Thursday, December 25, 2014

Pretty Things

Hola!   I've had 2 children and they've grown up and gone off to college in the time that I last wrote an entry to my blog!!!   Just kidding, but it feels like it's been that long.

Since it's Christmas Day 2014, I have a lot of time on my hands to get things done that I've been procrastinating over.

And, since it's Christmas, I'm not gonna gripe about one single thing!!   It's all going to be pretty posies, kittens, smiles, laughter, puffy clouds, cheesecake, and not-a-damn-thing-wrong-in-the-world,!!

Since I last wrote, I bought a 'new' car and actually managed to sell my 'old' car in fairly quick fashion.   I wanted a slightly bigger car than what I had because I'm so often asked to drive people to different parts of the country along with their luggage and, too, I pick up all my guests from the airport, bus station, or van company and one never knows how many bags they are going to bring.  Plus (as if I need to justify any more) much of my driving is at high elevation with lots of climbing and curves, so I wanted a bit more power.  Not whiplash power, just torque to get up those hills while ascending to 13,000 feet which one must do every time one drives between here and Guayaquil.

Oh, what did I buy?   A 2007 Hyundai Terracan SUV, cuatro con cuatro (4x4) with a 2.9 diesel engine.  Part of my plan was to save a bit on fuel which this does nicely because diesel is only $1.03 a gallon here and diesels tend to get better fuel mileage overall than comparable gas engines.  Unlike 90% of the cars in Ecuador, it's an automatic.  Soon after I bought it, I took a drive up into the Cajas (mountains outside of Cuenca), to the summit at 13,000 feet and the engine never bogged down.   I was even able to accelerate and PASS others!  Woohoo!!!

I've been extremely busy managing the 5 short-term rentals I have as well as helping others transition to their new home in Cuenca by helping them find a home in the first place, where to buy furniture/appliances, connecting them with a handyman to make fixes/improvements, showing them around the Feria Libre (indigenous market), setting up utility accounts, getting a cell phone, etc etc etc, and generally answering a zillion emails asking everything between what language is spoken here and are farts a different color in Ecuador?

After my house robbery, I had very little clothes to wear and clothes for my height and size are hard to find here because Ecuadorians are generally much smaller.  For example, the ceiling for shoes is usually 10 or 10 1/2.   Size 11?   VERY hard to find unless you go to Payless Shoes but they are MORE expensive than the USA becuase they're imported.

So, I had an airline voucher that was about to expire.   I used it to pay my way to Miami for a clothes buying spree in such high-end stores like Tarzhay, Ross (cross dress for less), Burlington Coat Factory (though I didn't buy any coats), and Walmart (blech!!).

Let's see, what else.

Thanksgiving happened.   I went to a gathering at Joe's Secret Garden (or as I call it Joe's Secret G-Spot).  He has a large house in a beautiful garden setting.   Once a week, he stages a prix-fixe menu for 50 or so paying guests.   For Thanksgiving, it was deep-fried turkey, garlic mashed potatoes and much more, topped of with BOTH a slice of pumpkin and pecan pie.  YUMMY.

Here's a few photos.  Sorry for the dark exposure, my stupid camera requires me to pop up the flash for it to work, versus being automatic.   Thus, the dark photos.


Prints of people Joe has worked with.  Kitty Carlisle on the far left, Tammy Faye 3rd down.

The official 'greeter' in the bar.

Joes back yard.  Notice the size of the perfectly symetrical palm tree in relation to the chairs.

Joes grand piano which he will sometimes play for his guests, if he's not too busy back in the kitchen..

Large oil painting of TF in the library room where we were sat.

Our table in the library room.  I think there were 14 at our table.
FRIENDS!!!
Ohhhh.....I house-sat for 6 days and took care of FOUR big dogs there.  Ain't no way I could've handled including Gracie in with that mix (making a total of 5), so I drove home twice a day to feed her and my two feline kids.  I had to walk the 'gang of four' two at a time, or I would've been dragged face first down the streets.



Ok...it's pretty photo time.   Time for the posies, kittens, and all things cuddly.

Large ornaments hung at a Guayaquil mall.

Same mall, a Christmas tree filled with a youth choir singing typical Christmas songs in English.

I was shopping for large pots for the rooftop patio I was developing and saw these little cuties hanging out at the nursery.  See?  Told'ja there'd be kittens in this blog!!!!



A recently restored adobe building on the side of a typical plaza in El Centro.

On the same plaza, a re-creation of an Ecuadorian tradition.





View from the plaza.

Throughout the city, various organizations build a re-creation of the Nativity scene.  This one on Plaza San Francisco (where 3 of my short-term rentals are located).

Locals dancing around a maypole.

 A little village with farmers and their sheep, donkeys, and horses.

A snow scene.  Apparently it only snowed on one side of the Nativity scene.


Note to Ronnie.   For cripes sake, is Louis in EVERY pageant???

Donation dish left in front of the Nativity scene.   I ask...what is going through your mind right now?
Yep, that's what crossed my mind, too.

Well, heck...if kittens get to be in this blog, so do doggies, right??



HPCH!!
Happy Politically Correct Holidays!!!

or...

as we are still allowed to say here...

Merry Christmas!!!

Dano


And now a word from our Sponsor....ME!!!!!

Need a place to stay while you visit Cuenca but want more space and be able to cook (not eat out for every meal)?   Moving here but need temporary digs while you find your 'permanent' home, but prefer not to be stuck in a hotel?

But, book in advance.  Some of my places are booked through April as of this writing.  I even have reservations out as far as August!

You can see mine and other properties available in Cuenca by going to Airbnb, FlipKey, and/or VRBO and searching for Cuenca, Ecuador, then filter the results down by price range as well as whole house/apt (versus room in a house).

Check out my FIVE short-term rentals below:

San Fran 1

San Fran 2

San Fran 3

Rooftop patio my guests at San Fran 1, San Fran 2, and San Fran 3 can use.


SVDP 
RB

About Me

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Cuenca, Azuay, Ecuador
This is all about my transition from an American lifestyle and culture to my newest adventure, life in Cuenca and greater Ecuador. I'll be recapping some of my day-to-day experiences (and mishaps) to highlight what it's like to live here.

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