Expat Life

Expat Perspective: A stroll on the west coast and thoughts about the tranvia

By Ed O’Connor

We decided on a little pre-July Fourth getaway for Olga’s birthday. For those of you that don’t know, Olga was born in Russia. So, we took a jaunt to the beach for a week to a top-rated bed-and-breakfast, Villa de Los Sueños, located in the small fishing village of La Entrada, Ecuador.

Transportation was in a 15-passenger Volkswagen van with 10 other gringos. The trip took almost seven hours covering 200 miles from Cuenca, over the Andes at 12,000 feet, then to the coast.

The three-story, beach-front facility with a spiral staircase was beautiful and the grounds immaculately groomed. The owners of the villa are an American couple.

Editor’s Note: Villa de Los Sueños is offering a 4 night stay with transportation provided between Cuenca the Villa on August 14th. Click here for more information.

They were great and treated us like family. They had a welcome dinner for the group and a surprise birthday cake for Olga.

Villa de Los Sueños

If you have been to any of the East Coast shore points and tried walking the beach, you know that it is almost impossible to navigate because of the mass of humanity. On the West Coast, we walked 8 miles and passed only about 10 people on the hike

Many small fishing towns line the coast, and we enjoyed fresh seafood during our stay served in open air restaurants on the beach. We experienced one problem — the weather. It was warm, humid, overcast and rainy during our stay. We did not see the sun in five days.

In lieu of frolicking in the Pacific, we went on some interesting side trips. We had never been to the coastal city of Salinas; hence we chose this day trip. We saw many interesting places along the way including a church constructed in the 1700’s of wood — almost unheard of due to termites and fire. We stood on the farthest western point of Ecuador, a peninsula that juts into the Pacific Ocean.

Here comes the president

Ecuador finally has a new president. The loser conceded the day before the inauguration. It didn’t take him long to catch on.

I had mentioned in past ramblings that there is a $232 million light rail system being built in Cuenca. Construction began in 2013 and it was to be completed and running in 2016. The main purpose was to eliminate pollution in center city. It is $35 million over budget and the latest estimated time frame for completion and operation is 2018.

All the while the heart of the city has been torn up. Many, many businesses were closed, and traffic is a nightmare. The thing is, this system known as the “tranvia” does not access the entire city. When (if?) it is completed, I would have to walk 25 minutes to reach it.

Right now, maintenance must be performed on track that was laid three years ago and never used. The big polluters in the city are the diesel buses. The city should have used all those millions to purchase a fleet of non-polluting propane and/or electric buses that could have served the entire municipality. As usual, if it absolutely, positively must be screwed up — have government do it.

Random Thought

We need an investigation here in Cuenca! This past weekend there was a Russian Day in one of the large parks highlighting Russian culture. I’ll bet the Russians hacked into the city computers. I even found a Russian in my bed!

Until later from beautiful Cuenca … Eddy the Expat

Ed O'Connor

Ed O'Connor
Ed is a 70 year old expat and has been residing in Cuenca, Ecuador since 2012. He was raised in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, spent four years in the US Air Force and has been active in organized team sports since the age of eight.... Read More
  • StillWatching

    “As usual, if it absolutely, positively must be screwed up — have government do it.”

    Statism. Ain’t it wonderful Ed?

  • Pixelvt

    It absolutely should be built and finished, projects like this are typically late and over budget, (Big Dig Boston) no matter, it makes sense. My only gripe is that they figure a way to put parking on the outskirts of each end, commuter parking if you will, so the cars stay out of El Centro.

    As for the buses, different story they should be cleaned up anyway and the fairs raised for the first time in many years.

    As for your 20 minute walk, its good for you. Property near the tran, like Gran Columbia, will rise in value, its always about location.

    As for your trip to the coast, sounds like fun except 7 hours in a bus cooped with all the gringos.

    As for Lancaster County, I miss the pheasants.

    • lorenzo

      I’m sure that you appreciate me pointing out all the reasons why the tranvia won’t work here in Cuenca. So, here’s another one. In large cities like Boston, many people commute into work every day from their homes in the suburbs. Do you feel that’s the same scenario here in Cuenca? If it is, will the tranvia’s limited route take folks close enough to where they want to go? Maybe they should post signs at the train stops, “Caminar es bueno para la salud”.

      • Pixelvt

        good point but I hope your are wrong, we shall see, one way or another its coming

  • Larry Scheer

    I used to work for a municipal government here in Canada. And our slogan was “There’s no reason for it, it’s just our policy.” And, yes, likely the most incompetent way to get something done is to arrange for any government body to do it. (lol!)

  • Dogoslave

    Tranvia is nothing more than a tourist gimmick gone really bad.
    Just wait and watch.