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Saturday, April 12, 2008

Thank you to our Visitors

Dear Family and Friends,

Chuck and I are busy clearing out of our rented apartment. This apartment has been so wonderful during the last seven months. Since it had many bedrooms, it allowed us to invite family and friends to visit with us in Cuenca.

We have been fortunate to have many people take us up on our offer.

Thank you:

Vanessa and Ricardo
Robin and Jim
Carol V.
Carolyn and Larry
Audrey and Jim
Portia and Paris
Karen and Randy
Vicki and Jeannie
Ruby and George
Sharon and Marshall
Judy and Brad
Linda and JoAnn

for sharing Cuenca with us.

We enjoyed your visits and according to the feedback we have received, you have found Cuenca as charming as we do.

After we release our apartment today, we will be camping out in our new condo. We have a bed, microwave and a coffee maker to help us survive for the next 10 days. We will begin to seriously furnish it when we return in December.

After today we will not have internet access. This is the final blog of our Cuenca, Ecuador adventure. We will be checking our email at Cuenca Internet (located at Luis Cordero 675 Y Presidente Cordova), so we will not be out of touch. Cuenca Internet was established about 6 weeks ago by our next door neighbors. It has very high speed internet.

If you would like to know more about Ecuador, here are a few links that you might be interested in:

Click here to view Washington Post photo slideshow of Ecuador

Click here to read Ecuador Forums

also, there is a group in Yahoo groups called Ecuador _Expats, check it out.

We will be back home in Richland, Washington on April 22 and we are looking forward to a summer in the desert.

Nancy and Chuck

Monday, April 7, 2008

Meeting the President

Dear Family and Friends,


Chuck and I took our guests, Joann and Linda for the double decker sightseeing bus tour yesterday morning. As usual we were able to get good seats for the best viewing.

The views from the bus are always interesting and fun. The architecture is beautiful...

and the people are so fascinating to watch.

I believe the people on the street get as much enjoyment watching our tour bus as we get observing them.

We passed this church just as it was letting out. I love this church because it reminds me of an old mission in the Southwest.

The highlight of the tour is when the bus goes up to Turi so we can get a beautiful panoramic view of Cuenca.

No sooner than we arrived, when trucks and cars started arriving with military police and secret service body guards.

The president of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, got out of one of the vehicles and was surrounded by plain clothes security as he made his way to the viewing platform over looking Cuenca.

Along with the other spectators, we watched as the president viewed Cuenca with his family. President Correa is the man talking on the cell phone.

It was so exciting that we were able to get close enough to get some great photos of him.

In fact, the most exciting thing of all is that we were able to meet him and have photos made with him. When I went to shake his hand, I spoke to him in my weak Spanish. He said to me, "I speak English, where are you from?" So we chatted in English for a moment.

Here is a photo of President Correa chatting with our friend Linda. (Notice how she is clothing coordinated with him). They look like they are on the same team.

Chuck and I have taken several tour bus trips with our guests, but this one was the very best yet!!

Nancy and Chuck

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Chilcatortora Tour - Part II

Dear Family and Friends

(A blog from Chuck)

I described a tour of the Chilcatortora community in Blog 28. Today, I will share photos of their cheese factory.

The Kanchik Kawsay cheese making facility is a community cooperative set up with assistance by
some French volunteers. Now that the community has a way to preserve their milk, they can sell cheese and butter at the Feria Libre in Cuenca on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Three types of cheese are produced in this factory: Queso Fresco, Mozzarella, and (a pleasant surprise) Queso Duro.

Here are the curds of the day's milking, draining.

And a by product - butter

The milk is pasteurized in this vat.

The Mozzarella molds are clean and ready for use.

And cheese is aging in the cellar.

We were very impressed with the Queso Duro, a round, pressed, cheese which tastes like Comté or Gruyère.