Cuenca Q & A

Can you drink the water?

Yes, in Cuenca it is safe to drink the water straight from the tap. In other parts of Ecuador, bring your water filter.

Rich, my husband, bought me a Brita water bottle that has a replaceable filter in it. I drink from it all the time, not because I have to, but because it is convenient. When you come to visit, I have two spare ones in case we wander outside the city.

How do you bank?

I’ve read various forums and blogs and they mostly say you can open a checking account once you have your visa. You can open a savings account, in most banks, without a visa.

If you pay utilities to a utility company, they may require you to have a bank account to pay them…this is what I’ve heard. Utilities are included in my rent, so I do not have first hand knowledge of this. Google it or hire my terrific facilitator, Isabel Mosquera at isabelmmosquera@hotmail.com, to help you unpack the banking scene.

I have money direct deposited into my Wells Fargo account back in MN and use an ATM to withdraw cash to pay for almost everything. I believe I pay a $10 fee for withdrawing, because the ATM’s bank keeps $10 of the amount I try to withdraw. At least, that is my experience. Perhaps I need to try a new bank’s ATM….

Some ATM’s have English subtitles. I’ve discovered that “retiro” is “withdraw.”

Phones

Here’s what I found out before I left Minnesota: T-Mobile will let you travel and visit other countries and use their plan, but they don’t have permanent coverage outside of North America. So, I had to cancel my plan with them, have them unlock my phone (so I can put another carrier/SIM card in it) and bought a minutes only plan/SIM card with them to use when I’m in the States.

Once in Ecuador, my facilitator took me to the best cell coverage carrier in Cuenca, Claro, and had them set up my cell with an Ecuadorian SIM card, phone # and minutes plan. I think I paid $30 and $25 was for minutes. I will use it for Ecuador calls only. I guess I have voicemail on this phone #, but I think I need to pay extra to retrieve the mail, and then figure out how to retrieve it. Everything is in Spanish, you know. I can text on it and it does operate just like a US cell phone. Recharging minutes is easy, I guess you just go to a recharging station and put $3 on it (which will hold you quite a while). Recharging stations are all over this town.

My old 612 phone number, the one many of you have, is now linked with MagicJack, a Voice Over IP carrier. It is hooked up through my apartment’s wifi and although I can take a call on my cell with it (as long as I have a wifi connection), it works best when I use the cordless phone I brought with me. I recently discovered I can text on it via my cell phone, which is WONDERFUL!

Zika?

No mosquitoes here, so no Zika.

What do you wish you would have brought with you?

Although it is WARM here compared to Minnesota, it does get chilly, especially on rainy days. I wish I would have brought at least one more warm sweater and an all-weather type of jacket. You know, the kind you wear in spring and fall, that is water resistant.

One of Grandma’s homemade afghans to curl up in when I read a book or pray.

My handheld cross. I meant to grab it, but forgot. I really miss it, especially today, Ash Wednesday.

Photos of loved ones for empty shelves, walls, and the mantle.

I can’t think of anything that you can’t get here, except posted mail.

There are shops EVERYWHERE offering EVERYTHING! I walked by a casket store recently.

What kind of wood are the doors and furniture in your apartment?

According to my rock star landlords, the doors are wood from the laurel tree and the wardrobes are wood from the eucalyptus tree. To see the wood I’m talking about, watch my apartment tour video.

Real time news

Last night was a bit of a bugger because I couldn’t watch live results of the New Hampshire primary over the internet. No news outlet gave me permission without login info for my cable carrier. I ended up listening to Fox radio over the internet, something I didn’t know existed and something I will not listen to again. It was a talk show and, well…hopefully I’ll have something better figured out for the election.

Cable TV

It is available here and I have Direct TV. About half of my stations are in English. Unfortunately, I do not have any US or English speaking news stations (no CNN, Fox News or BBC), hence the problem mentioned above.

Ummm….Are you making any friends?

Ok, this is to help alleviate your concern about whether I can make friends in a different country. Please meet Wayne and Michelle, new friends from British Columbia (Canada, peeps) I met at the Hostal Macondo and who I had a lovely lunch with on Monday.

I know you’re thinking, “What a cute couple!” You’re right, they’re cute and even more delightful!

Thanks, Wayne and Michelle, for extending your hearts to me and for giving my friends and family back home a sigh of relief. Safe travels! Visit often, move here soon! :)

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Thanks for popping in and even reading all the way to the bottom! You, friends, always lift me and make me smile! Thanks for the love and support, I’d be lost without YOU! :) See most of you on Facebook!

