The unofficial web page of the greater Cuenca expat community

I designate this thread as the unofficial web page for the Cuenca Expat community. I also designate myself as the unoffical spokesperson. It is actually a continuation of my non-blog, but I wanted to elevate my status in the wake of the continued mass emigration to Cuenca from the United States of baby boomers.  And for the record, I will put my credentials to be spokesperson up against ANY blogger or "volunteer" in this town, anytime, anywhere.

Now back to official expat business.......

Moderator, please move this thread to the Cuenca forum.

I decided to switch milk brands last week. If you previously followed my non-blog you may have noticed I was drinking Nutri Leche. However, I decided to drop them because unlike many of their competition, they donīt appear to add vitamin D which I think helps the bones absorb calcium.

Here is my new brand: RayLeche

As you will note, they promote the fact that it has Vitamins A&D. Nutri Leche may have Vitamin A, but their nutritional information is inconsistent, so I havenīt highlighted that as a difference.

Also, at the top of the bag it says "P.V.P. $0.70". P.V.P. stands for "precio de venta al público"(retail price). While I didnīt keep the receipt, I am pretty sure I paid more than that at "The Popular" store. This could have something to do with the recent law passed in Ecuador that establishes price controls for certain food prices. I need to ask next time.

Since the peeps are learning the metric system I placed a red arrow next to the contents specification and did the convesion:

900 ml = 0.951019388 US quarts

One thing odd about this brand of milk is there is only a one month period between the elaboration date and the expiration date. Nutri leche on the other hand has either 2 months or 3 months depending on the style of bag you get.

I will have to reach out to the Reyleche spokesman (my counterpart) for comment. … an0002.jpg

Firstly, you have to come up with some sort of title. It can't just be " un official spokesperson ". That has absolutely NO flare. Something like " Grand Poo-ba ", or some such.
So, when you originally did your milk comparisons, I had a few questions I wanted to ask, but didn't, cuz I didn't want to look the fool, or worse yet, take away any doubt that remained that I wasn't.
Once this milk is opened, it must be refrigerated, correct? **And they don't look to be re sealable pouches, so do you just pour them into a pitcher for storage? Think I'd opt for the box, cuz it would stand up in the refrigerator.
Inquiring minds want to know!

** Yup, I saw the little scissors on the bag!

Great suggestion and questions.

Yes, you need to refrigerate the milk immediately after opening and it lasts up to a week. The milk bags are poured into a pitcher of some sort.

I was a box person for the first year and then decided to make the switch to bag, after investing in a glass pitcher.  I actually switched to bagged yogurt as well from plastic bottles, which will be a future topic of discussion.

Most newly-arrived expats start with the Nestle branded box milk because they recognize that brand from the states. However, Nestle is the priciest and they donīt sell in bag.

I plan to do a comparison at some point between the various types of milk: lowfat, regular etc.

Cuencaīs bloggers are at their best when they stick to talking about food, shopping, and places they have visited. Donīt dare to tell them that though. :lol:

Speaking of food, this post was enlightening to me because I always see that condiment on the tables at restaurants around town, and wondered how it was made. I knew they called it "aji" (chili peppar), but it didnīt taste like anything I have tried before.

I made a special trip to "El Popular" to buy some "tomatillos" specified in the recipe. However, they called them something different: tomate arbol.

I then boiled those suckers:

Then I peeled them suckers:

Then I ran them through the blender with the other ingredients and poured it on my rice:

I think the sauce will grow on me over time.

When I firsted started watching broadcast television about 5 months, there were commercials on channel 25 promoting a church service called the 608 group headed up by a gringo pastor Bill McDonald. Apparently he does services in both Spanish and English for Calvery Chapel located off of Solano avenue.

Here is a photo of him:
It was sort of weird seeing this gringo on television speaking Spanish with a heavy gringo accent.

In the past few weeks while channel flipping I realized that channel 25 rebroadcasts his sermons.

