2012 Cuenca Perspectives Collage

2012 Cuenca Perspectives Collage


My mission in publishing this blog is first to provide a living history of my settlement and life in Cuenca, and to provide myself and the reader with a journal account delineating my reasons for why I have chosen to settle in Cuenca. Second, the posts are my way of staying in contact with family and friends back in the states, and to provide them with an understanding of a country and culture that most North Americans have little knowledge and awareness. Third, the blog is open to one and all who wish to compare and contrast the experiences of expat bloggers living in Cuenca, so that you can determine whether or not from your perspective Cuenca is an appropriate move for you. Fourth, my blog provides another example of how expats view and interpret life in Cuenca. Ecuadorians and Cuencanos who may read this blog are especially invited to post comments that may enhance all expats understanding and appreciation of Cuneca and its people, or to correct any misinterpretations in my assumptions and perceptions of Cuencano culture. Finally, I hope I can convey the feeling of love and appreciation that grows within me each passing day for this heavenly city nestled in the Andes and its very special people.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Only Permanence in Life is Change

Today’s post will be a catch up of what is going on with me, because I just can’t keep up with all the emails from back home with questions.

First, I moved from Cuadra Dos today, after spending my first month back in Cuenca there. I will miss it. The site at night, in particular, I enjoyed; and there is still some mountain scenery to behold. At $850.00 per month, it’s less than $30.00 per night, and includes everything, nicely furnished, and all utensils, appliances, bedding, everything. This 1,200 sq. ft. apartment is a beautiful three bedroom, two bath, with living, dining, and separate laundry room with washer and dryer. Another nice feature in this seventh floor penthouse is the balcony that extends across the living room and two of the bedrooms. Cuadra Dos is nicely located, and only about a mile and a half from Parke Calderon, the heart of El Centro and the city of Cuenca. Try to find a deluxe hotel room for less than $30.00 a night in Cuenca, let alone an entirely furnished condo with twenty-four hour security.

The apartment is currently available on Cuenca Real-Estate.com


Today I temporarily moved into a studio apartment across from the San Francisco Market in the heart of El Centro until I find an unfurnished apartment to my liking. The studio has been completely refinished from an office space, and with all new furnishings. I am the first to use the studio and furnishings. I am on the quiet side of the building facing of all things a large square composed of an extensive garden of vegetables, fruits, and flowers. The garden is part of a monastery, which completely surrounds three sides of the square. I believe the order of nuns who live in the monastery are cloistered, which means they do not have contact with the outside world. While I have no balcony, I do have a view of the New Cathedral which is angled less than a block from me. At night the view is most impressive as the towers and the three large domes which are the hallmark of Cuenca are all flooded in lights. It will be interesting to see what it will be like to live in El Centro and only a block away from the beautiful Parke Calderon. I hope my close proximity does not curtail all the walking I have been doing. I want to continue my five to eight mile walks on most days, although lately we have been getting a great deal of rain. March and April are on average the highest precipitation months in Cuenca during the year.

Martha Abril San Pedro is the young woman who was responsible for helping me find the apartment, as well as having done the nice interior design herself. Martha is working on a similar apartment just below my current studio. Martha speaks fluent English and Italian. Her email is jos_amy@hotmail.com, and her phone number is 089 489 541, if you should need assistance in finding living accommodations, or help in purchasing furniture and applicances. She is warm, honest, and wanting to please her clients. I highly recommend her for assistance.

I have been adding to a restaurant list a friend shared with me, and already I’ve added a half a dozen more restaurants to it. We just had a three day festival celebrating the 449th year of the founding of Cuenca under the Spaniards. So yes, I’m basically eating my way through Cuenca with friends; doing some searching for a permanent residency; and walking and exploring the sites, furniture, and appliance stores. No, I still haven’t eaten cuy. I did have a sample of the pork at Feria Libre, but not with the sizzling skin. The pork was exceptionally juicy and flavorful.

No, I have not taken any photos, sorry. My new camera is still sitting in the luggage unopened. My Kindle is still sitting in my luggage untouched in its original package. I don’t have time to read right now, and I have been so happy with minimal electronic mayhem in my life with which to deal. The cell phone down here has been enough to figure out. If you buy minutes from one phone company, then you need to buy additional minutes to make calls to numbers using different phone companies, which cost more when one calls the number of someone who has a phone company different from the company you may be using. Not to mention, every time a recording comes on, I have no idea what the computerized voices are saying in Spanish. At least I was able to set the date and time on my phone all by myself. I now know how to put my contacts in the phone. When I’m not completely forgetful, I can almost remember how to retrieve my messages.

My cell phone has no camera, but it does have an A.M./F.M. radio with ear plugs. Yes, you’ve already guess, “hell will freeze over” before I figure how to make the radio work, and I would have to be nuts walking the streets of Cuenca with sound blasting in my ears as crazy as many drivers fly through intersections in this city. I don’t need to be bopping along the streets to “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction” one minute, and after stepping off a curb to the screeching of brakes hearing, “Ain’t That a Shame” the next.

I did take my Franklin, English/Spanish Translator out. After three battery changes, I still could not get it to work. I don’t feel too bad about my not getting it to operate, however. It took a highly intelligent, Ivy League grad to figure out what the problem was. When I moved in to my new pad today, the T.V. worked, and hallelujah, the WIFI worked without a hitch. I’m going to quit while I’m ahead. The Kindle and Nikon can sit in the luggage for a while longer.

That’s about it for now. Oh, I am plugging away with my Spanish on my own, which would be just fine, if I would just discipline myself to be consistent daily with my lessons. My son, Chris, finishes his second tour of duty in Iraq in early June. Whether or not he intends to visit family at all during that time in the Chicago area before reporting to Hawaii will affect whether I come home to visit in late June/early July. Otherwise, I will probably not make a trip to the states until August. Cui’date! Life in Cuenca has been good-very good. Jim Mola


  1. So if the first apartment was such a good deal why did ya move out of it??

  2. Jennifer, darling, $850.00 versus $400.00. Once I find an unfurnished apartment my rent will be half of a furnished apartment, and inexpensive enough to decorate it as I would like. Also hardwood furniture that would cost an immense amount in the states can be made by hand and bought very inexpensively in Ecuador. The amount I will pay for appliances and furniture depending on how expensive I get will be covered by the rental differential for a furnished apartment after two or three years. After that the differential is all gravy in my pocket.

    It's all a question of perspective. $850.00 for an elegant, completely furnished rental per month sounds very good to gringos, when compared to rental prices back home for a comparable unfurnished rental. However, when you have been in Cuenca a short time, you realize how inexpensive unfurnished apartment rentals are. My savings of $450.00 for one month will buy a very nice piece of genuine hardwood furniture here.

    Say hello to Dominic, and I forgive you for hating my oriental fan chair. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. What's your current business status? Have you made any decisions yet? Cui'date! Jim

  3. Hi Jim, we are Villa Nova Inn, the best place to stay in Cuenca. It seems that you are having a great time here, so we think you should visit our hotel to recomend foreigners to stay with us. We are located next to the Tomebamba River, in front of Parque de la Madre. Also, you can see the hotel in our web site villanovacuenca.com