up, a sweater is most definitely needed.  But that is just me, as many are still quite bundled up.  I've seen some people in t-shirts, and others with sweaters or coats, all standing within a few feet of each other!

I have fallen in love with fresh pineapple juice now, so Fred has been buying a lot of fresh pineapples to juice, in addition to the fresh coconuts.  Wow, I just might get healthy.

Also been turned on to Yuca, and it is very plentiful.  Love the pan de yuca they make here, especially at this one place near the Parque Caldaron.  Believe the shop is called Pan de Yuca & Yogurt, there are a few of them here and there, and the yuca rolls is the only bread (pan) made there, as well as yogurt-based smoothies.  (I don't have a bread recipe, but below is a link to a recipe that we just made.  Tastes like potato.)

A poor friend who owns a hostal here in Cuenca was just robbed of her cell phone at knife point, and a friend's cell phone was taken from her bag while on the bus.  She was moving through the crowded bus with her bag over her shoulder, but the bag got behind her.  Your bags and backpacks should always be worn in the front.  Her bag was closed shut, but believe me, they're good, they're very good.  So my iPhone will be staying home from now on and I will therefore be getting a cheapy to carry around.  But don't get me wrong, many do walk around with expensive phones, purses, etc., but all it takes is just one off-guard moment, especially when on the buses. 

Have not been too crazy about the ground beef around here, whether organic or not.  We had a great hamburger at California Kitchen (an owned and operated Gringo restaurant) and so asked the owner where they buy their beef.  They only purchase their beef from SuperMaxi, because, according to her, SuperMaxi buys their beef only from Argentina or Uruguay.  Bought it, like it, will buy more, even if it may be more expensive, which we find SuperMaxi generally to be.  Did a relatively normal food shopping there last week and the bill was $123.00.

In our English congregation, we have a mother/daughter team that makes and sells various chocolates. Their brand name is de Anys and they sell to a number of stores.  They gave us a sample pack. In short, I'm in heaven!  Their fillings are so delicious, some of our favorites are the Mora (raspberry), coco (coconut), almond, and some other very chocolaty filling that was just yum. These chocolates sell at the Cooperas.

Trying to sign up for a cooking class at the Cocina Facil.  The classes are $20.00 each, and they are from 3 - 6 pm, and limited to 6 people.  All classes are taught by Leslie Breen - 20 years of experience in restaurants and catering in the US and Ecuador.  After I attend, I will give you an update.

Unfortunately, there is no Circuit Assembly in Ecuador for the English speaking.  (Last year, there was only a one day assembly in Quito, but perhaps not this year.)  Therefore, we will have to attend one of the many Spanish Circuit Assemblies here in Cuenca.  So, if anyone has any notes from the upcoming Circuit Assembly, please share.  
While at the very large True Value store, near the airport, looking at patio furniture, we ran into a couple originally from Texas.  Actually, Fred already met them at the Spanish District Assembly here in Cuenca.  They have lived in Ecuador for 14 years.  They also work here. She told us she works for an Immigration lawyer.  Wow, finally information from the source and here it is:  1) You can get your Censo cards right here in Cuenca, (but not your Residency Visas.)   2) After 3 years of obtaining your Residency Visa, you can apply for citizenship, and therefore, have dual citizenship.  3) After you obtain your Residency Visa, you may get into the Social Security system after a year, by paying about $40.00 per month.  4) Once you are a part of the Social Security system, your healthcare is completely free, from medicines to surgeries.  And, according to her, there is a lot of miss-information out there regarding the immigration laws. And who knows, the above may amount to yet more miss-information :-),

That couple also likes and trusts, very much, the medical system and medical care in Ecuador.  In fact, that trust was just recently put to the test back in March, when he had a kidney infection that traveled into the blood stream -- Sepsis.  Sepsis is just as deadly, if not more deadly than Bacterial Meningitis and most persons either die from it or end up severely maimed, usually with a few limbs amputated.  It happened the day they moved into their new place  She drove him to the emergency room, immediately the doctors treated and admitted him, and told her, if she had waited just one hour more, he would have died.  He received excellent care, was treated aggressively with antibiotics, did amazingly well, and so came off without a "scratch". 

Let's go back to the True Value store.  I don't remember if I ever got into the very expensive side of Ecuador or not, but let me tell you, when it comes to furniture, appliances-both large and small, cookware, cloths, shoes, quality decorations, electronics, and vehicles, Ecuador is very expensive, even ridiculous. Shopping for a kitchen table and patio furniture is just killing me, not to mention we still need beds for the guest room.  Sheets and towels are even expensive.  Paid $55.00 for a set of not-so-high-quality queen-size sheets.  You can find them cheaper at the Coral, but the quality - that's another story.  I've seen undesirable towels at the Coral (the Ecuadorian Walmart), going for $17.00 each.  Although, I did manage to find some bath towels for $11.00 each. Saw a KitchenAid mixer somewhere, for example, $1250.00 and not the most powerful model either.  (You can also purchase a discount card at the Coral for $5.00) Update 2012: New law, they can no longer charge for this.

So shopping for the home around here is really not all that fun.  We were very fortunate,  We were able to purchase used household goods from friends who must go back to their homeland or another country, because of being unable to switch from a Missionary Visa over to a Residency Visa.  GringoTree is also another good source for used furniture.  Oh, and worth mentioning, is how extremely uncomfortable the furniture is here.  Ecuadorians love hard furniture, it seems, from sofas to beds, I don't get it!  I will be fair though, you can find comfortable mattresses, chairs and sofas, but not so easily.  

On a positive note, Fred just walked in the door with 10 oranges, 2 large pineapples, 1 coconut -- all for $3.50 from a roadside stand.  Fruit & veggies -- cheap!  

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Angie on

I loved this article because we feel the same way about buying household items here. We found that shopping for towels at Fiere Libre is the best place for the quality. A couple of weeks ago, we bought 6 bath towels for $4.50 each--the same quality of cotton as the ones for $11 at Corel. Plus we had to bargain with her. The more towels you buy at once the better price.

As far as furniture goes, we're making our own. We brought our three sons with us and they made our bed frames, dining table and benches, and kitchen island. In fact one of our dining tables is for sell on Gringo Tree. The furniture is rustic, but quality built and I have sanded and stained all of it, and it looks nice. We also have a video on our blog of our sons making a dining room table. Here it is:

Our sons will be happy to make custom furniture for any new expats moving to Cuenca, such as dining tables, end tables, coffee tables, couch tables, dinette tables for very inexpensive prices. We even make bed frames, they are sturdy!

Take care!
Angie :-)

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