Heart-warming news arrives as through angel couriers, and today two messages arrived from Helene, a dear friend from France. She wears big shoes at CNES (France’s equal to NASA) and shared some info that touched me greatly. Continue reading
Thank you all for your comments and emails. You are so kind, and your notes of concern and empathy have touched my heart. For some reason, most of the emails bounce back as entirely-blank compose pages. I hope that these updates reach most of those who so graciously inquired about my safety and of those who live in Manabi Province, where over the years I’ve posted many stories from Casa Loca.
There is still no news from my friends fromJama, Canoa, Bahia de Caraquez – and Casa Loca is low on my list of concerns. I wish I could command that Magic Carpet to come get me so I could comfort and help those that I love. Has anyone heard from John and Mary in San Clemente? Gonzalo, how are you and your family in Manta/Montechristi?
Bob, of Piran Cafe, provided an update on Jama. Thanks, Bob, the photos made me cry. They also help to understand how/why reaching Jama is an impossible task. PiranCafe:Images from Jama.
Another friend sent a link from CNN…
Here are more images of the relief effort from Mindo:
(Silvana, thank you again for the updates, which were shared on the previous post. I am glad that your family is ok, though I am sure you’re worried about all of your loves ones in Manabi Province. If we can get the Magic Carpet to soar out of Casa Loca, I’ll come get you before returning to the coastal area.)
Most of you have faster internet and can probably glean more information than I, so I will close and return to the pristine setting of my friends’ property. Weather, roads and electricity willing, I will return on Wednesday.
I wish I could provide some good news, but for now, it looks pretty bleak.
OK. I cheated.. I said I would post this and then start wading through the email inbox and the comments, as I knew that my loved ones would be worried. I peeked at the comment bar, which brought tears to my eyes. Thank you all – I am fine and am writing from the cloud forest… Just saw Pedro my electrician friend who is getting his ID badge and paperwork to head to Pedernales on a work mission. He says there is no way to reach Jama…. I will follow up with a report and photos from the people in Mindo assembling care packages for Manabi….
Here’s my post, which I began writing yesterday at 7:00 a.m. — Sunday morning, April 17, 2016
Twelve hours ago, the earth seized control of this house and almost rattled the windows out of their casings. My first thought was, ” Something’s trying to break through the window” until I remembered that I was sitting near the second-floor windows that overlooked the foot of a towering hill.
The windows continued to reverberate, and I thought, “Volcano. A volcano’s about to blow…”
The rattling continued, and my desktop computer keyboard danced off its perch and leaped to the floor.
I pondered the rain-saturated soil betwen the house and Mindo, and from Mindo west to the coast, and east to Quito.
“Power. We’ll surely lose power,” and I began unhooking the computer speakers from the mini laptop. (I had been transferring photos from little burro computer to the desktop computer.)
What is it about the moment of a power blackout? Aside from the chattering windows and trembling floors, there’s no warning – no flickering. One second the power is working, and the next second, it’s gone. The glow from the mini laptop provided comforting assistance as my next thought reassured me that the flashlight was in its place – on the sideboard near the front door. The laptop would suffice until I retreated downstairs. I noted the time, 7 p.m.
Like a tin lid on a kettle of boiling water, the rattling continued. This wasn’t the typical house-and-landscape-moving earthquake. It was more like someone sifting sand through a screen. I assumed that Mother Earth was diffusing her anger via a violent earth-shaking mood. In the Deep South/USA, we were coached to move to an interior bathroom during tornado warnings, and I rationalized, “What works for tornadoes surely works for earthquakes? ”
I sidled toward the upstairs bathroom, stared up at the framework of the door, then decided that the house would be fine – I would be fine.
The shaking rivaled Shakira’s reverberating hip vibrations as I retrieved the laptop, the camera and the bird-identification reference books. WThe rattling stopped, adn I slowly descended the steps.
Twelve hours before, I’d written about the expectations of the day. Now, twelve hours after, I’ve inspected both houses, greeted the hummingbirds, scanned for new landslides up and down the visual path of the Rio Cinto’s valley, and returned to the house to get fish food for the pond inspection walk.
“Coffee first today!” I defended ith a sense of entitlement I had not truly earned.
