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The unofficial web page of the greater Cuenca expat community

Nards Barley :

This comment I left yesterday here I predict will be a gamebreaker for Cuenca expats.

It was posted after much research, the most important being this excerpt from Wikipedia.

Tomato purée is a thick liquid made by cooking and straining tomatoes.[1] The difference between tomato paste, tomato purée, and tomato sauce is consistency; tomato puree has a thicker consistency and a deeper flavour than sauce

Now, apparently they sell imported Hunts tomato sauce at the SuperMarket near Gringolandia,  but undoubtedly it costs an arm and a leg.

The imported Italian cans taste great imo and cost around $1.50 a can. if they're whole tomatoes simply blend them to your desired consistency, 

As for the difference

Tomato paste is thickest
Tomato puree is second thickest
Tomato Sauce (not to be confused for salsa de tomate which is ketchup here) is the sauce for pasta and pizza.

I noticed today a new product at the super market, Pizza Sauce (salsa para Pizza) by Los Andes. I like Los Andes because their products (the ones I use), and including this new product don't contain additives.

I haven't tried yet, but I bought it for $1.09 and will update this thread on the taste.

I have purchased that pizza sauce as well as their spaghetti sauce in the past. I have a jar of their tomato paste as well which I plan to use to make tomato sauce when I need it for the enchilada sauce I will be making. How I miss enchilada sauce out of the can.

Are you keeping up with the happenings in and around Cuenca vis-a-vis the Cuenca Expat Magazine? Me neither.

However, I was in town yesterday at a coffee shop taking advantage of the unusually good weather we are having and was reading the free sample (issue 19).  Mostly, I like to look at the advertisements to see what new businesses are targeting expats.

But I read the interview of the expats (husband,wife and daughter) and got a chuckle from the following Q&A:

What are your least favorite things about Cuenca?

N: I’m ok with the weather, but I agree it was nicer the first year
we were here. It was more like what we’d read about online.
I have to admit I get peeved at some of the visitors, especially
when they complain about things not being like they were in
North America.

S: It has been a bit cold the last three years. During our first
year here, it was warmer more of the time. It’s often been
cloudy, so we can’t see the stars and moon very often!
M: We can’t get things shipped in or out easily, quickly, or
cheaply; not even mail or envelopes.

So basically their chief complaint about Cuenca is the weather and difficulty and cost of shipping things here.  If I had to answer that same question, I would probably say the same. 

This lead me to ponder, what cities have the moniker "City of Enternal Spring" ? I already knew about Medellin Colombia, but are there others? According to Wikipedia, there are others:

Arica, Chile
Cochabamba, Bolivia
Cuernavaca, Mexico (first city with the moniker; dubbed by Alexander von Humboldt)
Da Lat, Vietnam
Kunming, China
Medellín, Colombia
Trujillo, Peru

This reminds me that we are still waiting on our expert in Medellin to report on whether the city has lived up to that name during his time there.

I'll give the first question some more thought.  Right now I'm on my way to my first Inter------- meetup of the year near Parque Llleras.

(link)

Nards Barley :

we are still waiting on our expert in Medellin to report on whether the city has eternally springlike weather.

Medellín has been springlike since I arrived in April, although I hesitate to judge any city's year-round or "eternal" nature based on a relatively small sample. 

My first-ever trip to Medellín (about two weeks in duration) was in June of last year (2016) when I encountered some days of high heat -- highs in the low 90's Fahrenheit.  I have since realized that the effects of El Niño were still present at that time.  The more moderate temperatures here in June of this year (last month) were a pleasant difference during this non-Niño period.

cccmedia in Medellín

Nards Barley :

This led me to ponder, what cities have the moniker "City of Enternal Spring" ? I already knew about Medellin, Colombia, but are there others? 

Arica, Chile
Cochabamba, Bolivia
Cuernavaca, Mexico
Da Lat, Vietnam
Kunming, China
Medellín, Colombia
Trujillo, Peru

Consider adding to this list...

Vilcabamba, Ecuador
Juan Valdez Coffee Communities, Colombia
Lake Atitlán -- ah-tit-LAHN, Guatemala...

and in Mexico:  Ajijic (ah-HEE-hick) and the other communities on Lake Chapala .. and some of the colonial cities of the Mexican highlands.

Andy Graham, the "hobo traveler," has posted his list of "perfect climates" on a website he operates .. where he has discussed at length the ideal elevation as he sees it:  roughly 5,000 feet above sea level in the tropics.  Andy has been posting videos from Lake Atitlán for the past five months.

