Cuenca’s best burgers; ‘Heat wave’ warning; City prohibits motorized 3-wheelers, sets rules for other small vehicles; How do hourly contracts work?

Mar 18, 2024 | 0 comments

Domingo, 17/3/2024

Hola, Todos –

Actividades –

De El Mercurio del sábado, 17/3 (1 article):
Sembrarán 100 mil plantas nativas por el Día del Agua (100,000 native plants to be planted for Water Day) – The City of Cuenca with EMAC (a municipal business) and the Gobierno Provincial announced the “Siembratón es vida 2024” campaign during which 100,000 native plants will be planted el viernes, 22/3. Mayor Cristian Zamora and Prefect Juan Cristóbal Lloret signed an agreement to plant 400,000 plants more reach a goal of 1 million. The plants will go to the city of Cuenca and other rincones (corners or nooks and crannies – your word for the day. A rincon in an inside corner. An esquina is an outside corner – more mysteries of Spanish.) in Azuay. The El Paraíso and Tarqui-Guzho parks are included in this planting.

Motorized three-wheel vehicles, or tuk-tuks, are prohibited on Cuenca streets and highways. (El Mercurio)

Titular –

Definen beneficios en contracto por horas (Benefits are defined in hourly contracts)
The new form of contracting hourly employment is one of the questions in the consulta popular to be voted on el 21/4. This method of hiring has left some areas unclear. According to the MInister del Trabajo, Ivonne Núñez, hourly pay will start at $3.88. The exact value is still not agreed on and is being discussed. If the current $460 basic salary is divided by 160 hours of work in a month (40 hours per week), the hourly pay would be $2.80 not including the benefits such as the décimo (I think the 2 extra months of pay in agosto y diciembre), vacation, and affiliation with IESS <which seems to be getting less and less valuable as medicines aren’t available, long waits to see doctors and to schedule treatments, etc.> Núñez defended the Government’s proposal and said it includes benefits. Hourly contracts have one essence which is that they are temporary. Another discussion is how many hours a day someone needs to work in order to join IESS.

Cuenca –

Están prohibidas las tricimotos (Motorized tricycles (put-puts) are prohibited) – A resolution issued by the Unidad Municipal de Tránsito, now called the Dirección de Gestión de Movilidad (DGM), prohibited circulation of mototaxis, tricimotos (tuk tuks) and other 3 wheeled vehicles, either gasoline or electric powered, in Cuenca. There was a workshop held by the DGV with the cantonal council el viernes. That legal body will allow and regulate scooters, twikes, electric skateboards, electric or gas-powered bikes, mini-autos, ciclomotores (mopeds – another word for the day), segways, hoverboards, electric unicycles and monowheels. These are also small vehicles, mostly one-person, some of which can exceed 70 kph. Their numbers have increased in the last 3 years, and can circulate freely in any space in the city including parks, sidewalks, medians, green areas, plazas, plazoletas, and ciclovías.

The regulation also applies to those vehicles with speeds lower than 25 kph, with a weight of 100 kg. or less, are powered by human power or clean energy. Their overall dimensions should be less than 1.3m. x 1.95m. x 2.5 m. with a cargo capacity of 30 kg. or less, or one cubic meter. They are called Vehículos de Movilidad Personal (VMP).

For Mario Cáceres, a mechanical engineer and consultant in safe mobility, tuk tuks are adapted or modified vehicles and don’t offer safety. For that reason, there are restrictions on this class of vehicles although there are cities that do allow them. Those cities are mostly on the coast and lack public transportation. Xavier Valdivieso, an attorney of the Asociación de Municipalidades del Ecuador (AME) said it is urgent to regulate micro-mobility in all cities. A transit law establishes that electric vehicles with motors over 750 watts are considered motorized and can not circulate on the ciclovías. Users of these vehicles need to use helmets as are worn by bikers since there is the same risk of traffic accidents.

Adviertan una ola de calor y recomiendan precaución (Heat wave warning and caution advised) – The Instituto Nacional de Meteorología e Hidrología (INMHI) issued a warning about increases in daytime temperatures in various provinces. In Azuay the cantons that will feel the heat the most are Cuenca, Santa Isabel, Girón, San Fernando, Pucará, y Camilo Ponce Enríquez. According to INMHI, the temperatures in those cantons will be between 21 & 23 C or higher. <Horrors – a 70° to 74°F. heat wave!>, although some low-elevation locations could reach 35 <Now that is a heatwave – 95°. Maybe not for those of you from Texas or Arizona, but it sure is to someone raised in Minnesota.> According to INMHI, the temperature change is due to the entry of hot and dry air masses as well as the decrease in humidity.