While preparing the coffee, I noted a flash of red and photgraphed an unusual petite bird foraging for insects. Probing and pecking, it gave me ample time for photos, but alas, this camera does well in strong light but gets poor ratings in low light. (Scarlet-backed Woodpecker.)
Sitting on the deck and comparing photos to the book, I was interrupted again by another flash or color near the pond. I froze. Moving only my eyes, I admired a toucan perched in “The Swallow Tree.” the camera captured the moment, but still not in “National Geographic” quality. After Lovely Toucan soared over the roof to its next perch, a hermit hummingbird hovered several feet in front of me and stared into my scarf-shrouded face. “Remember us? Sugar? Yes, we’re addicted to our morning sugar fix.”
I smiled, “Hey there. Yes, I’ll fix it now.”
The sun burned off the mist, and the pond mirrors a lovely day. The power remains off; there are no sounds of traffic on the road; my mind wonders, “What was that last night? What direction was that? Was it a nearby landslide? Are the roads clear? Blocked? Is this a small power outage? Large? Is Mindo blocked? Does Mindo have power? How many slides between here and Mindo? Betwen Mindo and Quito? Was it a volcano blowing? An earthquake? If so, where? The last big one to shake Casa Loca had its epicenter in Columbia. I remembered stories of the last El Nino and the epic earthquake that hit Bahia de Caraquez. The country has suffered with El Nino rains. Could this earthquake have hit the coast? Surely it made headlines.
My coffee’s cold; the fish are waiting; toucans are croaking. No news will fall from the sky, and the morning becons. The mystery bird chirps from across the pond. Like a pied piper, it teases me into countless games of Hide & Seek. It’s led me to new trophies, so I’ll close, retrieve the fish food, work tools for the day and allow all of the unanswered questions to take a back seat to the tasks of the day.
24 hours later…
As I worked n a stubborn area of weeds and grass yesterday afternoon, the thump-thump-thump sound of a distant helicopter nudged me from my work. I peered upriver while trying to coordinate the sound with my vision. A speck slowly came into closer view as the small blue helicopter followed the Rio Cinto’s topography. Retrieving the camera, I photographed it as it passed low and close, and then I watched as it sailed out of view. Hitting the review button, I sort of gasped when I read the words, “Policia.”
Pichincha. I’ve been told not to worry about this river or area unless Volcano Pichincha blows. Could Pichincha have blown? No, surely I would be able to see a column of ash. Cotopaxi? If they were patrlling this river, surely Mindo was affected as well. No, the road to town would not be open today… I resumed work until rain forced me to a grateful end to my day of work.
After cleaning up and enjoying a fresh batch of guayusa-ginger tea, the lightbulb flashed in my mind. The truck. The truck has a radio. AM and FM. Retrieving the keys, I stepped into the misting outdoors, unlocked the truck and began scanning the channels. Reception is poor in this isolated mountain-surrounded valley, though many static-filled and afew strong stations came through. Almost all were broadcasting emergency information, and I was grateful that my
Spanish skills had improved. There were lists of towns, provinces, streets, as well as bus termindals and airports mentioned. Every so often certain words came through more often. Esmeraldes. Pedernales. Manabi. Jama. (gulp – Jama). Canoa. San Vicente. Santo Domingo. Chone. Manta. Tsunami. Tsunami – Panama – Costa Rica. Hmmm, they must have put out a tsunami warning for high-risk coastlines.
Several times I heard the word, Terremoto -(Big earthquake) and I always heard, “punto ocho – point eight,” but never the first part. I think they said that the coastal highway between Pedernales and San Vicente was basically destroyed, and I pondered the history of sand mining and the beach sand that was used in construction of that section of highway. They mentioned bridges destroyed. One broadcaster mentioned a ‘loma’ (hill) that had collapsed along the highway. Over an hour later after switching channels, I deducted that the epicenter was near Pedernales, which is about 30 miles north of Jama.
Knowing I could easily become obsessed with the thirst for more information, I turned off the radio, locked the truck as the last light of the day escorted me back to the house… I lit three candles and bagan preparing an early dinner, when – with even less lack of warning than 24 hours before – the power returned!
