Sunday, December 25, 2011


Our Second Christmas in Ecuador has been a bit different than last. First of all, I spent Thanksgiving way and returned to Ecuador just 10 days before Christmas. I did not put up the "fake" tree before I left, so when I returned and there was no tree, I just looked at Randy, and he shrugged and said, "Hey thats your thing, I just bought it for you"... so it did not get put up.. and ya know, I didn't really miss it. 

The second thing that was different about this year is that we went to the parade on Christmas Eve.
Our day began very slowly, and about noon I yelled downstairs to Randy, Hey you want to go to the Parade... silence.. "not really, you know I really don't care about parades.." Then a bit later.. maybe 10 minutes ( he has been thinking furiously about what is the right thing to do in this situation), he yells upstairs to me.. " Yeah, lets go to the parade..",  I at this point said .. Nah.. I don't want to go now.. so this puts him into overdrive convincing me that I really do want to go and that he REALLY wants to go.. ( I am such a sneaky devil).. so we went.. and we had fun.. honest.. he did enjoy it! Here are some pics of what we saw.
There were so many wonderful floats, with hours and hours of their time preparing for this event. The Paseo de Ninos is the largest parade in South America, so I have been told. These poor kids wait HOURS in line to get to the start of the parade, and it was hot.. these photos are of those children.. it is 1 in the afternoon and they have not even gotten to the start of the parade.

As we were walking back home we saw a Santa throwing bags of animal crackers to the kids and even adults yelling, Papa Noel.. Papa, aqui!

Then there was the fellow who decided that if he had to wait hours and hours, he was going to really enjoy himself.. he was high up on a huge truck.. singing and dancing... with a little liquid refreshment..
We had a nice time and I took way too many photos for this blog, but if you ever come to Cuenca around this time of year, you need to be sure to put this on the TO DO list.
The Third thing that was different about our Christmas season, is that we did not host any dinners.... we went to a Christmas Eve dinner at Joe & Josephs, We had the traditional Seven Fishes dinner.. oh yum..
This is only 3 of the fish on this plate, The other four were 2 appetizers, soup and salad.. all made with some kind of fish or shell fish.. We were so stuffed, but we managed to do this plate proud.. oh then there was dessert.. Here are some of the others who enjoyed this wonderful feast!

Thanks to Dan Bissette, I got into a photo here with Randy.

On Christmas day we were invited to two fellow expats homes for buffet brunches.. wow, we hit one in the morning and the other at 1 later that day.. it was a wonderful day..
Kitchen one.. at the Watsons... everyone chiping in to help with the brunch... then next door, at their friends house who was out of town, was the other crew...

This is what these two kitchens came up  with... of course I had to try a bit of everything.. well not the Chorizo...sorry Randy...
We were off to our next function at 12:30...we ate there at about 2... yea, just a few hours later..

We had a great Christmas day. We are stuffed and ready to put our feet up and relax..and we hear that there are plans for two New Years day get togethers as well...oh dear...

Thursday, December 15, 2011


 I was so happy to be able to return to Oregon to celebrate with my mom, siblings and other relatives, it was a great occasion, and we all were thrilled to see each other. Some traveling from California and Washington. I won the who came the farthest award though..

 My mom has recently moved into a manufactured home that she bought... for a $1. I know.. sounds pretty incredible, but these things do happen. Here's some photos I took while there.
It got real cold and foggy while I was there, so I started snapping photos of all the frosty stuff!

this is a photo of the sun... it was very dense fog.

I could not resist a photo of the moon. We dont see it very often in Cuenca.
Mom and I had a great time hitting all the Goodwill, Salvation Army and Thrift shops within a 20 mile radius
of her home, but also while we were out and about we stopped at a Pier 1... just to look. I could not resist taking a photo of this little guy. It would have made a perfect gift for my friend Karen Stephenson, but she is just going to have to do with the photo..
My brother put on Thanksgiving dinner at mom's house. He delivered all the goodies and then cooked it all.. we had a great time and of course I had to take a picture of the chef with the turkey, or is that the turkey chef ?

My kids, Adam and Kelsey were able to come down for the party so we got some pictures of them,as well as Kelsey's pup.. Nilly.
I had a wonderful time with my family and visiting with my mom. She whipped my rear almost every nite at scrabble, cribbage and even when I tried to throw off her game with a new one of Rummykub.. she still beat me.. I bow to her craftiness..
Merry Christmas Mom!

Saturday, November 19, 2011


I bet you got the gist of that... I am flying out tomorrow afternoon to Quito, then at 6 am on Monday I am flying out to Portland, Or. where my wonderful brother is picking me up and driving me to my mom's house in Dallas, Or.

I will be able to spend Thanksgiving with her and also  attend her birthday party to celebrate her ()th birthday!  Isn't she awesome!

I am a last minute packer.. so I am currently washing some clothes and throwing stuff in the direction of my suitcase.  I live on a limited amount of clothes and most are only presentable in the most casual of places, so that even limits me more! The most important that I am bringing is the extra suitcase for the stuff I am bringing back with me to Cuenca.

Randy has been shipping some items and I have been inviting others to ship small items to my moms house. She has become quite aquainted with the UPS and Fedex fellas (she does love those cute shorts they wear!)

I am hoping that my daughter and son will be able to come to Oregon, as they are both in Wa.  about 5 hrs away. If the Columbia Gorge is not a ice rink they may be able to come to the party and also see me!

I will try to keep you all posted on what is happening in Oregon, just so you folks in the "new country" can appreciate the wonderful weather you are enjoying... while I appreciate turning leaves and maybe snow!

Friday, November 11, 2011


I found this link on one of the expat forums and thought I would just pass along this information for those of you coming to Cuenca in the near future.

