Ecuador Is Great

| March 20, 2016 | 45 Replies

Ecuador Is Great… But Now What?


Did I ever mention to you that next year I plan on doing some world travel. This was my original plan when I moved to Cuenca, but I needed to get that first 2 years of residency in before I could be out of Ecuador for more than 90 days.

This Is Italy

This Is Italy

But what do I mean when I say world travel?

And will I still be Ecuador George, or will I be España George, or maybe Italia George?

Nothing will change. I will still be George and my blog site will still be Ecuador George, but my reports will be coming to you from all over the world.

Of course I will touch down in Ecuador on a regular basis, but for the next 2 years, 2017 and 2018, I am hoping to have extended stays in Spain, France, and Italy, and I might do a little traveling into Malaysia and Mexico. I might even do a tour of the United States for a few months, maybe the east coast.

Who knows, it is all just in the planning stages right now, but I thought I should let you know.

As for this year, nothing will change. I will continue to travel around Ecuador and next week I will be in the United States and will tour the coast of California from Laguna Beach up to San Francisco. Later this year I will be going into the Amazon. Maybe some of you would like to go along.

So looks like my travel goal is going to be realized soon. But what about those other goals I set? How are those coming along?


From Fat George To Not So Fat George

When I moved here in 2014 I was 248 pounds, but today I am dancing in at about 215. Ecuador has that affect on a lot of people. Of course I feel a lot better now, but 195 is my ultimate goal.

And I need to firm up. I have resorted to leaving the lights out when I shower. I make the dog leave the room when I’m getting dressed. And I only date people with failing eyesight or ones who are legally blind. It has really gotten pretty bad.

So I finally joined a gym… and it is the best thing I’ve done for myself in a long time. And I bought a bicycle. And I’m riding it.

Maybe you want to work out with me???

If getting into shape is one of your goals, and you live near Remigio Crespo between Solano and Loja, we could do it together. This gym I found is new, it’s clean, the owners are great, and it is actually fun. (and no, I don’t get free months if you join).

Losing weight is hard. I thought learning Spanish was going to be the difficult task, but this last 20 pounds might be my biggest challenge to date.

Progress, not perfection. And I am making progress in both areas. My Spanish is coming along ever so slowly, but I am seeing improvement every day.

But lets not get off the subject of that Gym Membership…


Spartan Gym

I joined this place for a couple reasons. Convenience, as it is only a 15 minute walk from where I live, I have friends already at this gym, the price is really good ($72 for 3 months), and everything is almost brand new and the place is really clean. Spartan Gym is also very close to one of Cuenca’s colleges so the clientele are very young and healthy, and very friendly and helpful too. I find this very motivating… And not in a dirty old man way either.






The first day I joined I had a talk with one of the owners, Cesar, and told him what I was trying to accomplish. He then took 2 hours of his day to show me around, teaching me a good routine for increasing stamina and losing weight. I offered to pay him when he was done, but he would not take my money. And the other owners and employees are just as attentive. If you want help, they are right there. If you want to be left alone, no problem. I really like this place.

12795328_1540761232883688_4768943883969293948_nSo who wants to come work out with me?

Spartan Gym is located just off of Remigio Crespo. If you know where the Subway is, and JEP, well, it is within a block or two of those landmarks, a couple of blocks west of Solano. The address is Remigio Tamariz 337 and Agustin Cueva in Cuenca.

If you have any questions, call them at 098 3092511 or 099 17336511.  I’ll even meet you there if you need a little moral support.



La Yunta

I play poker every week with a group of friends. These are very special guys who asked me to join their group about 9 months ago. I had no idea that most of them were small business owners here in Cuenca. And I had no idea how quickly we would become close friends.






These are all well known business people, and I have been to each of their shops. Jim Gould is the owner of La Yunta Tienda and Cocina, along with his partner and wife, Soledad. If you want rustic furniture, this is the best place in Cuenca to go. And if you like authentic Ecuadorian food, their kitchen will cook it up in the same store. That’s right, furniture and food, what a great combination. Located 10 miles outside of Cuenca on the Panamericana Highway. Call them for directions 0989456551 or just Google “La Yunta”.