 

 

 

 

Nightfall, Carnival, and the Local Mercado

Ecuador is in the thick of Carnival, a South American version of Mardi Gras that lasts for about a week (it ends Ash Wednesday).

Part of the shenanigans is that everyone is a target for water balloons or spray foam (sold in cans just for the occasion). I’ve found that it is best to accept that you may arrive at your destination different than when you left.

Yes, two adolescent boys foamed me today. :D

There is lots of partying, especially after dark, and to escape the crazies many locals head out of town. I fell asleep to sirens last night…

Friday, Feb 5: Day 15

I was planning to see the Cuenca Symphony in the Old Cathedral, but considering the holiday, I decided to stay in. Besides, the hot water tech was in my apartment servicing the hot water heater (my apartment is the hot water hub for the building) and I had promised to see him in and out.

So, I sat by my window and took photos of the sun setting and the night arriving…

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Saturday, Day 16

I finally felt like myself.

Wait, huh? Ok…a bit of back story.

Day 1-15: migraines, fatigue, and brain fog found me, bullied me, and wouldn’t leave me. Perhaps adjusting to the altitude (8250 feet), and the new culture are to blame. That’s what I’m going with, anyway.

Feeling well, I went to my neighborhood Mercado (market)…

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The unprotected, raw meat piled high is something I’m trying to wrap my head around. Ecuadorans must have a resistance to several strains of food poisoning. Or maybe the US regulates meat to ridiculous levels. I don’t know, I just know I won’t be purchasing any meat there, for a very long time…

It was a musical experience. Click here or pic for video.20160206_104550_HDR

As one reader has reminded me, I’m not in Kansas anymore! Everyday yields new sights and sounds and reminds me of God’s beautiful diversity.

Remembering home, I finished the day by watching the RNC Debate in New Hampshire and saying a prayer for the USA.

Video tour of my Cuenca apartment

For the curious, here’s a look at my new apartment in Cuenca, Ecuador.

Video tour

I’m paying $440, which includes everything: fast internet (which I need for freelance writing), Direct TV (I haven’t turned it on yet), hot water, electricity, trash removal, etc.

The weather is so perfect 24-7-365, there is neither heat nor AC, nor a need for it.

My landlords are excellent: the first night I moved in I emailed them a couple of questions and within 10 minutes they were at my door making things right and giving me the scoop. I’m on a month-to-month verbal only basis…hope they let me stay here for a very long time. :)

It is a secure building in El Centro (the heart of the city), within walking distance of all the fun stuff: shopping district, churches, museums, restaurants, parks, etc.

And, you’ll notice, I’m on the fourth floor (top floor), a level higher than most other buildings, which provides spectacular views of the Andes, churches, and city. The video does not do it justice. The views are breathtaking!

It reflects the style I like (authentic, solid, and charming), plus I’m not surrounded by US expats. If that sounds harsh, part of why I left was for something different.

I so don’t deserve this, peeps. Seriously. Yet God, in His graciousness, has totally set this up for me. This is freaking AWESOME! Thank you, Jesus!

Thanks to friend and colleague, Julia, for pointing me to Psalm 16 today.

My choice is you, God, first and only.
    And now I find I’m your choice!
You set me up with a house and yard.
    And then you made me your heir!
Psalm 16: 5-6, The Message

Do you have questions? Fire away either in the comments below or on Facebook (where most activity is happening) and I’ll try to answer them in future blog posts.

Thanks for popping by :)

 

Shopping in Cuenca

20160129_154524To help outfit the furnished apartment I’m moving into tomorrow, Isabel (my facilitator, isabelmmosquera@hotmail.com) took me shopping at Coral yesterday. I had no idea what I was getting into.

Coral is Walmart on steroids!

Here’s a video to give you an idea of what it is like.

For three hours we power shopped. From section to section and floor to floor, we stuffed shopping carts with things like bedding, towels, tools, lamp, clock, scissors, stapler, shampoo, potatoes, peanut butter.

Of course, everything was in Spanish and had Ecuadorian style. It took some doing to find a mattress pad that wasn’t brightly patterned.

As we entered the checkout lane, my heart began to pound and my eyes went wide. I had two overflowing carts and a comforter bedding set besides. The volume was shocking and I suddenly remembered I had daily spending limits on my credit cards.

My brain went into hyper-drive trying to remember those limits. Were they $300 a day? $500? $1500? And which had a higher limit, the credit card or the debit card? Nothing sounded right.

