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
Short and sweet, this post spotlights some of my favorite ‘red’ images as I extend my best wishes to all of you for a wonderful holiday season. Thank you for your support for my drawings, paintings, whimsical art and for my epistles, stories and serious writings as well.
For those who have time to venture back to old posts, here’s how my Ecuadorian friends observe Christmas in the town of Jama. (Manabi Province/Ecuador)
Now let’s turn back to more images in red! 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
Silvana of Monoaullador and I were delighted to say “WELCOME BACK!” to our WordPress pal, Bob Ramsak (Piran Cafe) today in Quito. Bob’s trail brought him through the Jama area two years ago as he traveled (overland) from Argentina to Chile, Bolivia, Peru and on to Ecuador on his way through the Americas. The following post summarized WEEK 18 as he finished the Ecuador leg of his journey: BOOTLEg BARBIES, AN INAUGURATION, A MARCH AGAINST MONSANTO, AND THE COOLEST FLOOR IN THE WORLD.
So who is Bob? His “About Page” offers a great summary: “I’ve visited 54 countries and roam often as a writer, editor and translator, but Piran Café is not a travel blog. It’s evolved into a notebook, a collection of experiences and moments, long and short, connected and propelled by my primary passions: travel, art, culture and justice. When they and I cross paths, you’ll find some of the results here.”
The true gift is to visit with Bob in person, where he taps into his thought-provoking reservoir of knowledge and shares stories that range from world-class sporting events to the dangers of street photography. SURVIVING A STREET ASSAULT IN POTOSI or THE DANGERS OF STREET PHOTOGRAPHY The posts are great, but the stories in person are even better! Continue reading
(Ecuador – Jan. 31, 2015) Today’s Daily Prompt arrived as I traveled the 7-plus hours between Jama and Guayaquil. Michelle suggested, “Tell us how your week went by putting together a playlist of five songs that represent it.”
Ha! The week delivered disappointments as well as grand moments, but I managed to keep my sense of humor. On Monday/Lunas, I painted until noon, put away my paints and brushes, changed and waited for a driver to take me an hour up the coast to Pedernales. Rolando and I had talked on Saturday, and I told him about the floor project and the most important item needed was a non-yellowing varnish for floors. I said that I would be painting all day on Sunday and again on Monday morning and would be ready to go by “…1 or 2 o’clock…” He didn’t show up! Welcome to Ecuador! (Perhaps I absently said, “Martes/Tuesday” instead of “Lunas?”)
I shrugged; it wasn’t important, and I switched back to painting while watching the birds come home to roost. On Martes, I waited again, and at 2, decided to walk to town (5K) and glare at Rolando with the ‘truck taxi’ and watch his mouth drop when he remembered that he’d forgotten!
I enjoy the walks to town, and I inspect the birds along the road, in the al-garrobo (mesquite family) trees and in the shrimp ponds. This week I spotted the Peruvian Meadowlark, a species that’s been absent for months. About twenty minutes into my trek, a friend drove along at high speed, braked, backed up and gave me a ride to to town! As he resumed top speed on the gravel road, I didn’t tell him of my two-day wait for the driver! Instead I smiled after we all but broke the sound barrier and said, “Muchicimas Gracias!”
Instead of seeing Rolando, I spotted one of his brothers (they have a fleet of pickup truck-taxis.) He chuckled when I told him the story; we discussed the fare to Pedernales, my list of things to do there, judged the time, and he said if we left immediately we could be back before dark. I hopped in the co-pilot seat and said, “VAMOS!”
Squinting at the laptop, I worked on photos for National Geographic’s “Your Shot,” while peering out the window and occasionally snapping photos.
We returned just before dark, and he helped carry the items from the road to Casa Loca. I slept well and started Wednesday in painting mode.
My friends harvested a shrimp pond near the house, but I was very focused on adding details to the floor. I emerged from my painting fog around dark, looked out and noted that the pond was drained, and the trucks and workers were gone! Only the birds remained as they foraged the muddy bottom for shrimp.
