Sunday, June 28, 2015

Mirror Mirror on the wall...

Some time ago I was painting something and before I cleaned up I decided to see what watered down paint looked like on shells and I loved it. It worked best on shells that had some texture, as the watered down paint would get stuck in crevices and such. Sometimes pooling at the bottom edge, making an ombré effect was cool too.

I'd been wanting to dress up our plain bathroom mirror and thought this might be the right project, so I picked colors and shells accordingly, and within two afternoons of painting, I had enough to get started. Now if I can just find the glue gun...

It may not have been the best tool for the job, as I did lose some shells (when the glue cooled before the shell really took hold) but picking glue here is difficult, almost nothing is familiar.

Found white glue in town at Joffre's, but that's not good for a lot of things. The clear silicone glue works similar to the glue gun, leaving strings everywhere, but takes a VERY long time to hold, so it would not have been the glue for a vertical project. (I'd still be holding shells to the wall) So glue gun it was, it worked and I'm happy with it.

I ended up paint washing coral pieces, starfish, and sand dollars along with the shells. I have extra ones painted already that I'll put to use in another art piece for a blank chunk of wall in the same bathroom. 

Since I liked the painted coral so much, I decided to try something I'd been thinking about...why couldn't I glue pieces of coral together to make a large piece for display? In the States, you see large pieces of coral as decoration and they are usually so expensive, well I had tons of jiblets, I just had to try...

Exciting, but not quite...

That's much better! The possibilities are endless, what other colors could I use, and after I find the right glue, how large could I make them?! What else can I do? With such an inventory free from the beach, and a little paint, glue and time... So, stay tuned...the adventure continues!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Joffre's Wild Ride 2.0

After we left the cascada (waterfall-see how easy Spanish is?) we drove North for about 10 minutes and arrived at a hotel. Joffre had said we would look over a high cliff and see all the surrounding area, he really wanted us to see this, even tho he turned out to be afraid of heights.

We finally got the door to open and were invited onto the property, and wow! A really amazing place, that we were happy to get to experience. A lighthouse, swimming pool (empty), several observation decks, party rooms, game rooms, restaurant/dining room, and nicely landscaped property.

Joffre pretending he's not afraid of this height, but then the view from his perch...

The grounds have some antiquities nestled in the foliage, and a glass bottle art piece, that got our wheels turning...

The place was built years ago, and some of it has an "adult motel" feel, but not in a bad way...

Naked ladies in the mural, and this room had a stage complete with stripper pole, Bachelor party anyone? We didn't get to see any of the private rooms, but I'm sure they were comfy.

It was a long way down, and Joffre (and Mike for that matter) wanted nothing to do with it.

They had guests in these two common areas when we were touring, so I didn't get pictures, but these are from their website, Restaurant dining room with of course more fantastic views. For more info go to their website  Rooms started at $30 a night or so a sign outside the gate said...

We all enjoyed this stop on the tour, but by this time we were starving, so he got our driver to take us down to the small town of El Matal on the water for lunch.

The Malecon is very short here, maybe a mile of businesses, the rest was beach and boat parking. 

We said goodbye to our driver, paid him $25 for the time we'd spent with him, (probably close to 4 hrs) and went for lunch. We all had almuerzo, $3 got us potato and tuna ensalada, it was cool and refreshing, and came with wonderful fresh orange juice.

By this time we were dead tired, had had a big day and were ready for naps on the bus ride home, but where were we?! And HOW were we getting to the bus? We'd let our driver go, and this seemed a very sleepy area...but never fear, Joffre was on the scene. He spoke to people waiting on the side of the road, found out a truck would come by and for .50 cents a person would drive you into the town center. We found some shade, and waited, sure enough about 20 minutes later a truck came by, and we all squeezed in, Mom and Alan in front, and Mike, Joffre and I in the back.

El Centro was buzzing, being Sunday afternoon there was a market set up including flower vendors, and numerous food carts. Glad we got to see that, but no pictures, sorry. Another welcome sight, was the air conditioned bus, ahhh to sit and relax. Didn't quite nap, but got to sit and reflect on the days adventure, and boy was it! We did end up spending almost $100, with bus fare for 5, driver, and lunch, but what a day!

So, there you have it, our super fantastic, wonderfully exciting, amazing day with our favorite Ecuador tour guide and número uno amigo, Joffre!  Stay tuned, the adventure continues...

