Thursday, February 23, 2012

Our Rental Condo in El Centro

Pat and I bought a condo to rent out last October.  We were going to rent it out then, but we decided to wait until the new year because we went back to the States to see our daughters for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  We wanted to make sure that we were in Cuenca the first time that we rented it. 

Well, we have had it rented since January 6th to a nice couple from Atlanta.  They are going to be leaving on March 3rd.  We have also been lucky enough to have rented it for the month of March.  Our new tenants are moving in the day after our current tenants leave and will be using the condo until April 4th.  So Pat and I wanted to blog about our place in case someone might be interested in staying there beginning on April 5th (we will need a day to get the place cleaned up).

We have the website posted at the top of the right hand side of our blog.  Pat did a magnificent job of creating the website.  It includes just about everything that you might want to know about the condo--photos, map, floor plan, detailed information, rates and an availability calendar.  If you have any additional questions, please email us at the email address on the website.  The location is terrific--just one block from Parque Calderon at the corner of Luis Cordero and Gran Columbia.  You can see the Cathedral and the Domes from the small window in the half bathroom.  I think you will find all of your questions answered on the website.  Hope to see some of you soon!  Hasta luego!!

Thought I would post just a couple of pictures to pique your interest:

Living Room

Covered Terrace Overlooks Luis Cordero and the City


Master Bedroom with Queen Sized Bed

Check out the website for additionals pics!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Dos Chorreras - Part 2

Additional pictures of Dos Chorreras Visit - I think I took about 140 pictures altogether.

This was an old mining site.  I have additional pictures of inside the mine.

An old chapel where the people worshipped

This is a picture of an anaconda skeleton.  It was really scary looking!

Pat drinking a sample of a really good hot herbal tea

Tienda means "shop" in Spanish

Chicken with a run of the property

An underground spring inside the mine

Where the miners used to hang out (the bar) inside the mine

Then we went on a hike along the river.  It was phenomenal!

An old town along the river

Beautiful scenery all around

All of us next to the river

I didn't mention the cost of the excursion.  It costs $45.00 per person and it includes all of the things that I mentioned in my last post.  We did not do the horseback riding or the fishing, but we throughly enjoyed everything else.  We all had a great time and would recommend the trip to everyone.  Hasta luego!!  Sue

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Dos Chorreras with Carol and George

We had a lovely time a couple of weeks ago when Pat and I visited Dos Chorreras in the Cajas with Carol and George Evans (from CA Kitchen).  We had been talking about going for several months.  And we finally got together.  Dos Chorreras is a wonderful place to spend the day.  It is about 20 minutes outside of Cuenca in the Cajas Mountains which are toward Guayaquil.  The people at Dos Chorreras offer a wonderful package which includes a transfer to/from the hotel, welcome drink, lunch, visit to Poblado Guavidula, horseback riding, boat ride, fishing, and hiking. 

They came to Cuenca to pick us up and took us back to their resort. 

Me, Pat, Carol and George in front of Dos Chorreras

As you come into the front entrance

The restaurant is really charming

We're not sure where George picked up this guy!

This is our wonderful English speaking guide, Enrique.  He was in the van that picked us up in Cuenca.

This picture is from one of the rooms in the hotel.  They were very nice.

From inside the hotel to the grounds outside

The views are spectacular

Then we took a tour of an indigenous village that is just up the hill from the hotel

This is one of the cool things to see

This is a shot of the original road between Guayaquil and Cuenca.  Many indigenous people still make the trek over the mountains every year.

I think I will make another blog post with additional pictures of Dos Chorreras.  There are just too many other good pictures not to include them in my blog.  I would recommend visiting Dos Chorreras to everyone.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

My Personal Experience in the Health Care Industry in Cuenca

First, just a little background for me.  My mother had breast cancer in her 50's (which she survived), but then she passed away of ovarian cancer at the age of 65.  This was in 1994.  So, ever since that time, I have done the necessary tests to try to prevent experiencing those diseases in myself.  Every year (without fail), I would get a mammogram to detect any potential breast cancer and an ultrasound to take a look at my ovaries to make sure everything was good.  So far, so good.

I usually had the tests done in December in the States, so I had been asking several Gringo ladies that I knew if they knew of a female gynecologist in Cuenca.  It is amazing to me the number of women who do not get these tests done on a regular basis.  I could not get the necessary information that  I was looking for.  Finally, I contacted Noshy Pinos (a Cuenca interpreter who helps alot of Gringos) for this information.  She gave me the name and phone number of her doctor.  Unfortunately, she did not provide the address of the Clinic.  So, after several phone calls to the clinic (of which the answering machine messages are ALL in Spanish---I sure wished I could have pressed "2" for English), I gave up temporarily.  Then I finally called the doctor's cell phone and got her on the phone, but she only spoke Spanish.  After several frustrating minutes, I was able to get the address of the clinic from her.  It is amazing how nerve wracking it is to speak Spanish with someone on the phone when you feel like you only know about every third word that they are saying.