I painted on Thursday morning as well; my high-energy painting sessions often correlate with strong rain, so I was not surprised when the sound of rain pelted the roof. The rains strengthened, and I noted one slow drip-drip-drip from the tin roof; I moved the potted ceibo tree beneath the drip and continued painting for another hour. That lovely one-plus inch of rain saturated the ground, but it also extinguished the electricity in this 7-house circuit!
The skies cleared slightly, and I painted until almost dark and photographed the details for Timeout for Art. With an opportunity to try out my new green mud boots, I retrieved my rain coat (just in case of more rain!) and walked to town in the late afternoon. Continue reading
Jama Ecuador (Manabi Province)
Only one street back from the center of town, Hostal Ciragan provides a quiet respite – unless there’s an all-night fiesta nearby!
Mid-morning on Saturday, I walked down the quiet street near Ciragan and pondered my good fortune to have my health, happiness, and many talents to keep me happy; I also felt lucky to have a large support system of people who care about me. I noted wild tobacco in bloom near the sidewalk, and then I noted always-smiling Ramon painting the sign to the hostal! Continue reading
Could this March 12 sunset have been an omen for an unusual upcoming day?
March 13 began with an early-morning walk to town… I spotted the first Peruvian Meadowlark for the year, then stopped and admired a smooth-billed ani. The black and white stilts, herons, ibis and egrets are perennial bonuses!
Grabbing a drink and banana bread on the run, I hopped in a collectivo pickup bound for El Matal….
After a brief check at El Matal, where Project Sandbag is underway, I returned to Jama for lunch and Timout for Art post then home to resume work on the painting…
But wait! The sound of a helicopter veered me off course, and to the airstrip I went! Continue reading
Losing a friend sometimes reminds us to embrace those that are still with us. This past week’s blog feedback regarding my friend’s death touched my heart, and your observations abut Jama’s Lovely Women filled that same heart with joy. Thank you; I am blessed. I hope to acknowledge your comments by the end of the week.
Internet options at my house remain poor, so I am only online when in town – usually in short doses while having lunch or dinner at Restaurant Exclusivo. (Thanks again, Sivana!)
Silvana, btw, is preparing for another internship/cultural immersion in the USA; she leaves on April 1st and will be there about six months. She will surely share those details with everyone soon.
Are you ready to meet more fabulous women of Jama? Continue reading
Tapping into photos from the past year, I present some of the hard-working women from the Jama (Ecuador) area.
Most of these women touch my life on a weekly basis, if only through a smile as we pass on the street.
Sorting through these images made me wistful for those syrupy long-ago days in the Mississippi Delta. We did not need trendy gadgets or sleek modes of transportation. We delighted in tending the vegetable garden and shelling peas and beans in the cool shade of the mid-day sun. Life in Manabi Province in Ecuador reminds me of those days. Continue reading
It’s not fair to keep you in suspense, though the suspense for me will be wondering how long it will take to compose this post on slow internet!
So where did we stop on the last post? Oh yes, with the recipe!
200 Sections of Bamboo
200 meters of fabric
70 pounds of Nails
12 Gallons of Paint
80 Spray Cans of Paint
One Air Compressor
3 Pistols of Silicon
Rycardo Alcivar and 6 Volunteers…
7 weeks of work and counting…
Step inside and enjoy the tour! Continue reading
Jama/Manabi/Ecuador – Yesterday’s post hinted at a new project that’s underway in this cowboy town: “Jama DOES have one amazing work of art under construction. Thankfully it won’t be burned, but this project in progress deserves its own post.”
No, those cross sections of bamboo are not for a giant tic-tac-toe board!
Unless you passed over the bridge in Jama, you might be totally baffled.
Gallivanta replied, “I am looking forward to that work of art :)”
The highly-talented artist/sculptor Rycardo Alcivar often undertakes an end-of-year bamboo sculpture near the Jama River bridge on the outskirts of Jama.
