Having grown up along the Mississippi River, I find comfort in streams, lakes and rivers. The alphabet challenge brings us to the letter R, which allows me to showcase my special view of Rio Jama. Continue reading »
Having grown up along the Mississippi River, I find comfort in streams, lakes and rivers. The alphabet challenge brings us to the letter R, which allows me to showcase my special view of Rio Jama. Continue reading »
Holy Piso, Batman, The Bodega Floor is Finished!
Yes, ‘Stage One” of the bodega floor is finished! The first coat of a non-yellowing “laca poliuretano para pisos” is now drying, and the floor will be ready for its first inspection tomorrow! My friend Sarah Dettman and her tour group of 20 will stop by the house to for a sample of my life here on the river.
It’s not fair to let them see this floor before all of you in the cheering section! The only problem is that Barb is not here for a celebratory test drive on the magic carpet! Continue reading »
Lynda, my Alabama WordPress neighbor, told a sweet story today about a basket of daisies. Her tale triggered a memory that transported me back to a fall afternoon in Natchez, Mississippi. The memory had floated downstream in my memory bank, but I found it nestled comfortably in the placid waters of my reflections.
Almost twenty years ago, the town and people of Natchez Mississippi captured my heart. Time and neglect altered one eyesore of an old home that anchored a corner of that historic area of town. With the zoning board’s blessings, my former husband and I had the honor of restoring that ugly duckling back into the swan that she once was! A bonus to that project was meeting the dear sweet neighbors, some who became very good friends. Continue reading »
Painting late into the night and into the wee hours of the morning, I realized that a new month sneaked up on me! The good luck first words of the day, Rabbit Rabbit, ran through my head! How many of you practice that tradition on the first day of each month?
This cute black and white rabbit roams the grounds of Hacienda Guachala in Cayambe Ecuador. It hip hops along the GPS point of latitude zero – how magical is that?!
Today is also May Day, and many schools will hold activities in celebration of the outdoors. I will never forget when I worked in a design studio for a UK company, and one of our very-reserved supervisors broke out in an impromptu Morris dance! I will forever treasure that memory! Continue reading »
Growing up in Mississippi placed me close enough to Louisiana’s creole culture to learn the word langiappe, which means something extra. How surprised I was to discover that the word’s origins come from a Quechua word!
Yesterday’s Marcha Blanca walk for peace exhausted my camera’s batteries while I snapped over 3G worth of photos. I present to you this token lagniappe, a little something extra from the walk for peace! Continue reading »
Jama Ecuador (Manabi) 28 April 2013
The people of Jama Ecuador have always cherished the lack of crime in their town; children roam the streets, leave their bicycles parked near a front door and meander inside without fear of someone stealing their wheels. People peer from upstairs windows and watch the passersby. A few old timers ride their horses or burros into town on weekends to trade their produce and purchase supplies to take back to their farm. Cattle patrol the streets late at night.
A Mayberry RFD atmosphere permeates the town, and one wouldn’t be surprised to find Barney Fife scratching his head while he ponders who tied the bull to the gazebo in the center of the park! Gomer would feel right at home repairing the ancient vehicles that share the streets with the latest model cars and trucks. Bicycles are popular modes of travel here, as are mototaxis and motorcycles. Neighbors swap stories around street corners or sidewalk tables or play chess or dominoes.
The coastal highway skirts around Jama, although last year a road construction detour routed all traffic through town. Ironically, burglaries increased, which tapered off after traffic no longer detoured through town. Recently several businesses were robbed during the night, and the residents of Jama aren’t happy about escalating crime.
I wasn’t surprised when the locals organized their community MARCHA BLANCA POR LA PAZ, a white march for peace. This impromptu march addressed the question, “What are we going to do about this?”
Walk with us on this MARCHA BLANCA POR LA PAZ and see if you think that Barney and Gomer would feel at home in Jama! Continue reading »
Jama Ecuador (April 27, 2013)
MARCHA BLANCA POR LA PAZ DE JAMA -
A White March for Peace, planned for 11 a.m. tomorrow, will unite the locals of Jama in standing up and speaking out against crime. Their non-political march will send the message, “Not in our backyard!”
