The nearest major street to our apartment is Primero de Mayo (First of May). Our apartment is on the cross street Lope de Vega. Lope de Vega was a Spanish playwrightand poet who lived from 1562-1635.
Looking up the street from the intersection with Primero de Mayo our apartment is in the second building from the corner. The pillar that marks the left edge of the property contains a call button to announce visitors as well as utility meters for electricity and water. In the third photo Nancy is standing to the right of the pillar marking the right-hand edge of the property. The right hand section is on wheels and can be rolled, with some considerable effort, to the left.
It’s a bit tricky getting into our apartment. First you need to unlock the huge padlock on the gate, roll open the gate and enter. Then roll back the gate and re-lock it. Next you unlock the main door into the building, enter and then re-lock it. Then you go up three steps to a landing and then up 14 more steps to the main hall that leads to both apartments.
This is the main hallway that leads to our apartment. You pass the door into the other apartment as you walk down the hall. To enter the apartment you unlock a rather serious looking piece of hardware with four 1″ deadbolts. The entrance door leads to a rather nice living room.
All this unlocking and re-locking of doors means that you can’t get into, or out of, the apartment without three keys. We were only issued a single set of keys. If I went shopping and Nancy stayed home, I needed the keys to leave and re-enter the apartment. However, that leaves Nancy with no keys. If there was a fire or other emergency, she would have no way out except through a window! As a result, I have had a second set of keys made for the main door to the building and the padlock for the front gate. The key to the apartment door is a highly specialized one and requires the services of a locksmith not the folks at the market that make copies for $0.50 each.
The apartment has an open area feel with the dining room extending off the living room. The kitchen is to the right of the dining room. The kitchen has a large stainless steel double sink with an integral drainboard. I checked at the Mall del Rio and these sinks are quite affordable here, about $125.
There is a large pass through between the kitchen and the dining room. This helps give an open airy feel to the kitchen. There is a central hallway in the apartment. Along the South wall are the entrances to our bedroom, the main floor bath and a second bedroom. The photo above shows the entrances to our bedroom and the bathroom.
This is the bedroom we are using. It has a nice double bed. One wall has floor-to-ceiling, built-in cupboards with hanging space and drawers. The main floor bathroom has a sink, a toilet and a shower. One unusual Ecuadorian custom is that used toilet paper is not disposed of in the toilet. It goes in a waste basket and goes out with the garbage.
To the right of the bathroom the hall leads to the second bedroom and the stairs. Note the window between the hall and the bedroom. This is the only window into this bedroom. It certainly would meet Manitoba’s building and fire codes. The second bedroom has a 3/4 size bed and a full wall of built-in cupboards.
This is Gabriella Sanchez, the rental agent from whom we rented the apartment. We originally thought that Gabriella owned the building. Since then we have learned that Fabian (who does speak good English) is the owner. We have enjoyed meeting and working with Fabian and his four daughters.
The stairs lead up to a tiled sunroom. The carpeted area is the apartment’s third bedroom.
This is the apartment’s third bedroom with its en-suite bath. However, this bedroom doesn’t have any closet nor other storage. This area gets quite a bit warmer than the downstairs during the day – especially if the sun shines. That is because the covered sun-room traps and stores the energy from the sun.
Another door off the sun room leads to the open-air Ecuadorian laundry. The unit on the wall is the on-demand hot water heater. The flat area below is where you scrub your clothes. The tap on the corner controls the water which squirts out horizontally through holes along one side of the washing surface.
Well, now you’ve seen our apartment. Although it is billed as a “fully furnished” apartment, we’ve had to purchase a fair number of items to make it usable. Items such as a medium sized cooking pot, a can opener, a colander, some plastic food storage containers, a plastic cutlery holder, and a small shelf unit for the bathroom. I am still on the lookout for: wooden spoons, clothes pegs, and a rubber scraper.
As you can see, we have lots of space for company. If those cold prairie days get you down, remember that in Cuenca it is about +10°C every morning and about +20°C every afternoon.