Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Miscellaneous Observations

I have a couple of things to share today.  The first is cute and funny, the second is sad but shows the coming together of native Ecuadorians and Expats.  Even though it's not a happy story, it still has heartwarming aspects.

First, though, the fun stuff.

People here have far fewer inhibitions about asking quite personal questions.  The first one that surprised me happened not long after I moved here.  Several people wanted to know how much rent I pay.  These weren't friends or even acquaintances possibly on their way to becoming friends.  No, they were local people I would meet and strike up a (very limited) conversation with.

When I was at church last Sunday a man sat down in the row in front of me and introduced himself and shared that he was trying to learn English.  We had a lovely conversation until it was almost time for the service to start.  One of the first questions he asked was, "How old are you?"  I thought perhaps his English still needed a little work so I asked him to repeat it.  Nope, he was serious, he wanted to know how old I am.  After I told him, I discovered that he is 56 years old.

Today, on my shopping trip (I went to a tienda, a grocery/department store, and the fresh foods market), I realized that many people openly stare into my cart to see what I have in there.  I had seen it before but hadn't taken much note of it until today.  It's very interesting that there isn't any sense that what I have in my cart might be none of their business.  Of course I don't mind, it's just different than what I've experienced in the States.

By the way, you may have noticed that I use "the States" rather than "America" when I'm writing here.  I do the same in all other areas of my life as well.  Here in South America there are many people who find it a wee bit arrogant to refer to one portion of North America as "America."  There are also any number of Canadians here and I've never heard them make any mention of it but I try to be considerate of what they might find less than respectful.  At any rate, I just thought I'd share with you why it is that I have changed how I refer to my home country.

Now for the less than happy events.

About a week ago a woman in our community wrote an email about having been burglarized and gave a great many details telling how a local had scammed her and was able to get a copy of her house keys and used them to burgle her home.  I want to be very clear right up front that I don't believe for one minute that this man is representative of the rest of the community. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Ecuadorians are Warm and Generous People

 I thought this was a great addition to the blog today.  Reprinted (with permission) from "50 Things You Should Know Before Moving to Cotacachi, Ecuador" published by Cotacachi Living
Ecuadorians are warm and generous people.
If you had to sum up the Ecuadorian philosophy of life in on sentence, it would have to be “The future is uncertain, so live for now.” The North American idea that we have to rush around and accomplish as much as possible so that we can get to a better time in the future is rarely seen here. Ecuadorians take the time to get to know people and always have time for a friendly chat. We feel fortunate to have been invited to the homes of several of our Ecuadorian friends and have always felt like welcome guests. When Ecuadorians get together for a party, they don’t talk about their jobs or their accomplishments. They live in the moment and put their relationships with family and friends in high regard. While they may have little in the way of material things, they have much to teach North Americans about the most important things in life.
I find this to be so true in my life.  My landlord called to me from the back yard this morning so he could give me two cherimoya and a very large avocado.  We chatted for several minutes about the avocado soup I had made the other night and how things were going with the wall that fell down in our back yard.  He and his wife always stop to chat, even if just a little while whenever I see them.

When I got my hair cut on Saturday, Rita (the shop owner) and I didn't just talk about things happening in my life--we discussed our families and she wanted to make sure I liked it here and asked if there was anything she could help me with.   When she discovered where I live, she wanted to know what had happened with Sheila and when I told her she'd be coming back this fall, Rita was very pleased to hear that.

Yes, it's a warm and generous country with warm and generous people.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Photo Roundup, May 27, 2012

Wet dog.  This little guy wandered around the house warming as if he belonged.  Actually, he's one of the stray dogs who happened to smell the hot dogs cooking and came looking for a handout.  He actually did quite well.  He didn't get much meat but he got plenty of hot dog bun to keep him happy.

Just a block from a fairly busy street is a house that has seen better days.  The sign out front tells the directions to a nearby pharmacy.