RECIPE: Take 200 large sections of bamboo, 200 meters of fabric and 200 sticks for a hot-glue gun…
This week’s PHOTO CHALLENGE is One Shot, Two Ways. I immediately thought of bingo night at the nearby beach village of La Division. Cheri states, “For this challenge, capture two images — a horizontal and a vertical version — of the same scene or subject. ”
Of course, a zeebra has to find a creative approach to playing bingo while practicing Spanish!
Thanks, Cheri, for the opportunity to share these Bingo images!
(Ecuador) Life on the river often times distracts me from my daily goals. It’s hard to leave scenes like this and focus on my work! – But wait! Part of my work is observing nature! Sigh; it’s a hard job, but someone has to be part of nature’s buddy system!
I enjoy living a tiny slice back from the ocean where the tranquil river mirrors the landscape – or would that be a waterscape?! At high tide, many birds perch in the mangroves and others guard the boulders near the house. At low tide, the pelicans flop flop their wings in the water while the ibis, egrets and herons forage in the shallows.
Several hours down the coast is the petite community of San Clemente. My friends John and Mary emailed two nights ago with breaking news, “They’re hatching!!!!” The Buddy System is alive and well in that community where the locals gave a rare nest of baby turtles a magical bon voyage party!
See their post HERE: Tortuga Birth Announcement
and Dave’s report HERE:Turtles in Town
There were more global nature sightings this week! See Cindy’s great photo story HERE: Baby Hummer Crashes into Window.
The true purpose of this post is to call attention to a friend’s family in southern Mississippi and activate the Buddy System. Please read Joylene’s post and spread the word; I’m hoping there are some groups out there that might help through fundraisers.
Read Joylene’s story about her daughter-in-law HERE: Help Heaven Get Her Life Back and help if possible!
Good luck, Joylene. If I were there we’d auction a painting or get those Steel Magnolias to gather ’round and find new options. Z
“Good drawing forms the ‘bones’ on which a strong painting hangs.” (Chris Bingle)
Jama Ecuador – Last week I sketched this cow skull then did a test to see how it would look with zebra stripes. What do you think? Would it make a fun painting, or should I consider this an exercise and move on to another subject – like bright colorful coffee cherries?
Today I spent time at Palo Santo Cybercafe, which is more cafe than an internet service. Opening around 7:30 most evenings, Palo Santo has a brisk business and an easy vibe.
Luchy and I had discussed doing a joint painting project in his “VIP” room, and today we began that task.
Luchy’s drawing and painting skills are excellent, so I was amused that he chose to watch instead of paint! He wanted a backdrop for photo moments, and since the word “Jama” means “iguana,” he visualized a large iguana draped across a limb a little higher than shoulder level. We discussed several ideas, and then he watched as I mixed paints and began to ‘draw’ with the paint.
“Aren’t you going to use a pencil first?” he asked cautiously.
“No,” I smiled, “it’s not necessary… there’s no need for pencil…” Continue reading
Life remains at an easy forward motion here in Ecuador’s Manabi Province! The above image reflects the tranquil attitude of Sarah Dettman’s group that toured the area on Friday. After a picnic and a little practice at the art of hammocking, we met the other half of the group at Canoa Beach Hotel – an hour’s drive down the coast.
Early that morning Jonathan Hall and his part of the Ecuador Expat Journey group flew from Quito to Manta and drove to Canoa, while Sarah brought her new friends by land to Pedernales, over the line of the equator and to the Jama area. Continue reading
Canoa Beach Hotel, Ecuador Expat Journeys, Hand=Painted Concrete Floors, jama ecuador, Jonathan Hall, Sarah Dettman, The Magic Carpet Bodega Floor, What to do in Manabi Ecuador, Where to stay in Canoa Ecuador
May 2013 – Manabi Ecuador
Last Friday I traveled up the coast and met Sarah Dettman and her Ecuador Expat Journeys group in the coastal town of Pedernales. Driving south, we crossed the line of the equator and kept rolling until we reached the petite beach community of La Division, about a mile from where I live. In addition to having a picnic, we learned why almendros are so expensive! A lot of work goes into retrieving the nuts! 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
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
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
Farm life in Latin America, fresh cheese, images of horses, jama ecuador, Let's Be Wild Black and White, life in rural mississipp delta, Life on a farm in Ecuador, manabi ecuador, mule wagons, Nostalgia, Nostalgic images of mules, old fashion corn harvest, Queso Fresco, Shrimp farming, wooden saddles
Growing up on a cotton farm in the Mississippi Delta, I thrived in the natural world of fields and hardwoods and that grand Mississippi River. Horses, cattle, mules and chickens shared as much of my attention as the fields and lakes and river did. Fishing, water skiing and horseback riding provided endless outdoor entertainment, and the summers slipped by way too fast. Life in Ecuador reminds me of that vanishing idyllic syrupy life of my childhood when summertime was oh so very easy!
