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Cuenca Ecuador Salsa Dancing + Allpafest 2019 (Episode 111)

This was an unexpected Day In The Life video! We planned to meet Olesya and Johnny for some Cuenca Ecuador Salsa Dancing lessons in the afternoon, but we didn’t have much else planned for the day.

Before lunch, we wandered down to the Allpafest event near Parque de la Madre for a quick look, but we ended up staying quite a while. Usually, when we go to popup ferias, we only stay a few minutes, but Allpafest was great! We saw lots of friends and ate some delicious vegan goodies!

Fans of Amelia And JP

On our way into Allpafest, we heard someone yell “JP” from behind us. It was Ivan and Mauricio who are fans of our YouTube Channel!

They’re both from Cuenca, but they have lived in New York for the past 15 years. Now they’re thinking about returning home to Cuenca to open a business!

Ivan and Mauricio Cuenca Ecuador

And they’re vegan, too! Ivan told us he had some serious health issues that prompted him to go vegan. He lost 30 pounds and all his health issues cleared up! We hear that all the time! The human body’s natural healing power is unbridled when you fuel it with healthy, plant-based foods!

Ivan and Mauricio mentioned a few of our favorite places in the video. Here are links to our videos of them:

It’s nice to meet people in real life who watch our channel. Now that we have over 100 videos, mostly about Cuenca Ecuador, more people are starting to recognize us on the street and in stores. It’s still a bit strange to meet complete strangers who know us so well and reference interesting things that we caught on film.

If you see us out and about, feel free to stop and say hi!

Allpafest by Allpa Feria Holística Cuenca Ecuador

We’ve been to lots of ferias during our time in Cuenca Ecuador, but Allpafest by Allpa Feria Holística was by far the best one yet. We normally only stay at the ferias for 10 or 15 minutes, but we were there for almost 2 hours!

Allpa Feria Holística Cuenca Ecuador

Jewelry from the Amazon

I managed to convince Amelia to pass by the shoes only to come to a screeching halt at a booth selling handmade jewelry from the Amazon jungle (de la selva).

Allpa Feria Holística Cuenca Ecuador Amazon Jewelry

We’ve seen this Amazonian indigenous woman at several other ferias here in Cuenca. Her facial tattoos are quite striking! These are common among the Amazonian people.

Allpa Feria Holística Cuenca Ecuador Amazon Lady

Amelia bought this necklace for $10. You’ll probably see it in a future belly dancing video!

Allpa Feria Holística Cuenca Ecuador Amazon Necklace

Amelia’s Chakra Alignment

Our next stop was to get Amelia’s chakras aligned. As a man who appreciates science-based evidence, I’m not a big believer in this practice, but Amelia came out of it feeling very relaxed and peaceful. We have no way of knowing if it was the crystal waving or perhaps the meditative state combined with the aromas sprayed into the air.

Regardless, she was able to quash a hot flash before it overtook her for the first time. She may look like she’s in her 30’s, but she’s almost 51 and she’s going through early menopause like her mother did.

Thanks to our vegan whole-food plant-based (WFPB) diet and Dr. Rosy’s awesome cruelty-free skin care treatments, Amelia is aging in reverse! People from all over the world are searching for the fountain of youth and we found it in our WFPB diet!

Allpa Feria Holística Cuenca Ecuador Chakra

Cuenca Ecuador Music Scene

Cuenca has quite the music scene. There are lots of very talented musicians that play in clubs, concerts and ferias around Cuenca. Allpafest featured several different musicians and bands.

Allpa Feria Holística Cuenca Ecuador Singer

Allpa Feria Holística Cuenca Ecuador Guitar Player

Vegan Food at Allpafest

We are constantly surprised at how many vegan options we have here in Cuenca Ecuador. When we moved here, we had no idea Cuenca was going to become the vegan capital of South America!

Panda Cakes Cuenca

Pao and Pietro from Panda Cakes Cuenca are vegan friends of ours. They are the sweetest, nicest people you’ll ever meet. You may remember Pao from our Cuenca Ecuador Fitness video. Pao wasn’t there when we filmed this video, but we got to see her later in the day when we went back with Olesya and Johnny after our Cuenca Ecuador Salsa Dancing lessons.

Allpa Feria Holística Cuenca Ecuador Panda Cakes Cuenca

You may remember Pietro from our Rock Climbing in the Rain at Cojitambo Ecuador video. In addition to helping Pao make delicious vegan desserts and snack bars, he also climbs mountains! He was very surprised to see Amelia’s new hairdo.

Allpa Feria Holística Cuenca Ecuador Panda Cakes Cuenca Pietro

Kiosko Vegan

Kiosko Vegan is a vegan food kiosk that sells veganese, sausages and falafels here in Cuenca Ecuador. We were too full after eating Pao and Pietro’s delicious desserts so we’ll have to try out their vegan food on a different occasion.