You will not be disappointed.







12342401_956402734439316_8444278030032172453_nBut this place is more than just that. These are community minded people, and I have been to more than a few events at La Yunta. This is a place you will want to take your time visiting, meet Jim and Soledad, and enjoy an hour looking around their very beautiful store.

Then sit down and order up some great food. Let them know I sent you. I get free refills if you do. Hahaha.



California Here I Come

The-QueensTomorrow I leave for California. I will spend about a week in my mountain cabin and then we are going to tour the coast from Laguna Beach all the way up to San Francisco. We will have many stops along the way including a nights stay on the Queen Mary in Long Beach.

Now don’t tell anyone, because this is a surprise, but a good friend is going to get us into the Facebook facility up near the bay area. There is a rumor that this place is spectacular. If they let me take pictures, I will have them on the next blog post.

Of course we will stay two days in San Francisco, so expect to see pictures of all the iconic landmarks in that beautiful city. My brother and sister will be joining me on this little coastal tour, and there will also be a surprise guest. Can you guess who it might be. This person had to jump through some hoops in order to make this trip, but with a little help from some friends and sponsors, we got it worked out. No, I am not telling. But my Facebook pictures might give it away over the next week or so. But I will have the whole story for you next time.

Don’t you love surprises?


Another One Of My Lists

You must know by now I love to make lists. I write down little comments and story ideas all the time. Then I put them in a list and pick one of the items to write about. So, here is the list and I hope I have time to write a story. It is midnight and I still have to pack. So, the list tonight and then a story tomorrow morning before I leave… Maybe I will have time to write two stories.


  • I wish I could write some better words that no one has ever heard.
  • Am I insecure because I care what people think?
  • That smell reminds me of my grandmother’s basement.
  • If you have an experience, then you have a subject to wrote about.
  • Lover or hater, which one are you?
  • The accidental ugly American.
  • The anatomy of a story.
  • The elephant in the room might be you.
  • The Boy Scout badges story.
  • My dog died tonight.
  • My next step in the right direction doesn’t have to be a big one.
  • Making mistakes is always better than faking perfections. (stole this from somewhere)
  • Embarrassing those negative thoughts could destroy them.
  • Do you post misinformation? Are you a hate spreader?
  • Yesterday my friend question my ability to maintain a relationship.
  • When did your smile start looking like your grandpas?
  • I have doubts.
  • Camping and holding it for 3 days.


Bless you my child. (But I Have Doubts)

Today we are going to be looking for my soul, and maybe we will go looking for yours too. Soul searching is todays topic. Filling up that black hole with good stuff so there is no more room for the bad.

Lets explore all those questions that you may have silently asked yourself but have never been able to come up with a definite answer. Maybe the answer is gratitude, love, and an open mind. And maybe we over think things a bit… This will not be for everyone. And I am not taking sides with this. I am just thinking out loud. And my thoughts and ideas change almost every day. Please don’t assume you know my religious beliefs because of these words…

I think this might be my first poem….


I Have Doubts

I believe in good. I believe in God.

I don’t believe in God. I have doubts.

The embrace is very telling.

What part of the good book do you embrace?

The love part or the hate part?

Is life a test? Is this heaven right now? Is this hell?

Is life what we make of it?

Eternity seems like such a long long time.

But why would we be here if this is all there is?

Does believing make your life better or worse?

I might say a prayer for others. That is a good thing.

And I might whisper for a little help, but then I do the work.

Hello God, are you there? I think I feel you sometimes.

But then I have those doubts.

What kind of person are you?

How do you start your day? Are you grateful or are you fearful. Are you sad because you’re old or are you happy for a full and long life? What kind of self talk do you have? Are you finished or are you just getting started? Do you think about everything you don’t have or are you grateful for all that you do have?

Have you noticed a little bit of poison getting stirred up lately while listening to all this political rhetoric? A lot of my friends are experiencing discomfort. It really is ugly to watch what is happening. Lots of fear and anger. It is like a bad car accident. It’s hard to turn away from it. It makes me upset if I watch it for too long.

