Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Life goes on....

Sometimes it's hard to figure out what to blog about. Our daily life has fallen into a bit of a routine. We sleep till we wake up, Stu usually by 7am and me by 9am. Breakfast, check emails and Facebook, watch a few videos and then decide what to do the rest of the day. Meet new friends, meet old friends, eat out, take a walk, go shopping.

See? Our day here isn't all that different from retirement in the US. Well, except we spend a LOT less on food. Here are two photos to give you an idea of our fruit and veggie costs when we buy at the mercados.

$7 worth of fruit
$12.55 worth of fruit, veggies, jar of honey and a bag of pasta (not shown)
We are in the rainy season now and this means some amazing sunsets and rainbows. Here are a few of the shots we've taken recently.

This past weekend we had a LOT of rain and the rivers were high and fast. This is a 20x zoom photo of the river 1/2 block from us, the Tomebamba. The Yanancuy was the same in two surrounding towns, Paute and Gauleco, the rivers overflowed their banks and flooded the streets.

Shopping - found this adorable Blue-Footed Boobie mobile/wind chime for $5 in El Centro. Stu hung it just outside our door - no breezes but I love to see it when we come home.

We also finally decided to try some local bagels once we realized they would deliver. Stu couldn't get enough of the smell - cinnamon raisin!

The bagels are really good, even without cream cheese (okay, Stu wants that but I'm fine with butter) and we will be ordering them again.

So, that's life at 8400ft - GOOD!

Ciao for now!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Weekend in Cuenca

Well, it actually started on Friday and Sunday I was in bed with a headache all day but a blog title of "Friday and Saturday in Cuenca" didn't sound as good. LOL!

We grabbed a taxi and headed to the gathering spot for those going to the Newcomer Lunch at La Yunta. I had been to the first newcomer lunch at Don Colon's while Stu was in the US, so this was his first. We had eaten at La Yunta on other outings and the choices this time were roast beef with pasta or fish and chips. I had one and Stu had the other, both were delicious as well the two dessert choices.

But the day was really for the families with kids...and there were a bunch! What fun to see them all playing together, riding the horses provided for the day and whacking the piñatas to get the candy.

Here are a few photos, the rest are in our SmugMug album.

We even had an adult Piñata!

We had a blast, meeting friends old and new, barely making it home before the sky let loose. Great day!

Then on Saturday, I had been craving a Cuban sandwich ever since watching the movie "The Chef" (four times). Several folks had told us Domesan restaurant had the best Cuban in town. So off we went....sorry for the bite already taken out of my sandwich, I was hungry!

We went for a walk afterwards, it was a gorgeous day. I had to take a photo of this Royal Enfield - love their classic looks. And of course we had to make a stop at La Fornace for ice cream!

It was good, the French Fries were delicious but it wasn't the traditional Cuban sandwish I enjoyed in Little Havana (Miami) many years ago. According to Wikipedia, this is the contents of a Cuban sandwich:
A coat of yellow mustard is spread on the bread. Then sliced roast pork, glazed ham, Swiss cheese, and thinly-sliced dill pickles are added in layers. Sometimes the pork is marinated in mojo and slow roasted.
Some of the ingredients were missing but I still enjoyed it. In fact, we have plans to return on Tuesday for lunch with some other new folks!

Ciao for now!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Sunday in El Centro

Yesterday was the official day of celebration for Cuenca's 458th anniversary but we didn't expect much when we ventured into downtown (El Centro). But Surprisingly the craft tents and artists displays were packed and there were a lot of people in the downtown area, attending church, eating lunch and enjoying ice cream.

Rather than my chatter on, here are some photos I took today. You can see the rest in our SmugMug album.

When we visited on Friday, I saw a necklace that I really liked but wasn't willing to spend quite as much as the artist's wife wanted. Today the artist was back and the first price he quoted me was less than her discounted price and what I had determined I was willing to spend. It's a two-sided necklace with various stones and sterling silver. He sat down with his daughter and asked me to take their photo.

Ciao for now!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Doce de Abril (April 12th)

When we first were planning to visit Cuenca two years ago, Stu was looking over our various reservations (airlines, hotel, etc) and started to panic that I had booked the wrong date for our hotel. We were flying out on April 15th and the hotel paperwork showed April 12th.

Well, not exactly. The hotel was located on the street named April 12th, our reservation was correct on April 15th. Once here we soon discovered that many streets are named after famous people (no surprise there) AND famous dates. Thus Doce de Abril....
458 years ago today, the city of Cuenca was founded by Gil Ramírez Dávalos. The viceroy of Lima, Andrés Hurtado de Mendoza, had ordered that it be named after his hometown of Cuenca, Spain. Cuenca was once a Cañari settlement called Guapondeleg, meaning "land as big as heaven". After the Incas conquered the Cañari people, the area was renamed Tumibamba (Tomebamba in Spanish). It was controlled by the palace at Pumapungo (see drawing). During the war between Atahualpa and his brother Huáscar for control of the Inca empire, the area was destroyed. There were plans to rebuild, but they never happened. So by the time the Spaniards arrived, all they found were ruins. 
{courtesy of David Sasaki, Ecuador Expats Facebook Group}

There has been a week long celebration with Friday and Saturday being the biggest. We have seen some of it but it's practically impossible to see it all.

Ciao for now!

Friday, April 10, 2015

CAUTION! Handyman at work.

Stu loves to play handyman and fortunately, he's very good at it. Recently, he had two major projects to tackle.

The first was mounting the lamp we bought at Rotary Market last week. We needed more light over the kitchen sink and thought this would help.

He got it hung, after testing how much it blinded me in various spots, ran wiremold for the cord, installed a small push-button on/off switch and voila! We now have a great over the sink light that is soft and yet works. I love it (and I love the color).

The other was a little bigger. In their infinite wisdom, when they pre-wired the apartments for Directv and Etapa Internet, they used two different walls. Normally this wouldn't be an issue, but since we use a Roku 3 for streaming most of our TV, this meant we were connecting the Roku wirelessly to the router. In our old apartment, they were direct connected.

So in an effort to improve the speed of the service, Stu opted to use wiremold and a 50 ft telephone extension cord ($6.78 at our local hardware store) to accomplish this feat. Now the corner by my chair is much neater (no UPS taking up lots of floor space - it is now in the under TV cabinet), the signal is much better and the cords behind the TV are no longer a snarling mass of wires.

Here are some before, in progress, and completed photos of my wonderful hubby getting it done!

BEFORE - next to my chair:


LOOK CLOSE: wiremold run along baseboard, up wall, across ceiling:


Ciao for now!
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