Saturday, March 28, 2015

REALLY High Tides

We came home the other day from a bus trip to Bahia, and saw that the fishermen had moved their boats, and were helping move the unattended boats. Some men were working to get fence panels off the vacant lot next door, and that lot became boat parking. 

Other boats ended up being tied to the remaining fence, and then other boats were tied to each other, and then to a post or structure. Where we usually have many boats parked in front of our house, now we have none.

Another interesting thing we have noticed in the past few weeks is the sand, here in front of the house the sand has been washed away and you can see what used to be the old sea wall. Usually the sand covers most of these rocks and only two of the largest stick up thru the sand. We noticed the opposite further down the Boca, where the "ruins" are, in these pictures you can see the sand is covering up almost all the ruins, usually there are big pools, and you can see these walls much higher above the sand.

Mike took a long walk last week up forwards Punta Bikini and there he noticed a change in the sand as well. The sand had been washed away and left lots of rocks, so many that being barefoot he could not walk as far as planned. So interesting the ebb and flow of the ocean and the shore, so nice to be living such a simple life, that we get to notice stuff like this.

Back to the high tides, we had some empty sand bags, so we decided to fill them and put infront of the gate, the fishermen came over to help us, Fernando, Raphael and Mike secured our courtyard.

We heard rain in the night, and when we woke up, we found this...

We did get ocean (the spoon is evidence) but actually half of this water is from rain coming off our roof and the neighbors. After we got some of the water swept out, we saw there was much sand that had come in on the tide, it was a bit of a mess, but nothing a little drying time and sweeping wouldn't cure! We talked to Fernando, and he said they would do more sandbags, and maybe two more, and we would be good.

The morning high tide came close, but didn't bring in any water or debris.

We filled a couple more bigger sandbags and woke up this morning to dry courtyard! (Last nights high tide was 10:30ish) Yippee!

So, the moral of this story prepared and know your local fishermen, and you'll be alright. I gave up being concerned with a little sand in the house, or in the yard, I mean we did choose to live on the beach. These tides happen once a year, and now we know. Our friends will look out for us, and tell us when to worry and when not to. People put up with a lot from the weather, some of it you can change, and some not. We decided we didn't want to live in the cold and snow anymore, so now we don't. No more shoveling snow, but maybe once a year we shovel some sand into sandbags...I still say it's a great trade.

So, stay tuned, our adventure continues!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Meat Market, Ramadas and High Tides

I'm finding it difficult to fill blog posts, and with the heat wave that has been upon us (summer) we have been finding it hard to get motivated. Where the weather isn't all that different from what we have lived in before (82-88F), we don't have AC in our little beach house, and we've noticed the difference. I also noticed that the sun has been situated in a different point in the sky, and our little bit of shade on the side has been even smaller.  We tied a bed sheet up one day for shade, and that worked, now we bought a tarp and have a bigger section of shade, so our shell area is ready for some crafts, but today I'll share some old pictures.

Charapoto Meat Market

I mentioned not long ago the Meat section of the market, well the other Sunday we went with a neighbor who shops there regularly and we got a tour. She knew right where the pork was, vs the beef, and we got quite an experience. We didn't buy anything here, I wouldn't know what to ask for, but I did find beautiful ground beef in town at the Mini Mart, so lean and pretty, probably 3-4% grasa (fat) found bacon at the same time and we had bacon cheeseburgers...slice of heaven from the States.


These are privately built shade structures, or Ramadas. The families who built them keep them up and use them during the day for shade while fixing fishing nets, or to wait for the fishermen. On the weekends the wood structures are used as kitchens, and the women sell empanadas or ceviche out of them. These caught my eye when they got fresh new paint for Carnavale, some of the people who live across the street from them don't like them, they'd rather have unobstructed views, but I kinda like them. Every couple of years, the city, or province will send crews in to tear them all down, especially if they've been neglected, but I'd say these are in good shape and staying awhile.

High Tide

Mike finds this tide chart, and posts it on the Resident Facebook page every week, it's a very nice way to quickly glance and know what time the daily walk will be. This week it's been with morning coffee, last week it was with Happy hour and sunset. There have been some rumblings about the high tide, and just how high they are supposed to be this weekend, from the chart I can see that the high tide will be higher than sea level by 2.6 meters (slightly over 8ft). Now that's not wave height, we aren't calling for big waves, that's just water lapping on the shore coming up the beach 8ft more than usual. The fishermen have moved their boats to higher ground, but no one has given us any warnings, and yesterday we fared just fine, so we are not worried.

This is our friend Keith and Beckys house, two years ago when there was an extremely high tide. Usually they park their car in here, and let fishermen use the shade for fixing nets, on this day it was a piscina (swimming pool).

And this is when they not only had high tides, but big waves, 12 foot tall this wave, glad I don't live this close to the ocean! Half the day, everyday this house is over the water, only at low tide is there any beach in front of this house. The fishermen jokingly tell Keith they will install two outboard motors if he doesn't feel safe...everyone here is living their own adventure!

High tides or not, it's another beautiful day on the coast of Ecuador, today will be shell sorting and crafting under our new shade, and probably Happy hour and sunset with friends. Life does NOT suck, so stay tuned...our adventure continues!

Monday, March 16, 2015

An unfortunate event

Our little community had an unfortunate event happen last week. I'm writing about it here, well...because it is a part of life no matter where one lives. One of our neighbors was broken into, and held captive. The word for it is Home Invasion, but in doing research, I found that not all States in the US use this term. 

Robbery seems to be the one used, but it certainly doesn't have the same ring does it? Burglary is when a theft occurs and no one is home, whatever you call it, by the statistics above, it's alarming.

