Saturday, July 31, 2010

Day Trip

Friday (Viernes) 30 de July (Julio) 2010

So…what I thought was going to be a maybe a two 
(2) hour drive out of Cuenca to see my friend Girard’s 
property…turned into a “TRIP”.

To better understand all this…I guess I need to back 
up a bit…

A couple/few weeks ago Girard asked if I’d like to get 
out of town to see his property and also see some 
scenery on the way. He also told me he had asked a 
mutual acquaintance Graham to join us. Well…after a 
couple of “false starts” during the past couple weeks…
we were about to and finally get on with our road trip.

Now originally Gerard had mentioned that we’d get 
out of town for a couple of hours. Keeping in mind 
our past get togethers and the fact that he’s married 
to a Cuencano whom I'm sure he would want to get 
home to…I had no doubt that a couple of hours...
literally meant a couple of hours.

To make a long story short the couple of hours turned 
into about six (6). 
Now “I am not complaining one bit” however…
I’m the kind of person that should never be told that 
something will last “X” hours and then…surprise…
it’s far and above the original “guesstimate”.

All in all (and I think I speak for all concerned) I had a 
very enjoyable afternoon/evening. I did indeed get to 
see some beautiful countryside with incredible 
mountain ranges. On this note…I feel compelled to 
state that the extremely green and very high 
(approximately 12,000 ft.) mountains were well…

In addition…the sight of the surrounding unspoiled 
natural land was indeed inspiring…and that’s not 
even mentioning the “clean mountain air”! J

The only thing that made me “just a teeny bit” 
(Ok…high anxiety) apprehensive was the constant 
upwards (and what seemed as “never-ending”
driving onwards towards the yet unseen summit of
 the “MOUNTAIN”(or into the clouds for all I knew)! J

Hey…12,000 feet is by no means a pimply hill J J

Anyway once at the top…the view was indeed 
I cannot believe people actually live up there.

Now I need to back-up a bit.
Gerard’s property is nowhere near the top. In fact 
his place...when built…will be situated someplace 
near the lower(est) range of the mountain. However 
this property (with a stunning view) is probably a 
good half-hour drive to Cuenca proper.

I will say this…as awesome as this adventure was 
to me…I was very happy to be heading down to a 
much lower and more civilized area (I am after all... 

Oh incidentally. Along our way down "El Mountain"
we made a “tourista” pit-stop at Mirador (viewpoint
de Turi…which is a well known over-look of Cuenca 
Cuidad and very glad I had a chance to experience 
this sight.

After our stop overlooking Cuenca it was about 
this time that the three of us…decided it was time 
to “fill the bellies”. This incidentally suited me just 
fine as the El Estomago (Stomach) was starting to 
send me “alert” messages ! J

Well…finally entering Cuenca Centro and being that 
Graham had never had the pleasure of dining there…
we invaded Raymipampa Café y Restaurante. Good 
choice…as we all ended up having the same thing…
Fried Shrimp with French Fries…a side salad of 
various items (the only thing I remember was the 
Guacamole) and a drink (my choice was limonada). 
Of course this being Raymipampa they once again... 
did not miss providing a “huge“ portion.

By the way..under six (6) bucks a piece !

So folks…that was my day and until the next rant…

Hasta Luego y tenga un bien dia  J  J
(So long and have a good day) J  J

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Cuenca...In & Around the City

Sunday (Domingo) 25 Julio 2010

Hi everyone.

You may have noticed that I’ve made some 
changes as in the type and general look of my 

Now...none of this is “carved in stone”. 
That said...I would of course welcome any 
constructive criticism and or suggestions about 
any of the changes.

So…with the above business “out-of-the-way”…
off we go to more of my rants J

Monday (Lunes) 26 Julio 2010

As this morning…a day that falls in the category 
of beautiful and sunny…I did a bit of perusing 
the local area. I ended up at the Indigenousness 
{for lack of a better word}…Flea market in the heart 
of Cuenca. Now I had ZERO plans to buy anything 
however…as I was “just looking” a sweater type 
jacket caught my eye.

Now….it should be known that I have never been 
one for bargaining. OK…but it’s an unspoken law in 
these parts…that one is supposed to bargain. 
So…this Norte Americano Cuencano (how’s that for 
a mouthful? ) played the game as best I could.  
Bottom-Line…this morning I bought an Alpaca 
Jacket and saved literally a couple of bucks...
$16 down from $18.