It is now 9 AM Monday morning, and I have finished transcribing my notes. White fluffy clouds stud a pristine-blue sky, and the sun promises a morning of pretty weather. I will drive toward town and ask a neighbor if the road is clear, then will either drive to town or until an obstacle blocks the way. If the latter, I’ll park in a safe place the walk to town to find out more as well as to let everyone know that Z’s fine – though she is profoundly concerned for her loved ones in Manabi.
Thanks for sticking with this epistle. Without proofing, I’ll publish this and will update as soon as more information is gathered. If you’re wondering what the Jama locals are like, start here: The Lovely Women of Jama and here: More Lovely Women of Jama.
I speak for all of my friends in Manabi, thank you so much for your concern. Presently, you know more about what happened than I…
Several people have recently written to be sure all’s fine, as I’m not usually so silent. Thanks, amigos – the past few weeks have been busy, and I also dedicated some extra quiet time for remembering Joe.
Last week brought an assortment of ‘helpers’ to the property. Pedro, the all-in-one great kind of assistant, helped with some electrical repairs and then put on his birding sombrero and helped identify some birds. Here’s Pedro/Peter at his top form — the fact that he’s also a rapelling guide might explain how he so easily accomplished the task. I tipped him twenty dollars for his heroic efforts… Continue reading
Birds, birds and more birds! This is the Backyard Birdcount Weekend! Give your feathered friends a voice and put your backyard on the map! Yesterday I counted a few, and today I’ve been in transit, but tomorrow will be dedicated not only to identifying each species, but also to counting howw many drop by to say, “Happy Valentine’s Day!”
This is the Backyard Birdcount Weekend! I hope that many of you will give your feathered friends a voice and put your backyard on the map!
Thank you for your enthusiastic feedback on the last post! The Neotropical otter is called a “Nutria” here in Ecuador, and it visited for just that morning and has gone back into hiding. It must be playing tag with the cormorant, which returned and is again gobbling the tilapia! By combining photos, audio extractions of camera videos and music snippets, I found creative ways to tell the story via Windows Movie Maker 2012.
Today I am in Quito, and sitting across the table from me is our very special friend “Hummingbird” Barbara, who arrived from Panama this morning! We are about to travel to Mindo, and tomorrow we’ll try to document as many birds as possible there on my friends’ property.
Here’s a bird that landed near the house yesterday. Can anyone help identify this raptor?
It will be fun to swap bird stories later this week!
Here’s the link to the “Get Started” page for the birdcount:
Todays assortment of images reflect my response to Otto Munchow’s post, “Let the Sun In.” A gifted photographer and teacher, Otto stated, “Light is one of the most important factors that influence the quality of a photo.” He followed with, “There is no such thing as bad light, only suitable or not suitable light for whatever you are trying to express. ” His post offers pointers for photographing in the harsh mid-day light.
As I read his post, I thought of the ‘Plant Rescue Garden’ (pictured above) at my friends’ property in the cloud forest near Mindo. During certain hours, the sun stretches its fingers into the deep shadowed area and showcases several of the plants. The light is very dramatic, and I almost always reach for my camera and try to capture what makes it so special. Just how many photos does one need of the happily-transplanted bromeliads, begonias and orchids? For me, they serve as reference photos for those rainy days when I’m housebound and looking for inspiration for paintings.
El Matal/Jama Ecuador – Around 4:30 this morning, after peering into the pre-dawn seascape from my balcony perch at my friends’ home, I tipped downstairs and wondered whether to awaken Lesli or Becky or both. If I knocked on Becky’s door, the dog might start barking, so I tapped lightly on Lesli’s bedroom door.
“It’s here,” I said as if I were a child announcing the devil peering through my window. Or perhaps a dragon or some malevolent creature from a Stephen King novel.
Becky opened her door. “Are you OK?” she asked.
Seasoned veterans, they’ve learned the nuances of sounds that the ocean makes as it gauges its daily appetite. “It’s OK right now. We would hear the sound of the bags if they were falling.”
“But it looks like it’s reaching Paul and Cinzia’s house. It’s —“ I felt so silly, but my friends turned on the outside lights, which confirmed that the bags were in place. We stepped outside and stared quietly at the waves.
“What time is it?”
“I think around 4:30, “I sheepishly replied.
