Monday, June 14, 2010

14 de JUNIO de 2010

Hi…it’s me again J

OK...if you recall…in my last entry I alluded to my “planned” dia toristo
(tourist day).
Notice I said “planned”…and that I had "every intention" of doing a little
exploration via the sight-seeing tour outside of the confines of old Cuenca.

So what happened you may ask…J

Well…I tried to go to sleep the night before but subconsciously…I guess my mind was working overtime and well…sleep was just not in the cards that night. Truthfully I did manage a few catnaps but…that proved to be 
insufficient as yours truly overslept and missed the proverbial boat. 
So…I guess the trip will be forth coming hopefully in the not to distant future.

I say “not too distant near future” because of a big change coming
to this theatre LOL...starting the beginning of next month.

What happened you ask…well remember in my last rant I mentioned that
I decided to eventually move out of my apartmento. Well this morning...
I made a call to an English speaking Cuencano whom I was recently introduced to.
He…who besides being a computer-tech repairman…also does apartment finding and real estate on the side.

To make a long story short…I will be moving to my new digs as of 1 Julio (July).

OK…where to begin!

The El Apartemento is right in Centro Cuenca…i.e. “heart of Cuenca” and
very close to El Parque Calderone (my new backyard)...
as in one block from my new digs J.

The building itself is tall for the area…as in 6 stories of which
I will be on the 5th Fl. and… with a really cool view. The apartemento is nowhere
as large as my current place and is sort of an efficiency...
which by the way is fine by me.

As for furnishing(s)…no complaints there! Rent “includes” all furniture and appliances…wifi…t.v…water..gas & electric plus phone (good throughout Ecuador only) and…the rent (all inclusive) is the same as what I’m paying now.

I’ve also been told that across the hall from me is a woman (from U.S.) in one apartemento…as is also a man (from U.S.) in another apartemento and two others that I didn’t catch from where they hail.

What I am losing…is my “hike” and “climbing” up (and down) the hill and of course the “walk into town”. This does not mean however that I won’t be getting any exercise as…I will still be walking in and around town. Also…since I’m not exactly
a person who likes elevators…
I’m already planning my exercise re: climbing the 5 flights of stairs. Time will tell and I shall see how that goes…but I feel that the stairs should not present a problem for me.

The owner by the way…is a woman who speaks very little English but apparently there is help via the other tenants in the building re: interpretation etc.
In Espanol lessons will help too...and might just possibly encourage my learning at a faster rate.J

And now if you’ll excuse me…I need to go and tell my present landlord the news of my upcoming move!

Hasta Luego J

Sunday, June 13, 2010

My Rant's of the 9th & 12th of June

9 de Junio de 2010

I don’t recall if I mentioned this in one of my earlier rants but…
I had decided (mainly do to a non-belief in my own abilities but…also because of “laziness”) to forgo my Espaniol Lecciones (Spanish Lessons).
Well after a very inspiring and…might I say “putting me in my place” type of e-mail from 
my very close amiga “S”…I returned to mi Espanol Lecciones yesterday (Tuesday i.e. Martes). 
To tell you the truth…I’m glad I did!

Upon my return to class I found that it was actually easier than my personal apprehension led me to believe. In fact I was welcomed with opened arms (well almost) by my classmates…i.e. all 3 of them…and Nancy [my teacher]. FYI…I even went so far as to complete my much-dreaded homework on my return to my humble abode.

Now…you may have guessed what I planned on doing after my class. J

As it was…surprise…well past lunchtime I went on the prowl for a place to satisfy the “appetite beast” within me. Now I really was not planning this...REALLY J
but ended up at Café Austria (once again).

It would help to understand something at this point!
In Ecuador...lunch or Almuerzo is “The Main Meal” of the day. That being said the restaurants…all present a “special” to the public. Café Austria is by no means an exception to this accepted and expected way of doing business.

If you’ll recall from my past writings regarding Café Austria…you might recall that they’re prices are somewhat higher than the expected cost of restaurant food in general. However this being Almuerzo…and in that and usually as a rule [lower] prices are a fixed event…this restaurant did not buck the trend.