In any case, while I am not religious, I find myself watching  because it is entertaining to listen to him, because he is relatively easy to understand and because he has problems with pronunciation, that makes me feel better about my Spanish.

Here is something unusual for the peeps to ponder and tweet:

I am referring to the bike racks. Not a common site. I read the Parque de la Madre will also have them once renovation is completed soon.

I wonder what those stores in the background are going to be? I am betting one of them will be a bike rental shop.

And here is a little culture for you. Some new artwork  constructed near the staircase that leads to Benigo Malo.

Something is going on with Club Corroes.

Lo nuevo de Clubcorreos

Reciba un cordial saludo de quienes conformamos la Empresa Pública Correos del Ecuador CDE E.P., Operadora del Servicio Postal. En nuestro proceso de modernización hemos realizado cambios integrales importantes que nos han permitido demostrar a la ciudadanía y al mundo que la transformación de las empresas públicas no solo es posible sino necesaria.

They sent me an email to the address I used to use with Transexpress, telling me I have a new box number, a new shipping address and that Paypal will be used as the new form of payment.

The shipping address is the one for Econcargo. It appears to me that Transexpress is getting the boot.

Bye Bye Transexpress

It was just weeks ago that they were peeping in on me, or I was peeping in on them. Bye bye house.

This rounds out the home gym.

A spinner bike made in China which I bought at Coral in the Mall del Rio for $240. Since the seat was uncomfortable, I order a seat cover off of Paypal for 7 bucks and had it mailed here direct from China.

Also from Coral, a set of 5kg and 8kg dumbells. I paid $30+ for the 5kg set and 40+ for the  8kg.

That is as heavy as they go with that style of dumbell. Otherwise, I need to go with steel plates, which I donīt want to bother with.

At that sporting goods store which I featured on my non-blog, they have spinning biks starting at around $1,000.  Better quality I am sure, but more than I want to pay. They sell similar dumbbell sets as well, but for twice the cost.

Despite your decision to remain in the U.S., we appreciate your ongoing scrutiny of those travel magazines.

There's no satisfaction greater than speaking another language.

That sounds like an exaggeration to me that no one should factor in when deciding to move overseas.

To me, there will be no greater satisfaction than reaching the point where I feel like I no longer have to work on my Spanish.

mugtech :

"There's no satisfaction greater than speaking another language."

I just made a list of the thousand most satisfying things in my life. Speaking another language didn't make the cut.

Let me guess: this magazine was selling language lessons (and/or advertising such lessons).

mugtech :


That's what I figured.
On Tuesday Cuenca Higlife reported the following:

Parque de la Madre to open Friday, officials say

After several false starts, the city of Cuenca says that a renovated Parque de la Madre will finally open on Friday. The city had originally said the park would open in Janauary, and then in March. One of the city’s most popular public areas, the park is on Av. 12 de Abril, across Rio Tomebamba from the Hermano Miguel escalinata.

My initial reaction was Wow!  That was some scoop Cuenca Highlife had uncovered, considering that none of the local papers or nightly newscasts had mentioned it yet.  My assumption was that Cuencahighlife mostly reports on what it reads from the local newspapers, but apparently they have contacts in city hall.

Well as it turns out, it is next Friday when it opens.:lol:

Allow me to be the first to present these new information stands to the Cuenca expat community. They are at the bottom of each of  the two escalinata (staircases) that lead to Calle Larga.

I read one of them and was disappointed that they didnīt have names distinguishing one escalinata from the other.

Effective today, I am giving myself a new title: virtual ambassador for the Cuenca expat community.

this Virtual Ambassador position.... what's it pay?
Are there any term limits?

Ps. you'll no doubt note I capped your title out of the utmost respect!

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

On the news the other night there was a report that 12 bars and resturants along Calle Larga and Remigio Crespo were shut down by the SRI (tax agency) for not providing customers with a "comprobante de pago" --a receipt.

The newscast showed the Taj Mahal which is an Indian Restaurant that I have dined at--it is  owned by a Pakastani--but apart from that, I didnīt hear or see any others I recognized.

