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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sharing Cuenca with Mary

Dear Family and Friends,

Mary had a great time meeting bloggers from the SOZ blogroll and blog readers at the California Kitchen this past Friday.

Here are a few pictures:

We have had a lot of fun showing Mary Cuenca.

The double deck bus tour was a must do.
Here is Mary interacting with the floating man.
And another street entertainer.
And of course, a horse picture in Parque Calderon is a must.

Mary with Cuenca behind her.  We took this from Turi.

Last night we went to the Secret Garden for dinner.  Here we are socializing before eating.

Today we met up with Nancy and Rich for our Sunday walk.  I was hoping that Mary would be able to see a parade while she was here.  We lucked out and saw one neighborhood parade and another in the making.

Mary will be here next week and leave for California this Saturday.  I know everyone is anxious for her to be finished with her vacation and back to her posting on her blog.  I know we have missed it.

Thanks to all the Cuenca expats who have helped to make Mary's visit so special.


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Beautiful Days in Cuenca

Dear Family and Friends,

We are enjoying showing Mary around Cuenca.  Today we were able to share our short term rental condo with her.  We bought a painting when we were in Loja weekend before last and had it framed.  Today we went over for the hanging.

Here is Chuck, Karen, and Mary on the terrace.  Couldn't ask for a prettier day.

Randy came over and hung the picture.  Take a look!

We took Mary to see Mall del Rio.  Randy told us about a new vendor in the food court.  California Burrito.  We gave it a try and yum!!!!  Hope they stay around.

I took this picture while we were at the mall.  It is a sign that has the price for a taxi from Mall del Rio to wherever.  As you can see prices range from $1.50 to $18.00.  The main reason I want to share this with you is to let you know that taxi prices are increasing.  The cost from Mall del Rio to where we live is $3.00.

I just want to point out the actual prices so that you will not think you are being "Gringo Gouged." 

Arguing over prices is so tacky.  Just find another driver or vendor.  I bet in most cases the second person will prove to you that this is the actual price, not one doubled just because you are a gringo.  Please don't have a "gringo gouge" mentality and display an "us vs. they" attitude.


Monday, January 23, 2012

Wonderful Coast Trip

Dear Family and Friends,

Chuck, Mary and I are now in Cuenca.  We had a wonderful time on the coast because of some terrific people.

We spent Friday in Salinas and enjoyed the beach there.  Mary went to D'Hugo's for the lobster, but unfortunate for her, the lobster was out of season.  She settled for langostino in garlic sauce instead.  It looked delicious.  I don't think she was too disappointed.

On Saturday we checked out of our hotel and headed up the beach to Montanita.  We met Leigh and Todd for breakfast.  

They spent the day with us being tour guides.  They showed us up and down the coast.  We had a great time meeting other ex-pats who are now living on the coast.  

Thanks you two we all had a great time.

In the afternoon, we headed to see Bob and Rox.  They had graciously invited us earlier in the week to stay with them at their house.  Chuck and I slept in their newest suite.....I should say sweet because that is what it is.....really sweet.  They thought of everything.  Great view of the ocean from the nice private deck and all the aminities inside.  Good job B&R!

We went down to the ocean and got just a little wet.

We had drinks and watched the sun set.  Yes, Bob was correct in his post.  Four out of five of us saw the green flash as the sun set.  The person posting to this blog at this moment missed it!

Rox made a wonderful dinner which we throughly enjoyed.  

We had a real nice time with these two lovely people.

On Sunday, after coffee and rolls with Bob and Rox, we headed to Cuenca.  It was overcast the whole way and it was foggy the whole way over the Cajas. 

I think it was sometime during this drive that Mary said, "I think I will fly back to Guayaquil to go home."  

Nancy (and Chuck and Mary)

PS:  Mary will be at California Kitchen this Friday (Jan. 27) for lunch and all afternoon.  approx. 1-5pm.  She really wants to meet the bloggers and also wants to meet people who read her posts.  

Friday, January 20, 2012

She's Here!!!

Dear Family and Friends,

Mary arrived yesterday right on schedule.  She was happy to be in Ecuador!!