I know…I know…Not a big deal. However…to the
Indigenousness vendor bargaining is a way of life 
and…not only do they thrive on the “play” but get 
insulted if you refuse to participate. This so much 
so…that if you refuse to bargain they just may 
refuse to sell to you!! 

So...there be the truth !!!!!

On a more serious note…I received my passport 
from my Quito attorney which included my 
“Residencia Visa”. The Visa was signed by the 
Ministerio de Gobierio Director General de Extranjeria…
which by the way translates to: Government Ministry 
Main Directorate of Foreigners (no actual translation 
available anywhere for extranjeria…but this was the 
best explanation I received)

Tuesday (Martes) 27 Julio, 2010

Today proved to be the day where an Official of 
some sort should have said…
The reason for this...will become apparent as you 
read on!

I guess I should call this the day of reckoning 
although…I had know way of knowing what lay 
before me. This was the day where I should have 
been done with getting all the “residency” papers 
completed. So what happened you asked????

This morning my attorneys assistant picked me  up
and off we went to play the Government Game…
which in this case was my "quest" to secure my 
Cedula y Censo. Anyway…
here’s the rest of the story!

After 2 hours of being driven around to various 
agencies and getting photos etc. I now have my 
Censo J J. Censo in hand we then continued to 
proceed to another government office to get the...
“all important” Cedula (which finalizes my legality).

We arrived and she [Linda] then found out that 
“you know who” could only get the Cedula in Quito. 
This incidentally wasn’t directed specifically at me 
but…is a "new and infant" regulation. As one gets 
accustomed too…rule changes like getting “blind-
sided” in a football game (ouch)!

Unfortunately…this new regulation went into 
effect yesterday (Monday). Apparently the cause is 
do to the influx of Peruvians and Columbians 
(not to mention Cubans). From what it looks like now…
I will need to travel back to Quito for a day 
(possibly two) in order to resolve this Cedula situation.

OK…Just back from a nice relaxing lunch. I finally 
spoke with my abogado (attorney) Gabriella. Her final 
comment…due to the new regulation…"I do indeed" 
have to travel to Quito (or Guayaquil –ain’t gonna 
happen) and have 2 months in which to complete this 

She also informed me that the “process” takes 3 days.
The first day is a “full day” the third is a quick pick-up.
ARRRGGGG….I can’t even think of this now…so 
more stuff later on in the near future!

Wednesday (Miercoles) 28 Julio, 2010

Today is “home maker” (that’s me) day. ;o ;o
That means laundry…food shopping…ye’ know…
funstuff J

Back to the laundry and…FYI this is done by hand 
as I now have “no” washer/dryer. Now "if" I really 
wanted to go native…I would do as the Indigenous 
people do and take the dirty clothes to the river and…
well you get the idea! 

THIS…mi amigo’s...ain’t gonna happen!!!!!

Thankfully…the above is true only for the clothes 
that would most likely shrink from the heat in a...

So now with some of my chores done…
i.e. picked-up laundry and did the wash by hand. 
This by the way is now hanging [and blocking] my 
windows. Truthfully…I feel as though I’ve stepped 
back in time (again) by about 60 years...
ye’ gotta love it J up is a “run” to the SuperMaxi. 
Actually…yes I’m doing it again…a bus ride there 
and return via El Taxi.

Thursday (Jueves) 29 Julio, 2010

In order to finish the past few days Blog…I just 
have uno comment!

Early yesterday (Wednesday) or it may even have 
been the night before…my Internet went into to 
slow-mode. No that’s not entirely true…as even 
though it was telling me it was working…it was 
indeed...not!!!! There was no way I could access 
the internet…period!!

So…this morning I was also set to venture out to
California Kitchen and would then have the use 
of their free wi-fi. Anyway…it is now Noon and as 
I was just about to pack-up El Laptop I figured I'd 
give it a try.

Now I don’t know if it’s coincidence or my Mac has
other “special” ;) ;)  capabilities but low ‘n behold 
the Internet connection is now in "go mode" and 
is now working...Ha-La-Loo-Ya...