Becky checked the tide charts and said we were about half an hour from high tide.
Lesli, in her dry sense of humor, stated, “We’ve got a rookie in the house.”
We wondered what Linda was experiencing, as the municipality did a lot of work/rearranging the toppled rocks in the area near her home and Pat’s.
“Leroy and Shirley seem to be getting more water today,” Leslie stated, and we peered in the other direction as the water found its way back to the sea.
I don’t know how one can face this night after night, week after week, month after month – wondering if the next set of waves will break through the weakening defense. Some of the waves reverberate through the ground and shake this well-built home. How does one deal with the emotional and physical fatigue without having combat training?
Yes, this rookie tips her hat to the stoic ones who have been enduring this for two years. May today bring news of hope.
It’s her sparkling eyes that I’ll remember. A lovely woman cherished by many, our dear Martita Brito passed away on Saturday, October 3, 2015. Marta embraced life with infectious enthusiasm, and she seemed to pull energy from the earth and radiate it out through her touch, her smile and her eyes. She often put others first and herself last, and she spread a large swath of sunshine wherever she went. Continue reading
(MINDO, Ecuador)The view of the bamboo was as lovely upside down as it was right-side up! I am in town to get a few supplies and head back to the property before dark catches me on the road. Will be back next week, but wanted to send a smoke signal that all’s fine in the cloud forest!
Enjoy the song (below) and a sample of photos taken this week.
(Mindo-Rio Cinto- Ecuador) Last week’s Timeout for Art was published through the magic of “Publish at a later date” option, so I was immersed in the cloud forest when “Timeout” rolled out last Thursday morning. Suspecting that my buddy-support system might be worried, I drove into town this afternoon to buy a few supplies, check emails and return before dark.
Your comments gave me grand smiles, and I’ll be back online at the end of the week to properly thank all of you. Ann, I’ll dust off the magic carpet and catch those magical full-moon-eclipse beams for a fast kitchen makeover! Karen, thanks for your beautiful comment – you are an extremely-talented artist, and I’m glad that my unique life gives you such pleasure!
Photos won’t upload, emails won’t open – the internet keeps ‘dropping’ the signal, so I’ll publish this and scram home just ahead of the rising moon! After a restart, it would not connect to any network. I selected, “Cannot Connect, Help” and was given this message: You are not connected to the Internet. To get online Help, which shows you the latest help content, you need to be connected to the Internet.”
Thanks again, everyone! See you at the end of the week, weather and internet permitting!
(Playa El Matal/Jama/Manabi/Ecuador)
“It’s like a war zone,” I said more to myself than to my friend Barbara as we approached where the entrance to Coco Beach Village once stood.
The cluster of palm trees that anchored and framed the classic postcard view was no longer there. A lone sentinal remained, and its leafless trunk stretched skyward like a tattered symbol of a battle-weary war zone. Its neighbor across the concrete wall leaned dramatically toward the ground as if to echo the posture of discouraged homeowners.
The last time I walked this section of beach was in late June (photo above), and seeing the accelerated damage twisted an invisible knife in my stomach. The changes in June were alarming, and I stared in numbed silence as Barbara and I walked the same route two months later.
Flash back to February 2014, two months after the residents living on the beach first sounded the alarm. (See: It’s Devastating) There’s a vast difference between the people who observe the daily changes and those who second guess that feedback – yet don’t step onto the battlefield and witness those destructive waves from the front line.
One of those front-line people is a Pat Godkin, who allowed me to use her photo from when she first purchased her lot and slowly watched as her dream slowly evolved into a nightmare.
“If we know exactly where we’re going, exactly how to get there, and exactly what we’ll see along the way, we won’t learn anything. ”
― M. Scott Peck
(La Concordia Ecuador)- Several years ago while riding a bus from the cloud forest of Mindo to the Pacific coast, I spotted a simple tin-roofed home with a variety of baskets displayed out front. The sight intrigued me, and I watched with wistful eyes each time I zoomed past in transit.
This past week as Barbara and I drove from Mindo to the coast, I watched for the “House of Baskets” as we reached the ‘rotunda’ at La Concordia. We parked just past the house and crossed a primitive footbridge that delivered us to the yard. Two smiling women immediately greeted us, and Barbara and I stepped into a beautiful cultural exchange.
