July 17, 2012

More from Cuenca, Ecuador

Well, the flu seems to have left our house. Thank heavens!
Just in time, too. Our friends John and Violetta decided that we all needed to get out of town. So we all hopped into their car and drove forty-five minutes from Cuenca up into the Cajas National Park to have lunch at one of the trout farm/resort/ restaurants the area is famous for. We ended up at Dos Chorreras and had the most amazing trout dinner ever. I didn't know there were that many ways to fix trout --- and all the lovely fish were boned in the kitchen. Absolutely delicious.
This past week was also insurance and banking. Banking can be tricky in Ecuador --- unless someone vouches for you, it is difficult to get a checking account without a permanent residency visa. Fortunately, in the process of buying our health insurance ($98 a month for a great policy --- eat your hearts out U.S. folks), our agent referred us to one of the banks here where he is known. (A family member is branch manager.) By Wednesday, we will have our account. Yay us!  

Regarding the other official stuff: We have been approved for our pensioner visas. We now have to fiddle with some more paperwork and send our passports to our attorney. A week or so from now, our attorney will return our passports, after which time we will fly to Quito to make an appearance at the appropriate government office to receive our cedulas (aka green cards). This will entitle us to enter and exit the country (which will be handy). The big benefit will come next year when I turn 65 (K. W., poor baby, doesn't get this one until two years after me). Apparently, there is a terrific retirement set of perks: certain types of sales tax returned each month, shorter lines at the bank, and the best one --- half price on all airline travel generating in Ecuador. Jackpot!

On the home front, we bought a toaster oven since the oven that came with the apartment is virtually useless. Also bought a rice cooker, something I've never used. But since rice is ubiquitous here and cheap --- well, it's worth a try.

And we are both back to work. Today I posted an interview with Choreographer/Dancer Robert Dekkers on California Literary Review and have three more interviews "in the can." In addition, I finished the copyediting on K. W.'s fourth installment in the Kim Oh thriller series: Kim Oh 4: Real Dangerous Place. It was totally fun to edit; Kim is in L.A., and there are explosions. Sweet. You can find the book at Amazon.com. (This is an ebook, by the way.) And if you haven't met Kim yet, K. W. has decided to do a limited-time offer for the first book in the series. Just go to his Steamwords blog, and he will send you the ebook. Don't wait; I don't know how long he will be doing this. I'd be the last to find out.

The next book to be uploaded will be his psychological thriller/horror novel, Dark Seeker. That is scheduled to be on Amazon some time during August. I'll let you know. And, of course, K. W. is working on Kim Oh 5.

So what's on the agenda for this week? Well, tomorrow John and Violetta are engineering an excursion to a small village outside of Cuenca. I can't remember the name, but it sounds interesting. I'll report back on this one later. And on Saturday, we have reservations to hop a van for Parque Extremo (cool name, huh?) for the Rally races. OK, it isn't NASCAR, but I'll take what I can get. It's cars going fast. And next week, I'm taking a class on cooking with the local chocolate. Yum.
That's it for this installment. More as things move along.

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