Wednesday, October 6, 2010


I was panning back through my last post and realized that I put in 2 of the same pictures of Randys fabulous cutting board. So here is the pretty part!

We have been attending wonderful Ecuadorian Cooking classes at El Nomad (  here in Cuenca. It is a very hands on class and only one of the many services that they offer. They are bilingual and so much fun! This Tues. we met at the Mercado 3 de Noviembre, we were introduced to the manager who gave a very impressive talk about the 50 year history of the Market, and due to its cleanliness, fairness and safety is considered by most to be the best market in Cuenca. He also asked that we come see him if we had any issues or problems that he could help with while we were at the market! Now how many store managers in the US would take the time to do that to a bunch of folks who dont speak English!

 We moved on to the upper part of the mercado where the meat is sold. There is beef (Carne), pork (Chancho), chicken (Pollo) and fish (Pez). We were told that most markets have certain days when its best to buy the different items, whether it be grains, fruit or meat. They are all brought fresh on different days.

Here is Chela, tiny lady between Clarke and Randy telling us all about the meat behind her. As you can see we are very attentive. Becca is the one with the baby (director of El Nomad).
As we moved on I couldn't resist the photo of Becca and the huge slab of beef right next to her. Arturo, Beccas husband and co-owner of El Nomad is translating for his mother Chela.

We were fascinated by the lady cleaning the fat off the pork and chiccarons (brown lump on table) that they made from the pieces with a bit of meat on them.. so fascinated in fact that she let us try it. I have to say, it was pretty good. Definately not something someone with high cholesterol should eat!

We were told that we should not buy fish today as this was not the day of delivery... after seeing these fellows laid out I totally agreed.

Our class starts at 3, this mercado opens at 7. There was a few folks who were catching a quick nap on a slow day.

At one point I had to take this picture of Arturo. Their new baby Kesha is only 4 weeks old... so you know he is not getting much sleep. Here he was trying to herd these "gringos" around and he looked so frazzled with his sunglasses pushing up his hair.
Chela is fabulous for explaining anything and everything. She never misses a step, from the little bags of spices to the odd fruits and veggies. We came upon a huge white blob.. and at first I thought it was fresh Tofu... then I realized it was very fresh cheese.
After we were done in the market the class walked a few blocks to a little place that specializes in Sanduche Paradilla. Oh yum. I hope someone took a picture because I was too busy wolfing it down . For $1.50 you get a round bun with pork, then you add the homemade Aji sauce... (hot) with a drink of your choice (Coconut, Water or Mora a cross between a blackberry and raspberry). I will be sure to go back less hungry and take a photo! Thanks guys, that was a great use of our class fee!

Our day ended and it was turning dusk. So I took this picture. It really was much prettier than this photo shows.

The saga of the Cedulas is coming to a close. We have had some issues with getting our paperwork done here in Cuenca. Our attorney emailed us a letter to have notorized and we noticed right off that my name was misspelled and my middle name was missing. So we adjusted that information and took it to a notary, They would not deal with it because our attorney had not signed the letter.  We called our attorney and she suggested that we have a local attorney sign it for her. Ok, so this is where my "gringo-ness" comes out. We have already paid her for her services. Why should we pay another attorney to sign her document? We tell her, No we need you to sign it and send it to us through TAME airline (this is the local equivalent to FEDEX except it costs only 1.30!) Also please fix the name misspelling and missing middle name, and call us when it has been sent so we know to go to pick it up.

Well between then and now we had the flare up in Quito so we did hear from her till Monday evening. We picked them up on Tuesday and immediately realized that the misspelling and missing middle name was not fixed. I wanted to call her and have her resend them, but Randy said to just see if it would work. Today we did get into the Notary. We were told that we need our Original passports not the copies that we carry around. $#@!
So we jump out into a cab, rush home, have him wait while I run up the stairs, grab the passports, get all the way out to the taxi and realize I dont have the gate I have to run back up the stairs... did I tell you our altitude is 8000 ft... so off we go. We get back in line and I held my breath, expecting the notary to have a fit that the documents that we submitted had my name misspelled and missing my middle name. Well not a word, as a matter of fact they retyped the whole letter, had it notorized and put into a very fancy folder with the notarys name on the folder... we paid up... ouch... $33.  But it was done. We hopped on a #7 to the Airport, and mailed our package back to the attorney... so hopefully we will have it all back by Monday of next week.

I have to go back a bit to the Notary office. Across the hall is a business who deals with people who are shipping their belongings. Our friend Clarke introduced us to a wonderful lady who works there, by the name of Catalina. She has lived in the US and has wonderful English. She has been so great (and so has her employer!) about hopping across the hall to interpert and help us with the Notary (for a small fee). While we were there, Catalina had another couple who have just moved here trying to get their documents notorized. We had met them before, and discovered that they have the same attorney. Once again our attorney had sent them a letter via email without a signature. You can be sure I advised them to make the attorney do her job as she was well aware that in Cuenca it was required that she sign the document.

I know that things are done differently here, and maybe its not a big deal about the misspelling or signatures. But to find out that she continued to send 'signature-less' letter to other clients, and did not inform them that a signature would be needed, made me want to let others know who are trying to get their documents done. Its hard enough struggling with the language but  you should  not have to struggle with your attorney.


  1. Since I can't write on your wall on FB I guess I will write here... HAPPY BIRTHDAY KAREN!!!!!!

  2. Connie Pombo recommends Gabrellia Espinosa as a capable immigration lawyer, but based on the problems you experienced, either she or the people who work for her are incompetent.

  3. Michael,
    I am sorry to give you that impression. Unfortunately, I believe that Gabreilla is a wonderful attorney, but between all the changes in the system and the way things were being done, there was some foul ups. And yes, She has had a hard time getting qualified folks to assist her. Ecuador is going through it's 3 time with new folks in the immigration offices. There is going to be a major learning curve each time, with them and the attorneys. Patience is a virtue that we all have great need of.