Google:  hobotraveler.com 11 perfect climates

  -- cccmedia in Medellín

For those who do not adjust well to high elevations:

Trujillo (troo-HEE-oh), Peru, may be the only city on the above lists that is at or near sea level.

Trujillo is on the Pacific Ocean .. and is cooled by the Humboldt current (per Wikipedia).

cccmedia

cccmedia :

For those who do not adjust well to high elevations:

Trujillo (troo-HEE-oh), Peru, may be the only city on the above lists that is at or near sea level.

Trujillo is on the Pacific Ocean .. and is cooled by the Humboldt current (per Wikipedia).

cccmedia

I thought you didn't adjust to high elevations?

By the way, I wonder if expat member MIKEGB left Cuenca for San Miguel de Allende, Guanaju because of the weather.

Hey, it's nice to hear from you all. We decided to let our quest for property outside of Cuenca go. The owner kept stalling and after three years we've had enough of him. We hope to get down there sometime in the future and we hope everything's going well for all of you. Gerry in Oregon

Nards Barley :

I thought you didn't adjust to high elevations?

Quito, at 9,350 feet above sea level, is far above the elevations of the other cities mentioned.

Possibly just the Bolivian city you mentioned, at about 8,300 feet, is relatively close among those listed on this thread.

My friend Mark, who moved from Quito back to central California last year, said that when he visited back in California, he felt like Superman.

cccmedia in Medellín,  4,900 feet elevation

cccmedia :

My friend Mark, who moved from Quito back to central California last year, said that when he visited back in California, he felt like Superman.

cccmedia in Medellín,  4,900 feet elevation

I would think that the 4,450 ft drop in elevation you have experienced would at least make you feel like the Green Lantern?

Being I just went back to Azogues this week in to cancel my resident visa due to the fact I am a citizen now, I got a laugh out of the following comment from Gringo Post.  Thankfully I will miss out on the experience of transfering a visa to a new passport.

We have to transfer our visas to our new passports. Thought we finally had all of the paperwork they required whe we went last week and they required proof of insurance. We showed them our insurance ID cards from Bellgenica, but they said that they need an origial letter from Bellgenica. We are going to get that, but I am afraid that if the wording on the letter is not perfect they will reject us again. I would like to avoid going to Azogues every week for the rest of my life!!!![

After researching transfer-your-visa-to-your-new-passport, I decided it isn't worth the trouble.  Regardless of what any regulation states, it's simply not necessary in the real world. 

Based on my online research and my personal experience traveling between Ecuador and Colombia, I believe anybody can avoid the whole process of visa transfer simply by bringing both passports -- your new one and the expired passport with the active visa -- when you travel.

cccmedia

cccmedia :

After researching transfer-your-visa-to-your-new-passport, I decided it isn't worth the trouble.  Regardless of what any regulation states, it's simply not necessary in the real world. 

Based on my online research and my personal experience traveling from Ecuador to Colombia, I believe anybody can avoid the whole process of visa transfer simply by bringing both passports -- your new one and the expired passport with the active visa -- when you travel.

cccmedia

I find your comment to be profound and makes perfect sense to me. I am sure people will still make the transfer out of fear.

I feel a little like OJ Simpson today.

I made what should be my final trip to Azogues EVER to pick up a letter from them which I then immediately took to Banco Central who gave me my certficate of deposit which I then immediately took to Banco Pichincha who credited my savings account for the balance of my inversion.

A free man............

Nards Barley :

I feel a little like OJ Simpson today.

I made what should be my final trip to Azogues EVER to pick up a letter from them which I then immediately took to Banco Central who gave me my certficate of deposit which I then immediately took to Banco Pichincha who credited my savings account for the balance of my inversion.

A free man............

Congratulations Nards. Well done!

With your reacquired wealth, I suggest you opt for the 2200($80) dehumidifier instead of the 1100($50) one.

Thanks. I shall. I am also going to look at one of those air purifier machines too since I am always hacking a lot this time of year, presumably due to allergies. I need to get tested. Next thing on my agenda.

Nards Barley :

Thanks. I shall. I am also going to look at one of those air purifier machines too since I am always hacking a lot this time of year, presumably due to allergies. I need to get tested. Next thing on my agenda.

A Hepa air purifier will definitely help for allergies as I used one years ago. And I'm thinking about buying one for dust as my new place is a dust magnate. 

Tventas has some good deals on some types, not sure if they have branches in Cuenca but they have an online website and they deliver all over Ecuador.