Never sure if I’d be targeted as a tourist willing to pay twice the normal price, I bashfully asked, “Quanto cuesta?” and pointed to one of the larger baskets to define a starting point.
Standing at the arrivals gate, I held a sign that said, “Hummingbird.” – Many of you will know what this means! (The following photo was taken when she helped design the magic carpet; we had just finished painting the hummingbird for her home.)
Yes, my dear friend Barbara flew in from Panama last night and will be helping with various tasks in Mindo. I handed her a new pair of work gloves last night, and we’ll purchase the mandatory boots in Mindo! It will be fun to see what creative projects we tackle while she is here; for those interested, here’s a link to my friends’ property: A Little Bird Told Me
Speaking of gates, the all-seeing eye that watches over Casa Loca did not do the best job while I was in Mindo. My friends on the farm were trying to make the ‘bridge’ easier to use, but the workers forgot to clean up when finished! Continue reading
(Ecuador) – Last call to board the Magic Carpet for the Butterfly Safari! The gate’s about to close! Please have your cameras in hand and batteries charged! Volcano Cotopaxi released a bit of stress, but she’s quiet again. The clouds and volcanic ash have gone back to sleep, and we’ve been cleared for takeoff!
The full moon will be escorting us around the globe, with stops in South America, Central America, New Zealand, Australia, Europe and North America. Put on the headphones for in-flight music and prepare for the most unique safari you’ve ever experienced.
Ready? Set… Let’s Go!
“Well she’s walking through the clouds
With a circus mind
That’s running wild
Butterflies and zebras and moonbeams
And fairy tales,
That’s all she ever thinks about
Riding with the wind” – (Jimmie Hendrix)
Prepare for the first landing; it might be rough because this flight is loaded to full capacity. Oh goodness – excuse the turbulence — we veered beyond the landing spot!!! Our apologies – complimentary drinks will be provided!
Now where in the world are we? My navigator is checking the GPS…. Continue reading
(Ecuador) Most of you know that my friend Julie is battling cancer in the USA, and I’m helping her husband Jim as he moves their home contents, personal belongings and 4 cats back to the USA. I am also helping him prepare to sell their 100+ hectare property near Mindo. After we waved ‘Goodbye’ to the moving company crew and their trucks, we began gathering information about sending the four feline members of the family to the USA. Before purchasing appropriate cat carriers/kennels, we needed the specs. Jim checked with USDA websites as well as the airlines. We also asked various friends and professionals, and we received conflicting information.
“It’s easy to send pets back to the USA.”
“Just be sure the vaccinations are up to date.”
“Any sturdy pet carrier will work.”
“All you need to do is show up with your pet and up-to-date paperwork, and fly the pet as carry on.”
“Measure the height of the pet, from the floor to the cat’s head or tail when it’s sitting or standing, and add two inches to that…”
“Ventilation on three sides of carrier/kennel.”
“Ventilation on four sides.”
“No vent holes on top.”
“Container for food and water must be attached to the inside of the carrier/kennel and accessible to the outside so that the food and water can be provided without opening the door.”
Every airline’s website seemed to have different online information, so we drove to the Quito airport (3 hours on a good day!) in hopes of finding the most reliable information. Continue reading
My Friends and WordPress Family:
The dengue and chikungunya side effects have all packed their bags and have left me in good health! Thank you so much for your support and concern as I regained my health. I am almost ready for the hurdles and am pain free. Yay!
Unfortunately, my Mindo friends are now the ones facing unexpected medical challenges, and I am in the cloud forest helping and will be mostly offline for the next few weeks. Julie is undergoing chemotherapy in Nebraska now, and I am helping Jim prepare to ship their belongings back to the USA. I will oversee their amazing property until it sells. It is with great sadness that I witness their dilemma, yet I am glad to be of help.
