Almost time for the fat man!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve, a HUGE day in Ecuador. There is the largest parade of the year, filled with children on floats, horses and even walking. All in costume in honor of the religious side of Christmas. We enjoy the photos of others, the huge crowds (and hordes of pickpockets) keep us away, as well as the fatigue of fighting our way to a good viewing spot and then trying to fight our way out when we are ready to head home. The parade often lasts from 10 am to at least 4 pm, and they start lining up by 7 am.

But we did get into El Centro the other evening and took a nice walk after another goodbye dinner with close friends (forgot to take photos of the dinner, sorry!). Not the best, my old iPhone 3G doesn't do night shots well, but something to show a little of what things look like at night. We listened to the police band play and watched some of the locals dancing. We walked past the dinosaur exhibit, right next to the "new" cathedral. Then on to the Tomebamba river, covered in strings of blue lights. A nice end to a good day.










If you don't hear from us for a week, our Internet at the hotel we are moving to on Sunday will not have great wifi. Don't worry - LOL!

   

Old Goodbyes bring New Hellos!

Saturday, December 19, 2015

As we prepare for our return to the states, things are winding down. We have sold or given away everything that isn't coming back with us. We have packed up everything that is, except our carry-on bags. We are meeting up with friends as we can - exchanging memories, hugs and "see you laters".

Today was a memory day - over forty friends came to say goodbye at our luncheon held at Magnolia Caffe. Friends we have known since our arrival. Friends we met when they were on their exploratory trips. Friends we've met recently. Friends....we took over the restaurant, inside and out. Here are a few snaps taken before everyone arrived.



We are so blessed to have them all in our lives and we look forward to following them on Facebook and blogs as well as, hopefully, during return visits to Cuenca.

The days until we leave continue to be full...we fly back to the states on New Year's Eve Day and will celebrate the birth of 2016 with family in Florida. Then back to our RV at Bee's RV Resort, where we will spend a couple of days before moving the rig to Alliance Coach for repairs to the jacks while we go on our 14 day cruise.

We continue to shift priorities, leaving some of the Facebook groups centered around Ecuador and joining those that are RV and cruise related.

For those who have followed both our blogs, we have made our last post to Retired in Cuenca. In another year or so, we will merge it with this blog. Be sure to follow this blog via the links in the right hand column! We also hope you will pass our blog link on to those who might be interested. We have a busy year ahead!!!

   

November Happenings - Cruising, Flying & Panicking

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Well, we are back in Ecuador for our final 6 weeks. It's been a bit of a whirlwind since our return, we came straight from our 14 day cruise here (after a nine hour wait in Miami airport, sweetened by spending it in the Admiral's Club).

Our flight was uneventful, other than being a bit late taking off due to the weather that had moved into the area. That meant a landing at 3am rather than the scheduled 2am which wasn't a huge problem. We sailed through immigrations and customs, found a taxi willing to load our 2 footlockers, 3 large rolling duffels, carry-ons and us on to the Marriott Courtyard in Guayaquil. As during out visit before, we enjoyed our stay there. Very comfortable, great free wifi, good food and wonderful staff.

Oh? You want to know about the cruise? Sorry, got a bit distracted. The cruise was great! Wonderful weather, no accidents during diving (remember Stu's little incident on our last cruise? 6 stitches from a brush with coral) We had an amazing room steward and made friends with the barista at the coffee spot where I got hooked on iced cappuccino (I'd never had a foo-foo coffee before).


Stu got in lots of scuba diving, I did a couple of solo excursions (Aruba: butterfly farm, natural bridge and, thankfully, the factory for Aruba Aloe. I had gotten terribly bug bitten our last night in Florida and the itching was bad. They had a product that helped me tremendously. St. Lucia: Aerial cable car ride through the rain forest - really enjoyed this.) Stu & I did a river tubing trip in Grenada. We really enjoyed the actual tubing but our transportation was a bit lacking.

Here are few photos to give you a flavor of our two weeks, way too many to even pick favorites. You can see all the photos we took on SmugMug.










We did have one memorable moment that wasn't captured on camera but should have been. Stu, being the sweet and thoughtful hubby that he is, brought me back a gift from his first scuba outing. It was a beautiful, small conch shell that he had cleaned for me to save.

I picked it up and it felt heavier than I expected....I turned it over and.... SCREAMED AND DROPPED IT! Little red legs were crawling out towards me. The crab that had taken this as his home had survived a fresh water rinsing with all Stu's gear AND a soaking in the bathroom sink in tap water.

I am terrified by things with lots of legs - spiders and crabs, especially! Oh well, it was the thought that counts. Love you, Stu!