Concerned about several recent robberies in the area, the locals will show their solidarity by wearing white and carrying a token white flag. The march will begin in front of the iglesia by the park at 11 o’clock tomorrow/Sunday.
Last August I witnessed a similar march in Bahia de Caraquez. Seeing the blanket of people dressed in white moved me to tears. The people of Jama hope to have an equally-heartwarming march. Read about Bahia’s march HERE.
May the concept of White for Peace continue to sweep crime back in its place. If crime is escalating in your area, why not organize a Marcha Blanca Por La Paz as well?
(A special thanks to Lesli Flaman for keeping us informed about local events!)
WordPress’s Weekly Photo Challenge asks us to share one image about a particular culture. Aaron states, “So that is your assignment here: inspire curiosity with your photography.”
Short and sweet, here is an image that might inspire curiosity about the annual culture of Ano Viejo in Ecuador.
If you’re curious, follow this link to a post about the end of the year effigy burnings in Ecuador.
Many people that I care about have endured extreme disappointments and challenges this year. Whenever Life presents a hurdle in my path, I compare my modest frustrations with those who have suffered losses, and I am so thankful for my meager little problems. I am rarely frightened, and I have learned that staying calm usually helps one find a positive way out of confusion. Almost always, what we fear might happen is much worse than what actually happens, and we’ve worried for nothing. (And if it DOES happen, we’ve had to live through it twice!) If we don’t have obstacles in our paths, we don’t grow as people. We look back later and say, ‘Wow! I am a much-stronger person because of those trials.”
This past week presented silly frustrations; on my way back from Guayaquil, I stopped at my attorney’s office to see if there were any new papers to sign concerning my visa. This business visa will allow me to come and go without the 90-day-per year limit for a tourist visa. I did not want to get home, only to receive a message to come sign something new. I live a three-bus /five-hour trip from my attorney’s office!
The legal assistant assured me there was nothing new, so I resumed my journey to home sweet home on the river. Continue reading »
Jama Ecuador -
My multi-talented friend Silvana touches my life in many ways. She is often found at her family’s Exclusivo Restaurant, where she takes extra care in serving me MSG-free food and natural juices ‘sin azucar’- without sugar. She added her own magic touches to the evolving bodega floor here at the Riverhouse, and she has also started dabbling with a WordPress blog! Read her loving story about her family and their restaurant HERE:TRABAJO FAMILIAR. She is a highly-intelligent young woman who has studied abroad and returned to her roots to teach others about organic gardening and being a good steward of the earth.
This week she helped brainstorm for words TAGGED Q for Frizztext’s Alphabet Challenge, and I am grateful for her suggestions! There are several words here that were new to me, so thanks Silvana for these in particular: Continue reading »
My trail is about to take me out of town for a few days, so enjoy this final postcard from Barb! See you when I’m back on Wednesday! Z
Dear fans of “Zeebra’s Designs and Destination.”
WOW!!!!! I must say I am not only amazed but also totally overwhelmed with the response that Lisa has received on her WordPress Blog concerning the Zeebra’s Flying Carpet’s Post Cards.
Thank you everyone for the encouraging comments and well wishes through all of our journey on the “Carpet”. What fun we had. Lisa has such a great spirit, (as you all have seen) energy and love that it’s easy to catch it from her…..and that I did.
I left Ecuador with a lot of fond memories and a little sadness at having to leave Lisa and “The Riverhouse.” However I will cherish all of those memories, new friends, not only from the towns we visited, but Lisa’s Blog as well. Continue reading »
This whispering-quiet full moon cast its bewitching spell over me early this morning when I peered outside to see if the clouds had cleared. Although I had no opportunity to watch the Lyrid meteors, the moon provided a nice consolation prize! The view filled me with comfort, of hope for what this day would bring to our world, to the ones that I love and the ones I may never meet.