Well, this last Tuesday, I decided to go and try to find the Clinic.  It is located on the street next to Feria Libre (Avenida Carlos Arizaga Vega).   Here is a picture of the corner where you turn:

Juan Eljuri Store is on the corner

There are alot of green busses that drop off people for Feria Libre

You go pass several booths that sell food every day

Until you see the front of the Clinica Humanitaria

This sign is on the side of the building

The first day that I went there, I was just looking for the building.  I wanted to make an appointment with Doctora Norma Cordero.  I went up to the Recepcion and told them that I wanted to make an appointment with the doctor.  They asked me if I wanted to see her that day.  Well, I was not prepared to see the doctor that day because I needed to type up my medical history on Google Translate so that I could tell the doctor in Spanish.  So I asked her if I could come back the next day.  I thought she told me to be there at noon on Wednesday.  I also talked to a worker who entered my personal information into the computer and gave me a clinic card with my account number on it.  When I came back the next day at noon, I was told that the doctor had been there earlier (muy temprano) that day and was no longer there.  I guess I misunderstood when she told me that my appointment was at noon.  She told me to return on Thursday at ten (diez en la manana).

I came back the next day at 10:00am.  The first thing I did was go to the receptionist and she told me to pay for the doctor visit at the cashier next to her (caja).  And I kept the receipt ($9.00 for doctor visit).  Then I went to the left side (where the doctors are) and a woman took my height, weight and blood pressure.  After that she showed me where to sit to wait for the doctor to call.  After about 30 minutes, I went in to see the doctor.  She was very nice and she took down my medical history (which I had written in Spanish).  She then told me to change my clothes for my exam.  The rest was just as it was in the States.

The doctor then wanted me to get a mammagram and an ultrasound.  I had to pay for the mammogram ($20..00) and I got a receipt.  I was told to come back that afternoon at 2:00pm for the mammogram and to return at 7:30am in the morning for blood work and the ultrasound.  When I returned at 2:00pm for the mammogram, I was told that the technician would not be there until 3:00pm.  So I waited.  I did make a new 81 year one friend, Blanca.  She did not speak any English, so we stumbled through communicating in Spanish.  I thought she looked really good for her age:

She was SO sweet and very helpful.  She helped me to know what was going on.  I did finally get out of there by 4:00pm.  If I hadn't had to wait so long for the tech to show, it wouldn't have seemed so bad.

The next morning I returned for the fasting blood work ($42.40 total for blood work) and the ultrasound ($25.00).  First, I had to stand in line at the "Labratorio" to get a bill for the blood work to be done.  Then I had to return to the receptionist to pay for the blood work and the ultrasound.  Then the new wait began.  The nurse who drew my blood called my name in the order that I paid.  It took about 30 minutes.

Then I went to the next area for the ultrasound (I think it was called the "Ecocardiogram" dept).  Again, we had to wait.  Supposedly, I had an appointment for 7:30am, but the technician didn't even show up until 8:30am.  And again, I made a new friend, Germania.  She had lived in the US for a number of years, so she spoke very good English.  She even helped to explain to me what the technician was trying to say to me.  I really appreciated it.  And I told her that I would take her to lunch.

Germania was a real godsend.

Now I have to go for a followup visit this week with my doctor to go over everything.  After it was all over, I realized that it wasn't so bad.  It is just when you don't really know what to expect, everything seems more difficult than it really is.  And not feeling comfortable with the language doesn't help.  If anyone living here in Cuenca would like further information or would like for me to help in any way, please contact me here.  Sorry for the long post, but I felt it might be helpful to some of the women living here.  Hasta luego, Sue

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Parades in Cuenca - Part 2

Parades - Part 2

Last weekend, Pat and I went sitting in Parque Calderon and it looked like a parade might be starting soon, so we thought we would hang around for a while.  Well, an hour later, they finally got started.  Here are some of my favorite pictures:

And of course, the streetsweepers clean up after the parade is over.

We weren't sure what the purpose of the parade was, but there was a special celebration taking place down on Tres de Noviembre by the Rio Tomabamba.  So we thought they were holding a parade so that people would follow them down to the booths they had set up.  It was alot of fun to watch.  Another fun Saturday morning in Cuenca!!