I have to say however…that thier Almuerzo cost is higher than the normal very low pricing found in other restaurants. That being said…Café Austris’ price is offset by what they’re fixed meal consists of….which is quite a bit more than other establishments.

I won’t bore you with the menu as in keeping with my earlier promises…
but I will say that the restaurant did come through…once again!

To get away from the food etc…I now invite you to join me in today’s comings and goings…

This being mid-week Wednesday (Miercoles)...I really had nothing planned. That is with one “importante” exception.

This exception had to do with my pending Residencia Application. 
So…off I went with my previously obtained notarized passport copy. That along with a partial payment to my Abogado and after preparing the mailing…I finally was off...and out of my apartemento.
My objective was of course to mail the envelope. Now you need to understand…this is “not” a normal mailing situation.

Following my Abogado’s instructions I needed to get to El Aeropuerto (The Airport)… and then locate the TACA Airlines Cargo office. This should prove to be FUN!!!

Now remember I am still language impaired! Thankfully after a few hits and misses I found someone who spoke English and physically led me to the proper area.

Note: - Personally…in general I find Ecuadorian people will go "out of their" way to help!
            Especially a Gringo from Estados Unidos (United States).

After a short walk outside the main terminal…I actually located the proper area. 
On my own once again…I had know idea what to expect but like almost everyone 
I meet in Ecuador the Senior at TACA was extremely helpful and patient. Literally...
I was finished with this whole mailing process in a matter of minutes and…
at a cost of only "Un Dolar Treinta" ($1.30). 
Incidentally…the package will be in my Attorney’s office in Quito before 5 p.m. today J.

It is now almost 1 p.m. and being that I decided too maybe chill a bit today…
well who knows what if anything might get me to venture outdoors. 

So far…and as of now and most of the morning…clouds have been in strong evidence with rain in the forecast. However…sighting the weatherman’s past history (LOL) … we’ll have to see what actually transpires.

With that me amigo’s…I may continue with this exciting tale of my intriguing activities... or not…depending on what if any worthy events surface. If not then …well it’ll be another day or so.

Ciao for now…

12 DE JUNIO DE 2010

Nothing of any consequence happened during the last few days So…obviously nothing to really scribe…other than the normal happenings of every day living. However…that wasn’t the case today (Saturday). 
Now don’t get too excited because even though it is something to write about…
well it was sort of mundane. The upside of my day was that I actually got out of the apartment. 
By the way…I have an update of sorts for you concerning my apartemento…
but more on that in a little bit.

Back to my days report OK?

This being the start of the weekend…which usually keeps me away from “any mall”
(and I don’t care where in the world that mall may be) and as I needed a few odds
 and ends…well I broke my own rule on shopping on week-ends and off yours truly went! 

The place once again…yep!…”Mall Del Rio”. 

Now considering that this is the start of a weekend I had expected more of a congested atmosphere which…well it wasn’t. I don’t know...maybe it was the time (mid-morning) but whatever the reason…
I was just as glad that the crowds were not in evidence (I’m not exactly fond of crowded malls…
or for that matter shopping in general - can you tell?).

So anyway the “mall thing” is now a happy memory…and once again I’m back in my abode. 
Now "this" I might where the “mental” stuff started...

You see …every week I get an e-mail from the California Kitchen (I mentioned them previously
which includes “mouth-watering” specials. Now you need to understand something about California Kitchen... and that something is this:
Eating in George, Carol, Jim & Susan’s restaurant is like eating at your Mom’s home. Yes...
it’s a family affair. Not only that but they make you feel as though you’re part of their family…
and yes “It Is Nice”! Better still...all the food is fresh and delicioso!

OK...getting on with my rant which allows me to segway into my being a Gemini...which in turn 
allows me the excuse of my mind tending to swing...from one end of the pendulum to the other. 
So please bare with me a bit...OK? 