Allpa Feria Holística Cuenca Ecuador Kiosko Vegan Owner Allpa Feria Holística Cuenca Ecuador Kiosko Vegan

Lupuna Organics Soap from Khatu Organic

I have very sensitive skin so I like to use this Lupuna Organics soap that can be found at natural stores around Cuenca, including Khatu Organic. We filmed their store through the window when we went to lunch at Yuraveg. We still need to go back again when they’re open.

Allpa Feria Holística Cuenca Ecuador Lupuna Soap Khatu

Cuenca Ecuador Salsa Dancing with Salserios

Yes. It’s true. I did, in fact, agree to take salsa dancing lessons. WHYYYY????!!!! 😩

When my friend Stephen came to visit before our trip to India, we took him to a Cuenca Ecuador salsa dancing hotspot and Johnny was there cutting a rug with his mad salsa dancing skills. That’s when Amelia gave me a couple drinks and tricked me into taking salsa dancing lessons when we got back from India. She’s very sneaky!

You may remember Olesya from our Yoga In The Park video. She’s also a dance assistant with Johnny, helping him teach his salsa dancing classes.

Cuenca Ecuador Salsa Dancing Johnny Olesya Amelia

Olesya and Johnny are hosting a retreat in Vilcabamba on June 28th, 2019 and we wanted to help them promote it. It’s called Retiro de Yoga & Baile and will be a combination of yoga, dancing, hiking and relaxing. It’s at a small retreat hotel so there are only a few spots available. If you would like to go, please contact Olesya through the event page on Facebook.

Dance classes start this week! Wish us luck! If you watched the video, you know I really need it!

Cuenca Ecuador Salsa Dancing

Hopefully you enjoyed our video, and if you did, please LIKE, COMMENT and SHARE it, and SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel. ¡Muchas Gracias y Hasta Luego!

Trivandrum India Shopping & More in Kerala (Episode 99 – Part 6)

We did all sorts interesting things on our first full day in Kerala India. Chinnu picked us up right after breakfast and took us for shopping in Trivandrum India. We needed some wedding and hot weather clothes. Amelia also bought some jewelry for the wedding and a beautiful lehenga dress.

For lunch, we had some delicious southern Indian Thali before heading over to a famous Hindu Temple in the heart of Trivandrum.

We didn’t return to our resort until 8:30PM, 11 hours of shopping and driving, so we turned in for the night and slept for 11 hours!

The next day we went for a walk along the beach near our resort. It was so beautiful and relaxing.

Other videos in this series: Kerala India 2019

Hopefully you enjoyed our video, and if you did, please LIKE, COMMENT and SHARE it, and SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel. ¡Muchas Gracias y Hasta Luego!

Expat Life In Cuenca Ecuador – Lunch at YuraVeg + Shopping at Sukasa in Gringolandia (Episode 84)

Today, we’ll give you a taste of Expat Life in Cuenca Ecuador. Let us know if you’d like to see more of these Day In The Life videos. They’re a lot of work to film and edit, but we really enjoy making them.

In this video, we walked over to YuraVeg for vegan lunch and then on to Gringolandia and Sukasa. We hope you enjoy the beautiful scenery and the interesting people we see along the way.

Amelia’s Bruises

I wanted to get this out of the way first! No, I’m not abusing Amelia! She started taking pole fitness classes again at Samsara Pole & Yoga, which gives her bruises from head to toe, but especially on her arms and thighs. We’ve already had some friends comment about them. If you haven’t figured it out by now, Amelia is a total kid-at-heart. She loves to play, even if it gives her bruises 😂

Amelia Bruise

Vegan Lunch at YuraVeg

Our friend Olesya recommended YuraVeg for some delicious, low/no-oil vegan food so we decided to give it a try. It’s about a 25 minute walk from our house in the Sucre neighborhood near Loja y Remigio Crespo Toral.

YuraVeg is a vegan and vegetarian restaurant so be sure to tell them no queso, no huevo y no mantequilla.

YuraVeg Sign

We had the Arepas Veganas, and they were AMAZING! For $5 per plate, we each got two arepas with 4 different sauces. Yum! We will DEFINITELY be adding this place to our regular rotation!

YuraVeg Arepas

Helado Vegano en Fratello (Vegan Ice Cream at Fratello)

It seems that a day in our life wouldn’t be complete without some helado vegano en Fratello! Clocking over 20,000 steps (that’s 10 miles) really works up an appetite! Although we don’t need an excuse to eat Rene’s delicious vegan ice cream 😋

I had the helado fruta rojas and Amelia had the helado chocolate, as per usual.

Helado Vegano 1

Helado Vegano 2

Shopping at Sukasa Cuenca

We were hoping to film inside Sukasa, but the guard at the front door said they have a store policy against it. I told him it would be promoción gratis (free advertising), but he said it wasn’t his call. El gerente (the manager) makes that call. Oh well. Their loss.

