Friday, January 11, 2019

Papa and Mama Noel

Here in Ecuador Santa Claus is called Papa Noel, a little over a year ago we had some expats relocate from Texas, and they brought costumes with them. The little kids, and adults absolutly love it when they dress up, and these two had many many engagments. They went to five different schools, giving out bags of candy and taking pictures, did two (at least) parties in Centro and also went with my friend Leo and I to hand out food boxes to a very needy village.

Someone was having a birthday party the day we showed up, and word spread when Papa and Mama Noel drove up in a taxi!! The kids came running down the hill, so excited.

We had been a day or so befor and knew there were 24 families that lived in this village, and 38 children between 1-10 years of age. Since the birthday party was going on, there were more children than we had candy bags for...but they were so well behaved, and the older kids made sure the younger ones got one first. We also had brought toys, but again since there were more kids, we opted to give them to the school house, and the whole community could play with them. Everyone said thank you and no shoving. Even my kids in San Jacinto arent as well behaved...

Bringing smiles and a bit of joy to these families made the season worth it. We will certainly do it again next year, and maybe adopt another village also. We made $10 gift boxes with rice, lentils, oil, sugar, flour, coffee, milk, yogurt and tuna...not much, but $10 they can now spend on something else. Such a small thing, but so appreciated.

I will try to be a better blogger, I have been lazy...but it’s a new year so, stay tuned...the adventure continues!

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Busy time of year

North America is not the only place busy in the last months of the year, we dont have all the consumerism as the States, but busy it is. We recently had a new Cruise ship facility opened in Manta, what looks like a beautiful building to welcome tourists to our shores.

We also had the 6th annual Appreciation dinner held by Coacmes, the local Coopertiva Bank. The dinner is for the expats who choose to live and do business here in Manabi. A bus from Crucita, the town across the river and to the south brought a bunch of people, and it was a very nice free evening. Since I live very close to the hotel where the dinner was held, I had my “tribe” over for drinks first. The hotel actually owns my little casita, so I felt obligated to go, it was my first time, not disappointed. Food, drinks and entertainment was wonderful.

In San Clemente they always do a large Christmas tree in the center of town, this year it was made of plastic water bottles again, but different. We all joined after dinner one Saturday night to watch the lighting and erecting of the tree. Such a nice small town feel, that Im sure used to take place in the States way back when.

And it is still busy, I very recently got asked to help gather donations for the children of San Jacinto’s Christmas, a little late, as San Clemente has been collecting all year. We have 17 expats living in San Jacinto, and I was only able to collect $100...sad. Next year I will open an account at the Coacmes in town, and ask that people do a monthly donation of $10 all year so when we need it, it is there. (Many expats donated to SC, thinking they were collecting for ALL the villages, but alas...not the case)

We had our first rain last night, and yesterday was a very hot day, we can tell the weather is changing. But...Quito had snow a week, better them than me!

As for Perry and I, we are busy with sewing and painting projects, house sitting, and trying to take off some extra pounds I somehow picked up...grrr. Biking to San Clemente today for bagging of Christmas candy and stay tuned, the Adventure continues!

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Ecuador Thanksgiving 2018

What a day, I haven’t been that stuffed since I left the States, Ugh!! But sooo good. Newer friends Patty and Dustin offered to have it at their rental house. I offered to get extra tables and chairs, come early to set up and help cook. I requested the mototaxi, went to San Clemente to borrow the tables and chairs, stopped to do a quick haircut, and arrived at La Boca around 11am. Just as I was arriving Patty got a call from her builders, and they had to duck out to the job site for a minute. (News is, they will get to move into their newly built house next weekend, woot woot!) While they were gone, I prepped the green beans, and got the table set.

Started peeling potatoes (Mom, my nose itched, I kid you not) and the day was in full swing. We had new friends Bryan and Ron who recently bought a house in San Clemente, they came straight from Manta where they picked up their permanent Visas, another woot woot! And the usual suspects were there too, Mary was without Nancy, as she flew to the States that morning, and Pam was without Bonnie, as she wasnt feeling well. Leo joined us, we had many laughs and good times and we all left waaay too full. Not much of a sunset, but the temp was wonderful and we had much to be thankful for.

Hope all my North American friends and family enjoyed their day too. Stay tuned, the adventure continues!

Monday, November 12, 2018

Life is back to normal?