We love the bus system here and think its the easiest,and most economical way to get around. This link also even has a trip planner, so once you get an idea of where you want to go you can plan out your trip!

The ITUR office in the center of old town (by the big blue domed church), on Mariscal Sucre is a great place to ask questions and get maps and bus route booklets as well. There is always some one there who can speak English, so that helps as well.

Have fun!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Sorry that I have dropped of the face of blogs-ville. Just kind of got busy with every day stuff here in Cuenca.

Our friends Chuck and Nancy Watson have been on vacation in Spain so we have been their condo managers while they are gone. What a fun time we have had! The last tenants were Paul and Gayle from SoCal. How fun they were. We got our feet wet with some really nice people. I think they were happy with us. I know they loved the condo.

We have been happy that the sun has been shining again, we had almost 6 days without a drop of rain, and the sun was just brilliant. Being up high like this we always have some puffy clouds that the sun plays with, but mostly they are nice clouds and wait until the afternoon to rain. Without those clouds we get scorched, it is amazing the difference it makes to just step into the shade or open up the umbrella. WAHLAH! Much cooler. But the air is not hot, it is just the sun temp. It's hard to explain, but it is different from any heat I have ever experienced.

We had a week long art festival here in town, we walked through the stalls each day and did not buy one thing. I drooled alot and whimpered, but we prevailed and held out. I have my trip coming up for the U.S so we are "budgeting" for my spending there. Here is a nice photo of a lady from Saraguaro, EC. they are known for their bead work. Notice her necklace..tiny beads all hand strung.
This is a beautiful tree over shadowing the CIDAP Museum.

A beautiful Cuenca sunset
We have a houseguest again. Jani has returned to wait for her house in Paute to be completed. They hoped to have it done by the first for November, but that feel through, and with the week long holiday its pushed it back a few more days.. but we are having fun with her here. She gives us updates on her house and tags along with us when she is home so she is getting to know quite a few folks in Cuenca and learning her way around. **Jani is from Ellensburg, WA.. just 1.5 hrs away from where we used to live.. small world huh?
Jani on the left, Paula on the right
Our friends Sharon and Jacob had decided they are moving to Kaula Lampur for a test run, so we all went to  El Che restaurant in San Joquin for a last farewell luncheon. We will miss them, but expect lots of updates from Malaysia!

Gonna miss those kids!
 We also discovered a restaurant that has been all over the FB Ecuador groups and locals lips. It has had both rave and bad reviews. We are on the rave side. We loved the ambiance and thought the food was good too.. ok, so WE liked it.. its an old home turned into a restaurant, and the warm feeling we got when we walked in was perfect.. just our type of place.

Inside one of the rooms of the restaurant
During the festival this week was the Orchid show at the airport. We went last year and bought a orchid.. this year we did not go, but we rejoiced that our Orchid finally bloomed!
When we walk along, every once in awhile I take a picture of something that catches my eye, hoping not to insult anyone.. so I figured this car was ok.

Cutest car I have seen in Cuenca

Smallest coke I have ever been served!
 This week is looking like a busy one, we have out new tenants coming tomorrow, another bon voyage to some friends who will be returning to Cuenca in a month or so, and somewhere in there I need to start studying for my Spanish class.. I missed last Mondays as I was sick. so I have to really hustle so I wont be too embarrassed.... and in Spanish, that is NOT embarazada.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Again the Chamber of Commerce here in Cuenca has outdone themselves with arranging a very informative trip. Today they took a group of 20 folks to visit the main bottling and distributribution facility in Paute, a 40 minute bus ride.

When we arrived we were greeted by the two main gentlemen in charge of the facility.

We all were given hard hats and asked to please stay in the group and not wander off. It was explained how the liquid products were brought to the bottling facility and from there put into tanks. We were first shown the stainless steel tanks and told how many gazillion liters they held..

It was explained to us that water is a very important part of making a great tasting product. There are 5 different types of cleaning that the water goes through. The water comes originally from the mountain springs. They have it piped directly to the facilty!

Then the water is run through the clarifier.

Then filtered through sand and then through activated charcoal

and finally a reverse osmosis. And somewhere in there I missed the UV that the water is exposed to

We were taken to the lab and were shown all of their equipment. It was pointed out to us how detailed they are about checking for methanol. We had a horrible incident here in Ecuador with some bootleg alcohol that had massive amounts of methanol in it, so we were being educated on the stringent protocols to protect the consumer of their products. Zhumir did not have any problems with their products. They were very proud to state that they ship products to the U.S., parts of Europe, and Central America. Because of this, the standards for their products has to pass not only their own countries protocols, but also the countries that they ship to. 

We were shown the bottling machines and told that the little pint bottles were bottled at a rate of 60,000 an hour. The larger 750 ml bottles about 12-16K an hour. While we were there they were bottling a specialty Pina Colada bottles, These we were told take longer due to the need for more hands on by the bottling staff.

We all had a great time walking along the bottling lines. We were even let into the juice bottling area which is enclosed and all persons wear face coverings.

Zhumir has a wide range of alcoholic and non alcoholic products. They do a line of juice called Vivant, as well as they bottle Gatorade products. Here are some photos of the different products. Some of these products are specific to the countries they are shipped to.

After our tour inside the factory part of the facility we were taken into the "Cava".. or cave. Here they have a type of Reservado rum that they produce. There were five more rooms like this one.

After our tour we were all offered bottles of water, juice, and tea, as well as some home made Canelaso, and then we were all treated to another product that they make called Tacao..Oh Yum.. look out Baileys, I think you have some stiff competition in Ecuador.

Just before we left we were all gifted with a bottle of Pina Colada!

We were all impressed with how much time and detail they went into with us. It was very informative and fun. My view of the Zhumir products just took a 100% increase in respect.