Friday, February 25, 2011

ART, RENEWABLE ART &THE ART OF DRIVING

I found a bunch of pictures on my camera, that I had never posted, so I thought I would just put them out here and let my mind meander for a bit. Lucky you...

 a painting in a breezeway gallery
Ceiling, painting around the chandelier


I just love the ornate ceilings... its art as far as I am concerned!
Street Art
 
Divine Art
As you know we have been working on decorating our new home. As we find items that we can reuse we have been trying to put them to use somewhere in the house. The Cuecanos are marvelous at this feat, and we are not ones to be outdone.
Root starter

Thanks C & N for this reminder!

Cigar cask.. now a utensil holder!
Randy has decided that as well as a motorcycle license he should get his driver's license. Here in Ecuador the motorcycle license does not require any testing but the automobile license does.

Randy was told he had to take 10-2hr driving lessons, as well as 10-3 hr lecture classes. ALL in Spanish. His class times are from 2-4 driving, 8-11 classroom lecture... all on the same day. Now, let me remind you this is the country where they honk instead of using their signals, pass on blind curves and crowd instead of taking turns through the round-abouts (called rondels here).

Randy came back from the first day pooped and told me that the driving part is 4 cars following the leader through town. Randy's teacher sits and talks on her phone, does her makeup or listens to the radio... with an occasional "A la dereccha" (turn right)... when he gets slowed up by a light and gets behind the others.

Today when he returned with the good news that the main teacher who spoke some English said "You can drive!"... Randy said YES! The teacher suggested that Randy not return until next Friday, when he will take his final driving test..Randy of course agreed.. he will not have to endure the follow the leader for the next week.

To add to all this drama is our goodbuddies, Clarke and Brenda. They are looking at cars, so of course we had to go along. I immediately found the Charlie Brown Christmas tree car... you know the one... its so ugly no one wants it? Well I loved it... even its outlandish interior! DISCLAIMER  We did not buy a car
The tag says its yellow, but its the most gawd awful limish green

Yep.. black and lime interior..
Clarke and Brenda on the other hand are looking at a more upscale car, one that can accomdate lots of "stuff", and take on the back roads.
Clarke, is there room in the back for Randy and Karen??

See Brenda, its digital. I don't think they can adjust that kind of odometer!

I need to say right here that as of Tuesday, Clarke and Brenda had not bought a car, they were still looking..but then that was Tuesday!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

A VIST TO SIGSIG, SAN BARTOLOME, PAUTE & CHORDELEG

Sunday, the day of rest.. especially in Cuenca. You have heard the saying about the sidewalks rolling up. Well it't about like that here. Very, very quiet. The museums are  now catching on and recently sent out a notice that they would be open on Sundays for a few hours between 9-1. So that's a nice place to go, or you can get an early start and meet up with other "extrajernos" at the Parque Calderon, or Kookaburras Cafe. I am a slow beginner in our new life here, and I have not even tried any of the above activities on Sundays..

Our friends did take us on a day trip yesterday to Sigsig, Chordeleg, San Bartoleme, and Paute. I had only a banana for breakfast, so the windy roads and sudden passing around buses was not to my stomach's liking.  Kesha, on the other hand, was enjoying the ride and seemed to not notice.

We stopped at a panama hat factory on a back road of  the little town of Sigsig. It has this HUGE hat that they made. I think its the largest in Ecuador.
Right off to the side, in the shade, just sitting on the ground were these ladies just weaving away on hats. Of course the only thing that popped into my mind was why were they not in comfy chairs.. but since this was the way they grew up doing this, its probably not uncomfortable for them.
Well I guess this one lady has a tiny stool..
Drying strands getting ready for weaving

Randy checking out the hats in the factory part.

No, I don't think this is the look for you...

Cute basket we bought, 3.00
Next we went to the little town of San Bartolome, way up on the hill... beautiful view of the valley, so quiet and had of course a beautiful old church.
We next stopped in Chordeleg and checked out the green pottery.. totally bypassed the center of town where all the Jewelry was... I think it was a plan by the guys in the car.. Randy had some fun batering with the ladies, and they were nice enough to give him a bit of a discount. My camera  was forgotten at this stop.


I was starting to complain loudly at this point about being hungry so we stopped at a little place that sold Rosero. A wonderful fruit drink. Kind of like a Batitido, but even better. It has chunks of various fruits in it, kind of a thick drink, and absolutely delicious.

Next we went to a roadside stand outside of Paute that had pork and chicken for lunch. I did not take any photos here as I was up to my elbows in tortillas, chicken, hominy, and potatoes.. picture a pig wallow, and thats about the look of ecstatic pleasure I was having eating my food..

We next went to several Guitar makers homes. These were very small operations, and one family showed us how they made guitars. I was most impressed that the gentleman was very proud to point out that his son was learning the trade as well.

The little guitar that owner is holding is made out of a Armadillo shell. It was $150.. the one Randy is holding is $600. We passed on both.

Randy did make a selection.. at another business. This is Eddie's Guitar..when he comes to get it!
We had a great day, Thanks guys. It was nice to get out of the city, and see the countryside!

