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.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019


Cuenca Perspectives by Jim: ADDENDUM TO OZONE THERAPY AND DR. SANTIAGO ROMO: I have been intending for some time to write a follow-up to my original Ozone Treatments for discs and joint pains administered to me by Dr...


I have been intending for some time to write a follow-up to my original Ozone Treatments for discs and joint pains administered to me by Dr. Santiago Romo here in Cuenca.  Travel and other projects sidetracked me.  Nonetheless, after reminders by folks who have asked me for a follow-up of how well the long-term effect of the treatments have been for me, the latest being an email from a reader of my blog in the states, has finally spurred me to share my retention success rate.  I've never met some of these people.  They are just random readers of my blog, who seek further information about Ozone Therapy, and to whatever degree the information I have shared with my readers has been of help, for that I am grateful.

I would suggest that if you have not read my original post, it would behoove you to do so, because I am going to deal with this follow-up rather superficially without the context and detailing of everything that was covered in my original post:


I did need to have Dr. Romo return after about six months to administer some additional injections of ozone to my lower back.  I  originally had three areas of concern.  The least problematic was on my lower right side.  It never gave me any further problems.  I wasn't sure which of the two on my lower left side was causing the pain.  I could feel the pain on the inside; but if I pressed against the spots, I could never feel any pain by applying pressure.  

It has been approximately six months since my follow-up treatments.  I can now identify that the the higher of the two disks still gives me some trouble, which for some reason I can now feel when I press against it with my thumb or knuckle.  The lower disc is no problem.  The problem with the higher disc varies in that some days I feel no pain.  Other days it causes me some slight pain, which may come-and-go, off-and-on, throughout the day.  The pain hasn't, to date, bothered me consistently for an entire day.  I can live with whatever minor inconvenience it causes me now, which is very mild compared to the severe, unrelenting pain before I began treatments.  If at some point, I want to be a perfectionist, I may have Dr. Romo administer a couple of additional treatments to that higher disc, and hope that the treatment completely eliminates any pain.

My neck is absolutely fine, and I have not had any further problems or treatments with it since the original treatments a year ago.  In fact, I was amazed, after completion of the treatments, how my neck continued to improve for up to a year.  I can literally lie in bed on my stomach with my head to the side, which months ago I had to prop up two pillows with my head down between them with space to breath, if I wanted to sleep on my stomach.  I originally thought that any improvement I experienced would take place within two weeks to the first month after I completed my ozone treatments.  I never expected the improvements would take place up to a year later.

I mentioned in the original post that I was hesitant to look down while reading without wearing a soft collar, even after all my ozone treatments were completed.  One day I read for over an hour looking down into the book while sitting on the sofa. Suddenly, it dawned on me that I was looking down into a book for over an hour, while sitting on the sofa, and I  wasn't wearing my soft collar!  I haven't worn one since.  I never anticipated that Ozone Therapy on my neck was ever going to be this successful.

So that is basically where my experience stands at the moment; and yes, I would continue to encourage readers to check-out Ozone Therapy for inflammations of discs, knees, hips, and other joint problems before consideration of any type of surgery.  To the couple that will soon be moving to Cuenca from the states in a few months, and to the couple who will soon be moving from Puerto Cayo to Cuenca; I hope Dr. Romo will be of great benefit to you as he has been to me and to so many others.  For others not living in Cuenca, you will find a directory link in my original post of Ozone Therapists from around the world and in different states and provinces in the United States and Canada.  Salud to all.

Thursday, June 13, 2019


Cuenca Perspectives by Jim: TRAVELING IN SPAIN: BARCELONA: ANTONIO GAUDI AND...: Antonio Gaudi's (1852-1926) was a Catalan Modernist Architect, who went beyond the modernist styles of his day with many innovations.  ...


Antonio Gaudi's (1852-1926) was a Catalan Modernist Architect, who went beyond the modernist styles of his day with many innovations.  His use of of geometric shapes like the hyperbolic parabolid, the hyperboloid, the helicoid, and the conoid were introductions to Western architectural styles. Gaudi's use of these geometric forms gave a three dimensional effect to arches and pillars found in vaulted ceilings and other structures that did not exist in the earlier Gothic styles.  Gaudi also borrowed from Asian design as well, particularly Indian. 

