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Sunday, January 28, 2018

Clarke, Brenda and the Arizona Desert Museum

Dear Family and Friends,

A highlight of our trip was being able to see Clarke and Brenda again.  Clarke and Brenda live in Green Valley, about a 40 minute drive south of Tucson.  They lived in Cuenca for several years and moved back to the U.S. about 3 or 4 years ago.

Clarke had a blog about Cuenca life while they were in Cuenca and if you read it, you know what a fun loving guy he is.

They invited us for breakfast last week.  We had a wonderful visit and were so happy to see them so healthy and happy.

Picture of Clarke and Chuck

Clarke, Brenda and Chuck

Yesterday, we went to the Arizona Desert Museum with Audrey, Carol and her husband, Frank.

I am so glad this was on our "to do" list.  It is an amazing place. The museum is all about the flora and fauna of the desert. I was amazed by all the life that exists in such an arid place. 

Just look at these pictures:

saguaro cactus

cholla cactus, it looks like a it would be soft but those little needles are very stiff and sharp.

We visited the hummingbird aviary.  Such a wonderful exhibit.  A great chance to photograph these little critters up close.

costa's hummingbird

female black chinned hummingbird

another Costa's hummingbird

Frank, Audrey and Carol enjoying the aviary.

a beautiful agave 

The second aviary we went into housed other birds of the desert.  This is a female cardinal.

and this is a stellar's jay

I thought this guy was a statue at first because he was standing so still. This big horn sheep was enjoying the warm Arizona sunshine.

A new animal for me, this is a coati.

An early blooming cactus.

A walking trail through the cactus garden.

The raptor demonstration was fun to watch.  Here is a raven getting a bit of a treat from the handler.

A great horned owl

Sisters:  Audrey and Carol enjoying the show.

Here is a close up view of a cactus.  

This lady has a burrowing owl.

On the way home, Audrey took us on a drive over Gates Pass. 

An incredible view of the desert floor from Gates Pass.

We have had an incredible time with family and friends in Arizona.

Because of the magic of scheduling when you want your blog posts to publish, as you are reading this post, Chuck and I are en route to India.

I will take lots of pictures, but I am not taking a computer with me so I will have to wait for our return, in March, to share them.


Saturday, January 27, 2018

San Xavier del Bac Mission and Unexpected Fortune

Dear Family and Friends,

On another day we went to San Xavier del Bac Mission, an old Spanish mission, founded in 1692.

This is the view of the mission from the parking lot.

The interior of the church.  It is in the process of being restored and it is quite beautiful.

This is a side alter.  The virgin Mary is still in her Christmas clothing.

The frescos and architecture were awesome.

A wall surrounding the mission with a cactus garden.  I love the pink cactus.

Chuck, with his sister, Audrey outside the chapel.

Audrey and Jim live in a small community of retired folks.  Most are snowbirds but some, like Audrey and Jim, live here year round.

Quite often there are garage sales.  One morning, on the way to breakfast, we stopped at an especially large estate sale.  It was so crowded that we decided to have breakfast and return later.

Here are some of us getting ready for breakfast at a local restaurant.

When we returned to the estate sale, the crowd had thinned out.  We shopped around.  I found some miniatures of Amsterdam houses.  These are given to customers who fly first class on KLM.  They are quite small, only about a couple of inches tall.  I figured I would take them back to Cuenca.

When we returned home, I went on eBay and tried to figure out their value.  I had paid only $3.00 for all five pieces.

When I discovered the center piece had sold recently for $349.00, I decided to put the 5 houses on eBay and try to sell them.  If they didn't sell I would keep them as originally intended.

I listed them for $300.00.  Within 24 hours I sold them.  

Here is a picture from my computer screen of the ad.

I used to post things on eBay all the time when I lived in the USA.  I haven't posted anything in over 10 years.  

This was so much fun.

Next post I will share about our visit with Clarke and Brenda, and about a great adventure at the
Arizona Desert Museum.


Friday, January 26, 2018

Family in Tucson, Arizona

Dear Family and Friends,

Chuck and I are in Arizona with family.  I really meant to blog often from here, but GOSH, we have been so busy that I haven't had time.

We have been here almost two weeks.  We have been so busy that I can't get everything in just one posting.  I am going to have to divide our activities into multiple posts.

Last week we had a mini family reunion.  Chuck's siblings and their spouses congregated in Tucson for a week together.

Early on in the week we went to Madera canyon for a short hike and picnic.

Here is Carolyn, ready to start the hike.

On another day, we went to the Presido, the original fort of Tucson.

Chuck and his two sisters checking out an exhibit.

Larry, Chuck's brother, examining a replica of the original cannon.

Carol, Chuck's sister helping the tour guide show a oven.

One day Audrey took us to the top of "A" mountain.  We had an amazing view of the city of Tucson below us.

And, one evening, we went to another reunion.  This was a reunion of some of the folks we toured China with last year.  Of course, we all met at a local Chinese restaurant.

I will share more of our adventures in the next post.


Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Bags Packed for a New Adventure

Dear Family and Friends,

We have been in Cuenca for a good solid three months.  We were here for Cuenca's Independence Day, and the Christmas season, which is always a great time to be in Cuenca.

We had a wonderful visit with our daughter and grandson over Christmas and at the moment, our friends, Karen and Randy are staying with us, while they are here in Ecuador, closing out things for their hiatus back in the United States. 

We are leaving this Thursday morning, and will be traveling until the first week of March.

First, we are traveling to Tucson, Arizona to visit family.  In fact we will be participating in a small family reunion of Chuck's siblings and their spouses.  We also hope to meet up with some of our expat family, that now live in Arizona.  Clarke and Brenda, and Bruce and Charlie live nearby.

The first of February, Chuck and I are off on what is probably our most adventurous trip yet.  We are going to India for a month.  We (clarification: I) have been reluctant to tackle this country in the past.  We have heard great things and some pretty awful things about visiting in India.  We know that if we want to see India we need to see it now while we are healthy and mobile.

We are not brave enough to do this country on our own.  We booked two back to back tours through Gate 1 travel.  Gate 1 is the tour company we used for our trip to China.  The China trip turned out so great we decided to use them in India.  The first half of the month we will be touring northern India.  When that tour is over, since we are already in India, we will fly to southern India and tour there.

I will be taking my laptop as far as Arizona and will post to the blog while we are there.  My laptop will stay in Arizona while we are on our India trip, so I will have to wait until we return before I start posting pictures and the narratives.  

I can post some pictures to Instagram and Facebook from my tablet while we are traveling.

We are very excited as the first of our 2018 adventures is approaching.  

Here is Chuck tending the garden before we head out.

I offered to help, but he told me to stick to posting on the blog.