A New Kind of Blog

There is a world of information about Ecuador. It is one of the most popular countries for people who want to retire to a place where the dollar goes much farther than in the US, a place for adventuresome families who want to experience a new language and exciting culture. However, much of what you read or hear does not touch on the practical, the problematic, or the local information necessary to make things work. There are many blogs which are basically daily diary’s from people who live here. But this blog will be different. We know how hard it is to get accurate and timely information. We have been through it. All of us who live here have learned step by step and we question whether it is necessary to have every newcomer reinvent the wheel. We hope this blog will help shorten the learning curve. There are many hurdles but all are surmountable. What is required is patience, an understanding of local ways, and a realization that you are going to live in a country which is not the same as the US, Canada, or Britain. Our choice was to live in the wonderful city of Cuenca in the Southern Sierra but this may not be your decision and you will therefore have to look further to find the answers you need for different areas like the coast or the Amazon. Please realize that all the suggestions and ideas are based on our experiences. Ecuadorian regulations change rapidly and must be checked before you make any investments or major decisions. Please email us at Sailorburr@gmail.com and let us know if you have any questions or comments.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Exercise in Cuenca

Another question we had prior to coming to Cuenca was if there was a good gym where we could exercise. A gym didn’t seem necessary with all the walking we do but exercise at a gym was a real habit with us. Cuenca is a city of hills, steep steps and is located at about 8000 feet elevation. All this tends to make even walking a pretty strenuous activity. When we first arrived we were concerned about altitude sickness and even had our North Carolina physician prescribe medication to prevent a reaction to living at a high altitude. This was totally unnecessary as we acclimated almost immediately, even when we stayed in Quito which is at about 10,000 feet. However, more strenuous exercise than walking takes a while to get used to. Running or climbing the 50 steps up to the city or even hiking in the mountains, makes even the most fit person, stop to catch their breath. After living at sea level for almost all of our lives, the altitude in Cuenca took a little getting used to when we exercise. Even though normal walking or working around the apartment doesn’t bother us, strenuous exercise like climbing the steps to the city requires a stop to recover. So, we decided to try to find a gym. There is no such thing as the huge Gold’s Gym or its equivalent in Cuenca. Most gyms are small and have quite antiquated equipment. The gym at the University of Cuenca, which you would expect to be quite elaborate, appears almost dangerous. The equipment is old and in bad repair. After much inquiry and a lot of looking, we found, what we think is the best in Cuenca.

It is called Cam Gym and is located in the newer section of town just off Avenida Remigio Crispo. There are many others located all over the city but Cam Gym has fairly new equipment, a trainer, is clean and is in good repair. Tai kwon do and dance are taught upstairs. Tai kwon do is a very popular activity for children of all ages and the gym creates many champions while the children are still in grade school.  Because almost everything is within walking distance, we and most of our friends enjoy  and  go walking a great deal more than when we lived in the suburbs of the US. It has to be healthy, even though it is tough going sometimes, and, along with going to the gym three times a week, we feel in the best shape we have been in years.

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