Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Enough about me...who are YOU?

I don't get many comments, not much feedback from my readers, I read other blogs and it seems every reader has to throw their two cents in, so for that I thank you...but I don't have a clue as to who you are! So I've decided to do a little survey and find out who my audience is.

Instead of doing a real survey (Mike said it would be easy, but...) I'll just throw some questions out there and you can answer what you want.










This is all the info I have on you, my dear readers. Not very Informative, and not very personal. I've noticed on the flag counter I have collected 45 U.S. State flags, I've yet to have readers from:

North Dakota, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire and Arkansas, so if you know somebody in one of those states, share!



Let's say I give y'all a week to get your answers to me, then I will compile what info I've been given and share. I look forward to hearing from you, no pressure, no obligation, if you want to stay anonymous that's fine, tell me as much, or as little as you like. I'm all about confidentiality, so rest assured when I share what info I've been given, I will edit accordingly.

Ok, ready set, share! And of course, stay tuned, the adventure continues!


Friday, September 25, 2015

Power outage putterings

I like to putter.  I used to make lists, actually I used to make lists and put things on the list that I'd already accomplished, just so I could cross it off. But these days the only lists I make are for groceries, because I am definatly at the age that I may not remember if it's not written down. So my puttering goes a little all over the place, I do tend to get side tracked, but hey, life is Tranquillo, so as long as one thing gets done, everything else is gravy.

The other day before our walk we came up with a new design for a shell collector, we have numerous 1litre bottles I've been saving, and we decided to cut a hole in the side and tie around Mikes belt loop, or our travel pack and voila, hands free! He even drilled holes in the bottom, so we could wash them right in the carrier.

But that got us thinking, what else could we use the bottles for? We'd already done the bag holder for the fishermen, and Mike thought shell storage would work too, he was right! Look how nice and organized and pretty they are! Much better than the ziplock bags I had them in before! I could even lay them down and stack them, as long as the opening was on top...

We were eating lunch outside the other afternoon, Mike had been glueing shells on canvas, and I was, well puttering, (Watering plants, moving things around) and we decided to move our outdoor couch to an area where there was more shade. That always gives me plenty of things to do, sweeping where the new piece will go, sweeping where the piece moved from, moving tables, plants, decorations. So here is a view of the finished, rearranged patio, always a work in progress.

I'd put this black plastic tarp here to block the wind, mostly for the plants, but for us too, to have somewhere to get out of it, if it was too much. I'd like to have Manuel come back and add more boards to these two sections, it would be prettier than the plastic...

Where the couch used to be, plants love it back in this area, away from the wind and salt. My Manuel shelving unit, which I have morning glories planted in front of the trellis, so they will eventually grow up and hide the shelf unit. Will do shells here on the table, the overhang from vecinos roof gives about 3ft of shade next to the building, and there's always the umbrella if it's not too windy.

This side didn't change all that much, this is our sunset watching area.

Shadrach's "lookie out post", he hates that he is too short to see over the concrete wall, so he loves to sit on top of this chair and survey his kingdom.

Veronica tends to stay out of the wind, if she can help it. (And she likes the softer furnishings.) Speaking of softer furnishings, I had a visit from my friend Becky not too long ago, and she made a comment about the dog bed I made, so I made one for her schnauzer, Kaiser.

I've also been getting house plants going. We bought some in Bahia when we were there with blog reader Mark and Kathy.

Repurposed coconuts, I made macrame slings for them, then decided to hang them from one central point. The trailing plant is planted right in the coconut, the wandering Jew is in water in a jelly jar, and the third one is empty waiting for cuttings from our friends at La Boca.

The power came back on around 4pm, our friends were headed down for Happy hour, and I needed a shower, so snacks had to share the table with the shells, but life is Tranquillo, and nobody minded.

Even with the power being out so much recently, it still beats going to work for 40hours or more a week! I'd much rather putter in paradise!!! And with that said...stay tuned, the adventure continues!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Mangrove project Part 2

First, let me say I've been wanting to get this posted for almost a week! This morning is the only day we've had power past 7am! But, that's a story for another day. Finally got pictures from the new camera, not an easy task either, Mike had to mess with them, making them smaller or some darn thing and I didn't even get all of them! (but I hear they've done even more to the project, so there might even be a part 3.)

This is the observation deck from the river side, turned out really cute, with the thatched roof. One of the neighbors has been painting signs. They've also been getting more trash out from the mangled root masses.

Another sign above, but also added "rungs" to the walkway, because it was such a steep incline. The view from the first floor landing...

And the stairs up to the second landing are STEEP!

The walkways wind around, thru the mangrove roots and end up at another observation deck. 

Next time we walk down to the Boca I will take some more pictures, decide if we need a part 3, or if I can just add them to another post. So...stay tuned, the adventure continues!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Mangrove project Part 1

Sometime in May our friends at the Boca (mouth of the PV River) told us of some construction going on behind their house in the mangroves. It was several weeks before we ever saw anything other than these pilons, but over the past 5 months things have really progressed! This is the architect and job foreman, there was a crew of maybe six, a truck dropped them off every morning with their tools and supplies.  While we house sat (June 1-15) we watched them everyday, watched the wives bring lunch and the children to eat with the men, and they always waved and said good morning or evening.

Then on top of the footings, multiple walkways were built.

At this point, we learned it was an Observation Platform, something about being able to watch the river, the mangroves and wildlife. This is the view one would see from the deck.

There were some weeks that nothing was being done, and we thought the project was abandoned, but when they came back to work, we found out they had been called to another job. All is well, the project will be finished...and added to...a Zip line!? That's what they said, a zip line to where? The mangroves on the other side of the river? Then what?! So many questions...still unanswered, but we wait.

