Monday, March 7, 2016


This little town has a spirit the just explodes during Carnaval..
The whole month is filled with events. Music, town hall meetings to vote in the new Queen, Dances in the town square, and of course the major event the Parade for Carnaval.. on Sunday.

Each town around here seems to pick a different day to have their main event. I noticed that Cuenca had theirs on Saturday. Being such a small town, ours is a very major deal ,as Sunday is the major market day, and add to that the influx of visitors just for the Parade.
The participants are doomed from the start!
Even the Minons were there to add their foam to the party

Randy, our friend Nancy and I decided to hedge out bets that the parade would not start on time (5 yrs and we know the routine now) so we arrived in town at 11 and the parade had just begun.

We were armed with our "espuma", or as the vendors were yelling .. "Carioca"... I do not know what it means actually, but it loosely means.. foam here in Paute.

 The vendors were outfitted with cans of foam, water guns, and corn starch, as well as raw quail eggs. The eggs are a new one for me.. I did not see them being sold last year, but the kids really liked them and I noticed quite a few with a mess of eggs and corn starch in their hair. From the photos that were posted of other celebrations, it looks like some towns have added confetti.... oh yeah, now that makes a mess!

Here are some photos that our local Municipality has been posting from around town. I thought you might enjoy the views.

This is the fountain in the center square of Paute

This is the park that runs the full length of the city, along the river

On of the patrimonial building in town. Built in 1860

View of Paute from one of the little towns above the city.

Paute River. The river is very dangerous so thats why the fencing.

One of the cute parade (not during Carnaval)  participants

Our month ended with some scary times for Frankie. He became ill and the local vet here kept him and had him under IV medications. It has been a long week but he seems to be doing better, and we are hopeful that the current heart medication will strengthen his heart enough that he can have dental surgery to get rid of the rotten teeth that are pumping poison into his system.
Frankie, relaxing with his IV shunt bandaged.

Friday, January 15, 2016


We have survived our 5th Ecuadorian New Year. What fun. It is the custom here to burn effigies , party and set off great big fireworks.. and I mean everyone does it.

We were lucky to be invited to a friends home for a New Years even dinner, then we hurried back home as our dogs do not like fireworks, and we feel miserable if we leave them home alone. The whole neighborhood started a few at 9pm, and by midnite everywhere you looked there were huge aerial fireworks shooting off.

These are all private homes, no rules or regulations on the type you can fire off either. Use at your own risk is the motto of the evening.

It has been very dry and hot. It got up to 80F one day which is really warm for here. Luckily we have an afternoon breeze that comes up to keep it bearable. If there are no clouds the sun is very penetrating, and burns very quickly. 

The people here know to worry about skin cancer, so you will see them wearing hats, and if they do not have a hat, they will cover up with a sweater, piece of paper, umbrellas or whatever will cast a shadow. No one cares about their "look" when it comes to defending against the sun.

After our long spell of dry, we have had some really nice torrential downpours. Wonderful for the crops and rivers. Our country is run on Hydroelectric, so dry spells are not a good thing.

Apparently while its been nice and dry, our house has been host to many sugar ant nests... now that we have had rain they have decided to MOVE IN...
We woke up to columns of marching ants in almost every room.

The houses here are put directly on the ground.. there is no subflooring ect..concrete slab right in the dirt.  I can see where they come up into the house by the little piles of sand..Because we have dogs, our deterrents are as natural as possible. I puff baby powder on those areas where I have seen sand as well as across the entryways into the house. I discovered that a kitchen cleaning product that is citrusy kills them on contact, so I spray all the columns of ants with that and follow with wet mopping....
Over and Over again!
Whats the problem mom... we will just stay up here out of your way

Sad to say, we have smart ants.. they figured out how to crawl over the baby power at our doorways, by climbing up the wall... and then through the door jam and into the house. I retaliated by going outside and puffing powder all along the walls of our house, hoping to confuse them enough that they could not find the door.
Trying to show the ants crawling on the door jam above the powder

It looks like I am practicing some kind of witchcraft here with all this powder encircling our home.

Last nite my friend called to say she had broken a tooth, and would I accompany her to the dentist today. The dentist here in town has a few recommendations from other Expats, and other than no English spoken, his services were great.

The custom is to open the office at 8. The doctor arrives at 9 (ish). There is no person at the desk to take your name or your information or your money.
You sit on couches and wait your turn. So you have to remember who was in the room when you got there.

My friend ended up needing her tooth pulled. A root canal and crown would have been $200-250. And he was not so sure it would really work well. To pull the tooth was $10. It was a back tooth, and like most of us, her teeth are over 50 yrs old... so it was a no-brainer.. pull it.

Her tooth had other ideas.. As I cringed in the corner, the Dr. pulled her tooth, but it crumbled in his hand. Now ensued an hour long process whereby he dug and pulled pieces out of her gums.. HOLY MOLEY. She was a trooper and he even said she was very Valiente... (Valiant). I just kept trying to watch the Ecuadorian version of Judge Judy, on the requisite TV.

Due to the issues and time, he charged her $15, and would take no more. I can't imagine a dentist in the US only charging $10 for anything, must less a shot of novocaine and taking over and hour to pull a tooth.

I have not had my teeth looked at in almost 6 yrs.. I think I will give this guy a try for cleaning my teeth... then I will think about if I want any work done

Tuesday, December 22, 2015


If  there is anyone out there who still reads my blog.. or were waiting all year for my next post...the wait is over.

I have felt since we moved to Paute that we settled into our routine and that our blog was not really going to be useful. I have been prompted by friends and family to "get on the stick" and start writing again. So here it is.

I will back track a bit. As you know we moved to Paute in 2014, we will have been here 2 yrs in April of 2016! Where did those years go?

We have been enjoying our house after we made all the renovations to it, to make it livable.
The dogs have been enjoying all the room in the back yard, as well as the garden area of the lot behind us that also belongs to our landlord.

We are now down to our 1995 Trooper, 1 Vespa 300 cc scooter. It is big enough for both of us to ride at the same time.
We have not many long trips on it ,but  getting around between  Paute and Gualaceo, the next big town over is very easy.

We visited the U.S. in May for 3 weeks. This was Randy's 2nd time returning in 5 yrs. The first was our daughters wedding. My mother who turned 94 this year, lives in Dallas Oregon, and our home town is in Richland, Wa. I stayed 10 days at my moms, while Randy went on up to Richland to visit with our friends until I arrived.

Then I returned to Visit my mom in November to help her celebrate her 94th Birthday. It was a nice 2 week visit, so we had plenty of Mom and Me time.  It was also very special as my daughter drove down from Seattle for the weekend to spend time with us!

Our friends and family are still baffled that we moved, and "left everything" behind. But that was the reason we did leave... not the people, but the things.. and the work and the stress..

Our days now in Paute are even more laid back than when we lived in Cuenca! There is a small community of Expats who live here, but most of us stay to ourselves and we do not congregate too much.
Gathering for my 59th Birthday at the local Pizzaria

So now I will try to show you what its like in a town for 40K, where most live up in the mountains.

Oh and Merry Christmas!