Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Well, here it is, the day after Christmas and I'm just getting my Christmas greetings out to you.  It seems I won't have an internet connection at my new house until this coming weekend but I'll write when I can.

A little before Christmas I happened by the park when the people from the nursing home were having an event.  I love these people!  Enjoy.

It's hard to imagine just how short most of these folks are.  I'll try to give you a little measuring hints as the photos go on.  Don't you just love Santa? It's traditional for the indigenous people to present a serious face to people most of the time until they get to know you and this woman carried it off beautifully.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Christmas Photos

Today is moving day but there is no way I can see doing a blog post after the move.  The internet connection is a wire strung from the internet cafe up front and it's a hardwire connection.  Somehow I don't see myself rigging that up so I can connect and the idea of going back to the apartment after the move just doesn't do a thing for me so I'm writing this before the move and you'll get the skinny on the move soon.

Of course I have tons of stuff I can write about in the meantime and these are some of the Christmas photos I've taken recently:
 I think this is really a very comical photo.  I took it to capture both the little girls wth their basket of flowers, Joseph, Mary, and the baby Jesus (or, in this case, both of them) but when I got it out of the camera and onto the computer screen I saw the two men behind and could help but laugh. The one on the left is obviously looking at me and is not happy that I'm taking the picture but I have no idea what the guy on the right is looking at.  The little girls are pretty somber, to

Friday, December 21, 2012

Ibarra Christmas

I was in Ibarra the other day (picking up my yarn and computer parts my friend brought me from the States) and we ended up at the main park there so, of course, I couldn't leave without some pictures.
My friend, her husband, and their daughter mugging for the camera.  They're such an adorable family.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

New House Update with Photos

A friend and I went over to the new house this morning and four hours later is was sparkling clean.  I spent almost two hours defrosting the freezer alone!  I can't blame the old tenant for that because he said he could toss all the food in there and unplug it or leave the food and leave it as is, frost and all.  I opted for the frost.  Anyway, we also rearranged the bedroom furniture a bit and I got photos of that and the parts I missed last time--the bathroom and courtyard.  So, here you are, a photo display:
Before today the bed had the headboard on the left-hand wall.  I like it better this way.  It gives the room a more spacious feel.  We also moved the ladder to this side of the support beam and put the bedroom rug on it just to get the idea of how it will look when I put some kind of tapestry or something there.  It will give me the illusion of a closet.  The hanging rod is right behind there.

Cotacachi Park and Procession

So, here I am with my new computer all up and running and I can write a blog post in less than half an hour, including uploading photos (assuming they are already processed) and I have pictures from events back to September--possibly earlier--I'll have to check.  How shall I handle this?  Do I got back and start writing the posts in chronological order or start with right now and move back?  It's a dilemma--a small dilemma I will admit but a dilemma nonetheless.

Here's the decision I came to--I will start with the Christmas photos I have, then I will do the ones from each day I take them.  On the days I don't have anything to photograph I'll start tucking in ones from months past. I'll probably mention this again for new readers who may be wondering why in the world I have pictures from four months ago but I wanted to share my process with you.  Please feel free to offer your opinion if you think there's a better way to handle it.  I'm always open to suggestions.

Here we go with Christmas pictures from this month. On the evening of the 16th I was on my way home from a friend's and I heard music from the park and headed down to see what was happening.  It was the first procession I had seen--possibly the first of the season but I heard a rumor that they had started the night before.  At any rate, here are a couple of procession photos:
You can see pretty much the whole procession.  As I said, these are little groups of people.  I need to do a little more research but I believe they are from neighborhoods rather than an organization of some sort.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Bits and Pieces, December 19, 2012

Christmas in Cotacachi

Christmas here is a very big deal.  It's very commercialized, just as it is in the States, but the whole thing doesn't start until around the first of December.  I'll have lots more photos and discussion about Christmas here but I wanted to start out with the processions that take place from the 15th through the 24th of December.  This is the miniature one from last night:
I came up behind this one and it was within seconds of being over so I only got a couple of photos but with a wee bit of explanation I think you'll get the spirit of it.  There were sparkly fireworks at the corner where they started and the one where they ended (that would be a total of one block).  Traffic stopped on one side of the street for them but went around on the other side.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

My Computer is Up and Running!!!!!

I got it!  My hard drive for my computer arrived!  I'm so very excited.  I'm not quite up and running yet but it's very close.  I was able to install the hard drive all by myself (it was really ridiculously easy) but I'm still missing some of the software I need.  My daughter and I will get that taken care of in the next week or so and then I'll be humming right along.

When I was in the midst of this computer mess I promised all of you a recap of everything once it was all resolved.  Well, here it is--the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

I'm Moving!

Yep, it's true.  As much as I love my adorable studio apartment, I've found a casita (little house) that is half the rent and I just can't pass it up!

I wish I had more photos and better ones than I currently have but you'll have a good idea of the "before" and then I'll show you the "after" as I have work done on it.

