2018 Internet Trends Report

Mary Meeker’s report has just been released. Link at the bottom. Here are the highlights.

  • Half the world population, or about 3.6 billion people, will be on the internet.
  • U.S. adults are spending more time online thanks to mobile, clocking 5.9 hours per day in 2017 versus 5.6 hours in 2016.
  • Voice technology is at an inflection point due to speech recognition hitting 95% accuracy and the sales explosion for Amazon Echo which went from over 10 million to over 30 million sold in total by the end of 2017.
  •  Ecommerce growth quickens as now 13% of all retail purchases happen online and parcel shipments are rising swiftly, signaling big opportunities for new shopping apps.
  • Freelancing: Employees crave scheduling and work-from-home flexibility, and internet discovery of freelance work led it to grow 3X faster than total workforce growth. The on-demand workforce grew 23% in 2017 driven by Uber, Airbnb, Etsy, Upwork, and Doordash.


Here’s Mary Meeker’s essential 2018 Internet Trends report


Loaves And Fishes At Sabatatino’s Gran Feria

Never be disappointed again about running out of quality bread, cakes, seafood, lamb and duck again. It will be as simple as going to the Loaves and Fishes website and arranging next day delivery or pickup at convenient locations in Cuenca www.loavesandfishes.club


* Salmon and dorper lamb * Sourdough Bread * Smoked Salmon * French Baguettes * Smoked Trout * Rye Bread * Paiche Amazonian White Fish * Challah * Organic Shrimp * Cakes * Lamb Chops * Brownies * Organic Tilapia * Bialys * Lamb Sausage * Oats & Raisin * Rainbow Trout Ask about next day delivery to your home

Bumba Bazaar May 26th

Saturday May 26th  from 10:00 – 2:00 pm

Take a stroll on the Tomebamba River this Saturday and stop at The Bumba Bazaar and Fair.

14 vendors selling:

Bakery Goods
Aged Cheese
Goat Cheese
Smoked Provolone
Franco Organico Coffee and Peanuts
King Smokehouse Bacon
Leather Goods
Natural Honey

Mediterranean Products

Bumba Restaurant is located on 3 de Noviembre next to the old Sofy’s location

099 122 1238

Loaves And Fishes Website Launches Today

Never be disappointed again about running out of quality bread, cakes, seafood, lamb and duck again. It will be as simple as going to the Loaves and Fishes website and arranging next day delivery or pickup at convenient locations in Cuenca.

Loaves and Fishes Website 


Lenny Charnoff moved to Ecuador to experience a new culture and learn Spanish from native speakers. After being an active part of the Ex-pat community for several years, he developed a business selling salmon and other speciality products.

Kelbert Bortone moved to Ecuador to raise his children and open a bakery with his wife Mariana. Today, Mariana is the supreme baker behind the scenes while Kelbert transports her fresh products to local market places, selling and delivering delicious breads and cake.

These two men are creative, resourceful and artistic, selling products next to each other at markets around Cuenca throughout the week.

The new venture, Loaves and Fishes, marries their strengths to bring these products to you in a nearly seamless fashion. The new website will make simple your shopping. You’ll find  the products you want and click on the cart icon. Order by 4 p.m. for delivery the next day.

Lenny’s wife Sharon contributes recipes for fish, lamb or shrimp from time to time so try a new way of preparing delicious foods you will love.

These products do not disappoint!


Seven Years In Ecuador

Seven Years In Ecuador

It was 7 years ago that a Boeing 767 touched down smoothly in Guayaquil, Ecuador at 5:30 am. My BIG South American adventure had begun. My wife Sharon and I were moving to Cuenca, Ecuador with our 16-year-old cat.  We were supposed to be greeted by a prearranged driver who never showed up. I was left to negotiate a taxi to drive us the roughly 4 hours through the Cajas, part of the Andes Mountains, to the historic city and world heritage site of Cuenca. My beginning Spanish was quite inadequate.  This was our first time riding through the mountains to Cuenca. As I found out during the ride it was the drivers’s first time too.  He took outrageous risks on blind corners, balanced on the edge of a cliff with big trucks rushing toward us through rain and fog. Both Sharon and I kissed the sidewalk when we broke all speed records to arrive in Cuenca with all our worldly possessions in 4 big suitcases and an exhausted kitty.

First, I want to thank the people of Ecuador for making these past 7 years a wonderful life experience.  Specifically, the folks of Cuenca are welcoming to foreigners and have aided us as we obtained legal residency and adapted to their country. For example, we moved into a lovely rental house on a rainy July night that first year. There is neither built-in heat nor air-conditioning in homes here where it is rumored to be “eternal Spring”. The night we moved into the our new home, the temperature was 44 degrees F. Our new landlords observed that we were shivering, wrapped tight against the chill and not used to the weather high in the Andes. They rushed home and brought back a gas heater to loan us while we shopped for our own.

Although I lived in Oregon for 21 years prior to moving to Ecuador, I’m, a native  New Yorker with a Type A mindset.  I learned to slow down. Today, I would describe Cuenca in one word: the Spanish term “tranquilo” or “calm”.  In Ecuador as elsewhere in the Latin world “mañana” could be “tomorrow” but often means “some undesignated time soon”.

