Sunday, July 31, 2011

Back Pain

It's funny, but my sister (in the States) and I were talking one day after I had been here for a while and I told her that I really missed Dr. Kathleen Wisdom (my chiropractor in Kentucky).  Sally said, "That is the FIRST thing that you have said that you have missed!!"  So of course, I felt it necessary to say, "Well, I miss you TOO!!"  I DO miss family and friends, but we stay in contact through Magic Jack, Skype, Facebook and email, so I really only miss hugging everyone.  And maybe going to the casino with my sister.

BUT, I have been going to my chiropractor for the last 19 years and she has been able to keep me relatively pain free during that time.  Pat and I even went to see her the day before we left Kentucky back in April.  So, I knew that low back pain might be one of the things that I might encounter when we moved here.  Well, I went longer than I expected, but eventually severe back pain set in.  I KNEW that I needed an adjustment, but wasn't sure who to see here in Cuenca.  I had been to see one Gringo chiropractor after we had been here for about 6 weeks in early June, but I did not like his techniques.  He was too rough for me.  But I know that not all chiropractors are the same.  So I was not ready to give up.  And I continued trying to do my stretches and exercises to keep me out of trouble.

But about 15 days ago on a Saturday, I totally seized up and could barely move.  It was not pretty.  Even when I had to sneeze, it was excruciating.  So I laid on ice packs off and on for the next two days waiting for Monday to come.  I had read about a new chiropractor on the Gringo Tree (which is an email newsletter that lets us know various information about Cuenca).  So I called him on Monday morning, but his office was not open until Tuesday at noon. So Pat and I  took the bus there and he was able to do alittle bit of an adjustment.  He couldn't do much because I was SO tense.  Then, I went the next day AND the next day.  Each time, he was able to do alittle bit more.  Dr. Gary Leidy is having a promotional special now where he will charge $49.00 for a month and you can go in for as many adjustments as you need during that month.  I don't think he has made any money off of THIS patient.  But he doesn't seem to mind.

I also went to see him 2 more times this last week.  I am definitely better, but I am still not where I need to be.  So, I guess I will go see him again this week.  I knew better than to let my spine get so twisted, but I did not know who to go see.  I think I will be fine from this point on.  I would definitely recommend Dr. Leidy to people who are living or visting Cuenca and find themselves in pain.  He also has a referral program, so please let him know that I recommended that you see him if you decide to go.  His office (Cuenca Chiropractic) is on Doce de Abril close to Parque de Madre and his phone number is  08-4457364. 

Hopefully, it won't take me as long to blog the next time.  Hasta luego!!  Sue

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Continuation of Turi

When we finally got to the top of Turi, we really had a good time.  It was nice that we were not in a hurry and took our time looking around.  First thing that I did was use the restroom.  As I came out, a man was standing there saying something to me in Spanish.  I thought he was trying to sell me something, so I just said, "No, gracias," and started to walk away.  He repeated himself alittle more urgently.  I still said, "no, gracias," and continued walking away.  After the third time, I realized he was telling me that I owed him a dime for using the bathrooms.  If I knew how to say it in Spanish, I would have told him that if he is going to charge someone to use the bathroom, then he should make sure there is toilet paper available.  One of these days, I hope to feel proficient enough to speak easily in Spanish.  Anyway, on to some pictures:

Some buildings to the side of Turi.  We ended up climbing MORE steps to the top of this section.

We thought this looked like a cemetery behind the church.

We decided this guy must have been a famous priest.

We loved the looks of all of the stone.

More stone...

I wonder what this used to be?

Beautiful views!!

More beautiful views!!

This house is at the very top of the hill

Pat from the top of Turi with the church in the background

Me from the top of Turi

We had a really great time on our walk to Turi.  We were going to walk back, but decided that we might be pushing ourselves.  And the bus was there as we were heading down, so we hopped on.  It only took us to downtown, so we went by Kookaburra's for a couple of BLT sandwichs and then headed home.  One of our most enjoyable days since we have been here. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Our Walk to Turi

Unlike most ex-pats, we don't do the typical "touristy" stuff.  We have been here for almost 3 months, and we finally walked up to Turi last Friday.   For those that don't know, Turi is a really cool looking church that overlooks the city of Cuenca.  Here is what it looks like up close:

I have some other pictures that show most of the area.

