Living in Cuenca Ecuador Is Getting Better

| November 2, 2015 | 42 Replies


Living in Cuenca Ecuador

Lizards Just Like Me

Living in Cuenca Ecuador is Fun, Fun, Fun


Living in Cuenca Ecuador has gotten to be so much fun that I forgot to write my blog.

Last time I promised I would see you in two weeks and it has been more than two months.

What can I say?

But I will keep trying and I know if I put my mind to it, I can start posting every two weeks. Thanks for all the nice emails asking where I have been and if I was ever coming back. Those were a great motivator.


Now, how about a couple of real quick stories to start?



My memory has been failing me again. I arrived late to a Halloween party last night. A couple of friends yelled out greetings to me, and then a very nice woman came up and gave me a big welcome hug. She was dressed in a nuns outfit, and it was very realistic.

20151031_142647I then noticed Hank, the host of the party and went over to greet him. We talked for a moment, and then I asked him where his wife was… Yes, you guessed it, she was the nice lady in the nuns outfit that had just given me a hug. I know Evelyn very well. We have met many times, sat and talked before, and been on tours of the city with each other, more than once.

So what’s my excuse this time?

I think it was that nuns outfit. I have a horrible, paralyzing fear of nuns. Priests I don’t mind so much.

But the nuns, they scare the bejesus out of me.



Every once in a while when I am walking Missy, I see a dog doing its business and the owner just ignores the situation and walks off, leaving the poop in the grass. I try not to judge, maybe he forgot his little baggy, or it might be possible he didn’t see what the dog just did.

But today I had a good laugh, because I saw that same guy, and he stepped right in that poop he didn’t pick up yesterday.

And that guy, it was me.


Living in Cuenca Ecuador

Poo, I Don’t Poo. I Just Sit Here and Look Pretty.



This last couple of months has been full of travel. There was a wedding in Chicago, I went back to California for a week, my family came to visit me for 10 days, and it feels like it has been non-stop.

I have a lot of pictures to post and I will let them tell most of the story.

And then there is this short story I am working on. It is my first attempt. Did you know I would be practicing on you. Lets start with that.

Hope you like it.



I’m Scared

Part One

20151001_192801_resizedToday I went apartment hunting in Guayaquil with my good friend, tour guide, and Spanish teacher, Ricardo. He will be living on the street tomorrow if we can’t find him a place to live today. And we are not having any luck.


I met Ricardo about three months ago on line, Facebook, I think. I needed a guide for a coastal tour I was planning for my family, and after many interviews via email and assorted social sites, Ricardo was the one person that seemed to be the most qualified. His English was very good and he had visited the coast many times. He would also be available to show us around Guayaquil if we decided to spend the night there.

But I wasn’t 100% sure. This was a special family visit and I wanted everything to be just right. So, I asked Ricardo if we could become Facebook friends, and if he could help me with my Spanish language learning.

This was my way of double checking. I have trust issues… Remember, I am in Cuenca and this person is in Guayaquil. We have never met face to face.

I was not disappointed. Over the next couple of weeks, I found out that besides taking a full load of college courses, Ricardo was teaching 7 and 8 year old grammar school kids how to speak English and also waiting tables for a local catering company. From what I could see, this guy was legit.

As we shared more information about each other, I found out he was living with a friend but that those living arrangements would be ending soon, as she was probably going to move in with her boyfriend. He would not be able to afford the apartment by himself and he needed to find a smaller, cheaper place.

One afternoon, after texting back and forth in Spanish for about 15 minutes, I asked him what his normal day was like and what he was going to do later that evening. He said he would be staying home and studying because finals were next week.

“Will you watch any TV when you are done with your studies? What are your favorite programs?”

“We don’t have television.”

“Well, what about listening to music or going out with friends?”

“No, all I have is this laptop and it’s my roommate’s. I sneak it out of her room when she is at work. I used to have a smart phone, but I was mugged last month and they stole it…“

I thought to myself, sure you were. No TV, no computer, and no cell phone. How could you be doing all the things you do and not have access to at least a cell phone?

(Don’t you hate how cynical I am? I told you I have issues.)

“Wow, are you ok?”

“Yes, they hit me hard on the head and I had to go to hospital, but I am ok now. I really needed that phone.”

“Hey, get up right now and snap a few pictures of your apartment. I would really like to see where you live.”

“Wow, it looks like the door to your room is broken.”

“When we visit we will fix that for you.”

“Looks like you just have the basic things.”

“I don’t have a lot of extra things George. Only what I need. I have my clothes, and my university text books.”

“Well, what will you do when you move into another apartment?

