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.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Rivers of Cuenca

The rivers of Cuenca begin high in the mountains above the city. 

Hundreds of lakes high in the Cajas National Park

Cuenca is a city of rivers with at least four roaring through town and, like the mountains surrounding, the rivers have moods and seasons. There is the River Milchichig that makes the northern boundary of the city, the Rio Tomebamba that separates the old part of the city with the new to the south, the  RioYanuncay that is essentially the southern boundary of the new part of town, and the River Tarqui in the far south that joins the Yanuncay in the Eastern part of the city. All begins in the mountains to the west.

Waterfalls tumbling out of the mountains

And the downward journey begins

We thought you might enjoy seeing the Rio Tomebamba over the course of a year. All along the river that flows through the city is a green space, narrow in some spots, wider with parks in others. Families often come down to the river to wash their clothes and spread them out on the grass to dry. Children play after school on the swings, jungle gyms, and slides scattered through the parkland every few hundred yards. Our Jonny's favorite pastime is throwing rocks into the rapids.

There's a good rock, If I can just get to it. 

Got it

Watch out for the splash. 

 Lovers find secluded spots to hold each other which is a very public pastime in Cuenca. But above all is the pastoral feeling you get just sitting by the river in the heart of a city and watching the water roar by.

January 2010 while the river was high

and a roaring torrent

But, there is a season when the river is deathly quiet. Now is that time.

This is the river in February 2010

This is the same view now in the fall of 2010

The river in February

and now, the same view in November. 

It seems that every October and November the rain in the mountains becomes so scarce that the rivers run almost dry, an erie sight for those of us who love the roaring torrent.  Last fall, the main reservoir in Paute, which is a major source of our electricity, became so low that the energy company enforced 3-7 hours a day of no electricity for weeks on end.

These above two photos were back when we were having the brownouts last fall

Our building was fortunate enough to have our own generator so we were not inconvenienced but small businesses and homes without generators had a difficult time. There are rumors that this year the electric company has made contingency plans to prevent last year’s brownouts but we shall see.

This is the river today which seems lower and drier than last fall. 

Not much water to wash the clothes

High and dry on a hot fall day.

There are not many cities in the world that have four rivers running through them. High or low, we are most fortunate to be able to enjoy living in the heart of the city and still have such a wonderful place to go. 

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