Sukasa

We did find the queen-size mattress cover Amelia was looking for. The price on the package was $28, but it rang up en venta (on sale) for $18. What a bargain!

Believe it or not, that’s not to protect the mattress from me. I rarely sweat. Amelia, on-the-other-hand, is experiencing hot flashes and night sweats. She’s only 50, but her mom also went through this phase of life early.

Sukasa Mattress Cover

Sukasa is located in the same stripmall next to the Supermaxi in Gringolandia.

Supermaxi Gringolandia

Cuenca is a Big Little City

Every time we leave the house, we bump into someone we know. That RARELY happened in Denver. That’s one thing we love about Cuenca: it has all the amenities of a larger city, but it still has a small city feel.

Pam (on the left) and her husband were the previous renters of our house. Amelia met Susan doing Belly Dance at The Tribal Fusion House.

Pam & Susan

Samara and Samantha are Xavier’s wife and daughter. You met Xavier in our Apartamentos Otorongo video.

Samara y Samantha

Watch Where You’re Walking!

Expat Life In Cuenca Ecuador can be dangerous! Ecuador is not a safety minded country. They follow the Jeff Foxworthy philosophy of “Let ’em break a bone! They’ll learn!”

There aren’t a lot of handrails in Ecuador and the sidewalks are a walking hazard. You ALWAYS have to pay attention when you’re walking.

These post holes were on a relatively new sidewalk in Gringolandia near Sukasa. You could break your leg or ankle if you stepped in one of these!

Holes

The retaining walls on the sides of bridges rarely have rails, so you could easily step off one of them and fall 15 or 20 feet, sometimes into a raging river.

Tomebamba Bridge

Other Stuff from the Video

Dog Wash

For a lot of people, expat life in Cuenca Ecuador also applies to our beloved pets. You may have noticed the Dog Wash in our video. It’s located on Calle Federico Proaño, La Salle 2-21. We took Daisy there a couple times before Jessica at Maxi’s Pet Care started offering grooming services. We were very happy with Daisy’s bath and it was very affordable. The sign says a wash starts at $6, but that’s for small dogs. I believe Daisy was $10.

Dog Wash Cuenca

Cuenca’s Bike Lanes

One of our regular viewers asked us about bike lanes in Cuenca Ecuador. You’ll notice a LOT of them in this video. Cuenca has been adding them throughout the city for several years as part of a health and environmental awareness campaign.

Cuenca Bike Lanes

Pacha Kuna Organic Market

Pacha Kuna is an organic market located next door to YuraVeg. It’s closed on the weekend so we’ll have to go back another day to give you the full tour.

Pacha Kuna

Chakana Coworking

Expat life in Cuenca Ecuador is retired life for most expats. But if you’re still in the job pool, coworking spaces are very popular here. Chakana Coworking is located in the same building as YuraVeg and Pacha Kuna. Ecuador is a bit behind the technological curve, but they’re working hard to catch up and I’m guessing coworking places like this are helping.

Chakana Coworking

Cuenca Fashion

We video a lot of clothing storefronts to show that Cuenca and South America is a modern city with modern fashion. Weddings are also a huge thing here, so there are lots of bridal shops. I can’t find a website for this one, which is common in Ecuador. Most places at least have a Facebook page, but I couldn’t find one of those either.

AD Bridal Cuenca

Street Performers

Most major intersections in Cuenca have entertaining street performers. You’ll see everything from guitar players to firebreathers to jugglers with clown noses. And they’re extremely talented!

Juggler

Juggler 2

First Tranvía Sighting

We don’t live near the new Tranvía rail system here in Cuenca so we haven’t filmed it in operation until recording this video. We’ll take a ride on it at some point to give you the full experience.

Cuenca Tranvía

Gas Truck Sighting

We’ve talked about the gas trucks in a few of our videos, but we were able to record part of the song today. If you’re curious about the song lyrics, I spent several hours one day translating them: Cuenca Gas Truck Song Lyrics & English Translation.

Gas Truck

Hopefully you enjoyed our video, and if you did, please LIKE, COMMENT and SHARE it, and SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel. ¡Muchas Gracias y Hasta Luego!

Cuenca Ecuador San Sebas Neighborhood + Marc’s Consignments Tour (Episode 77)

This day in the life video features a walking tour of the Cuenca Ecuador San Sebas (or San Sebastian) neighborhood. We also stopped by Marc’s Consignments, The Museum of Modern Art, a Vietnamese Pho restaurant run by our friend Rick, and a few other colorful places.

Marc’s Consignments Cuenca

Our first stop was Marc’s Consignments. One of our very first subscribers, Marla, will be moving here to Cuenca in June and she requested a tour of one of the consignment stores.

Marc's Consignments Cuenca

Marc’s Consignments is located in the Cuenca Ecuador San Sebas neighborhood just a couple blocks from San Sebas plaza. In addition to brokering furniture sales, they can also help with relocation services. And if you need something special that they don’t have, they can find it for you. Their stock rotates about every 2 months and they get new items every week so check back often.

