Expat Life

By Stephen Vargha Many are familiar with the refrain from Gomer Pyle. The fictional character in the town of Mayberry was played by Jim Nabors and was a regular of The Andy Griffith Show. “Sur-prise, sur-prise, sur-prise!” Gomer said it all of the time. And many expats in Cuenca are saying it right now. It...
By Sylvan Hardy and Deke Castleman More than any other destination for North American expats, Cuenca has laid claim to the word “gringo.” There are gringo nights, gringo meet-ups, Gringolandia, gringo invasions and, not to mention Gringo Post and the defunct Gringo Tree. Of the two dozen or so websites and blogs that include the...
By Jeremiah Reardon Maestro Bolivar Sarmiento Regalado recently underwent surgery. I met Bolivar at Casa del Alfarero Cultural Center in barrio Convencion 45 where he gave me free guitar lessons over eight months. Up to a half dozen guitar students came for lessons, daily, over those weekday afternoons. He also performed free concerts in its...
By Hugh Robert Don’t look now, but there’s a whole new generation of restaurant customers coming. As the Baby Boomer generation begins to “age out” of the restaurant market, a new demographic, Generation Z, is replacing them. Boomers, whose affluence as well as sheer numbers have made them a prime target market for restaurants, especially...
By Queen Mary University of London staff New findings reveal that the body undergoes significant, systematic changes across multiple organs during prolonged periods of fasting. The results demonstrate evidence of health benefits beyond weight loss, but also show that any potentially health-altering changes appear to occur only after three days without food.  The study, published...
The World Food Travel Association, an organization promoting culinary tourism, has added Cuenca to its Culinary Capitals network. Cuenca is the first city in Latin America named to the network. Ecuadorians recognize Cuenca as the food capital of Ecuador. And while the entire country has great food, if travelers want the best of the best,...
By Stephen Vargha Saint-Remy-de-Provence, France had the famous Dutch painter. Cuenca has Diego Sánchez. “I love van Gogh and Rembrandt,” said Sánchez. “I love to show the spirit if the people of Cuenca.” Sánchez, 47, is a self-taught impressionist artist. The Cuencano loves the artform, which was developed in France in the nineteenth century. The...
By MikeTrebilcock With cobble-stone streets, colonial architecture, tree-lined parks, and historic churches, this quaint, overseas gem just beckons visitors to explore on foot. Cuenca is clearly meant for walking. Not only is the temperature a perfect cool for exercise, and the people genuinely congenial, the combination of flower-filled balconies, and tree-lined walkways – some along...
My recent Amigos Falsos article about the pit and pratfalls of false cognates unleased a landslide of comments and funny examples of more awkward expat Spanglish errors. A person called Wonder Woman reminds us that tercero y trasero are easily confused. The first means third, the second means derriere, pardon my French. Your trasero  may be a tesoro, but make sure you know...
Editor’s note: This is the first of a two-part series. Part 2 posts February 26. Chatty Anglophones learning Spanish often make the acquaintance of amigos falsos, false cognates or words that sound the same but have different meanings. In addition to near-miss translation errors, the Pan-American Highway is littered with instances where the same Spanish words means...
One of the many pleasures of living near Paute is the heartfelt encouragement the city’s Office of the Mayor offers to participate in the many celebrations that sugar-coat the calendar. This generosity of spirit encourages those who might otherwise feel left behind to experience the liberating joy of expressing one’s personal identity while uniting with...
By Stephen Vargha Thia Megia, the Filipino-American singer and television actress, once said, “You’re never too young for something you really want to do, never too young to go after your passion. The age doesn’t matter at all. If it’s something you want to do, it depends on your will.” Cuenca’s newest band, Lizamett, has...

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The Cuenca Dispatch

Week of June 16

Noboa’s Government Moves to End Fuel Gasoline Subsidies, Highlighting Inequities for Low-Income Groups.

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Cuenca-Girón-Pasaje Road to Temporarily Close for Pipeline Replacement.

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Ecuador to Initiate Construction of $52 Million ‘Bukele-Style’ Prison to Combat Organized Crime.

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