Friday, May 20, 2011


I love Facebook, because it has given me an venue to reacquaint with my high school friends and family that I have not seen or communicated with in years. So using that forum, when we moved here, we put out the welcome mat to all our friends and family.

Because of this, I received an email from my 2nd cousin who asked if our welcome extended to his traveling friends... I of course jumped at the idea. Randy being a bit more socially challenged; I negated to tell him about the offer and just let it work its way into the conversation. Our new potential guests determined that they would stay at a hotel at first and see if we meshed ( I think that was good, since they already knew my cousin, I could see why they might have doubts about us... : >}  ).. as it turned out since I was going to Macara for a week, and they were off to Vilcabamba for a week, we would all share space when I returned.

Steven and Randy listening to and discussing music, soul brothers..

Fougere enjoying a book.. I was off reading myself when I happened upon her reading downstairs
 While Steven and Fourgere were here we arranged to go to the Cajas. Fougere is quite the hiker, and she convinced us that it would not be "that bad". Steven had just gotten over a severe ankle strain, but he was game, so were agreed. We contacted our friend Arturo for a day trip, and on the Friday before they left we were off to the Cajas.
One view point and bill board telling about the area almost 14,000 ft elevation.. cold and windy!
 To walk around Lake Toreador you need to sign in. Arturo sent us off to the building that housed the bathroom and displays of the lake while he completed the necessary fee payment and log in for us.
Photos of the different type of wild life and plants found around the Cajas.

View of the lake from the display building

I just loved this photo..
 We cinched our hoods down against the very cold wind and began our hike down the hillside to the path that followed the edges of the lake. As we walked I took lots of photos. Not a clue what most of these are,only that I thought they were very pretty.

Yep, even Randy thought it was cold!

Teeny Tiny flowers...

The building is where we stared from..

I was told that these lakes are not from springs, but from rainwater and waterfalls..

somewhere is the path...

I probably should have put my hand down, I had to zoom in on this ... it was very tiny..

Some kind of ground cover.. loved the yellow, green and tiny pink flowers

In my mind, I thought this might be similar to Tunda.. it is all mushy underneath but pretty solid to walk on

Here we are all posing.. at the half way point! No turning back!

Yep, there are fresh water trout up here!

A waterfall with a nice grassy area for a picnic

There was fungus among us!

That building at the top is where we started from, and our goal.. elevation and lung capacity were bothering me at this point

Oh yes please, I will sit while you take our picture!

Another photo that I had to zoom in on.. these were everywhere, a ground covering

Trees and cool yellow ground covering

Randy loved that they had a bench and wood in case you wanted to stop and have a bit of a warm up before you left

After our hike we went to the Che restaurant and had a wonderful meal
We had a great time with Fougere and Steven, and we made sure they understood if they were back in our neck of the woods they were welcome to come stay with us again.. Thanks Chris for introducing us!

Thursday, May 19, 2011


If you have not read any of my previous blogs, the title will not make any sense. My host family live in Macara and we all needed to go over to Peru. They zip back and forth without a thought, and one time they took me... twice in one day... without this time, I was very happy to follow the rules and "check in"

The rules are these. We drove over the boarder of EC onto a bridge, Parked the car and went to the EC boarder office where we all filled out paperwork (no photos the police are intimidating). I have my Cedula so I just put that number down.. no passport needed.  You tell how long you are staying, cell # and how you are traveling and purpose. They look at it and your cedula, make sure you filled it out correctly and then stamp it, and return the duplicate ticket at the bottom to you.
Then you walk over the bridge to Peru side of the river and fill out their paperwork, which is pretty much exacly the same except they ask you how much money you expect to spend. You hand all of your papers to them, including the EC stub. They look it all over, stamp it and return the two little stubs back to you. THEN you cross the street to the police station. They look over your documents and stamp them, hand them back to you.  So now I was all official to travel in Peru. Arturo warned me .. whatever you do DONOT loose those stubbs! We walked back to the car parked in no mans land on the bridge between the two boarders and proceeded with our trip.
We had gotten up early, said good bye to the other family members who were heading out for their homes; hopped into a truck driven by another unknown person and friend. We (Chella, her son Arturo, and me) then picked up the rest of the crew, Chellas sister., Netta. Throughout the conversations I figured out that Netta's husband knew this man, and we were riding with him because...
A. Nettas husband was the go-between so the man could meet people to talk to about land
B. We could get a free ride.
I just love this country! This idea would probably not cross anyone's mind in the "old country".
Suyo, Peru 1st real town across the boarder

It seems very dry in the part of the country

These little Moto-taxis were everywhere, it only got worse as we got closer to Piura

Thank you for visiting, Good travels..