Enjoy Norah singing Summertime while we wipe away the color and pretend we’ve stepped back in time.
After weeks and weeks of slow, gentle rains, the skies lightened yesterday, and I joined my fellow locals and mudded my way to town! Although my kitchen held a generous supply of basics, I’ve learned to always be prepared for unstable weather to flex its muscles and hang around for weeks. I pulled a few weeds in the yard, which was a bit too muddy for weeding.
Hmmmm. Should I walk to town in the mud or chance going later in the rain? The trek would give me great material for this week’s challenge of “NOW” at Let’s Be Wild. Oh yes, I looked forward to snapping images as I mudded to town and back!
Would you like to tag along? Let’s Go! Continue reading
“An artist’s eyes never rest,’ and mine have been working overtime in the Jama Ecuador area! The Cevallos-Sabando family invited me to their Christmas Eve family feast, which is traditionally served around midnight. Their home and country store, located on the prominent corner on incoming Jama Avenue, faces the highly-popular park in the center of town. Throughout the year, friends, neighbors and strangers ebb and flow past the storefront, where an always-changing sidewalk display reflects the current holiday theme. On Christmas Eve, a cluster of people sat in plastic chairs and stared at the nativity scene while family members visited near the corner door and greeted passersby.
I arrived early to help my friends with the preparation of the meal, and was surprised to be immediately seated for an end-of-day meal! Not too hungry, I served a token amount of beef and rice then washed it down with fresh coconut water. Pulling my paring knife from my purse, I then began prepping vegetables. (Sometimes we learn to be prepared!)
When the kitchen duties were finished, I absorbed the buzz of activities in the center of town. Through foreign eyes I witnessed so much more than the goings on in my friends’ downstairs kitchen! Continue reading
Some people get all dressed up to welcome the new year!
My all-time favorite holiday in Ecuador is not New Year’s Eve itself, but the preparation for New Year’s Eve, when people make or buy the papier mache ‘Los Anos Viejos’ and display them proudly outside their home or business. Richard, one of the staff members of the Portoviejo Museum, starts making Ano Viejos in August and sells them at the end of each year. A few weeks ago I visited Richard’s home and received a sneak peek of his army of creations!
Let’s go see his workshop! Continue reading
JAMA ECUADOR – December 2012
When I first sank my roots into this farming community, I was one of few transplants. The locals warmly accepted their pale-skinned ‘Gringa Alta,’ and the children learned to quickly spot the strange-talking outsider when she came to town. Parents sat in the shadows and nudged the ninos to greet the Gringita. Those children (and their families) have enriched my life.
Many have a basic and simple life that bestows them with rich virtues, although they aren’t often exposed to advanced technologies. When I compare their simple lives with those in the more-cultured world, I question if one can give a child too much. Material possessions are oftentimes a curse; we stay so focused on the newest gadget that we lose sight of the simple and free gifts at our fingertips.
ThisMansJourney’s sensitive post about children and their gifts will warm any Scrooge’s heart! Most of the children of rural Ecuador will not be hoping for the latest high-tech gadget this Christmas; families focus on simple gatherings and modest gifts. These children are blessed with the gift of a simple life. Take a walk with me through the area and witness the gifts that enrich their simple lives.
The Gift Of Lazy Unhurried Days
The best present is Life’s gift of character.
