Having Achieved Ecuador….
July 1, 2014 by admin
After ten days of travel….which included two nights in hostels in Lima and Guayaquil, and many high, twisting, Andean miles on a double-decker bus, plus, two flights and an all-night airport sit-in, I arrived in Cuenca, Ecuador. Distances don’t look far on a map but because of the topography, are not at all rapid or easily-accomplished. But the buses and planes are modern and very comfortable…..except for a bus-propensity for loud sound on the movie entertainment system.
By now, I’ve spent four days in a new hostel just a short uphill walk from Cuenca’s historic Old Town Center, and I’m beginning to get my bearings…. mostly by getting lost. The streets are clearly named, but the tourist maps are truly squint-worthy and printed way too small for even younger eyes to read. Luckily, the river is a main feature and when turned around, I simply ask where the river is and figure things out pretty quickly.
The weather is very pleasant here and it truly feels like summer, even at our rather modest altitude of 2200 feet. So, I must take back all of my comments about Cuenca being way too chilly for my blood. It is a very welcoming city and I’m slowly discovering what the large numbers of American expats, living here, see in it. So far, I’ve only met two, just in passing on the street, but Pat, who has lived here for six years, showed me her beautiful, furnished, one-bedroom apartment right in the main part of the historic section, which she rents for $400 per month.
To qualify for such a find, one must be in a position to sign a six-month to a year lease; but she told me of an available nearby, furnished apartment that I could rent for $600 per month, without a lease. I have an appointment to examine it tomorrow because I could easily spend that much, or more, on private rooms ($20-$30 per night) in a hostel or hotel.
There is a very active expat community, which meets for various reasons throughout the week, most often right in this central, historic district, within walking distance of this apartment. Tuesdays, from 5 – 8 p.m., anybody who wants to attend meets at Di Bacco’s Restaurant for a meal, just like we did every Sunday noon in Montevideo, Uruguay. Then, there’s the Thursday luncheon meeting of Writers In Transition at the Carolina Book Store, where each writer reads ten-minute’s worth of their latest work and receives comments from the group. Friday is another drop-in, evening meal at a different restaurant. And who knows what else? Oh, a jazz spot, on another evening….and a 4th of July BBQ & Square Dance on July 5th, for which I already have my tickets….and my cowboy boots!
So far, I haven’t taken pictures but will have by the next blog. But, I expect to fit right into expat life in this lovely city and I plan to learn and report much more about the expat movement in general in all of these recommended countries. I’ve already seen that it is, indeed, much more economical here. Most dinners out are priced well under $10 per person. Cab fares are $1-2. A dorm bunk bed in a mixed-dorm is $9. A medical checkup is $15 by a U.S.-trained, English-speaking doctor. Ditto for a dental appointment.
The fact that retirees can live well here on a social security income is what brings us flocking to the handful of countries recommended by International Living Magazine for offshore retirement. Consider me your Roving Reporter.