I think I may have taken the worst photos of this place that I've taken in a very long time.  My only excuse is that I was just snapping them because (a) I was intruding on the current tenant and (b) they were originally just intended for my own use to get a physical look at the space when I was doing my planning.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

A Day In the Life -- Dec. 2, 2012

I hadn't set out to do one of my "Day In the Life" posts today but it was just such a joy that I wanted to share it with you.

I started out with two items on my list of planned things for the day.

On my way to my first event, I passed an interesting group of people in the park.  These people are holding folders with music in them so I'm assuming they plan to sing.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Last of the Fiesta de la Jora Parade Photos

There's one more post to come after this one but this is the last of the photos from the parade.  Enjoy:

Not sure why this little fellow didn't get in with the kids photos but here he is in this batch.

I love these masks.  They sell tons of them at the craft markets but most of the ones seen in parades have been made by the wearers' family.

The two gentlemen in the special clothing are retired bull fighters.  They have such a regal bearing.

More dancers.  What I love about this group (and a few others) is the size of the women.  In the U.S. I've never seen anyone this size performing in this kind of group.  It's very refreshing. Of course I see evidence of a lack of concern over body image everywhere I turn here.  It's lovely to see and experience.

This guy was amazing.  He jumped, twisted, twirled around, cracked his whip, and then did it some more.  He had to have been sweltering under that mask and in those heavy clothes. He was part of the group in the last post I did but I wanted to put him in this group for one primary reason.  See the truck behind him?  See the guy crawling up on the roof while the truck is moving?  Look below.

He needed to life the wires so the truck could pass under them without breaking them.

This mask was impressive from both the front...

...and the back.  He had eyes in the back of his head.
This little guy seemed to be thoroughly enjoying himself.  I loved how he looked and decided to share him with you.

And of course, what kind of festival would it be without food?  This is one of the street vendors grilling her sausage and vegetable shish kebabs next to the park.  You'll see one of the vendors behind her.  There were half a dozen of them along that stretch of sidewalk.  This is where the parade ended so not only were the parade watchers able to take advantage of the food but the participants were as well.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

More Fiesta de la Jora photos

Enjoy more photos from the parade.  There are a ton of them but very little text so it should be a fairly quick process if you want to see all of them (the kids follow the performers).

[One of my readers reminded me that if you click on any of the photos, you can see them full-sized and even have a little slide show.]

More dancing.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Fiesta de la Jora Parade

Way back in September we had the Festival La Jora.  There was much activity during that time but most of what I'll share is about the parade and the food event where we expats had an extremely successful table.
Not all the parade watchers were people.  Three of the much-loved dogs of Cotacachi: Gizmo, Chia, and Paco enjoyed the festivities every bit as much as their people (Debbie, Mary, and Carolyn)

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Bits and Pieces, Nov. 24

I was just looking over the stats for the blog and noticed that my post on low income budgets was the most-read one in quite some time.  If you want to let me know what other things you might like to know about the cost of living here, I'd be more than happy to fill you in where I can.


Want to see a photo of one of the adorable street dogs here?  This is Oliver and he has a loving foster mom until he finds a permanent home.  He's in great shape, just skinny and starved for love.  I'm not suggesting you adopt him, just sharing how adorable he is.
Is he adorable or what?  This is him after a week of being fed regularly.  He has a long way to go but he's a healthy little guy.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving in Cotacachi

Yesterday was Thanksgiving in the United States (and my mother's birthday--Happy Birthday, Mom) and Cotacachi ex-pats were definitely not left out just because we're in Ecuador.

Six different restaurants served a traditional meal as well as two private homes who opened their doors to others and, to top it off, a private chef who would either cook your meal to order and deliver it or come to your house and serve your meal to you and your guests.  How elegant is that?!  We may be a small town but we have some surprising amenities every once in a while.

I chose to have dinner at Serendipity.  I was having a hard time deciding between the two most affordable options when I met a couple I think I'd seen around and had perhaps even met at some point but, well, we were all having trouble remembering if and when.  At any rate, they invited me to join them at their table when we were all eating at Trebol (which is not serving Thanksgiving dinner) and then they invited me to join them for Thanksgiving dinner.  Thus, Serendipity.

The dog belongs to Nancy, the manager of the restaurant.

We were treated to music for a little while.  After a few songs, they passed through the crowd offering to sell us their CD.  If I listened to more music, I would have gotten one but it would have ended up sitting on a shelf at home.

Here are the people in our little group.  We were a very congenial  bunch.  It was lovely.

Just look at the food on that plate!  Is that fabulous, or what?

A friend of mine had dinner at Hacienda San Isidro and shared a few photos with me.  The restaurant donated a portion of the proceeds from the dinner to Amici Cannis, the local organization for pet rescue.
They had a great turnout.  Debbie (second from the left in the front row) said there were a total of 32 people there.  Considering we have fewer than 300 expats in Cotacachi and some are from countries other than the U.S., I think they had a great turnout.

Here's one of the rooms in the Hacienda.  The dining rooms are equally lovely...

