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.

Monday, November 7, 2011

No Two Days Are Alike Part I

One thing is for certain in Cuenca, and it’s a certainty of excitement.  If I so choose, and sometimes when I don’t so choose, no two days are alike for me in this Basin City.  I have lived in this beautiful city eight months now, and the last two weeks are just a sample particularly around fiesta time of how life becomes magnified and intensified.
Monday, October 24th, cleaned the condo, ran errands, shopped at Coopera, and got bills paid.  Yes, I may be the only resident gringo living in anything larger than a studio apartment, who doesn’t have at least a weekly maid. Cleaning the house for me, especially of rainy days gives me an opportunity for some exercise.
Tuesday, October 25th, Gringo Night at Di Bacco’s Italian Restaurant.  I had a good time, conversed with some old friends, and made new friends and acquaintances as well.
Wednesday, October 26th, I stopped out at Pablo Cadero’s studio, a top ceramist in the city, to pick up my certificate authenticating my number in a limited series of the ceramic wall plague I purchased of a scenic view of the Cuenca city-scape looking upwards from the Rio Tamebama.  Pablo and his wife are beautiful people.  They shared with me Pablo’s most recent ceramics and some new scenes and designs on which he was working.  He showed me how the kiln was used and how the wet plaster was positioned in the kiln.  It was raining heavily, I appreciated that Pablo graciously drove me to El Centro since taxis are almost impossible to procure during rain storms.  Pablo showed me two places where he had taken photos for new city-scape ceramics he is in the process of making.  I could see his artistic eye at work by the perspective and angle at which he captured the sites.
By evening, I found myself at Di Bacco’s again for a three hour financial seminar.  Once again meeting people I knew, and making contacts with new acquaintances as well.  Didn’t learn much that was new, but the seminar led me to believe that I am moving in the right direction with my financial investments.

Thursday, October 27th was poker night with the boys and yes, a few ladies at the Chamber of Commerce.  Always new and old faces with whom to mingle and to share the latest info and gossip.

One of my biggest disappointments in Cuenca over the last few months has been meeting three really nice couples where we hit it off nicely right from the get-go, but who it turned out were visiting the city only temporarily, and with whom I met at the tail-end of their visits. 

Names and faces have become more difficult for me to remember, as so many new people either enter or momentarily pass through my life.  Sorry to say I can’t remember his name, but as we were walking from the Chamber of Commerce, the trophy winner for the evening of poker was sharing with me how he wrote jokes for Jay Leno for a number of years, and is a comedy writer.  There are always interesting and fascinating people to meet in Cuenca. 

As we went our separate ways, I unexpectedly got caught up in a rock concert being held in the square by the “Coffee Tree” on Calle Larga.  After about a half an hour of listening to the music and observing the crowd, I ran into my Spanish tutor, and off we went to have a couple of beers and catch up on what we’ve been doing lately.  We've seen little of each other, since studying Spanish hasn’t been a priority with me after my return from the states.  An unexpected concert and an unexpected evening with a friend are just examples of what I never know is about to happen next.

Friday, October 28th, Big Disco Night at Tabasco Discotec, which sponsored music from the 70’s and 80’s.  Accompanied by a half a dozen ladies and a couple of male friends, we discoed the night away, while  watching tapes from live concerts of the earlier time period when we were all so much younger,  

We met Oswaldo Valencia, Mr. Soul Train, himself--The Numeral Uno D.J. in Ecuador.  He has his own radio and television programs, and is comparable to Dick Clark, only about twenty years younger.  It was nostalgia night, so I could say, he was like the Wolfman Jack of his generation.  Another gentleman performed Michael Jackson’s, Moon Walk.  The place was jammed pack, and there was nothing that even remotely approached a problem from 8:00 p.m. until 2:00 a.m. Everybody was just having a good time.  Some folks were dressed in the disco styles of the period, and when there was no longer enough room to dance on the floors, while the booth seats along the wall served us just as well.

I spent ten minutes trying to get six empty plastic cups from the two beautiful bartenders, since our table ran out of cups and we still had plenty of libations available, before I finally succeeded in getting them to understand what I wanted. Their beautiful smiles would elicit from them the comment for me to "wait uno minuto".  I would then be brought glasses with coke, glasses with rum, glasses just with ice.  They brought me whatever they thought I was asking for, or pantamining, or attempting to point to a glass and explain,” but without the contents”, as each failed effort was placed before me.  A young man tried to help me with the ladies, but he didn’t speak any English, which got me nowhere.  When I miraculously succeeded in getting the ladies to bring me four empty cups, for which I settled, since they already presented me with two cups containing just ice. We all had a good laugh over it, and everybody involved was excited like we had finally solved the riddle.  They were all so patient and gracious, and so earnest in wanting to please me.  I just love these people.

Once we left the disco, some of us went out to get a bite to eat, I had little to drink, but I’m also no longer in my 20’s or 30’s.  I dropped into bed at 3:00 a.m., and slept until 2:00 p.m. the next afternoon.

Saturday, October 29th,  was recovery day from the 28th, a well earned day just to rest up, relax, and not leave my condo.  The 29th was a day of peace and quiet, a real appreciation for the sounds of silence after a night of ear-splitting, loud-speaker blare.

Sunday, October 30th, I finally had the chance to make contact with my son, Marc, in Maryland and wish him a Happy Belated 28th Birthday.  Having been way over-rested on Saturday, I spent Sunday alone on a five to six mile walk across town to Kiwi, (Cuenca’s version of Menard’s) in the Miraflores Mall,  just to buy some yellow-tinted light bulbs, since incandescent bulbs are no longer available.   I hate the dangerous white bulbs now used in homes, which the fundamentalist environmentalists have shoved down our throats, and give homes such a fluorescent white office feeling.  Kiwi, from what I discovered, appears to be the only place in Cuenca where I can get the yellow natural light-tinted bulbs.  I then did my grocery shopping at the Supermaxi’s, which is also located in the mall, and with all the bags had no choice but to take a cab home.  It’s strange to use the word “cab” here.  No one in Ecuador knows what that means.  The cabs are always called taxis.

Monday, October 31st, I had lunch with a new friend, and discovered California Kitchen is not open on Mondays.  Spent whatever free time I had trying to get packages from abroad delivered to my home, which meant more time on the Internet always trying to figure things out and getting them to work properly.  In the evening my friend and her eight year old daughter stopped by, as Amy was dressed as a beautiful princess for Halloween and her mother was dressed as a witch right down to the black lipstick and fingernail polish.  There seemed to be some Halloween parties for kids in Cuenca, but not much in the way of Trick or Treat like back in the states.  Halloween is less celebrated here than in the U.S.  There was a Gringo Halloween party at DiBacco’s that night, but I didn’t find out about it until almost the last minute, and I didn’t want to splurge on a costume.  I hear the party went quite well.

To Be Continued

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