This part of Peru seemed very poor

Smile, you are in Tambogrande..

This market has motorcycle, car and cow parking

Road side business
 When we got to a particular town we stopped at some peoples house and went in. I of course had no idea what was going on. Arturo (who speaks English) was not nearby to ask.. we arrived to find the remnants of a huge party the night before. The family was sitting down for a late breakfast (10 ish), and we were invited to sit and eat as well. Netta's husband came wandering out, obviously hung over. Then I got the story from Arturo. These are friends of Netta's husband. He came here the day before after the lunch at Marta's school. It was a huge birthday party for someone in the owners family. We were here to pick up Netta's husband and talk about storing Arturo's car. (DO NOT drive your car down from the US. There are all kinds of issues you have to cover to keep it here).
Our table woofing down the breakfast

Talkin' turkey about land deals in Peru

Yep, a donkey pulling a cart with a moto-taxi right behind him

Marigolds. Grown to feed the chickens so their egg yolks are very yellow

There was no room so Arturo and Netta's husband got the back seat..great for his hangover I am sure..
Piura, Peru. Population is similar to Cuenca

Some more affluent housing

I just loved this wall made of bamboo

This town is known for their pottery... can you tell?

Our parking guides in Piura craft market
 As you turn down the road to find a parking place, little kids start running and waving you to a parking place. When you get into your spot an older young person gives you a ticket. While you are gone the little kids are the "guards" for you car when they are not running up and down the street hailing other cars. When you leave you give the older kid your ticket, pay your fee to park and tip the kids all milling around. I think this would be a wonderful system in some of those parking lots in the "old country" around Christmas time!

Craft Market, exchange rate is about $3 to 1 Sol..(peruvian dollar)
 Arturo warned me not to take photos, people would come up and tell you that you owed them money for taking their picture... and would not leave until you did pay them something. So this was just a quick shot when I thought it was safe. It was a nice Market. The children seem to beg more here and do not take no for an answer. The prices were so low that bargaining was just not on the agenda. I bought Randy a ceramic mask for the house and a bracelet for myself.
A type of corn "beer". Its fermented. I thought it was lemonade at first.
 We stopped to have lunch at a Peruvian restaurant that had been recommended. Typically this Corn drink comes with the jug and one bowl and everyone shares. We asked for separate bowls..

Our driver who wanted me to take the photo of the Peruvian jug and coconut  drinking bowl.

It had to be about 90 degrees.. why would anyone put a sweater on this poor dog?
After lunch we returned to the Party house with Arturo's car. He parked it there and after the discussions were over we all went out and caught two moto-taxi's. The ride was too precarious to take pictures because there were 3 of us squeezed into a seat sized for two small EC folks.. so I guess I was the one squeezing them.. but anyway were were taken to the bus terminal where we were going to catch something... there were no buses. We saw that folks were attacking cars as they pulled up into the slots for Buses.  Netta's husband tried to barter with a fellow but a family leaped into the car.. oh well.. so he wandered over to another fellow and worked a deal for Ecuador so we hopped into his car (3 & 3) and we were off. It was getting dark by now, so our ride back to the Ecuador boarder was about 1 1/2 hr into the dark nite, dodging donkeys, sheep and huge cows in the road.

Once we got to the boarder we walked back across the bridge and handed in our papers to each country's office. Then we called a cab and arrived home about 7:30 p.m.

I called Randy and related our I was talking, Chella came in with a dish of food from the niece and nephew's fast food stand on the sidewalk on the corner of the house... oh yummy... more food (this made 4 times I ate that day..) I sat outside in the hammock strung between the porch supports, ate my food, listened to the family talk, noted the temp had dropped to 24 C. (75F) and thought, what a wonderful life!