Friday, November 23, 2012

Blame it On the Kindle

November 22, 2012

I think photo courtesy of
Jean Bennett
Well, yes…I suppose I’ve been on a little bit of a writing hiatus recently. This is partly because I needed the break.
I also spent several weeks in bed getting over a wicked flu (and I NEVER normally get it, so I’m a wuss when that happens) and the tail-end of our “winter” overcast weather has made me crabby on some days (though our steady sunny days here have already begun – earlier than usual – thank goodness!).

I think photo courtesy of
Joan Dale

But I think the biggest finger-of-blame can be fairly/squarely aimed at the new Kindle that was delivered to me recently. 
Todd (bless his heart) has been gently asking me if I’m ever going to get out of bed again, and I’m like “not now…I’m downloading the whole '50 Shades of Gray' trilogy at the moment”.  I haven’t gotten squat done since that device arrived.
Poor guy has been asking me nicely to please “step away from the Kindle now”.

And my apologies for being tardy about responding to emails lately…leetle backed up on that one too.
In my past life, I had a tendency to schedule in a day more than I could realistically do.
Now?...I generally do stay busy, but I couldn’t exactly tell you doing what.  Grocery shopping, for instance, takes longer here (it’s not like you can run to your nearest Ralph's and pick up everything you need). Aside from having to go to Libertad a couple of times a month to stock up on certain groceries (cheeses, meats, pickles, some specialty items), the daily shopping expeditions require going to several different tiendas and vegetable stands to pick up dinner. And this week, I spent an inordinate amount of time fixing the branches on my fake $12 Christmas tree (no fresh ones here), agonized over how to arrange the canned goods on my kitchen shelves, and spent waaay too much time on Facebook.

But we have been having a lot of fun with all the new expats that have moved here in the last year or so. Expats Dave and Heather (who live in Ayangue) have taken it upon themselves to organize regular get-togethers – usually held on Saturdays at one of the Olón beach cabanas for lunch, and Wednesday nights at Por Qué No in Montanita.

Heather, Debbie C. and Dave
Halloween is not traditionally a holiday in Ecuador, but it’s beginning to catch on a little, especially in Montanita.  A big Halloween party was held this year at Por Qué No, (in conjunction with the
Montanita Brewing Company, with T.J., who showcased some new micro-brews), and I was really impressed by some of the creative and clever costumes that people wore. I’m including a few pictures of some of my favorites.
Bill and Coleen Baker

Barb and Robert
Doug and Deborah Clark
and guess who?
We really do have a nice bunch of expats now living in our area, and recently we’ve been joined by a fun contingent of expats from the Salinas/Ballenita area (Joan and Vic Dale, Jean Bennett and her husband, Randy, Janice and Ed Wilcox, Ron and Donna Carlson, and Sandy and Jim Mathre – to name a few). We’ve all had a lot of laughs, and these gatherings are always a great way to exchange information and share our experiences.
That being said, there have been a few visitors here that are pretty much out of their element, and I just want to shake my head when I meet people that clearly didn’t do their homework before coming (THIS IS NOT THE UNITED STATES, FOLKS) and arrive with unrealistic expectations or condescending attitudes.

I was standing outside the mall in Libertad a while back and struck up a conversation with a gringa who is here for several months. All she did was bitch, bitch, bitch about the slow pace, the inefficiencies and inconveniences of the culture here.  I wanted to throttle her, and all I could think of is “so go home already!”.
And a few weeks ago, I was standing on the highway waiting for a bus, when I was flagged down by a gringo couple in a rental car who said: “Hola! Do you speak English?”  and I rather uncharitably thought “geesum, what was your first clue? The blond hair or the freckles? 

And THEN they asked me “is there a pay phone around here?  Oh boy…..I had to bite my tongue not to say: “yeah, just right on down the road next to the Olive Garden.
….Okay, I was in a pretty surly mood that day, and actually their question was not all that dumb, but more seasoned travelers would know to ask for the nearest cyber café.
And I have to remind myself that we were new here once too, and surely asked plenty of ignorant questions ourselves (and probably still do).
Anyway, we just returned from the annual Thanksgiving dinner held at Casa del Sol.  This was our third time, it is always a lot of fun, and the turn-out was large.  TJ did a head-count at one point tonight, and came up with 120 people (always a nice mix of Ecuadorians and expats).

Saturday, November 3, 2012

BINGO – Olón Style

November 2, 2010

Last Saturday night, a special event was held in our Olón Park to help raise money for the local Olón Orphanage, which included wonderful entertainment and BINGO games to raise money for the kids.
There are many who have a heart for these children.
I have written before about the gringos who have taken these youngsters under their wings.

Bingo cards were sold before-hand to raise money for the kids. The night of the occasion was rainy and dreary, but the local and expat turn-out was standing room only.
It was a wonderful evening, with GREAT entertainment before the games.
Instrumental in helping pre-sell the bingo cards were several expats.
Todd and I were there until about 8PM, when we had to leave just as the BINGO games were starting. We gave our cards to some local kids before we left, and I hope some of them won a prize or two.
I did get a fairly decent video of one act --- SEE LINK BELOW:
For the time being, I am unable to upload videos directly into posts, so please click on the link below:

(INKAI with dancers from Quito and Bolivia)