Am I complaining…NO WAY J

And with that mi amigos y amigas…
Hasta Luego J J

Sunday, July 25, 2010

An Unplanned and Late Posting

{Note: My Apologies...
As I Thought I Had Already Posted This}

LUNES (Monday) 19 de Julio de 2010

I had really no intention of writing so soon after my last 
entry but…as trivial as this might seem I felt it was worth

Being that I had virtually nothing worthwhile in my 
humble abode to conjure up Desayuno (Breakfast)…
I strolled down my six (6) flights of stairs…made a left for 
a half block and then a short few feet to Raymipampa 
Restaurante for a decent bite. Now this is not a new thing 
to either you or myself. However the driving force behind 
my penning this entry was a very…very tiny event that 
presented itself “en el restaurante”.

A while ago I said I would not go into the actual 
composition of any particular meal anymore. Well…this 
is the exception which will allow you to understand my 
compulsion to scribe this entry.

This morning I had once again what is fast becoming my 
irregular morning meal at Raymipampa…consisting of 
Choice of Eggs…2 fresh baked individual bread loaves….
“Fresh and Natural (my choice) Pineapple Juice and 
(it came in Large Beer Mug)…I also ordered…and this is 
the kicker…a Large Coffee instead of the normal and 
smallish “cup of coffee”.

Well…all was as expected with the exception of the 
coffee…yet to be brought to my table. In a few minutes 
however…this was resolved as the waitress brought…
yes…a large mug of steaming hot coffee.

So…now I was satisfied…finished the meal…enjoyed the 
large coffee immensely and preceded to the register and as
yet...unaware of the actual cost of the meal. Now...
normally (normal coffee included) the cost would be 
$2.20 however…with the large coffee…well anyone’s 

Now if this was anywhere else...the States…Thailand…
wherever…one would expect to pay…and pay over and 
above the norm for that extra large coffee…right? So…
after telling (no written bill mind you) the cashier my 
order including con Café Grande (with a large coffee)…
she pointed to the register…and…wonders of wonders…
$2.20 y no une centavo mas (not a cent more)!

I know this was not “earth-shaking” but...
I felt I just had to share.

So…now I’m off to do some real exciting stuff like…
taking in my laundry…stopping at the bookshop for 
my “long awaited" mail from Aor and then on to 
SuperMaxi to do some much needed grocery 

So for now and after this unscheduled rant…

Hasta Luego…a usted todo (to you all)...

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Unplanned Rant

By The Way Hope You Like the New Look :)

Sabado (Saturday), 17 de Julio de 2010

First off…you should be aware of the fact that…I was not 
planning on writing today.

That said…Well I might as well start from the beginning…
even if it was a false start.

Now in order report this story accurately…I need to back 
up a few days…actually at the very last a couple-few 
weeks ago. At that time my then “new” neighbor” Patricia 
told me albeit after she found I was originally from 
New York…that a woman who was not back from her 
current out-of-town trip was also from New York.  
OK great…and with this handy information I went on with 
my daily exciting life. J

Well…after a few days I finally got to meet my fellow 
New Yorker who goes by the name of Karla. She’s just a 
bit older than me. Exactly how much…I’m shrugging my 
shoulders as I guess maybe one (1)…to a couple of years. 
Incidentally…more on the Karla’s’ story later on.

Anyway during a quick first visit…she told me about the 
local marketplace a few blocks from my current 
apartemento…we made up to meet early this morning. 
Now early is OK but...this was pushing it somewhat.

She wanted to “LEAVE” AT 6:45…Yes…as in A.M.!!

Now…with this in mind yours truly decided that since 
I’m going to get up early...I would go to sleep early. 
So… Barry J (that’s meshut the TV at 10 pm and 
went "beddy-bye".

All well and good…right?    Wrong!

This unfortunately (and one would think I’d learn by now
as in the past and knowing I needed to wake-up early…
and with no alarm clock (didn’t think of the cell phone 
alarm) my inner-body alarm went off at three…yes…
as in 3 a.m.!!!

Now this has happened to me before…mainly because 
not getting up on time (perish the thought) decidedly 
plays on ones (especially mine) mind as it did once 
again today!

Anyway at 6:15 I started getting ready for my meet-up 
with Karla at 6:45a.m. You can guess at this point that 
good ‘ol Karla was a “No Show”. 

So…now it’s all of “6:55”F***ng A.M.” and although I 
tried I could not get back to slumber land L
Oh…what to do…what to do????

