It has certainly been some time since I have posted. I owe my apologies to some friends back home who wondered if I was all right, and I ask your forgiveness for failing to respond to some of your emails. I am doing fine. I have just been very busy the last two months with company, with particularly studying Spanish with an excellent tutor, and with endless frustrations with Internet problems.
Otherwise, at least until today, the weather has been unusually warm for what is suppose to be Cuenca's coldest temperature averages during the year in August and September. Compared to last year at this time, it has been quite sunny for Cuenca and the rains have subsided. It has been reported by one climatologist (for whatever that may be worth) that Ecuador for the remainder of this year is expected to have 40% less rain than last year at this time, as well as 40% warmer temperatures. Since I returned from the states in June, there definitely has been a fall-off in the amount of rain we have been enduring. Well, at least until today’s rain and chilly temperatures, which led me to only the second time this year that I used my Endu-Pure heater. Last Friday, however, was so absolutely beautiful, no breeze, sunshine, warm temperatures—just a perfect day of paradise in Cuenca.
My biggest frustration in Cuenca has been the Internet Service. Without going into a long tirade about Etapa, the largest Internet service in the city, a story in itself that I do not want to relive. I will just say I dropped Etapa for Punta Net, and I am very happy with my decision. I also dropped Direct T.V. Cable simply because I don’t watch enough television, most of the programming is in Spanish, and what channels there are in English are usually reruns. Of course, I’m talking about the basic package.
With Punta Net I have the mega power to be able to stream live T.V. programs and free movies. While Punta Net is not cheap, one truly needs to buy the five mega package to be sure videos and streaming will run effectively. The price is still ten dollars cheaper than when I used Etapa and Direct T.V. The price is also forty dollars cheaper than what I last paid eighteen months ago in the states for Comcast Cable T.V. and Internet service. However, no more than I dropped Etapa, they came up with a much less expensive package than Punta Net. However, Etapa's service is lousy to the nth degree, and you will never receive the megs they promise. Much of Etapa is still phone line usage, while Punta Net increasingly is installing and using fiber optics for their lines. To date, Punta Net’s service has been excellent. In fact, they showed up one day earlier than their appointed day for installation. Yes, such things do happen in Ecuador.
No more than I am getting through all the adjustments with the Internet service and how to use all the new programming, then YahooMail decided it was time to attempt to raise my blood pressure. Someone hacked into my email, or I had picked up a virus from another email. The virus broke into my contacts, and spread the virus to whoever received an email from me and clicked on it, which then spread the virus to all of their contacts.
Then for a week, I was unable to receive emails. Another night-marish attempt to get the problem resolve. I love Indians. I love India. However, don’t put me on the phone with one more Indian who has no idea how to resolve the problem. I read recently that we have a right to ask where the customer representative is located, and we can request and be given a customer representative in the states. I decided to exercise this right, since the American government is busy taking away all of our other rights day by day. I was told by the Indian customer service representative that it was against corporate policy to divulge their location. I had it with the wasted hour and talking in circles. I fixed and ate dinner, and an hour later decided to try again. I received an American speaking representative, who within 45 minutes had the problem resolved and worked with me until we were assured all was rectified.
It took days to get from reporting in type each day to YahooMail’s Help Center before I was given a code number and provided with a telephone number, so I could finally talk to a real person. All my emails during that week were bounced back to their senders. Some daily financial and news emails were removed when my emails were returned to them as undeliverable, and time was wasted returning to the source to get the emails restored. For a few days I lived without any Internet problems. Of course living without Internet problems never lasts more than a few days with me. I continued to receive emails, but suddenly I couldn’t send or respond to any emails. That took three days to resolve. So goes the bane of my life and electronics.
My computer problems have been a blessing in disguise, as I spend less time on the computer. I loved spending the last few weeks late at night in my Man Cave--being the history buff that I am—watching the ShowTime series on “The Tudors”, and then the HBO series on “Rome”, which dealt with the fall of the Republic and the rise of empire. The focus was mainly on Julius Caesar and the first Roman Emperor, Octavian. The Tudors were filled with political and sexual intrigue, but Rome made the Tudors look like Puritans. It sure was nice sitting in my very comfortable lounge chair, with a relaxing glass of wine, and watching two or three episodes late at night, and giving myself and the computer a rest.
Otherwise, I have not been socializing much in large group settings lately. Rather I have been getting together with friends over intimate lunches or dinners. I was sorry to have to say goodbye to two good friends, Jim and Carolyn Lawson, who chose to return to the states to live and are currently residing in New Mexico. They are missed, and I especially miss Carolyn’s homemade bread.
The only exciting thing in Cuenca lately was the burning of the seminary located adjacent and to the rear of the New Cathedral. Fireworks are very unregulated in Cuenca. Displays are often times launched from the sidewalk in front of the New Cathedral with the crowd standing only a few feet from the action. A balloon type of firework was launched, but made its way into an open window or space in the seminary area of the complex, and at that point folks really had something to get excited about. Fortunately, the New Cathedral itself was not subject to any damage. Those of you who have visited Cuenca probably ate at least one meal at Ramipampa’s and possibly had ice cream at Tutu Freddo’s. Both businesses which are also part of the block complex of the New Cathedral have been closed for what is anticipated to be about 45 days.
That’s pretty much it for the time being. Best wishes to all of you. I’m sure you’re glad to see the end of a very hot long summer approaching.