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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Parrots in Cuenca

Dear Family and Friends,

My friend, Nancy, told me about feral parrots living in Cuenca.  There are about 30 -40 of them.  Sometimes you can see them flying near the Tomebomba river. They are native to the coast of Ecuador.

Yesterday I got a real treat.  Karen Kimbler and I were at our new condo and heard something that sounded like crows.  To our delight, these beautiful parrots were on the terrace wall enjoying themselves.

I looked them up on line.  They are called Red-Masked Parakeets.  Much larger than what we think of parakeets. They like to eat tropical fruit and nuts.

I think I'll put some fruit out in a dish and see if I can entice them to come visit more often.

Hope your day is going great.


Friday, June 24, 2011

Sugar Time!!

Dear Family and Friends,

It is that time of year again.  Corpus Christi....somehow tied into the celebration of the solstice.  This time, every year, tons of candy is made in small kitchens all around Cuenca.  For one week these goodies are sold right in the center of town.

Until this year I have been pretty much able to resist, but today I succumbed.  Have a look.

Candy booths set up everywhere.....

I couldn't help myself.  Take a look at some of these goodies....

We made a video about Corpus Christi a couple of years ago.  If you want to get a feel for the celebration you can watch it by clicking here.

If you remember, I said in my last post that Chuck and I were going to Banos this past week.  Well, that plan got postponed. In my last post I also showed pictures of our condo we are getting ready to rent.  The day after the post went up we had emails from folks wanting to rent it.  So we canceled our trip to Banos and worked real hard on getting a website up.  We can manage reservations through this site.

The link is:     Have a look at it....we worked hard on it.

We are getting geared up for the 4th of July.  We are celebrating with our dear friends at the California Kitchen.  It is going to be so much fun.  Carol, George, Jim and Susie, owners of the California Kitchen are putting together a wonderful meal to help celebrate this holiday.

Chuck and I are scrambling around getting ready for our first renters who arrive on Wednesday. 

Have a great weekend.

Nancy (and Chuck)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

We have decided to rent our new condo

Dear Family and Friends,

Chuck and I have decided to rent our new condo.  We can't live in two places at once.  For now, we will continue to live where we always have.  One day we will move to the new condo, but for now we will rent it.

Now comes the fun part.  We have never been landlords before.  We are working on a web site to feature the condo.  Should we rent it long term or short term?  There are so many things we need to decide.

We have it almost ready to rent.  It still needs some furniture, rugs and art work. 

We are going to Banos next week and will stop in the village of Guano. They hand make rugs in this village and we want to see what they have to offer.  We may either buy some rugs or have them commissioned for the new condo. 

We want to put local art on the walls.  We are shopping Cuenca but will look at what is offered in other places in Ecuador.

We spent this morning making pictures of the condo to use on the website.  I noticed how empty the walls and floors are without the finishing touches so I don't know if any of these pictures will ever make it to the website.

I am going to share the pictures with you because you may know of someone coming to Cuenca who is looking for a high end furnished penthouse. We hope to have it ready to rent soon. If we rent it short term, we will be asking $350 per week with a discount for monthly rental.  The condo includes Direct TV, Wi-Fi internet connection, and once a week maid service.

The reason we decided to rent this apartment out, rather than where we live now, is that the location of this condo is perfect for visitors. It is within a 15 minute or less walking distance to el centro, and a grocery store and many fine restaurants are within a block or two.

The entrance to our condo building, El Molle.


The lobby:

Our condo:

This is the Great Room, it has the sitting area, dinning area and a game/breakfast table.

This is the generous size kitchen.

Laundry room next to kitchen.

There are two bedrooms with generous built in closets, each with their on private bath.

Both baths have skylights and walk in showers.
There is a media room that has a sofa, flat screen television and computer table.  Sorry I do not have a picture of this room yet.  We still have furniture to be made for this room.

There is a half bath for guests. Here in Cuenca this is called a social bath.

Last, but not least, is the wonderful terrace that Chuck has worked so hard on.  He has set up an irrigation system to keep all the plants watered.  The view from the terrace is fabulous.

Well, that's about it.  I am not sure how our traveling and being landlords will work out, but we will see.

Happy Father's Day.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Old Tradition being Documented on Film

Dear Family and Friends,

We had Karen, Randy and Fernando over for hamburgers last night.  I think I poisoned everyone.  I was up all night with a sick stomach.  The leftovers we put away last night are going into the garbage this morning. Sorry guys!

Lourdes (our beloved housekeeper) cleans our new condo on Wednesdays.  She is bringing her husband and mother-in-law for coffee this morning at our new condo.  William's mother is the lovely lady that hosted Chuck and I on our visit to Santa Rosa last year. 

Chuck found a very interesting site on the internet.  It is about some people who are making a documentary.  They are in a little village in Ecuador filming the last remnants of a tradition of going up on the volcano to get ice.  The ice is then sold in the village for making ice cream and fruit drinks.

I think it will be a very interesting documentary.  To see more click here.  You can be part of this if you would like to donate to the cause.

The picture below is of our newest automated statue in Cuenca.  He is located right by the new cathedral and we saw him on our Sunday morning walk with Rich and Nancy. We dropped some coins in his can and enjoyed his antics.

Have a great day everyone.


Monday, June 13, 2011

Holy Cow! Prime Rib found at Supermaxi!

Dear Family and Friends,

Chuck and I delivered all the kids back to their respective homes in the U.S.  We had a great time with them but all good things must come to an end.

We arrived back in Cuenca last Wednesday afternoon.  Happy to be home!

One of our first tasks was to restock the empty refrigerator.  We headed to the local Supermaxi and began filling the cart.

As I was shopping in the meat department, I happened upon a prime rib roast.  This cut of meat is unheard of here in Cuenca.  It is the one thing that so many ex-pats comment that they miss from the U.S.  There was only this one roast, so I looked around and quickly and silently slipped it into our cart.

Yesterday, I decided to cook the roast.  I found a website that gave me great instructions for cooking it. Check it out.  I followed it closely and it turned out quite well.

We asked Nancy and Rich to be our guinea pigs and join us for the cooking and tasting. 

Here is the roast sitting out to reach room temperature.

Here is the label.  Yep, it says Prime Rib in English.  It was approx. 3lbs.  Price:  $11.48.

Here it is sliced and ready to eat.

We all agreed that it was pretty darn good.

Thanks Nancy and Rich for helping us enjoy this new experience in Cuenca.