BTW the website above is down now, so try it later.

With my new found "fortune" from Banco Central, I decided to head down to Yunguilla Valley this past weekend to look at a hot piece of real estate for sale with a friend.   There isn't a wikipedia page on Yunguilla, so let's see what Said said about it over at International Living.

Yunguilla is a long valley that begins just south of Cuenca and ends near the seaport city of Machala. Its elevation ranges from about 7,000 feet near Cuenca down to 4,500 feet at the Santa Isabel side (closest to Machala on the coast). At its highest point, Yunguilla is 1,500 feet lower than Cuenca, which translates to a warmer climate and very short rainy season. Since the valley is oriented east-west, it gets direct sunshine all day long.

The reason I am interested in real estate in Yunguilla is because I want an occasional respite from the harshness of the climate in Cuenca, attributable to the altitude, rain, endless overcast skies and junk in the air which can lead to health problems and the eventual departure of expats.

I decided to monitor changes in altitude during my road trip by installing the app My Elevation on my SMARTPHONE!!  At my house in Cuenca the app indicated my elevation was 8,346 ft.  During the ride it was hovering around 4,500 ft. We ascended into the town of Santa Isabel to pick up someone and in their house we were at 5,118 ft. We then descended into the deepest part of the valley where there are a lot of crops growing but near a small town.

Here was our elevation while looking at the property which was not even the lowest point in the valley:

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/wJdEApYyhNyq437D0A_13jnwVD1YyJJqyb0tDiN4X2kYuuHooEXLombK0CrEct8eqguy5gAJmc7L6K88RxYPfQfXQQlCxQaswzmSsSJZFUglS-UErY-BZwTvSvtJ5AEatxD40ZkBwexJh6ZAFAvohwE0Uck3toPX2dCgHWypsKxMqPwRs3IK5CtSsPoO9EkRfmBLa9L2EHc1I-4kFzSZwIhFRzrrmBzibqscT_vKgZpkXRtwYZfwYgrLN1opE9IQrvkKCC9x5-jj9iZFmUxgIcZ05CVlxvy04Nv1LEqUlBV7uKTtm_mizVZXFKkimU4TUfLnNaRtVME1HGZZy080N-H-0LdHj5OFmIL_y07YbqDzCuvwZgiMXbIGFTZQwaTp8WEQ03I2_ruu9naQY-9-3Eb9vlx3F9BLLifqJ9RsM8rQT-v1xYnzdopM7TovCr0qls5Cx7SyIEJWWFTrUQHXppLa6KjtYfuyLkMT6ryj0d9RBdOC_QL7TnX5sbcrk1qMHJIcM4QnsgSHP2n8IaMIzTVqJ67oKNsXOc6ql3thpyYKIWbi7cUWVISdvFr7sMW0pSKWVaZfSr7SvBcHEtP1wWpe0wIo884Hp-9wWkA_70WCL83K-81_=w507-h901-no

So basically International Living was wrong about the range in elevation in the Yunguilla Valley.

I snapped a photo of the hot property (roof needs a little work).  For a host of reasons, we decided against buying it.

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/7sSfh5SW24g2bYAQ0vp50V8CpanPhIY1H1yl2u2xAwsIwtxCXgg3FVrH9YsEfgwKtrH_bm0BPnzaG3PCBRlYvn0PzphAz4UTEcQFEE2cojeEUGTrp5gFAnGCxL1OjT3qIu_AjQlvmPD0Lbnj84xtiUhEv4WKTjmXD3nso_Dd2DymC13Vo8Ol5EDN5ScwlclkQyt7FPj4mKsrCo3q_BkI1w-gwwbBKryf0IeKGyBifGG5mO1RT8cC1dI3mrsJ2cpWaaUF10TRJOvrUlV2kNxf72b6Iv3m5kZgc1hvp2hYuOAPaw_i9qZEVxj-3r6k_gjribUvqxwy3iYpLCbvpY8YZ1ASl8vq4vrwzrUyhXJbATiXfjd29rrPcboTXs-ojAJ-_gPMpWsKo7WvPzNqwrca1JMfkrEpc9SG0PuxdGLdO8O-K9Jjpo3BjwY66syQaJNB530aM5BOUAdT_QTF6DILTsKoJVW4679fiLPlv5s2Ujk_g4m1Y026OxkAjiWhyUA-XBcrzZnGryD7Bv8AGULlozqvBXYvO3SOxJAzH-DpnH8ErFnN-Cuho-gXEHhnTkmzBMwxpDWmOgljKCJ6GnmnY0XEyN3BwlzCwuBGB9zPloNSlWbgKkoe=w1202-h902-no

Try to buy in Loja or around that city, my parents I've there, and have also a small property in Quinara not far from Vilcabamba, and yes the best thing is going there and sort it out

If you are buying based on the weather...or microclimate of a particular area...you are going to frustrate yourself.