“It will all work out George. Can we talk about something else now?”

And we did talk about other things, off and on over the next 3 weeks, and then my family arrived in Guayaquil.



Ricardo was supposed to meet us at Guayaquil airport at 1 pm. At 1:20 I was starting to get worried, but a text came that he was running a little late. No problem for me. In Ecuador, being late is to be expected. It gave me a little time to go over some of the cultural differences with my brother Dan, his wife Gail, and their 40 year old son Mark.

And then we decided to forget about the public bus and hired a private van for the five of us. This way we could visit and get caught up.

And we all had a great time, a really really great time. We shared stories for almost 3 hours. This young man was full of stories, and had all of us laughing. He was an instant hit.

Ricardo and my nephew were becoming fast friends and after the first day, he mentioned to Mark that he had a beautiful sister. Mark seemed very interested and within 20 minutes he was texting her.

I remember thinking to myself, this is crazy, what could possibly come of this? Mark lives in Sacramento, California and this girl he is texting, who he has never met, and probably never will meet, lives with her grandmother in Ecuador.

Again, that cynical side I hate so much about myself.

But then I watched Mark spend hours texting and checking his translator, and laughing and smiling. I might even describe what I was seeing as joyful.

And as good as it was seeing my nephew laugh and smile while talking to his new friend, something even better happened later that evening.

The five of us had just gotten back to the hotel after a nice dinner and a long walk along the beach. Once we were settled in our room, Mark started texting his new friend again. I was in the middle bed, on my tablet, checking email and Facebook, and Ricardo was at the far end of the room, half sitting up on his futon, playing with a used cell phone that he had purchased the day before.

Everything was quiet, and then all of a sudden Ricardo started singing. I looked up and he had earbuds stuck in his ears and he was singing some Katy Perry song he had downloaded to his cell phone. My eyes got real big and as I started to chuckle and smile a bit I turned and looked at my nephew. He had the same smile on his face.

“Do you ever feel like a plastic bag, drifting though the wind, wanting to start again…..”  was being sung at a pretty high volume, in English, by this 22 year old Ecuadorian college student with absolutely no inhibitions at all. Of course the full affect came from being there, but I think blissful exuberance describes what I was witnessing, and done with a strange Ecuadorian accent that I can not even begin to describe.

I was in heaven.

And by the time he reached the chorus, both Mark and I had jumped out of our beds and we were dancing around Ricardo and singing at the top of our voices….

“Baby you’re a firework, come on show them what you’re worth, make them go Oh, Oh, Oh, as you shoot across the sky, sky, sky.”


To be continued.




Chicago or Bust


IMG_1051Yes I want to go to Rebecca and William’s wedding. But it’s in Chicago, and I live in Cuenca Ecuador.

But certainly airplanes fly there. And I could combine this trip with a trip to California to see family. What could go wrong?

I won’t go into the details too much, but I missed every single plane after the first one arrived 3 hours late into Quito.

I had to stay in Quito for 24 hours because United could not find any other way to move me out of Ecuador. Then I missed my connection in Houston because of mechanical problems in Quito that caused another 2 hour delay. This is confusing me. I finally arrived in Chicago exactly 30 hours late.

And by the skin of my teeth, I was in time for the Church rehearsal. I had to sponge bath, shave, and change into my suit and slacks in the airport mens room. And I only had 15 minutes to do all this and then meet David outside the terminal for the ride to the Church.

But I did it. Victory was mine on this day, but I was pretty beat up.

It was a spectacular wedding. My life long friends David and Jackie have a beautiful family and wonderful friends. I felt very privileged to have been included in this wonderful celebration.

Now here are a few pictures.



David and Will Just Hours Before the Wedding



The Groom, the Best Man, the Groomsmen, and the Ushers Getting Liquored Up


The Best Man Taking Charge of the Rings

The Best Man Taking Charge of the Rings


These Guys Clean Up Pretty Good

These Guys Clean Up Pretty Good


The Best Man and The Groom

The Best Man and The Groom


Everything Was Perfect on this Beautiful Day

Everything Was Perfect on this Beautiful Day


May I Present William and Rebecca Frye. Fantastic.

Mr and Mrs William and Rebecca Frye.     Fantastic.




California or Bust

I have nothing bad to write about here. This leg of the trip went without a hitch.

The plane was on time, the rental car was ready in Los Angeles, and the drive up to the mountains was all clear. I was very happy to just get home and sleep for 12 hours.

This was a quick turn around. I only had a week to visit so I stayed pretty close to home.

Here are a few pictures. Notice the Cuenca Expats Magazine on the table at the restaurant.

I love my family and friends.