It’s funny, because I have a daily ritual for staying mentally healthy. But as hard as I work at this, I still have some of that awful stuff creep into my head now and again. But I kick it out the minute I see it happening. Staying in gratitude is my only hope for a fantastic life. If I let myself be influenced by all the crazy that is going on in the world, it will drag me down into that dark place.

Don’t go there. Nothing good has ever come from that place. For me, I turn off the television and turn on some music. In a matter of minutes I am usually dancing around the kitchen.

“I cannot control everything that happens to me; I can only control the way I respond to what happens. In my response is my power.”



Ok, that is it for this time. Got pretty deep there for a minute. Hope I didn’t harm anyones sensibilities. And I hope you didn’t misinterpret these stories to be about religion and politics, because they were not meant to be.

They were about acceptance, about keeping an open mind, they were about saying it is ok to question things, to change your mind, and then to change it back again if you want. They were about doing your best to stay above the fray and out of that dark place.


Next time I will have a thousand pictures to show you. And come to the gym with me. We can get fit together.

Friend me on Facebook and take that coastal tour in real time…

And if you have any questions or comments, leave them below.


Until next time….


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Category: Living in Ecuador, Retiring in Ecuador, Visiting Ecuador

Comments (45)

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  1. Bonnie MacPherson says:

    if you are planning to go to venice while in italy, be sure to do that first. in 1987, a greek architect told me how venice was built- it’s built on (similar to) telephone poles banded together and now, they are sinking! if you look at some old pictures, and then at some new, you will see some front doors are actually touching the water line! just the same, it’s a great place to visit! have a blast! xo

    • George says:

      My plan is to stay for 90 days in each country. Hoping I will be able to travel from that home base to nearby towns to get a feel for the country I am visiting. I hope 90 days will be a long enough time. Of course Venice is at the top of my list. Just starting to look at all the choices. So many beautiful places to see.


      • Ed S. says:

        Hello. And don’t miss “Bella Firenze” (Florence) and the Amalfi coast (Sorrento is fab). The Italians are wonderful people but like you I think the world is a mirror a lot of the time and what you put out gets reflected back. Enjoy your travels!

        Best Regards,
        Ed S.

        P.S. really liked and related to your last post.

  2. Todd says:

    Good on you George for hitting the gym. Looks like a younger crowd that will give you incentive to keep up! I am part of a work out group here in Bahia composed mostly of locals. I go with my 25 yo son who is closer to the mean age of the group (I’d say 30ish). I’m usually the last guy running along the beach, down the street, or up the hills but so far I haven’t had a heart attack or broke my hip ;-P

    Have fun on your trip to the States! Looks like a good time.


    • George says:

      The younger crowd is a great motivator. And they are so helpful and curious about the old gringo. So far, I am really enjoying it. Wish my back liked it as much as I do. Have fun in Bahia.


  3. Dale Morris says:

    This was a very nice blog. I enjoyed it and look forward to the next one. Have a safe and wonderful trip! I think I MIGHT know who the surprise guest is? See you soon.

    • George says:

      Don’t give it away. We are having a great time and I am really enjoying how my special guest is soaking it all in.

      We go to Universal Studios tomorrow with brother Bill and his wife Jodean and my nephews Justin and Joseph. That should be an incredible experience.

      Thanks for the nice comment. See you soon.


  4. emily johnson says:

    You look pretty good, George, in the gym picture. My partner, Mark, and I are coming to Ecuador in late summer. Sorry we’ll miss you.

    • Ecuador George says:

      I will still be in Cuenca in September. Please look me up and we will have coffee or lunch.


  5. Wynne Wilson says:

    George, I love your blog and always enjoy reading it. I just wondered what will happen to your lovely dog while you do all this travelling? Perhaps that is the surprise??? I am happy that you are planning such great trips and also enjoying your gym regime.
    Wynne Wilson
    British Columbia, Canada

    • Ecuador George says:

      That is a very good question. Missy will go to her other daddy when I leave for this travel adventure. She will have the best care and companionship while I am out of the country. I will certainly miss her, but there is no way she could travel with me safely. Thanks for asking.


