Stories from Cuenca

What Dan Learned at the Dentist


Dan’s dentist, Pamela. Unfortunately he didn’t get a picture of Alex.

Dan met a young man named Alex, who was the translator at the dentist office.  Alex’s family had moved from Ecuador to New Jersey when he was 4.  He’d grown up there, and then moved back to Ecuador when he was 18 because New Jersey was just too violent.  Alex was a boxer in New Jersey, so he knew how to fight, but he grew to feel that everyone in New Jersey was thinking about either gun violence or physical violence all the time.  He’s now been in Cuenca for several years, and he feels so relaxed and peaceful here.  It’s interesting because the high walls, iron gates, barbed wire, and electric fences guarding all property in Ecuador leave a feeling of barely constrained theft and violence.

Yes they have Zumba in Cuenca! But they call it Bailoterapia

Cuenca has  the coolest city wide program.

Bailotherapy Class

It is called Bailoterapia,   which means dance therapy.  Every single day, at 7 am and 8 pm across multiple city parks, the city offers free Bailoterapie classes.  These are basically aerobics and Zumba combinations.  The choreography is not extremely fancy, but the classes are fun and great exercise  at this altitude! (Whew!)  It would be possible to take 14 classes a week for free!

A Note on Grocery Shopping

Now here are some scenes you just won’t

Vegetable area of market is full of color and light.

Vegetable area of market is full of color and light.

find in a U.S.  grocery market!   Some scenes are very colorful and endearing.  But some would convert any die-hard meat eater to a more vegan lifestyle!  We have shopped in some local markets, but we have our limits!

Meat area of the market.  Interestingly, there were no flys.
Meat area of the market. Interestingly, there were no flies, but the smells were shall-we-say strange. 
We saw one of the vendors eating a salad for lunch.

A couple of cow's heads, upside down.  What would you do with these?

Char’s Weight Loss Program

  1. Travel to South America.
  2. Eat a salad, in a restaurant which looks like it caters to gringos, in a fairly large and sophisticated city, so it would appear the lettuce is “OK”.
  3. This is a very effective program.  Within 5 hours the weight loss begins.   And the effects last for several days!  Unfortunately it’s not a program you want to repeat very often!

Really?  Macy’s in Cuenca?

We were walking in Cuenca when Char saw this, and got really excited:

Char got pretty excited and started running when she saw this Macy's sign in the distance.

Char couldn’t believe there was a Macy’s in Cuenca so checked this sign out.

Unfortunately, when we drew closer she saw this:

When we got closer this is what we found.

When we got closer this is what we found.


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