Business as Usual in Cuenca

Or “Trademarks?  What Are They?” This weekly blog may be just a little later coming out since we experienced our first internet outage this weekend.  We were able to go up to our neighbors’ apartment to use their internet to check our email and Facebook so we didn’t experience too drastic of a withdrawal!  But we’re back on line so all is well.

Greg and Brenda, our fabulous neighbors who HAD internet all weekend long!
Greg and Brenda, our fabulous neighbors who HAD internet all weekend long!

Today’s post is brought to you by a few of the many businesses that meet the needs of Cuencanos (and Gringos) everyday.  We do our best to frequent the smaller, neighborhood businesses within a few blocks of our home but we certainly are not limited in any way as to places we could buy food, sundries, household items, clothing, furniture, cars, lumber, services, doohickies and doodads.  We don’t have any figures, of course, but by far the vast majority of businesses in Cuenca, and we would venture to guess, Ecuador, are family owned and business is generally done from a shop/store on the ground level of the family home.  Here are a few of them in a four block radius of our apartment.

This is where we would take our cuy (guinea pig), turkeys, or whole pig for roasting!
This is where one can take their cuyes (guinea pig), chickens,  turkeys, or whole pigs for roasting!
Lumber
Lumber
Car Maintenance
Car Maintenance
Cakes and Cookies
Cakes and Cookies
Haircuts and other Beauty Treatments
Haircuts and other Beauty Treatments
Furniture
Furniture
Architecture
Architecture
Lunch or Snacks
Lunch or Snacks
Lakony is our favorite little tienda right across the street from where we catch the bus.  Manny and his family keep the store open from 7:30 until 10:30 EVERY DAY!
Lakony is our favorite little tienda right across the street from where we catch the bus. Manny and his family keep the store open from 7:30 am until 10:30 pm EVERY DAY!
Many of the food businesses are mobile.  These vendors are right outside a high school.
Many of the food businesses are mobile. These vendors are right outside a high school.
This shaved ice vendor is looking for a more lucrative area.
This shaved ice vendor is looking for a more lucrative market.
Had to include this.  As far as we can figure, these kids are in this cage, traveling up and down the street with Papa as he gathers recycling from the garbage bags.  This gives an entirely different meaning to "Take Your Child to Work Day".  By the way, the kids were having a ball.
Had to include this. As far as we can figure, these kids are in this cage, traveling up and down the street with Papa as he gathers recycling from the garbage put out on the street. This gives an entirely different meaning to “Take Your Child to Work Day”. By the way, the kids were having a ball.

Of course, if one stop shopping is your thing, there are plenty of opportunities for that, too – several malls host the regular fare of boutiques, food courts, cinemas, etc.  The pictures below are from Cuenca’s largest and newest shopping mall – Mall del Rio.  It is a ten minute walk from our apartment.  By the way, the US is not the only country with Black Friday shopping.  That phenomenon is alive and well in Mall del Rio even without the benefit of a turkey dinner the day before.

Mall del Rio, Cuenca, Ecuador
Mall del Rio, Cuenca, Ecuador
Every Sunday afternoon is crazy busy at Mall del Rio but now it's Christmas shopping season!
Every Sunday afternoon is crazy busy at Mall del Rio but now it’s Christmas shopping season!
The food court at Mall del Rio.
The food court at Mall del Rio.

The next few pictures are of some businesses in Cuenca that are hoping to gain an edge by using a little creative marketing.  We have not personally done business in any of these establishments but wonder if their trademark violations have helped or hindered their bottom line.

