Monday, January 30, 2012


Here in Cuenca the local topic of conversation is either the weather ( it's supposed to be the dry season..) or how the traffic is all snarled up due to the construction of the Under/Over pass on Ave. Las Americans and Ave. Ordonez Lasso/Gran Columbia.

We live right next to the area in question.. well a bit down from where they are actually digging the hole, but near enough that we have noticed that alot of stores have closed, and getting to and from Supermaxi takes us rather close to all the construction going on.

I walked all the way around it today and took pictures. Since most of my working life I have worked in the Nuclear Construction industry, I am very interested in how they do what they do here! These gentlemen are working 24/7 to get this job done by Nov. 3. With all the rain we have had, they are fighting another battle with the mud.  So here we go on the walking tour.

The road stops at the blue barrier and the median has been cut out so the traffic can do a U turn and head back up the other side. The local businesses and banks are very happy for the traffic pattern.

Part of the path along the outside of the construction to the left.. the right is piping that is staged for later use.
Squeeze by the rebar stacked in our traffic lane.. the coat over the head is to ward off the sun.. it burns quickly.
They are hand placing huge rocks for the bottom layer before they pour concrete. Can you see them throwing those huge rocks along the line.. Oh my aching shoulders.

The orange guy is digging out the dirt, piling it behind him for the yellow guy on top to scoop it out and put it into the yellow dump truck. It rained really really hard last nite so I was amazed at how the dirt did not look that muddy.
In the States you would see all kinds of barriers to hold up the dirt from collapsing onto the workers.. Here the use of plywood barriers is not that common. I am assuming that  they are using plastic sheeting to funnel the water into the bottom, and keep the dirt back. I have seen water pumpers down there at other times, but none today.

That is our Supermaxi and Sukasa stores in the background.. they have made sure with a little maneuvering the customers can still get to the market. Oh, and can you see the pole holding up the wires out of the way? That always makes me smile.

I just missed getting a photo of this fellow scampering up the scaffolding to stand on this tiny ledge.. no fall protection. But I was happy to see that all the fellows working with the rebar had on heavy gloves. That stuff is really miserable on bare hands!

My return path on the other side of the street... narrows to make room for this big guy..

It has been quite an inconvience to those who live and have businesses along this road; but everyone is looking forward to the ease of traffic congestion once the construction is finished, and like they say, this is the price of progress.

Monday, January 16, 2012


Most of the folks who know us, think that this life is easystreet all the time... I on the other hand know better... we do have our times when life hands us a comeuppance, even here in Cuenca.

Randy has been having some intermittant pain in his feet, thinking that it was just good old "Arthur" , and since it didn't last long, he carried on.. until the last two weeks. Randy woke up in the nite with a horrible pain and swelling in his toe.. even the pressure of the sheets was painful.. in the morning he could not hardly walk, and as he hobbled to his chair, I commented, you have gout you need to go to the doctor.. Well you knowing his adversion to anything medical.., he said Nah, it will go away.. so 3 days later I demanded he see Dr. Anthony Guillen.

Dr Anthony, is a nice English speaking Dr. just a few blocks from our house, he was able to get us in the very same day.  As Randy told him what the pain was, the time etc.. the Dr. said, well Karen has it right. You have gout. We can give you a shot.. as Randy paled, the doctor looked at all of Randys tattoos (he was in shorts of course), and said.. "Oh yeah, you are the guy who hates needles". So an alternate plan was developed. Randy got 3 pills to take every 24 hrs. for the pain.. then when the pain when away he was to take another medicine for the rest of his life to keep the uric acid from forming those painful crystals again. Also to stay away from Red wine, beer and any fruit that creates uric acid. I think the fast track with the shot would have been the best, but long term suffering seems to be Randy's preferred method of healing. Again, the office visit was $20 and we were out the door. No waiting.. I just love that part!

We are into the 2nd week of him sitting with his foot up most of the day. I have had to fetch, carry, and even cook!  I am beginning to think he is a malingerer...after my last attempt at cooking he was able to hobble into the kitchen and whip us up a nice dinner; my cooking methods are a bit hazardous, so the less I am in the kitchen the better for all.

I have been trying my hand at Weaving with Sisal.. not so good so far. Also, I have been trying to find the perfect yarn to make a cool headwrap for Kelsey. There is a time line as our friends are heading back to the states and are taking the finished product with them to mail.. Tick Tock.. got to find that perfect yarn.

The sun has been peeking through over the last few weeks, Still alot of rain, but the beautiful flowers and trees more than make up for the rain. Luckily, its still warm so those fuzzy pjs are kept in the closet.

My friend Manon and I went to the Coopera, (a great coop whose meat, veggie and fruit selection are top notch, at a great price) and I found Yakima Wa. Granny Smith Apples.. well I am not too fond of green sourish apples, but I just had to buy them.. they were from a town only 60 miles from our old home town, and here they were in Ecuador! 3 apples, cost 90 cents.. it was worth it!

That ugly fuzzy thing behind the apples is the coolest "fruit".. it comes in a pod. the seeds are covered with a fuzzy coating that is texturally the weirdest thing, like eating cotton balls.. but the flavor.. your taste buds take over and you are going oh yum... as you spit out this huge black seed! I was told the name of this (no its not Tamarind) it starts I think with a G... but it is very good..really!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


We have had such a lot of amazing times and experiences here in Cuecna this last year. Meeting new friends and doing new things. There are alot of photos that never made it to the blog so I thought Iwould just go back through this last year and post some of the more memorable ones that I never got to show you.

These are beautiful plants that grow all over Cuenca, but these are my favorites in the Parque other worldly..

Randy did himself proud this last year, gaining his Auto drivers license as well as his Motorcycle driving license. Here they give you a whole separate card.

My daughter Kelsey and her boyfriend Daniel came to visit for almost a month..I think we had more fun than they did; but all in all I was happy Kelsey got to experience where we live.

I was invited to visit Macara, in Southern Ec. to join in the festivities surrounding the dedication of a school in the honor of my friend, Graciellas, father Ignacio. He had passed years before, but his name and his family is very well known in this small town next the the Peruvian boarder.

 I finally learned how to know something other than just garter stitch, and kept myself pretty busy with gifts for others.
 I learned how to weave and was able to share a gift with TOK (the other Karen)... Karen Wine,
Brennie made Randy a cool Apron for his birthday; now that we have time we are discovering our hidden talents!
We said hello and goodbye to new friends who have decided to move from Cuenca to Malaysia..

We were able to meet new friends at house parties over the New Year, some were passing through on visits and some had been here for months... word of mouth parties get to be alot of fun!

I would like to end my year in review with this photo.. This is a gift we  received from our housekeepers sister. I was able to order a netbook computer for her and bring it back when I returned from the states right before Christmas.. Marina came to the house with $300 in $20 bills.. more than a months salary. She expressed her gratitude because to buy them in the U.S. is much much cheaper, and she had no way to get one from there. Her son needed a computer for school.. These eggs from her chickens and the dried beans were her gift, with shy thanks and saying in Spanish that is was not much but she wanted to give me something to express her gratitude..I just about cried..

Here is to a wonderful 2012, we are looking forward to what it has to bring, and all our new experiences here in Cuenca.