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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Gearing Up for New Year's Eve

Dear Family and Friends,

We have had a wonderful 2011 and are now getting ready to send it on it's way! 

Our whole holiday season has been so much fun.  Christmas day Chuck and I had friends over for a brunch that lasted the whole day.

Just a few days ago, Myrna and David (who are renting our condo this week) invited Chuck, Bruce, Charlie and I over to the condo for her delicious home made pizza.

She made some great drinks and here we are enjoying the terrace and the sunset.  Her pizza was terrific!

Yesterday and today we have been getting ready to usher in 2012.

Here is Chuck buying some fireworks....OMG!

We now have an "effigy" in our living room. I've named him LeRoy!

He is quite a guy!  Here is a close up. Notice that he is wearing a "Panama" hat. 

Last night I forgot he was in there.  I went through the living room about dusk and almost died of fright when I saw him out of the corner of my eyes.

Tonight, LeRoy (representing 2011) will be burned up.   We'll miss you LeRoy!

We are looking forward to 2012!

Nancy & Chuck

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


I was going to do a post about looking back at this past year. But in looking back at this past year I found myself looking back at our entire married life. Chuck and I have led a charmed life.  Well, charmed for us, others might find it too unpredictable.

Since we first knew each other, until even now, we do about half our adventures on impulse.  One of us says “wouldn’t it be fun to…..” the other of us says “why not?,” and our course is set.
We have traveled the world many times.  Probably half of those trips were taken on a whim.   

I can remember a trip to Hong Kong we took over the July 4th holidays, several years back, because we discovered an extremely low air fare on Cathy Pacific.  It was a wonderful trip, booked 5 days before our flight, with no time for pre planning.  

Chuck is by far the most adventurous soul I know.  He has a wonderful enthusiasm for life.  I have learned over the years to be careful about what I say I would like to have or to do.   Chuck makes things happen. 

Actually our discovery of Ecuador was on one of those whims.  Our whole adventure has been pretty much on a whim.  

We have our travel schedule for 2012 filled through the first half of next year.  Before we left for Spain back in October, none of these plans were even thought of.  Come to think of it, our trip we just took to Spain was on a whim.  Chuck found an incredibly cheap cruise from Spain to Panama and booked it.  Since we had to fly to Spain to board the ship, he built a month long vacation in Spain and Morocco before we started the cruise.  

We are starting to see ourselves change…getting older.  Somehow this is creating an urgency in us to travel more while we can.  We have a few places on our bucket list that we have not yet experienced.  Whether experiencing them all is possible we do not know.  But having the goals out there is good for us because there is always something more to strive for.

The only word I can use to describe how I feel at looking back at our life is gratitude.  

So, for you my wish is that your reflections are filled with gratitude and that your tomorrows are filled with adventure. 

Have a wonderful new year and a wonderful life.


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Paseo de Ninos

Dear Family and Friends,

Our favorite day in Cuenca is Christmas Eve.  This is the day when children parade through town.

We share these pictures with you and send you our love.  Hope your Christmas day is filled with joy!

Feliz Navidad!

Nancy and Chuck

Monday, December 19, 2011

Can't Hardly Wait!!

Dear Family and Friends,

This sweet angel is just a hint of what is in store for us on Christmas Eve, here in Cuenca.  Lourdes, our housekeeper, told me that this little one is dressed as "Mama Negra."  She is representing citizens of Ecuador  who live in Esmeraldas.

We, Chuck, Rich, Nancy and I, got a hint of things to come when we were on our walk last Sunday.  Of all the days to live in Cuenca our favorite is Christmas Eve.  Christmas Eve is the day when children from all over parade through Cuenca.  They are celebrating the "The Traveling Nino"

The origins of this religious festival is in the early 1960’s when a statue of the Christ Child was taken to Rome to be blessed by the Pope. When the statue returned, someone in the watching crowd called out, “Ya llegó el Viajero!" ("Now comes the traveling boy") and the statue became known as the Niño Viajero.

