Saturday, June 29, 2013

Year of the Build

June 28, 2013

Courtesy of Internet
I have spent most of June in Cuenca. After my last post, I was in Cuenca for another ten days or so to get the cataract removed from my other eye as well (I was down to 20% vision in my left eye and 50% in my right).  I had the eyes done a week apart.
The surgery for both my eyes went very well, and I am thrilled with the results. I CAN SEE AGAIN!
I returned a week later on a quick two-day trip for a final check up on the second eye * and I have a lot of 
confidence in my eye doctor in Cuenca (Dr. Juan Diego Carpio). **

There was very little discomfort during the procedures (gowned and on operating table with light drip of something to relax me each time) nor much inconvenience aterwards, other than wearing eye patch over each eye for 24 hours afterwards.
That being said, I ended up spending most of the time “holing up” in my hotel room at the
Inca Real being a hermit.
In other words, I downloaded several movies and books, and the first season of “Modern Family”, and thoroughly enjoyed my time pigging out on “para llevar” 8-piece buckets of “Rossty Brosty” chicken (across the street from hotel) and overdosing on bags of candy each day, purchased at the booths around Parque Caldron during the week-long Corpus Christi “how many sweets can you consume???” marathon.

I enjoy going to Cuenca. It is a lovely city, with lots to do and I did spend time with a few friends…Had lunch one day with Victoria McGinnis (who turned me onto the health store located at Nectar Café), and had a wonderful dinner at the Jardín Restaurant (located in the Victoria Hotel) with Mary and Steve Beckman (of "South of Zero" fame).

It is virtually impossible to go to Cuenca without bumping into someone you know, and ran into Karen and Randy Kimbler ("Kimbler’s Exit to Ecuador") several times, and Mary and Tod Freeman ("Expats Helping Kids in Ecuador") one night while getting a bite to eat at Mangiare’s.

But I was damn happy to finally get back home to the coast after being away for almost 3 weeks because now that the eye issues and other medical and dental issues have been resolved, we have a big project we are starting this year.

According to the Chinese Zodiac, this is the “Year of the Snake”.
According to us, this is the “Year of the Build”.

Six years ago, we bought a 3 bedroom/3 bath house on the coast of Ecuador, in Olón (and the lot next door to it).  I wrote about that in  “A House-and-a-Lot”.  We were the first to buy a lot in Jardínes de Olón (and all others have been sold since), but we are the last to build. Currently three other construction projects are underway on the other lots.
We sold the Olón house over a year ago to fund the new construction on our lot.
In the meantime, we’ve been living in a wonderful Ecuadorian-owned rental, in a friendly barrio about 4 blocks from our soon to be construction site.  

We’ve procrastinated – mostly because we’ve spent the last year taking care of dental and medical issues in Cuenca first, and we’ve never built a house before now.  We wanted to observe and study the other construction projects underway, and have learned more about which questions to ask, and more importantly – which local maestros and crew (s) we want to hire.

And we’ve dallied, because virtually every couple we’ve ever talked to that has been through this process (wherever) says it takes a toll on the relationship.  We are hoping not to kill each other before our project gets done.
One view of the lot (facing south)
Ocean to your right
Another view of the lot, taken several years ago
from the balcony of our former place
Some of the other construction going on
in Jardines de Olón
Facing northeast from balcony of our former house.
Like most couples I know, we are complete opposites… He is methodical; I am impulsive. He likes to cook; I don’t.  I could go on….
ONE OF US has good architectural ideas and taste, and SOMEONE ELSE doesn’t.
(Because left to his own devices, I’m concerned that Todd would erect a purple-painted yurt with bamboo and thatch accents, and call it a day)….Just kidding, honey (!)…sorta.
But we have been working with a 3-D modeler to come up with some ideas we can play with, and expect to have those plans in our hands in the next week or so.
We’re both extremely excited to get started – and scared – to begin construction, now that the Cuenca medical stuff is done.

One of the new hotels in Olon
Additionally, there is a lot of other new constructions going on all over Olón, and our little town has been getting a new spit and polish, with new paved or cobbled streets being done.  There was a big town party last Saturday night to celebrate the road improvements (at least I think that was the purpose – they don’t need much of a reason to throw a party here, and they are always fun).


One of our streets being cobbled a few months back.
The workers were having fun with the bricks.

Another hotel under construction
Bamboo scaffolding is commonly used here for projects
I do have a sweet story:
Shortly after I got back to Olón, I went into Montanita one night to get a pizza to go.

I lost my Kindle that night. I took it so I could read while waiting for the pizza and I was just sick when I discovered it lost.

My only hope was that I left it in the taxi I took to Montanita. I used a very nice driver, but I didn’t know him.
The next day, several other taxi drivers helped me locate the driver (who was off duty and at home) and he had it safe and sound for me.
I was beyond relieved, and eternally grateful for the wonderful people here.





For all the controversy about Ecuador in the news these days because of the Snowden issue, we still love living in this country, and the people who live here.
God bless Ecuadorians!


*  The cost for each eye was $1200, in my case. Complicating my cataract surgery was Lasik surgery, which I had done 10 years ago, astigmatism (s), and a tear in my left retina 8 months ago that was caught in time (and repaired via laser - $250). That’s when the cataracts were diagnosed by my eye doc. At the time, he actually encouraged me to wait as long as possible (for several reasons, which I won’t bore you with here) before having them removed.

**  Dr. Juan Diego Carpio speaks English,(my preferred language when dealing with medical issues, especially regarding anyone getting near my eyeballs with surgical instruments) and he is in practice with his Dad (Dr. Juan) and another doctor.
Dr. Juan Diego's phone number is 07-268-9249 and he works out of the Clinica OftalmoLASER.
I had referred him to another coastal friend of ours after my laser retina repair, and he also used him several months ago for cataract removal. This friend is also very happy with the results.