Back to the Living

Or “No More Eating for Two!”

We had this blog post half written about 3 days ago with the working title “The Necessities”.  But a couple things happened.  Somehow, even though we saved our draft MANY times, it did not save and we were left with nothing but several wasted hours.  But more significantly, that evening, nausea, chills, intestinal pain and diarrhea came to stay for a few days, especially upon Mara and a little bit on Glenn.  That brings us to our first necessity . . .

Health: With the ability to eat fresh, whole foods year round and exercise by walking everywhere we go, we have made great strides toward better overall health.  Good hygiene habits have always been vital – frequent hand washing, keeping our living space clean, washing our produce, drinking purified water, etc.  Cuenca boasts the status of having the only drinkable tap water in all of Ecuador.  We have been drinking it each visit here and like the taste as well.  We wash our produce with a substance called “Vitalin” to help make sure all little critters are gone.  Even so, it would appear that we are hosting some parasites in our guts.  We visited our local farmacia and the pharmacist gave us an anti-parasite remedy, which many Gringos and Ecuadorians also take on a semi-annual basis as a preventative.  Mara is feeling much better and we both look forward to eating some real food today.  Hopefully, we won’t be eating for two for too much longer!

This is the anti-parasite medicine we took for two days.  It seems to be working.
This is the anti-parasite medicine we took for two days. It seems to be working.
We wash all fruits and veggies that we don't peel away the rind from in this solution.
We wash all fruits and veggies that we don’t peel away the rind from in this solution.

And that brings us to . . .

Food: Our choices are vast and varied.  We could eat every meal out and not run out of new choices for quite some time.  But that’s not necessarily the route we want to take!  Eating “almuerzo” (set plate lunch) at small restaurants all over the city is something we enjoy doing.  These cost anywhere from $1.50 to $3.00 and most of our eating out budget will be spent this way.  On occasion, we “splurge” and dine at higher priced places, especially with friends.  By higher priced, we mean entrees that cost about $3.00 to $7.00.  Glenn’s birthday lunch was at Fabiano’s, a favorite pizza and Italian restaurant.  Lunch after church was a delicious hamburger at San Sebas.  Both of these restaurants are popular with Gringos and Cuencanos alike.

Glenn's $3.00 birthday lunch - a meatball grinder from Fabiano's.
Glenn’s $3.00 birthday lunch – a meatball grinder from Fabiano’s.
Free American Apple Pie ala mode for Glenn's birthday!
Free American Apple Pie ala mode for Glenn’s birthday!
$2.25 almuerzo of chorizo (type of sausage), munestra (the beans), rice, and some sort of potato soup.  Not pictured fresh juice and a small peach for dessert.
$2.25 almuerzo of chorizo (type of sausage), munestra (the beans), rice, and some sort of potato soup. Not pictured fresh juice and a small peach for dessert.
image
We will NOT be eating at McDonalds although there are at least two, as well as Pizza Hut, Burger King, Subway, and KFC.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In actuality, we eat in more than out. Our shopping is easily done at the Super Maxi (I know, sounds like a feminine hygiene product) which has about anything one would need.  We have found a smaller and closer supermarket called “Comisariato Popular” around the corner from our current apartment.  It has less and costs a little more but you can’t beat the location when you need some bread or milk.  We like to purchase our produce at the local markets.  That’s where the best fruits and vegetables (as well as meats, grains, eggs, etc.) are and the best prices are found.

$4.00 worth of produce and IT IS GOOD!
$4.00 worth of produce and IT IS GOOD!
No Starbucks in Cuenca (darn-I have a free drink coming!) But this is better, our favorite coffee roaster and café "Nucallacta".
No Starbucks in Cuenca (darn-I have a free drink coming!) But this is better, our favorite coffee roaster and café “Nucallacta”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Panadarías are bakeries and they are all over the place, too.  Once we get settled into our permanent dwelling, we will find our closest and best neighborhood panadaría and get our bread there.

 

Speaking of permanent dwelling . . .