Marc's Consignments Cuenca Store

There are two other consignment stores that we know about that are popular with gringos: Cuenca Consignments and JD Muebles. We’ve never been to Cuenca Consignments, but JD Muebles is very similar to Marc’s Consignments.

Cuenca Ecuador San Sebas Plaza Cuenca

One of the prettiest, old-world plazas in Cuenca has to be San Sebas Plaza. Locals and gringos alike are often seen relaxing near the fountain, surrounded by flower gardens. Café San Sebas is popular gringo hangout with a nice patio and views of the plaza and the Museum of Modern Art.

San Sebas Plaza Cuenca

Cuenca Museum of Modern Art – Museo Municipal de Arte Moderno de Cuenca

We’ve been to Museum of Modern Art several times. It’s a beautiful, quite and relaxing art museum in Cuenca with several colorful gardens.

 Museum of Modern Art Cuenca

Museum of Modern Art Garden

However, on this day, there weren’t any art exhibits. The museum is in the process of doing a comprehensive renovation so none of the art was on display except for the outdoor sculptures. We still enjoyed ourselves none-the-less.

Pho Vietnamita Restaurant

After we left the museum, we walked a couple blocks to Pho Vietnamita for lunch. As far as we know, this is the only Vietnamese restaurant in Cuenca, and it’s muy delicioso.

Pho Vietnamita Cuenca Sign

We met Rick, the head chef and owner, during our Visa process. We rode to Machala together to file our paperwork soon after we arrived in Cuenca.

Pho Vietnamita Rick

Rick made us some delicious vegan rice paper spring rolls as an appetizer.

Pho Vietnamita Vegan Spring Roll

We ordered the Vegetarian Pho, which is actually vegan, for our main course. The Vegetarian Ramen uses egg noodles, so it’s not vegan. The Pho bowl was very flavorful and filling.

Pho Vietnamita Cuenca Bowl

INTI-RAYMI Galeria

After we left Rick’s place, we walked down Simón Bolivar toward Parque Calderon. If you’re in the market for unique furniture and home decor, the INTI-RAYMI Galeria might have what you’re looking for. They have more furniture on the upper level so be sure to check that out, too.

Home Decor Store

The Cuenca Flower Market

A walk through El Centro wouldn’t be complete without a trip to Cuenca’s world famous Flower Market. You can see more of the Cuenca Flower Market here: Cuenca Flower Market + Fresh Tea & Cold Beer in Cuenca Ecuador (Episode 20).

Cuenca Flower Market

Cuenca Flower Market Lilly

Fogón del Zorro Peruvian Restaurant

After we left the flower market, a dark cloud appeared from out of nowhere (as they often do here in Cuenca) and the sky opened up. We stepped inside Fogón del Zorro just as it started pouring rain. They do have a few options on the menu for us vegans, but since we had already eaten, we just ordered a delicious Peruvian beer to sip while we waited out the storm.

Fogon del Zorro Beer

Hopefully you enjoyed our video, and if you did, please LIKE, COMMENT and SHARE it, and SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel. ¡Muchas Gracias y Hasta Luego!

Cuenca Ecuador Mattresses: Shopping at Muebles Vera Vázquez for a New Mattress (Episode 62)

Even though our rental house came with mattresses, they hurt our backs so we decided to look at some new Cuenca Ecuador mattresses.

Amelia still works for a company based in Denver, CO and she goes back for a week four times per year. Time goes very slowly while she’s gone and I’m always very happy when she returns!

After sleeping on comfortable beds at her parents’ house and in hotels for 11 nights, Amelia told me it was time to finally buy un colchón nuevo (a new mattress).

We were planning to go shopping the afternoon that she returned to Cuenca. However, after a long day of travel and an early morning flight Quito to Cuenca, she was too tired to go shopping so we went the next day.

Cuenca Ecuador Mattresses at Muebles Vera Vázquez

Cuenca Ecuador Mattresses Amelia at Muebles Vera Vázquez

My physical therapist, Karina, told us to buy a new mattress several months ago, but we kept putting it off. The mattress that came with our rental house is very old and not supportive, which we believe has been contributing to my back pain and Amelia’s hip pain. For some reason, though, we were intimidated to go shopping for new mattress here in Cuenca Ecuador.

Karina recommended we go to Muebles Vera Vázquez in the San Sebas part of town and look at mattresses from Chaide. She said that was a good Ecuadorian brand of mattress. We tried several and found one we liked.

The store is currently under massive construction, which is why it was so crowded and noisy. The store occupies six floors in an old building, and they’re in the process of doubling the size with an expansion. They said it would be completed in two months, but I find that very hard to believe. There was literally NO building next door. They had completely torn it down to the ground. If they finish rebuilding that in two months, I’ll be very impressed.

UPDATE: Our first night in our new bed was heavenly! It’s 100 times better than the old mattress. My back and Amelia’s hip already feel better!

