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.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Life's Incongruencies: Plus Two Things to Consider if you Plan a Move to Cuenca

The incongruencies of life certainly are being demonstrated to me at the moment here in Cuenca. If you read my last post, you know that I spent a month back in the states visiting with friends and family. When I left Cuenca, the weather was wet and cool. Kind of that damp, cool weather experienced in Chicago on rainy days in the spring when temperatures are only in the 40’s or 50’s. Homes in Cuenca are made of concrete and plaster with no insulation, and no central heating; so they are a poor conduit for retaining heat in cool weather. Because of La Nina we had our total average rainfall for the year by the end of June, so the damp, cold humidity feeling was more prevalent this year than usual. Upon returning to Cuenca about ten days ago, the weather has become a whole new experience.

The weather has warmed up significantly. I no longer need to wear layers of clothes or my robe over them to keep warm during certain parts of the day or evening. There were days when I actually felt warmer when I was walking outside, and the movement would raise my body temperature. That was then. This is now. The nights now have been quite warm since my return. I get by with just a sheet, and leave the comforter at the foot of the bed. I’ve been soaking up the sun, and enjoying the warmth a great deal. Yes, we still tend to get afternoon showers most days, but the precipitation is not as prolonged as in previous months.

So what are the incongruencies? Well, just as the weather is warming up, what do I bring back with me from the states but an EndenPure Heater. I would strongly recommend this heater to anyone who wants to stay warm in Cuenca during the cool months of April through September. Granted, I only had the chance to try it for fifteen minutes at a moderate heat setting just to make sure it was working, before it became way too hot in my apartment for this time of year. However, my brother has used the EndenPure heater in his home through at least two Chicago winters. I find it works very effectively and efficiently, and my brother has been most pleased with its performance. The EndenPure will heat 1,000 sq. ft. of living space. I have a 1,700 ft condo. But since I like a cool bedroom while I am sleeping at night, and the fact that Cuenca’s cold periods or nothing like Chicago’s, the EndenPure should more than do the job of taking the coolness out of the air during the day or night.

The price is currently $397.00. From my perspective, the cost is well worth it. It is cool to the touch, safe for babies and pets, and heats evenly throughout the house from floor to ceiling. The heater also does not suck oxygen out of the air leaving people with that droopy tired feeling. The EdenPure USA 1000 is the only quartz, infrared portable heater made in the United States. Can you imagine, a product that is actually manufactured in the U.S.A.! Furthermore, Bob Vila is the spokesman for EndenPure. I mean, what could be a greater testimonial for a product than that.

The heater is not available for purchase in Ecuador. Nor does the company provide international shipping beyond Canada. I had the heater shipped to my son in Maryland, and brought it to Cuenca in its original box and packing. It weighs thirty pounds, and there are no custom or duty charges when you bring it to Ecuador as part of your flight baggage in cargo, since it is under $500.00 in price. Be sure you have your invoice or receipt to prove the price is under $500.00. However, if the product is taken on American Airlines, which is the airline flight which brought me to Ecuador, you will have to pay an additional $150.00, if the box is excess cargo baggage beyond your first two pieces of cargo luggage. Each person will have to decide for themselves if the cost is reasonable or prohibitive. For me, it obviously is well worth the cost. Expats who come to live in Cuenca, and especially find themselves living in older housing stock which frequently can be quite drafty should especially give consideration to such a purchase. There are currently no heaters available for purchase in Cuenca, including the more expensive models that come close to the quality of EdenPure.

Cuenca can also be a very noisy city. In my neighborhood,the worse generally comes at 6:00 a.m. The rooster crows, and that gets all the dogs into the act. There is one dog. I have no idea what happen to his vocal chords. His bark, if one can call it that, is this prolonged, desperate wailing sound of pain and agony, one would expect from an animal that has just been quartered and attacked by a larger animal that has begun to devour the smaller animal. Now, along with the occasional car alarms that go off generally for a short time, or the weekend parties in the neighborhood, I no longer have my sleep interrupted by the sounds of man or nature.

God bless “white noise” with the invention of The "Original Sleep Sound Generator" of which I brought two of them back with me to Cuenca. One is in my outer wall guest room, and the other is in my master bedroom. After ten nights of using the one in my room, no more listening to dogs bark throughout the night, roosters crowing in the morning, car alarms, ambulance sirens, and traffic noise. There are two levels of white noise. The lower level works just fine for me. The higher level is more appropriate when I’m sleeping and I have my window open, which is almost every night now.


The Original Sleep Sound Generator - Hammacher Schlemmer
This device produces a gentle noise that helps block annoying sounds such as tra...See More

The beauty of this little machine is that its light and you can easily pack it in your luggage. You just plug it in, and turn the switch to high or low. That's all there is to it. There are no 1,000 variations of complications that cameras, computers, blackberries, and IPOD's offer; which definitely beyond a doubt makes the Sleep Sound Generator my kind of technology.

Ironically, here in the Southern Hemisphere we are entering the warmer months with abated breath, so I wasn’t thrilled to find upon my return that the stores and shops are loaded with Christmas stuff; which, of course, is so Norte Americano. What really took the cake today, however, was to walk into the lobby of the Palermo this evening where I live, and to be greeted with a very large and utterly beautifully decorated Christmas tree right smack dab in the center of the spacious foyer. It’s only early October! Talk about overkill! Thank God, so far I have not heard any Christmas carols, but as Scarlett would say, “ Manana is another day”.

Disclaimer:The above products are presented to you for your consideration if you plan a move to Cuenca and the Andes. Neither I nor any member of my family have any financial connection with the companies mentioned.


  1. I haven't seen the tree in the lobby yet, I will check it out when I leave for Spanish class this morning. Maybe I will see you at the owner's meeting next week.


  2. Trish,

    Naw, I'm a renter. Only owners are invited to
    the meeting. Drop me an email (jmola2000@yahoo.com), and we can arrange to meet possibly across the street at the coffee cafe. I'm always interested in meeting new folks and fresh conversation.

  3. Hello Jim,

    I have been a sporadic reader of your blog. Tried to subscribe a few times, but there is the same problem. The link below does not work - see for yourself. Then, right now, I tried to contact you, via your profile. Same story. So, you may want to check it out,

    Since you gave above your email address, and since you mention your interest in new folks, I will drop you a note.

    Well, the tree in OCTOBER!!!! The heater definitely made me curious. CONGRATS! Will try to find out how to ship it here. In principle, shipping it at around $5/lb is much less headache than bringing it here

  4. Idea Merchant,

    I responded to your email before I saw your post here. I checked out the email in my profile, and you are correct. I'm on Mozilla and with a yahoo email, the Windows profile email won't work. People will need to email me directly from their email site. You said "ship it here" does that mean you live in Cuenca?