Gaudi integrated functional and decorative aspects with a series of crafts in his use of ceramics, glass, iron-forging, and carpentry.  Trencadis was a Gaudi innovation, which made use of waste ceramics.  It is said that Gaudi strove  for an organic synthesis of these various techniques and artistic characteristics that he innovated into an organic whole among these aspects and with nature as well.

Gaudi certainly moved in revolutionary directions for his time period.  Symmetry was generally abandoned, while curvilinear structures and designs were used.  Many of Gaudi's designs were mocked in his day as was often the case with artistic innovation, and did appear to be gaudy for his time period and to many Western viewers today.  The word gaudy superseded Gaudi by at least a hundred years.  However, I would not be surprised that the term was used by Gaudi's critics to describe his art.  

Much of Gaudi's designs generally have a fantasy look to them.  Not in the sense of phantom or ghostly, but more in a Fantasy Land found in Disney Land or Disney World; and appear to be designs and decorative arts one would find in something created for appeal to children. I have no idea, if Gaudi had such an intent.  Gaudi appeared to be a forerunner to Salvador Dali who was born in Figures, Spain north of Barcelona, and whose surreal designs often seem like Alice looking down the rabbit-hole and into Wonderland.

Some of the best examples of what I call Gaudi's "Hansel and Greto" gingerbread style of architecture and his use of vivid colors, which can vary with sun-light intensity at various times of the day can be found in the Gruell Park in Barcelona; where many of Gaudi's works are integrated into the park like a small village. I went to the park and saw some beautiful views of the coastal area of boat piers, which reminded me of Beirut, and beautiful views of the beaches and the Mediterranean.  Unfortunately, I arrived at the ticket booth just as the fellow in front of me announced that all the tickets were sold-out.  So I saw little of Gaudi's collection and village.

I have mixed feelings about Gaudi's designs.  His more decorative and curvilenear designs I like in isolation.  However, I don't think I would like an entire neighborhood or city designed in Gaudi's style.
I especially like Gaudi's use of ceramic tiles as they were used on the pillars at Palau de la Musica Catalana, which I presented in a previous post. 

La Sagrada Familia Basilica (The Holy Family Basilica)

The La Sagrada Familia Basilica began construction in 1882 and is anticipated to be completed in 2028.  There are various opinions as to whether the financing to complete the basilica by 2028 is in place.  Obviously, the basilica was dedicated to the Holy Family of Joseph, Mary, and Jesus.  The basilica is the top tourist attraction in Barcelona, and one of the top attractions in Spain.

I made my way around the block, which contains the basilica.  The basilica encompasses almost the entire block.   I had the feeling that there were four distinct architectural styles separated in each part of the basilica, which appeared to me when I first arrived as basically a hodge-podge of four distinct buildings  like a conglomeration attempting to give the appearance of one structure, but not truly cohesively whole.  I did not sense the idea that Gaudi had succeeded in creating an organic whole with this basilica.    

I visited again the next day, and had a more positive feeling about the structure and detected more of an organic feeling from my perspective of observing some overlapping in styles that I had not noticed my first day.  However,  I am not convinced that "organic" would be the first description of the basilica that would pop into my mind.

I do enjoy the basilica more when I can view various segments of it as many of my photos present it, although there are some aerial views of the basilica on the Internet, which were impressive, and from the air give from a certain angle a better sense of unity to the structure.  Possibly, because an aerial shot does not show as much detail.

Below is the front of the basilica, which is the first part that was built.  It is the darkest part due to decades of pollution.  The towers are shaped like honeycombs, but are more pointed at the top.  This may have been a feature Gaudi borrowed from Hindu temples found in cities like Varanasi (Barnares), which is the most holiest site to Hindus at the ghats on the Ganges River.  I was more impressed with the towers in India.  To some degree the less precise design of these towers and their materials give to me an appearance of sandcastles that may easily disintegrate.  Whether or not that was Gaudi's intent, I have no idea.

In the photos above and below,as you can see, practically every space is covered with engravings and decorative ornamental structures.  The engravings feature biblical stories and events.

I am attempting to give you perspectives of the exterior of the basilica from many different angles, which are endless and varied--one of the many fascinating features of the structure.

