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.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

To Cuy or Not to Cuy: That is the Question

Today was a work day for me. I have quite a few things to get done with finances and other matters that particularly required computer time. As a result I was intending to fly solo today. However, some Ecuadorian amigos surprised me today with a stop-by and a trip out into the country for dinner.

We stopped at one of the roadside restaurants where the pig, chicken, and cuy were grilling. I really didn't want to eat the cuy, and it wasn't because when you see them alive in the markets it's because they look like cute little furry pets. However, after the grotesque photos of the cuy loaded with cocaine recently reported in "Hola Ecuador", the last thing I wanted was to eat cuy. Usually I'll try anything once, but it was too much to see these guys being literally grilled. When they are grilling their faces look horrid and it’s like they are gritting their teeth, and filled with rage. If I were a movie writer, I’d write a film screenplay entitled, “The Attack of the Cuys”. I expected at any minute, these no longer furry, pet-like creatures would become animate and scream out, “Look what you’ve done to us”, and take their revenge by lunging off the grill with those horrific teeth ripping out my jugular.

Once I stopped letting my imagination run wild, I agreed to try the cuy if it was served to me without the head and feet. The waitress brought the cuy broken into pieces. My friends ate the feet. The head was dearly departed, and I ate what was safely presented Norte Americano meat, which is meat that is unrecognizable from any actual animal form. The cuy wasn’t bad. Not much meat on it, and I had to pick it up with my fingers and basically eat off what I could from the bones. The skin was quite crispy. I took a poll, and all three of my Ecuadorian friends voted for cuy as their favorite meat, not to mention the one couple’s very beautiful three-year old daughter who appeared to out eat all of us. I myself enjoyed the pork more--succulent, more flavorful, meatier, and the skin was not as crisp as on the cuy but to me tastier.

After an enjoyable dinner, and what was for me a new experience; we headed back to town on a bus, and for me it was back to work. I can’t wait until friends and relatives come from the states. I already have their cuy reservations made. I’m going to have so much fun!


  1. Maybe the head could be served, only if it's completely covered and smeared in Skippy creamy peanut butter.

  2. Jim:
    Love your blog. It is the first blog I have found regarding Cuenca that is extremely informative. My husband and I are visiting in September. We are looking at Cuenca as a retirement option. I have not made reservations for our hotel. Do you have any suggestions. Would greatly appreciate it!
    Marlene Rusnak

  3. In Peru, the cuy head is reserved for the head of the family to eat. Supposedly, it's an honor. But there the little critters live with their owners, and I mean inside their houses, until it's time to slaughter them.