Up a bit closer it's even easier to see the vegetation growing on the top of the door frame.

Saturday, May 26, 2012


I finally got some photos of hummingbirds!  We have 131 varieties of hummingbirds in Ecuador and some of them live right here in Cotacachi

Enough talking--here are the hummingbirds in the guava tree in my back yard (taken with a telephoto lens and then cropped, so they're not as crisp as I would like but there you are, it is what it is, right?).

Friday, May 25, 2012

Blessing a New House

One of the lovely things I got to experience when I went to the open house this past Saturday was the ceremony for blessing a new home.  We were told that just as a baby is baptized, so, too, must a house be baptized.

The Shaman burned flowers, salt, and a couple of other things I forgot in the flat-ish container on the ground in front of him.  He then used the fresh flower he has in his hands to sprinkle holy water on the small bouquet of flowers and herbs he has on the sidewalk in front of that container.  (Take a quick look at the length of the hair on the woman on the very left of the photo.  I really wouldn't want to have to take care of it but it sure is beautiful.)

The Shaman has taken the wrap off his hair for the ceremony.  The man standing next to him, with the microphone, was very helpful.  The Shaman spoke in Kichwa and this man translated it first into Spanish and then into English.  I would have had absolutely no idea what was going on if he hadn't done that for us.

After the Shaman went into the house and blessed the four corners, he came back out and joined with the band to play traditional music.  The woman just stepping onto the front porch is one of the owners of the new house.

One of the things I failed to get a photo of was the blessing of Mother Earth and each of the responsible parties.  If you will look closely, you'll see what appears to be a water bottle hanging from the ceiling of the porch.  That's not water.  It's a very strong alcohol made from sugar cane.  It's in a water bottle because it's homemade so it didn't come in a liquor bottle.  When the rest of the festivities were completed, the Shaman, the owners of the house, the Godfather (the building company owner), and the Guardian (the man who built it) each were given, one at a time, a small glass of this potent brew--probably no more than a shot or so.  They were to pour half of it on the ground (Mother Earth) and then drink the other half.  The looks on some of the faces were pretty priceless.  As I said, I was sorry not to have gotten photos of that.

 After the singing came the dancing:

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Regrets of the Dying

I just finished reading this blog post from EcuadorGeorge and had to share it with you.  This really says it all: Life Changing Move to Ecuador...No Regrets.

Affordable Housing

Way back on Saturday I went to an open house for a new type of house being built here in Cotacachi.  That's the day we got all the rain and I've been writing posts about all of that until today when I get to tell you about what I experienced at the open house.

First of all, yes, it was pretty wet.  The Realtor/Builder put put boards to help everyone get from one dry place to another but it was still a mess.  Fortunately there was a very good turnout anyway.

The house was at the end of a drive that serves four houses and this one is at the end.  Most of the drive was pretty well covered in gravel so where the water had receded, it was an easy walk.  There were a couple of places that it got a little damp but not enough to turn people back.

Once there, the house was great.  It's an 800 square foot house with 3 bedrooms and 2 baths.  Yes, all the rooms are very small.  It goes with the price, though.  It's $38,000!  Yep, $38,000.  That doesn't include the land but I've heard land is quite affordable here as well.

Here are some of my favorite photos:

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Roosters Next Door

On Monday I told you about the concrete block wall that fell down as a result of the rain with a bit of an assist from tree and plant roots.  Behind that wall live the roosters who awaken somewhere around midnight each night.

I discovered several things about the roosters.  First of all, there aren't two or three of them.  There are at least 10!  Yes, 10 roosters in one yard.

Because of the shade from the trees you have to look hard to see them but in there are 10 little pens, each containing a rooster and a hen. In the background of this photo, nearly hidden, are six little cages where Julio says the chicks are raised.

Then, a little broader angle:

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Ecuadorians Rarely Say "No"

In my continuing series of excerpts from 50 Things You Should Know Before Moving to Cotacachi, Ecuador from my friends at Cotacachi Living, here's one of my favorites.  It goes along nicely with "Ecuadorian time" which is very elastic.