Basically, if your area is lush and green you live where it rains. If it is sandy and arid, the opposite. Is it cool enough for socks and a sweater outside in the sunshine? Then it's going to be colder when the sun goes down. Check out the logical clothing stores for a hint of what they sell and that will tell you the weather. Mud boots are not a fashion accessory!

Be aware that altitude may be a serious no go for many and also be aware that the coast has mountains if you like to live higher, and cooler.

Which is off topic for Cuenca but then so is Loja and Vilca ;-)

Susan

Susan_in_Ecuador :

If you are buying based on the weather... or microclimate of a particular area... you are going to frustrate yourself.

That's sensible advice, Susan. :top:

It's technically the winter season in Cuenca (June-August), the city being in the southern hemisphere, which may explain some deviation from the norm in the form of lower temperatures than usual.

Temps ranging from lows of 10 Celcius (50 F.) to 17 Celcius (62.6 F.) are predicted daily for the next week -- below normal, yes, but not exactly Bemidji, Minnesota, in January. 

A weekend in the lower-elevation Yungilla Valley might be indicated, but I wouldn't put down a deposit on property there just yet based on Cuenca's recent weather patterns.

cccmedia

Cuenca's city council voted yesterday to increase the city's basic bus fare from 25 to 30 centavos.

The move was unsatisfactory to riders groups .. and to bus operators, who wanted a bigger fare increase.

The situation is complicated, especially since the fare to ride the new tram will be higher than 30 centavos, creating an imbalance in the city's transportation system.

For the full rundown, visit www.cuencahighlife.com, which is currently running Cuenca's transportation issues as one of the lead items on its welcome page.

Nards Barley :

I will monetize this web page at later date after I have developed a sufficient number of groupies readers in Cuenca.

Been waiting for over 4 years to see the monetization of this thread.  I guess becoming a citizen and freeing up your $25,000 investment makes this thread a moot point.  Congrats on your dual citizenship.

mugtech :
Nards Barley :

I will monetize this web page at later date after I have developed a sufficient number of groupies readers in Cuenca.

Been waiting for over 4 years to see the monetization of this thread.

Monetizing Cuenca threads may be the last thing on the VIP member's mind.

Apparently, he hasn't posted here since July.  As of today, his "last visit" and "last post" are indicated as "three months ago."

cccmedia

cccmedia :
mugtech :
Nards Barley :

I will monetize this web page at later date after I have developed a sufficient number of groupies readers in Cuenca.

Been waiting for over 4 years to see the monetization of this thread.

Monetizing Cuenca threads may be the last thing on the VIP member's mind.

Apparently, he hasn't posted here since July.  As of today, his "last visit" and "last post" are indicated as "three months ago."

cccmedia

Sounds like he has not gathered enough groupies.

Well, I really liked your message! We are headed to Cuenca Dec 26 and need to find a cheap but clean hotel for about a week as we wonder around to see if we might live there until the US settles down...truly, it is really bad right now. Been to Ecuador before and LOVED it. Anyone have any good ideas on hotels (say $30) a night and WHERE is the best place to stay in the city (lower crime and not so loud?) Thanks! ***

Moderated by Priscilla 2 weeks ago
Reason : Do not post your personal contact details on a public forum for your own security
bevblas :

Well, I really liked your message! We are headed to Cuenca Dec 26 and need to find a cheap but clean hotel for about a week as we wonder around to see if we might live there until the US settles down...truly, it is really bad right now. Been to Ecuador before and LOVED it. Anyone have any good ideas on hotels (say $30) a night and WHERE is the best place to stay in the city (lower crime and not so loud?)

Dear Bev,

Book a highly-rated hotel now at booking.com or your favorite other hotel site.

Do not wait until other suggestions come in from expat.com members.

Christmas/New Year's week is an extremely busy time for tourists in an historic and Expat-loved city such as Cuenca.

So don't get shut out.

I mention booking.com because I have used their free-cancellation policy numerous times for numerous South American cities to make sure I personally am not shut out of a good hotel room. 

Typically, unless otherwise stated, the policy is absolutely free cancellation up to three days before the hotel stay would start.

cccmedia

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