Pilgrim: A wanderer, a traveler, a stranger. Someone who travels a great distance in strange lands to a holy shrine or site. A person traveling to a place of particular personal interest...
Ecuador captured my heart years ago, and there is an emotional comfort here that is a balm to my soul. Like the pilgrims that arrived on the Mayflower, I have experienced times of great joy and also faced personal challenges. Through the good and the bad, I have learned to respect the unselfish displays of love that I receive from the locals. There have been times when someone stops me, “Gringa! Gringa!” and then hands me a plantain or a piece of peanut candy. Other times I hear, “Gringita!” and they might share a handful of mandarin oranges or a stick of frozen yogurt! They all enjoy practicing their English.. “One, two, three, six, eight, seven.”
They were all concerned when their normally-healthy gringita suffered from a month-long illness, and I received suggestions of medicinal cures that ranged from honey mixed with rum to a recommendation of ‘manteca de pescado.’ The latter did not sound like a soothing cure – I was sick, but not sick enough to go in search of fish fat from the fishing village! Continue reading
This week’s Let’s Be Wild website is accepting entries in the Wild Weekly Photo Challenge for Sunsets. They stress the importance of enjoying nature – a no brainer for a nature lover like me! Living on the Pacific coast of Latin America has provided a bounty of stunning sunset Pacific views, from El Salvador to Ecuador! Here are some of my favorites!
Ailsa’s travel theme for the week is ‘Couples.’ The image above reflects a quiet sunset moment in Cruzita Ecuador. The one below shows two ‘croaking’ ground doves in my yard beside Rio Jama.
JAMA, ECUADOR: Today while in town, I spotted a sweet couple walking hand in hand down the sidewalk. Although they piqued my interest for this photo challenge, I chose not to disturb their sweet bubble of affection. Continue reading
The WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge is Near and Far. Photos can magically portray a far-away location as if it were right in front of us. By pairing an image in the foreground with one in the distance, one can strengthen and add depth to a photo. Enjoy these images that transport you to far away locations as well as illustrate the perspective of near and far! Z
Many of the photo challenges prompt a chuckle as I apply the theme to where I am in life. This week’s “Urban” challenge on Word Press presents the following criteria: The idea behind urban photography is to photograph your city and the streets where you grew up as they are.
I am a long way from home, Toto!!!
I grew up in a petite community (Bolivar) that was three miles from a petite town of 300+ (Benoit) that was 35 miles from the small city of Greenville, Mississippi. One rural blacktop road skirted the edge of my parent’s farmland; our streets and avenues were the turn rows in the cotton field and the gravel road that zippered down the levee’s spine! Ecuador is a long way from the Mississippi Delta, though my little adopted town of Jama reminds me a lot of life on a farm once upon a time in a land far away.
With pleasure, I point your attention to new neighbors and fellow bloggers who live in the same community as I! Patricia Adams Farmer’s “The Poetry of Posts” and “Color Me Happy” summarize the essence of the peaceful spirit in our area. Continue reading
The painting competition at El Matal Ecuador supplied countless photo opportunities, and a small fraction of those launched the”Got Paint?” post.
This quiet fishing village embraced the out-of town visitors who came for the San Pedro-San Pablo festivities.
Enjoy the eclectic mix of photos taken over the two-day period. Continue reading
More than 600 images crowded my camera chip when I returned home from the fishing village of El Matal on Ecuador’s Pacific Coast. Phase two of the “Post-Painting Competition“ coaxed a new batch of budding artists to the sun-drenched streets, where they magically transformed concrete light posts into works of art using Jama-Coaque pre-Columbian icons.
For two days I ambled the main streets, met new Picassos and marveled at their sheer joy of painting. They beamed with pride when anyone stopped to appreciate their work! Why, oh why, couldn’t they all win a top prize?!!!! Continue reading
Although the post-painting competition closed three weeks ago, budding Picassos continue to dot the town with splotches of color! Continue reading
The small town of Jama Ecuador has many multi-talented artists, and most of them dodge the spotlight. How can they get more recognition if someone doesn’t prod them forward from time to time?! Continue reading