Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Kathy's Surprise Birthday Party

Carol Evans from the California Kitchen emailed us last week about a surprise birthday party for Kathy Wesson at the California Kitchen.  And she and George pulled it off on Sunday night.  We all had a wonderful time and a great dinner of lasagna, corn, salad, bread, wine, and iced tea.  And the chocolate birthday cake was the best.  Here is Kathy as she walked in:


I think even Nicky was surprised!

And everybody sang "Happy Birthday, dear Kathy!"

Kathy talking to Hank and Sherry (some of the guests)

Linn & Cardell with George in the background

Larry, Brennie, Frances and Linda

Rod & Carlos

Annie, Jim & Susie

Kathy with the Birthday Hat

Kathy blowing out the candles

Kathy making a wish - more money or more sex?

Mick & Kathy talking to Carol, Jim & Annie

What a great time was had by all.  Usually it is Kathy who is cooking for everyone else.  It was nice that she realized how much she is loved by her Cuencan friends.  I hope that she had the best birthday ever.  I was glad that we were a part of the celebration.  Happy Birthday, Kathy!!  And many more!!!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Road Trip to Paute, Ecuador

Another road trip - it looks like this is getting to be a weekly occurrence.  Only this time the weather did not cooperate as well as it has during our last couple of road trips.  But I still have some nice pics:

This is the town square in Paute.  It was very overcast and cloudy.  You can't even see the mountains in the background of this picture.  But what a nice park!

We drove around town a little bit and ended up at a nice little restaurant in town called Corvel.  It was very cute and had a really nice outside seating area.  Take a look:

Mick, Kathy & Pat

Mick, Kathy, Pat & Sue (I finally show up in a picture)

How cute is this place?

This was our cute, little waitress.  She could barely see over the counter.

Me in front of a wall of really nice wall designs (like little bird houses)

Kathy & Nick in front of a wall of hanging plants

A huge coffee tree was just far enough away from the deck so we couldn't pick some and take them home.  Darn!!

There was a really cool pot sitting there.  I wasn't really sure what it was for.  Maybe just decoration.

I just loved all of the decorations that they had around this restaurant.

Pat and I have been having so much fun on these road trips with Mick and Kathy.  I'm sure we would not have been seeing as much of Ecuador outside of Cuenca if it were not for them.  Tomorrow I will have some postings for Kathy's surprise birthday party that George and Carol Evans of California Kitchen held for her tonight.  

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Ingapirca - Inca Ruins

Another road trip - this time to the Inca ruins of Ingapirca!  It was absolutely fabulous!!  And we had magnificient weather, which I have heard doesn't happen very often.  Again, Mick and Kathy were nice enough to invite us along for the day.  Take a look at these pics:

Take a look at that beautiful blue sky!!

Another overview of the ruins (notice the castle in the background)

Kathy talking to our guide, Carlos.  He did an excellent job of explaining everything. 

Kathy checking out the tree with flowers that are used to make the date rape drug.  (I'm not sure what it is called.  Mick kept calling it the "date rape tree".)

Another view of the ruins

Carlos explaining the uses of this plant (I forgot what it was called.  I guess I should have taken notes.)

This rock was lined up so that on June 21st (the summer solstice), the line runs directly east to west through two sections of the buildings.  The summer solstice was very important to the Incas.  They have a huge festival there every year on June 21st.

The llamas run wild through the ruins.

This area was the kitchen where they ground up the corn to make a corn liquor drink.

Pat and Carlos next to an Incan calendar (each hole represents a day of the month)

This pic was as we approached the "castle"

We were on top of the castle where the priest would talk to the prince.  It was really fascinating because there was a big niche in the rock where the priest would stand back in.  And directly across from him, the prince would stand in another niche.  They could whisper very softly and still hear one another.  We tried it and it worked.  Carlos said it was how they could talk to one another without anyone else hearing.

The view from on top of the castle

Another view from the castle

We had a wonderful day at the Inca ruins, but we are always glad to get back to Cuenca.  We look forward to our next day on the road. 