Then the rabbit hole deepened:

What if a card was rejected because I’d gone over the limit, would I be unable to use it at all for the purchase?

Would Coral allow me to make payment with two separate cards? Would they let me pay cash for some, and credit for the rest?

Etcetera. Etcetera.

As the checkout lady scanned item after item after item, and the bag attendants filled carryout cart after carryout cart after carryout cart, I deliberately left the few grocery items remaining in my cart in the cart, and pushed it backwards and sideways out of the line, back into the shopping area.

Like that would make a difference.

So pathetic.

Surely Isabel wondered why I rejected the grapes…

Sighing deeply, I resigned myself to this becoming a big, long, red-faced ordeal, complete with calls to Wells Fargo and putting things back on the shelf.

While holding my breath, the cashier tallied and the screen read $392.54. I couldn’t believe it was less than $700.

I felt the sun rising and a smile spreading.

When the credit card cleared and the transaction went through, the air became light, and my feet left the ground.

Floating to the car, I took this pic for you of Isabel instructing the attendants how to load her backseat and trunk.

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Everything after that was easy. We went to the apartment building, climbed those three flights and unloaded the items inside the apartment, cold things into the fridge.

Before heading to my hotel room, I treated myself to a classic American duo, a Coke and fries, for dinner at Charlie’s (the local mom & pop fast food place, where I also took the receipt photo). 20160129_153402

Even though it was only 3pm, the day was done. My head hurt and my eyes kept closing. Back at the hotel room, I sprawled on the bed and listened to NPR and Eric Metaxas podcasts (oil and water mix better) while slipping in and out of consciousness until 7:30 this morning.

Tomorrow is moving day! :D

PS There is no chance of contracting Zika in Cuenca, as the altitude doesn’t sustain mosquito life.

More photos
Videos

 

 

 

One Week in Paradise

Well, it’s been one week since landing in Cuenca, Ecuador, my new home.

A couple of questions you’ve asked:

  • how are you earning a living?
  • what do you miss most?

$$ in Pocket

I’m exploring the digital nomad life. Digital nomads work remotely all over the world. Certain cities are better for this than others, depending on internet connectivity. Here’s a list of the best cities for being a digital nomad (Cuenca is listed 347th).  So, I am working online and am currently contracted with my former employer, The Dwelling Place, in communications and marketing. For almost four years I’ve helped create, edit, and publish their website and e-content, as well as social media and print materials. We’re soon launching a new, updated website. So exciting!

I’ll be looking for at least one more e-job once I get settled into my new place. If you’re interested in possibly contracting with me, I’m working on updating my website, wordbywordforyou.com, and LinkedIn profile with recent material. If you want to peek at something now, here’s the latest e-letter (saved as a pdf) I created from start-to-finish for The Dwelling Place.

I’m discovering it is essential to have a tech wizard in your corner, ready to jump in and troubleshoot. JR Reineck of Reineck Enterprises, Inc. has been and remains my tech hero. He’s in the US and has not only done some troubleshooting with me here, he set me up with a global VPN located in the States which enables me to access US sites. (If you’ve traveled, you may have discovered that there are restrictions and limitations to the sites you can access outside your country.) I can still shop Amazon and have the purchase sent to a friend in the States. I can also access Pandora and a full version of Netflix. Global VPN makes things like this possible.

Also, I will be setting up a Paypal account for employers to pay me electronically. You cannot mail me a check in Ecuador. (You cannot mail me anything in Ecuador, actually. Snail mail is not reliable or advisable.)

What do I miss most?

This one is easy, the ability to communicate with the locals. I could probably carry a conversation with a toddler, but am not volunteering at a childcare facility to find out. My Spanish is coming along, immersion forces the issue.

Thankfully I have English-speaking friends like you to communicate with. Your presence with me in this matters more than you’ll ever realize. Thank you!

For those of you wondering what I’m up to.

Yesterday:

  • to access internet on one of my laptops (the hostel’s wifi won’t connect to it), I visited the Cuenca library, but couldn’t read the signs for accessing the internet and didn’t know who to ask or if they’d be able to speak English. So, I left.
  • went to a internet cafe and did some promised volunteer work for The Dwelling Place. There is no coffee or food at these places-just a row of desks with computers that access the internet. I didn’t even see a sign for bathrooms. $2 for 3-4 hours. I failed to take a pic to show you, sorry peeps.
  • ate lunch/dinner at El Cantaro Restarante, a tourist hot spot off Parque Calderon (header photo is Parque Calderon, taken from the New Cathedral’s rooftop). They piped in this song, and others like it :)
  • I ordered the trout. So far, the food I’ve eaten in Cuenca hasn’t been especially tasty. I think they like their meat well done.