I have been back on the Coast for almost two weeks, and am back into the haircutting, painting, house sitting work, puttering in the patio and beach walks. I thought all was back to normal until I was woken up by a loud crash on my patio. I had just done some rearranging that afternoon and had stacked a bin of sticks on top of a table. My immediate thought was someone was coming over my what do I do? Throw open the door and head outside. I had laundry hanging, and had to duck under the laundry to see what had happened. And there on top of my washing machine was the culprit. I dashed back inside to get the camera, and this was my early morning visitor.

A rather unhappy Opposum! Perry started barking at him, so I knew I needed to get him back inside. We went back to bed, and I did hear scampering on the roof, so he found himself a way out of the patio.

The next day when I posted it on the local San Jacinto/San Clemente site, many people were unaware we had Opossums here in Ecuador, but this was what I found when I Googled it.

The common opossum (Didelphis marsupialis), also called the southern or black-eared opossum or gambá,[2] is a marsupial species living from the northeast of Mexico to Bolivia (reaching the coast of the South Pacific Ocean to the central coast of Peru), including the Lesser Antilles,[2] where it is called manicou.[3] It prefers the woods, but can also live in fields and cities. The common opossum is sometimes used by humans for food on islands in the West Indies.

The common opossum is similar in size to a house cat. The fur of the opossum is actually yellow in the under-fur, but is hidden by the longer black guard-hairs that cover it, while the tail, fingers, and face are lighter "with the tail being without fur, somewhat similar to a giant rat tail." It can measure nearly 20 inches long. It has large ears that are usually black, and its face is usually a pale peach in color, with black whiskers and eyes that reflect reddish in light. With a body length of nearly a foot, and a tail that can reach almost two feet, the common opossum is one of the larger members of its family. An adult can weigh more than three pounds.

So, there we have it...never a dull moment...stay tuned, the adventure continues!!

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Back at the Beach

Four weeks, a long time, but when the climate is soooo different than what you are used can seem like a lifetime. (Haha, cue dramatic violin music) But, seriously, I was one happy lady getting back to the beach...this beach, MY BEACH.

There were many things different in the Sierras, than at the Coast. My skin, lips and hair were dry, I rarely use chapstick or lip balm at the coast. In the Gated community, I heard gardners with their weed eaters everyday, instead of hearing the loud speakers of the street vendors. The gated community was also a very different place on the weekends, many cars parked in the driveways and streets, and people out with their little dogs.

Very often by 3 pm it was time to close the door, as the afternoon storm came in. Dark clouds, thunder and lightning, sometimes with rain, but others no. And then it started getting cold again. Down to 44F at night while I was gusta!

By the time lunch came around it would warm to 70-80 F how many costume changes can one do in a day? Turns out I like a much more consistant temperature. The low here in Manabi is 72F and high this week has been 88F. As long as you are not in the direct sun walking, and have a breeze, it is least heaven for me.

Life is back to normal, so stay tuned...the adventure continues!

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Cumbaya Ecuador

It has been 20 days I have been in Cumbaya, and I can not wait to get back to the beach! It is a nice little town, with weekend nightlife and a pretty little park. I know I said in my last post about the weather, it gets down to 40's at night, and slowly warms in the day. 50 is still too cold for coffee outside, (at 8am) I want the beach!!!

I had a german friend come up for almost a week, she was shopping for things not easily found in SC, but alas...even tho this is a bigger city, it is still Ecuador, and some items are just not available. Nicole and never been to Quito, but I was not interested in sightseeing, as I did that last year, and the altitude does effect me, so we just hung out around Cumbaya. There is an old railroad track they made into walking paths, and is very nice.

Visited the german bakery and had some good sausages, another day had some disappointing Shawarma. Thought about having Sushi, but sticker price won out, and we ate at home. Friday we decided to check out the nightlife, we sat and enjoyed some live music, but the beers were expensive, so we headed home before 9pm. Nice outside patio, was beautiful when I ate lunch there the other day.

I get reports from home, Perry is fine and all is well. One more week and I will be back home and in my own bed. So, stay tuned, the adventure continues!

Thursday, October 11, 2018

House sitting in Quito

My friends who lived on the boca in San Jacinto moved to Cumbaya, just southeast of Quito in May. They knew they had a trip planned to the States in October, so booked me to house and dog sit, and here I am. I tried to find a cheap ride, so I could bring Perry, but it was not to be, so he is staying with Jerri and Dottie. I got a $10 bus and $15 taxi from the station, and 7 or so hours later I had arrived. My friends did not fly out for several days, so we got to visit and they showed me some of their favorite places. So many choices!

