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Monday, September 17, 2012

The New Round About is Finished - Time to Celebrate

Dear Family and Friends,

We read in the newspaper that the new round about was going to be opened today.  A celebration took place this afternoon starting at 6:00pm.  The work is done and it was completed 2 months ahead of schedule!  A tremendous effort with wonderful results!! We are all happy that the traffic will now flow better.

Chuck and I walked down to see what the celebration would be like.

There was music and folklore dancing.  The dancers were televised on a big screen so everyone could see them.

There were a lot of people enjoying the festivities.

There were banners hanging from a nearby building thanking our president for leading Ecuador in the right direction...providing the infrastructure necessary for this wonderful country.

The military band was standing by waiting their turn.

Here are some of the beautiful plants that beautify the new round about.

This round about is just one of many improvements coming to Cuenca.  Things are really looking up regarding traffic control.  The next big project is the light rail which will keep the bus traffic down in the city center.  There was someone handing out these cards to children.  When it is punched out and folded it makes a model of the new light rail cars.

Speaking of traffic control, I thought it was fitting that these bikers came as a group.

I especially like the sign on this bike......"one less automobile."  I understand there will be bike lanes in Cuenca soon.

The last opportunity to walk through the underpass was tonight.  Starting tomorrow it will not be possible because of all the car traffic.  Chuck, and friends decided to stroll the underpass....just to say "I did it."

The arrow is pointing to Bill Keyes, Chuck and our neighbors Bea and Bob.

 Here is a close up of the happy pedestrians.

All in all, it was a fun evening.  We left fairly early.  As I am writing this post, we can hear fireworks going off down at the round about.  Starting tomorrow that intersection will never be the same.


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Freshest Milk Available

Dear Family and Friends,

While Norman and Nancy were here visiting us from Dallas, we took them to the Fieria Libre market on the busiest market day.

Among all the things for sell at the market, and believe me, there is almost anything for sale you can imagine; we happened upon the goat milk vender.

Goat milk is sold by the plastic cup.  Fresh goat milk right from the source.

Norman photographed the process of buying and drinking the milk.  Actually it wasn't bad, I would have preferred it a little colder....but the milk itself is good.  I don't think Norman tried it, but I think Nan took a sip.

Many people down here buy it by the cup and have their children drink it.

Thanks Norm for mailing me the pictures.


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Day Trip to Paute

Dear Family and Friends,

Chuck and I went to Paute yesterday.  It is located about an hours drive from Cuenca.  It is lower and warmer there as a rule.  A great place for growing flowers....which they do in the Paute river valley.  Flowers for export.

Chuck loves going to the nurseries in Paute to buy plants.  He never knows which plants will thrive in the Cuenca climate, but he is always buying and trying....some do well, others bite the dust.

The mission of this trip was to stop at every nursery in Paute.  We stopped and shopped at each one.  Chuck bought plants and pots.

While in Paute, we went to Corvel Restaurant for lunch.  Although the downstairs backyard tables were closed for seating, Chuck and I set outside above and enjoyed the view.  They have so many outside decorations that it takes time to actually see them all.

The relaxing lunch was delicious, as usual.

As we started back to Cuenca, Chuck decided to take a back road.  In all our trips to Paute we had always taken the main highway along the river. For all of you who know Chuck, going the back road is his preferred route.

The back road did not follow the river, it went up into the Andes.  Yesterday was gorgeous and the perfect day for this road adventure. 

The views from the top were absolutely fantastic.   

We started back down to Cuenca after we passed the small community of San Cristabol.  Below is the San Cristabol church. 

We are really enjoying the sunshine these days. 


Friday, September 7, 2012

Passing on some Excellent Information

Dear Family and Friends,

Today I am passing along very important information from my friend, Nancy Levin.  Nancy and her husband, Joe, live on the coast of Ecuador. 

When I asked her if I could link to her post she graciously said "yes"

"It was a labor of love, so many folks come here and have no idea how things are done in Ecuador. I myself was not prepared when we moved from the US for all the differences in culture and I wished back then that there were more blogs like ours out there to make the transition easier. Today there are so many folks writing about their experiences it is a vast database of personal knowledge to gain confidence in moving to Ecuador, before it was very limited."

I agree Nancy, there is a wealth of information online to help newcomers to Ecuador.   Thank you for being one of those excellent resources.

Read this valuable link Important Information  if you are planning a visit to Ecuador.

Have a great weekend.


Saturday, September 1, 2012

Enjoying Ecuador with Norman and Nan

Dear Family and Friends,

My brother, Norman, and his wife, Nancy are here visiting with us in Cuenca.  Unfortunately for us their stay is only one week long.  There is so much to see and do that we had to pick and choose what to share with them.

Although the weather has been cloudy and cold almost every day they have been here, Norman said he thought it felt great.  They left 100 degree weather in Dallas. 

One day last week we decided to go warmer weather.  We drove down to Paute to have lunch.  We then drove to Chordeleg so Nancy and I could shop for jewelry.  After shopping we drove on to Sigsig, where the world famous Panama hats are made.

Here are Norman and Nancy in the courtyard at Uzhupud.  

Nancy and I both bought a little bit of jewelry on Chordeleg before going to what I think was the highlight of the day.  The hat factory in Sigsig.

They had just dyed some straw and had it out drying. 

The straw dyes so nicely and the hats made from them are very colorful.

Here are some ladies working on some hats in the factory courtyard.

The factory (I use the term loosely) is not a factory as you would imagine.  Most of the work is done by hand.  All the hats are woven by hand and very few machines are used to finish them off as you can see.

This lady is ironing the brims of the hats.

This lady is sewing hat bands for the hats.

Hats stacked up waiting their turn.

Again, ladies in the courtyard working.

Some colorful hand baskets that are also woven there.

Norman, Nancy and Chuck all bought new hats there.

Here is Nancy in her hat.  The hat goes so well with her beautiful blue eyes.  Sorry that the  photographer did not get her in focus.

And here is Norman sporting a more traditional Panama hat.

We have had a great time with them.  Today we went for barbecue at Joe's Secret Garden.  We also tried the new Swiss restaurant and had lunch at San Sabas.  Tomorrow we will have brunch at the California Kitchen.

Monday night is Texas Hold'em and Tuesday we go to the Rotary market.  In between the eating and touring we have played cards almost every day.  It is so nice having family here.

One last picture.  Here is Norman checking out the vegetables at the Coopera.