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About the Author

David Morrill

A California native who spent most of his life in north Florida, David Morrill has been a newspaper and magazine editor, columnist, and book and art reviewer. He was also a public relations agency owner and university administrator. He has lived in Cuenca since 2004.

Carolina Bookstore, an iconic Cuenca expat institution, changes ownership

By David Morrill |

By David Morrill According to Lee Dubs, the decision to sell Carolina Bookstore after 11 years was easy. “It was simply time to move on,” he says, adding, “Carol and I are not getting any  … Read more

February election will mean big changes for Ecuador; What will it mean for expats?

By David Morrill |

To understand what’s at stake in next month’s presidential election, it’s important to first consider Rafael Correa’s enormous impact on Ecuador. The election will be, in large part, a referendum on his presidency. It’s also  … Read more

New Santa Canela bar and grill and hostal was 27 years in the making for a Cuencano who returned home to his roots

By David Morrill |

By David Morrill Looking around the Manhattan bar and grill where he worked in 1989, Freddy Vasquez told himself it was the kind of place he wanted to own one day. “It had three floors,  … Read more

In the world’s top bird watching country, Cuenca and Southern Ecuador are a land of opportunity

By David Morrill |

By David Morrill For Cuenca tour guide Carlos Lara, life offers no greater pleasure than watching the birds. “I love doing anything outdoors. For me, there is nothing better than escaping the artificial world, where  … Read more

The howl of the expat cheapskates in the Kingdom of Cheap

By David Morrill |

One of the more curious subspecies of Ecuador expat is the small but noisy contingent that is utterly obsessed with the price of things; more specifically, they are obsessed with the notion that they are  … Read more

Perpetual motion machines of commerce, Cuenca’s mercados overwhelm the senses

By David Morrill |

By Deke Castleman and David Morrill The mercado scene in Cuenca is lively, vibrant, and bountiful, with large bustling indoor and indoor-outdoor produce and meat markets scattered  around town. Shopping at, any of the city’s  … Read more

Parque Calderón: For more than 400 years, it’s been the heart and soul of Cuenca

By David Morrill |

By Deke Castleman and David Morrill The vast majority of foreign visitors start their tour of Cuenca at Parque Calderón, and many expats pass through the park on a nearly daily basis. Travelers and residents accustomed to  … Read more

Justice was swift, brutal and merciless in Old Cuenca; a hangman’s post and humiliation cross stand testament to the bloody past

By David Morrill |

By David Morrill On September 10, 1783, Cuenca resident Melchor del Valle was convicted by the Spanish Royal Court of murdering his brother Sylvester. The sentence: “Two hundred lashes in the public square, then hanging  … Read more

Looking for cultural immersion to satisfy your appetite? Cuenca’s markets teem with produce, prepared food and adventure

By David Morrill |

By Deke Castleman and David Morrill Where do Cuencanos and expats buy their food? Although Supermaxi, Coral and other modern supermarkets sell their share of meat and produce, the city’s markets, or mercados, continue to  … Read more

Learning a second language: It’s easy when we’re young but harder as we grow older

By David Morrill |

By Deke Castleman and David Morrill Children pick up language easily. Their nervous systems make new neural connections at lightning speeds. Computer simulations of neural activity in the early years of life look like all  … Read more

Health care and health insurance in Ecuador: Big improvements in quality and changes in insurance options are good news for expats

By David Morrill |

By David Morrill and Greg Medeiros Health care and health insurance options for Ecuador expats changed dramatically at the beginning of 2014 when the government allowed legal residents to join the country’s Social Security (IESS)  … Read more

Classes at the Cuenca College for Expats; how newcomers pick friends and acquaintances based on cohort traits

By David Morrill |

By Deke Castleman and David Morrill The large influx of foreigners to Cuenca has turned this small Andean city into a world-class laboratory experiment for a major “amenities migration” during the past decade. In the  … Read more

Massive earthquake relief effort begins as the scope of the tragedy becomes clear

By David Morrill |

As the initial shock of Saturday night’s earthquake gives way to the grim reality of human and property losses, Ecuador confronts the biggest reconstruction project in its history. Before that begins, however, comes the search  … Read more

Cuenca’s Easter Fanesca: Steeped in family tradition, the famous soup is only available during the Easter season

By David Morrill |

Editor’s note: Cuenca’s Easter soup, fanesca, is considered by many to be the best in Latin America and it is a tradition among Cuencanos to have at least one bowl of it during Holy Week.  … Read more

How did Cuenca turn into the world’s greatest expat-lifestyle laboratory? A brief history of Ecuador’s and Cuenca’s expat boom

By David Morrill |

By Deke Castleman and David Morrill We’re all Gary’s children. Gringos lived and worked in Ecuador long before Gary and Merri Scott showed up around 1995, but the Scotts, almost single-handedly, put Ecuador on the  … Read more

Cuenca’s Cazhuma Tours takes a hands-on, individualized approach to tourism

By David Morrill |

Gabriela Carrión, owner of Cazhuma Tours in Cuenca, never forgets what it’s like to be a tourist. “If you are not out there checking the details of the tours, you don’t know what your clients  … Read more

The guitar makers of San Bartolomé, east of Cuenca, maintain a generations-old musical tradition in the high Andes

By David Morrill |

By David Morrill No one knows exactly when the guitar-making tradition began in San Bartolomé, a picturesque village 20 miles east of Cuenca. Everyone agrees, however, that it dates to the Spanish colonial era at  … Read more

Ceramicist Eduardo Segovia takes his inspiration from Cuencano materials and traditions but creates for the world art market

By David Morrill |

By David Morrill At 75, Cuenca ceramicist Eduardo Segovia shows no sign of slowing down. On most days, in fact, you can find him hard at work in his Cuenca studio, just west of the  … Read more

The report card on Correa after eight years: Some remarkable accomplishments but storm clouds gather on the horizon

By David Morrill |

By David Morrill Rafael Correa is a megalomaniac, a loud-mouth, a control freak, a religious fanatic, the architect of a nanny state, a muzzler of free speech, and a court-packer. He is, by turns, intolerant,  … Read more

Of coyotes, desert treks, singing for money, and pursuing the American dream: A Cuencano’s journey to the U.S. and his return home

By David Morrill |

By David Morrill Diego Plasencia’s American dream had crashed and burned long before he sat down on a New York sidewalk with his guitar on a summer morning in 1998. He admits that he wasn’t  … Read more