image
Not entirely sure but don’t those “Car Boys” look a little like the “Pep Boys”?  This photo was taken by Greg Angstrom.  I promised I would give him full photo credit and NOW I HAVE!
We guess Victoria's Closet is not that big of a secret in Cuenca as it is in a prime location in Mall del Rio.
Victoria’s Closet is not that big of a secret in Cuenca as it is in a prime location in Mall del Rio.
We can tell you how to get to Sesame Street.  It's on Remigio Crespo near Proano.  But I don't think I want to send my kids to this snack bar.  They serve liquor and Cookie Monster, Oscar the Grouch and Grover look like they are part of a street gang!
We can tell you how to get to Sesame Street. It’s on Remigio Crespo near Proano. But I don’t think I want to send my kids to this snack bar. They serve liquor and Cookie Monster, Oscar the Grouch and Elmo look like they are part of a street gang!
Actually "Krosty Burger" sounds just a little more appealing than "Krusty Burger" from The Simpsons' fame.  But not much.  And we have never seen this burger joint open.
Actually “Krosty Burger” sounds just a little more appealing than “Krusty Burger” from The Simpsons’ fame. But not much. And we have never seen this burger joint open.
Norm!  Nope, not here.  We haven't checked to see if everybody knows our name.
Norm! Nope, not here. We haven’t checked to see if everybody knows our name.
Mara's personal favorite.  It brings back memories of a time about 13 years ago when our daughter Kathleen and her best friend Jordyn earned a trip to the Sanrio store in Anchorage.  It was like hell for mom to hang out while the girls inspected every item in that store before they carefully made their purchases.
Mara’s personal favorite. It brings back memories of a time about 13 years ago when our daughter Kathleen and her best friend Jordyn earned a trip to the Sanrio store in Anchorage. It was like hell kitty for mom to hang out while the girls inspected every item in that store before they carefully made their purchases.
No trademark infringement here but we do wonder which states we might be able to purchase through this agency.
No trademark infringement here but we do wonder which states we might be able to purchase through this agency.

Now for something totally off topic!  We want to share a few pictures from our Thanksgiving celebration at Cuenca Christian Church last Thursday.  Thirty plus Gringos AND Cuencanos shared a meal together, had a little Thanksgiving history lesson, enjoyed some awesome piano music, and played a few parlor games.  All the while, Cuenca went about its business.

Turkey is kind of expensive in Ecuador but it sure is good!
Turkey is kind of expensive in Ecuador but it sure is good!
And all the trimmings!
And all the trimmings!
Joe Machkii was our musical entertainment.
Joe Machkii was our musical entertainment.
This is one of the Gary's.  He is from Anchorage, too!
This is one of the Garys. He is from Anchorage, too!
Our Pastor Gary giving a devotional and short history lesson.
Our Pastor Gary giving a devotional and short history lesson.
Our pastor's wife Sue doing her impression of a turkey.
Our pastor’s wife Sue doing her impression of a turkey.
John and Jean enjoying some of the after dinner games.
John and Jean enjoying some of the after dinner games.
Glenn's seconds (or is it thirds?)
Glenn’s seconds (or is it thirds?)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Diego
Diego enjoying his first American Thanksgiving meal. He loved it ALL!

Even further off topic but of great importance to Los Ganos.  We are legal residents of Ecuador!  We received and registered our visas last week.  Next week we work on getting our cedulas (national ID cards that all residents must have.)  After that, we should be all done with immigration and civil registry business for about ten years.  Woo hoo! Next blog post we will discuss our experiences so far with health care here in Cuenca.  Until then . . .

Here’s what we’ve learned:  Umbrellas are very useful for not only for the sudden storms Cuenca experiences most days but also as protection from the fierce equatorial sun.  After all, we are approaching the summer solstice!

Here’s what we need to learn:  If we think that a task involving official offices, fees, and paperwork should take “X” amount of time, it will actually take “Y” (Y being Yikes! and is equal to 2 or 3 times longer than the longest time you could imagine said task taking.)

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12 thoughts on “Business as Usual in Cuenca

  1. Dear Mara and Glenn,

    Happy Thanksgiving! Your blog is like an education on Cuenca. And hilarious, especially Hell Kitty!
    Susan Talley

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  2. Mara…it was fun seeing all the different businesses located in and near your neighborhood. It looks like you and Glenn also enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving at your church. Hope to see the two of you soon. Let us know the next time you make it down to El Centro.

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  3. If there is an award for “Best Blog Ever” you should get it…including any prize…money would be nice. So hilarious about the play on business names.

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  4. Love the photos and your descriptions. Lucky you to take this adventure, something we envy! Looking forward to know about healthcare…

    Like

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