Ecuadorians rarely say “no.”

“Go one block, make a left, and follow the road straight for five blocks. You will see it on the right,” the Ecuadorian man responded confidently when asked if he knew where to find a local restaurant. Following his instructions to the letter, we arrived in the middle of an open lot with not a restaurant in sight. When this first happened, we thought we had simply misunderstood. Over time, however, we came to understand that there was another reason. Ecuadorians hardly ever say “no.”

Monday, May 21, 2012

Let It Rain

We had an absolute gully washer on Saturday!  It started at about 11:00 a.m. and ended at around 2:00 p.m.  In that three hours I know we got at least 4" of rain because there was at least 3.5" sitting in a planter and I figure there had to be at least a half inch of water below the soil line, right?  I heard someone say he had been here three years and this was the most rain he had ever seen in that time. 

To give you a little glimpse of what it was like, I have a few photos.  

This is a school yard three hours after the rain stopped.  There is a small outlet at the corner of the concrete walls that was letting water out so it had already been draining for that long.

Then there's the open house I went to--I was told that at 2:00 (when the open house was scheduled to begin, this was a lake:

And this:

(More about the tent canopy another day--it's a whole other post)

Then, this morning I went out in search of avocados that had volunteered themselves for me (i. e., had fallen from the tree) when I saw something I was totally unprepared for!

You may recall a couple of the photos of my back yard:

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Weekly Roundup of Photos

I love these little food carts.  To be honest, I didn't even take a look at what he's selling but it looks like it might be beans with lime juice.  It's served in, what else, a small plastic bag and comes with a plastic spoon.

Road construction, Cotacachi style.  As with the street cleaning, repairing damaged cobblestones is a low tech happening here.

Not all indigenous women carry everything in those fabric carriers.  This woman has traded hers in for a modern backpack.  Actually, she has the fabric alternative wrapped around her shoulders so she's prepared for larger parcels.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Cotacachi Traffic Jam

Cars are backed up for an entire block.  Yep, a genuine Cotacachi traffic jam.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Festival and Procession

Last night Julio, the owner of my apartment, came knocking at my door and told me there was a festival and procession outside and would I like to come, too.  Of course I would!  Unfortunately I didn't have my big camera ready to go and had to grab the little one instead (the big one will be kept at the ready for possible future needs).

This one was to celebrate the anniversary of Daniel's school.  I'm not sure if there was a festival there or not but the parade was great fun.  I'll have to let Julio know that whenever he hears about something like this that I'd love to know about it.  There really isn't a central place where things like this are posted.  I'm just lucky to live on one of the two streets where processions seem to happen on a fairly regular basis.

So, I have photos but they're terrible, I mean really terrible, but I have to share them with you anyway.  I know I can trust you to ignore them if you have too much trouble seeing them.

I couldn't resist putting this one in just because of the reflections off the flute.

Here are some of the kids with their little candles to help light their way.  Thank goodness for those or I never would have gotten a photo that showed anything even halfway visible.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Friendly Folks

I know I've posted before about how friendly the local Ecuadorians are but I haven't mentioned how great the English speakers are.  Actually, I hadn't really thought about it all that much until yesterday.  I saw one of the little "trucklettes" and took a couple of pictures of it for my photo roundup this week.

Isn't it cute?

Just as I finished taking the last photo, a couple came out of the restaurant across the street and the man asked (in English) if they were going to be famous.  I assured them they would and asked if I could get a photo of them with their vehicle (he thought "trucklette" was pretty cute).  I explained that I have this blog about my life in Cotacachi and I try to share things that I think are unique to Cotacachi or, at least, Ecuador.

So here they are, Diane and Mountain with their cute vehicle, Shaolin.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Haggling and Yapa

Here's another bit of information from the Cotacachi Living report, "50 Things You Should Know
Before Moving to Cotacachi, Ecuador."


