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October 3rd 2015
Published: October 16th 2015
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CiCi's BedCiCi's BedCiCi's Bed

All settled in with her toys (looks like the stuffed cow is nursing!) CiCi also has an outdoors bed (which she rarely uses) and an upstairs rug near my bedroom.
Once again I left Quito with a truckload of donations for the fund-raising garage sale. This time I also had special cargo in my truck -- my new doggie, CiCi. When Annie found her in the park in Tumbaco (valley below Quito) she named her Sweetie and had her vaccinated and spayed. When she realized that the shared courtyard of the house where she was living was not adequate for this active pup, Annie looked looked for a new home for her. I had decided that if I continued to wait for the perfect moment to adopt a dog, I'd never do it...so I took the leap and said Yes! Fortunately CiCi did really well on the 3 hr drive back to Banos -- she likes riding in the truck and after that first journey with only a small airline blanket draped over the back seat, I learned that I need to completely cover the whole thing with a bedsheet --Yep, CiCi's a shedder....big time. Guess I won't be wearing many dark colored clothes for at least the next decade! On long drives she nestles her head in the nook between the headrest and the window; so sweet!


Blue SkiesBlue SkiesBlue Skies

Shortly after CiCi came home with me we had a picture perfect day for our first big walk!



CiCi settled in quickly at my house in Banos. She immediately discovered the "pacunga" bushes in my back orchard. This delightful plant leaves her wavy, wiry fur completely studded with tiny, prickly stickers. Fortunately, CiCi loves to be brushed and combed, so at least once daily we have a grooming session on the front stoop. CiCi tracks everything into the house - and I've all but given up on keeping her paws clean. She's a curious pup, into everything and everything she gets into sticks to her -- yep! she's a velcro pup! Daily I discover tumbleweeds of dog fur, punctuated with sticker needles all over my house. I used to have my cleaning gal come once every two weeks -- now it's once a week --at $10 a visit, I can manage! I've been trying to eat more fruits and vegetables, so it's a good sign when my compost bucket is full every time she comes to clean!





I no longer live alone! On my nighttime forays to the bathroom I'm careful to dodge rawhide bones, dog toys and once (only once) a puddle of dog puke. She's never had a bathroom
Juive ChicoJuive ChicoJuive Chico

This is the village where I live (5 km from Banos). My house is hidden behind the huge avocado trees, just beside the church.
accident and if I close all the bedroom doors I can leave her alone in the house...I try to only do this if she's already had a big walk or a raucous play session. When I discovered that she likes to rip up toilet paper I realized that the bathroom doors must stay closed too! After she nibbled on the edges of a coffee table book in the living room, I put that away in the guest bedroom. My house is now puppy-proofed (I hope!). CiCi is almost 15 months old, so she probably won't grow larger -- but who knows how long the puppy behaviors will continue?!





CiCi has made lots of friends in the neighborhood and she invites them over to play in our beautiful garden. Her favorite play pal is a short-haired girl with coloring much like her. I don't know this dog's name so I call her Vecina (neighbor) or Veci for short. Veci often sidles up to me and wants to be petted, but CiCi gets jealous and chases her off! The two of them run and jump and play and tussle for hours on the lawn. Sometimes another dog
The Best Walk Ever!The Best Walk Ever!The Best Walk Ever!

C'mon mom! Let's keep going!! CiCi loves this dirt road, right in my neighborhood. Alas, there are plans to pave it which will mean more and faster traffic!
(or two or three) comes along to the gathering, but when they see me they slip thru the hole in the bushes and disappear.





In CiCi's downstairs bed (she also has an upstairs rug and an outdoors rug) she has a stuffed cow (that I bought as a gift for a friend's baby, but then realized that the glued-on eyes were probably a choking hazard). CiCi promptly gave her cow an "eye-ectomy" and over the past few weeks she's been slowly, each day performing brain surgery, pulling bits of fluff out of the cow's head thru the eye-holes. It's amazing how much stuffing is in there -- days of de-stuffing the head is still only partially deflated. When I give her a new rawhide bone she often dashes outside and buries it -- I guess that makes it taste better! More than once a neighbor dog has made off with her bone (argh! at 50 cents each I can't supply the whole neighborhood!) so we do our best to keep the chew toys inside the house.



