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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Cuenca at Last - Here to Stay!!

Dear Family and Friends

Chuck and I are finally in Cuenca. We are so happy to be here.

We left Richland, WA on Sunday, December 7, and drove to Seattle to see family before leaving. On Tuesday morning, December 9, we flew out of Seattle to Los Angeles. From LA we flew to Quito, Ecuador. We left Seattle about 7:00 am and arrived in Quito about 10:00 am the next morning, Wednesday. It was a long trip, but uneventful.

Our purpose of staying in Quito for a few days was to get our residency papers filed. We met with our lawyer on Thursday and we had to stay over until Monday before leaving for Cuenca.
We had a great time in Quito even though we were anxious to get to our new home.

Because we wanted to be near our lawyer, we chose to stay in the new part of Quito instead of the historic part. Our hotel was once a grand house, but it is now converted into a hotel. Our room had a balcony and here is a view from it.

We went to a shopping center called the Spiral. I took a picture from the top looking down. It did not have any large anchor stores, just many, many, small stores. Chuck got his hair cut there - $3.00

Since we were there over the weekend, we went to a nearby park. I saw these people marching and took a quick photo. I think they were marching for children with Autisum. Yeah, I know the banner says Hellen Keller but if you look closely at the bottom is says "center for children with autisum"

It seems as though the young people in Quito are busy enjoying life.

Chuck wanted to check out scooters while we were there because he plans to buy a bike down here. He feel in love with this old used scooter. Yes, the price is only $500. The salesman said it runs, but for that little amount it is hard to believe. At least it is safety yellow. We didn't buy.. only looked.

We had so much luggage that we did not know if Aerogal Airline would let us bring it all with us. Chuck thought of hiring a van and driver to drive us to Cuenca.

He worked through Guliver's Tourist service. They provided us a van and driver to get us home for $200 for the both of us and our mountain of luggage. The van was quite large and our "things" fit in the back very well.

The drive from Quito to Cuenca is approximately 10 hours. After our business was finished on Monday, we had our driver pick us up at our hotel at 3:00 pm. He drove us to a lodge about an hour south of Quito.

The name of the lodge is Papa Gayo. It offers horse back riding, mountain climbing, bike tours, and it even has a hot tub. Chuck and I were not interested in the amenities, we just wanted to bed down and be ready for an early start to get home.

We did walk around the grounds before dinner.

They raise sheep,


ducks and chickens besides the horses.

The lodge was at one time someone's home. It has been painted in bright colors and we really loved the place. We will probably go back sometime in the future now that we are living here.

We were the only guests the night we were there. We had a wonderful dinner.....a great thick steak, best we have had in Ecuador. Here is Chuck with Natalie, she is the daughter of the lady that runs the lodge. Natalie and Chuck hit it off. I told her his name is Poppi, which is his grandpa name. She picked right up on that and chatted to him in Spanish. If his attention got distracted she would call out Poppi to get his attention back.

Tuesday morning, our driver was there to pick us up by 8:00 am. We drove straight to Cuenca only stopping for lunch. It was a long ride, but we saw some beautiful country. We even saw one of the many active volcanos pouring steam near Banos.

We pulled into Cuenca about 4:30 pm. We were so glad to see our condo.

The Tomebamba river is just out the front door of our building.

We love it here and are so happy we found this great place to live.

Jim, our brother in law, has been staying in our condo for about a month. It is empty except for two beds. Ours and his. He had some beautiful flowers in our empty living room to welcome us.

It took a couple of hours to unpack, but after we got all the suit cases empty, Chuck took them down to our storage room. You can see by this picture why we were doubtful about getting all of this luggage to Cuenca from Quito.

The last couple of days have been busy. Today I bought a small hide-a-bed sofa that will be used mainly in our computer room for watching movies on the television. But it will also be used for guests.

This afternoon I took the bus to the city center and walked around. I enjoyed what I had been missing this last six months.

I saw all of these vendors along side the cathedral. They are selling items for Christmas. Mostly cards, wrapping paper and toys for children.

Here is a little doll that was for sale. Somehow she doesn't look very Ecuadorian.

They even had Santa hats for sale.

Right behind the gift vendors, I found what I was there to see. The flower vendors. I have missed them so much.

I took the number 3 bus home, but instead of getting off the bus at my stop, I decided to ride it to the end to see where it goes. Wow, what an adventure. I am going to go to the end of the line again soon and get off the bus to make pictures. What a beautiful country Ecuador is.

Tomorrow, we are going to the ex-pat meet up. It will be good to see all our old friends and meet new ones.

Nancy and Chuck

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