We made it with a few quirks..

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It was nice to get FOOD on our COPA airlines flight. lotsa food, good and hot and tasty. in September I traveled to Washington Dc on Delta and received pretzels and a drink. that’s it. our LAX to Panama – six hours- we were feed meals twice and drinks multiple times. panama to Ecuador again we wer fed on a 2.5 hour flight with REAL silverware in coach class. WOW.

Customs was no problem and all of our gifts – 2 suitcases full- got thru with no problems and no inspections. then we waited an hour for Rene and Robin to arrive which they did with one carry on. I was sooooo impressed that someone could travel light than me TILL I found out that their checked bags were all left in San Salvador including about twenty other people, mainly Canadians.

Just got a delivery and it was NOT Rene’s luggage. Our friend Lenny from Portland lives in Cuenca.  We asked him to round up a few items that we will need when we go into the hinterlands like bottled water. Cuenca has the best wat in EC and it is safe to drink but when traveling anywhere else it is best to drink the bottled stuff or live on soda. we also asked for TP, yes toilet paper and some paper towels.

I wish the delivery had been the suitcases because it is rather COOL here in Cuenca and Rene Is in shorts.  After Rene and Robin arrived at the GYE airport, we went back and forth with the baggage folks about the lost bags. they would give us compensation at 9 am for our discomfort and the bags would be shipped to Cuenca to our hostel the following night on the same flight that they came in on- one day later. However they would NOT agree to put us up in a hotel so we could be there for our compensation the next morning. PLUS we had a bus to catch over the Andes. so we got some official lost baggage paperwork with telephone numbers and left multiple numbers for them to reach us and off we  went to the bus station. we got all our suitcases in one taxi plus the four of us and took the hair raising ride to the Terminal Terestre for four dollars. we missed the 3 AM bus so had a wait of one hour for the 4 am bus. We got our tickets for th four hour ride at $8.25 per person, got a few snackos including kefir, and my favorite soda PONY MALTA!!!

We boarded the bus, luggage stored underneath and tilted back the seats and off to sleep we went over the Andes. Four hours later we were in Cuencaville trying to get a taxi for all of us. Go figure no one wanted us. finally a man assisted us and in we went for our $2.50 ride to Posada del Rio, our lovely hostel. we rang the bell and our hosts said our rooms would be ready in an hour but we could leave our bags and grab breakfast. So we did at the WindHorse cafe just steps from our hostel and it was good.  many expats were eating there but we were too tired to be involved. well Rene was ok and friendly and asking everyone where they were from…Texas, Canada, Oregon and more.

Well, we are all awake after a long sleep and now we are hungry and have a recommendation of Tutu Mattos for pizza So here we go!

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Apple and Radio Shack do it again!

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I’m not a tech wizard…actually I’m a tech lizard. Last year I spent so much time at the cafe across the street from our hostel. Not drinking coffee but trying to download pics onto this blog. It was very time consuming and frustrating.

Yesterday we spent a good amount of time at Sam’s High School meeting and talking with his teachers: Parent-Teacher conferences. His Math teacher used an IPAD at our conference and I asked her if there was someway I could suck pictures off my camera onto my IPAD for my blog.  She recommended an Apple product and off I went to Radio Shack where they set me up with a little Apple device in their usual neat, white packaging that filled the bill.

Now I can show you the two pieces of luggage (carry-on) that I will take to Ecuador on Monday. My Columbia backpack which also holds my IPAD, AAA purse, blankie, waterbottle, snacks, Lonely Planet, extra undies, plane booties, charger cords and $.  Then there’s this neat little black bag which has my clothes for a month. I also have a checked bag filled with goodies for people in Ecuador. that’s it.

Soon baby Soon!

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DSCN4309 DSCN4325 DSCN4321 DSCN4328 DSCN4332 DSCN4420The Wednesday before we leave…I’m doing last minute research on the areas we will travel to. Our itinerary looks like this: Medford LAX San Salvador Guayaquil. Octber 13th!!! Then we wait a couple of hours for Rene and Robin to show up and off we go to the taxi stand to secure a cab to the bus station. That should be around one AM and busses to Cuenca run each hour. Our bus will be big and nice with comfy seats and a movie. when we purchase our tickets we will be sue to ask (in Spanish) for seats in the MIDDLE a of the bus. One time Dave and I were issued special seats right behind the driver…for preggos, handicapped and SENIORS. We didn’t see a thing the whole trip. It’s a trip of four to five hours starting in hot, humid and tropical Guayquil where the landscape is flat and the fields are full of pineapples, sugarcane and bananas. Then we start climbing thru the Andes. it will be dark but I’ve seen the countryside several times in the light of day.  Tiny outposts with bare bones houses, dogs laying on the side of the road, clouds forests and possibly a stop or two to pick up passengers.  The sunrise should be spectacular!  At the top of the Andes it is stark and barren with high mountain lakes and no humans in sight.  As we descend the Andes more and more houses appear, small villages, the Cajas National Park, and then more signs of civilization till we see the orange rooftops of Cuenca. The sun should be up now. Our bus will stop at the Terminal Terrestre and we will catch a cab to our Hostel Posada del Rio, the top rated hostel from The Lonely Planet. This will be our third stay there. We like it. Nice rooms, shared bath, towels, TV-dining room, three floors. The top floor has private rooms, an outside sitting area on the roof and a dormer with 9-10 beds for $7/night. Dave and I stayed up there last time and had the place to ourselves most of the time. When we settle into our rooms I suspect we will be horizontal till noon. We will need the rest. The Party starts soon thereafter!