Hopefully you enjoyed our video, and if you did, please LIKE, COMMENT and SHARE it, and SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel. ¡Muchas Gracias y Hasta Luego!

Video Transcript

Hey veggie lovers. I’m JP
with Amelia And JP.

Amelia is on an airplane.

Today is the big day. Amelia is
coming home.

A very early flight. She left Quito
at 6AM this morning.

So she should be here shortly.

Let’s patiently await
the arrival of Amelia.

[Upbeat Music]

[Calm Jazz Music]

>> JP: Do you have enough luggage?

>> Amelia: Very funny.

>> JP: I think you need some more luggage.

>> A: Shut-up.

Hi veggie lovers. I got back
from the US yesterday

and after sleeping on a nice mattress
for the last couple weeks,

JP and I decided the time is now and we
needed to get a new mattress.

We knew.. we’ve known for awhile that we
were in need of a new mattress,

but we kept putting it off and then
yesterday was going to be the day

but it wasn’t because we
were both too tired.

[Laughing]

It’s so noisy today!
[Laughing]

There’s a huge thunderstorm
going on right now.

So we’re hanging out
in the furniture store.

The good news is that we found
a mattress that we love.

[Calm Jazz Music]

>> JP: What?

>> A: This is king, yeah?

[Laughing]

It’s hard to tell. It’s comfortable.

Do you wanna lay on it?

>> JP: Yeah.

>> A: Yeah. I kinda like it.

>> JP: What do you like about it?

>> A: It feels more supportive.

[Calm Jazz Music]

This one’s very comfortable.

This furniture store:
Muebles Vera Vázquez.

I keep wanting to say Vera Cruz.

It’s Vera Vázquez, was recommended by
JP’s physical therapist

and she recommended
the mattress brand, Chaide.

They carry several different models here
and we found one that we love.

It’s super comfortable.

The great news is that they’re going to
deliver it for us tomorrow morning.

It retails for $770 but we got
a cash discount

and therefore it was $690 with delivery.

Yay! And we only had to pay 50% up-front.

So we’ll pay the rest tomorrow
when it comes.

We’re gonna wait out the storm and then
we will head home.

It is raining WAY too hard to walk and for
SOME reason..

Hello! We’ve lived here for long enough
now we know to bring

all weather gear, but we didn’t.

We didn’t bring any umbrellas.

Oh well. [Laughing]

I forgot to mention when
we were in the store

that they are renovating right now.

They said that they should be done in
1 to 2 months

and they will double their retail space.

That is why all the furniture was crammed
in there really tightly.

That’s all we have for you today,
veggie lovers.

Please remember to subscribe
to our YouTube Channel.

We do post new videos every Tuesday,
Thursday and Saturday at 2PM Eastern.

Ring that bell and you will get notified
about our next video.

We will see you soon.

[Blooper Beep]

That is why all the furniture was crammed
in there really tightly.

We had to do a little walkin..

little Tetris style. Not Tetris style.

Tetris style is the compacting.

You can cut that out.

[Laughter]

Do you want me to start over?

>> JP: No. What would that be like?

>> A: I don’t know. A maze?
>> JP: Tightrope?

>> A: No. I don’t know.
It was a tight squeeze.

Cuenca Ecuador Rotary: Mercado de Artesanías Rotary (Episode 60)

While Amelia’s back in the States, I filmed the Cuenca Ecuador Rotary: Mercado de Artesanias Rotary. It’s usually just called “the rotary” by the gringos and it’s located at Vargas Machuca y Gaspar Sangurima just one block East of Mercado 9 de Octubre.

The Rotary is a great place to go shopping in Cuenca. It has lots of mostly indigenous vendors selling furniture, metalwork, hand-woven baskets, pottery, kitchen utensils, clothes, bags, rugs, souvenirs, etc. It’s a great place to find unique gifts for your loved ones, or obscure items for yourself.

We took Amelia’s sister and niece to the Rotary when they visited to buy an Ecuador bag like the one pictured above. They really enjoyed perusing all the merchandise and seeing the indigenous people in their traditional clothing.

We enjoy walking around this part of Cuenca because of the numerous plaza areas and excellent people watching opportunities. In addition to the Rotary, there’s a nice outdoor plaza by Mercado 9 de Octubre and a beautiful park in San Blas just a few blocks away from the Rotary. There are also lots of stores selling everything imaginable in this part of Cuenca.

One of our viewers from the other side of the world (Taiwan) requested a video on this outdoor marketplace and filming it was a good use of my alone time. If you would like us to film something in particular, please let us know. As long as it’s relevant to our audience, we’ll be happy to record it!

See More: Cuenca Ecuador San Sebas Neighborhood + Marc’s Consignments Tour (Episode 77)

Hopefully you enjoyed our video, and if you did, please LIKE, COMMENT and SHARE it, and SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel. ¡Muchas Gracias y Hasta Luego!