  6. Karen Manetta says:

    I really hope you have an opportunity to visit Kuala Lumpur and Malaysia. Every time I see a picture of the Petronas Towers at night, it simply takes my breath away. I did some research on it for a story I was writing and fell in love.

  7. Brenda Peters says:

    I look forward to all of your posts, and love your writing style. Glad you’re off and enjoying more adventures. I have to ask though, after reading your lists, Missy is ok, right?

    • Ecuador George says:

      Missy is fine and out at the ranch for two weeks. One of my goals with my writing is to dig way down to a common experience that many of us share and then have you laughing out loud, or thinking real deep, or maybe I could take you to tears. The dog story is my way of taking the reader to tears.

      Just me having some fun. Thanks for the nice comment and for reading the blog.


  8. Eva says:

    Have a great trip, George! And many more to come. I’m heading back after 3 years here in Ecuador,to continue having fantastic life between birth and death. I’ll keep reading your blog, love it and wish you well!

    • George says:

      Will we see each other before you go? I hope so. If not, have a great trip back. Hope everything happens just the way you want it or on this adventure you are taking. Love you. George

    • eslanda says:

      Dear Eva,
      I see that you are leaving Ecuador. And I have been dreaming and preparing myself to moving to Cuenca for the rest of my life. I love Cuenca, and so did you, I guess. Why did you give up on staying? Was it your intention to have just some time spent in Ec.? I want permanency, and what I have experienced and saw in Cuenca made me sure I want to live there. I have a condo in Moscow, Russia, where I lived until I was 40. Then I moved to the US, but I do not want to grow old here. 26 years has been enough, for many reasons.
      so, what made you change your mind? Are you retirement age? do you have family in the States that you miss being close to? I need to know why people change their mind, for me to think over. I hate renting, and I decided to buy my condo in Cuenca first, so I could have a real home. Might be a big mistake, if I don’t forsee possible complications. (Language will be the last of my worries, I can communicate pretty well).
      Please, find time to respond, it will be greatly appreciated.

    • Eva, if I might be so bold as to pry into your business, could you tell me why you are leaving Ecuador? Thanks for any info. Dorothy

  9. Deborah Blomberg says:

    George: so glad you will continue your posts during your world travels. If you feel a little daring there is a wonderful zip-line in the redwood canopy of the Sanra Cruz mountains. I was there in October and the zip lining was terrific, I am close to your age and will go back and do it again. The smell and sight of the huge redwoods was so liberating. Safe travels!

    • George says:

      We will be looking for this ziplines. That is about as daring as I get, other than walking around Guayaquil after dark. Sounds wonderful. I will post pictures if we find the place. Thanks for the tip. George.

  10. Craig says:

    For a quick blog post “out the door in 3 minutes” this one was great! You have a real talent for this and I really do enjoy reading your blog. Have a great time in the US and I, along with many others, look forward to hearing of your future adventures… maybe even a visit to some of the wonderful places to see you.
    Be safe out there and soak up some Costco and Trader Joes while in Cali.
    Later dude

    • George says:

      Do I know you? You sound like a very good find of mine. I have already visited Costco and Trader Joes is also on my list. Thanks for the nice comment. Glad you like the blog.


  11. Deb says:

    I enjoy your posts, but must say that I really enjoyed your introspective on self doubt and trying to keep a good outlook. Thanks so much for sharing, you have a great way with words. Enjoy your journeys.

  12. Kathy Leveque says:

    Hi George: I typed a chapter in reply to your wonderful blog and then I lost it. If you somehow got it let me know. Loved your blog glad you’re in the gym. Exercise is Medicine. Remember that.
    You know that I was raised a very , very strict Catholic and then of course somehow I ended up having 3 divorces. talked to a priest who was wonderful and who said that as far as he was concerned none of those marriages were valid as my 3 husbands didn’t live up to any of their vows. I struggled with the guilt for years but now I am of the opinion that we have our heaven and hell here on earth. I feel that when we die we just pass through the veil and into a place of Love and peace. Love & Blessings. Kathy

  13. Jo says:

    Hey, George!
    Your travel plans to Europe and wherever sound so exciting! I, too, was starting to plan some extended travel to Europe, but came across the 90 day limits for EEC and Schengen countries. The way I understood it was that you could spend 90 days in the EEC or the Schengen countries, then had to be out any EEC or Schengen country for 90 days before you were eligible for a second 90 day Visa to any EEC or Schengen country. Does that make sense? What restrictions have you come across?
    Thanks, and Keep on Writing!

