In the afternoon, Amelia went to Tribal Fusion for belly dancing class and we ended up at Namaste India for dinner. We had planned on grabbing a pizza para llevar (for takeout) at Fratello, but Amelia and I miscommunicated our plans and they were closed by the time Amelia finished up with belly dancing.
People & Places
Panadería Del Día – El Vergel – Cuenca Ecuador
Panadería Del Día was a relatively new panadería (bakery) in our neighborhood (El Vergel). It was only a few blocks from our house, but now it’s closed. That’s a common occurrence here in Cuenca Ecuador. Several food related businesses have come and gone in the short time we’ve lived here.
Déjame Que Te Cuente Chocolatería – Cuenca Ecuador
Amelia always likes to have some chocolate in the house. And Déjame Que Te Cuente Chocolatería (chocolate shop) near our house has amazing vegan chocolate, like these Ecuadorian Leyenda Chocolate bars.
Amelia loves these vegan marzipan chocolates, but at $1.30/piece, they’re a little pricey for my taste.
Look At the Gringo!
On my way to meet Amelia at her belly dancing class, I was spotted by a group of Ecuadorians. Despite Cuenca being home to roughly 10,000 gringos, we still get lots of looks. As a white male from the US, it is a bit odd to be a minority for the first time in my life.
Amelia is 5 feet tall with dark skin, dark eyes and dark hair. She could easily pass for an Ecuadorian. Me? Not so much. I’m 6 inches taller than the average male, bald head, pale skin and blue-green eyes. I feel like I’m on display everytime I walk somewhere.
Tomebamba Riverwalk – Cuenca Ecuador
This cobblestone path along the Tomebamba River is what sells a lot of people on Cuenca when they come to visit. It’s lush and green with lots of blooming flowers year-round.
It’s common to see beautiful young couples snuggling on the grass embankment or kissing on the benches. It’s a little bit of paradise running through the center of Cuenca.
Universidad de Cuenca
La Universidad de Cuenca is now over 150 years old. It’s located on Doce de Abril across from the Tomebamba River. Lots of young Ecuadorians can be seen running to and from the campus at all hours. This is where our tour guide, Wilson, went to school to learn Ecuadorian national tourism. You met him in our 3-part vlog about San Bartolomé, Chordeleg and Gualaceo.
The Tribal Fusion House – Cuenca Ecuador
Amelia takes belly dancing lessons at The Tribal Fusion House here in Cuenca. Like most things in Ecuador and Latin America in general, time is flexible. Her class often starts late and always ends late.
Amelia and I had discussed grabbing a pizza from Fratello Vegan after her class para llevar (for takeout), but I guess I misunderstood her. I was supposed to go get the pizza before they closed and wait for her there. Since her class ran 35 minutes late, Fratello was closed by the time she got out….
While I was waiting, I did get some good pictures and videos, though. Like this shot of the street outside The Tribal Fusion House. Doesn’t it look like a photo from a history book?
This tiny compact car pulled up while I was waiting and 8 people got out of it. EIGHT PEOPLE! Two kids in the very back, 3 people in the middle and 3 in the front. It was like watching a clown car empty!
One thing that’s a lot different here in Ecuador are the traffic laws…or at least how people follow them. It’s rare to see a carseat and children often ride on their parents’ lap in the front seat, or stand up in the backseat. You know, like how we used to roll as kids back in the 70’s and earlier.
Namaste India Restaurant – Indian Food Cuenca Ecuador
Namaste India is one of our favorite restaurants in Cuenca. They have a large “vegetable” section on their menu and most of the items are vegan. Just make sure to tell your server that you’re vegan and ask them not to use any animal products. They’re happy to oblige.
Chinnumol is the hostess and server at the restaurant. She is so sweet and helpful! Part of the reason we love Namaste India so much is because of Chinnu and the other people who work there. They’re all so friendly and happy that we always leave in a good mood. Plus, they have Bollywood music videos up on the big screen and they always elicit a smile!
If you go to Namaste India, be sure to tell them the vegan gringos Amelia And JP sent you. They have the best Indian Food in Cuenca Ecuador!
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Spanish Words & Phrases
la mantequilla – the butter
Sí, cuatro – Yes, four
Buenos días – Good morning
Muy picante – Very spicy
Muy delicioso – Very delicious
¡Dios Mío! – OMG! (Oh my God!)
Chocolatería – Chocolate Shop
Déjame Que te Cuente Chocolatería – Let Me Tell You Chocolate Shop
Muy raro – Very rare/strange