When Shana and I are going to play a Scrabble marathon I bring CiCi along to
CiCi & VeciCiCi & VeciCiCi & Veci

The neighbor dog comes over to play almost every day. They have such fun together. I don't know her name so I call her "vecina" (neighbor) or Veci for short.
play in her back yard with the LuLus. One rainy day she finished up covered with mud...it was time for her first bath with me. I filled a bucket with warm water and gave her a bucket bath in the downstairs shower. She didn't struggle too much -- seemed to enjoy the rubdown. We take long walks in the neighborhood & she just loves to take off running as fast as she can, back and forth on the straighaways, checking in with me en route. One morning after a damp night she finished the walk just coated with mud splatter. OY! A damp towel-down is a good workout for me!



I was doing so well eating more healthily and exercising regularly with almost daily dog walks of 30-45 minutes. Then it happened.... my FREAKY FOOT ACCIDENT! (spoiler alert - I've been told my medical descriptions can get a bit graphic & long-winded, so be forewarned) On Fri Sept 25th I got home from the hot baths and saw something in the garden path. Without thinking I kicked it aside (wearing flip-flops). It punctured the side of my foot, right at the level of the big toe joint
Playing in the front yardPlaying in the front yardPlaying in the front yard

with CiCi and my guests from the coast. This photo gives an idea of how big my front garden is and the mountains surrounding the village where I live.
and dark blood (almost black) began to ooze forth. Looking more closely I realized I'd kicked an old, crumbly bone, apparently the jawbone of a horse or donkey that had been buried for who knows how long in my garden (evidently CiCi had dug it up and been playing with it). I immediately ran upstairs, poured hydrogen peroxide over the wound, slathered on antibiotic ointment and covered it with sterile gauze.



The next morning Rebecca and I did our weekly work-out walk at Parque de la Familia. It's an uphill path with views of the hydro-electric dam from the top. Since the path is set with paving stones it's a good place for her to bring the stroller so 1 yr old Lexie comes along. By the end of the walk, my foot was throbbing and when I got home and took off the bandage a big part of my foot was now red and swollen. For the following day I had been hired to drive an American family down to Puyo, on the edge of the Amazon Basin. Hot pain kept me awake most of the night, so at 6:30 am I drove to the public
Where the Sidewalk EndsWhere the Sidewalk EndsWhere the Sidewalk Ends

A wonderful day with the Poppe family from Austin TX. What fun to share the adventure of their first visit to the Amazon Basin. Here the Pastaza River widens out.
emergency clinic where a paramedic (only one on duty for the night shift) gave me a tetanus shot, washed the wound thoroughly & bandaged it again.





Had a great day with the Poppe family (see photos). Fun to see it all thru their three kids' eyes (ages 6, 9 & 11). I tried to hang back and do as little walking as possible. I did take them around the Puyo market, full of exotic fruits and indigenous handicrafts, but sat out the tour of the ethnobotanical museum. By evening time driving became more uncomfortable, a burning pain coursing up the side of my foot each time I had to shift gears.





So, the next day found me back at the clinic where I met the amazing nurse Azucena (Spanish for Lily). When she removed the gauze the wound was fully infected and she irrigated liberally while squeezing out pus. As if that weren't painful enough, she then poked and prodded with a sterile, but blunt instrument (no anesthetic). I was screaming and crying and writhing in agony, much to the horror of all present - both the medical personnel &
Sunday Market in PuyoSunday Market in PuyoSunday Market in Puyo

Puyo is located on the edge of the Amazon basin, about an hour east and 1000 meters (3,000 ft) lower than Banos, where I live. Fascinating market; a crossroads for the rural indigenous of the jungle.
the other patients. I guess the cultural tendency is to choke back emotional outbursts, even when in pain. I begged her to use a needle and so she did, finally successfully extracting two small "crumbs" of the crumbly jawbone. She prescribed a week of antibiotic capsules and she even went over to the pharmacy to get them for me so I wouldn't have to walk on my tender wound. The nurse suggested that I change the dressing daily and check back in 2-3 days.





