Friday, February 15, 2013

Bugs Me

February 7, 2013

(I wrote this a little over a week ago, and only now have a chance to post it).

As I write this, there is a grasshopper the size of a TV remote control (I KID YOU NOT) clinging to my living room curtain. I would take a picture of it, but right now Todd is out-of-house with our camera.   They’re pretty lethargic if not disturbed, so I’m pretty sure I can get a snapshot of it when he gets home.
The pic included here was one I took several years ago of same type of fella – but he was outside, and SMALLER.

The night rains we get this time of year also bring out the bugs.  I hate bugs, especially cockroaches. One of my bigger concerns when we decided to move to Ecuador was the possibility of frequent encounters with mutant sized insects and spiders, but – thankfully – that hasn’t been my experience.
I saw bigger cockroaches (flying palmettos) more often while living in Palm Springs than I have seen in Ecuador.

Still, it is the “buggy” season now. Friends of mine that live in Salinas (“hi!” to Joan Dale and Jean Bennett) battled mightily with their brooms against swarms of gnat-like creatures for a brief period several weeks ago, and there’s been a lot of chatter on the Facebook Ecuador expat pages recently about the creepy-crawly issue(s).

We have been inundated with crickets for the last month.

I don’t care for crickets much, but I can live with them.  I have no problem squashing the smithereens out of cockroaches, but I can’t kill crickets. I either sweep them out, or gingerly pick up and toss outside the ones I find.
But, I REALLY DON’T LIKE IT when they jump on me in bed in the middle of the night. Scares the bejeezuz out of me.

One of the funniest stories I’ve heard lately about bugs is one shared by a friend of mine – Scott Creasy, who lives about 40 minutes north of us in the Manabi province.

I’m going to share it in his own words:

“Since there has been a lot of talk about bugs... Here is a true story that happened this week.
On Monday, I heard a mouse in the closet. I tried to find it, but... After dark, I went to the kitchen and I saw the little mouse run behind the trash can. Thinking fast, I set 3 traps. In less than 15 minutes, I had caught the little mouse.
But, I did not take up the other 2 traps. One of which I had placed under a piece of furniture in my mother's room.
Last night, she wakes to the sound of the trap snapping. Then she hears the struggle begin for the remaining moments of life.

This morning... this is what I found:

Courtesy of Scott Creasy

Okay… in the time it’s taken me to write this, the grasshopper on the curtain has disappeared.  Somewhere in the house.

If that thing jumps on me in the middle of the night, they will hear me screaming in Des Moines.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Ride Well

January 31, 2013

It is hot, humid and muggy here now, at least from this desert rat’s perspective.
I’m a big sweat ball as soon as I get out of the shower (almost pointless to bother and take one, actually) and I’m wearing the skimpiest items in my wardrobe.  At my age, this really isn’t a pretty sight.
I don’t look good in halter and tank tops, since my kimono upper arms are essentially lethal weapons if I start swinging them around. This is the time of year when I sometimes think we should live in Cuenca so I can justify wearing long sleeves.

Maybe FLOTUS can pull off the sleeveless look, but not me.
It is the sunny season AND the rainy season along our area of the coast (“high” season).  This is a little hard to explain.
Keep in mind that Ecuador is a country with a multitude of micro-climates, and we live in a coastal pocket climate that’s different than the weather approximately 40 miles north or south of us.

Generally, from around mid-December to end of March it is hot and sunny during the day, with a nice breeze off the ocean if you’re close to it, or in the hills.  Towards sunset, the clouds gather over the hills just inland, and then – after dark – the sturdy, all night rains begin. Some years it rains more, but a couple of years ago, it was bone- dry here during “high season”.   This year, the rains are starting often in the late afternoons, and some locals I know are forecasting a mild El Niño.
I’ve given up trying to predict our weather from year to year, because I think it’s just plain weird everywhere on the planet now.

(I took these pictures of some neighbor kids about a week ago, while they were dancing in one of our recent late afternoon, refreshing downpours).
I just came back from a quick errand to our local tienda, where I saw the funniest thing.

I see a lot of Ecuadorians wearing tee-shirts emblazoned with English logos, and I ran into an elderly braless neighbor gal (I’m guessing she’s around 70-yrs).  She’s a tiny thing – she comes to about my shoulders, and I’m only 5’3”.

She had a shirt on that said “I See You’ve Met the Girls” written across her chest.  I had to laugh, and I asked her if she knew what it meant. She started laughing too, while pointing out the obvious – that her “girls” weren’t that big.  I love the people here!

I haven’t mentioned our dog Daisy in a while. She is still just the GREATEST dog in the world, and without a doubt, the best and most well-known ambassador for Jardines de Olón (our former neighborhood, and where we will be building this year on the lot we own next to the house we sold). Daisy still hangs out there most of the time when she’s not with us, but that’s okay. She was an independent 7-8 month old beach stray when we adopted her nearly 3 years ago, and she knows how to take care of herself.

Every visitor falls in love with her, and all our neighbors spoil her to pieces – she definitely doesn’t lack for attention. And she loves a party.  The other night, I cruised up to the new “Ojas” bar and restaurant near our park in Olón, which has become a popular hang-out since it opened.  An awesome  kick-ass-traveling-through rhythm and blues band was playing that I wanted to hear.

Who beat me there?  Yep…Daisy was already there hanging out and making friends at the bar.

Todd and I did get sad news a few days ago. We’ve been corresponding for some time with a super neat couple (Denny and Terri Waller of Kauai for the last 30 years), who were scheduled to arrive here later this month. Through those emails, we all developed a special, kindred-spirit bond with one another.
Denny was a Southern California surfing legend who was a gremmie in Newport Beach in the ‘50’s and who also surfed the original BIG WEDNESDAY at Killer Dana in the early ‘60’s, before the harbor was built.
They were coming here to explore the possibility of moving to Ecuador, to escape the now over-built commercialism of Kauai, and find a simpler lifestyle.  All of us were looking forward to their arrival – Denny in particular.  
Denny passed away earlier this week.  Todd and I are heartbroken and we can only imagine Terri’s pain.
Terri, we are with you in spirit.
And Denny….Ride Well, Friend.

We feel honored to have known you.

Terri and Denny Waller

Courtesy of Terri.