There is so much that is wrong in this world, but there is a lot that is right as well. We have to have hope, which this moon seems to represent. I wish I could project this image in a format as grand as in real life so that you too could bask beneath its beauty. I love my injections of the city, but I cherish my life in the country where I am immersed in nature and views like this. Continue reading »
Slow internet prompts me to switch tasks, and when I am not painting or drawing, I am usually wading through photos and savoring the memories of life in Latin America. Many of you provided amazing encouragement and praise as Barbara and I stitched memories into that Magic Carpet on the bodega floor! Thank you! Barb is now traveling in Costa Rica with a cluster of good friends who were eager for their own adventures with the Hummingbird!
Here’s a pictorial of several more memories shared while Hummingbird was here: Continue reading »
The more educated our species becomes, the more we seem to distance ourselves from Mother Nature. We poke and prod her as we extract oil and gases from her bowels, and we grind away mountains in search of precious metals or coal or even rocks and boulders. We harvest her majestic timbers and desecrate vast acreages for crops and pastures. Pesticides taint the air that we breathe, the food that we eat and trickle into the ecosystem. Plastics pollute our waters and are belched back onto the no-longer pristine shoreline. Sand Mining destroys marine life and accelerates beach erosion.
Most of us are aware of the problems, but how many of us are speaking up or trying to find a way to make a positive difference? Living near the Pacific Ocean, I witness the destructive forces of the high tides, which seem to be gobbling more and more shoreline. I’ve witnessed illegal shrimp trawling and correctly predicted that dead sea turtles would soon wash ashore. I don’t blame Madre Tierra for trying to buck us off her back!
Take time out to stop and really look at our beautiful Earth. Savor the delicate beauty of a short-lived flower; admire the silhouette of a towering tree against the sky; inspect the precision of a brigade of ants or marvel at the aerial ballet of bird in flight.
The following images and quotes represent my love for this planet and my concern for its future as we approach Earth Day 2013. Z Continue reading »
A belt of clouds often shrouds our planet’s equator, though I am always delighted to look up at night and see a Carl Sagan sky! This weekend, remember to LOOK UP for the annual Lyrid Meteors! The peak time for seeing the shower will be on April 21/22 – Sunday night/Monday morning.
For more info, see details at Sky and Telescope.
Although a gentle rain is falling now, I hope to glimpse a few early arrival meteors later tonight. Sometimes it pays to look up!
See more posts about looking up HERE.
That’s all folks! Let me know if you catch any meteors!
Buenas noches from a very sluggish internet connection! I’ve learned to refrain from using the ‘Add Media’ function until late night, although late-night is often too late for me to stay awake! Playing catch up on Frizztext’s Alphabet Challenge, I present to you a few Spanish words for N and O. Continue reading »
3 Masted Sailing Ship, Ficus Trees, Guayaquil Ecuador Malecon, Guayaquil Ecuador Malecon 2000, Guayas Sailing Ship, Hill in Guayaquil Ecuador near Malecon, MAAC Museum Guayaquil, Painted t-shirts, Santa Anna Guayaquil, Water Balls for Children, What to do in Guayaquil
My trips to Guayaquil seem never complete without a stroll through the Malecon 2000, the 2.5-kilometer boardwalk along the Guayas River. Anchoring one end of the malecon is the historic neighborhood of Los Penas on the Santa Anna Hill. Like a candle nesting on a pastel cupcake, the lighthouse presides over the 360-degree view, though the Malecon and Guayas River always capture my attention. Continue reading »
Approaching the midnight hour, I’m wading through photos from the past three weeks of Barb’s visit. At times this rural life on Ecuador’s Pacific coast seems like a blend between outdoor survival school and an arts camp! Barb learned how to blend washes of transparent color on a painting, how to combine colors, create tromp l’oeil/fool-the-eye effects and how to use geometry to transfer a sketch to a larger surface.
She’s learned that the river birds chatter throughout the night, that mosquitoes will find you, (so will curious snakes and frogs!) and that the equatorial sun bites fast! In addition to shelling fresh peas from the garden, Barbara also experienced a unique vegetable that the locals call ‘achojcha.’