  14. George,
    Glad to see you are traveling. BTW before I forget, my wife and I were married on the Queen Mary in Long Beach.

    Europe is such a great place and I am sure you will love it. I haven’t really found any country that wasn’t superb. Don’t rule out the eastern Europe countries if you were planning on only western countries like you mentioned.

    We loved Budapest, Vienna and Prague and I hear Romania is fantastic and inexpensive currently. Best of luck amigo and glad to see you are losing weight. That is my biggest challenge this year. #safetravels.

  15. Donna says:

    “My dog died last night”. Please tell me this is not about Missy!

  16. Lollie Hoxie says:

    You sound happy. Like you are on a mission and it’s great fun for you. So much better than last time. Makes me feel good to read about your plans to travel. You’re absolutely right about gratitude. And I really believe in that law of attraction concept. I bring to me what I think about. So, for me, to focus on the fun parts, planning, moving forward, giving back allows me to experience joy. I know, it sounds so airy fairy.. but it works! Keep going there George. Love, Lollie in Vilcabamba. ps. God I want to go to Italy! And Ireland!

  17. I really look forward to reading each and every one of your blogs. You write well and think deep. Looking forward to reading more about your adventures around the world. I’ve always wanted to go to Venice and take a tour of the back canals and boathouses. Keep up the good works and enjoy every moment!

  18. Colette says:

    Love how you think and doubt and try to stay in light-filled space.
    I hope to join you for something in the fall. Thanks for all the tips. Best wishes on your voyage.

  19. Kimberly says:

    Fun to find you on the web, George. I’m doing just the opposite of you — am currently wrapping up 2 months in Italy and am planning on Cuenca next. Thought it would be a fun place to spend a few months or so.
    I based in Florence and have really enjoyed the city. Best keep at the gym action tho — the morning pastries with cappuccino and the afternoon gelatos can add up!


  20. Fiona Patin says:

    Ao glad to hear that Missy will be taken care of. When I first read your post I was concerned you don’t seem like a disposable pet person. Glad she will be with her other half.
    Have a great time and keep posting

  21. Billy says:

    Thank you for another thought provoking, inspiring tour of the human experience and the English language. As mama woild say your blog is “…like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”
    Almost everything I have read about Cuenca makes it soind like a near perfect place to retire. I am planning an exploratory trip to Cuenca, probably in late May or June. Will you be in town at that point? It would be great to meet you and some of the other expats.
    Enjoy your travels in the US. Be safe.


    George – I am not sure how to reach you other than this, since I am just a follower of your blog. I hope you are okay and that your friends and loved ones in Ecuador are okay. Sending love and prayers to Ecuador after the earthquake.

  23. Brenda Peters says:

    Same worries as Suzanne. Are you ok? What is needed, how can we help? Sending love your way and to the wonderful people of Ecuador.

  24. Rob says:

    Everything OK? (It has been 4 months since your last post.)

  25. edlfrey says:

    I started reading from the beginning and just became current today. We have very little in common other than a love of Ecuador. I certainly do not have enough money to live the way you have been.

    Having said that I am sorry to see that you have quite blogging. I’ll come back again in a few months and see if you have resolved your ‘issues’.

  26. Kevin says:

    What’s going on? Why no more blog entries? I’m thinking the downside to moving to Equador may be coming into play now. Wish we could get an update.

  27. Rob says:

    Hola George. It has been a year since your last post. You indicated that you planned to resume writing so I have been checking regularly. If that is no longer the case, please let me know, and I will take you off the list of blogs that I follow. Hope you are doing well! I have very much enjoyed your contributions and have shared a lot of your information with others over the last few years! Have a great day! Rob

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