Blogs from South, Ecuador, South America

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South America » Ecuador » South » Cuenca October 11th 2020

Greetings from Baños de Agua Santa, Tungurahua, Ecuador! As things are starting to open up, I've been getting out a bit more and seeing a few friends. I've continued to attend yoga classes faithfully three mornings a week. It has been SO important for me to have this time JUST for me. My body feels strong, my spine, hips and shoulders are virtually pain-free. The deep, rythmic breathing is an exercise that I carry into all aspects of daily life. My instructor was supposed to move back to Perú, but for me it's been a silver lining that Peruvian borders have remained closed. SO - she ended up staying in Ecuador two months longer than planned, for which I have benefitted greatly. Now it's definite - Adriana is leaving in two weeks and I am gearing ... read more
Eating Out!
Honey Cafe
Spring Roll Prep

South America » Ecuador » South » Cuenca March 1st 2020

I am certainly not going to buy a Panama Hat while in Cuenca, the home of the famous and wrongly attributed headgear. They are indeed lovely and we have been to the Panama Hat museum as well as the famous Hortega y Hijos shop where the best quality hats are sold for $5000 which isn't worth translating into pounds, it's just A LOT. Apparently, the hats were worn by the workers who were constructing the Panama Canal and the hat was then christened Panama Hat when actually it should be called a MonteChristi hat which is a small town near Cuenca. It takes one person 2 years to weave one of the top quality ones so it certainly does not need to be squashed into my rucksack for a month and we are told that it ... read more
At the Jazz Cafe Society of Ecuador....who does this remind you of, Paul Sheppard?
The worst bit of the "most terrifying walk"
Himself, recovering from the terrifying walk....it's a hard life..

South America » Ecuador » South » Vilcabamba July 19th 2019

Vilcabamba was strangely empty in mid-July. It felt like the whole town - the hostels, taxis, and even the trails - were waiting for more tourists to show to enjoy the dry season while other parts of the country were cold and wet. After reading about its growing popularity in old guide books and websites, I expected it to be peaking by 2019, but people I asked said that tourism has abated and land prices are actually dropping. That was fine by me, since we felt like we had the area to ourselves. Other than hiking the impressive and varied series of trails, most of which are strung together to include dirt roads and drainage ditches, there wasn't much else to do but try out the few restaurants that were actually open and watch the expats ... read more
Herder
Ridge
Goats in Tumianuma

South America » Ecuador » South » Cuenca July 12th 2019

Snapshots of Cuenca, one the most comfortable spots in South America (aside from the traffic, and assuming you're a tourist and not a Venezuelan refugee, which there are plenty of, many of them flashing their useless Venezuelan currency, which is a pretty effective way to evoke sympathy): *A weekday evening and Peggy and I stroll toward Parque San Sebastián. The faint melody of 'Barbie Girl' crescendos as we turn the corner to find dozens of locals aerobic dancing, led by instructors atop the church steps. We sit outside at the adjacent Jodoco Belgian Brew to watch. *Through the showcase window of Cafe Austria on a Sunday evening, a man urinates on the steel shutters of a storefront across the street. He's at it for awhile, his head tilting back in relief, but abruptly zips up and ... read more
Páramo of Parque Nacional Cajas
Death Trap Road
Cuenca City Center

South America » Ecuador » South » Vilcabamba April 1st 2019

Hello Blog Readers - thanks for being here! Some of you have been following my blog since I first began in 2006. Thanks, Madge, for insisting that I keep folks in the loop of my life in Ecuador. Here I am, twelve and a half years later with 145 published entries. I'm still at it...and you're still reading! To explain the title of this entry I need to tell you that the past month's activities and travels were overlaid on a backdrop of recovery from cataract surgery. There were complications and it's been a journey. My experiences during recuperation had me looking at the semantic and more esoteric connotations of the words SIGHT and VISION. Allow me to start by saying that, for my part, I am eternally grateful to the visionaries who had the foresight ... read more
Jessica and family
Exploring New Roads
My Sleeping Quarters

South America » Ecuador » South » Cuenca February 24th 2019

Our final stop in Ecuador. We were joined by fellow travellers and friends Marg and Ted for a week in the very charming small city of Cuenca. It was a pleasant change from the hustle of Quito. We walked everywhere we wanted to go and now seem to be acclimatized to the altitude. Cuenca has lots of ex-pats. 10 000 former US residents and plenty of Canadians. Those we met seem very happy here with the slow pace of life, very affordable cost of living and the mild year-round climate. Next stop, Lima Peru.... read more
Nice Airbnb
Touring Cuenca
Traditional dress

South America » Ecuador » South » Cuenca January 1st 2019

We decided to make an effort for Christmas this year, so have rented a nice, modern apartment in Cuenca for a month. This is the city that we hope to move to later this year, so we have been enjoying exploring the different neighbourhoods and experiencing some traditional Ecuadorian Christmas and New Year celebrations. For the first week in Cuenca we stayed in Tortuga at an overlander campground - well, driveway - run by a very welcoming Ecuadorian family. It's a tiny little place and can squeeze in about 4 small vehicles at a push, but Miryam and Richard were so kind and friendly that we felt at home right away, and I especially enjoyed befriending their sweet 9-year old daughter Romina. We were also able to meet up with our friends Jen and Kyle, the ... read more
Christmas Eve parade
Cute kids with a basket of roasted guinea pigs!
Free chicha!

South America » Ecuador » South » Vilcabamba November 28th 2018

One whole year in Tortuga...it hardly seems possible! Admittedly we have only travelled through 4 countries during this whole year, and one of those was the US, but that's beside the point. Moving so slowly has allowed us to get to know certain places really well, and evaluate their livability potential, instead of having to rush through them to stay on a faster and more distance-covering schedule. When we left Colorado last November we really didn't know what to expect. Would we survive Mexico, despite all the disconcerting security warnings? (well we're still alive!) How would it feel driving a relatively large vehicle through a bunch of developing countries? (ask Ken!) Would we really go through the hassle and expense of shipping Tortuga all the way down to South America? (yes!) And, most importantly, would we ... read more
Sunset at the house
Hiking with the lovely Roxy
Hiking to the Palto waterfall with Jen

South America » Ecuador » South » Vilcabamba October 6th 2018

Our last blog entry saw us in Quito, finishing off the sale of our Colorado home, which, we are pleased (and a little surprised) to report, went off without a hitch and officially made us homeless again! There was one moment of tension, when we were at the DHL office trying to send off the closing documents, which included the signed and notarized deed, to the title company in Colorado, and noticed that the employee assisting us had not entered the destination address in the correct US format, and had recorded the recipient's phone number without the area code on the mailing label. When I tactfully pointed this out, she assured me that that was the way it was always done in Ecuador. We went round and round this issue for a minute or two before ... read more
Ruminahui hike in Cotopaxi National Park
Baños central plaza
Roasted guinea pigs (cuy)

South America » Ecuador » South » Macas July 20th 2018

Have you ever lived in a place with candles, gas and headlights instead of electricity? Did you ever have to shake out your clothes before putting them on to make sure there is no scorpion sleeping inside? Did you ever have to wash dishes and clothes by hand in the river next door, brush your teeth, take a bath and drink this water there as well? Well, that’s basically the description of the living conditions in the Selva Vida project in Ecuador where I worked for 4 weeks as a volunteer. Living in the tropical rainforest - called Amazonas - in Ecuador was quite different from what I had imagined. What would you have imagined ? Little villages with people still dressed in traditional clothes, shamans, lots of exotic, wild and dangerous animals, dirty and dangerous ... read more
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