21) Learn to haggle.

If you enjoyed the show hosted by Monty Hall, “Let’s Make a Deal,” you’ll enjoy shopping at the Otavalo market and in most places in Ecuador. The more drama you create, the better deal you’ll make. Buying in bulk will always save you money, but who needs twenty hammocks? Instead, inquire about their price for the item you wish to purchase. Upon hearing it, act incredulously as though you are on the verge of going into shock. Then offer (at most) half that price, which they will refuse and counteroffer. Offer a little more, and they will still refuse. Continue the back and forth, settle on a price, then ask for a “yapa” if you buy multiple items. A “yapa” is a small additional piece of merchandise to curry favor between the vendor and the customer. It bonds you so you’ll return at a later date and buy more merchandise or perhaps bring more customers to the vendor. At the food market, a “yapa” might be an extra bell pepper or a few carrots. It’s a nice and welcomed gesture on the part of the vendor.


The first time I went to Otavalo, to the largest outdoor market in the world (yep, the world), I didn't do so great at haggling.  In fact, I did lousy.  I decided that the next time I go I'm going to stick to my guns.  There is nothing there I need so badly that I am willing to pay full price for and that's that!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Fire Trucks, Etc.

The other day I heard a siren while on my way to somewhere-or-other.  It would sound for a second or two and then stop for a few seconds and repeat frequently.  Ah, how I wish I was faster on the draw with my camera!  A smallish fire truck passed by with an entire class of little kids (kindergarten, first grade, something like that) and one teacher all sitting on top of the truck.  Yes!  On top of the truck.  There was a rail about 12" affixed around the edge and the kids had their legs under the rail and were hanging on--well, most of them were--and the teacher was perched on what might have been the cover of a spare tire or something of similar size.  She didn't look overly comfortable but the kids were having a ball.  There were two firemen hanging onto the back of the truck, watching the kids from their positions closer to the ground.

My first thought was, "Oh, what an exciting adventure for those kids!"  My second thought was about the likelihood of that happening in the States.  That would almost certainly be zero.

It was one of the many times I think about how a litigious society takes so much of the adventure and imaginative joy out of the lives of its citizens.  It's not perfect here in Ecuador, nor is it anywhere in the world, but I am so appreciative of the little things that I experience here that I missed out on for so many years in the States (that is, when I'm not thinking about some of the things I don't have here, but those are getting fewer and fewer).


Monday, May 14, 2012

Spanish Lessons

I hit the jackpot today!  I met a lovely woman and her husband at the presentation about the Amazon and the tour company that would love to take you there.  I had so much fun talking to Lois that I suggested she and I might just have to get together sometime.  She invited me to drop by their house anytime I wanted. They live one building down from the bank where I use the ATM and since I was there on Thursday I thought it was a great time to drop in.

It turns out it was better than a great time.  I had arrived just as Lois, David, and Marilyn (a lovely woman I met on the Kichwa village tour and saw again at the Amazon presentation) were starting their Spanish lesson.  They are studying on their own, from a very old Berlitz book.  I was invited to stay and either just observe or actually take part.  Well, of course I took part--it's pretty much who I am.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Weekly Roundup of Photos

Since I seem to be accumulating more and more single photos with no real blog post to attach them to, it seemed to make sense to start a weekly post that has the pictures of things that I found interesting during the week.

I hadn't been out in the back yard for several days and when I went out on Wednesday morning, this beautiful surprise was waiting for me.

This stick isn't attached to a tree or anything else.  It's simply serving as host for the plants on either end of it.  I wonder how long it's been growing like this.

The fronts of houses and apartments almost always look grim and dreary.  There's room here for a car to be parked behind the decorative gate and then there's the lovely patio in the center courtyard of the home.  This is just the part I can see from the street but it goes off on either side.