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Our First Road Trip

Our new friends, Mick and Kathy Wesson, invited us on our first road trip yesterday.  And of course, we said, "sure!"  It was good to get out of Cuenca for a while.  Our destination was Chordeleg and another town that I can't remember the name.  It was a really nice ride through the mountains.  Take a look:

Parts of it reminded us of California around Malibu Canyon, only much greener with higher mountains.

The town square with a really nice open market

Our new friends, Mick and Kathy, and their little poodle, Nick (he goes everywhere with them).  There was a really nice river that goes through this town.

Pat and Nick

Our First Ecuadorian Parade

An Official Float

We weren't exactly sure what the occasion was, but we think it was the 50th anniversary of the school in town.  Mick and Kathy knew one of the guys, Freddy, who was in the parade.

Freddy is in the middle of the picture (the guy with the black jacket and long white shirt) next to the guy holding the sign.

These ladies were representing some group, although we weren't sure exactly what group.  Check out the high heels that they are wearing.  Most of the young women wear VERY high heels all the time (not just in a parade).  I don't know how they keep from breaking their necks.

All in all, we had a wonderful day.  We look forward to seeing more of Ecuador in future excursions.  Will keep you posted.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Settling in Our Place

Well, we have been getting settled in pretty well.  We now have a Supermaxi card (a grocery store like Kroger), a Co-op card (an organic food store like Whole Foods--only EXTREMELY cheap--more about that later), a Fybecca (pharmacy) card and a new bank account with Banco Pichincha.  We have also been making some new friends--Mick and Kathy Wesson, Jim and Silene Reed, and George and Carol Evans (California Kitchen) and reconnecting with old friends--Clarke and Brennie Green, and Alberto Ordonez. 

We have been walking around all over town.  Check out some of these pics:

Yet another river (Rio Yanuncay) running through Cuenca.  You always have to carry a jacket if you are going to be out for a while.  It may get colder; it may get warmer; it may rain...

Isn't it beautiful?  Check out those trees.

And we like to sit in Parque Calderon and watch the people go by.  If it is sunny, we sit in the shade.

Last Saturday, there was a special presentation under the pavillon at Parque Calderon.  Some young people were doing some jazz and modern dances to music. The first song that I recognized was "Burlesque" by Christine Aguleira.  I thought it was pretty racy under the circumstances, but the dancers were really good.

My first Mother's Day away from my girls was a little different, although I went to a wonderful church service at Verbo Cuenca (a contemporary Christian church in Cuenca) where they honored mothers just as we have always done at church in Kentucky.  There was one woman who was recognized as having the most children--11!!   She was surrounded by all of her children.  And then they honored the mother with the youngest child in attendance.  Her little baby was only 1 month old! 

And my wonderful husband bought me some flowers for Mother's Day and said they were from my girls.  I told them about it on Facebook and that their dad said that they owed him 1 dollar each for the flowers.  Caitlin said, "what did he buy?  A bunch of weeds?"  I said, "no, take a look at the picture.."

Aren't they pretty?  For only 2 dollars!!  Pat said that it wasn't exactly the Rhapsody bouquet from Kroger (which is what I usually got), but I was very happy with them.  Plus, the red rose actually smelled and opened up like a rose is supposed to do.

And then on Mother's Day night, we had a wonderful home cooked meal with Mick and Kathy Wesson and some other friends that they invited.  Kathy is an AWESOME cook!!  We even had homemade rolls.  I don't know how she has learned to do it in this altitude, but she has set the bar pretty high for the rest of us.  I guess when we invite them over, we will just have to order Papa John's pizza!!   You can't go wrong with Papa John's pizza!!

I have not been taking as many pictures as I would like to.  I have either lost my camera charger or forgot to bring it.  I thought I had left it here when we were here before, but I can't find it anywhere.  But I have been making do with my I Phone camera.  I always have my I Phone with me because I have a Spanish language app that I use all the time.  It really comes in handy.

Well, enough for now.  Will post again soon.  Hasta luego!!