Monday, February 14, 2011

PONDERINGS FROM LAZY KAREN IN CUENCA

I am finding that as I relax into my life in this new country, I am getting lax... on  taking pictures, and telling folks about what its like to live here. I write my blog mostly for my family and friends, but have been getting quite a few emails from "ecuador prospects" asking particular questions about this and that. I try to answer as best I can, but mostly my suggestion is to read other folks blogs and research the forums.. does that make me lazy?  Or hesitant to be blamed from giving the wrong impression?

The lack of super cool pictures is probably because I don't want to offend, or even stand out... well that's just silly, because of course I stand out!  I don't fear having my camera stolen, I guess I am just getting used to seeing those things I once thought were odd or different.  

"fresh" meat anyone?
"Ala Naturelle" Landscaping Service

We are finding ourselves staying home, and "nesting" alot more, only venturing out for walks to town,  meandering streets we have not walked down, and noting places that would be nice to mention to our other friends who are looking for this and that. So no, I dont have lots of cool pictures of new stuff... except what we have been doing in the house and yard... sorry..

We are in the rainy season and I have some videos of the rains. We have a huge skylight over the stairwell so we get some incredible noise from that.
video

 
The river has really been rushing along, no flooding which is good; and the rain insures that we will not have a shortage of electricity, as we are powered hydroelectrically in Cuenca. Yes, for those of you who know Randy, he still wears shorts and Birks on rainy days...


I have started trying to  knit again. I am happy to say they have TONS of yarn shops here, and each place has various types and quantities, so checking them out is alot of fun. Not knowing how to say knitting needles was fun too. With alot of arm waving and pointing I finally got my point across and I purchased another pair of larger needles.  I have one project in process, but due to an error and my friend was sick, I have stopped on it, but began another on the 2nd pr of needles! Randy was noting that I had never made anything for him... to be accurate I have never made anything for anyone... but back to the point... I am knitting him a scarf.. a scarf in Ecuador?  Yeah, I know sounds odd. The women wear them here alot.. they think its cold and they use them to cover their face when a nasty diesel bus passes. I only wore one once at nite in bed when I was Freezing to death... really I think I was sick. So it will be interesting to see if he does actually use it.


We have done some nite activities... the California Kitchen had their grand opening of their new bar area... 2/1 drinks ($5) couldn't pass that up! There was music as well, so we went both nites and really enjoyed being out "among 'em" .. Here is a photo of the gringo musician. His playing was excellent, and I hear he had only been here a few weeks and already was working! His guitar, he said, is called a Traveling Guitar. It was very unique, and I was happy to hear it was made in Oregon!



We continue to improve on the inside and outside of the house. Randy had our imminent carpenter Pepe make him a combination Cigar stand / Wine Rack. It turned out very nicely and it gives a nice look to an ordinary item.


Once again we stopped by the flower market next to the New Cathedral and bought flowers from our favorite vendor. We look at her flowers, check out all the other ladies, just to be polite, and the buy everything from her.. She and another lady always get going together pulling out flowers and they are very nice about our waving arms and bad Spanish, we always get a free plant and a MUCHAS GRACIAS!  
Yes, we are softies...





One of our potted trees is blooming!


Oh and as a parting note... Randy has joined the ranks of men in Cuenca who occasionally HAVE to indulge in the common practice of  public urination... uh no photos for that one...

Sunday, February 6, 2011

SUNDAY REVELRY

WASSUP? Randy woke me at 7:30 this morning! UGH.. its SUNDAY.
 "Hurry we are meeting Becca & Kesha  to walk down to Kooks.."

Wahhhat?? " Hurry, dont fall back to sleep, she is walking here". "We need to hurry so she doesn't have to run across Las Americas with the baby!!"  Blearily I threw on  my clothes, brushed my teeth, wiped the mascara off my face and ran a brush (I think) through my hair... We did not make it in time, Becca got to cross back over Las Americas again with us..It was a nice morning  walk to Kooks; we were there by 8:30.  Kookaburra owners, Jeni & Chris, came to a complete stop with mouths agape when they saw me. Either at the shock of my being up and moving so early, or I did not brush my hair as I had imagined.  We had a lovely breakfast.. even if I was still half asleep. 

By 9:30 we were off to walk through the flower market, peek into the church doors and walk around the New Cathedral. Then we headed home trying to hit the shade that also had a stroller worthy sidewalk.. some things are just better thought of as a great bonus...

We arrived home and Randy immediately scrawled a list of needs from Supermaxi..I lost the toss so  I walked back up to Supermaxi, (Oh and is HOT this morning..picture pitted out shirt and sweat streaked  face.. ) when I got back home he said...ok, we are up to 7 for dinner... (did I mention it was 2 yesterday...).. as I gaped at him like a fish out of water, he said WHAT? I'm cooking...well uh, we only have enough plates for 6? Not enough wine classes for those that do drink?  He just smiles and says... Not a problem... we have enough food, it will all work out..
And it will... thats whats fun about being here... you start out with no plans for the day, and before you know it you have back to back plans and a house full of the most fun people, all chipping in and hauling wine, plates and dishes to your house with the words... NO PROBLEMA.. But I do think I need to take that shower now.