Friday, December 17, 2010

A Walk

Until lately, I have been having trouble adjusting to the idea of living in Cuenca.  Not because I don't like Cuenca, because I do, very much; it's just that I haven't felt comfortable going out by myself for more than a few-block trip. However, that changed this morning; while Ray was still asleep, I set off by myself for a walk.  I wanted to take some pictures of the places we walk past on our way to wherever it is we go every day.  The first pictures I took were of our neighbor, the woodcarver.  He carves his figures from solid mahogany, paints the background colors by hand, and then airbrushes the finishing touches.  Most of his figures are religious.

The figures look like plaster, but they are not.  His work is excellent.

Then I walked down to Parque Calderon.  There is a Christmas tree there.

At the bottom you see round pieces of paper.  Those are prayers and wishes.  Some people just wrote on regular pieces of paper. 
Ecuador is Catholic, of course, and Christmas is an important holiday.  There are decorations, of course, but the lack of the US Christmas hype is refreshing.

I then walked to the Plaza Rotary, near the Mercado 9 de Octubre.  The Plaza Rotary has a market where one can buy baskets, furniture, pots and pans, and things like that.  We bought a table for our TV there.  I bought a shopping basket there, and today I bought a bag to carry my wallet, passport copy, and small purchases in. 
Baskets . . .

Tables, chairs, and shelves . . .

Hats, wooden utensils, and two very adorable children . . .

I find the markets -- and they are all over the city -- one of the most interesting parts of the city.  Next week, I will walk over to some of the other markets in other parts of El Centro.

There are supermarkets and stores at the malls, but, most of the time, we shop in the neighborhood.  Ray can get Pepsi right across the street.  I am probably going to have to go to the mall for my next big purchase -- a copier -- but Ray found a store the other day that has all kinds of tools, household goods, dishes, pots and pans . . . no printer, though.

I need to remember to take  our camera more often.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

2 weeks and loving it

On time and on schedule. I haven't heard that from people here in Cuenca but that's what I am saying. We now have been hooked up to the internet - on time and on schedule. This time the work we had done was by the government subsidized water company Etapa, it took 3 guys 10 minutes to hook up the internet. They came on the scheduled day about 45 minutes ahead of the scheduled time and called us when they were 5 minutes out. I have never experienced this kind of service in the U.S.. I may be jumping the gun saying that but this is 3 out of 3 so far and the level of service is great.

I have to figure out how to down load pictures onto this blog from this "mini", when I do I have some pictures for show and tell.

Barb will probably post soon with more interesting stuff. My main thrust is to replace my tools and find some land to build on. I have to wait for my paperwork ( visa, cedulla, etc. ) before I can actually purchase land here but that doesn't stop me from looking and I have a boat load of tools to replace. There are a bunch of places around here that have all kinds of tools and equipment. The only tools that cost more here than in the U.S. are tools made in the U.S.. A DeWalt drill will cost $200 here but the same size Chinese "Chicago" drill - you know Harbor Freight- will run about $25. No mig welders but a good stick welder for about $125. I think you get the drift. If it's made in Japan, Korea, China, etc., under a U.S. label it's cheaper here, the same tool with a U.S. company label is more expensive. The only building material I have found to be more costly than the U.S. is rebar and it runs the same to $2 a 20' stick higher.

We did alot of homework before this move, we are not disappointed. After all in the U.S. it's a little cold right now - 69 in Cuenca today and tomorrow and the next 363 days.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

After 11 days

We have now been in Cuenca 11 days and are settled in our apartment except for internet, which should happen tomorrow. We have not experienced any of the things people warn about in Cuenca. What we have experienced is moving into a very convenient working class neighborhood of friendly people and all staples within a couple blocks of the apartment. The city is very easy to navigate, the workmen are on time ( ahead of time mostly ) and quick about what they do. As an example we had Direct TV installed 3 days ahead of schedule and in 20 minutes by one guy.

Waiting for our visas is a pain but it is the process everyone goes through and it gives us some time to shop around for a vehicle and some land to build on.

We will post more information and some pics when we get hooked up to the internet.