Unfortunately, due to a snafu on my part, I was unable to see the interior of the basilica.  From some of the photos I viewed on the Internet, I may have been quite impressed with the interior.

Possibly, designs like in the photos below would grow on me with time.  I find I can't really engage with the colored attempts at flowers and other objects on this building.  What comes to my mind is the word 'bric-brac', that for me cheapens the appearance of the overall design, and is superfluous, even carnival-like.  Compared to other architectural structures that Gaudi designed-- Guell Park as an example--where his designs and use of color are bold and appropriate to his overall design purpose in the park.  At least Gaudi's use of color in the exterior of the Sacrada Familia was sparing and muted.

Gaudi may have also borrowed from the Hindus the idea of color in sculpture, as Hindu temples in South India, have larger than life figures, very dimensional, and in the brightest colors (dare I say, gaudy), by the tastes of most people who live in Europe, the U.S. and Canada.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  No doubt each of us respond differently to things of beauty.  This was a basilica that I found fascinating and  well worth seeing, but it is not one of my favorites.  The design brings out more extremes in people, than most noteworthy temples of worship architectural designs.  Some people love it, and some people hate it.  One of my friends said he found it to be a deep spiritual experience for him, and seemed exasperated that his wife and I were not as appreciative.

To the left and below are photos of the rear of the basilica. 

The photo to the left is a side view of the basilica.

So Antonio Gaudi brought a symbiosis of traditional and modern styles together in the design and construction of the Sacrada Familia Basilica.  I was surprised that these artistic breakthroughs happened with a man who was devoutly Catholic, who moved in the circle of the Church hierarchy in Barcelona; lived a very strict life; attended mass everyday; often-times fasted to the point of starvation and the loss of his life.  One would think that a man so structured in his personal life would be very tradition-bound; but his artistic creativity and imagination was moving in very different directions.  Antonio Gaudi certainly succeeded in one of the artist's greatest accomplishments--to get his viewers to interact and react with the art by evoking thought, reflection, and feeling.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Cuenca Perspectives by Jim: TRAVELING IN SPAIN : VALENCIA

Cuenca Perspectives by Jim: TRAVELING IN SPAIN : VALENCIA: Valencia Surprisingly to me, Valencia is about fourth in tourism among cities in Spain.  It's population for the city proper is ...

Monday, May 27, 2019

Cuenca Perspectives by Jim: Traveling in Spain: Part II: Madrid

Cuenca Perspectives by Jim: Traveling in Spain: Part II: Madrid: I'm back in Cuenca, Ecuador.  It's as if I never left.  I returned from Madrid on Saturday during a three day weekend festival ce...

Traveling in Spain: Part II: Madrid

I'm back in Cuenca, Ecuador.  It's as if I never left.  I returned from Madrid on Saturday during a three day weekend festival celebrating Ecuadorian independence from Spain.  Everybody in Cuenca must be on the coast or in Quito, the capital.  It's wonderful!  So tranquil, hardly a soul in sight, and all the traffic and congestion is like it never existed.  Possibly,  things may be shaking in El Centro, but there is no movement of groups of people walking back and forth from the center.  Even along the river as I walked this sunny Sunday afternoon, there is hardly a soul in sight.  Monday, things were back to normal, but another beautiful sunny day, and even for the beginning of a new work and school week things were quieter than usual.

No matter where I travel or how much I enjoy it; I am always happy that I have Cuenca to return to.  She may not be as large, culturally sophisticated, or as wealthy as some of these other cities; but she is truly the jewel of the Andes and a wonderful place to live.

I liked Madrid.  I only wished I had allowed a few additional days to take in a few other activities and feel more acclimated to the city as well.  So I'll share some photos with you of my remaining two days, which were spent in Madrid before returning home to Ecuador.  

Once I arrived by the speed train from Barcelona, I quickly wanted to make use of the rest of the day.  Luckily, museums are opened until 10:00 p.m.  I walked the six minutes from my Airbnb at about 4:30 p.m. to the Reina-Sofia National Museum of Modern Art.  This was my lucky day.  No lines and the entry was free.  As I mentioned in my first post on "Traveling in Spain", I wasn't impressed with the Prado and the Thyssen Art Museums, both of which share a triangular complex with the Reina-Sofia.  However, in the Reina-Sofia, I marveled at the paintings for two and a half hours.  Reading many of the placards, snapping photos, and taking time to study the paintings to attempt to actually see what the artists were attempting to convey, and what styles and techniques they used to convey perspectives to their viewers.  I haven't enjoyed a modern art collection this much since I visited the Guggenheim in Venice in 2015.