We are now in Salinas enjoying the beach.

Steve, this picture is for you!

Nancy and Chuck

Monday, January 16, 2012

Weekend in Loja

Dear Family and Friends,

We have just returned from a fun trip to Loja with Rich and Nancy and Howard and Barbara.  Chuck and I were going to go to Loja last week, but when we learned that these guys were going over the weekend we changed our plans so we could all go together.

We drove down on Friday.  We spent Saturday together in Loja and on Sunday our friends went to Vilcabamba while Chuck and I headed to Zamora.

Here are some pictures of Loja we took on Saturday.

Nancy looking at ceramics at the showroom.  This is a must stop place on every trip we make to Loja.

We visited the arboretum.  Here is everyone enjoying the beautiful walk.

This is the church in the main plaza.

And the San Sebastian church at Plaza de Independencia.

Check out Rich's and Nancy's blog for more pictures.

Chuck has been wanting to go to Zamora for some time.  So since we have already been to Vilcabamba several times, we decided to go to Zamora on Sunday.  Zamora is east of Loja, about an hour and a half drive.  We did not know what to expect except we knew it was much lower and getting into the jungle.

The drive to Zamora was spectacular.

We went through a national forest with beautiful waterfalls.

We stopped outside of Zamora to take this picture.  They have a huge clock built into the side of the mountain.  The surprising thing is that it works and even chimes on the hour.

This is an interesting statue we discovered.  We don't know the significance, but it is very interesting.  She is holding up a rolled document in one hand and has a broken chain dangling from her other hand.

We enjoyed walking through the bustling Sunday market.

Chuck found a plant that he has not seen in Cuenca so, of course, he had to have it.  Hope it survives in the Cuenca temperatures.

We found a really neat, outdoor restaurant to have lunch.

They had a Coca Cola bottle opener on the side of the counter.  It had a box to hold the bottle caps.  It has been ages since I have seen one of these.  Man, if I could put that thing up on eBay I bet it would bring a buck or two.  The funny thing is that they only served Pepsi.

We had fish for lunch.  It was fantastic.  What looks like french fries are actually fried plantains.  We were not in potato country anymore.

It started to rain so we headed back to Loja.

We stopped just outside of Loja to take a picture of the wonderful view.

We got back to Loja in time to meet everyone for dinner and share adventure stories.

Today we headed back to Cuenca, stopping in Saraguro on the way to do a little shopping.

Here are some cute pictures of Nancy and Barbara trying on a traditional style hat.

I'm not sure who was having more fun, Barbara or the sales lady.

We had a terrific weekend.  Thankful for such wonderful friends.

Chuck and I are excited about our upcoming trip to meet Mary, of South of Zero fame, at the airport in Guayaquil.  We leave early Thursday morning so we are sure to be at the airport when she comes in at noon.


Friday, January 6, 2012

Guess Who's Coming to Ecuador???

Dear Family and Friends,

We have been sitting on the most wonderful news for weeks.  There is a very special person coming to Ecuador about mid January.  If you read Ecuador blogs you already know her.  Mary Beckman of South of Zero is coming to Ecuador.

Chuck and I are very excited and want to get the word out.

We are driving to Guayaquil to meet her at the airport on January 19th.  From there we will go to Salinas and hope to visit with Nancy and Joe Levin and after a day or two we will drive up to visit Leigh in Olon, and then to visit Bob and Rox in Manglaralto, near Montanita.

We will arrive in Cuenca about the 23rd or 24th of January.  Mary will be in Cuenca about 12 days.

Mary will be staying with us during her visit here in Cuenca.  She wants to meet as many of you as possible.  If you have a blog that she promotes I am sure you will want to meet her too and let her know how much you appreciate all she has done for us.

We are going to have a get together of all the bloggers who live here in Cuenca.  The time and place has not been set.  If you have a blog and would like to be included please send me your email.  Our email is  This way I will have your email to let you know the details once we have them finalized.

Here is a picture of Chuck, Mary, me and Steve when we visited them in California.

Mary, we will see you in a couple of weeks.  Pack a light jacket for Cuenca and some shorts and bathing suit for the beach! 

Nancy and Chuck