What happened here, we all believe to be an "inside" job, the house was recently built with many many workers and delivery people in and out for months. The bandits had some knowledge of the homes interior layout and also knew that with the electric fence, they would have to sneak in while the occupants were home. The house was still having some tweaks worked out, and on this day had two electricians working. One electrician went out to his truck and when he was coming back in the bandit put a gun (or believed to be a gun) to his back, and voila! They were in! The two workers and the owner were tied up with duct tape while the bandits ransacked the house. Some kicks to the ribs to gain info, but other than that everybody was unharmed. This happened between 10-12noon.

We have a couple expat neighbors who are looking into gun ownership, and another looking into alarm sirens with panic buttons. But if one goes to take the trash out, and gets caught, how good is your panic button or gun if you can't get to it? The best thing for us (as outsiders) is to blend in as much as possible. We need to be careful how much we flash our wealth, because we DO have wealth. Even if we are on fixed incomes, we have more than the bandits do! Be smart when hiring workmen, maybe get local recommendations, and of course be part of the community. Not just the expat community, but the REAL COMMUNITY. 

Our neighbors, the fishermen and the store owners who live near us, are our community. If I walk to town without Mike, they all want to know where he is, and is he ok? Likewise when he goes on errands. Does this mean we are safe from theft, no way, but we have more eyes on us, and that is a good thing.

It was difficult to get stats on Home Invasion, one website said 8000 per day in North America, another report stated that was a ridiculous number, and it was more like 4000+ in US if you were to use the above number of 1 every 15 seconds. (I confess I have not done the math) I know that I've been stolen from in California, both home and vehicle, purse snatched in New York, broken into in North Carolina, and had a theft here in Ecuador. Wherever there are people, there are problems...guess we better just get used to it, be prepared and keep our chins up, otherwise life would be miserable.

So, stay tuned loved ones, the adventure continues, cautiously, but it definatly continues!!

Friday, March 6, 2015

Indoor and outdoor living space

This post is for the friends and family. Pictures of our little beach house, inside and inside the courtyard, usually we only take pictures of the sunset, or the dogs. When we moved in, we were given a paint allowance from the landlord, we bought 4 gallons, at $6 a piece, some of the locals said to dilute it, but we used it full strength, and it covered beautifully. I painted both the living room and bathroom the turquoise color, and I need to get one more gallon to finish the living room. It's one of the main colors they use on the boats, we love it.

Taken from right inside the front door, looking left.

We recently moved the fridge into the other room, and brought in the table Manuel made for us. Really opens this area, and love having more work space.

Slowly getting the TV room painted, and figuring out what kind of decorations for the master. The master is painted two shades of yellow, and has skylights, so it's very light and airy, one of our favorite rooms.

Outdoors is getting prettied up too. Have been bringing the plants around to the front, testing who likes the salt and wind, and who doesn't. A lot of the plants did not like the move from house to house back in December, so I've been nursing them, and everyone is doing great. I really want to get to the plant place, but there is a pesky budget to stick to, can't do it all this month...

Manuel is working this week and next at the Boca house, then he will come see what projects we have for him. On the list is dog house for outside the fence for Dulce/Ariel, finish the fence, build another couple tables, one for our bar stools and umbrella, and then a work table for our shells. I also found these pictures to show him, so we have some nice big planters for our plants, after we get to Sosote.

Went to pay our utilities at Joffreys the other day, and he told us the landlord was planning on building a roof over the side yard with this months rent. We learned the word for roof, techo and also the word for gutter, canalon. Some time ago we bought spray paint for the pieces of sectional sofa that were too big for the house, and they are weathering quite well outside ( they'll go under the roof, after its built).  The spray paint kinda "scotch guarded" them, we'd done it before with success, so why not try here? So many possibilities, little by little, poco y poco, our little beach house is coming along. We love it, and plan to be here a good long time. So stay tuned, the adventure continues...

Monday, March 2, 2015

A little this and a little that

I just went thru my camera roll and deleted 94 pictures. How many pictures of beautiful sunsets does one person need...hehee (again, sorry to those of you who are suffering cold winter weather, Not!)

This is from about a month ago, these little guys flew over several times, many times we thought they would crash. (Actually, it was before Carnavale, you can see the restaurant isn't built yet)

Veronica playing on the new Cesped, which we will certainly get more of, next time we go to PortoViejo.

A picture of high tide, the King Tide happened in February, but we had no problems. We could tell the fishermen weren't worried, they took no extra precautions, so we knew we had nothing to worry about. At the highest, the ocean did splash on those rocks.

Kids game area set up for Carnavale.

Good morning, and the catch of the day. Never a dull moment out in front of our little beach house.

Evidence of the "rainy season". These hills are greener than I've ever seen them. Even the vacant lot next door to us has sprouted a lush green carpet of weeds. In Idaho we averaged 13" of rain a year, NC was 44" and this part of the coast of Ecuador was listed as getting 45" a year. (That didn't seem to be a deal breaker back in NC doing research on where to move) Granted it all happens in about three months, but as noted from those who came before us, it usually rains at night. We have found this to be true, it'll rain two nights a week, maybe three, sometimes spilling into the morning hours, but I can only think of one day that was really rainy all day, and it was a welcome change.

Mike's shell art installation in the living room. Turned out better than we had hoped. Looks especially stunning on the turquoise wall, and with the splash of orange with the starfish, love it! Maybe today we will get back into the shells, we've got plenty that need to be cleaned, sorted and bagged. 

Found this, and it has turned into our mantra. Not everybody can handle all this tranquilness, but we sure are gonna try. My freezer is full of fresh fruit from yesterday's market, and smoothies are in our very near future (I use the fruit frozen instead of using ice cubes). Low tide will be perfect with our morning coffee tomorrow, and Tuesday or Wednesday we will have friends for happy hour and dinner while enjoying yet another beautiful sunset, so stay tuned...the adventure continues!