Who is out there?

I am signed up for this trip June 6th to July 19th.  Any of my fellow travelers on this site yet?  Pam

  • How was your trip, Pam? We are going on the September 12 trip and are eager to hear about your experiences and wonder if you have any tips or suggestions regarding what to bring/leave home, do’s and don’ts while in Cuenca, etc. Hope you had a wonderful time! Carol
  • I am back now and wrote a long note to you guys with whatever random tips I could come up with. When i tried to submit it, the site wanted me to log in again and now I see my note is not available. Caromar1121440...my note was in response to yours to me. Please let me know if you get it. This site could use some improvement.
  • Hi Pam,

    Thanks for making that huge effort. So sorry the note ended up in cyberspace. A few of us on this thread are also on our specific program date thread, but the discussion board does not seem to be easy to use. I would love to hear about your experience in Ecuador as well.

    Have found the same thing many times with my notes disappearing--so frustrating. I have taken to typing on some kind of word document and then doing a copy and paste.

    Sometimes envious of the younger crowd who grew up with all this social media, but find it can take up a lot of time. . . on the other hand the Internet has made it so much easier to find out information about EVERYTHING!

  • Sorry, Pam -- I did not get your note. Thank you so much for your effort. If you have time to try again, I think we would really appreciate hearing from you!
  • Okay, I'm trying again. Please let me know if you get this and, if so, I'll try and write something longer again.
  • Hi, Pam - I have received your note of July 27! Success so far!
  • Okay, success at last.

    Now I forget what all I was going to say.

    1). The sidewalks in Cuenca are full of potholes and regular holes. Wear sturdy shoes and watch where you are going all the time. It is too easy to fall. And pedestrians do not have the right of way so always be careful crossing the street.
    2). The Roads Scholar staff, the staff at the apartments and the staff at the Spanish school are uniformly wonderful. They are warm, welcoming and very helpful.
    3). I was in the beginning Spanish class. It was all good except that there is no workbook, only sheets of mimeographed (sometimes illegible) exercises. I found that difficult and wished that I had brought a basic workbook (you can't count on buying one there). Most beginning workbooks cover the same material so you could use your own....or there was some conversation among the staff about providing one.
    4). I had a lot of trouble with the altitude, never really did adjust. I saw several doctors there (I had a recurrent sinus infection...never had one before in my life and they are no fun at all). Narcisa (our Road Scholar guide) was extremely helpful in making sure I got to the right person (she knows everyone in Cuenca) and translated for me in the doctor visits. I wish I hadn't had the sinus infection but it went as well as it possibly could.
    5). The apartments are extremely nice, almost luxurious. There are free washers and dryers along with toilet paper (which you have to go down to the lobby to get). The staff there will clean your apartment for a minimal amount of money (although they take a long time to do it). Alternatively, they will lend you cleaning supplies if you want to do it yourself.
    6). The one thing the apartments (and all other buildings in the historic district) lack is heat. When we were there, the temperature ranged from 45 to about 60 most of the time (warmer during the day) and it gets cold in those historic buildings. The school also does not have heat and so, even when it is warmer outside, the apartments and school can be chilly. Take a sweater or jacket and be prepared to wear them a lot. I only took one jacket and got heartily sick of it by the end of six weeks.
    7). I don't think I saw a dirty bathroom anywhere in Ecuador. However, toilet paper is not meant to go down the toilet and is in short supply. Sometimes there is none in public bathrooms, sometimes it is outside the door to the bathroom. I suggest taking your own along. Fortunately, I had a lot of packets of kleenex which worked well.
    8). There is a Ecuadorian version of a 7-11 (Tia) right down the street from the hotel which has most of what you might need. The food there is not great but it is the closest store. There are also open air markets close by to get some wonderful veggies and fruits. And restaurants are amazingly inexpensive.
    9). In spite of being sick, I had a wonderful time. Ecuador is beautiful and the people there were nice and welcoming. Most of the people you will meet on the street do not speak English but they love it that you try and speak Spanish and some combination of Spanglish will always work.

    I think that's it for now. If I think of anything else, I'll write again or feel free to ask any questions.
  • Take along one of those rubber things that you use to screw off bottle tops. All bottles are amazingly difficult to open and one of those rubber things would have been perfect. Otherwise, you have to keep finding someone to open things for you.
  • Hi Pam, I can see this message. Thank you for trying again. I'm not sure if there is a character limit or a time limit that might have affected when you typed out a long reply. We are so eager to hear how your trip was. If you can post shorter messages, I have a feeling that they will show on the board.
  • Pam, thank you so much! This is so very helpful. Too bad that you came down with a sinus infection, but it sounds like you were well taken care of. We really appreciate your comments and tips! Looking forward to our trip. Will certainly bring several jackets and sturdy walking shoes. Bye for now.
  • Pam, thank you so much! This is so very helpful. Too bad that you came down with a sinus infection, but it sounds like you were well taken care of. We really appreciate your comments and tips! Looking forward to our trip. Will certainly bring several jackets and sturdy walking shoes. Bye for now.
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