The Oaks Restaurant in Angelus Oaks, California.

The Oaks Restaurant in Angelus Oaks, California.


Sunday Morning Brunch With Family and Friends

Sunday Morning Brunch With Family and Friends


living in cuenca ecuador

I Miss Seeing These Guys Grow Up. One of the Negatives of Living Far Away.




My Family Comes To Ecuador


Here is what I am going to do. My neck and back are in need of rest and I want to get this posted in the next hour.

Here are a couple of preview pictures of the family visit, but the entire story will come in the next post.


Guayaquil Was More Fun Than We Thought It Would Be

Guayaquil Was More Fun Than We Thought It Would Be


living in cuenca ecuador

Don’t Ask….   Ecuador George is Very Popular With The Younger Crowd


And I will have the second part of my short story. I would tell you more about it, but I haven’t written it yet… I wonder how it ends???

And I have a story about that secret agent I met on the last flight I took between Miami and Quito. You might find it very interesting.


You know I love your comments. And subscribe to this blog, I’m only about 25 away from hitting the 2000 mark.

And thanks for sticking around. I really appreciate it.


Tags: , , ,

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

Comments (42)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

Sites That Link to this Post

  1. Retirement Faux Pas - Ecuador George : Ecuador George | November 24, 2015
  1. Joanne says:

    Can’t wait for the end of the story George! Glad to see you writing again.

    • Joanne,
      I am working on the writing thing, and on the learning Spanish thing too. They are both coming along slowly.

      Now I need figure out and ending… This writing thing is challenging. Thanks for the comment.


      • Joanne says:

        LOL, I keep asking myself will I ever understand enough Spanish to read the newspaper. I don’t worry so much about speaking it, but reading and writing I think will be the death of me.

    • marc says:

      Hello George,

      I would like to introduce myself to you. My name is Marc and I have been an avid fan of your blog for a while. It’s so informative and an enjoyable read – you have a great sense of humor.

      George, my partner, Nicholas, and I are looking to move to Ecuador in the next year or two, specifically to Cuenca, assuming of course that we are as able to fall in love with the place, the people and culture as deeply in person during a short three month stay, as we have just reading about Ecuador, looking at photographs and watching videos on YouTube.

      I was pleasantly surprised just now to discover that we are almost neighbors in a way. I am guessing based on your last recent entries, that you have a residential connection of sorts with Angelus Oaks in S. California. We live close by in Crestline, very near to Lake Gregory. I am currently still commuting to my job with the city of Los Angeles for now. Is Angelus Oaks your pied-a-terre in the USA?

      I’m not sure if you are still in California, or if not when you will next be here, but if you’re open to it, I would love to invite you out for a coffee or tea, maybe a light lunch to discuss any pointers you could give us about making a potential move (we are planning on becoming residents eventually – as domestic partners).

      Looking forward to your reply. All my sincere best wishes to you for 2016 and your on-going adventure in Ecuador.

      Yours Sincerely,


  2. Bill Koch says:

    You are having way too much fun George. Always enjoy your writings. Be well. Jan and I hope to visit again soon. Regards to Alberto.

  3. Jim says:

    And all this time I thought Jim Morrison was the Lizard King

  4. Sharon says:

    Hi George, Really fun to read you both here and in the mag, I love your stories. When you write, it’s like a conversation with friends, all cozy and warm. Did Ricardo find a place to live?
    My dog, Honey, and I just moved to a new apartment off 1 de Mayo, west of LasAmericas, maybe we’ll spot you and Missy on a Rio walk.
    Happy ‘conversing’ :))

  5. phoebe says:

    Well, George, you certainly made it worth waiting and it´s so good to see how happy you are. We haven´t seen you look this great for a long time. Wonderful. Sure we want to hear how it turned out with Ricardo and whether he was really legit. Missy is, of course, adorable as always. But don´t make us wait again this long before you get the drums thumping.

  6. Jim says:

    Georgie (you’ll probably love or hate being called Georgie),

    Glad to read your postings again. After much research and thought my partner and I decided against moving to Ecuador as we found a dream home in the Gold Country of California and she loves it. Your postings are the only South American connection we have as we enjoy your writing so much.

    If you get back to posting every two weeks you’ll get more comments and reach your goal, just an incentive (self serving I might add). Keep it up.

    Hugs, Jim

    • jim, I will do my best to post more often. And thanks for continuing to be a member of this blog even though you are not moving to Ecuador. I love that. Enjoy California my friend. George

  7. George –

    Always good to get your posts and read your writings. They offer a unique flavor and perspective on things that is much appreciated by the community.

