On May 13, 2011 Sharon, Feisty(the cat) and I boarded a Delta flight from Portland Oregon to Guayaquil, Ecuador beginning the journey of a lifetime. We arrived in Ecuador around 5:30 am the next day and then traveled with 11 pieces of luggage and hope to Cuenca.
Ecuador has met or exceeded every one of my expectations. The people of Cuenca have been warm and inviting. The expat community has been friendly and very helpful.
Sharon and I cherish our new Cuencano friends and the new expat friends we have met this year. We obtained our Residency Visa last November after just one or two minor hiccups. We enjoy learning Spanish and I especially like exploring Cuenca each day on foot or in the bus.
I love the fresh fruits and vegetables in Cuenca. Everyday I make a smoothie from Pitahaya, chiromoya, papaya and strawberries. The chicken is to die for and the milk is outstanding. I haven't tried the Cuy yet but its still on my todo list.
Is Ecuador Nirvana. Of course not. No place is. There is a lot of poverty in Ecuador and like every country Ecuador has its share of social problems. But, we feel very safe in our home and on the streets at all hours of the day and night.
I would like share some thoughts for those who are coming or contemplating retiring to Ecuador. Firstly start learning Spanish before you come down. You can survive on Taxi and Restaurant Spanish but you will never thrive until you can converse in Spanish. Secondly, Ecuador is just not another Spanish speaking country but another culture. Learning and appreciating the customs will make it easier to adjust.
Finally, many thanks to the blogging community and to Mary Beckman and her husband for their hard work with South of Zero. Reading the blogs was a great "fast start" to life in Cuenca.
Me gusta mucho Ecuador. Todo bien en Cuenca.