Caught In The Rain + Organic Food Shopping at Tienda Néctar Cuenca Ecuador (Episode 23)

Today we ventured down to Tienda Néctar Cuenca located in El Centro, one of our favorite organic food markets. They carry a few things like tahini, dates and organic soaps that can be difficult to find. They also get Braggs Liquid Aminos on occasion.

After Tienda Néctar, we came back home for lunch and then left again for Jungle Gym back in El Centro on Calle Larga. On our way back home, we got caught in a rainstorm. We waited for about 10 minutes in the ATM kiosk at Banco Pichincha and then under the awning at the Valgus Hotel.

Tienda Néctar Cuenca Ecuador

Tienda Néctar Cuenca Ecuador

There are lots of little organic markets in Cuenca Ecuador, but unlike some of them, the owners at Tienda Néctar Cuenca speak fluent english. That means they can help you find things more easily, and they’ll even special order some things for you.

They offer a variety of organic products, from nut butters to soaps to wine. It’s not a vegan market so they do carry a few animal based products, but not many. They also offer therapeutic massage and juicing protocols, if that’s your thing. You can learn more about them on their Facebook page.

Chinnu from Namaste Indian

Unlike back in Denver, we run into people we know on the street nearly every time we leave the house. Since everyone walks here, it’s much more common to pass someone on the street. That means we actually get to interact with people a lot more.

Chinnumol from Namaste India Restaurant Cuenca Ecuador

Chinnu is the hostess at Namaste India Restaurant on Calle Larga y Benigno Malo, one of our very favorite restaurants in Cuenca. And one of the reasons we love going there is Chinnu’s happy demeanor and infectious smile. She always makes us feel right at home.

Recipes on LottaVeg.com

Beets Radishes Cuenca Ecuador

Our other website is LottaVeg.com where we post our plant-based, vegan recipes and meal plans. I mentioned two recipes in the video: Ginger Vinaigrette Beets and Sauteéd Radishes. They’re a very tasty way to eat veggies that a lot of people don’t like. Give them a try and let us know what you think.

Share the Love

We hope you enjoyed our trip to Tienda Nectar in Cuenca, Ecuador today. Please remember to like, comment and share our video, and also subscribe to our YouTube channel. If you’d like us to make a video about something specific or if you have questions, please let us know in the comments.

Cuenca Days 2018: Celebrating Cuenca’s Independence (Episode 22)

This weekend is bustling with activity here in Cuenca Ecuador as we celebrate Cuenca Days 2018. Cuenca achieved its independence from Spain on November 3rd, 1820 and they pull out all the stops to celebrate Independence Day with art fairs, food festivals, parades, concerts and fireworks.

Doce de Abril, the main road along the Tomebamba River, is lined with tents this time of year. People from all over Ecuador come to sell art, crafts, plants, clothes, masks, hats, jewelry and more.

Cuenca Days 2018 Arte Sign

Cuenca Days 2018 Monster

We often see people from Amazonian tribes selling their handcrafted merchandise and medicinal herbs at the Cuenca festivals. It’s fascinating to see their facial tattoos and long beautiful hair. Ecuadorians in general have amazing hair, but the Amazonian people take it to a whole new level.

Cuenca Days 2018 Native Woman

 

Thousands of people descend on our little Andean mountain city this time every year, while many of the native Cuencanos head to the coast to escape the chaos. The streets, parks and restaurants are packed with people, and everyone seems to be thoroughly enjoying themselves.

We hope you enjoy seeing the beautiful scenery, and the interesting people during Cuenca Days 2018 here in Cuenca, Ecuador.

Hopefully you enjoyed our video, and if you did, please LIKE, COMMENT and SHARE it, and SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel. ¡Muchas Gracias!

Cuenca Flower Market + Fresh Tea & Cold Beer in Cuenca Ecuador (Episode 20)

Today we did another one of our Sunday afternoon city walking tours. On our way to the Cuenca Flower Market, we stopped by Télicioso Tea Room to get some of our favorite tea.

Then, after we bought Amelia some new earrings and some beautiful flowers at the flower market, we went to Simón for some papas fritas y cervezas (we recorded this in March 2018 before I realized I still had high cholesterol).

People & Places

Télicioso Tea Room on Calle Larga in Cuenca Ecuador

Amelia read an article stating that most commercial tea bags contain plastic, so she decided for our health and the environment, we would start making our tea from fresh tea leaves.

We first went to Sukasa to get a teapot. It’s a very “American” store located in Gringolandia. We’ll do a video of Sukasa and the surrounding area at some point. Gringolandia is the area where most of the older gringos live in Cuenca.

The next stop after we acquired our new teapot was Télicioso Tea Room. It’s located next door to Café Libre, one of our favorite plant-based, vegan restaurants in Cuenca. Télicioso has a wonderful assortment of fresh tea leaves.

Telicioso Tea Room Cuenca Ecuador

The owner, Katherine, speaks fluent english and is very knowledgeable about tea. She has some of the same flavors and a few new ones each time.