Barb now understands that perfection in art often robs a painting of its freshness and spontaneity. She also understands the need for breaks from intense painting sessions. A few days ago we took a break and watched my friends harvest a shrimp pond near the Riverhouse. Continue reading »
The last few days were busy ones as Barb and I worked on several projects. Barbara is a spark plug of energy, and I dubbed her Hummingbird years ago! She zips back and forth, requires many little feedings, recharges her batteries and continues to flit from task to task! Although she might crash late at night, she’s cheerfully awake at dawn and resumes her high-energy embrace of each day!
While working on the bodega floor, I suggested that we halt work and switch to a painting for her home in the Republic of Panama. No subject could trump the hummingbird theme, so after looking at many images, we combined several to create a hybrid hummingbird! Continue reading »
Buenos dias from the land of unpredictable internet and electricity! We not only lost power a few nights ago, but we’ve been enduring very poor internet service for the week so far. Hopefully this post will find its way to you soon!
The floor-painting project continues to evolve as we approach the end of Barb’s third week here in Ecuador. Her flight leaves on Sunday, and we find ourselves wondering how those three weeks flew by so quickly. Then we look at the floor and smile! Continue reading »
As Barbara and I enjoyed our unique breakfast while test driving the magic carpet, I stated, “Probably no one else in this country is having this for breakfast.”
Barbara replied, “Probably no one else in the whole-wide world is having this for breakfast!”
It looks like pizza, and is sort of tastes like pizza, but, it’s a very fast way to convert left-over quinoa into a fairly-healthy breakfast.
Mix left-over quinoa with one (beaten) egg, a dash of salt, then add enough flour to hold it together. Press into a slightly-oiled pan and cook on medium heat until browned on the bottom. Flip it to the other side and brown for another five minutes. Flip back, add warmed tomato sauce (i used leftovers from yesterday’s creole sauce) and top with mozzarella. Cook on low heat until mozzarella is melted.
Z (See Quinouli Frittata for another breakfast option)
The photo archives hold many images of colorful foods that lend themselves well to this week’s COLOR theme on WordPress. Here are some of my favorite-but-unique foods that find their way into Zeebra Cuisine. Continue reading »
The floor design strengthens with each day. Barbara continues to keep the pace and endures long hours of painting! She’s tireless and forever cheerful, and she quickly switches to other tasks if I’m bogged down with meticulous attention to details on the floor.
My friend Silvana dropped by the house and helped with the border. Before she left, we enjoyed a hibiscus/white wine/’agua con gas’ drink and then watched the birds come home to roost.
Are you ready to see the latest images?! Continue reading »
While working on the painting of the magic carpet on the bodega floor, I dashed upstairs to send a quick email. There in the inbox was the WordPress challenge for ‘Color.’
I smiled and pondered,”Color? Me?” and then I smiled.
Hurriedly, I rejoice that my eyes see in full glorious color, and I am pleased to share a few splashes from paintings that color my life!
While scrolling through glimpses of some of my more-colorful works, enjoy a song by Don McClean that is often on my painting playlist. Continue reading »
A long day of painting can be quite exhausting, and Barbara clocked out and went to sleep hours ago! Her batteries will be recharged in the morning, and mine will be dragging! I think you’ll be pleased with the progress on the bodega floor. Enjoy the photos! Continue reading »
One learns to prepare for unexpected power outages in the rural areas of Latin America, and this past week brought several lights-out moments. Just after sunset a few days ago, the power failed, and I peered downriver to see if the neighbors had power. They did not. The coastline was cloaked in darkness. Checking in the other direction, I saw that the town of Jama had power. Uh-oh; I suspected that we’d not see light until the sun peered over the hillside, and we would probably get power no sooner than mid morning.
Lack of power forces one to adjust to a different routine! Sunset signals the end of the day! After a hard day of work painting the bodega floor, Barb and I feasted on an eclectic chicken salad over a bed of hibiscus flowers! Many people are shocked that hibiscus flowers make a great salad and are also nutritious!
Having no electricity forces one to adapt to the rhythms of the natural world. When one goes to sleep with the birds, one awakens with them as well. Barb now understands another reason why I love this perch on the river! The birdlife is phenomenal!