The population of metropolitan Cuenca is 600,000. I have seen geometric changes in 7 years. To my reckoning Cuenca was a culinary wasteland according to most US tastes. Now you can find cuisines from all over the world.  The Internet used to be very expensive, unreliable and painfully slow. Now, one can have 50 meg fiber optic right to your home. The aging bus system is super cheap to ride and you rarely wait more than 10 minutes for a bus.  If you are over 65 you qualify as a “tecera edad” “a senior citizen” to ride for half fare. You also may be given preference if there is a long line at the bank.

The other day a taxi driver was asking me if I ever eat cuy – guinea pig which is a delicacy in Ecuador. I told him that cuy was a “mascota” or “pet” to every school child in the US. However,  “mi encanta” “I love” the wonderful organic fruits and vegetables you can buy all year long in Cuenca. My favorites are pitahaya, cherimoya, and papayas. In peak season you can buy 4 papayas for a dollar if you can communicate in Spanish at the local “ferias” or “markets”.

My Spanish has grown from “Caveman” status to “functional conversationalist”  I do best if I speak mostly in the present tense and limit the interaction to my approved list of 300 verbs. Then I am “todo bien” or “completely fine”.

The expat community has grown from 800 in 2011 to well over 5000 now. This community of foreign-born citizens of the world is one of the reasons Sharon and I thrive in Cuenca. Before we retired, we rarely entertained.  Weekdays were comprised of work while week ends were filled with care of home and pets. Now, we each have hobbies and know people who share similar tastes. Cuenca ex-pats offer events every day of the week, from ancient Andean cooking to playing mahjong. Young foreign couples with children are moving to Cuenca in greater numbers. I meet newcomers who are working online while taking advantage of the lower cost of living in Cuenca. Still, the bulk of the expat community is made up mostly of people aged 55-85. These folks have time to explore interests as never before.

One should never get bored in Cuenca. New hiking trails parallel the major rivers winding through the city,  free Zumba classes are offered in local parks 6 days a week, and there is fast, reliable Internet. A strong community of writers of all genres thrives here. In fact, Cuenca hosts the Third International Writer’s Conference May 28 – June 1.

In addition to finding a poker game every day of the week, there is duplicate bridge club as well as an active thespian group. If you are a hiker, you will be in Nirvana. with shivering ghost forests populated by unusual birds.

Three years ago, I wrote my monthly living costs on my blog. It developed into a polemic on the local Facebook groups.  There were individuals who said, “ I can live $500 a month less”. They are probably right. The cost of living has everything to do with your lifestyle.  Still, no one can argue that rent, utilities and organic fruits and vegetables are cheaper than the U.S.

Why have Sharon and I remained in Cuenca for 7 years while some expats have left? First of all, I don’t think of leaving Cuenca to return to your country of origin as a failure. It may require a mindset of not letting the difficulty of Spanish or the government bureaucracy bog you down.  Sharon and I call these moments T.I.E – This Is Ecuador.  Spanish is the official language. It is our responsibility as newcomers to learn enough of the language to interact with the local community. One T.I.E moment that at times tries my patience is that banks often ask you to sign documents in a way that perfectly matches the penmanship on your ID card. You know, like a forger would need to do?  But now, when I am asked, as often happens, to rewrite my signature my blood pressure remains almost normal.

We will shortly be retuning to the U.S. for our annual family reunion. I will enjoy Peet’s Coffee, purchasing cheaper high tech devices, great Thai and hugging each grandchild .  I will especially enjoy communicating without translating in my head. But at the end of 3 weeks I will be very content to return to the tranquility and pace of life that is retirement in Cuenca, Ecuador.

Loaves And Fishes Inauguration Party

Join Kelbert Bortone and me at La Guarida Friday May 18th from 5:00 – 8:00 pm for the Inauguration of Loaves And Fishes our new online ordering system.

Never be disappointed again about running out of quality bread, cakes, seafood, lamb and duck again. It will be as simple as going to our website and arranging next day delivery or pickup at convenient locations in Cuenca.

Come join us for the party, see the website in action an sample the best of loaves and fishes.  La Guarida is located at Mariscal Lamar y Luis Pauta

Taking Better Pictures With You Cellphone

It’s been 3 years since I sold my expensive DSLR. The one statement that never comes out of my mouth is- ” Damn, what a great shot, I wish I had my camera with me”.  I always have my camera in my pocket because I always have my smartphone with me.

Here’s how you can take better photos with your smartphone

Below are some recent shots with a cell phone:


Streaming TV Search Engine

TIE (This Is Ecuador) is my goto acronym to describe an event that is unique to living in an unfamiliar culture. Watching TV in Ecuador provides some interesting challenges.

In 7 years we have experienced the following:

  • DirecTV
  • TV Cable
  • USTVNow
  • Streaming Boxes (Fire TV, Roku, Apple TV)

I am aware there are Kodi like applications but I choose not to use them because of the constant changes.

My family now uses the streaming box solution mainly watching movies and TV Shows on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video

Just Watch is an app that runs on Android and IOS. Basically you can search for a movie or TV program and find out if it is available on all the popular steaming services or where you can rent it.  Easy Pezzy.