10 Years of Blog Archive

Friday, September 14, 2012

Cuenca Ecuador… A Day in the Life at the Cuenca Hardware Store

All I want to do is get a bolt, a nut and a washer.  The nice guy at the hardware section of Coral Centro (Cuenca's Wal-Mart) tells me he can do the nut and bolt, but no washers.  How about next week? I ask him.  Nope.  Not next week either.  Ok, no washers at Coral Centro.  Not anytime soon anyway.

The largest hardware store in Cuenca (that I know of) is called Kywi and is equivalent to the larger sized Ace Hardware in the US; you know, the one with the sporting goods section and the gun section? This Ace Hardware store here has neither, by the way.  

Anyway, so I think Kywi hardware store must have the washers.  I go there the next day.   I go get the washers, I start putting them in the bag.  I notice there are two sizes in the same bin, and one of them doesn’t fit my nut and bolt.  So I separate all the ones that don’t fit, and take all the rest out of the bin.  I get about 63 washers and that empties out the bin.  No more washers left.  I figure I better get them while I can.  Because next week they’ll be out, and then I won’t have any when I need them.  And you know, this store is all the way across the other side of town.  That’s a forty five minute bus ride one way.  Between the nuts, bolts, and washers, the afternoon is gone.

I know, there are small hardware stores spread out throughout town.  They’re equivalent to, err…hm…I don’t know what they’re equivalent to.  Ok, here’s a thought that comes to mind.  You watch any westerns?  When the bad guy walks into the hardware store and there’s just a counter with some stuff hanging on the wall.  That’s the thought that comes to mind.  I’ve even seen something similar in the backwoods small towns in the South.  Very small.  Like way out in the country, small.   Sometimes you can just ask one of them and they’ll have what you need.  Like when I finally got tired of buying bit drivers.

For the non-do-it-yourself folks reading this, that’s the thingie you put into a electric drill so you can push a screw into wood.  Anyway, every three or four screws the thing breaks. I’m going to Coral Centro every week to buy three or four of them at once. And drill bits too.  They snap every week.  It could be this Eucalyptus wood is so hard it just puts too much pressure on these bits.  So I go to the cowboy hardware store, and ask for a bit.  He tells me he’s got a super hard one, “made in America” this one, “it won’t break” it’s not Chinese made.  He says… Well, that sounds good.  But it costs twice as much?  That much? So he lowers the price twenty cents. Ok, I’ll take it.  And, true to his word, it does last longer.  About a week longer.  It’s a wash.

Oh, I forgot to add that I bought one of those small spot light light bulbs at the Coral the other day, and as soon as I took it home, the wind blew the box off the table and it fell to the floor and busted before I even got a chance to use it.  So when I was at the Kywi I asked the clerk for one of those light bulbs, and they didn’t have any. Remember, this is the largest hardware store in town.  I didn’t want to go back to the Coral again, so, I decided to wait till the next day or two.  I send my son to get the bulb two days later.  He comes home, I put it in, and uh oh, it doesn’t work. 

You’re supposed to test all the bulbs, I tell him. They always test all the bulbs when I go there.  And I let them.  Because I don’t want to get home and the bulb doesn’t work.  It’s only been three days and I’ve got the nuts, bolts and washers.  And I finally got the bulb replaced.  Three days?  Yes, because, I actually have other things to do besides run around all day fetching hardware.  Ahh, the old Home Depot days are gone.  But, I don’t want to think about that because after all is said and done, I got what I needed, and I’m still in Paradise. 

If you're coming to paradise anytime soon and you want to make the move less stressful, more fulfilling and less expensive then don't forget to check out the DIY Cuenca Landing Guide.


  1. Well that was a nice article of your trip to the hardware store. It would be nice if you could also update us with the hardware prices in Cuenca. Thanks.

  2. What in the world do you need that many washers for? Reminds me of the Duke Brothers cornering the Orange Juice market in Trading Places.

  3. Hi. Thanks for commenting. We wrote a whole post and video on hardware tools and prices etc. Use the search bar at the top right, and put in Kywi Hardware, or it it Kiwy Hardware? Don't remember...

  4. At 12-50 Luis Cordero there's a small ferreteria that continues to surprise me. I walk in with some nut, bolt, washer or screw, and need more of the same. So far they have been able to get me what I need.


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