Will be online soon with details, but I will based in Mindo for the next few months and online briefly. I will leave you with sample images of the beauty of this area. Continue reading
Isla Corazon, Rio Chone/Manabi Province, Ecuador
With a potential El Nino Phenomenom percoluting along the equator, many locals along the Pacific coast reach back and share stories of the El Nino of 1997 and ’98. One veteran of that extended season of torrential rains and mudslides is “Don Francisco” from the petite community of Puerto Portobelo on the north-east side of Rio Chone. The mangroves on the upper half of Isla Corazon washed away during the 1997/8 disaster, and silt from landslides and farmlands destroyed more trees and altered river channels. Francisco Reyes, who worked on a farm before the upper half of the island washed away, dedicated his time to replanting and restoring this heart-shaped island.
My friend Stephen visited several weeks ago, and I rode with him to Isla Corazon, where we took the two-hour tour of the island. Known best for having one of the largest colonies of frigate birds along the Pacific coast, Isla Corazon hosts many other bird species. I never tire of visiting Isla Corazon, admiring the bird life and hearing new stories. Each tour is unique, depending on which guide takes you on a special canoe ride and which birds and critters step onto the stage.
There are three things to consider when talking about the fine arts. There is the object itself, say, the painting in the gallery. Next, there is the spectator who is gazing at the painting with varying degrees of attention. And finally there is the interaction between the two — which some insist is the actual “work of art.”
Hugh Curtler/Daily Gadfly-The Eye of the Beholder
Bahia de Caraquez-Ecuador –
This week’s quote came from one of Hugh’s recent posts. I’d like to hear your feedback after reading his post, though Ron Mayhew published a few images that same week that confirm Hugh’s observations. See Ron’s: At The Museum Looking At Art Distracted (Ron, I’ve been unable to comment, but suffice to know that I enjoyed the photos!)
This finds me writing from Museo Bahia de Caraquez (Ecuador) where I’ve been staying and working on watercolor studies of artifacts this week. It’s great to work during the public-viewing hours, but it’s blissful when working after hours! I’m sobered by the staff’s trust in my presence here as I meander between my favorite pieces, settle in and merge psyches with the ancient artifacts!
There are lots of heart-warming stories from my time here at the museum, but it’s time to go to work! I’ll leave you with a thumbnail sheet of the progress.
Have a good day, and see you again soon with stories and more images! Z
With great pleasure, I embrace the start of this week feeling much better! I’m not ready for the hurdles or pole-vaulting competitions, but as Johnny Nash’s lyrics state, ‘I think I can make it now, the pain is gone.’
Enjoy Jimmy Cliff’s version of the song while cyber-strolling through Playamart’s Ecuador files.
Pour a cup of coffee or tea – hot or chilled and take a magic trip to the middle of the world. My neighbor Nelly will lead the parade!
I am thrilled to pass along this information! If you’d like Sharon’s email address, leave a comment, and I will pass it along to you. The gallery is located near the popular “Mama Rosa’s Restaurant” in the port city ofManta Ecuador. -Z
From Artist-Gallery Owner-Art Instructor/Teacher, Sharon Statema:
You and your friends are invited to
Manta Galeria de Arte
Grand Opening Open House
Saturday, June 20, 2015
3 to 6 pm.
Stop in and take a look around. We have lots of artwork in all price ranges.
We look forward to seeing you,
Sharon and Marlin
Phone: 0969 667 891, US # 360-371-2496
“In every outthrust headland, in every curving beach, in every grain of sand there is the story of the earth.” Rachael Carson El Matal Ecuador – June 6 – 11, 2015 The coastline along Playa El Matal continues to change daily. This post will show images taken on June 9th and 11th, 2015. Before seeing this week’s changes, let’s turn back time and take a peek at this beach as it was in June 2012.
Let’s move forward to images from this week; the image below shows the Coco Beach entrance at the end of the road:
El Matal-Manabi Province- Ecuador
Once upon a time, a friend of mine gave me some advice that I carry with me every day. He said, “Lisa, remember to be on the offensive, so that you never find yourself in the defensive mode.” That advice from my Episcopalian priest-friend has been some of the best advice I’ve ever received.
I have watched my friends take a proactive role after Mother Ocean took her first big bites from El Matal 18 months ago. They researched, brought in engineers and specialists and selected the sand-bag approach based on the advice they were given.
“The sand bags will buy you time to put a more long-term solution in place,” Engineer Daniel Santana suggested at a public meeting in March 2014.
A summary of those meetings and work done on the bags can be found HERE.