This sign was finally placed on the main road to educate the public. And we saw this on Facebook.

The project continued, more and more wood was brought in for the railings, and we could kinda tell what it was going to look like, a lot of speculation and sneaking over after the workers left to check on progress.

Of course the workers had tide issues the whole time, and when the ocean threatened to wash away their small piece of beach, they took it in stride, always a smile and a wave! Phase one is finally complete, stay tuned! The Mangrove project and the adventure continues!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

More gifts from the Fishermen

The other day we got a surprise visit over the fence from one of our fishermen Nexar, I had been in the house and heard him whistle for my attention, I went out and saw him holding this...

I'd seen this type of crab before, once at the Manta fish market, it had been the size of a backpack, and the man said it cost $10. (Turns out it's a Southern King crab) Well this one wasn't that big, but it was free! Nexar kept trying to hand it to me, but I just couldn't get my hands to grab hold of it, thank goodness Mike came out at that point and took it.

I had just been talking about wanting some cangrejo so I was bound and determined to find out what to do with this monster. First, we had to kill him, because, yep you guessed it, he was still alive! We put him in the shower to sit while I looked online about killing, cleaning, and cooking. Here's the ever inquisitive Shadrach checking him out.

He was so furry, like the algae that grows on pilons and piers, how was I ever to get him clean? And how necessary was it to get his outside clean? Mike and I researched Google and Pinterest and formulated a game plan, a pot of water went on to boil, and he went in the sink to get a bath and a scrub. After the water boiled, we plunged him in for a minute to kill him, then we could work on cooking. It turned out to be quite a bit of work, and for not much pay off...

My idea of crab salad sandwiches for lunch was not going to happen. But, plan B was save the crab salad for Happy hour and eat with a cold cerveza at sunset, yep, that worked!

Several weeks ago Fernando Father Fishermen gave us these fish, I tried to tell him we didn't know how to filet or clean them, and he said "just scale them, gut and throw them in a  soup".

And these...

Langosta, yum! I'd already looked them up, so I knew how to clean and cook these. I don't remember, but I think these went into a lobster Alfredo.

So much fresh food and time to mess with it! Because it's papaya season, I've started adding papaya to my morning smoothies, getting healthy benefits and vitamins, and I don't even know it! I've started buying real butter, and gave up on margarine, just one more packaged, manipulated food product not going in our bellies anymore...

Welł, that's it for the gifts, for now! Can't wait to see what we will be given next. I've got oranges, and will make a batch of orange water to pass out to the fishermen in the morning when they are doing their nets in the sun. I'll leave y'all with this, a cute picture, and epitome of Ecuador...when something doesn't work, go with plan B

Stay tuned! The adventure continues!!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Bahia day trip

We recently had our first blog reader visitors, Mark reached out thru email, wanted to know if when he came scouting, we could meet, of course we said yes! We emailed several times, I stalked him thru Facebook (just to see what I was in for, he already knew all about us...) he seemed normal, so as the time came closer we made plans. He stayed at our friends at Casa WF for two days and we showed him San Jacinto and took him (and travel companion) to the Charapoto market. Then they headed to Bahia for several more days to check it out, it was number one on his short list. We got the bus early, only had to wait about 10 minutes (it can be as long as an hour) which was lovely and met them at their hotel.

Hotel Herradurra was a very interesting place, according to the owners, it was once a private residence, and all (or most) of the pictures and furnishings were original. It had ocean view on the one side, where the restaurant was located, and then lots of little nooks and crannies to sit and enjoy tranquillity. 

Beautiful plants and decorations everywhere you turned, they said the rooms were quite comfortable and I believe it was somewhere around $45 a night. I would certainly have taken my morning coffee and breakfast here on this patio, it wasn't the ocean side, but it was very nice.

The previous day Mark had met up with a real estate "agent" and had seen several condos on the market, so he walked us around the point and showed us all he'd learned. A little morning marine layer and it was a very nice walk.

So many of these condos are only short time leases, because the owners in other parts of Ecuador want to be able to use them at their leisure. Not even half are full time residents.

We ended up walking the point and then up thru the streets of El Centro. They showed me what their other guide had told them, and we shared what we knew. One thing we went to see was the indoor market. Everyday til noon this market is running full tilt, main floor was everything from flowers and incense to bagged beans. Meat, chicken and seafood, fruits and veggies, and there were restaurants on the second floor. It was already a little after noon, so much of the stalls were empty, but wow! If I lived in Bahia I would certainly shop here!

Next on our walking tour...we decided to find the stairs and walk up the hill to the big cross. In hindsight, we should have done this earlier, because the sun was peaking thru and it was getting warm, but we did it! Over 750 steps!

Half way point...(actually it wasn't even a third)

Looking east towards San Vicente and Canoa, low tide, you can see the big sand bar in the middle of the marina.

More stairs! I opted not to go up the last batch, the view was plenty good from the courtyard area.

After we walked down, (that's when Mark counted the steps, 375 each way up to the cross, I don't think he counted the cross steps)  we had jello legs and decided it was time to eat, we took them to our favorite Chinese restuarant and enjoyed it, all of it, we had leftovers for three days! We wandered a little more then grabbed a taxi to the bus terminal, they went with us and bought their tickets for their upcoming travel to Quito and we said our goodbyes. Another great day in this wonderful country I now call home, new friends and possibly new neighbors. Mark really fell in love with a fixer upper condo, if anybody wants to be an investor...?! Get in touch.

And there you have it, our short walking tour of Bahia on the bay...stay tuned, the adventure continues!