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  • The restaurant’s bathroom set up was new for me: one room with one stall for women, one stall for men, and an open stall for the urinal. This is going to take some getting used to… I took a pic to show you, hope you’re able to get the idea.

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  • planning for the move on Sunday. I’ll be shopping with Isabel, my facilitator, on Friday for essentials. The landlord is graciously letting me drop off some of my items on Friday, so I don’t have to store them at the hostel and then move them on Sunday.
  • watched a Rosemary & Thyme episode on Netflix

Today

  • enjoyed breakfast at the hostel with a wonderful and interesting couple from British Columbia. They’re thinking about moving here, I gave them Isabel’s business card. (Isabel is fabulous! Isabel Mosquera: isabelmmosquera@hotmail.com)
  • more planning for the move. I have a list of items to buy.
  • listened to an audio file of my son’s Christmas concert at First Presbyterian of Berkeley, CA. He had three solos! LOVE listening to that gorgeous tenor voice! Thanks for the send, sweet Charlie!
  • blog and work
  • massage at 3pm. I’m SOOO missing Diane Pease, my massage therapist in Minnesota. I’m one walking migraine without her, Cuenca is no exception. Consider a visit with her, she’s amazing! (PS I hire her for deep massage work only)
  • meander through my new neighborhood
  • maybe catch a concert tonight at the Old Cathedral (off Parque Calderon)

Another couple of days trying to find my way…

Monday:

  • enjoyed the hostel’s complimentary breakfast of yogurt and muesli, just like every day. Only this day a traveler, Herman from Austria, came and joined me. Herman is quick to share with all that he is “handsome and strong.” :)

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  • met my lawyer who is processing my professional residency visa. I signed a letter giving her permission to represent me to the authorities, in the hopes they’ll acknowledge Gustavus Adolphus College as an institution of higher education worthy of this type of visa. They recognize diplomas from government run universities and state schools, but not private schools…not without some convincing. Will see… GAC readers, please say a prayer…
  • looked at a few apartments in the afternoon with Isabel, my facilitator. One seemed promising, yet it wasn’t furnished and would have required furniture to be hoisted to the third floor through a common floor-to-rooftop area. Well, that and a few other things. I found the landlord trustworthy and helpful, as he seemed to go above and beyond to try and accommodate me. He founded and runs Colegio a distancia Promoción Social. To me, it looks like a vocational technical school. The school is located across the street from the apartment building. I fell in love with the neighborhood. From one of the apartment’s rooms and the rooftop terrace I would have had the view of San Roque’s church bells. Yeah, I’m a complete sucker for churches…

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  • delighted in a delicious mochaccino at the Magnolia Caffe between showings. ($2.75)

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  • Skyped with my husband, Rich, for 90 minutes. Rich is in the States (Minnesota) selling our house and downsizing. It was wonderful to catch up and see his face and hear his voice again.
  • Downloaded to my Kindle, Blessings for the Evening, by Susie Larson. I tried packing the hard copy version but it made my luggage too heavy. Books are like that…so I read my first evening devotional in Cuenca. Romans 8:28-29 was the Scripture reference. I cried and prayed… And then I fell asleep with a smile, remembering God is perpetually wrapping me in His love.

Tuesday:

  • a tip came to me from a local about an unlisted apartment available. That’s all I can say about that, peeps.
  • Isabel and I went and looked at it and decided it would be a good place for me to land, at least for awhile. I’m renting month-to-month a third story two-bedroom, fully furnished apartment in El Centro (the center part of the city, within walking distance of all the good stuff). It is lovely and has stunning views from many of the rooms. The only downside we spotted is the leaky roof in the master bedroom and in the living room, which they promise to fix. Oh, and it needs a healthy scouring, which they promise too. It includes all utilities, even excellent wifi (which I require for my freelance work).  $440 a month. I move in Sunday. Look for pics next week.
  • ate a mid-afternoon lunch/dinner at La Cuchara Magica. I had the Seco de Pollo, a traditional Ecuadorian dish. That and a cappuccino and a bottled water. $10.98.

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  • walked around a bit, got lost again, but this time it didn’t scare me. Then I stumbled on THIS!

