Walter Panko

If you are living in Cuenca and want to improve your Spanish language ability, there are a number of ways to do it. One no-cost way is to visit “Spanish Conversation over Lunch,” an informal gathering of people that meets weekly at the Zona Refrescante restaurant on Calle Benigno Malo between Calle Simón Bolívar and...
Please don’t call me an expat. I’m an immigrant. Maybe that realization came to me because I grew up with three of four grandparents who emigrated from Europe to the United States in the early 1900s. While one grandmother was born in the U.S., her parents emigrated from Europe. I never heard them talk about...
In 2015, U.S. expat Cara Venn, who had spent five years in India before moving to Cuenca, organized the first Cuenca Art Walk. The event was a free self-guided tour of selected El Centro galleries and businesses where art lovers were able to view the work of artists. Although many cities in the States have...
I love it when serendipitous events occur, even when they are not pleasant. It reminds me that I can’t control what happens, but I can control my response. When the events are pleasant, however, it just adds to the enjoyment of life. Recently, an Israeli friend, knowing I live in Ecuador, sent me an article...
People witnessing traumatic events from a distance, Cuenca, in the case of the recent earthquake, are susceptible to varying forms of post traumatic stress disorder and may need the help of those close to them. Most of us have heard of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). While much of the discussions center on individuals who...
One of the joys of living in Cuenca is the opportunity to enjoy the concerts by both the Cuenca Symphony Orchestra and the University of Cuenca Symphony Orchestra. Just last week, for example, the University Orchestra presented a concert Thursday evening at the Catredal Vieja (Old Cathedral) and the Cuenca Orchestra presented a concert Friday...
I’m a firm believer that if I spend time in a place, it is to my benefit to learn the language that the locals speak. Now, before you add a comment about how you get along fine without learning a new language, please re-read my first sentence. I didn’t suggest that everyone should learn a...
By Walter Panko I had planned to use Part 2 of my “things are different in Ecuador” series to talk about some of the things that, as a recently arrived Cuenca expat, are taking me longer than expected to adjust to. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that thinking that...
By Walter Panko There are a lot of things that happen in Ecuador that I didn’t see in the United States. Some are easy to get used to. Others take more time. Here, in no particular order, are some of the things I found easier to get accustomed to seeing, hearing and doing. I’ll cover...
By Walter Panko August 13th was scheduled to be National Strike Day in Ecuador and my wife and I didn’t know what to expect. We had arrived in Cuenca only 10 days earlier, moving into temporary housing in the historic district while we searched for something permanent. Everything near our hotel was normal that afternoon,...

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The Cuenca Dispatch

Week of May 19

Expulsion of Ecuadorian Migrants by US Surges 200%, Calls for Policy Action Rise.

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How to Obtain a Criminal Record Certificate in Ecuador.

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President Noboa Plans to Refine Fuel Subsidies, Targeting Extra and Ecopaís Gasoline.

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