Monday, June 14, 2010

Bits to Share...Just 'life'

Here are little bits of news and info to share...

We've been dealing with some 'stuff' on the new rentals...all we're still on schedule.  The vendor work is progressing very well!  This week is a biggie for deliveries of linens, shades and furniture (more on that later).  Elevator doors are installed!

We're really getting into 'tea time'!  We bought some fresh chamomile at the market recently and made some tea...Our dentist suggested using it as a mouthwash to help heal some little sore places, as Rich had his dentures adjusted.  Worked like a charm and sure beats a conventional medicine.  We're always surprised and delighted that dentists, as well as doctors, suggest more home-made, herbal remedies.

This tea can also help with itchy skin (use topically) , sleepless nights and is so much more calming than another cup of coffee.  At the markets, look for bunches of flowers that look like little white daisies with a yellow center. Google for pictures and tea recipes.

Your tea will look like:

Speaking of 'flowers', aren't these beautiful!  Rich brought home MANY flowers a couple days ago and we created several bouquets.  The pretty flowers on the left of the photo are gifts from friends...

Rich also brought home some of the best tangerines!  If you're in Cuenca, it's tangerine season...the wheelbarrow vendors in town have the best ones. 

Some days it definitely feels (and looks) like winter here..........chilly (some nights are downright cold!), rainy, drizzly...

Soup weather!  Lots of good soup in Cuenca.  Nothing like a good, hot soup to warm the bones.  Every restaurant offers soup on the menu...just about every kind.  Rich really likes a fish/onion soup when he's out and about in the mornings.  Reminds him of the Asian soups in SF.  (With hot sauce, it's pretty close to Vietnamese 'fish-eye' soup, he says.)  Perks him right up.  Nancy prefers the potato soups.  Always good...usually served with avocado and cheese. 

We've made soup at home, too.  Easy and the veggies are very fresh in the markets.  You can find commercial broth powder in the markets and at SuperMaxi, but they usually contain MSG and other stuff.  Easy to make your own broth...whole chickens come with all the parts...or you can buy just the parts at the markets.

We've gotten some questions from folks headed our way, asking about what to pack...We tell them to come prepared for 'weather' snow, but chilly and some rain, and some sun.  Pack clothes to layer, a light jacket, a rain/sun hat.  No need for beach wear, so you can replace those short pants and flip-flops for warmer clothing.  (Actually, shorts are not normal attire, in any season,  in Cuenca...think conservative dress, neat, clean and stylish. Jeans in good condition are just fine.)   Bring good walking shoes, sunglasses and your favorite sunscreen, too.  We're glad we brought flannel robes and sweats and wool sox for lounging at home.  Most (warm sweater, umbrellas, sunglasses, hats, unscreen, etc) can be bought here, too. 

It feels colder this year, at this time, than last.  We've added another blanket to the bed and we pull on our wool fingerless gloves if we're sitting up reading in bed.  Brrr!

We've talked with several expats who are frustrated and worried with the delays in getting their shipping containers to Cuenca.  Some containers, apparently, have been either sitting in customs for weeks or have been delayed 'somewhere' in transit.  Not sure of reasons.  Folks have been complaining of the 'nightmare', the 'time wasting' of trying to track down their stuff, the worry over maybe theft and broken items when the container does finally arrive (and they all seem to eventually come in).  One gal, just the other day, told us that if she'd known about all the angst, she wouldn't have even considered a container.  Life's too short!  So much worry!  Not good!

We sympathize, we really do...and we're so happy we decided to not go with the container option.  We moved here with suitcases only.  Just about everything we owned in the USA got either sold or given away before we left and we've re-bought here.  Worked just fine for us, but it's a personal decision.  (We did pay overweight charges on the luggage, but not as expensive as a shipping container!  And, no worries!) 

One of the main reasons we decided against a container was that we really didn't know if we were going to be happy in Cuenca, or even Ecuador, for the longer term.  Who really knows until you're here for awhile?  We knew we'd have choices, but we didn't know if we'd eventually choose urban or country, apartment or house, furnished or non...We also didn't really know if the altitude would be a problem for us.  We figured that shipping a container of goods might make us less mobile, if we decided to move on.  We wanted to keep it simple.

We also knew that most everything we would need can be bought here.  Our first trip to Ecuador (to visit Bob and Rox at the coast) was an eye-opener, in terms of available goods and services...  At the time, Bob and Rox had begun outfitting their house with lovely furniture, kitchen stuff, linens and they had hired workers for some remarkable, first class, we knew it was all possible without all the 'stuff' coming via container.  Gave us hope.

In our minds, it pretty much came down to this:  All we really needed was each other...and as many suitcases as we could manage!  We still laugh about some of the things that we did pack in those suitcases...we have yet to wear some of the clothes and, why oh why, did we bring a kitchen timer???  (Yes, you can buy them here.)

We don't have any container advice ...just, do your homework and bring lots of patience if you decide to go the container route.  An attorney who specializes in customs/immigration could be an option, too.

We have some more cooking classes scheduled ......stay tuned..........and Nancy W returns to Cuenca soon!  We're really excited about that and look forward to the next few Sunday walks as a 4-some, once again.

Last Sunday's walk with Chuck began pretty early, with some chilly temps and a little drizzle.  Not enough wet for a hat or umbrella, but close.  Reminded us so much of San Francisco!  Perfect weather for a walk...not hot, no intense sun, some fog rolling over the mountains... After breakfast, we ran into friends (old and new) at the Park for a bit... 

For newcomers, remember many expats do end up at Parque Calderon late Sunday mornings.  Look around for the 'gringos'...  you can make new friends!  Often, there is music and entertainment in the Park on Sundays, too.

We loved watching all the 'posing' activity at the stuffed horses in the Park!  Looks like a family affair.  Love the big hats and the happy kids...(Friends back in Oregon will laugh...we had to remember our conversations of 'big hat, no cattle'!)

Here's a shot of road work on Av Bolivar...  runs from San Sebastian to San Blas (you can see the San Blas Church at the end of the road.) 

We hear that 4 different contracts were awarded on the road work...lots of folks at work, beautifying the City.  You can walk through the construction (at least we could if we wanted to on Sunday)...not sure when it will be all done.  We chose to skirt-around the work on our Sunday Walk.  We'll be watching the progress and we'll be excited to see it all done soon.

Awhile ago, a reader asked for a closer picture of the frigata birds from it is:

Hope everyone is having a good start to the week ahead.

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