I did go back (Shana came with me this time) and we both remarked at how much better it looked. One of the other nurses said they were all doubtful I'd be back for more torture! Azucena suggested that while I was at home to try to leave the bandage off so it could start to heal over. The puncture wound healed in a few days, but I continued to have a burning pain when driving (that big toe screamed with every clutch press) and the side of my foot sported a dark grey/deep purple swath of skin. So ten days after the initial bone-kickin' fiasco I went to the private
Yummy Palm GrubsYummy Palm GrubsYummy Palm Grubs

Six year old David looks intrigued by this new food group. These fat slugs are skewered and grilled, sizzling fat as they cook. I will try them someday (folks say they taste like shrimp).
clinic in town where the docs (a Russian woman & her Ecuadorian husband) confirmed that the color of my foot looked really bad. Dra Irina suggested that I sleep with fresh aloe leaf applied to the wound and soak my foot in warm salt water. The second day of doing this when I changed my dressing I noticed a whitish ring around the scab that had formed and when I pressed gently a splinter of bone popped out - the size of a small clipping from a pinky nail. Wow! That surprised me!





Though my foot felt a lot better, I still had discomfort driving, couldn't wear closed shoes and the color hadn't improved much so I made the 1/2 hr drive to the imaging center in Pelileo where I was prescribed an x-ray to see if there really was still something in there. The radiologist saw nothing on the x-ray but on a high resolution sonagram he spotted a 2 mm splinter about 1/4" from the initial wound. The doc in Banos cut my foot open and dug around for over an hour, but couldn't find the splinter. He sewed me with only two
Posing with AbuelaPosing with AbuelaPosing with Abuela

This Kichwa grandma was as interested in learning about us as we were about her. Fabulous traditional dress.
stitches, leaving a gap for the foreign body to (hopefully) leave my body with the wound's secretions. Another round of antibiotics, this time a stronger one - I'm now on day #3 (and diarrhea has set in, right on cue). The biggest bummer has been not being able to swim or take big dog walks -- a full three weeks! (Jill is frowning)





During this past month I've have two visits from Beatriz, my adopted sister who lives in the fishing village of Salango, near Puerto Lopez on the Manabi coast. She came up right after I returned from the US to pick up a classroom projector that I ordered while in the states and brought back for her. She came with another teacher friend, Martita. I had not yet hurt my foot then so we had a super-active sight-seeing day, hiking waterfalls and ravines. They arrived Sat 6 am, having taken the night bus from the coast and then had to leave that same night to get back and rest up for school on Mon. We packed a lot of fun into those 15 hours they were with me!




Martita & BeatrizMartita & BeatrizMartita & Beatriz

These gals traveled 10 hours each way by bus up from the coast to spend 15 hours in Banos with me. Both are teachers so they had only the weekend to visit.

A few weeks later Beatriz phoned me on a Wed night to tell me she'd just found out that there would be no school on Fri or Sat and, not wanting to waste the long weekend asked if she could come with her cousin. By now I was struggling with foot woes, but I told her OK, come visit. I drove to the terminal at 6 am to meet their bus (which didn't arrive until 7:00) and she troops off the bus with her cousin, as well as her uncle and her niece. I'm afraid I wasn't terribly cordial about receiving four (4!) guests at short notice. Local culture say that where 3 can eat, 5 can eat...but I didn't hide my displeasure at not being warned. They stayed 3 days (!) and practically ate me out of house and home. Although they did buy a few things to eat while here, they polished off all my bread, cheese, eggs, salt, sugar and oil, not to mention the dozens of tangerines & avocados they picked from my orchard.