I love these bicycles.  I see them every once in a while and I have absolutely no idea why they are so beautifully decorated but when I find out, I'll definitely let you know--well, if it's a fun explanation at any rate.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Procession and Market

I did some shopping at a few different places this morning and as I was almost at the fresh food market, along came a procession.  I have no idea what it was celebrating but it was very colorful and fun to watch.  It was preceded by someone setting off bottle rockets in the middle of the intersection.  Firecrackers and bottle rockets are very popular here. 

Enjoy the photos and a couple of bonus ones at the end.

I wish I could have gotten across the street to take a photo of long line of women on the other side but I caught a few of them as the procession headed my way.  The indigenous men almost always wear white pants and shoes and the pants are always spotless.  I don't know how they manage that.  I can't even manage to keep my T-shirts stain-free.

These women weren't part of the parade but they were walking down the sidewalk at the same pace as the parade.  Take a look at the beautiful embroidery on the first woman's blouse.  All of that is done by hand and is always beautiful.  Some are more colorful and more elaborate and others are a bit simpler.  All of them are lovely.

As with every procession I've seen here, Saint Mary plays a big role.  Also, the men were twirling their handkerchiefs in time to the music.  It's almost impossible to tell since I just missed them having their hands above their heads but I suspect it would lose something in the translation anyway.

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Chicken Roundup

This post is definitely missing a great deal due to a lack of photos taken at the time of the event.  In fact, I had thought not to put it in here at all, simply because the description doesn't do it justice.  I decided I simply couldn't pass by this opportunity to tell such a fun story.  I think you'll see why I forgot to grab my camera as the story unfolds.

A few days ago I was listening to an audio book while I crocheted, minding my own business, when my doorbell rang.  When I answered the door there was a local woman (I later learned her name was Blanca) saying something very fast and, of course, in Spanish.  I had no clue what she was saying and tried to get that across to her but she was quite insistent that she needed me to understand.  She kept motioning with her hand what appeared to be an indication of "go over" as in something going over the roof or a fence or a mountain--I had no clue what.  Then I caught a word I recognized--"pollo," chicken.  She was also pointing down the hallway, perhaps to go to my apartment or, it suddenly struck me--out the back door to get the chicken that had gone over the wall between her yard an mine!

Off we went to the back yard.  We arrived just as her son (grandson?) was climbing over the wall on a ladder.  They were ushering the chicken from the far end of the yard closer to our common wall.  The woman kept gesturing to me to do something but I had no idea what the heck it was.  Again, after much gesturing and guessing, I realized she wanted me to turn my "courtyard" into a corral for the chicken. [When the building was built, there was a portion of the back foundation that wasn't taken down.  This is customary here.  It may provide a benefit at sometime in the future--you never know.]

Thursday, May 10, 2012

No Returns

Not long ago I bought a toaster oven.  I don't have a toaster and my oven doesn't have a broiler so toast isn't something I've been eating for a while.  Tia had a toaster oven for almost exactly the same price as the toaster I had seen in another shop a few days before and I thought it sounded like it would be more versatile than just a toaster.

As it turns out, it wasn't much good for anything but toast.  The photo on the box was bad enough that I couldn't tell that there was no temperature dial on it that would actually let me use it as an "oven."  Oops.  Well, the simple solution was simply to return it, right?

Article About Expats in Cotacachi

Yesterday I got an email from our local email list person.  I thought it was an excellent portrayal of people who have moved here from other parts of the world.  Here it is in its entirety.

Recent article on New Residents translated into English by Dan Delgado
from El Norte newspaper
Published Friday, 4th of May, 2012
Original article can be seen at:


For a few years now, the presence of "strangers" living in and around
Cotacachi has become more noticeable. Generally these are retired
Americans and Europeans taking refuge in the pleasant climate, the
colorful landscape and mainly in the tranquility here. With no regrets
they're settling into this privileged place, leaving behind an
agitated world of intense stress but also some of the advantages of
life in those other lands. They are amiable people who little by
little are adapting to the way of life here.