Telicioso Owner Cuenca Ecuador

You can reuse your tea bags so be sure to take them with you. She’ll also tell you how to measure the tea and how much to use of each kind.

Telicioso Owner Tea Bag Cuenca Ecuador

While you’re waiting, you can channel your inner child and enjoy a little swing time like Amelia is doing in this photo.

Teliciouso Swing Cuenca Ecuador

Cuenca Flower Market – Cuenca Ecuador

One of our favorite places to visit in Cuenca is the Flower Market located across the street from the New Cathedral. It’s so beautiful that it topped the worldwide list of National Geographic’s Top 10 Outdoor Flower Markets. It truly is breathtaking.

Cuenca Flower Market Cuenca Ecuador

Many of the booths at the Cuenca Flower Market are run by indigenous Ecuadorian women adorned in their traditional garb as you can see in the video. But many of the younger women wear western style clothes consisting of jeans and long sleeve t-shirts, like the woman in this photo.

Cuenca Flower Market Cuenca Ecuador

You can buy all sorts of flowers by the bundle or in premade arrangements at the Cuenca Flower Market. The women who work at the market are always busy making new arrangements, but they’re eager to help you pick out the perfect flowers for your home or special occasion.

Cuenca Flower Market Cuenca Ecuador

Ecuador is the world’s third largest exporter of cut flowers and they’re incredibly abundant here…and reasonably priced. A dozen roses typically cost less than $5, and they’re ridiculously beautiful. The buds are huge and they’ll last for as long as two weeks. Place them in a central location in your house and their aroma will welcome you home when you open the door.

The lilies that Amelia bought in the video also smelled fantastic. We could smell them all over the house! That bundle cost us $8, which is more than we usually spend on flowers, but they were also more exotic than the roses we usually buy. On the day we went, the roses looked a little wilted so we opted to try something new.

A lot of street entertainers gather near the New Cathedral and the Cuenca Flower Market, like this father/daughter duo. You have to watch the video if you haven’t already. Her little dance is ADORABLE!!!

Daughter & Father Playing Music Cuenca Ecuador

Simón Restaurant

When we visited Ecuador on our exploratory trip, Simón was the very first restaurant we tried for dinner. They don’t have much in the way of vegan options, but they do have a delicious vegetable soup and a vegetarian panini that can be veganized by leaving off the queso y mayonesa (cheese and mayo).

Simón Cuenca Ecuador

They also have some of the best papas fritas (french fries) in all of Cuenca. Most of the papas fritas are pan fried in Ecuador, rather than deep fried. That means they aren’t nearly as oily. Plus, the papas are far more delicious here, which means the fries are muy delicioso.

We know these aren’t healthy, and neither is the beer, but we’re not perfect. We eat a whole-food plant-based no-oil (WFPBNO) diet at home, but we like to enjoy some delicious papas fritas and cold beers on occasion (at least we used to before we found out about my high cholesterol). It probably looks like we enjoy it more than we actually do since we tend to record videos when we go out to restaurants, but these are (were) a rare treat for us.

Besides, we want to show people that you can still enjoy your favorite food and drinks, and still be vegan. Our friend Rosy from Fratello Vegan verified that all of the Club beers, as well as Pilsener beers, are vegan…so bottoms up!

Simón Papas Fritas Cuenca Ecuador

Every place we’ve ordered papas fritas in Ecuador serves them with mayonesa, and most of the time it’s in a small condiment bowl. That means it probably (hopefully) gets thrown out when we don’t eat it.

Rather than waste it, we order our papas fritas “sin mayonesa” (without mayo). The server always looks at us funny and usually still brings it anyway, but at least we try not to be wasteful.

Cuenca Planetarium

Cuenca’s Planetario is located in Parque de la Madre. We haven’t been inside yet, but the outside looks cool. They just finished giving it a fresh coat of Martian red. We’ll take you inside someday.

This photo was taken pre-paint job, but I thought it looked out-of-this-world with the crazy clouds mixed with blue sky behind the dome and the guy sitting on top of it. The bottom of that ladder wasn’t touching anything. It was tied to the top of the dome with a rope and dangled alongside while the guys climbed on it to strip the old paint and then repaint it.

Planetarium Cuenca Ecuador

They must not have OSHA here because we’ve seen some pretty crazy behavior from construction workers. While walking home one day, I saw a construction worker standing on top of a brick wall two stories high hitting the bricks under his feet with a sledgehammer to knock them loose. He then bent over, picked up the bricks and threw them down into a dump truck parked on the sidewalk below…all while balancing on a wall no wider than 5 inches! ¡Fue muy loco! (He was very crazy!)

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We hope you enjoyed our visit to the Cuenca Flower Market, Télicioso and Simón today. Please remember to like, comment and share our video, and also subscribe to our YouTube channel to help us spread the word about veganism. If you’d like us to make a video about something specific or if you have questions, please let us know in the comments.

