Not Too Busy In September

Although we continue with our monthly commitments – Mike’s writing group, our lunch bunch group, the writers conference committee and my girls’ spa day – September wasn’t as busy as some months. So, this month’s update is going to be short and sweet as I thought I would share a few pictures and some interesting tidbits about our life in Cuenca.
I have been writing the “Date Night” article and then most recently the “Meet Your Neighbor” article along with submitting photos for a year now for Cuenca Expats Magazine and finally decided it was time to pass the baton and let them know the December article would be my last. Here we are celebrating the 1st year of the magazine. Mike and I were the “Date Night” couple for the first issue.

If you would like to read some of the magazines and learn a little more about Cuenca they are all online, just click HERE 

We live about a block away from a big coliseum used for sports and concerts. As I am sitting here writing, there is something going on as I can hear the music. It is as though we have a front row seat for all the concerts. The music isn’t loud (well at least not in our apartment) or annoying but rather pleasant, even the rock concerts. And they rarely last past 10pm so it just adds another interesting layer to life in Cuenca.
We just learned about plans to build a new 15 million dollar shopping center, tentatively called Batán Shopping, about 5 blocks from where we live now.  The center will have 5 floors including 3 below grade, 50 stores, a food court with 15 restaurants, movie theaters, 2 main banks but not a banking center, and anchored by Coral (this is sort of like a Wal-Mart). It is scheduled to open in mid 2017. I am not going to hold my breath however, as the rapid transit that was supposed to be completed 2 years ago MAY be finished next year!!  

**TranviaThis is a current picture of the tranvia. Will it be completed next year????

Because of the diverse climates and altitudes, Ecuador grows fantastic coffee. Why then is instant coffee served in most restaurants and homes? These are some of the reasons we have been told.

  • Instant coffee is a much more affordable option for Ecuadorians, since coffee is still more expensive here than it is in many parts of the world.
  • Instant coffee is convenient and quick to prepare.
  • The instant coffee industry uses excellent marketing techniques, which continuously attracts new consumers to the affordable, accessible product.

It is still hard to accept that you can’t get a good cup of coffee in most restaurants. There are some restaurants, sort of like coffee houses, that specialize in coffee where you can get a fantastic cup of coffee. And there are some restaurants that cater to expats and have learned that most expats want good, brewed coffee.

Coffee from Azuay Province (where Cuenca is) was judged second only to that produced by neighboring Loja Province in the 2016 Ecuador Gold Cup awards.

**308SucuaOriginal4-27-16CoffeeBeans copyCoffee cherries

I went to a coffee appreciation class where we learned about the coffee in Ecuador and how to “cup” the coffee (smell and taste).

 3Cuenca10-6-15CoffeeClass* Learning the art of cupping

I am still learning Spanish and am having a hard time. I have learned to call Mike a “bad, evil and annoying opponent” while we are playing cribbage, but I haven’t learned the words I would like to use in everyday conversation. Since I am still too timid in my Spanish to speak much I don’t think I will make any of the mistakes like below.
This is from a post by an expat here in Cuenca, Jeff Van Pelt:
“So, pene means penis in Spanish. Hold that in mind.
I was volunteering for English conversation groups at a local university. The two young female students I was talking to asked me if I cooked. I said yes, I like to cook.
They asked my favorite dishes to prepare. I said something like “pescado encocado and penne alla vodka.” Their eyes got big and they froze. In nearby groups, heads turned. I had said I liked penises in vodka. I had to explain that it is the name of a popular dish in Italian and English and that penne is pasta.”
Some other funny faux pas:

  • One of my girl friends, for the first year she was here, kept saying “Estoy caliente.” Yes, caliente means hot…when you are referring to, say soup…la sopa está caliente. When you are referring to yourself, you use tengo calor. Granted, she was saying she was hot but what she was really saying was that she was horny.
  • I don’t think this person meant to say “Voy a montar un caballero.” (I am going to mount a gentleman) but rather she meant to say “Voy a montar un caballo.” (I am going to mount a horse)
  • If you want eye drops without preservatives, don’t ask for “gotas de ojo, sin preservativos.” because you have just asked for eye drops without condoms. The word you want is preservadore.

Last July, while I was on an outing with a group of people to Azogues, I saw this plant poking its head out of a crevice in the rocks. I decided to save it so I ripped it out, put it in my pocket and brought it home. At the time it was only about 3 inches high but it put out some pretty flowers in September. Well, this month our plant is now about 3 feet tall and presented us again with some gorgeous flowers. As soon as it stops flowering we will need to transplant it into a larger pot.

**Cuenca9-18-16FlowerOnCounter4165Our plant loves it and thrives on our kitchen counter

Every so often Mike reads at the monthly event called The Spoken Word. Here he is reading the prologue to his latest book, Healing Hayley. He is about half way through with this one, the second in a 4-book series. He plans on having it completed by the end of the year. He plans on publishing the first two books in the first quarter of 2017 as he wants to be about half way through the third book before the first two are released.

**Cuenca9-22-16SpokenWordMike1Mike reading from Healing Hayley at “The Spoken Word”

I have been working on the cover for Guarding Genny, the first book in this 4-book series. Don’t know if this is the finished cover or if over the next several months we will tweak it some more. Can’t spend too much more time on it, as I have to start thinking about what we want to do for Healing Hayley. Below are two covers showing the progression. The first one, with yellow text is the latest where the second one with white text is a version from March. What do you think? Which one do you like?

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000446_00065]Newest version of the book cover for Guarding Genny
Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000446_00065]Older version of the book cover for Guarding Genny

I am trying to go out and really learn my camera as I plan on starting to submit photos to stock photography agencies after the first of the year. I was across the street, sitting in the grass alongside the river taking pictures of the river and rocks at different settings. I was focusing on a rock about 15 feet from me when this little girl hopped up on it and posed. Isn’t she the cutest little thing!

**Cuenca9-8-16LearningCamera56 copy
Well, that’s if for another month.

Until next time,


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