Traveling is a lot of work. Listening to stories of travelers often evokes a kind of glamour, but the truth is, the act of traveling can be rather tedious. The process of moving your body and your belongings thousands of miles requires quite some energy and is tiresome. As it turns out, our trip to Ecuador transpired about as smoothly as a journey can.
We were en route for 22 hours from our house to our new digs in Cuenca. We arrived in Quito Friday night at 11:30 p.m. but had to wait overnight until our 6:30 a.m. flight to Cuenca. The layover was made easier because I had rented space in a lounge during the wait. The lounge was in the Quito airport and, while it didn’t have beds, it was furnished with numerous reclining lounge chairs and included snacks, coffee, tea, soda, restrooms, and a quiet atmosphere. Much better than trying to rest in chairs in the airport proper.
Getting to Cuenca took less than an hour and the taxi ride to our apartment took about 15 minutes–and cost $1.50!
Take note: taxis are really cheap in Cuenca. Moreover, Ecuador uses the American dollar as its currency, which it has done since 2000. To bring stability to a then runaway inflation, the country adopted the dollar to stabilize the economy. It caused havoc for a while, and many lost money–some even committed suicide. Ecuador has minted some local coins, which, of course can only be used here. But otherwise, life is made easy for Americans (and probably others) because of Ecuador’s adoption of the dollar.
We found a pleasant second-floor two-bedroom apartment waiting for us, which seems quite adequate. While small, it is nicely appointed and modern, even as it is built in a 100-year-old building. Rent, by the way, is $650 a month. Apartment rents in the city range from about $400 to $1200 per month. Rather inexpensive as vacation rentals go.
Almost immediately, we made our first trek to the supermarket, here called Supermaxi. On the way, we were caught in a downpour; this was a serious pitch fork-and-hammer handles rain. Our umbrellas kept our heads and most of our shoulders dry, but otherwise offered little protection from the deluge. We managed to take shelter for 45 minutes under the overhang of a store front. Cars pulled to the side of the street to wait for the rain to dissipate and water was ran inches deep along the curbs as it looked for the rain sewers.
We laid in some get-started supplies, then on Sunday returned to the grocery store with yet another list of must-have items. The process of settling in is moving forward, and my guess is that by next week we will have a routine of sorts.
I have a part-time job as an editor for a Twin Cities’ company, so I will be telecommuting from Cuenca five days a week. I did this once before from China for a different company in 2012, so I am familiar with the process. I must say, the internet is a remarkable invention insofar as the communications it makes possible. I telecommute from my home in Minnesota. I probably drive to the office three or four times a year. To my coworkers, I am basically a text message on their computer screens. The only difference now is that, instead of being 12 miles away from the office, I am 3,400 miles away.
Check back to Happening Now. I’ll do my best to keep in touch.