I don’t know…maybe it’s the living alone situation and / or maybe it’s also the location of my apartemento. However...this (location) more than likely is "the" cause of my consternation. 
What I’m trying to explain to you in a jumbled sort of the fact that even though I may be planning on doing something on a particular day…it is in fact…very very easy to just say…
"nahhhh...maybe another time". By the way...a lot of this "mind-sway" has to do with the fact that...
by looking outside from inside my front door well...nothing. I mean literally...nothing to look at or for that mater too interact with!

Well anyway getting a little back on wasn’t much different from others…with the exception that I new that I needed to “get the hell out of the apaartemento”! Also add in the fact that the planned menu at California Kitchen sounded Soooo Soooo Gooood ;)

Well to make this story somewhat shorter…I did in fact “get out”…and made it to El Restaurante.

Now their hours for dinner…are from 6pm – 10pm. 
Of course “you know who” got there at 5:45pm. No Problemo...except I was the sole diner. 
This really didn’t bother me much…but it would have been just a wee bit nicer if there were 
other patrons there. Actually this did change about half way through my meal. 
Speaking of which (the meal)…I opted (actually planned on ordering this) for was the “Special” 
which consisted of Asian Style fried shrimp (can you say “very large”)...rice…a teriyaki based salad and a very different (I’m guessing here) pineapple chutney. Too say that it was delicious would be a gross understatement. BTW…it also came with a drink (I had a pot of tea) and desert. 
ehhemm…Barry had (you know I had to be bad) mixed-berry cobbler…and yes…
with home-made ice cream. Incidentally…
this whole little meal (and the restaurant is not cheap) cost me 11 bucks…including tax and tip!

And that my friends…was my day.

Oh…almost forgot. The “promised” update on my apartemento. (and this ties in with my earlier ranting)

Well…not really a true update…more of a decision. You see…and I may have hinted at this in prior rants…but I’ve been dealing with some highly mixed emotions…not about my apartment…
not about the owners of the apartment…but of...yes...the location.

If you were to look at a map of Cuenca you would see four boundaries…
which BTW are natural rivers. The “Old Town” is just north of the northern-most river named     
“Rio Tomebomba”. I…and my aprtemento are located in “El Nether-netherlands”…
which just happens to be situated still further [way] north and way across “old-town”. 
In other words…somewhat removed from…well everything!

Anyway…over the last few days I’ve made a decision! [drum roll please] 

Believe me this was not easy…as I really like my apartmento and the owners. 
What I do not like is the location (bet you couldn’t guess that…right?) and also the fact that 
I have no place to well…sit in the sun in front of...or near my front door. 
I know that sounds a bit silly…but I happen to like the idea of being able to get a little sun...
once in awhile.

In either case I have let the word out to various Cuencano apartemento finders…
that I am ready to move if the right place (and cost) match what I am looking for. Incidentally…
there is no lease on my current apartemento! J

So that me amigos is about it for now.

Manana I am finally (planning anyway) getting “outta dodge” and will be doing the tourist bit for the whole day. So…my next rant will “finally” have some different and hopefully uplifting comments about my day-trip…maybe even some pics J

Hasta Luego Senor’s...Senora’s y Senorita’s :) 

Monday, June 7, 2010

6 de Junio 2010

Yes…yes…I know it’s been a week since I wrote anything. 
Well there’s a good reason. 
And when I think of it…rest assured you’ll be the first to know J

Seriously though…there wasn’t much to elaborate about. 
That’s not to say that I haven’t been doing anything…
just not too much of anything worthwhile. Hey…I’m allowed J

Just to backup a wee bit…

Yesterday I originally planned on being “out-of-town” 
and being part of a tour group doing some exploring of 
neighboring “hamlets” (for lack of a better word). 
This tour was to encompass the whole day. 
However what I didn’t want...was to be the “sole” tourist. 
Unfortunately…this is exactly what the outcome was promising to be.