Today, on my way to have lunch atNectars, a vegan vegetarian restaurant, I was walking along the river Tomebamaba whenI spotted another restaurant that had been "clausurado"--closed:

According to El Tiempo, the closure remain in effect for 7 days if it is a first offense or 10 days if it is a recurrence.

Bummer. I love the bacon bleu cheese burger there. Hope they resolve the issues.
On another note! Did you hear the news that Dom sold his hostel in Guayaquil? I know we'd had a conversation about the manager there, and you weren't familiar with him? Well, perhaps that was the proverbial writing on the wall. Hope it doesn't dicker up my trip in June.
Cha Cha

PS. I've never gotten a receipt at a restaurant in Cuenca. Is that odd?

Yeah, that was some news this morning, especially the part about how the new hotel in Quito is solely owned by him. So this "Steve" fellow you were referring to may be the new owner--sounds like a gringo. I wonder what his story is.


A couple months ago I was sent a private message on this board by a Wall Street reporter asking me for an interview. I would imagine there were others on this board who were contacted as well. My response to her was that I would be a boring case study, and that the person she should be interviewing is Dom.  I gave her a link to his web page and his email address, so I am curious to see if there will be an article soon.

Firstly, let me thank you for that link w/ the news article. I didn't have that site on my radar. I just had gotten an email from Dom.
As far as the name of the past ( current ?) manager, his name was "Gringo-ized" His last name was Ecuadorian. I hesitate to put it in this thread not knowing his preference.
I am somewhat concerned as I have a paid reservation. I contacted them early this morning, inquiring about my reservation, and the other details I'd talked over with the past ( present ? ) manager. No response as yet. I realize they could be going through a transition period, and it might take a while to get a  response.
Mugs told me to give you a " I love you man ". Another bites the dust. Anyway, he thought well of you, and can be contacted through p.m. I think he has just chosen to not participate in this forum any longer. I also enjoyed his input. Always nice to get a variety of views, and he seemed a pretty discerning individual.
Stay Well,

okay thanks. I must have turned off the p.m. feature after my boycott a few weeks back. That must explain why I havenīt received any anonymous private messages from any women lately.

Mugtech, good luck in your retirment. We will miss your frank assessments of Ecuador and International living. Look us up if you are ever here for a visit.

Hey Nards.

Congrats on your self appointed position.

While you make NO mention of Canadians migrating to Ecuador I am going to live up to my name and perhaps break some unstated law or rule and post here!  hehehehehe

With regards to the milk bags I have a bit of experience with them.  They were VERY popular back in Canada.  We had these special plastic pitchers that they went in before you cut the corner of the bag.  Unless you are very fastidious about your fridge I frankly cannot imagine placing the milk in an open container in the fridge.  But hey that's just me!!!!

Young Lady,
Nards did in fact address that issue. I am not familiar with
" boxed milk ". Nards informed me that he does in fact use a pitcher of some sort for the storing of his milk after opening it. I am sure he is most attentive to the cleanliness of his refer. < grin >
Hope you get some quality sleep tonight. < different conversation >
Cha Cha,

Mistymeaner :

I frankly cannot imagine placing the milk in an open container in the fridge.  But hey that's just me!!!!

Canadians are welcome to post here as well. I had a snit once with a Candadian blogger here in Cuenca over what their lawyer had posted and the way they took the side of their lawyer, but I wonīt hold that against you.;)

As for containers, my pitcher does have a lid. However, since I was worried that it needed to be sealed lid, I googled the topic and read this excellent article on the milk bag on Wikipedia. It does mention their prevalence in Canada.

Pitcher from Wikpedia article:

It never occurred to me to do this: cut corner of bag; leave the milk in the bag; place the bag in the pitcher, and then pour.

Nards you are very funny.  Yes that is the CDN version...the red one you posted.

A snit involving a CDN and a will not need to worry about that with me.  😜

Personally I think the bags are way better than the boxes.  However they don't make them for almond or rice milk so I deal with the boxes.  So hard on the environment.  Yep one of those tree huggin' Canadians!