So we set off on foot from our apartment.  Thankfully it was cloudy, so it wasn't too hot.  Someone had given us directions to find the steps at the foot of Turi, but we had come to a crossroads and weren't sure which way to go.  And of course, our first choice was the wrong one.  So we backtracked and came to a road that looked like a driveway up to some houses.  Luckily, a Cuencan man was walking down the "driveway", so we asked him if this was the way to Turi.  He breathlessly nodded "yes" and pointed out that we would need to have some water to drink for our journey up.  So we started up and this was the first set of steps:

Phase 1

Then I decided to take a picture at each junction of the steps.  It reminded me of Disney World when you are standing in line to get on a ride and you think that you are ALMOST there, until you go into a new section and there are another SLEW of people standing in line.  You think you will never get to the front of the line.  We thought we would never get to the top of the steps.  See what you think:

I don't know if you can see the dog to the right of the steps.  He must be a wild dog because he would not come near anyone.  There was a huge green space here where he must live.

More steps...

And yet even more steps...

As we got higher, there were a couple of workers doing something.  We weren't sure exactly what they were doing--either digging to put in lighting or digging to install drainage ditches.

Almost there.......

I can see the end in sight!!

Look who was munching grass to the right of the top of the stairs!  You never know what you might see!

Our destiny----Turi!!!

It was quite a trek up the steps, but it was well worth it.  And it took us about an hour and 45 minutes from our apartment to the top of Turi.  When we finally got to the top, we saw some wonderful sights of the city.  We had even remembered to bring some binoculars with us, so we were able to pick out our apartment building, Mick & Kathy's apartment building, and some other buildings downtown.  Here a pretty good shot:

Mick & Kathy's building is part of that complex in the foreground.  Our building is further back by the Coliseo (I don't know if you can see the blue domed building by the second set of trees).  Everywhere you see a section of trees, there is a river.  The Yanucay River area is in the foreground and the Tomebamba River area is further back. 

This was a shot going down Solano Avenue(the avenue with the green space, trees and lights) toward downtown.  It was really fun to try to find things using the binoculars.  We even saw Clarke and Brennie's blue awning on their apartment downtown.

I am going to continue with more pictures tomorrow.  I took some nice pictures of everything else up around Turi, but I don't like to go on too long.  So those pictures are for tomorrow.  Hasta luego, Sue

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

My First Birthday Celebration in Ecuador

Well, last Saturday was my 50....something birthday in Cuenca, Ecuador.  It was a very nice day with phone calls from both of our daughters, Caitlin (called first) and Elizabeth (a little bit later).  I also heard from my sister, Sally and my friend, Lorie, left a voice mail message.  Our friends here in Cuenca, Mick and Kathy, called and sang "Happy Birthday".  Pat brought me breakfast in bed.  It was a really nice start to a wonderful day.

Then, at dinner, I chose to have my birthday dinner at La Esquina on Calle Larga.  They have EXCELLENT food and are very reasonably priced.  Kathy brought the birthday hat that has been getting passed around among the gringos over the past 10 months.  And took a picture:

Isn't that an attractive hat?  And I loved the scarf that Kathy knitted for me.  I can't wait to start using it and with all of the cool, rainy weather that we have been having lately, I'm sure I will use it soon.

We had a really wonderful dinner which included an excellent piece of birthday cake that Fabian prepared especially for me.  After dinner, we went outside and we had an additional surprise in store for us.  As part of the city's celebration of Corpus Christi, there were fireworks and a band playing.  It included a castillo which is like a tower of fireworks.  This was our first experience with a castillo and being so close to all of the fireworks.  I took some pictures with my I Phone (they did not turn out as well as I had hoped), but here goes:

We were at the top of the steps on Calle Larga.  Alot of people were much closer to the fireworks and the castillos themselves.

It was all VERY exciting!!  Kathy told Pat, "you did a great job getting the fireworks and the band here to celebrate for Sue's birthday!!"  And of course, Pat took credit for all of the excitement.  I guess he has raised the bar pretty high for me when his birthday rolls around next year.