Power was restored around mid morning. One sometimes needs a little reminder to be grateful for modern conveniences like power and internet, no matter how undependable the service!
Over the past week, Barb received several small shocks from her computer and from mine. One night while I was cooking, she noted a faint electrical ‘buzzzzz’ in the wooden floor. Continue reading »
Barb and I put in a long day of painting today and stopped around 8 tonight. Barb passed on dinner and went straight to sleep!
After working on photos, I am now heading for slumber as well. Although we don’t have a flying-carpet postcard tonight, a unique flying carpet is materializing in the bodega! Here are some photos that show the progress! Continue reading »
Frizztext’s alphabet challenge rolls on to the letter M. Shall we roll through a few words that I often hear in Latin America?
Anyone who has lived in Latin America will often hear the word “Muy.” “Muy” (Moo-ey) means ‘very,’ as in this food is ‘muy bien’ or ‘muy bueno’ or ‘muy rico.’ In any language, good food is good food!
Sopa de Mariscos is a hot soup filled with seafood, and yes, it’s muy rico/very rich!
Malo is never a word one enjoys hearing because it means, ‘bad.’ Continue reading »
Manabi Ecuador – Day 7 of Barbara’s visit
… I’m afraid we have a bit of a runaway train here… I left Barbara with the finishing touches on the second application of black paint so that I could resume work on tonight’s pizza. Living off the grid for a dozen years, I’ve ‘mastered’ the art of cooking in a skillet. Every so often I burn the brownies or burn the bread, but usually the end result is a close facsimile to oven-baked food. So instead of painting with Barbara, I am making sure that the pizza crust doesn’t burn in the skillet.
(I have a strong suspicion that Barbara might sneak over to my computer and type a side-story to all of you while I am cooking. Hence the suggestion of a runaway train…) Continue reading »
Ecuador, hand-painted floors, La Division, painting concrete floors, Places to eat in Jama Ecuador, Postcards from Zeebra Flyinc Carpet 3, restaurant exclusivo jama, Restaurant Exclusivo Jama Ecuador, where to eat in jama ecuador
Thanks, everyone, for your great feedback about the Postcard series! Barbara has enjoyed riding copilot in the WordPress seat, and one of these days she might join us with tales of her own! The riverhouse sits ‘one curve back’ from the mouth of the river, and during the rainy season, an amazing amount of debris washes past the house and later finds its way to the Playamart shelves! As the pelicans fly, the beach is very close; by land, one walks parallel to the beach about a mile to that petite village of La Division.
Jaime, one of my downstream neighbors, often sets out crab traps and promised to bring us five dollars’ worth manana. Little did any of us know that strong rains were in our future! Continue reading »
Brunch, Hand-painted floor designs, Hibiscus Tea, jama ecuador, Mint Tea, Painting on concrete, Playamart, Postcards From Zeebra Flyinc Carpet 2, What is Playamart?, Wordpress challenge A Day in my life, Xavier Cevallos Jama Ecuador
Manabi Ecuador -
Barbara and I continue to squeeze as much as we can into each day of her visit, and her remarks about what I consider a normal life make me realize that my life is far from the norm!
Barb: “This morning I am handed a wonderful looking drink…..made up of whatever Lisa has on hand….I asked her what was in it, and she assured me I did not have to eat/swallow any of the debris …..mmm I say….debris??? and she says yes….So my mind starts thinking of natural stuff she has in her little herb garden, which I’m a little apprehensive as it could be anything…..mint leaves…other leaves …and well maybe a twig or two…only Lisa knows…So not wanting to hurt her feelings ….(I’m such a good friend) I ventured into drinking it and guess what?? It was great…. liquids, leaves, twigs and all!! I drank it ALL” Continue reading »
When the bipolar internet connection allows, I will be sending random updates while my friend Barbara is here for a two-week visit. Barbara and I have been friends since the year 2000, when I moved from Mississippi to Costa Rica, where she was a neighbor. She now lives in the Republic of Panama and is using a few of her air miles for a two-week pass on the Zeebra’s Flying Carpet Express!