Approximately 300 people of American and European nationalities now
have their houses and apartments in the city and its environs, each
looking for what they most prefer; whether this be country life or
city life. In some cases their houses are rustic constructions of wood
and adobe earth. However, others prefer brick and cement constructions
with extra comforts, and in either case they value having pretty views
of the landscape.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Groceries in Bags

I think I may have mentioned that many grocery products in Ecuador come in bags.  Since that may be a wee bit difficult to wrap your head around (it sure was for me), I thought I'd share a photo of some of the things I've purchased since I got here that came in that form of packaging.

Back to front, left to right:
Milk (in a wine box Sheila left for me to use--thank goodness), corn starch, mayo, olives, jam, nutmeg.

In the almost 2 months I've been here, I still don't have any jars to use for things like my zucchini relish.  As far as that goes, I don't even have plastic containers (like the ones cottage cheese comes in).  It's a darned good thing I brought along some old but very light Tupperware containers I got from my mom not long before the move.  I brought them because they were so light and have been thankful ever since.

The other thing I recently noticed at the grocery store (the big one, not the little tiendas) was that the only freezer they have is the one that contains ice cream.  Just imagine--no frozen vegetables, pizzas, juice, lasagna, pie crust, or whatever it is that you buy from the freezer section of your local grocer.  Oh, and the ice cream freezer was very small because there is only one brand and one size of ice cream.

Nothing to Do With Anything

I got this in the mail a few minutes ago and I couldn't pass it up.  I have to tell you, this is not something I miss.

Wal Mart Theme Song

While I'm certain many of these photos really were taken on Halloween, I'm guessing a bunch of them weren't.

I promise, this is not something I will do regularly--it just struck a funny bone and begged to be shared.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


I noticed my avocado tree was getting some new leaves.  I didn't realize the new ones started out a kind of orange-ish red and then turned greet.  I love the colors.  If they were low enough to reach I might be tempted to put a small bouquet of them in water--but then, I can just look out my window and there they are, in all their beauty and constant change.

I saw my first baby hummingbird this morning.  I was gazing out my window and caught a glimpse of what I thought must have been the largest bug I'd seen this side of Texas.  When it scooted back into view I realized it was a hummingbird.  It was less than half the size of the little ones I see out there on a regular basis and probably no more than 1/4th the size of the larger ones.  I'm hoping for some good cloud cover so I can set up my camera on its tripod and see if I can wait patiently enough to get a few hummingbird photos, but especially a few where I can put the little one in perspective with the grownups.

When people see the exteriors of homes here in Cotacachi, it may look as though it's pretty sterile.  I saw the house in the below photo on a walk the other day.   The photo is taken through the gate at the street.  There's room to park a car and then you can see the inner courtyard.  The is fairly typical of houses in this area.  The exterior of the house is frequently "ugly" in comparison to the inner courtyard.

I've seen plenty of bougainvillaea plants before but this is the first time I saw one in bloom.  I had always thought the red part was the flower but it turns out those are leaves.  The itty bitty white flower is in the center of a cluster of red (or other color) leaves.

This lovely woman provided me an opportunity to show you how indiginous women carry their head covering and shawl.  The thing on top of her head is not a hat in the traditional sense.  It is a blanket of sorts that is folded up and "stored" there until she needs it to provide a different style of head covering that protects her from the rain.  It is the same size as the shawl she is wearing and before it turned cool, she also had that folded and was carrying it on her head as well.  These women have no pockets or purses.  Trust me when I tell you that they can carry as much down the front of their blouses as I have in my purse.  It's quite impressive.  I haven't gotten up enough nerve to take a photo of a woman searching for something in her "purse."

Monday, May 7, 2012


Yester morning I looked out my window and saw Julio (my landlord) out back "picking" avocados.  I know I've told you it's a very tall tree and none of the avocados are close enough to the ground to pick but Julio has a couple of very long poles with a hook on the end of them and he reaches up into the tree and pulls down ones that are ready to be picked.  I need to remember that pole when I go out and there aren't any that have fallen out of the tree on their own.

