We are getting unpacked and settled in at our lovely temporary home, Casa Rio, a condo right next to the Tomebamba River and the Escalinatas, on the edge of Old Town. Our spot is the top 2 floors on the right side. The window to the far right is the kitchen; the one at the very top on the right side is the window to my new ‘study’. For those who might like a very nice place to rent in Cuenca, it is available for rent (after we leave, natch) for 1 or more months at a time. 3 bedrooms, all with TV’s, study, 2 living areas, both with TV’s, 3 full baths and 1 half bath, kitchen and dining room. I think there are 3 or 4 different terraces, this place is big enough for a family!
I wanted to show my readers our 9 suitcases (plus 2 ‘personal items’). Hubby and I joked that our entire lives were in those 9 bags, so here they are:
We managed to unpack all; then repacked about half with stuff that we won’t need in our temporary home. Like kitchen knives and scissors and my extra pajamas and beachwear.
Here’s a few details for those of you who like to read how much everything costs:
1) $150 @ Houston airport to pay for the 1 extra checked bag on United. We had First Class tickets, which lets you check 3 bags each, and we checked a total of 7.
2) Smart Carts (2) at the new Quito airport — $4: $2 each, plus $5 tip to the porter who helped us get them to the taxi driver waiting for us and load them into the taxis. (By the way, the large sedan taxi that picked us up at our daughter’s house in San Antonio, even though we asked for an SUV, managed to get all 9 suitcases and us in the taxi and to the airport for $24).
3) 2 taxis to take us to the Tumbaco BnB: $50, $25 each, same on Monday to go back to Quito airport, $50.
4) 2 nights at the Tumbaco BnB: $230 including all taxes and a full breakfast for both of us up in the ‘big house’ with a gorgeous view of the gardens, pool and mountains.
5) We checked 7 bags on our LAN Ecuador flight to Cuenca from Quito. Total charge for all that excess baggage: $67. Boy, were we surprised since we expected more, but we didn’t argue.
6) A milkshake at the new Johnny Rockets at the Quito airport: $7.50. It was good, but not that good.
7) Taxis in Cuenca so far have been $2 and $2.50 but we’ve taken a taxi at least 4 times so far in 2 days. I think we are going to try to take the bus, next trip: $.25 per ride for the bus.
8) We walked to Supermaxi for groceries yesterday afternoon: milk, cream, yogurt, butter, coffee, tea, eggs, fruit, onions, potatoes, bread, sugar, oatmeal, 2 cans tuna, mayonaise, pickle relish, jam, bottled water, cinnamon (to make cinnamon toast out of the nice raisin bread we bought) and a cheese/ham pizza to cook for dinner — total of 4 bags plus the big bottle: $44.00. Next shopping trip we will go to the market en el centro or the Coop for fruits and vegies and maybe even meat, as Super maxi is the most expensive store here, but we were tired, so we took a taxi home, ate the pizza and went to bed.
Today we went to the Visa office, to get the scoop on any new regulations and forms before we apply for the residency visa. While all the Cuenca Expat chat rooms, including Gringo Tree, had never mentioned that this office had moved about 3 blocks, luckily the taxi driver knew this small but important detail. Once there, we were told that the office staff was all at a meeting in Guayaquil, office was closed, they won’t be back until manana.