...unfortunately the Thanksgiving dinner was in their banquet room.  Ah well, I heard the company was great and everyone enjoyed themselves.

So, there's a taste of Thanksgiving in Cotacachi.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A Day In the Life -- Nov. 21, 2012

Today was a fun day and one I thought I'd share with you.

I started out at 10:00 this morning and it went from there.

Isn't this a beautiful place to start out the day?  This is the first thing I see when I walk out the front door of the condo building where I'm kitty sitting right now.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Tour Company Grand Opening

Way back in July a new tour company here in town, Yuratours, had their grand opening and it was quite a bash.  They had it at Land of the Sun hotel, in their central court, complete with champagne, wine, other adult beverages, h'ors d'oeuvres, and entertainment.  The most important part was that I won a lovely flower arrangement.  Photos follow, of course:

Of course there was a bit of speechifying that had to go on for a little while.  In the midst of that, though, there was also some drawings for trips to several cities here in Ecuador.  There was also a "test."  Whoever could tell them in which cities there was a Yuratour would win a floral arrangement. (More about that later.)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Photo Roundup, Nov. 15, 2012

Enjoy some of the fun sights from the last little while.

You really need to click on this one to enlarge it so you can truly see the details of this ladder.  It's one of the "best" I've seen yet.  Ladders are almost always hand made here.  My landlord makes his out of bamboo, which seems to be the most popular material but salvaged wood comes in a very close second.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Health Issues

It occurred to me just a little while ago that I had originally started this blog to keep my friends and family posted on what was going on with me and my move to Ecuador.  When more and more people started reading, I think I moved away from that because I suspect those readers really don't care much about the mundane parts of my life.  I've decided, though, that keeping my original focus is good, so I'll be tucking in posts that may seem totally irrelevant to most of you.  I know you'll understand.

When I first got here I talked about how much improved my health was.  Well, it's still a lot better than it was in the States and I'm still taking far fewer meds than I took when I arrived, but I've made a discovery as well.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Last of the Paseo de Chagra

Ah, finally, the end of the photos of the day at the parade and bull ring.  It was a long day and there were so many more photos I could have shared but I really did try to cut it down to a reasonable amount (well, reasonable for me at any rate).

These are odds and ends that didn't fit into the tidy categories I had laid out.
It's hard to guess how long this building has been here.  The thatched roof could be just about any age.

I really hadn't intended to sit directly in front of where there would be horses trotting within feet of me.  If you look carefully under the feet of that horse, you may see a line of the trail that shows where it drops off to the ravine below.  Who would think there would be a whole parade of horses wandering around back here?

The riders tied their horses up to a fence just beyond the little pink and thatched building to wait while they went and got something to eat.

Ah, yes, the offering of beer to the riders.  If you remember the fellow in the orange jacket from the parade, he was here, too, and finally gave away everything in his jug.

This young man won the award for best performance.  The woman just below is his very proud mother.

 The arena filled up after a an hour or so.

My camera battery needed to be charged before the end of the event so I missed out on a few interesting shots, not least of which was what would have been the last shot of the day.  When all the festivities were over I walked down to the main road in hopes of catching a taxi home.  As I arrived, there, just across the road, in a nice little line, were four or five men facing away from the road--relieving themselves in the bushes.  Gotta love it.

There was a steady stream of taxis so I got home pretty quickly.  It was a fabulous day.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Kids at the Bull Ring

Of course I have to have a bunch of shots of kids or it just wouldn't be me.  Enjoy.

 He's almost ready to have Dad let go.

Run, little guy, run!

The youngest one to stand on his horse without a helping hand.

 These kids sat just two rows in front of me the whole time and it was such fun to watch them.

The youngest rider who had a specific role to play.  Most of the kids were just there with the adults which was actually quite a feat in and of itself but this one participated in the showmanship and demonstrated his horse's skills, meager though they were at this early stage.

Bird's eye view.

What a face.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Bulls at the Bull Ring

After the horses came the bulls.  This was just for fun, there were no bulls harmed during this event and, in fact, there was far more likelihood that one of the crazy kids in the ring would be injured than the bulls but they all fared well and everyone left all in one piece.

Ah, poor Ferdinand.  If have no idea what his name really was or if he had a name at all, but he was Ferdinand to me.

There were two kinds of people sparring with the bulls--guys like these who had capes and were officially sanctioned to be here and the less formal ones (coming up). It took at least 10 minutes to get the bull worked up enough to be willing to charge the capes but once he got the hang of it, he did just fine.

There were young men hanging around the edges of the arena, some very young (like ages in the upper single digits) but they all managed to escape injury as well.

This "observer" got a little too far out into the ring when the bull discovered him and decided this looked like it might be fun even without a cape to chase.

He made it by the skin of his teeth.

I think this may be the most beautiful shot of the day.  Too bad the shadows eat up so much of it. This wasn't even one of the official matadors.  Maybe next year he will be.

RUN!  He made it, too, but it was a near thing.

The bulls were as much comic relief as anything else.  I enjoyed it and look forward to it again next year.