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Joffre's Wild Ride

Joffre is our "Go To Guy" in San Jacinto, he was one of the first Ecuadoreans we met and got to know, and he's been our source of information and tourism for almost a year! When he heard my parents were coming, he wanted on the schedule! He loves his country and to show off all it has to offer, for some time he's been talking of "the big monkey", he knows the name King Kong, and said we needed to go to Jama to see it. We knew it was about two hours by bus, but that doesn't always tell you what the day will hold, fasten your seatbelts! Joffre's Wild Ride starts now...

We got an early start, met Joffre in town at 8am, caught a bus going past Bahia, across the bridge to San Vicente, there we changed buses to Jama.

Such a beautiful view of Bahia from this side of the bridge. Our first visit over into San Vicente, and it looked quite charming. Lots of street construction, which means it's a mess now, but will be very nice in months to come. The bus stop was infront of a very large Catholic school.

This bus was Muy frio, glad we had brought shawls, the drive was beautiful, as we traveled away from the coast the landscape got greener and more dense. We could see farms and plantations all around, the clouds hung a little low and it was magical, but darn that bus was cold! After some time we abruptly got off the bus...and behold!

The Negro Mono Grande...we had to ask Joffre why they made such a statue, and he said it was because they had many monkeys living in the hills of the surrounding area, who knew? ( he said just like the statue of tuna in Manta, and the fish statue in San Jacinto, makes sense)

Can you see it's made of Palm fronds, spray painted black? Pretty cool.

There are stairs (or maybe just a ladder) inside, and one person at a time can go inside. Joffre scampered up for the photo op, but then a bus of teenagers pulled up, so the rest of us didn't get to go...oh well. Joffre is such a joy to be around, he's really a big kid, and he delights in everything! 

We had come quite a way, just to turn around and go back, so Joffre found a tourism truck that was either $5 per person, or by the hour and he took us to a waterfall and to see a cool hotel on a cliff. This was the Mr Toads Wild Ride part of the day, especially for Alan and Mike in the back of the truck...

Past Cocoa, Banana, and Papaya farms, past a rock quarry and some road construction, and voila,

Yep, this was what we were looking for...but wait...a short walk later

Joffre was quick to lose his shoes and socks, and even pulled a towel from his backpack, he was prepared! I was more interested in the plant life, and per Joffre's urging brought some specimens home for house plants. (Maiden hair Fern, air plants, elephant ear and another Fern)

We got a National Geographic moment walking past these leaf cutter ants, they were amazing to watch, up and over logs and rocks, I can't believe they couldn't find the right leaves closer to their destination, but whatever! Fun to watch.

We headed back to the truck, not quite knowing what was next, but when we are with Joffre we don't worry, we are in good hands. The day was only half over, there was more to see...but I will save the second half of the day for another blog stay tuned, the adventure continues!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

There's a new boat in town

How exciting! We have a new edition to our little fishing fleet, our friend Fernando Father Fisherman has himself a new boat. His son, Robinson (who the boats are named after) is of the age, where I thought the new boat might be his, but they only have the one motor, so the new boat trumps the old one.

The maiden voyage, they tried to get me to go out with them (woulda been cute in a sundress) but I opted to stay on land and snap pictures. They had the boat full of our fishermen neighbors, and trolled around the cove for a couple minutes before bringing it to shore again.

Look at the grin on Fernando's face, can you tell who the proud papa is? I actually saw the building of this boat in John Macdonalds blog, so I felt like I knew it when it showed up on my beach! 

Above is the link to the post.

This past week they were back to using the old boat, they had rigged it to be a shrimper, and had large bamboo poles sticking out the sides. I think the old boat has taller sides, or maybe they just didn't want to attach anything to the new boat. But last night they were back to normal, pescado fishing.

Another gift, from a successful shrimp catch. These were small to medium, perfect for shrimp cocktail (thanks mom for bringing horseradish) and a delicious shrimp and avocado salad we had for lunch yesterday. We make sure the boats aren't fooled with, give out bags for the fishermen to share their catch with the helpers and all around are good neighbors, so we will continue to get gifts from them. They like us here, like to show off and enjoy the fact that we are loving their country and loving life. And we do! 

This is the other new boat, Ramon and his son Patricio added this to the fleet back in April, again only one motor, but it's fun to see a boy come up the ranks, Patricio is pretty special, a great young man! Who knows when the next new boat will show up, it means business is good, and that makes us smile, so...stay tuned, the adventure continues!