Saturday, December 11, 2010

Taking Root (Finding a New Home)

La Quinta Floripes
Despite all the groundwork that has been laid by the tide of gringos to make things easier on newbies, that tide is landing on the beach of retirement living, not family sabbatical living. So, bad metaphors notwithstanding, there is a tremendous apartment/condo market for those looking for fine, controlled spaces with full amenities (security, utilities, cleaning, etc.) included. Investment property is a newish concept here, so unless a place is built to rent, it typically isn't rented.

Bar/Gym (very efficient)
So besides wanting a house, not apartment, we wanted something with "espacios verdes", or green spaces, something so rare here that is has that special name. Houses here are generally big because multiple generations live in them. But lots are not. So there is precious little room to have outdoor space on one's own property. Also, as I'd mentioned before, Ecuadorians are obsessed with security. So those little lots are typically surrounded by high walls, razor wire, and electric fences. Espacios verdes are either a luxury or a synonym for out in the sticks. And being either one of those, it generally means the house with green space is big. We weren't looking for a big house because it's more to clean and makes more space to fill with stuff. And this trip is partly about shedding our "stuff" skin.

So we've discovered that finding our ideal place was more challenging than we'd thought. But after six weeks in hotel and "aparthotel", we finally landed it. We have rented a house in the family compound "Quinta Floripa". A quinta is a country house. I still don't know what a Floripa is. Extensive research suggests that it was either an illiterate welder that turned the d in the sign into a p, or it means "feast of florips". Either way, we like it.
View from the office

It is muy tranquilo. The only sounds at night are unidentified wildlife and the occasional fireworks (which are actually more common than wildlife in the whole of Ecuador). It is also fairly large (somewhere between 2,500 and 3,000 sq. ft) and chilly. We're about 500 feet above the center of town, so it's cooler, and the interior is typical for more modern Cuencan design, meaning tile, cement, and glass. While that means fantastic views of the less developed and natural countryside, it also means it has the relative insulating value of tinfoil.

But we have space to cook, for the kids to play, and for the parents to work (yes, I'm calling this work). It has three bedrooms (four, if you count the servant's quarters), and five bathrooms (yes, bathrooms seem to be the measure of status here). It is fully furnished, even with dishes and kitchen appliances. The rent...brace yourself...$400 a month.

And I'll just let pictures tell the rest of the story on the place.

Very modern bathrooms (this is Duncan's)

Piper's room

Duncan's room
View from master bed (fireplace & balcony)

Grill patio off kitchen

One of the living rooms



  1. wow! where do we get one of these???

    we also have young children and would love
    to have a sabattical/ adventure!!

  2. Would it be possible for you to contact us? We have been to Ecuador a few times and are moving to Cuenca in a few months. We would love to have our only child left at home (9) to go to private school. Do we have to live in the city where rent is more expensive?

  3. That's me above. For some reason my email was 92845hib92'ed. It's