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Many of you know domestic abuse is the work God has called me to. I’ve spent years praying for survivors and for God’s people to get involved, and nearly four years working for a Christian domestic abuse transitional housing program, The Dwelling Place. I didn’t walk through that blue door, but I did note the location. It sure felt like a God moment.

Of course, there is so much more to tell. The people, the altitude, the sights and smells, the weather. Stay tuned…

Tomorrow will be one week since I left Minnesota. God is good, and He is with me and, through Him, all things are possible.

More photos

Parades and Pictures

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A  religious parade went through the city today (Sunday). I guess these are common. Bells rang, cherry bombs went off, brass were playing, it was colorful and loud.

The pic doesn’t do it justice and I cannot upload a video on this blog, so…see video here

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The parade included pauses for dancing routines.

Dancers video here

OH AND…

A puzzling thing happened today, one of the hostel attendants asked me in broken English if he could take my photo. He’s about 20 years old (I am 50) and well…I was flustered, confused and suddenly lamenting that I didn’t have any makeup on…I said yes, tried to pose…I didn’t even ask why he wanted a photo…and probably wouldn’t have understood him if he tried to explain. Maybe I’ll show up on the hostel’s website or Facebook page. Who knows?

Then on the tour bus I took today…a man with a big professional camera scooted just behind and to the side of me and took some profile pics of me. We were on the bus’s upper deck, so the wind was blowing and the scenery was breathtaking. When he realized I was aware of what he was doing, he stopped.

Ummm…fair-skinned girlfriends of all ages, get your tushes down here. I think we’re beautiful in their eyes…

More photos here

Entering Paradise

So many of you are asking WHAT am I doing and WHY am I doing it and WHAT is the food like and HOW is the coffee, that I decided to resurrect this blog and post snippets of my everything Cuenca, Ecuador to hopefully reach you who are interested.

Although this post is long, I’ll aim to be pointed and pithy, as I know you have a life too. If you want to know more, email me at jodimqhill@yahoo.com.

Here she is, tucked in the Andes, in all her glory: Cuenca, Ecuador
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First the WHAT: I’ve moved to Cuenca, Ecuador to hopefully establish residency, a two-year process.

WHY? My bucket list is short: live abroad.

Why Ecuador?

  • they make it easy to live here as an expat–I’m applying for a professional residency visa
  • the weather is PERFECTO (50’s at night, low 70’s by day)–no furnaces or AC here
  • the US dollar is the currency
  • living is affordable, many retirees are down here living well off their Social Security
  • the locals are friendly and patient with expats, even those who don’t know much Spanish. Like me.
  • It is a safe place to live (little violent crime…this is not Colombia)
  • the city is GORGEOUS. I hear the country is gorgeous too…Galapagos Islands, Amazon Rain Forest…places like that…

Why Now?

  • Charlie and Emily (our kids) are launched and finding their way in adult life
  • Our parents are young and pretty healthy and don’t need us around to care for them
  • No grandchildren, yet.
  • Essentially….no one needs us right now

What about Rich (he’s my husband of nearly 30 years)?

  • Rich is staying in Minnesota to sell our home and liquidate a bit. With the kids launched, it seems a good time.
  • Depending on his work situation, he may join me, or stay in frosty Minnesota and visit often. It all depends…

A snapshot of my three days here:

  • Leave Minneapolis/St Paul airport Wednesday morning, layover and delay in Atlanta, arrive in Quito, Ecuador after midnight. Sleep at hotel closest to airport (Quito Airport Suites), eat complimentary breakfast that includes scrambled eggs with unbelievable flavor and fantastic coffee, hop a taxi and catch a 9:45a flight to Cuenca.
  • Thursday: Arrive in Cuenca around 11am and check into a budget-friendly, very wonderful Hostal Macondo. This is the view out my modestly furnished room with a private bathroom.
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This is the walkway to my room

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Thursday continued:

  • Hung out electronically with my most favorite and faithful tech guru ever, JR Reineck, to get one one of my laptops working properly. If you or your business needs/wants a tech expert, or if you just want to connect with a wonderful man who is super smart and has a huge heart: Reineck Enterprises, Inc. You cannot go wrong with JR.
  • Ate dinner at the New York Style Pizza place across the street

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I ordered the Chicken Milanese (I think). I never did figure out what the packets of mayo were for. Do you know?

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  • Retired for the night after shooing a tiny spider out of my bathroom sink with an “I  can handle this” running through my mind.