To get to the end of this disaster of a “no-go-anywhere” 
morning (can you tell I’m still a wee bit upset)… 
I made myself an early breakfast and went out into the 
cold air [45 F degrees] and did some pointless window 
shopping. This just to kill some time!

By the way…
I’m getting good at this window shopping stuff!

Now this is where I get to the actual reason for doing “any”
writing today!

After my roaming the early-hour Calles (streets) of Cuenca 
Centro and it’s store windows…I decided to people watch 
once again within the environs of El Parque Calderone. 
I have to say…even with the somewhat chilled air…
it was and still is a beautiful day.

OK…this is where I finally divulge the whole reason for 
starting my unplanned rant today.

I know…I know…you’re sitting on pins ‘n needles J

As I was sitting there on the park bench and minding my 
own business…I spied my unexpected quarry. Now to be 
fair I have no idea if the gentleman (hmmmm) in question 
is a U.S., Canadian, European or from the...
“land down-under” citizen. He was however...Caucasian 
and ”Extremely Noticeable”.

Now…please…keeping mind it’s f***kin’ 45F degrees…
OK…by now “m-a-y-b-e” 50F degrees. 
He’s tall (especially by Ecuadorian standards) ..maybe a 
little over 6 feet and he is apparently traveling solo. But… 
what caught my eye (remember the temperature) and
probably everyone else’s eye…was the fact that his 
“complete” outfit including “carried” objects consisted of 
the following:

“One” White T-shirt…
”One” pair of Cargo Shorts…
”One” pair of  (I swear to God)…“Flip-Flops”...
”One” guide book…
”One” bottle of water
“One” camera and a…
Partridge in a Pear Tree (Sorry but I couldn’t help myself)


This…is what gives people “pause” when they think of 
foreigners and also why we are looked at as...a “thing” 
of curiosity!

What’s sad is that in most likely-hood he is from the U.S. 
and that this (his obvious lack of normal attire) is what 
people will remember!

It should be noted at this point that…it is NOT 
recommended that tourists (or anyone or... for that matter
wear shorts in Ecuador! The Ecuadorians as a whole…
have a definite sense of decorum!!!

I don’t like to get political…but can anyone wonder as to 
“why” the reputation of the U.S. is faltering?

Me thinks’ the “gentleman’s” (and I use the term “very” 
looselylack of ANY sense or sensibility what-so-ever”…
just might...”might”…have something to do with it !!!!!!! 
Ye’ think?

Now I “refuse” to end this BLOG on such a rant. So…
I will continue my diatribe at another time in the 
very near future (after…if I’m lucky…I will try to catch a 
few winks and catch up on my beauty rest) J

Until then…
I will keep smiling and hope you do the same too J  J  

Hi again…

It’s now about 8 p.m. and I'm just back from (of all things) a
Mexican Dinner…which was prepared by the now "almost"
famous  California Kitchen (Cuenca). In keeping with my 
prior promise to you…the dinner proved…as expected…
very good…very filling (I’m still stuffed) and that’s all I’m 
going to say J

Now back to my previous rantings…

“Karla”…the Rest of the Story!

While talking with Karla about NYC etc. It came to light that 
this is indeed a “very small world”.

Not only are we both from New York…but we are both from
Brooklyn. To be more precise…we are both from Canarsie 
and...went to the same Public School [P.S. 115] and…
here’s the kicker…she lived literally two (2) blocks 
from me.

Now before any of you decide to jump to conclusions…

And I Quote!

An unequivocal NO!!  There is…nor will there be anything 
of note regarding any present or future relationship other 
than a possible plutonic one. 

End Quote!!!

And with that my friends…
(Y con eso me amigos y amigas…)

I shall once again…
leave you to your own daily trials and tribulations...
and until next time J  J  J


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Weekend - plus...wrap-up

12 DE JULIO DE 2010

You know what…I’ve discovered it’s extremely easy 
to lose track of time in Cuenca.

The last time I scribed my thoughts into this Blog was 
on the 9th which by the way…was Friday {Viernes}. 
Today is the 12th   i.e. Monday {Lunes}.

In plain language and for those of you who may be 
mathematically challenged (LOL)…with the exception 
of going to meet my friend for lunch (mi amigo por 
Almuerzo)…well I’ll be damned if I can remember 
what else I did on Sabado (Saturday). 
[I’ll get back to the lunch en uno momento].