How well I remember the beauty of this beach. Look at the image taken in June of 2012 during the post-painting competition…
Mother Ocean played a sadistic card this past weekend, and the people of El Matal do not appreciate her sense of humor. The critical window during the high tides passed, and when everyone assumed there would be two weeks of relief, she played her trump card. Most of the following images were taken at the same spot as the image above.
“When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.” ― Maya Angelou”
My dear friend, Gloria, who owns Hotel Ciragan, often refuses my money when I stay at her place in town. “You owe me nothing,” she smiles in her elegant style. “That’s OK,” I accept with a smile, “Two can play this game…”
El Matal – Jama/Manabi/Ecuador
Limbo: “An uncertain situation that you cannot control and in which there is no progress or improvement” (Dictionary/Cambridge.org)
Two nights ago, the sound of thundering waves triggered my concern for nearby El Matal; I did not sleep well and was dressed and outside at dawn. The day before, Rio Jama seemed to creep higher than normal.
A view of the mouth of the river confirmed my suspicions – after a year of good behavior, Mother Ocean was throwing a tantrum.
My friends’ father/grandfather, Senor Jose Nestor Cevallos, died three days ago at the age of 103; after the services yesterday, I reached El Matal just before sunset and high tide. Some locals stood in clusters and watched the thundering waves while others watched stoically from their properties. The mood was somber.
(Cayambe Ecuador) Climb aboard the wedding-party bus! We’ll drive about three kilometers from the Mitad de Mundo site (of the wedding) to Hacienda Guachala, one of my favorite places in the Andes.
I credit Roberto Moreno for introducing me to many wonderful people here in Ecuador. Many of them are now dear friends. He was a gifted net worker, and I sometimes said that he was in the wrong profession. Instead of being an attorney, he would have been great in the tourism or PR fields. He was always introducing like-minded people.
My best memory of him was when I was working on a large painting for his office. A new person was tending the front desk when an older man arrived and said that his wife had food poisoning and was in the hospital. The gentleman had a hearing problem and could not understand what the new gal was saying. Roberto had clients in his office, so I left the library/conference area, introduced myself to the gentleman and asked for details. I told him that I would be sure that Roberto received his message, which I did.
For the rest of the day, I often worried about the stranger and his sick wife. Because I was a guest of the Moreno’s, I worked late on the painting while Roberto worked late in his office. When he finished, he stated, “Lisa. I’d like to go check on the lady in the hospital. Would you mind if we drove over there?”
I was so relieved, and through Roberto, I gleaned two new lovely friends.
Roberto helped with another medical emergency when a person on a tour collapsed one morning at the hotel in San Vicente. He coordinated an ambulance to take the lady to specialists in Guayaquil much sooner than through the public health procedures. She had surgery for a brain aneurysm, so his help most likely saved her life. (She recovered and is doing quite well.)
If stories of his death are correct, I fear that Roberto was battling his own personal undertow. I share this poem from a previous post: The Undertow
THE UNDERTOW by Carrie B. Morgan
You hadn’t ought to blame a man fer things he hasn’t done,
For books he hasn’t written or fer fights he hasn’t won;
The waters may look placid on the surface all aroun’,
Yet there may be an undertow a-keepin’ of him down.
Since the days of Eve and Adam, when the fight of life began,
It ain’t been safe my bretheren, fer to lightly judge a man;
He may be trying faithful fer to make his life a go,
And yet his feet get tangled in the treacherous undertow.
He may not lack in learnin’ and he may not want for brains;
He may be always workin’ with the patientest of pains,
And yet go unrewarded, an’ my friends, how can we know
What weights he may have climbed to but fer the undertow?.
You’ve heard the Yankee story of the hen’s nest with a hole,
An’ how the hen kept layin’ eggs with all her might and soul,
Yet never got a settin; not a single egg I trow;
The hen was simply kickin’ ‘gainst a hidden undertow.
There’s holes in lots of hen’s nests, and you’ve got to peep below
To see the eggs a-rollin’ where they hadn’t ought to go.
Don’t blame a man fer failin’ to achieve a laurel crown
Until you’re sure the undertow ain’ draggin’ of him down.
