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, December 23, 2012


               Season’s Greetings!                                     
Wishing you, my family and friends, a very Merry Christmas!  May all of you experience a Joyous New Year of inner peace, which radiantly cascades to each and everyone with whom you touch in your personal worlds in the year ahead!

          Feliz Navidad y Feliz Ano Nuevo!                                                             

With Love, Affection, and Appreciation to all Who were a Positive Part of my Life this Past Year.  Whether through a Simple Greeting, or through so much more.  God bless You all in the Year ahead.

                                                Jim Mola

Monday, December 17, 2012



It is with great appreciation that I am able to announce today that my blog, "Cuenca Perspectives by Jim", has been chosen by "Expats Blog" as the top ranked blog in all of Ecuador on expat life, and my perspectives on the people, customs, and overall culture of various aspects of life in the country of Ecuador, particularly the beautiful city of Cuenca and its equally beautiful people.

I thank my many faithful readers for their support through their comments and numerous emails, with questions and with testimonies of the value and usefulness of my blog in painting a picture of Cuenca for them, and in providing what they have found to be useful information in traveling to or in making Cuenca their home.  Just as many expats and local Cuencanos have been a major source of help and inspiration to me as I explored the
                                          possibility of living in Cuenca and then making the move, I am glad I     
                                          have the opportunity to likewise be of help to others.

Cuenca Perspectives by Jim (gold)
With my sons making their own lives, it was time for their "old man" to spread his wings and fly again as well. Cuenca is now my home, and I couldn't be happier. One fan says: Would give your blog more than 5 stars if I could. You write well and very interestingly. Thank God, it's not just another one telling where you went and what you ate! I've been intrigued since I first discovered "CuencaPerspectives" more than two years ago. In fact, your blog was influential in my decision to come here last year and return this year. Your photographic skills leave me so envious. Keep on doing what you do so well!

Next to "South of Zero", which does an excellent job of providing synopses and links of the latest expat blogs on life in Ecuador, and provides my blog with the greatest source of readership.  "Expats Blog" has provided me with my second largest source of readership.  If you have not checked out http://www.expatsblog.com/, I would encourage you to do so.  "Expats Blog provides many interesting articles of interviews with bloggers, news information, expat blogs, and forums.  "Expats Blog" provides coverage from expats from all over the world, and is not simply an Ecuadorian blog.  It is, however, easy for the reader to access the link to the Ecuador blogs, news, articles, and forums.  Thanks again "Expat Blog" for your recognition of my efforts.

Saturday, December 8, 2012


I returned this week, after three weeks of an enjoyable visit in the states and a very nice Thanksgiving with family and friends in the Chicago area. 
Today’s post is about my flight on Copa Airlines:

In the past, I have always flown American Airlines from Chicago’s O’Hare Airport to either Quito or Guayaquil.  However, American Airlines is now in Chapter 11 Bankruptcy, which requires a financial restructuring both within the airlines and with vendors, and generally concessions from workers.  The repercussions of yet another economic dislocation in the United States included the threat of strike about the time I explored purchasing my flight tickets; and with numerous media reports on how the union workers were deliberately, and in my opinion, self-defeatingly causing slow-downs and delays in flight arrivals; I decided to explore other flight possibilities.  In the past, I never had any problems with American Airlines.  Compared to Delta, which in my opinion has been the worst airline, American was a pleasure to travel.

However, I had a few expat friends suggest to me that Copa was a fine airline and much more reasonably priced than most airlines.  Sure enough after checking on the Internet, I discovered I could get a round trip flight from Quito to Chicago on Copa with a $400 savings over American Airlines. Further, there was no charge for the first two cargo bags.  American had charged me twenty-five dollars for each of my first two cargo bags when I last traveled to Chicago in May of this year.  Since then, American has changed its policy.  The airline does not now charge for the first piece of cargo luggage, but will charge seventy dollars for the second piece of luggage.  If someone like me generally takes two pieces of cargo luggage, then I am paying a twenty dollar increase in cargo luggage fare with American than I did during my previous flight with them last May.

Copa also had a two-hour layover in Panama City’s Airport, and only a one-hour layover on the return flight from Chicago to Quito.  I very much liked the Panama Airport, as opposed to the Miami Airport, which usually involved longer flight layovers due to customs, and is extremely large in which to get around.  Miami added a train system in the airport about two years ago, but the last two times I flew into the Miami Airport, the system was down each time.  The actual flight time from Quito to Chicago via Panama City also was more geographically beneficial to me and lessened the total flight time.

Copa airplanes were equally as nice as American’s.  The service and amenities aboard Copa were of a higher quality.  If one wanted to listen to music or watch a movie, Copa flight attendants distributed the audio head-phones.  On American, one has to bring their own set from a previous flight or pay for a set of head-phones.  On the American flight, the short part of the trip to one’s stop-over would find the traveler provided with a small bag of pretzels and something to drink.  The Copa Airline attendants provided a choice between a chicken or beef sandwich serve on elongated buns, a bag of chips, four wrapped Oreo cookies, and a drink.  Both airlines served dinner on the longer portion of the flight.  I found the attendants on Copa to be more professional, dressed classier in their uniforms, and young and attractive, the way flight attendants use to be in the United States. 
Since my first entry into the United States did not take place until I arrived in Chicago.  I did not have to allow the additional time it would take to go through my port of entry in Miami or Houston.  I also found that with Copa, once I went through immigration at O’Hare, I was able to step right out to curb service at the airport.  Prior arrivals at O’Hare meant very prolonged walks to the baggage area, and then long walks to the bus terminal.
On my return flight, each passenger had the screen on the back of the seat in front of them, which is a new feature many airlines are incorporating.  Unfortunately, not everybody’s screen was working.  This malfunction was the only negative with Copa for me, although I had no interest in watching the movie or other programming anyway.  I did notice that Etapa was their Internet connection server.  Considering Etapa’s reputation in Cuenca for terrible service and serious speed and connectivity problems, I would only suggest that at Copa’s first opportunity officials will find a better Internet company with which to do business.

I would strongly recommend Copa to fellow travelers.  Of course, whether or not Copa is right for you will depend upon your particular travel needs, and whether Copa services air terminals close to your location, provides the necessary connections, and/or access to your final destinations.  I never heard of Copa until I came to Ecuador.  No one I talked to back in the states was familiar with the airline.  It does have a surprisingly large number of flight routes, although they basically serve between South America and North America, as well as flights to Spain.  If Copa meets your travel needs, you're not likely to be disappointed.