Packing has begun!

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I’m getting it down. I used to start 3 weeks in advance. I started yesterday. Casual simple clothes in earth colors. Most from Goodwill that I could leave there if needed. 1-2 sleeveless shirts, 2 short sleeve, one black long sleeve UnderArmour shirt with snugilly lining (my fav), vest with zipper pocket for camera, underwear/socks, flipflops 2 pairs (one for shower), one pair of Columbia Sport walking shoes, NO MAKEUP, diary, 3 clothespins, sharpie, rain poncho found at yardsale, extra glasses, IPAD (will use for blog), passport neck thing, around-the-neck pillow, 2 long pairs of pants (one elastic), 1 pair of capris (brown), one skirt (I won’t wear it but…), PJ bottoms, windbreaker, camera, 1 zip-up-the-front hoodie, 1 Delta travel blanket, wash cloth, toothpaste, soap, Lonely Planet EC + Spanish translation bk, shampoo/condit (could buy down there but…), mosquito stuff (probably won’t use), sunscreen (ditto), swimsuit (ditto), umbrella (ditto), Pepto Bismol tabs, Probiotics (start taking 2 weeks in advance), Immodium, Ibuprofen, Credit card (will rarely use), CASH in small bills tucked into feminine products for camouflage, AAA purse with multiple pockets packed inside a free carry-on Backpack, one free small Carry-on, 2 free checked bags filled with stuff that EC friends want us to bring down including brownie mix, cat treats, 2 cups of cayenne, an Apple tablet, cotton Fabric (43 lbs), sewing machine foot and socks.

inertia, procrastination…Get going Gerry!!

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“Work finally begins when the fear of doing nothing exceeds the fear of doing it badly.” Whoever came up with this line had me pegged.

It’s Fall and I feel lethargic but I’ve got to get things organized because ……We are spending ONE WHOLE MONTH in Ecuador. October 13-Nov 11th, 2014.

There’s planting to do before we leave if we are to have fresh organic greens this winter. I planted garlic yesterday which sounds like nothing but here’s what had to happen first. I had to clear out an 8×4 foot raised bed containing flowers, kales, radish, sunflowers, lotsa weeds and datura. Then I hand dug the soil and turned it over. Then I dumped two bags of my own compost on the bed and turned it again…my abs were feeling it by this time…then I retrieved the garlic from the garage, broke the heads and sorted the biggest bulbs for the four rows. I remembered I had scored some shallots at the Growers Mkt so I planted a half row of those as well.

The ground felt great. We had rain two days before so the earth was damp but airy…just perfect for planting.  I worked till dusk and rose a bit of a sweat enough to take off my heavy shirt. The dusk, the air, the garlic…it was a great way to spend the last few hours of daylight. The activity got me revved up to do the tasks that must be done before we leave.  it’s late now. I’m off to rest.

Tomorrow more planting and let the packing begin.

A bit of an explosion in Banos

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I just received this via an Ecuador group I belong to…

“Baños is one of Ecuador’s top tourist towns and we recommend a visit there if you get a chance. But be aware that Baños sits in the shadow of Mt. Tungurahua, an active volcano. It’s been active since 1999, but that doesn’t imply constant or even regular eruptions.

If you’re planning a trip to this area any time soon, do keep an eye on the situation, though, as in the wee hours of Sunday morning, July 14th, Tungurahua belched mightily. The explosion was heard throughout the country, and ash is falling on some nearby communities. Depending on which way the wind blows, some domestic flights, particularly, could be affected, as planes are re-routed to avoid the ash fall.”

We were just in Banos near the end of June, sitting in the thermal pools at the bass of Mt. Tungurahua, romping around the Amazon just outside of town and enjoying one of the best meals of the trip at Cafe Good: our filet mignon dinner.  OMGosh, I can still remember the perfection of every part of that meal…even tho I had just stepped in DOG SHIT on the way to the restaurant. Luckily Rene saw a hose resting in the front yard of a house nearby and I was able to wash my flip flops and toesies.  All the rest of the trip, he kept teasing me about that unfortunate occurance whenever we saw dog poop and even when we didn’t…Baby brothers can be such fun!

Just outside Banos...On our way to the Devil's Waterfall

Just outside Banos…On our way to the Devil’s Waterfall

THE Filet Mignon meal at Cafe Good in Banos

THE Filet Mignon meal at Cafe Good in Banos

The Thermal pools at the bass of the Volcano

The Thermal pools at the bass of the Volcano

The HOTTEST pool in Banos

The HOTTEST pool in Banos

That’s all folks…

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I’m back home, filled with memories, new ideas and plenty of work to do here. I’m back to gardening…the Compost is ready and Dahlias are blooming. I’m getting ready to plant fall seeds like Kales, collards, leeks, etc. It was a great trip and I’m so happy to have shared it with Rene and Robin and all of you.  I’m making a picture book like my friend Jan showed me of her Bali trip. I’m including my blog entries and I think it will be better than just pics in a picture album.  I’m feeling good, ready to take on new things and hoping I see all of you soon.

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