Surprisingly, of these three art museums, Reina-Sofia allowed photos to be taken.  Unfortunately, photos were not permitted in a few galleries adjacent to one of museum's top attraction, Picasso's "Guernicca", of the destruction of a town and its people during the Spanish Civil War, possibly Picasso's most famous work.

I so enjoyed this museum.  I had a magic wand audio, which worked beautifully with explanations of biographical and artistic technical details of specific paintings.  I wish I had time to discuss what the artists were attempting to convey, but that would take volumes.

There were wonderful collections, particularly of Cubism and Surrealism, and many of the artists like Picasso, Salvador Dali, Esteban Frances, Jean Metzinger, Angeles Santos, Auguste Herbin, Benjamin Palencia, Juan Gris, and Max Ernest--all contributed greatly to the birth and development of Modern Art movements.  Spanish artists were in the forefront of the movement.

                                          John Gris, 'The Bottle of Anis' 1914

               Xul Solar, 'The Walker's Meadow" 1917

Augusten Herbin, 'Portrait of Madame H 1912

Angeles Santos, 'The Gathering 1929

Salvador Deli in his early days of painting, 'Girl at the Window' 1925

 Juan Gris, 'Open Window with Hills' 1923, and the next painting is a variation from 1921.

Juan Gris, 'Inlaid Guitar' 1925

Salvador Deli, 'Still Life' 1926

John Metzinger, 'Still Life with Fruit and Jug' 1917

Esteban Frances, 'Wire Fences' 1937

Salvador Deli, 'The Endless Enigma                  

Salvador Dali, The Invisible Man' 1929-1932

Salvador Dali, 'Face of the Great Masturbater' 1929

Benjamin Palencia, 'Still Life' 1925

Max Ernest, 'Red Birds' 1926

Central Court Yard of Reina-Sofia.

Below is the entrance with glass elevators on both sides of the Reina-Sofia.  There are a number of restaurants on the square and I enjoyed sitting across the square from the entrance for hours, where I had a meal on three different occasions; especially since two of those meals were at a very good Italian restaurant.

A block from my apartment was the opera house, which has trees and bushes, etc growing on and out of the entire one side of  the building.  I am sorry this evening post below is so blurry.  The day time photo under it, shows just how awesome this is.  It is a wall to wall carpeting of vegetation.

Parque de El Retiro

My last full day in Madrid, I walked over to the Parque de El Retiro, Madrid's largest and most emblematic park.  Wow, another free entry, and any exhibits were free as well.  Another gorgeous day, and I wandered about the grounds for three and a half hours.  Not since I visited Kensington Park in London had I been in such a grandeur setting.  The pathways were everywhere., and the vast majority were paved.  I have no idea how much of the park I actually saw.

Some of the settings were cultivated like below.  There was a beautiful rose garden, but by the time I discovered it, I was looking for the exit and my cell phone battery was running low, so no photos of the garden, which was a shame because the roses were in full bloom.

I thought when I spotted this structure that it would be a botanical garden.  Not even close.

Another building situated in the park, had an exhibit of a Japanese painter by the name of Tetsuya Ishida.

Ishida's theme through all of his paintings in the exhibit--and there were many--dealt with man's lost of identity in a corporate structure of mindless consciousness.  A theme that was quite popular in Ishidas's heyday as a painter, which was especially held by those Japanese workers who were disaffected by the Japanese corporate culture.
The worker appears to be an automaton, and increasingly meshed with the machine.  Unfortunately, an entire exhibition with this theme gets depressing.  In fact, Ishida committed suicide when he was only thirty-two, so I'll spare you most of the collection.

Views of the park as some were cultivated.  Other areas grew wild.

It was an enchanting way to bring to a close my time in Spain, and to spend my last evening in my Italian restaurant across from the Reina-Sofia, return home to pack, and return to Ecuador the next day.