This little girl was a spectator, but it is obvious that her popcicle is getting a lot more attention than the parade.

By the way, Chuck got all the slats painted and reassembled the outdoor chairs.

They are looking real nice on the terrace of our rental condo.

Needless to say, he is very glad this job is complete.

We are now gearing up for the holidays ahead.


Thursday, December 8, 2011


Dear Family and Friends,

When Chuck and I bought the new penthouse condo last year and decided to furnish it and rent it out, we were so naive.  This was our first adventure in the landlord business.  What could be difficult? You meet your renters (this is the best part, getting to know newcomers!) and get them settled.  What we did not anticipate is the constant upkeep necessary to maintain the condo in tip top condition.

Our philosophy then, as it is now, is perfection.  Perfection to the point that our renters feel comfortable and totally enjoy their stay in Cuenca.  With the help of Karen and Randy Kimbler, our condo managers when we are away, we strive to provide the best quality possible for our renters.  

To keep the condo in top condition requires constant maintenance.  This is what we want....everything in top condition for each and every renter!

This past week Chuck took the chairs from the rental terrace apart.  They are cast iron chairs with wood slats.  The finish on the wood slats was peeling.  Chuck sanded the slats and painted each one before reassembling the tables and chairs.  We are hoping they are sealed well enough to weather the sun and rain for a good long time.

Our rental rates will be increased for bookings made next year.  We could have just increased the rates, changed the website to reflect the new rent and that would be it.  However, we felt we should at least give our renters and future renters a chance to rent at the 2011 rate next year if possible.  So, if you have rented our condo and plan to return next year, or if you are planning a trip to Cuenca next year and want to rent the condo please book and pay by December 31, 2011.  If you will do this we will honor the the 2011 rates for you.

I hope this isn't too confusing.  If it is, shoot us an email and we will explain in more detail.  The bottom line is that we did not want to raise the rate on our friends (and friends to be) without giving you a dog's chance.  

By the way, to rent the condo go to this website:

Although our intent is to provide a quality short term (vacation) rental, we would be open to a little longer period provided all the condo requirements are met.  So, if you are moving to Cuenca and need a top of the line furnished apartment to rent while you get your paperwork done, find the right place to live and receive your container of belongings, we are open to renting the condo out for as much as 3 to 6 months.  Please contact us if this is something you would like and we will be glad to work with you.

Nancy and Chuck

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Cruise

Dear Family and Friends,

On October 30th, Clarke, Brenda, Audrey, Jim, Chuck and myself boarded our Royal Carribean cruise ship. Our two week cruise took us from Palma Mallorca, Spain to Colon, Panama.   Most of our days were at sea, but we did stop in the Canary Islands, St Marteen, Antigua and Barbados on the way to Colon.

Below is a picture of our cruise ship the Grandeur of the Sea.

One of the swimming pools aboard.

Looking down into the main lobby.

Chuck saying goodbye to Palma Mallorca, Spain as we head out to sea.


We had many beautiful sunsets as we crossed the Atlantic Ocean.

Here is a picture as we approached the city of Tenerife in the Canary Islands.  A big disappointment was to learn that there are no canaries in the Canary Islands.  I guess it would be the same disappointment if we had stopped in the Virgin Islands.

With so many days at sea, we enjoyed a lot of time on the balcony of our room.

 Here we are in the card room playing dominoes. 

 All gussied up for one of the formal nights.

At every stop we had to share the port with other ships.  The most were in the small island of St. Marteen.

We saw beautiful beaches,

and lovely scenery at each port.

 After docking in Colon, Panama we rented a van and drove to Panama City.

Chuck and I spent a couple of days in Panama City before returning to Cuenca.  The city reminds you of Singapore or Hong Kong with all the high rises.

We went shopping and, of course, to see the canal locks.

We arrived in Cuenca on Wednesday night....dead tired.  We have spent the last couple of days resting up and readjusting to the altitude.

It was a great six weeks adventure and now we are happy to be back home!

Nancy & Chuck