So with this in mind I scrubbed the tour plans and went ahead 
with accepting an invitation to meet a group of Expats at the 
Inca Lounge & Restaurant for a mid-afternoon Comedy Show. 
OK…now I’m all set!

Surprise…as luck would have it I received an e-mail from the tour 
company stating they now had three other people for the tour. 
However…by this time I had made up my mind to opt for the comedy 
and camaraderie of other Expats. Anyway... I told the tour people to 
keep me in mind for next week-end…we’ll see!

That said and done…we now magically skip to today…
Domingo (Sunday). 

As I had the morning to kill…I did the “head of the house” chore thing
of re-supplying the food-stock(s)...i.e. shopping.  
With the shopping chore completed and supplies stored...
it was now time to get ready for my afternoon out…re: comedy time. 
So...yours truly…got ready and out I went to grab the first cab I could find.

Remember It’s S-U-N-D-A-Y!
Too prove this point the taxi’s that are usually in high evidence…
well weren’t! In fact the (finally) first cab indicated that he didn’t know...
where I wanted to go...hmmmm L

Luckily I didn’t need to wait too long for the next beauty of a cab driver. 
When I told him where I wanted to go 
(I made sure to print translated directions)...he had the audacity 
to tell me Tres Dolars (Three Dollars). Now normally 
this is a $1.50 cab ride. So…my comeback to him was Dos Dolars. 
Bottom line…it was getting late and no other cabs in sight…
we settled on Two and a half bucks.

Now...that wouldn’t have been bad if “he new” where I wanted to go 
(remember he had instructions in Spanish). Long story short…
he dropped me off…for the equivalent of about 3 long blocks 
from where I needed to be. Actually I had to hike up the hill 
to the main street and then down and back to the river …
as that is where the Inca Bar is located. By the way…by this time it was 
past showtime [3pm] and I was not a happy camper to say the least!

Anyway…once down the very long and deep staircase…I turned right and…
OMG…there right in front of me was the Inca Bar. Even more amazing...
there were Norte Americanos eating at outdoor tables. But...
there was a reason for them being outside…the reason…
I was all too soon to find out was that the Comedy Show was canceled 
do to a misunderstanding between management and...who-knows-who-else!

With this information and along with not actually knowing anyone…
and being the only “single” there… I decided to "exit stage right" back 
(actually hike “up” the stairs) into town and treat myself to a...
very early dinner at the Austria Inn. 
Now I could have eaten at the Inca (haven't tried it yet)…
as I've heard they serve an amazing burger etc. However… 
I am very comfortable at Cafe Austria and also had previously planned...
on "one day" having the restaurant's Weinerschnitzle. 
Incidentally…the reviews for this dish well…are “RAVES”.

Anyway after surviving the climb  “up the long flight of many many steps”…
and trudging through town again…I arrived at Café Austria J

Well the “raves” were "well deserved". 
Not only was the Weinerschnitzel done too perfection…
but the portion was ...HUGE!

Of course…I don’t know if any of you have ever tried Weinerschnitzle but...
usually it is “butterfly’d before it is deep-fried. 
My dish...not butterfly'd and was presented on a large plate which
consisted of three huge pieces of Weinerschnitzel. This was accompanied by
French Fries and fresh sliced tomatoes…along with a side of a few pieces of
Garlic Bread...Salsa and of course Un Beer…heaven J
Yes…I know…not a healthy dish…but just at that time I needed “comfort food “.

Oh...incidently all of the above...Diez Dolars (Ten Bucks including Tip!)

So my friends…that was my day (week-end?).

Hopefully tomorrow I will hear from my Abugado (attorney)...that she has
indeed received my papers from the Ecuadorian Embassy in D.C. 
At that point my “residencia” process can actually start. Also in that vein…
I need to get a notorece (notarized) copy of my passport...
which then has to be mailed (overnight) to my Abugado in Quito
for the real processing! fun and more fun. 
Anyway…I know this news is keeping you on the edge of your seat J
I will no doubt keep you in the loop about all this exciting stuff.

Till then…I wish you well (Le deseo lo major