Tuesday, June 21, 2011


When I call my family back in the states we always discuss the weather. The weather there, the weather here, and the odd weather all over the world. I don't know if this is just a family thing; as we have always done this, or if its because we are intent as humans to have a predictable pattern to follow.

Well, if we need a predictable pattern to follow, we are out of luck... most anywhere lately. Our Spanish teacher told us this is the dry season, and soon it would be windy. Well we have had wind, chill and the occasional wonderful sunny day that just makes you smile and want to head out for a long long walk... with your umbrella.

To says that we (me mostly) do not trust the weather here is an understatement. When we first came in 2008 to visit friends, (Feb.) we were enthralled that it would be sunny and then every afternoon like clock work it would rain, and then the sun would come back out... what a perfect predictable pattern.. easily dealt with, and predictable.. well somewhere in the world "they" skewed the predictability of weather patterns all over the place.

Ok, so just in case some one is thinking that I am whining.. or upset with our life here.. I am not. I love it here. I guess I am just saying that I would appreciate a bit more predictability 'cause I can't get it right about what to wear or bring when we leave the house. Here is a example. Father's day we went to a Garden Party. It was a gorgeous day, sunny, warm and just an amazing day. We rode the bus with our friends Jacob & Sharon, it was all warm and cozy in the bus, the windows were open and everyone was smiling that is was a wonderful day in the neighborhood!

We get to the party, and the clouds began to gather.. a bit of rain started to fall, then it picked up, the wind came too, and within 5 minutes there was a downpour so strong that all the folks who were squeezed inside the tiny house began to oohhh awww, OH MY!  We could not hardly see the trees for the downpour.. Then I realized what everyone was in awe about... it was HAIL! HUGE hail... and it kept on for about 10 minutes.  Then it turned into rain again...

I kept an eye out for a break in the weather, and when it looked like the sun was coming back, I gave Randy the high sign that we needed to leave  ( he did not bring his coat, cause it was so sunny!)
Hail about 20 minutes after the storm!

Our 12ft tall Sunflower did not survive the hail storm
We arrived home in time to watch the next wave of rain come through, and luckily there was no more hail. We have heard since that the outlying areas only had rain. In old town we were treated to the whole majestic treatment! I wonder if they have hail damage insurance here for cars?

Thursday, June 9, 2011


We moved to Ecuador on July 1st, 2010.  Since that time we have tried to enjoy all of cultural food that we can (Cuy excluded), while at the same time maintaining some semblance of care about where and what we ate. We avoid fresh prepared fruit from carts along the streets, we wash all of our veggies and fruit in a natural grapefruit vegetable wash before using, and just generally use common sense. That being said, we have been repeatedly told, "no matter how careful you are you will get an amoeba or parasite, do the deed, and get that medicine that kills the bugs".  The timeline for this "deed" is every 6 months, or at the very least every year. The clock has run out.. it was time for us to "man-up" and go find the medicine.
This is from the last time Randy, "man'd -up" in '08, emergency room of Santa Ines Hospital

 We have a favorite farmacia near by. It is called Farmacia Salvador and is located on Remigio Crespo, near the Feria Libre Market. The owner is a very nice gentleman who speaks some English, and one of his employees also speaks a hint better English. Another bonus with this farmacia is that the owner's son is a Dr. and he works upstairs, and his English is perfect!

We girded our loins and with our best spanglish, we explained to the farmac√©utico what we needed. In his best spanglish he tried to explain that since we did not know what kind of bug we had or even if we had one we would need to talk with his son to make sure he gave us the correct medicine. 

Darn, once again, we have not been able to slide by a doctor ( Randy's words). The farmac√©utico called upstairs for the Dr., he came a few minutes later and with a  few quick words said, well you really need to bring us a stool sample and then we can prescribe the proper medication or none if you do not have any issues. He then had his father give us two cute little stool sample kits and said to bring it back anytime the following day. He would  walk us through the lab and get it taken care of.

The folowing day we returned and to our surprise the Dr. was standing in the door way of the farmacia, he smiled and said we arrived just in time as he was just about to leave for a few minutes. He walked us up to his office, filled out the lab papers, and then took our samples to the lab next door. The lab work would only take 20 min. he said, so while we waited he would do a basic check up on us.

Our check up consisted of taking our blood pressure, pulse, checking our throat and eyes, stomach palpitations, listened to heart and lungs, all the while asking health related questions. Because Randy has high blood pressure he checked his legs, and asked some additional questions about "man stuff". Thank goodness he didn't ask me about "lady stuff" he was way to young, I would have blushed myself silly.

When the checkup was complete he said, well the lab should be done.. and to our amazement it was! We both had amoebas, no parasites. We both were prescribed the same medication but because during the palpitation of my stomach he felt some issues, I was prescribed an additional medication to "quiet it down". 

We then asked what the total would be for our bill.. so lets see, Dr's visit, lab cost, for two..
$20. As we pulled our chins off the floor, Randy asked , each? No, no just $20... and that includes the lab? Yep..  

So then we walk down to the farmacia and get our meds.. $8 for each pack of 6 pills, $2 for the additional medication for me. so that's $18. total medical cost $38. ( Note: our friends had the same Dr. and medication, they asked for something not so expensive and was given something a bit cheaper, so it pays to ask)

We are on our last day of the medication. We have had no side effects, or strange stomach issues, so we are assuming that the little guys cohabiting with us are are their way "out"
Just in case you want to visit Dr. Guillen, tell him Karen & Randy sent you..

Sunday, June 5, 2011


Our house is situated across the street from the Tomebamba River. There is a high bank so we cannot see the river even from our Second story window... but we can hear it. Well Randy can hear it. I can only hear it when there are storms in the mountains and  the water comes rushing down the river through our neighborhood. I have been hearing it lately.
Randy is always a good visual aid!

White water rafting anyone?

We have continued with our Spanish lessons, faithfully 2 times a week. We understand our stamina and know that anything more, our poor brains will be fried. As you can see from this photo, our teacher has had to resort to some strong teaching methods to keep us on track. Even with just the one hour lessons!

When we are not studying, we are enjoying our garden, and learning about the way plants grown here in this climate. I planted seeds for Sunflowers, not paying attention to the planting directions; even though these were seeds for the South American zones. Well our Sunflowers have grown, and grown, and grown. They are HUGE, but now because it was so cloudy and rainy we are noticing they have major scale and sad places on them. Live and learn... follow the directions.

Poor guys, all covered in white crusty stuff

Somethings just keep on going... even under stress!

The bumbly bees love them!

Can you see how he is covered with pollen!

We were invited to our friends house to see their newest addition. It is a combination motorcycle and truck. They are seen alot in Asian countries, as well in some of the other coastal towns here in Ecuador. I took alot of photos of them in Piura, Peru too. They are not very common here in Cuenca, even though they are sold in a local store. Our friends said the sales people were very excited, as this was the first one that they sold. I never did get a good photo of the OWNERS of this cute little rig, but I did want to show it to you anyway.

A perfect dashboard for a coffee cup holder...

1 windshield wiper

Randy with a expectant look... sorry..not gonna happen...