Housing: We have been looking but have not signed a lease anywhere yet.  There are two apartments in the running, both with pros and cons, but both would be very comfortable and are in the general part of town that we would like to live in.  Cuenca is a city of 500,000 and so there lots of areas.  Most of the city has mixed residential and commercial neighborhoods.  This is very different from what we were used to in Anchorage.  There we lived in a residential area and drove to the businesses we needed to.  We are excited about having the ability to shop, conduct business and live in the same neighborhood.

The building of one of the apartments we are interested in.  There is a little coffee shop on the ground floor.
The building of one of the apartments we are interested in. There is a little coffee shop on the ground floor.
Neighborhood view of another apartment we are looking at.
Neighborhood view of another apartment we are looking at.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

El Centro is the historical district of the city.  We want to be close enough to walk or take public transportation easily to El Centro.  A lot of great restaurants, museums, cultural activities, colonial architecture and one of our favorite parks, Parque Calderon, are in El Centro.

image
People watching in Parque Calderon
One view of the Old Cathedral from Parque Calderon.
One view of the Old Cathedral from Parque Calderon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Getting around is very important so on to . . .

Transportation: Getting around without a car has been easy for us so far.  We don’t miss driving one bit nor the cost of owning and maintaining a vehicle.  Plenty of Ecuadorians have cars and some Gringos, too.  But we came here to walk!  And walk we do – to El Centro, to the supermarket, to the parks, to our friends’ homes, to church, and just to walk.  Mara can’t seem to get enough walking, so she walks(!) to Parque de la Madre nearby to walk on their track for a more aerobic workout.  That way she can exercise on smooth pavement without worrying about traffic, dogs, dog poop, or holes in the sidewalk.

Wonderful walking/jogging path in Parque de la Madre.
Wonderful walking/jogging path in Parque de la Madre.
Statue of A. Jefferson Perez Quezada-1996 Olympic champion speed walker.  He inspires the walkers in Parque de la Madre. Well, he inspires ME!
Statue of A. Jefferson Perez Quezada-1996 Olympic champion speed walker. He inspires the walkers in Parque de la Madre. Well, he inspires ME!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We have taken a taxi only once so far to an unfamiliar part of the city at night for a meeting. The taxis now MUST be metered so no more bartering with the cabbie for his fare.  We’re fine with that although we understand the cab drivers are not so crazy about it.  We paid about $2.25 for our cab ride. We can’t imagine spending more than $3.00 to any place we would need to go in the city.

Taxis are plentiful everywhere in Cuenca, EXCEPT when it's raining!
Taxis are plentiful everywhere in Cuenca, EXCEPT when it’s raining!

By far the cheapest way to get somewhere too far to walk would be using the city buses.  There is a vast network of routes that crisscross the city and even extend into the countryside a little.  25¢ is the fare.  We will be using the buses!

image
These blue buses (a few are red) are diesel powered so they are loud and they stink! But the city of Cuenca is working on improving this by building a light rail line through the center of the city.

 

 

 

There are lots more “necessities” but we think we will save them for our next post. Hopefully, we won’t be waylaid by any illness next time.  But before we sign off, we’d like to mention the . . .

Weather:  Down here in the southern hemisphere we are in spring right now.  However, Cuenca is only about 200 miles south of the equator so the temperatures (and daylight) fluctuate rather minutely.  What does change is the amount of precipitation.  We are currently in the wet season and at times it has been quite wet.  But each day brings some sun as well.  Sunscreen and an umbrella are the order of each day.  The temperatures have been in the mid-60s which for former Alaskans is PERFECT!  The Ecuadorians are bundled up in down jackets as are the Gringos from warmer climes.  Warmer temperatures (but not too much warmer, remember we are at 8,200 ft. elev.) are coming as we approach summer.  Homes here neither have central heating or air conditioners although some have space propane heaters for the coldest months (July and August).

We had a lot of rain on Sunday.  This is the Tomeboma River (already fairly high) at 9:30 am.
We had a lot of rain on Sunday. This is the Tomeboma River (already fairly high) at 9:30 am.

 

This is the Tomebomba at about 3 pm the same day after several downpours.
This is the Tomebomba at about 3 pm the same day after several downpours.

