Sunday, August 28, 2011

Perpetual Tourists

Some folks try to catagorize and define such terms as 'traveler/tourist' and 'expat/resident'.  We hope we never have to decide which box we're in, because we think we are in both!  There really isn't a hard and fast line between the catagories, in our opinion.  We move from one to the other all the time.

One fairly new expat mentioned she didn't want to do the 'touristy stuff' like many gringos, that's sad.  We think she's missing out on so many fun adventures here!

(This is a fairly unusual picture...we spotted these US flags flying downtown one day.  You can see an Ecuadorian flag, too, much more common!, on the left hand side.)

We love being 'tourists'!  There are still those magic moments of discovery in our Cuenca.  We still carry our cameras on our walks to try to capture those experiences that make us smile and we still pinch ourselves that we are here.  We like to share our moments with our friends and family, hoping they enjoy them, too.

Many of the events in Cuenca are enjoyed by both newcomers and those who call Cuenca 'home'.  Most places we go to have both 'catagories' in attendance, including the sightseeing buses, the beautiful churches, the gorgious Andes mountains, the busy markets, art shows and concerts, the peaceful parks. 

(Double decker sightseeing bus.)

In a generic sense, folks who have lived here most of their lives, also go to language schools!  Not to learn Spanish necessarily, but to learn English, German, French, and more.

Some bloggers have mentioned how small the world really is...they have met folks from their old hometown here.  Many Ecuadorians have ties to the US, too, either they have spent time there or family and friends have.  Some say that New York or Chicago is the 4th largest city of Ecuador! 

One evening, we attended an event with Ecuadorians and Gringos and the symphony members played both 'Chola Cuencana' and 'New York, New York'...a nice inclusive, familiar touch.  Everyone hooted and cheered together for both tunes.

Yep, small world.  It's an amusing experience when we are in the middle of no-darn-where and we hear a little Willie Nelson or Michael Jackson or the Beatles on the radio or on the streets.  Music can be the great equalizer around the globe.  It's always fun to find the 'common ground' and the familiar...whether it's through music or values, history or food.  We delight in learning about the unfamiliar, too.

Looking back...we guess we were 'tourists' when we lived in San Francisco, as well.  There was a blend of travelers and residents in most places there.  We commuted to work on the cable cars and the ferries, attended museum openings and concerts, walked through Chinatown for produce, drank good espresso in North Beach and tried to sing along with the jukebox's Italian operas, right along with the visitors and natives, both.  We marveled at the fog rolling in at the Golden Gate Bridge and we sat outside, shivering at Fisherman's Wharf with Irish coffees and clam chowder, right along with the tourists.

In Oregon, we loved to watch the class 5 white water rafting adventures of both visitors and residents on the Mighty Rogue River.  We enjoyed the County Fairs, hometown parades and the other fun events targeted for tourists as much as the visitors did. 

Point is.....we guess we're all 'tourists/travelers', all the time.  Or, should be.  We hope we never get so jaded that we ever take all the wonderful moments for granted, whether we're sitting in the beauty of Parque Calderon or delighting in the firework displays, or finding our hearts quicken a little when we spy a llama at the river or toast up our toes in the sand at the beach.  Or, break out in a total grin when the sunrises and sunsets turn the skies to amazing, knock-your-socks-off reds and oranges and golds.

We're looking forward to being (remaining!) 'tourists' as we plan our next adventures, too.  So much to see and enjoy in our beautiful Ecuador and beyond.


Views from our porch with ever-changing sky.


  1. Wonderful post! Always seize the day...

  2. Gracias, John and Robin.
    We think all the walking and discovering and 'experiencing' here in Cuenca are helping to preserve our old brain cells, too. Yes, we love to 'seize the day'!
    Thanks for reading,
    N and R

  3. Suzanne & I love you posts....especially your photos...we miss being in Ecuador already and can't wait to resume our exploration when we return. Your comments about the feeling the city continues to give really ring true!
    Roger Yazell

  4. Hola Suzanne and Roger!
    Thanks for the nice words...hurry back!

  5. Thanks to all the readers who have sent comments on this post, on and off blog. We appreciate your points of view.
    All we can say about this new expat is: We're sure she has her reasons...
    We like being 'tourists', but apparently not everyone does. And, that's ok, different strokes for different folks make the world go 'round.
    Thanks again for sharing.
    We'll be posting more pics of Our Cuenca soon.