Thursday, July 29, 2010

Rainy Days & Thursdays

We are into our third day of rain. Well, that gives us an excuse to be lazy and stay home, reading spy novels and writing on the blog. Not so bad I guess. Well, not so bad at all actually. On this trip, Gil has already managed to read 8 books and is on his 9th (Tom Clancy, Robert Ludlum, and authors such as that) and I've read 4 similar books. Okay now, you must give me a break. I did sleep four days due to two bouts of fever. (I'm fully recovered now, by the way.) I will freely admit that he is a much faster reader than I am. (Although, depending on the book, he will skip chapters, giving him an unfair speed advantage.)

Anyway, a hearty thank you to our wonderful landlords Rich & Nancy for having such a fun selection of entertaining books available to us. By the way, Rich & Nancy have a blog on their experiences of living in Cuenca. Once I figure out how to "link" to it, I'll do that here. In the meantime, you can view it at:

I should also thank Carolina's Bookstore in El Centro, from where it appears most of the books came. We met Carol, who is the owner of this English language bookstore. She's just lovely and has lots of information to share.

Remember the beautiful Tomebamba river that runs outside of our apartment? Here's a picture of it that was taken one day last week after a few days of sunshine, without even a sprinkle of rain. Note the rocks along the river bank. Don't you just love mountain rivers?

Here's the Tomebamba after two days of rain. Not torrential downpours here in Cuenca, but a fairly steady rain all day. What happened to the rocks? Gone, gone, gone under a deep, raging river. It truly must be pouring up in the Andes where Cuenca's four rivers originate.

Here's a closer view. No sign of the rocks anywhere. There are also rocks in the middle of the river. Some of them are quite large. They've gone missing too, as you can see.

It's wild, I tell you, wild. We've been assured that it cannot come over its banks and cross the highway. Supposedly, in the past, it would overflow, but now there are flood controls in place. In any event, we are glad this apartment is on the second floor!

Of course, the rain has its advantages. Gil had a field trip the other day (literally) taking pictures of flowers along the banks of the Tomebamba as we returned from one of our outings into El Centro. Here are just a few of the pictures of the beautiful flowers that my talented photographer husband took that day.

And let's not forget the beautiful Parque Calderon. Where would it be without the rain to nourish its gorgeous gardens?

And of course, the stormy cloud cover, once the rain stops, makes for some beautiful, fiery sunsets.

We are hoping the rain will stop soon though, because we have only 8 days left after today on this trip to Cuenca. We will be coming back, but we love it here and hate to leave.

By the way, for technical, legal reasons, we have decided not to purchase the condo and instead will get our residency through investing in a CD at an Ecudorean bank, and then renting. Since we are running out of time, we will probably just look for a rental when we return.

What reasons you ask for not buying? Well, one reason is that we've heard horror stories about people not getting what they thought they were getting once they got their deed. Like terraces. People think they've bought a condo with a terrace, and then a year later when they finally get a copy of the deed (sometimes deeds take awhile to actually appear [we've heard some took five years] so you don't get to see it before you pay), they find out the terrace doesn't belong to the condo, instead it is the roof of the place below and they have to jump through hoops, and spend more money to get the right to use the terrace. There are other legal issues as well. Just too much that is unknown, and so we decided not to risk our retirement funds on a purchase right now. And things are different here, and you can't always know what questions to ask. We asked a lot, researched a lot, but there were just some things that until you are in the thick of it, you don't find out.

Anyway, we loved the condo and are sorry that in the end we could not go through with the deal. But we are happy with our decision (in consultation with our immigration attorney) to proceed with the CD option for residency.

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