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you are enjoying our blog but have not yet followed us, please do so. That way you will be notified of the next post automatically.  We will email the link to our contacts one more time so that all who would like to follow us will have the opportunity.  Some readers have mentioned that finding and activating the “follow” button on the blog has not always been possible.  If that is your experience, we’re sorry.  Some have found that going to our Facebook page (Glenn and Mara Gano) and clicking on the link and accessing the blog that way or using a different computer or device has solved the problem.  Again, our apologies.  We are still learning the ins and outs of WordPress!  We love your comments and would love your questions, too.

Here’s what we’ve learned: Intestinal parasites can happen to anyone!

Here’s what we need to learn: Getting rid of intestinal parasites takes time.

Here’s what we need to remember: We have time!

Advertisements

20 thoughts on “Back to the Living

  1. So glad you are both on the mend!
    We lived in Hawaii for three years. When we first got there it was early springtime. While taking a bus with the boys, we were wearing shorts and t-shirts, we observed a local mom and child in sweats and jackets. Still in Hawaii but fast forward a couple of years, we are at a college football game wearing winter coats and pants. Give it time and 60 will be cold to you as well. 🙂

    Like

  2. Meh, it just is. You both must be pretty flexible people to make this move. Perspectives change as life does. You won’t think about how you are changing to your environment and then one day it will just hit you. Life really is a journey.
    Once again, I just want you to know how thankful I am you are blogging your experiences. As a visual being, the pictures are the cherry!

    Like

  3. Oh what a lovely blog post!! Thank you both, I love seeing pictures as well. take good care of yourselves, but as you said- you have time! 🙂

    Like

  4. So good to hear that you are feeling better. I’m so grateful to you for establishing this blog. Most enjoyable to read and see what you’re up to.

    Like

    1. Hi Janis, Thanks for reading. Be sure to follow the blog so you’ll always know when a new post is up even if I don’t get to posting it on Facebook or emailing to our contacts. Miss you.

      Like

  5. I love this latest entry!…so much great information about your new home. Sorry about the stomach bug, but not surprised… glad it’s out of the way. On to new experiences!

    Like

    1. Thanks, Inta. We are feeling better. We have several things to do tomorrow so hopefully we won’t wear ourselves out. We DO have lots of new experiences to get to. Love you and miss you.

      Like

    1. Thanks for reading, Neil! Yes we are enjoying our time here. It’s a little harder to enjoy the days when we’ve been sick but they certainly help us appreciate the days we have been well. Cheers to you and the clinic!

      Like

  6. I don’t suppose this will be any consolation to you, but both times I went to live in Latin America, I was sick once (Dave also) in spite of taking precautions. I was told some people get that when they first move to the USA; something about not being used to the local bugs. Laurie

    Like

    1. Thanks for your comment, Laurie, and it is a consolation to know that we didn’t do anything “wrong” because we really have been trying to be careful! Some Ecuadorians we have talked to say it’s the weather. It has been wetter and cooler than usual. I don’t know how that would work but. . . We didn’t really have any serious digestive issues when we were in Ecuador before. The most important things is we are feeling much, much better!

      Like

  7. Mara and Glen, I loved your post. As I was reading all I could think about was I hope to visit someday! Are you getting more and more fluent in Spanish or are they pretty good at English?I have laryngitis for the second time this year-UGH. It is always hard to teach when your voice is wimpy. AND not that you care anymore but ASD has decided to lower the Sub standards again so they just have to have a Bachelor degree, not necessarily a teaching degree. Hopefully this will help our fill rate. Still no snow in Anchorage and supposed to be mid 40’s all weekend. I am feeling blessed. Well I need to get some laundry done and meet up with Brandie for a walk this morning too. You two are going to be so healthy with all this fresh food and walking. Thanks for the post. Take Care.

    Like

    1. Hi Carmen, Thanks for reading and I’m so glad you want to come visit us someday! Our Spanish is still beginner level but we have managed so far. Our Spanish classes start next week. Most people here do NOT speak English but some do. And there are a few Ecuadorians that speak very good English that have lived and worked in the US and have moved back to Ecuador. We are able to walk more and more as our little parasite “friends” are diminishing. I hope you get healthy very soon.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s