Paul Acee's Ecuador

October 24, 2016
by Paul Acee
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Visiting Qualaceo, Ecuador from Cuenca

I spent today visiting Qualaceo, Ecuador. Qualaceo, nicknamed “El Jardin Del Azuay” (The Garden of Azuay), is a Canton (territorial subdivision) in the south-central region of Ecuador. It belongs to Azuay Province, Ecuador. The population is about 42,000 inhabitants. The elevation is about 8,000 feet and it’s about 20 miles east of Cuenca.

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October 16, 2016
by Paul Acee
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Mercart Food Garden, Casa del Río

I stopped by the Mercart Food Garden, Casa del Río de Quinta Lucrecia this afternoon. This is the third edition of this event and the last day of this three day Cuenca, Ecuador event.

Casa del Río de Quinta Lucrecia is gorgeous and I welcomed the excuse to go in and look around for the first time. It’s on Primero de Mayo and I ride my bike right by there every day on the river trail.

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September 16, 2016
by Paul Acee
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Santa Isabel, Ecuador, Day Trip From Cuenca

I did a little sightseeing and took a Santa Isabel, Ecuador, day trip from Cuenca yesterday. Santa Isabel is a small mountain town in Ecuador’s Yunguilla Valley just south of Cuenca. The population is around 20,000 and Santa Isabel is also a Canton (county) in Azuay Province. Cuenca is the capitol of Azuay.

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July 15, 2016
by Paul Acee
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Ecuagenera – Gualaceo, Ecuador

I took a day trip to Ecuagenera – Qualaceo, Ecuador today from Cuenca. What an incredible place. Ecuagenera in Qualaceo, Ecuador has the largest collection of orchid species and orchid hybrids in the world.

When I got off the bus from Cuenca I walked into the gift shop which has orchids for sale and several books also.

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June 21, 2016
by Paul Acee
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Living in Ecuador

One of the many benefits of living in Ecuador is the low cost of fruits and vegetables. In Cuenca if you go to super mercados like Coral or Supermaxi I think the prices are comparable to what you would pay in North America.

The savings here comes when you go to Feria Libre (free market) or the mercados in el centro. Another good source are urban farmers that sell their produce on the sidewalk like the one pictured here.

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May 19, 2016
by Paul Acee
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Cuenca Pedestrian Trick

This is a little Cuenca pedestrian trick I discovered a couple of months ago. I do a lot of walking in the historical district which is very often very crowded.

It’s not unusual at all to have a crowd of people coming in your direction that take up the entire sidewalk, very often this is school kids. Or it might just be a couple walking shoulder to shoulder on a sidewalk that’s only wide enough for two people coming your way.

So what do you do? For months I’d just step off the curb on to the street and walk around them. In the historical district this can be extremely dangerous with buses and cars flying by and very close to the sidewalk also.

One day on Calle Larga which is a very busy street my eyes became riveted on a trashcan. This one actually.

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May 12, 2016
by Paul Acee
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Opening an Ecuador Bank Account

This is my experience with opening an Ecuador bank account as well as opening an account with a cooperative.

Last Friday I had a friend of mine meet me at Mall del Rio in Cuenca to translate for me. He’s from the states and has a university degree in Spanish. He also teaches Spanish part time in Cuenca. His English and Spanish are both flawless, written and oral. He’s a good guy and I’ve known him for about six months.

Mall del Rio has a financial wing and I think every financial institution in the country has a branch there. I went to the mall on a mission to open two bank accounts.  I get social security retirement payments via a Direct Express Mastercard. It’s just a debt card and once a month they add my payment to it. There are only two banks in Ecuador that are authorized to accept direct deposits from the U.S. Treasury, Banco Quayaquil and Produbanco.

I want to do that eventually and Banco Quayaquil has been giving me a cash advance on my Direct Express debit card the entire time I’ve been here at no charge so they’ve earned my business. I’m in no hurry for the direct deposit thing and from what I understand I can just email the U.S. Embassy in Quito and they’ll set that up @  fbuquito@state.gov

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April 20, 2016
by Paul Acee
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Cuenca’s Earthquake Response

Cuenca’s earthquake response has been phenomenal. Almost immediately after the earthquake Saturday night Cuenca put a plan in place to help with the disaster.

Mayor Cabrera dispatched about 87 firefighters to Manabi Province to provide rescue and recovery assistance. About 50 medical professionals, nurses and doctors from Cuenca went to Manabi Province by bus to treat the injured. Also a number of security personal were sent.

Thousands of residents in Cuenca have been flocking to the super mercados and filling up shopping carts with bottled water, non perishable food, toiletries, etc. From there they are taken to drop off locations throughout the city. The need in the impacted areas was immediate and this is the fastest way to get supplies there.

Here are a couple shots of one of the drop off locations at Parque Calderon.

Cuenca's earthquake response Cuenca's earthquake response Continue Reading →