Monday, November 28, 2011

Catching Up

I have been ignoring this Blog for many months now and have had people contact me to ask what is up.  Mostly I just got busy with daily exercise, gardening and other pastimes.  Having said that, I do want to keep in touch with friends.  I have been sending lots of e-mails to family and doing the facebook thing but I have neglected the blog.

The photo above is taken on our terrace that overlooks El Centro on Nov 28th.

In our 5 months in Cuenca we have loved almost everything about the city and its surrounding pueblos.  There are a couple of things that we had some trepidation about when we were doing our research in the year before our move and both of those have come to fruition.  The most significant is the air quality in Cuenca.  We do about two hours a day of walking and Cuenca does not have great air quality.  This is borne out by the data provided in the recent WHO Report on air quality in cities around the world.  That is not to say that it is in the category of Mexico City, Lima or New Delhi but neither is it as good as almost any city in Canada or the US.  The principle problem is the diesel-using heavy vehicles such as buses and trucks.  They have not put the necessary controls on these vehicles or the fuel to limit the pollution.  El Centro is worse than most other areas of the city because of the diesel buses.  I am not reporting anything new here.  Expats have been observing on this for several years - some have decided to live with it and others have decided to move to cleaner air.  We have made the latter decision in favour of our respiratory systems.

The photo above is of the town square in Vilcabamba.

Pending finding appropriate rental accommodation we have decided to move to Vilcabamba.  This would not be a move for people who need the amenities of a city to energize their lives.  Vilcabamba is a pueblo - small town of about 5000 people.  It has a significant foreign population - mostly english speaking.  The air quality is perfect.  The climate is warmer.  The setting is more natural and we have decided, at least for now, that it is a fit.  More to follow on that issue in the future.

We returned to Canada for a fantastic visit with our families last month.  It was a beautiful time of year, Thanksgiving, fall colours etc.  We are thankful for our families and friends - we are working hard to stay close despite the physical distance.  We will have several visits from family in the next 4 months and we feel very blessed that they are wanting to stay connected.

St. Georges Cathedral, Kingston, Ontario in October 2011.

I want to report that after almost a year it looks as if we are going to get our residency visas.  This has been quite an adventure in bureaucracy.  I don't think this is any different in Canada or the US.  Lots of hoops to jump through.  We are happy for the support of our new attorney in Quito, Sofia Altamirano Barriga - highly recommended.  I took a photo last week in Southern Ecuador that speaks to the nature of bureaucratic processes wherever they are.

I made some excuses earlier in this post about why I have not been blogging regularly.  On reflection, I think it is about freedom.  Having been retired for only a year, I am resistant to doing things that I feel obliged to do.  I don't like schedules - for the first time in my life I am trying to live in the moment.  It feels very good!  Best regards, David.


  1. Great to hear from you two! Tomorrow I'm speaking at the University of Cuenca to their tourism department and I'm sure your post will be of interest. My son who recently visited made the same observation "contaminaci├│n" (pollution). We look forward to your posts in Vilcabamba! Un abrazo fuerte -- Connie and Mark

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