Cuenca set a new high temperature record for Sunday, March 17, of 26° (79°F). It is 43rd daily high temperature record set since July. The INMHI attributes the record warmth to the El Nino that is currently diminishing in the Pacific Ocean with an assist from global warming.

SRI monitorea a contribuyentes previo a pago del Impuesto a la Renta (IRS monitors taxpayers prior to income tax payment) – The SRI has announced that it has conducted controls on taxpayers that pay amounts less than the average profits generated by their economic activities in order to guarantee that everyone fulfils their tax obligations. <How about going after the big tax debtors first? Unfortunately, they’re low hanging fruit that’s been identified, but most likely protected by an army of accountants and lawyers.> SRI said it has identified companies and professionals who, prior to 2023, have overvalued costs and expenses and not declared all their income. The analysis included sectors such as law, health, construction, freelancers, hosts <like people who rent out extra rooms in their houses on AirBnB and expense the light, water, and gas for the whole house?>, and trade.

‘Hannan’, un pedacito de los Andes en cada chocolate (‘Hannan’, a little piece of the Andes in every chocolate) – Wilson Lema founded the Hannan brand in 2019 with lines of chocolates, cookies, bonbons, drinks, and candies using products linked to ethno-medicine, and ancestral plants with origins in the Andes. He said he never strays from his goal of creating healthy food, free of industrial additives or chemicals, preservatives, or flavorings. You can buy his products at a stand in the Catedral Vieja with prices for chocolates starting at $1. His recipes combine cacao with ingredients such as chocho, zambo seeds, candied orange and other fruits. He also uses plants such as guayusa, uvilla, chamburo <type of papaya>, mortiño <Ecuadorian blueberries> and flour made from peas, fava beans, amaranth, and others considered superfoods. On eldomingo, 24/3, there will be an open house at their factory (Wilson Lema and the Chocolate Factory?) > in the La Playa sector, one block from the Paccha School.

De El Mercurio del sábado, 17/3 (1 article):

Los 3 sities ‘top’ para comer hamburguesas (Top 3 places to eat hamburgers) – During the pandemic, locations specializing in hamburgers increased although there is no list of hamburger stores even though they are located throughout the city. El Mercurio featured 3 burger spots.

Andrés Guzmán and Vanesa Salazar are a young couple with degrees in gastronomy and tourism respectively who lost their jobs during the pandemic. They started selling empanadas online, later added burgers and fries, opened a restaurant near the Mall which closed when they got Covid, and now they have “Andrés smokehouse” on Isabel La Católica y Francisco de Orellana. They are known for their large patties of meat which contain special spices and ingredients which are a secret.

In the area around the parque “Huagrahuma” also called “El Gallinazo” is the “San Pedro Artesanal” which has been there for about a year and half. This family business is 4th on a survey done by TikTok on the best hamburgers in Cuenca. Brothers Juan y David Ordóñez have been involved in burgers since childhood courtesy of their father. David commented that they sold burgers at the local fairs until they got a fixed location. They raise their own cows in corrals in the Charqui community in Nabón canton. In the burgers they use the neck, rosbif, leg and other cuts which are treated to be smoked. The lomos and ribs aren’t used because they go into other dishes.

On calle Los Cipreses, close to av. Ordóñez Lasso, is “Calvo y Co.,” owned by Spaniard José Ibáñez, and which sells 12 kinds of gourmet burgers. It has been in business for 5 years and had to relocate to a larger space to acomodate its growing clientele. Chef Mateo Tucuri who started as a helper in the kitchen, explained the hamburgers are gourmet because they vary the flavors to enhance the meats with the mixture of textures and carbonates (salts?).

There are more burger spots in other sectors and this is a demonstration that in Cuenca, making hamburgers is a culinary art that is on the rise. <And I want to add my favorite spot, “Mario’s Berguers” on Francisco de Orellana y Diego de Almagro, across the street from the little kids’ playground. What makes Mario’s burgers special is his homemade chimuchurri sauce. They range from a simple burger to something Dagwood would appreciate. (Are you old enough to remember the cartoon character Dagwood and his mile high sandwiches?) They’re super juicy so bring your own wet wipes.>

And that’s all for today so hasta ? –

Jeanne

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