Have a nice evening!

ZENSPIKE Don't you YOUNG LADY me!   Hehehehehe. 😜

Just read todayīs Gringo Treeīs email:

For the record, GringoTree has 10 times more readers than any other service providing daily posts to the Cuenca and Ecuador expat community. And it's important to point out that all GringoTree subscribers are voluntary sign-ups (we don't spam).

That was a direct shot at their competitor "The Gringo Post" who appears to harvest emails from Gringo Tree ads.

The truth is, I am glad they harvested my email.  As long as they allow me to easily unsubscribe using a link within their email, I donīt have a too much problem with their "spam".

Very odd looking Canada Goose in your forum picture. Is it dressed for Mardi Gras?

Today was cleaning day so I had to occupy myself this morning for 4 hours while the cleaning person was here.

I started out the day by going to the post office and mailing filing Form TD F 90-22.1, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR) to the Internal Revenue Service.  To mail this letter to the United States with tracking cost me $4.00. That seemed higher than in the past, so maybe prices have gone up.

Next, I went to El Cafetal Loja on Mariscal Sucre and slugged down a cup of Joe and ate two humitas.

Then, I went to the public library located on Benigno Malo near Mariscal Sucre to work on my Spanish using an app on my IPOD Touch.

There are no books in this library. Just tables for sitting. You can pay 40 cents an hour for internet if you wish. I didnīt, so I canīt tell you if the bandwidth is any good.

I took some photos of the signs telling you to shut up in Spanish.

After the library I went home, said goodbye to the maid, and I am now warming up my home made lentil soup.

I leave the maid alone, by choice. She is the wife of the security guard in my building. I hide some things or take with me, such as checkbooks.

My spoon almost fell out of my mouth on this post.

I never thought Frangie (the once frugal bloggers) would eat at a place that didnīt cost 3 dollar or less per person for lunch. That steak sandwich lunch must have cost them at least $6.25.

There is a first for everything I guess.

Update: Maybe the people who were with them picked up the tab.

Finally! Some sanity on this forum. Congrats Nard for making an executive decision.

Cuenca Highlife:

After several delays, including one last week, Cuenca’s Parque de la Madre reopens this weekend with three days of festivities.

I got news for Cuencahighlife: It doesnīt qualify as a delay when you were the only media in town reporting it as a fact.

Winter must be coming to Cuenca because I was so cold this morning in my apartment, that I put on a light sweatshirt.

I didnīt buy a spaceheater last year and I am not sure I will this year. In my current apartment I get more sun in the mornings, so maybe that will help.

My next door neighbor has a few of  these in his apartment, if you can believe it.

I see Cuenca Highlife is on the ball at least with the weather change:

Cuenca recorded the lowest temperature of the year on Wednesday morning as the mercury dropped to 2 degrees Celsius (36 degrees Fahrenheit). Under sunny skies, the afternoon temperature rebounded to 24 (76 Fahrenheit), one of the warmest readings of the year.

He also has a few these ugly brackets hanging from his ceiling without any TVs in them.

Part I of II: Milk Baggers of Azuay

This is the prefecto for the province of Azuay, with Cuenca as its capital. He has held this job since January of 2005. Apparently it is an elected position and is similar to what a state governor would be in the U.S.

I think he works in this building which is located at the NE corner of Parque Calderon (central park). Another way to say it is he works for the Prefectura of Azuay.

He has a weekly television called "AJI" (pepper) that appears on channel 25 on Unison. The purpose of the show is to talk about government initiatives and such in the Azuay province.  I am sure Unison is required to put it on the air it for free.

The man loves the milk bag, as do his constituents. Look at the smiles on their facesŅ

Part II, coming up at later date.

Everyone always seems to flee the scene whenever a pedestrian or bicycle is hit.

It doesnīt seem to smart to flee the scene when you are driving a public bus and you leave the bus behind:

New topic