Friday:

  • 4am found a LARGE, very alive brown spider in the bathroom sink. Squelching a scream, I grabbed some tissue, wondered if it was poisonous, then grabbed gobs of tissue, went for the squish, and sent it to spider heaven, down the toilet.
  • went back to bed after ripping apart the bedding looking for spiders. Pondered on the pillow whether the big spider was the tiny spider I shooed hours earlier…could they grow that big in just a few hours here in Equatorial Ecuador? :O Or was it the mama of the baby and did she have hundreds of babies in my bathroom? :O :O This place is extremely clean, so it is just weird. No, I haven’t seen another spider, so far.
  • Awoke with a migraine. Oh joy. Monster spider got her way.
  • Ate a splendid complimentary breakfast made fresh to order at my hotel. Eggs and fresh fruit juice and fantastic coffee.
  • Went and bought a large and comprehensive map of the city: Plano Turistico Informativo de la Ciudad de Cuenca at Papeleria Monsalve
  • A deliberate looking for God moment: Sat, prayed and meditated on Psalm 121 (Scripture recommended by a pastor’s wife here in Cuenca I’ve only had email contact with. I hope to meet her soon) in the New Cathedral off Parque Calderon (central park area)

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  • Met my facilitator, Isabel Mosquera, who helped me get an Ecuadoran phone # and is helping me find a place to live and is coaching me on a few hundred other things. She’s a native Cuencano, in the same stage of life as me, who lived in Toronto for years. Isabel is fluent in English and Spanish, is prompt, professional, smart and incredibly kind. I know she’s got my back and that makes all the difference. If you’re moving to Cuenca, she has a host of services she provides, including processing your visa for you. She’s at 099 460 6669 – isabelmmosquera@hotmail.com.
  • While walking back to my hotel, I got lost…walking up and down the same street. If you don’t think this is possible, you don’t know me. Some store clerks and street vendors watched me pass by them at least six times. No exaggeration. I’m sure they’re talking about it.
  • Found out Dad is, for sure, cancer-free! Woop, woop! Praised God!
  • Fearing I’d get lost again, I ate dinner at a corner hamburger fast food place within sight of my hotel. I ordered the hamberguesa median, not knowing what that meant. It was a hamburger with a fried egg in it, a new concept to me and rather tasty. The fries were fresh…they were cutting them when I arrived. $2 for dinner at Charlie’s on Tarqui Street (I can’t find it online…it is a super small spot)

Saturday:

  • The sun came out and it became warm, sunny and sensational! The sun makes the colors of the flowers, grass, trees and rivers come alive! Jaw-dropper kind of day, but then most every day will be like this! OH MY!
  • Ate the comp breakfast, muesli and yogurt (flavor was delicious) and fantastic coffee. Avoided older expat man trying to make a move…
  • Walked to Wind Horse Cafe, an expat hangout, and did some more computer figuring using their free wifi. Overheard Boomers discussing Medicare and Trump, but not in the same conversation…One said he will not return to the country if Trump gets elected. The Wind Horse serves organic everything (I had the chef salad and a fantastic cold-pressed iced vanilla latte), is run by friendly and helpful US expats, and has a meditation room that has Buddhas and Hindu figures in it. Yep, it’s a Boomer hangout.
  • Strolled to one of the four rivers in the city, the Tomebamba River, and sat mesmerized by the flowing water.
  • Met Isabel to look at a house for rent I was directed to through a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend (the theory that anyone in the world is reachable through six connections is panning out for me). Will keep looking at places on Monday.
  • Meandered back to Parque Calderon and caught these cool cats busting a move (video here)

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  • Crossed the street to a tourist eatery, Raymipampa, which is next to the New Cathedral and ordered the Arroz con Pollo and a tasty coffee con leche (coffee with milk). $1o on the dot was the bill. The rice with chicken was nothing to write home about but they did take credit cards and the server was wonderful. He coached and catered to me well.

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  • Came back to my room and wrote this post for you.

Thanks for reading ALL the way to the bottom. You’re a hearty soul and probably a very good friend. More later…

 

And the Irish Were Never the Same

St Patrick in the Abbey of the Isle of Iona, Scotland


After freeing himself from enslavers, he returned to them, bringing Freedom.

Happy St Patrick’s Day!

 

Photo taken last spring while working on the Isle of Iona with the Iona Community.

Waiting…

Jesus Christ - Christus Statue

It isn’t too late.

You can still return to me

with all your heart.

Start crying and mourning!

… turn back to me

with broken hearts.

I am merciful, kind, and caring.

I don’t easily lose my temper,

and I don’t like to punish.

Joel 2:12-13 (CEV)