See More of Cuenca Ecuador

Spanish Words & Phrases

hola – hi/hello
¿Cómo están? – How are you?
Bien. ¿Cuál es su nombre? – Well. What is your name?
Bienvenidos a mi sala de té. – Welcome to my tea room.
Veinti tazas – Twenty cups
Necesitamos practicar mucho. – We need to practice a lot.
Naranja, jengibre y manzana té – Orange, ginger and apple tea
Algunas flores – Some flowers
Veinte dólores – Twenty dollars
¿Cuál es el nombre? – What is the name?
Los lilios – The lilies (the spanish word is spelled lirios, but lots of words are different here in Cuenca and in Ecuador)
Tengo hambre – I’m hungry
La macana – the scarf (this is a Cañari word, the language of the indigenous people)
Papas fritas y dos cervezas – French fries and two beers
Sin mayonesa – Without mayonnaise
Salsa de tomate – Ketchup

Physical Therapy in Cuenca Ecuador + Tomebamba Riverwalk (Episode 13)

Today, I went for my regular physical therapy in Cuenca Ecuador for my continuing spinal issues. My physical therapist (PT), Karina, specializes in neck and back physical therapy and she’s really good at it. She got her degree in Belgium where she had to learn English and Dutch at the same time.

In 3 months, Karina has helped me dramatically improve the numbness in my hands and feet, and I’m also much stronger thanks to the safe exercises she has given me. I showed her the exercises the PT’s gave me back in the states, and some of them she said are dangerous for me.

Every PT I saw back in the states specialized in sports therapy, not spinal injuries like Karina. In retrospect, their style of rehab was designed to get me back on the field or the court rather than to help me walk normally, reduce numbness or improve feeling in my legs. That makes sense considering sports gets more attention and money than anything else in the states. I was paying 5 times more for a lower quality of care and less individualized attention.

My ongoing medical care is one of the main reasons we left the states and moved to Ecuador. We simply couldn’t afford medical care or quality health insurance. My two spinal surgeries cost almost 1 million dollars and it almost bankrupted us even with Obamacare covering most of it. If I ever need another surgery, having it done in the states is financially impossible. Plus, my ongoing care expenses were costing us several hundred dollars per month in Denver. Now they cost less than a hundred.

If you have any questions about our experience with medical care here in Ecuador, please let us know in the comments or drop us a note.

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People & Places

Karina, My Physical Therapist

My PT’s name is Karina. She works out of her home office near Gringolandia on the western side of Cuenca. If you’d like her contact info, please let me know.

See More: Cuenca Health & Beauty Services

Laundry Day in Río Tomebamba

Physical Therapy Cuenca Laundry

The indigenous people can often be seen washing their laundry in the river. This struck us as odd when we first arrived, but we’re used to it now. Looking at this practice objectively, it would be more odd for them not to wash their laundry in the river since they’ve been doing it for thousands of years. Some of the rocks have been worn down from centuries of laundry.

La Universidad de Cuenca

Physical Therapy Cuenca Universidad de Cuenca

La Universidad de Cuenca campus is just like every campus I’ve been on. There are lots of young, beautiful people walking here and there. Lots of flowers and big trees. The university was founded in 1867 so they just celebrated their 150th anniversary.

This is where I go to swim for exercise and physical therapy. They have a nice lap pool and gym facilities that are open to the public. The pool costs $2.50 per visit. I’m not sure what the cost is for the racquetball courts or gym, but I seem to remember $5 gets you access to everything.

The pool area has lockers but you need to bring your own lock. I found a combination lock in a hardware store. We’ve since seen them at lots of places here in Cuenca. There are also changing rooms with showers and toilets.

RumiSol Yoga Studio

Physical Therapy Cuenca RumiSol

Amelia loves going to RumiSol Yoga, and I love her going there, too! In addition to being great strength training exercise, yoga helps her relax and puts a smile on her face. And a happy Amelia makes a happy JP!

Physical Therapy Cuenca Olesya

We bumped into Olesya, one of Amelia’s yoga instructors, on our walk home. She’s also very interested in a plant-based diet.

Computron

Physical Therapy Cuenca Computron

Our bluetooth speaker died! We listen to music around the house every day and we also use the speaker for the Anonymous for the Voiceless Cube of Truth events.

So we stopped by this new electronics store, Computron, that’s in our neighborhood to buy a new speaker on our way home from my physical therapy and Amelia’s yoga. The staff was very helpful and they had a good selection of speakers, as well as most other types of electronics. The speakers ranged in price from $14 to $34. I think I paid over $100 a few years ago for the speaker that just died, and our new less expensive speaker has a better sound.

Share the Love

We hope you enjoyed our walking tour of Cuenca, Ecuador today. Please remember to like, comment and share our video, and also subscribe to our YouTube channel. If you’d like us to make a video about something specific or if you have questions, please let us know in the comments.