    My plans solidify – a flight to Quito in late February, a few days there bopping around, then a week in Cuenca bookended by the bus ride to and the flight back, and then a couple more days in Quito before the trip home.

    An old friend has a friend who rents apartments in Cuenca, so it is looking like Gail and I might use that as a base for our wanderings. If this goes well, then a move there down the road a bit.

    It has been great fun thinking through this trip and reading your blog and the posts of others. Having fun seems like a great idea, too.


    • Scott,
      Please look me up when you and Gail get to Cuenca. I would love it if you could buy me a cup of coffee. Hahahahaha.

      Sounds like you are doing it right. That bus ride might be interesting. I rode the bus once from Quito to Cuenca. Glad I did it once, but would not do it again.

      Thanks for reading. See you both when you get here.


  8. Tom Gallagher says:

    Another excellent job George, thanks for all the insights and advice.

  9. Glenn Williams says:

    Hi George, I’ve been lurking around (following your blog) for a year or so and have been very interested in visiting Ecuador, perhaps more than a visit later. My wife and I would like to plan a trip to Ecuador towards the end of December 2105, first part of January, but we just don’t know where to start. We would like to concentrate on the coastal areas and generally prefer to avoid the crowds and see the “real” country, not the tourist “stuff”. Any pointers would be greatly appreciated.



    • Glenn Williams says:

      That should have been December 2015… Sorry about the typo…


    • Glen,
      Fly into Guayaquil and stay for a day to look around. Stay near the Malacon.

      Then grab transport, either a private van or the public bus and head out to either Salinas, Montanita, or Olon, or all three. From there get to Puerto Lopez for a day or two. Then turn around and come to Cuenca for at least 3 days.

      That is what I would do if it were my first time all over again. Good luck and please email me with any questions or just keep posting here and I will answer your questions so everyone else can see.


      • Glenn Williams says:

        Thanks for the reply George,

        We are finalizing plans; we will be flying into Guayaquil and heading to Olon shortly thereafter. Any specific recommendations on where to stay in Guayaquil? We plan on staying at the Sea Garden House in Olon and anything could happen from there. Getting pretty excited…

  10. Sheila says:

    Hey George! Great post and I’ll miss seeing you. Our lunch was great and I hope we can visit again some day! Take care!


  11. Suparna says:

    Enjoyed your post George. Waiting to read the 2nd part.


  12. George says:

    I have been a subscriber for awhile. Looking forward to the end of the story. Hope all is well.

    • George,
      Glad to hear that you are a subscriber. Thanks for reading and commenting on my little short story. I hope it will lead me to writing a book some day, and I hope that some day is soon.


  13. Dietra Shorter says:

    I have been reading your postings for some time and have enjoyed them.
    My partner and I will be in Cuenca in Feb 2016 and will leave April 1st.
    We are looking to rent a 2 bedroom furnished apt . We rented a lovely studio in Cuenca last February but we do need more room as we are staying longer . The person from whom we rented does not offer 2 bedroom apts .
    If you know the name of a reputable agency or owner that you could provide us with, we would be most appreciative. It can be very difficult trying to locate an apt when your in the states and not sure where to turn. Thank you so much George

  14. Dustin says:

    Great post George! You are a great writer!

    • Ecuador George says:

      And Dustin, you are a good friend to say that. Thanks for reading the blog. If you want, I can put you on my blog roll… George

  15. James Lannon says:

    Hi George, nice to have you back. Seeing your email come in is always a ray of sunshine on my day. Thanks JL

  16. Ronnie says:

    Good evening George,

    I would like to start to thank you for the wonderful stories you posting about you are experiences in my country and hope that you keep enjoying our country and the good stories keep growing. I was born in Ecuador (Guayaquil) and moved to the states when I was 13 yrs old and currently live in Miami Florida. It has been several years since my last time visiting Ecuador but lately the thoughts of moving back to Ecuador are growing and growing. After reading your posts, the finally decision was chosen so I am moving. My biggest concerned was my sexual orientation and the location where can be more acceptable. Your posts were very helpful and I am looking forward to my big change.

    • Ecuador George says:

      Cuenca has a very young gay nightlife. If you are older like me it is pretty tough to meet people your own age. Guayaquil and Quito are very active and have a large gay population. Good luck to you.


      • Ronnie says:

        Thanks for the reply George. I am turning 40 next week. I was thinking of Quito. I probably go in few months to Quito to check around. I never been in Quito. I was born in Guayaquil and I know Salinas, Manta, The Galapagos, and Ambato.

  17. Fiona says:

    Too much fun. Looking forward to the secret agent man episode

Leave a Reply