At any rate, his grandson, Daniel, was out there with him and I was able to get photos of both of them.  Daniel even posed for me.

First, here's Julio up on the wall.  I didn't get to my camera before he was getting ready to get down but I think it's still pretty darned impressive--or foolish, take your pick.

And here's Daniel.  Isn't he just about the cutest little kid?  First he posed for me and then I got a quick shot of the life of Riley.

Now we get to the potluck part of the post.  There's a church here in Cotacachi that has English services and on the first Sunday of the month, they also have a pot luck after the service.  This was my first potluck there and I had a fabulous time.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Amazon Anyone?

Yesterday was a truly fun experience.  There's a man here in Ecuador who has been in the tour business for the past 38 years and he doesn't do typical tours--he puts together tours that are designed for the people who are going.

At any rate, we met yesterday at La Tola Restaurant (no, I didn't take photos--DARN) where we started with a fabulous meal.  We could choose between beef, chicken, and trout.  I was a bit leery of the trout since I haven't had it here before.  You just never know how it might be.  Well, I saw a few other people get there's and I decided I was going to be brave.  I certainly didn't make a mistake.  It was the best trout I've ever had

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Pizza and Other Miscellaneous Stuff

A new restaurant opened this past Tuesday.  It's a pizza parlor with other Italian dishes coming soon.  I heard the reason Ed began this enterprise was because he hadn't been able to get a good pizza since he got here and figured that if he wanted it, others would as well.  Having had nothing to compare it to (here in Cotacachi) I can't tell you whether it's better than the others or not but it's darned good.  It's advertised as authentic New York style pizza and I think he definitely hit the mark.  He imported the pepperoni from the States but wisely decided to go for local oregano, tomatoes, and cheese.

Here's Ed with half a pizza (I was going to photograph mine but discovered I had neglected to put a memory card in my camera before I left home and when I got back he had already served the two full-sized pizzas he had in the oven when I left).

Ed has obviously never run a restaurant before but I have confidence that he'll learn pretty quickly what he needs to do to make a true success of this one.  One of the things I'm looking forward to is him getting pizza boxes for take-out.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Zucchini Relish

I know you've all read about how upset I've been at the dirth of pickles in Ecuador.  I finally found a store that had sweet pickles but they just weren't what I wanted.  I wanted bread & butter pickles or, preferably, my very own zucchini relish.

I experimented with the cute little manual food grinder I had brought with me and was very discouraged.  It didn't appear that it was going to grind the skin of the zucchini and that's crucial to good zucchini relish.  Fortunately, I discovered that the first time I put it together I had put the cutting blade in the wrong direction.  I think I can be forgiven the apparently obvious mistake because the one I've been used to using for the past 15 years or so only has one way it can be put on.  At any rate, once I turned it around to the correct direction it worked much better.  It still takes quite a while to grind but it can definitely be done.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

A New Walk

I took a lovely walk yesterday morning.  I've been wanting to take this walk for a while but was a bit concerned that I might not be quite in shape for it yet.  It's also important to go when it's cloudy because there's little shade along the way and it's so easy to burn here.  The more I get used to it, the easier it will be, but in the meantime, caution is advised.

Here, then, is a pictorial view of my walk out to the highway and back:

 You'll need to enlarge the map to find it but if you can locate 15 on the map, my apartment is just across the street to the north of that.  I'm on Modesto Penaherrera between Bolivar and Sucre.  I walked east down Modesto Penaherrera to the Plaza del Sol, turned right and followed the road back to Bolivar where I went back down to my house.  According to a woman who trains for marathons here, it's 1.5 miles.  That will also give you a pretty good idea of just how small Cotacachi proper is.

Yes, the geese are cute but you have to look closely to see the adorable goslings.

I hadn't expected to see calla lilies growing along side the road.