Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Faces Of Portland

I'm sitting at the "Public Domain" Coffee place on Broadway and SW Alder.  Nice place, good coffee and no noise like there is in Peets or Starbucks. 8 months ago when I was living in Portland this place didn't exist. I hope they make it but by  the look of the sparse crowd, the competition and the high rent I would be surprised if they are in business in a year.

It's been raining everyday for the past week. Not the 1 hour Cuenca downpour, and then sun rain, but the entire day 2-4"kind of rain.  Major flooding south and west of Portland.  I spent the first 44 years of my life living in New York City so tall buildings are not strange to me.  My friend Bob noticed that during our walk in Portland I was looking at the tall buildings as if I never lived in a big city.  I also forgot how good a latte tastes. I have been overdosing on carmel and hazelnut lattes. I also forgot how many people smoke. Although smoking is prohibited in buildings my sweaters and jackets have smelled of smoke just walking past smokers on the street.

I had a great lunch with my friends Kevin and Pablo.  Thanks guys for indulging my need for Thai and Chinese food.  In the Chinese restaurant I asked the waitress " Bano"? I laughed - She didn't.  I'm typing on my new Macbook Air.  Muy Chevere! I'm not a Mac zealot but I can't see any reason for going back to Windows.

Our time with Blake our youngest grandson was wonderful.  It took him a little while to warm up to us.  8 months away is a significant part of his life  Skype is great but there's nothing like a grandson hug.

Tomorrow we fly to San Diego to see los otros dos nietos and hopefully no rain.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Ready, Fire, Aim - Back To The U.S.

Tomorrow we start our journey back to the United States. It will take us two days. I love Cuenca but getting back to the Northwest requires two days of travel with one night at a hotel.  I am looking forward to seeing family and friends and also chowing down on some of the familiar foods that I've missed the past 8 months. Who would have thought that a Costco Hot Dog is high on the list.  We will be in Oregon, California and Idaho to see family and both Sharon and I will be busy catching up with friends and hanging out at the Apple Store.  Cuenca is now home and I'll miss the quiet life and new friends.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Breakfast With Friends

On most Satudays we have breakfast with our frineds Bill and Dean. Today we ate at San Blas and I had Cuenca's best French Toast with real Vermont Maple Syrup. We then walked to a new Mercado on Mariscal Lamar and shopped for some cheeries.


Thursday, January 5, 2012

Look What $20 Buys You At The Market

Sharon and I have been in Cuenca almost 8 months. There are times we really miss the car but I have been shopping 3-4 times a week and I always get fresh meat, fruits and vegetables. Part of the fun is also walking and traveling on the bus.

My first stop today was Coopera ( The Food Co-op) I purchased the following

1 pound of camarones (shrimp)
1 box of Lemon Cedron Tea
2 purple cebollas (onions)
8 limons ( limes)
3 pepinillo (cucumbers)
2 pimientos rojos (red pepper)
1 pound of Col brusse (brussel sprouts)
2 heads of brocolli
2 pitajaya
1/2 pound or garlic cloves
3 large pieces of ginger
1 small head of Napa Cabbage

I hopped another bus and traveled to 10 de Agosto Mercado

Katerina is my favorite fruit lady.
2 large Papayas
1 lb of Bing cherries
1 lb of strawberries
4 Avocados
10 Tangerines
5 pounds of bananas
1 kilo (2.2 lbs) of potatoes

Total cost $20.62-

Me gusta mucho Cuenca

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Medical Care In Cuenca

I mentioned in an earlier post that Sharon and I enrolled in the Coopera Credit Union Medical Insurance.  The monthly premium is $4.75 for both of us. Yes, the decimal point is in the right place.  This premium entitles us to medical and dental visits for a $2 co-pay. The medical doctor is bilingual but the dentist only speaks Español. Coopera's medical office is in San Jacquin which an easy bus ride from Cuenca.

I have slightly elevated blood pressure so I was having my pressure checked when I mentioned to Dr. Peña (the Coopera Doctor) that I was having trouble with my hip. She gave me the name of a Orthopedic Specialist and I called and received an appointment the next day.

Cost For the Coopera Dr. - Copay  $2
Cost for 30 day supply of High Blood pressure medicine $1.85
Cost for Buses to San Jacquin and Latino Clinic $2 actually it was 96 cents since I am over 65 and eligible for a 12 cent bus ride.
Cost for Orthopedic Specialist after insurance reimbursement $5

Are there any drawbacks to the Coopera Insurance.  Yes, one doctor not easy to get to in an emergency.  $480 limit per person annually on health benefits. But, you can't beat getting an appointment with a specialist in one day and finding prescriptions that are 1/5 of the cost in The States.