Blogs from Ecuador, South America

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South America » Ecuador » Centre » Baños April 3rd 2021

Even during a pandemic I managed to enjoy my bday! The day before (which is always Valentine's Day) fell on a Sunday so I arranged for an outdoor luncheon with 10 friends. The best restaurant in Baños, Swiss Bistro, had just re-opened in their new location -- the gardens of a lovely hotel (Ali Samay) - centrally located but not well-known (they mostly work with tour groups). I wanted to help the owner (my dear friend Patrick) jump-start his new and improved dining experience by re-introducing our gringo group to this formerly favorite establishment. A couple of the attendees didn't feel comfortable dining at the same table with so many others, so we arranged for a separate table for them a few meters away from the group. It was a bright, sunny day as we gathered ... read more
Scary Caves!!
My Fave Family!
Fly Niton

South America » Ecuador » Centre » Baños February 7th 2021

Hola loyal blog readers! Let me begin this entry with a WARNING - the following includes a slightly graphic description of a medical procedure. If that kind of thing makes your stomach lurch, skip down to the 4th paragraph. (haha, now you're all curious and will surely read right from the start) In early December when I returned to Ecuador from the US, I planned to stay in Quito for a few days to deliver some of the things I'd brought for my friends and also to have a colonoscopy. (oh joy!) Since I was diagnosed with Crohn's disease 20 years ago, I'm supposed to have my colon scoped every three years...and I think it's been at least five since my last test (but who's counting?). I stayed with my 92 year old friend Margarita that ... read more
Up in the Clouds
Vibrant Hydrangeas
Baños from Above

South America » Ecuador » North » Quito January 6th 2021

Poet, novelist, and travel writer William Graham holds a BA and MA in English and a MS in Communication from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. He lives in Stowe, Vermont. Many of his books are also available on Audible.com. His latest novel is url=https://www.amazon.com/Portland-Noir-Maine-Murder-Mysteries/dp/B08MSLXMN2/ref=sr_1_2?crid=W50AA0CGTCD4&dchild=1&keywords=portland+noir+maine&qid=1609951356&sprefix=portland+noir%2Caps%2C172&sr=8-2Portland Noir, the fourth and final installment in his Maine Murder Mysteries series. It was early: six-thirty in the morning, dawn on the equator in the country of Ecuador. The sun, however, had yet to make a dent in the thick cloud cover in the Ecuadorian cloud forest at the 2,000-acre preserve of the Bellavista Cloud Forest Lodge, situated at 7,000 feet above sea level and about a two-and-a half-hour rugged drive north o... read more
Old Town of Quito
Ice and Snow Covered Summit of Cotopaxi Volcano
Dense Cloud Forest

South America » Ecuador » Centre » Baños November 13th 2020

November began with a delightful visit from dear friends, Nancy and Chuck. They are an older American couple who live in Cuenca and I got to know them well during my many visits to collect donations for the BIB Bazar secondhand shop. Always generous with their home, their time, their donations. Chuck went to pick up garage sale leftovers and stored them, helped me pack the truck up, and they've always opened their home to me. When Nancy was getting ready to redecorate their guest room, she asked me which fabrics she should consider for the curtains in "my room." Nancy and Chuck are avid travellers and take several long cruises each year. Quarantine hit them especially hard but once things began to open a bit they set off adventuring within Ecuador, getting to know the ... read more
I Survived the Hanging Bridge
At the Base of the Waterfall
Double Birthday Joy!

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 » Centre » Baños August 5th 2020

As we complete our fifth month of quarantine I find that I am more reflective...looking inward, focusing on details. During my daily walks up the hill with CiCi, I notice each new bloom and there are bazillions of wildflowers and fascinating plants. Awed by and grateful for the ever-evolving natural world around me. My little lemon tree is producing prodigiously (I once counted over 70 lemons!) and I closely observe each blossom (future lemons!). This crop of lemons is taking awhile to get fully yellow but they are huge and juicy, sweet and luscious. I only need to squeeze 3 lemons to make a pitcher of lemonade...no sugar required! I'm told that they are Meyer lemons, the best of the best according to the locals. It is a joy to be able to gift 6 or ... read more
Lemons, present and future
Snowy Summit
Grey & Cloudy

South America » Ecuador July 20th 2020

JOHNNY'S JOURNEYS: ECUADOR 2019 June 7, 2019 (Friday) Before our trip, I researched this South American country for many months. My favorite summary of the people was this. “Ecuadorians are strange and unique beings; they sleep peacefully surrounded by roaring volcanoes; they live poor among incomparable riches; and they become happy listening to sad music.” Can't wait to meet these fine folks. Janet, Bethany and I have stayed at a hotel, not far from the Pensacola, FL airport. My daughter and I say our good-byes to Janet, for she will be returning home. We check in at the American Airlines desk and we anticipate a wonderful week ahead. Settling into our seats, we are visited by three therapy dogs. We got to pet each one and I thought how soft their fur was. They even left ... read more

South America » Ecuador » Centre » Baños May 24th 2020

Quarantine, coming from the Italian word quaranta (40) is Cuarentena in Spanish cuarenta (40) but here in Ecuador we’ve been in isolation for twice that amount of time with daily 2 pm to 5 am curfews, permission to drive a vehicle only one day a week (based on the last number of the license plate), and requirement to wear a mask in public and disposable gloves in the grocery store. There are road blocks at either end of town and provincial borders are closed around the country, allowing only food supply vehicles to cross. As of this writing all domestic and international flights are grounded. Those arriving on humanitarian repatriation flights undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine at a government approved hotel. My friends who just got back to Quito were not even given a key to ... read more
Daily Scrabble Joy!
After the rain...
The Healing Power of Nature

South America » Ecuador » Centre » Baños April 2nd 2020

Well, this blog entry begins with sharing joy and friendship and ends in the place where we all find ourselves, hunkering down in quarantine, sheltering with loved ones in our homes as we watch and hope and pray the global virus will pass over us and begin to dissipate worldwide. Here in Ecuador we started a government-enforced quarantine on March 16th and it has gotten steadily more restrictive. More than two weeks in and no cases of the virus in my town of Baños. The major road in and out of town has been blocked off. Foreigners who chose not to ride out the quarantine here have been repatriated to their home countries. The streets have all been sprayed down with water & chlorine. Nationwide the curfew is now 2:00 pm to 5:00 am with strictly ... read more
Ceiling Installation
Finished Ceiling
Bamboo Blinds

South America » Ecuador » East » Tena March 17th 2020

Since arriving back from the Galapagos we seem to have been running to keep ahead of the coronavirus problem and the inevitable but gradual closure of the infrastructure in Ecuador and world-wide. We headed straight for Tena, the white water capital of Ecuador and Pete spent two happy days reliving the days of “Lowe, Lowe and Lowe”. Some of you may not know this, but in his youth, Pete together with fearless dad Rowland and crazy fearless brother Geoff formed the sole all family competitive slalom kayaking team of the nation for a time in the 1970s. It seems unnecessarily churlish to establish a husband and wife team that might outshine the family trio so I graciously stepped aside and Pete went down the Grade 3+ rapids alone once I had given him a considerable amount ... read more
The happy chap himself
In action!
The road near the landslip




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