(From Tony’s Scrap Book, 1940- 41 edition (Anthony Wons))
I extend my deepest sympathies to the family and loved ones of Dr. Roberto Moreno di Donato. Z
(Ecuador) My friend Sarah invited me to stay in her home with her beautiful family and attend Jonathan and Medlin’s wedding last Saturday, April 4, 2015. The fact that the wedding was held on the line of the equator made it extra special. Wasn’t I the lucky one to be around such happy and beautiful people?!
Better late than never, this post follows last week’s A Wedding on the Line of the Equator.
*(Shhhhhh! Let’s stop the chit-chat; we’d best sit down and enjoy the wedding!) (Me? Sit? Never! I’ll take a few more photos!)
(Ecuador) Almost 200 people attended last night’s Student Exposition at Museo Bahia de Caraquez. Students of drawing, painting, computer, dance and drumming pooled their talents and put on a great show for their families and loved ones!
I still get a bit lost in the museum, which has many floors, starting at below-ground level. The ground and second floor showcase an impressive collection of artifacts, and the ‘second floor” also has the director’s office, public bathrooms and a cute glassed artifact room not for public use. Continue reading
Last month a large landslide blocked the normal route between Quito and the hub city of Santo Domingo. The bus detour adds about three hours to the ‘normal’ 7-hour ride between Quito and Jama where I live. After an overnight stop in Santo Domingo, I reached the Pacific Coast late yesterday and happily checked in to Hostal Ciragan. I all but collapsed with ‘bus fatigue.’
The Jama streets held puddles (lagoons?) of water at every corner, and I was pleased to know that I did not have to race home to water a thirsty garden. Tapping into a healthy internet system was a second bonus for spending the evening in town. I remembered what my Colorado friends had mentioned; its nice to get caught in a rain shower and not get cold! After a few hours’ rest, I tipped out on the almost-deserted streets and enjoyed a quiet visit with my friends at Palo Santo Cafe. No, I did not get cold; in fact, I jogged there and back and did not get sweaty either! (My cough is much better!) Continue reading
Several months ago, my friend, Jonathan Hall, invited me to attend his wedding and said that it would be at the Mitad del Mundo and Hacienda Guachala.
“Are you serious?” I replied, “That’s one of my favorite places in the country! I love Guachala!”
This past weekend, friends and I basked in the beauty of a unique wedding that we’ll never forget. Equally memorable was the outpouring of love as we witnessed this beautiful event. Because Jonathan has a travel agency and often works with tours, he provided a special bus for out-of-town guests. Our tour-director groom gave us several chuckles as we traveled from Quito to Cayambe.
This post will show the prelude to the actual wedding. Climb aboard and join us as we await the arrival of the bride!
Good Friday will never be the same for me after yesterday’s “Procesion Jesus del Gran Poder” in Quito. Raised in Mississippi and aware of the negative associations of Mississippi to the Ku Klux Klan, I looked forward to seeing the purple-tunic version with pointed hats used in their proper and rightful place in history.Cariote
The positive associations with these costumes trump the KKK’s negative one.
Although many friends had told me that this would be a huge event, I was not prepared for the masses that crowded the streets to observe the procession. Continue reading
“I do not think, sir, you have any right to command me, merely because you are older than I, or because you have seen more of the world than I have; your claim to superiority depends on the use you have made of your time and experience.”
― Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre
Instead of focusing on art this week, I’m sharing photos that record a tiny slice of Michelle’s 8-day visit to Ecuador. My multi-talented young friend managed to find timeout for art between various outings. Enjoy the photos and marvel at the use she made of her time!
“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.” Dr. Suess
About ten years ago while spending a week in the San Juan Del Sur Nicaragua area, I met a perpetually-cheerful university student who became an instant friend. From New York, multi-talented Michelle was on vacation, and we shared mutual interests in horseback riding, art and music. She later spent time with me in Costa Rica, and we’ve kept in close contact over the years.
After coordinating plans via email for her first trip to Ecuador, Michelle arrived in Guayaquil on Saturday night for an 8-day visit. We spent Sunday morning saying, “Hello-Hola” to the resident reptiles and pigeons at ‘IGUANA PARK’ before touring Guayaquil’s Malecon 2000 area. Continue reading