During their stay my foot was in the process of re-infecting and I really shouldn't have been
Devil's Cauldron FallsDevil's Cauldron FallsDevil's Cauldron Falls

My adopted sister, Beatriz (visiting from the coast) was not too thrilled about this hanging bridge at La Cascada Pailon del Diablo. She overcame her fears!
driving (that clutch pedal stress on the left big toe) but I live a good 4 miles out of town and they would have been stranded at my house. We went to the steam box spa, drove down the avenue of the waterfalls, and up to the swing at the end of the world. It was a holiday weekend (celebrating the independence of Guayaquil) so the town was packed. Even though I told them that I didn't want to drive my big truck thru downtown traffic, of course they needed to go to the bank and buy this and that. I was in pain, I felt like my space was invaded and I was angry with myself for obligating myself to take them around when I really didn't feel up to it. All in all it was not a very pleasant visit from my end, and I'm afraid I didn't hide my feelings too well. Scroll down to the very bottom to see four more pix of our touristy jaunts together.





The last photo shows the piece of land I'm working on buying. The sellers are friends, so I've insisted that everything be documented to
Four VisitorsFour VisitorsFour Visitors

Got a last minute call from Beatriz that she had a few days off school and could she come visit with her cousin -- well, she also brought her uncle and her niece!
the letter of the law - I don't want a business transaction to get in the way of our friendship. We've been talking about my buying this land for almost 4 years now -- they've gone back and forth about wanting to sell it, but in the end have decided that it's the wise thing to do since they live NW of Quito, about 5 hours from here and are visiting less and less. They already sold the trout farm beside it and have sliced off a corner for the uphill neighbor Lucho, so at this point I am waiting for them to get their ducks in a row and all the paperwork in order to show the divisions of the property. We've also been waiting on an access road which will be shared by me and Hugo (new owner of the trout farm). We have a verbal agreement on the price, but there's no hurry on my part...I can't even touch my $$ until Feb (fixed term policy whose 7.5% interest currently pays my monthly expenses!) So, stay tuned for more info on the land purchase!





This Saturday it will be a massive Garage
my landmy landmy land

Here I am on the land I'm hoping to buy in the coming months. It's a hilltop plateau surrounded by mountains with rivers running on two sides.
Sale -- we've been busy sorting, boxing, folding, pricing, preparing! On any given day there have been 5-7 people helping us get ready. It's a big community event and an outstanding fund-raiser for our volunteer children's library...the last sale netted over $1000 less than 3 hours of sales! It's a lot of work, but very enjoyable as well! Thanks for reading my ramblings. Drop me a message if you've made it this far -- I do love hearing from my loyal blog readers!!


Additional photos below
Photos: 18, Displayed: 18


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Steam Box TreatmentSteam Box Treatment
Steam Box Treatment

Our fun spa day, relaxing in the Banos de Cajon. Each person controls the steam in their own box and then we are splashed and sprayed with cold water.
Fondue!Fondue!
Fondue!

A new taste treat for my friends from the coast. We ate like kinds at Swiss Bistro's Finca de la Vaca in Cumanda, half-way down to the Amazon Basin.
My Boa BuddyMy Boa Buddy
My Boa Buddy

At Rio Verde, 25 minutes east of Banos on the road down to the Amazon. The guy charged $1 to pose with his snake!
with my adopted family...with my adopted family...
with my adopted family...

...at the grotto of the Virgen de Agua Santa, the sacred waters at the base of the falls in Banos.


16th October 2015

happy dog days
Hi Jill Cici is beautiful. How lovely for you to have her. Sorry to hear about your foot. Hope it heals up soon.
17th October 2015

Yea for you and Cici!
Happy for your new dog and you, Jill. So sorry to hear about the foot. Say hi to Shana for Marion and me. We plan to come to Ecuador Jan and/or Feb., but will prob not make it to Banos, since we're planning on working on renting the Playa Escondida house more and more. Hope the land purchase goes well too. If you get near Playa Esc. Jan or Feb. (or Shana does) be sure to let us know. Love to you and Shana.
20th October 2015

Cute dog!
So glad you have a new dog in your life! She is such a cutie! (And don't get me started on that property. It is beautiful....can't wait to hear what happens with that....)
4th November 2015

new dog & sore foot
Jill, I was horrified to hear about your foot. Hopefully it is now all better. I hope you are enjoying your new pet & having more amazing adventures.

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