Yesterday (here we go again) ;) which was Domingo 
{Sunday}…well it was one of those days that 
El Weatherman said it was going to be…not just rainy…
but nasty. Yeah…uh-huh...tell me more!!!!!!

In all fairness I do have to say it did indeed rain [about... 
10 minutes worth] late in the afternoon. However…
yours truly “dumbly” listened to the idiot forecast. 
In plain language…I said to myself…”self” we 
(myself & Iare going to stay in…and stay dry. Well I 
did. The most exciting thing I did yesterday was watch 
a DVD and…you know what…what I did…was to 
experience once again my “Domingo Relaxation Day” J.
This by the way …is a good thing J

That said and done…time to continue with the lunch 
experienced this past Saturday.

Before I go on though I must say one thing 
(OK maybe a couple of things)…

First of all the name of el restaurante (I think) is El 
Cantina which… incidentally I could be wrong.
Secondly…they did not offer an Almuerzo…which 
needless to say was a disappointment. 
This…for a couple of reasons.

You see…Almuerzo besides being downright 
inexpensive (do I hear the word “cheap”?) also 
gives one a chance to get a feel and more importantly…
a taste of the restaurants fare not to mention the staff and 
overall ambience. 
The former by the way…usually is non-existent!

Anyway after perusing El Menu…guess what? 
Discounting the fact the entire menu was in Espanol 
(not making things easy)…I settled on Soupa de Patata 
(Potato soup) with thick slices of Guacamole and Cheese. 
Incidentally…the cheese was something I decided on 
foregoing and to be fair…
el soupa was very good and quite large.

Now getting back to El Menu.

Being that I had a hard time of making heads or tails of 
said menu…I settled for a hamburguersa (other-wise 
known to all as a hamburger). What can I say…
it was good…it was had everything one could 
imagine on it.

This by the way…was too much “everything” for yours 
truly sooo…I had to do some “de-constructing”. 
Oh…it also came with French Fries (Patatas Fritas). 
OK enough of the foody stuff! 

To end this segment I want to say this. 
Overall…pretty good. Will I go back? The answer 
(I know your waiting with bated-breath here) is yes…
but with a but! I will re-visit el restaurante…but not 
for lunch. I will however return for the Desayuno 
(Breakfast) mainly do to the fact that I have heard 
it was good and…well…cheap!

OK…the “extremely busy” week-end J J is now 
history and…surprise…It is Lunes (Monday)! That said…
to be honest it is now 4:30 pm…so it’s "review" time.

Not a real exciting day…but…hey “everything” J J I do
can‘t be exciting. So today was (and in order) a day for 
visiting the ATM machine for some needed “moola”…
then a quickie stop at el farmacia for a re-supply of my 
BP meds. From there it was back to "mi apartemento to 
secure the ATM funds in a safe place.

While I was in my abode…my neighbor Pete knocked 
on my door (puerta) and helped me kill about a half hour 
visiting. As for Pete…he seems like a normal nice guy…
but too soon to say weather this will develop into a true 
friendship or maybe just another acquaintance. We shall 
see what the future holds. Speaking of holds…I long ago 
stopped “holding my breath” when it came to [new] 
possible friendships and or relationships. 
Time...will of course prove to be the judge!

Anyway…after Pete’s quickie visit I headed on down 
the ‘ol staircase (I’ve been quite good at avoiding the 
elevator) and ended up just perusing the immediate area. 
Of course after my window shopping/stroll and the time 
being past 1 pm…I ended up in Raymipampa Café y 
Restaurante…which to refresh your memory…is across 
from the eastern side of El Parque Calderone.

Without going into what I consumed and other than to 
say it was beyond expectations…I then relaxed and 
people watched on a park bench. Of course…one can 
only sit so long (at least me anyway) before getting 

So…off I meandered for a few blocks of taking-in 
some scenery etc. hence returning to and once again…
doing my “exercise climb up the five (5) flights of stairs” 
to mi apartemento J .

Note: While I have been sitting here and pouring my heart 
and soul onto this blog J…it has once again…yes it’s that 
word again…RAINED…but I was inside J J

With that mi amigos y amigas…

Hasta Luego J