The blue dot, is where the house is. I will have to walk over and check out the resevoir, they said there are walking trails. The weather is crazy to me, I have been living on the coast where the weather changes very little, gets down to 47F at night, then up to almost 80F in the day, if the sun is out. I am going thru multiple clothing changes in a day, and often cold in the house. It is dry as well, my nose, lips and skin are screaming. The altitude too is troublesome, not as bad as Quito city, we are lower, but stairs, and walking up hill is a chore. Moving too fast, makes me winded.

The first couple days were beautiful blue skies, but this week has been overcast with slight showers. I am longing for the blue sunny skies again. It is so quiet here, I realized yesterday when I heard a gardener, I have not heard any street vendors loud speakers, but hear weed eaters and lawn mowers instead.

Daisy has the right idea, and anytime the sun is out, I too will be sitting in it. Time flies, and I know I will be back to the beach soon enough...but brrrrr!! No gusta. Making plans with Lucia, my friend who lives near here and have a couple friends who say they will come visit for a couple stay tuned, the adventure continues!

Friday, September 21, 2018


Not too long after my mom left, we had an event scheduled, that I really could not get my head around. Our “president” of the town asked me to help gather donations for what he said was 500 dancers who were coming to the old school for a dance competition, I was able to collect a small amount (the money went for buying medals for the winners). The day of the competition I went down and was surprised to see the competitors were childrens dance troupes. Some teams were large, some small, some had custom costumes, and some only had matching tshirts, some were pretty young, and up thru high school age.

I found my friends Leo and Rene, they were upstairs, with a great view of the dancers and crowd. The music was loud, and dancers were fun to watch. After each age group, they awarded medals, and at the end they awarded large trophies. Some teams competed in more than one genre of dance, some had gymnastics thrown in, much like cheerleading competitions, and others were purely dance.

After several hours, we decided we had enough, and left before it was all over, but I do think everyone had a good time.

Last weekend the neighboring town of San Clemente had their annual festival and the expats were invited to participate in the parade. We finally got the catepillar train and for a mere $5 per person rode it thru town throwing candy to the spectators.

As we were sitting at the starting point, waiting for our turn, the Police chief’s wife and daughter walked by, and asked if Domenica couldnt ride the “worm” with me...of course!! Later as we went thru town her dad got to see us, and I felt pretty special having her sit next to me.

The same weekend there was a surfing competition, and another parade of more than 100 horses!

After the friday afternoon parade, I stayed for dinner, but got the heck out of San Clemente, their parties are bigger and have waaay more people than my little San Jacinto one in August, and too much for me. I stayed away the rest of the weekend, but know it was a good time. The Caterpiller was in town all weekend, and many of the expats rode it thru the streets and down the malecon with lights and noise blaring.

The next events are in Charapoto, our nearest stop light, the town is turning 484 years old this month, and they have been doing a lot of work in their town square area. Of course it is also time to start gearing up for Christmas, and neighborhoods are holding Bingo and raffles to collect money for gifts and food for the needier families. So, stay tuned, the adventure continues...

Wednesday, September 12, 2018


A couple weeks ago I was sitting in my reading nook on the patio, and noticed tiny inch worms...everywhere! They were on the table, on the chairs, and even hanging like streamers from the sky.

At the same time I noticed, more than usual, leaves from the tree behind the patio. I was mortified to see what state the tree was in! These inch worms had eaten all they could, and that is why they were venturing into my patio, looking for more food. Yikes!

This tree should look like the one in front of the patio...

A quick Google, and I found out that the inch worms will become moths, and the tree is more than likely not dead. But what a mess, I couldnt walk outside with out running into worms on strings, and even opened my door to a friend who found one hanging off my ear like an earring. Had to hold off doing laundry, as they would be all over the clothes drying on the line. The Gusano (new word) are gone now, but the litter from the tree is outrageous.

Another visitor as of late is a friend of Perry’s. This little dog lives nearby and started coming almost everyday to play. He would stick his head thru the doggie door, and Perry would go out to the street and play.

Then next thing I know, I hear wrestling in the house, and they are puppy fighting in the living room!

I have named him Retaco, shorty in Spanish, and he is NOT shy. He has a home, his nails are trimmed, and he is of healthy weight, but like many give him a finger and he takes your shoulder, hahaa.

Now his is coming into the patio, jumping on my reading nook, even found me this morning in bed with my coffee! What a goof ball, he certainly craves cuddles and affection, and Perry is happy to have a friend.

Doesnt everybody like having friends? Speaking of friends, I had a Hair day in Crucita last weekend and made some new friends, and I painted murals the last couple days, in San Clemente. Today is a day of rest, but I promised Perry a beach walk, so Stay tuned, the adventure continues!