Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Another church on the main square

We'vebeen downtown a few times and recently explored the insides of another historic church. Cuenca is a city of 52 churches... and this one is one is the oldest.

This one was built on Inca ruins. The foundation is from the Inca era. Inside one of the rooms, you can see a cut-out on the floor, looking down to more Inca rockwork.

We paid a nominal fee (I think about $4 for the two of us) for entry and self-tour. The fee goes for ongoing renovation.
The statues are life-size. Very cool.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

More ranch pictures

1. From the living room window, across the garden (note the deer in the pasture)>
2. Sample of blankets for Afghan effort by on-line All Crafts for Charity.
3. Shirley and Ruth in dining/kitchen area.
4. The very handsome Mr Boots.
5. Friends in living room.
6-7. Back deck.

Speaking of the ranch...

We're sitting here talking about just how far we've come...and not just in miles...

We've lived in alot of special places... the last on a hay farm/ranch in Oregon, on the west coast of the USA (right above California on the map).

Since we've met a couple of farmers/ranchers here, we promised we'd share some pics..........

I think there are some pics of Rich on the tractor and bales in the fields, but they might be on the other me!

These are autumn shots, love those seasonal colors!
More details on the pics:
1. Entry to the property. If you squint, you'll see an outline of a great blue heron on the gate.
2. Nancy with her favorite RED tree, along one of the irrigation ditches (irrigation by gravity only, no irrigation eqipment needed).
3. The driveway toward the street... Rich and friends planted all those wonderful trees. An irrigation ditch on the right.
4. Front of the house. River is at the back (see early blog posts for river shots).
5-6. Driveway areas near house.

Condo deal closed!

Our snow-bird plan is developing just fine...

During the last few days we've spent several, rather intense hours with attorneys and the notary and the sellers... and now we're the proud owners of a very nice condo/apartment! (Condo and apt seem to be interchangable terms here...)

The place is near the SuperMaxi and other shopping, near a river, with great light and views, and just big enough for us... 2 bedroom, and office... and a porch!

The sellers plan to return to the US in about 30 days... so we should be able to move in no later than June 1.

We have some shopping to do! Thanks to Bob/Rox, Shelly/Brian and Holly/Brian.....we have a pretty good checklist of items, shops and price ranges for furniture and other household stuff we'll need. We've checked out a couple stores already, with more to do.

We also want to check out some locally made, custom furniture options.

I checked the camera and, alas! No good pics of the new place to share. We'll have to take new ones to share later.


Views from the porch

We're 'porch people', love to sit outside and enjoy the view... always have, and here is no exception.

We get a bird's eye view of the neighborhood (we're still in Bob/Rox's condo).

Sunrises and sunsets... a potter's studio's delivery...

We also get the sounds of the city... everything from car alarms, barking dogs, to loud celebrations (complete with fireworks!) and even the crazy rooster who crows all night... but, not to worry... we're again getting used to the ebb/flow noises of *any* city (remember, we came from the quiet of the country ranch...)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Real Estate

... is all over the place, the whole range......

We've seen about 40 or so places for sale here in Cuenca, everything from 100+ year old adobe fix-ups to brand new, almost done, construction. Pros and cons to all.

Overall, each place had some pluses to consider. We loved one of the old adobes, right across from one of the rivers. Nothing like that 'sweet smell of history' to get creative juices going! 2 bedroom, 1 bath, updated kitchen, great location, for $39K. BUT, we decided to pass and kept looking. The courtyard is beautiful though... and we hear it sold within the week.

One of the most expensive places we looked at, at $450K, was a giant compound of huge main house, several outbuildings and huge garden, on a quiet cul-de-sac, also near a river. Big enough for a multi-generation family and lots of live-in help. Way too big for us (and more than we want to pay), fun to see all the same, and we moved on.

Most of the places had some good and not-so-good elements...... we want a porch/deck/veranda (we're 'porch/outdoor/garden people!), we like lots of light, views, not too big, not too small....... near water is good and near services within walking distance is good, too.

Some places had very nice 'touches'.... beautiful wood and/or tile floors/trim, big rooms, good floor plans, modern kitchens (some with dishwasher! An uncommon addition here). Some came with furnishings, including linens and dishes, some came with almost nothing... no water heater, no applicances, no light fixtures, etc. Some had parking, extra storage; some had security and guards...

Out of the 40+ places, we're interested in 2....... we'll know more later this week...........

Our realtors, (both are professional, speak English) are great! We also have wonderful legal help, so we're feeling we're in good hands.

Doing real estate is 'different' here, compared to the States. But, we're learning...trying to not take anything for granted (which is hard since we've done real estate the US way for 45 years! Old habits die hard...).

More later.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter! Spring!

The Girls in their Easter bonnets.

Our beloved Mr Bootsie-friend, sniffing the flowers at the ranch -- welcoming Spring after a long winter.

Thought it'd be good to share a pic of an historic church downtown here, in celebration of today, too.
Today, we're remembering traditional family Easter dinner......ham and scalloped potatoes!
We decided to do another tradition instead...... breakfast of Rich's famous potatoes (a la Bodega Bay style, for those who remember...) and Nancy's cheese omelettes...... yum!
Hope everyone finds the Gold Egg today!
Love, N (and R)

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Getting situated - some fun pics of Bob, Rox, Coquita

From a picnic day at the river...
One of the biggest indigenous markets...

Bob cooking one of his fabulous meals...

Bob helping us get the computers going...

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Adjusting here in Cuenca

Wonders of wonders! It looks like we got the computers working ok (so frustrating!), so it's more than time to update our adventures here. LOTS of progress to share!

First....a special and heartfelt thanks to Bob and Rox for getting us started on building the 'infrastructure'.......... you know, finding a doctor/lab/hospital, finding the bank and the SuperMaxi (grocery store like Safeway), getting cell phones/internet/printer (kind of) working...
I say, 'kind of' because the Net has been working off/on..........we think it probably has nothing to do with the ISP though and more about security settings...which we've been loosening up...

B/R also introduced us to a gal who gave us the best haircuts! And, some great restaurants... and more. Saved us a bunch of time (and grief!) and we've met some new friends through them, too.

We've been 'on our own' (with Bob/Rox now back on the Coast), for a few days now and we're getting to know this friendly and beautiful City more... we've been to the Mall, inside a few historic Churches, found more good restaurants, met more nice folks, explored more on foot.......we're settling in just fine!

We've been checking out the real estate here, too. More on that later.

Both of us have adjusted to the the high altitude at about 8300 ft. A little rough at first, but we're fine now. I guess most folks have some symptoms as they adjust... high blood pressure, headaches, trouble sleeping......and some with sugar problems have a high reading, too... but, symptoms don't usually last too long, maybe a couple weeks or so, and you just have to slow down, eat well and take an aspirin for the headache and breathe........a cup of special tea, called mate de coca, helps, too.

Let's see if I can share some pics now.......nope, but Rich can add some later.

Love, N (and R)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

"Doing Lunch" With Nancy On Old Town Main Plaza

Me getting hungry after very little exercise.

We finished a meeting with some folks in Old Town near the main plaza. Spring has come to Cuenca. Trees and flowers are all coming out. So we sat in the park and watched the people and the day go by.

Flowers for sale every where you go.

We decided to get a bit to eat and tried a Cafe bordering the square. Seemed like the kind of place you might see a historic figure like a Poncho Via walk in for a beer. We had to check our guns at the door. Food was great. We had a traditional Ecuadorian dish (large piece of chicken with a medium hot sauce, bean salid, soup, tapas and rice and expresso for $3.50. There were less expensive meals for about $2.00. My company was great.