We have been here for thirty days now. One month down and two to go in our penthouse apartment. We'll be starting the search for a new home soon. We'd like to move closer to the river and to the center of town (Parque Calderon area). That way we can walk to most everything and won't have to take as many taxi rides.
We are planning a trip to the beach (Montanita) for two weeks starting on Sept. 13th. A realtor friend of ours has been featured in an upcoming House Hunters International show to air on Sept. 21st. The house hunt is featuring the coastal towns of Ecuador. He has invited many of his friends to a HHI party to view the episode, which we'll be doing at a penthouse condo in the beach city of Salinas.
We met some new expats at the bank on Friday and saw them again Friday night at Zoe's, which hosts a weekly gathering spot for expats. There were folks there who have just moved here like us, and folks doing a fact-finding trip before making their big move. Interestingly enough, I actually met someone from my high school! I've never met anyone from my high school before and here I meet someone in Ecuador from Morningside High in Inglewood, California. What a small world! He was two years ahead of me, but we sure had fun reminiscing.
So for the first thirty days, here is the good and bad, from our perspective:
Cuenca is as affordable as we had hoped for. We were able to save money last month, and expect to do the same each month hereafter.
The weather is not cold anymore like it was in the beginning. Our days are very nice with mixed sun and clouds, but always walkable weather.
We're continuing with our walking and the steps up to town are getting a little easier. Our breathing is improving.
We found a fantastic radio station to listen to. It plays music that we would listen to back home; some of the songs are in Spanish and some are in English, and some are instrumental. The DJ speaks in Spanish and is very clear. The station is located at noventa siete punto tres (97.3fm).
The water is so good, clean and pure. It tastes better than bottled water and is safe to drink.
The water pressure is always questionable, and hot water is dependent on the water pressure. So you're never sure if you'll be able to take a shower when you want or wash the dishes when you want. As they say, bring your patience with you when you come to Ecuador.
The taxi rides are not for the faint of heart! I find that I can't watch ahead or I'll probably get carsick. They start fast, stop fast, swerve fast. They honk at everyone who is in their way. But everyone seems to know this and know where everyone else is on the road so there aren't any accidents. Amazing!
The language barrier is always a concern, but we are managing. I am contuining my self-study in Spanish with my book and my Rosetta Stone. I'm so glad I started this before coming here. We will eventually take Spanish lessons once I am through with my book.
We haven't taken advantage of the many activites you can do here yet because of my concentrating on learning Spanish and our accomplishing our administrative requirements. However, we're looking forward to our upcoming beach trip and are taking note of other trips we'd like to take in the future.
That's it for now.