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Last week brought several delightful surprises;  the first was a brilliant eclipse on ‘Carnival Sunday.’    I was painting outside and happened to look up and see the halo ringing the mid-day sun.  Many others experienced the same unexpected show overhead, which might have been an omen of more torrential rains.  It also might have been a good omen of unexpected guests!

Edgar Santos, the owner and developer of the nearby Playa Escondida Project at Camerones, stopped by the riverhouse with his family.  They invited me to  see the progress they’ve made on remodeling an old home they recently purchased.   Wow.  If anyone is interested in spending a few nights at a secluded 3 bedroom 3-level beach/vacation-rental home (2 night min.) I will be glad to make the introduction!  That house has a soul!   Playamart will prepare several “What’s Cooking?” features in their kitchen in the near future.  I look forward to gathering supplies and finding time to play “Goldilocks” in their kitchen!

The wishes of another neighbor in Camerones prompted me to introduce all of you to my new friend, Emily Kalnicky, who set a “30 before 30 on 30” goal.  With dreams of building a community center, she hopes that others will take interest in the project.  Please visit her new blog, give an encouraging word and if possible, help with the progress!

Larry Piolo, of Vista Pacifica at Tasaste, gets two good-neighbor stars on his chart!  When I sent the query about sponsors for the area Zeebra Map, he immediately responded and said, ‘Sign me up!”    He dropped off a requested supply of brochures and paid for his sponsorship before I asked for payment!  I hope to visit the Vista Pacifica project next week.

A new post on the sister ‘Zeebra Designs/Playamart’ site tells of this past week’s fishing experience that left me puzzled.   Hopefully someone can identify and share some trivia about the mystery fish.  Read “Gone Fishin”  and help solve the mystery if possible!

"Ceibo Sprawl" - copyright Lisa Brunetti -

"Happy Shoes" in progress

After a few days of pretty weather, the skies turned angry and brought heavy rains and lightning for several days.  One large painting (Ceibo Sprawl) was finished, and another small one (Happy Shoes) awaited a final application of black paint.   Having exhausted my supply of blue and black pigments, and needing to coordinate with the Cancebi Museum, I easily justified a trip to Manta and then a side trip/detour to Cruzita!

I wasn’t aware of how saturated the ground was until the journey began.    The fields and pastures of Rio Chone’s upper flood plain transformed into huge lagoons.   Roads were submerged near the hub town of Rocafuerte, and traffic slowed to a crawl until we reached higher ground.

My friend Raul, at Hosta Cruzita, said that he’s not seen the roads underwater like that in over ten years.  I asked if we were having an El Nino Year, and he chuckled and said, ‘No.  Not quite.”

I was one of two children at Hostal Cruzita, though the next night they had a full house.   44 lovely guests from a neighboring canton often  travel to Hostal Cruzita where Raul and Gina and staff cater all of their meals.   I have always respected my two friends, but after witnessing the quality of food and the efficiency in preparing, serving and clean-up — my respect for them tripled!

First Course: Creamed Carrot Soup - Yummmm

This little boy (pictured left) savored every bite of his food, as did everyone.  Almost every plate at every meal returned to the kitchen  with few crumbs!

My few days of ‘timeout’ at Hostal Cruzita were, as always, refreshing!  After recharging my batteries, I am ready to resume painting – and perhaps add some new ‘life species’ to my fishing list!

Have a good week, everyone!

From Cruzita, Z

End of Day - from Hostal Cruzita -