Like a good student, Barb arrived in Ecuador with plenty of one-dollar bills. Many people do not heed the warning to bring lots of ones. A large hotel or restaurant can easily make change for a twenty, but a small “Mom and Pop” restaurant usually struggles when you pay for a six-dollar lunch (for two) with a twenty-dollar bill.
Thankfully Barb is a seasoned traveler and understands the woes of poor internet connections. My neighbor Jody (four miles away!) confirms that her internet service is horrible as well, and she also awakens early so that she can upload images. She, like me, realizes that our service could be worse:
“… But then I remember Honduras where there were 3 important factors which had to come together to get an email out. 1) electricity, 2) a working phone line, and 3) a server who chose to serve. The last was always a crap shoot! When all three were there together at the same time it was a cause for joyous celebration!!!”
Jody added, “While in Honduras one of our friends had a baby in the States and sent us a picture which while it took forever to down load, and it clogged up our entire Internet connection for days as pieces of the gargantuan baby appeared….an eye one day, an ear the next!! Needless to say we contacted the proud parents when the Internet was open again and asked them please not to send us anymore photographs, no matter how cute their new baby was!!”
Yes, it’s often difficult to wait long slices of time for an email to open – only to discover that it’s a forward or a huge image file that drags the system down to an earthworm’s speed. Many people are not aware of what it’s like to be on the receiving end of an email that not only takes time to load but often is costing a small fortune at a cybercafe as well!
Barbara’s visit is going great, and I am slowly uploading ‘breaking-news’ images to share with you! Here are a few to illustrate a summary she penned this morning. Enjoy!
“…I am having a fun time here with Lisa….We are painting her floor in what is going to be her “Artist Studio/Gallery where she will paint and have her Paintings on sale. My body is a little sore from all of it but the work is worth it…
…We walked to town late yesterday…..about 3 miles .. but hopped one of the little taxi’s (kind of like the ones in Thailand) to get home. The day before we walked to the beach (2 miles away) and collected driftwood for her to make tables and chairs (yep…I did write that right) tables and chairs!!
…Anyway it was so hot and yes I did get sunburned….so we conned a dump truck driver that was headed back past Lisa’s place to drop us off…that was fun!! Mmmmm and I am wondering WHY I am so sore?????” (Barb Seibel)
Because the bodega floor carried scars from life on the shrimp farm, it was first scrubbed numerous times with a special cleaner and then received two coats of ‘Agua Stop’ as a barrier between the concrete and the custom designs.
I will close with Barbara’s narration: ” Yesterday after a quick break from painting…(popcorn … yummy but is this lunch??) Lisa walks down a couple of steps into her “Studio” and screams…..”A SNAKE!!” - Am not sure who scared who the most … Lisa scaring the snake, OR the snake scaring Lisa ….. OR ME from her scream!! So what does Lisa do? She recovers, grabs her camera and WALLA ( voilà!) does a photo shoot!! I on the other hand am still recovering from “heart failure” from her scream!! But alas…all was good as the snake wanted away from Lisa as quick as possible and slithered out the door. WE continued on with our painting as if nothing had happened.“
Did you enjoy the postcard?
Z (and Barb!)
“The first symptom of the process of killing our dreams is lack of time. The busiest people I have known in my life always have time enough to do everything. Those who do nothing are always tired and pay no attention to the little amount of work they are required to do. They complain constantly that the day is too short. The Truth is, they are afraid to Fight the Good Fight ” Paulo Coehlo (From Coehlo’s Blog, The Good Fight)
Sluggish internet is one of the major complaints about living off the grid in Latin America. Uploading images, opening or sending emails, and opening new pages can be quite frustrating. Many times the “like” function will not work, and one can forget trying to comment or read the drop-down box that brings comments into your space. Ask your computer to do a simple task, and then sit back and enjoy a cup of coffee while it churns before kicking it back! In the wee hours of the morning when most of the internet users are sleeping, my connection gets an injection of energy! That’s when I catch up, if my schedule allows extra snoozing time after I’m finished! Here are some screen shots from a few weeks ago: Continue reading »