Blogs from Ecuador, South America


South America » Ecuador » West » Puerto López September 24th 2023

It's been a relatively hectic two months, mostly because I've been teaching a lot. Two afternoons a week I teach English classes in my dining room (nine students in their 20's and 30's), Two more afternoons are the Spanish conversation class (a group of expats who have lived in Ecuador anywhere between one and twelve years, ages 32 - 75). Scroll to all the way to the end to see pics of these two groups of learners. I've been teaching more steadily during the past six months. Aside from some much-needed income, it also provides some rhythm to my otherwise leisurely existence. Although I prefer teaching in person, I still have two online students on Sunday mornings! I still schedule half- to full-day Scrabble dates with Shana two or three times a week. I enjoy preparing ... read more
Farewell Bonez
CiCi Saying Good-Bye
Tacos by Gabo

South America » Ecuador » North » Quito August 9th 2023

We had a lazy morning because here in Quito, depending on the last number on your license plate, you might not be able to drive from 6-9 or 4-8. The car Ellen is driving had the last number for today. After the restrictions lifted for us, we headed to the downtown market. Oh my, the traffic was the worst I’ve ever been in. We finally arrived. The market had a ton of small stores. We each found a few items. We couldn’t get much because our suitcases are stuffed from previous items we’ve purchased. We then headed to the mall for a late lunch. You say, the mall? It’s not like our mall’s food court. Yes, there is a food court like ours, but there also some killer restaurants. We would have loved to have eaten ... read more

South America » Ecuador » North » Quito August 8th 2023

We left early for Tuesday’s adventure. Esteban got permission to let us visit where he works. Where he works it is very difficult to get in so we felt very special. He has a Bachelor degree in agriculture and a masters in business. He started this job 3 months ago. Previously he worked for farms that only grew roses. In his new position he is in charge of innovation and finding and testing new varieties of flowers. His specialization is in collection and testing of the new varieties. The farm we are visiting today is the largest flower farm in Ecuador and is 97 hectors. There are 400 employees at this farm and they grow a variety of flowers like calla lilies, rice flowers, eringyum, lisianthus, and much more. This farm has around 200 greenhouses and ... read more

South America » Ecuador » North » Quito August 7th 2023

Monday’s adventure was to the Middle of the Earth. It was not too far outside of Quito. The Middle of the Earth is where is 1736, the French sent a team of scientists to determine the location of the equator and prove that the planet bulged at the equator. They choose Ecuador because of its altitude and temperature. The government built the current monument in the late 1979 and it was completed in 1982. When more instruments, GPS, were used the location turned out to be 790 feet to the North. The monument is several stories high and has a globe on top that shows the equator line. Leading up to the monument, there are statues of the men that helped determine the approximate location. We took many pictures and went up to the observation deck. ... read more

South America » Ecuador » North » Mindo August 6th 2023

Sunday’s adventure was to Mariposas de Mindo. It is a park where they grow and release butterflies that are native to the area. The drive is through curvy mountainous roads with dramatic scenery (these are tall mountains with steep inclines). Esteban was our driver and Ellen, Simone, Susan and I were the passengers. Esteban was an excellent driver. Even though we drive the mountains, we could not have driven like him. The vegetation and scenery changed during our drive. As we left Quito, we got into an area that was very arid and gets very little rain and you could see little vegetation. As we got closer to the middle of the world (more about that tomorrow), we saw more vegetation but this area contained a lot of ashfall from a nearby volcano. You could see ... read more

South America » Ecuador » North » Otavalo August 5th 2023

We started our journey around 10:30. We left in the car with Esteban, Ellen, Simone, Henry (Ellen’s dad), Susan and I. Ellen’s dad lives in the house. He has a separate suite off the upper-level terrace. Her dad is 89 and is in excellent health. Our first stop was to Ellen’s brother’s place. Simone was going to stay with them for the day. We got to meet her brother and her niece. The 5 of us then took off to the markets in Otavalo. The traffic was slow but the drive there was beautiful. Otavalo is about 1.5 hours away but with the slow traffic and 3 stops it took us longer. The views during the drive were dramatic. Our first stop was for views at Mirador El Pisque. We saw a canyon and took pictures. ... read more

South America » Ecuador » North » Quito August 4th 2023

Thursday night Esteban brought home some flowers that the company he works for grows. We will tell you more about his job when hopefully we get to visit next week. The flowers are small and delicate and are only grown like this in Ecuador. They would lovely in a bouquet. Friday morning started out with shoe shopping. Before covid, Ellen used to have a shoe store in another part of her house. We found this new room when we went out on one of the terraces. She sold shoes by appointment only and served coffee and juices in a relaxed atmosphere. Clients could bring their kids and relax. During covid, she shut the business down. She still had some inventory so Susan and I went shoe shopping. Luckily, we have bigger feet than Ecuadorians so there ... read more

South America » Ecuador » North » Quito August 3rd 2023

After Ellen’s nice breakfast, we got to tour her business. She has a small business, called Laurelis, and makes food for some grocery stores and restaurants. It started out with Danish pickles but has expanded to many different foods and juices. She has 3 employees and the facility is located on the first floor of the house. It has been upgraded to full commercial standards and is continuing to grow. Some of the products are different kinds of pickles, pickled zucchini and jalapeno peppers. The company also makes many kinds of juices using local produce and some recipes are made by specific restaurants and she is not allowed to share them. We were very impressed. After short break she drove us to the food market. Oh my, where did they get all this fruit? I’ve never ... read more

South America » Ecuador » North » Quito August 2nd 2023

Susan and I have tried to do this trip twice before. The first time was in the fall of 2019. We were within a week of leaving when there was civil unrest and the government was temporarily moved out of Quito. We cancelled the trip and rebooked it for March 2020. Well, we all know what happened there and we had to cancel again. Luckily, we hadn’t attempted it because if we had, Ecuador and the US completely shut down and we would have been stuck here for months. So, this trip was our next shot. We were so nervous that something would happen again. We heard Cotopaxi was erupting. Oh no. We heard that the government was dissolved and there would be new elections in August. Oh no. Well, none of that has been a ... read more

South America » Ecuador » Centre » Baños July 7th 2023

Greetings from rainy Baños! July and August are the wettest months...after all, it's winter here now! Mostly it's been raining at night. There are new leaks in my master suite roof with every downpour! The add-on, it seems, didn't add on seamlessly to the existing structure...and they seem to keep popping up in new places all the time. When I awake in the night to hear interior drip-drip-dripping, it's often hard to fall back brain starts fuming. It doesn't even make sense to repair water damage of paint and plaster until I somehow get this resolved.T his week a worker is coming to 'silicon-ize' some problem areas. We shall see if there is any improvement. Shana and I continue to have lunch and play Scrabble at least 2-3 times a week. CiCi is always under ... read more
Delery & Charlotte in Orchid Paradise
My Musical Students
The Warusha Brothers

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