Thursday, 29 November 2012

Living the Life Ecuador Coast

Black Friday

It seems that the extremes have been reached when one day, you are with your family sitting down to eat a meal and being thankful for the country you live in and the way of life it provides......
Then, the very next day, and in some cases the same day, hordes of people like lemmings hurl themselves at the stores in a buying frenzy.
Over the years that I lived in the U.S., I witnessed a great tradition being upheld, but for the last few years, the trend has been to have the shops open earlier and earlier, so the shops can capture more of the frenzied shoppers.
This year, we spent it here in Ecuador with very nice people and enjoyed wonderful food, conversation, and a  balmy evening sunset.
However, we could not get away from the news that workers were being strong armed into working on Thanksgiving Day or face losing their jobs. Where have the values of the tradition gone?
BBQ by the pool

Mary on the left

Ed, the host, carving the turkey

Janice, the hostess, looking relaxed

Jean after a lemonade

Ed and Randy taking a break

There was still some food left

Enjoying the food and conversation

Here are a few images of our Thanksgiving.  Enjoy!

This Month

In 1823 James Monroe 5th president of the United States addressed the congress and proclaimed the Monroe doctrine, which in short said that if any European country tried to colonize North or South America, this would be seen as an act of aggression.  

Friday, 23 November 2012

Living the Life Ecuador coast


For the last week, we have had the pleasure of Evelyn's brother and sister staying with us here in Ecuador.
They both live and work in the New York area, so being here is a drastic change from their home, especially this year, because of hurricane Sandy. They both suffered the loss of power, flooding and no phone service. The storm also impacted how they could move about and get to their place of work. So, hopefully, when they return, the responding repair crews were able to get power, phone, and other services back to normal or close.

                                             The Birth of Jesus Bar and Restaurant in Salinas
                                            Evelyn and sister Carolyn loaded up with mud at
                                                  San Vicente Banos, Ecuador
                                                       Carolyn at mud bath area
                                                       Evelyn-being covered in mud does not
                                                       make you look thinner-proof positive!
                                             Standing in sun allowing the mud to dry
                                           Entrance to the baths with ticket booth on left
                                          Restaurant on right and fruit for fruit drinks on left
                                                                     The San Vincente Baths    

This past Saturday morning, my sister, brother, and I visited the San Vicente baths.  My sister and brother had never been to Ecuador before, and I had not yet been to San Vicente.   We caught a cab, and I asked the driver how much to take us to the baths.  He said,” Quince dollares”, which sounded okay to me, since someone had told me that it was 1 hour away from Salinas.  So, I agreed.    Past the Golden arches that lead one into Santa Elena, there was a dirt road which the driver took.  It took about 40 minutes to get there.  
                When we arrived there, we saw a few small restaurants in one area, the ticket booth in another area, and places to park, and the walkway which lead us to the large mineral water area with mud. It looked like a pond, but once you got in and waded into it, you soon found that the mud under your feet was soft and mushy.   The admission price for adults was $2 to use the mud bath and the showers and toilets and changing rooms, called vestidores  (sp.).   We paid the fee, and changed in the rooms into our bathing suits, and carried our belongings with us outside to the area of the mud bath.   There were small covered areas to put our belongings, and then we ventured into the mud.  
                  It was a lovely day with a nice breeze to keep it from getting too hot, and I noticed that a number of people were sitting on the steps with their feet in the muddy water.  There were a few men and one woman I saw with mud in their hair and face, covered from head to toe in mud.  So, I decided to wade in and put the mud into my hair and on my face, and cover my back and the rest of my body with the wonderful mud.   This mud is volcanic ash, mixed with mineral water, and it was thick enough to cover everything.   Of course, we had our bathing suits on, so we could not cover everything.  But my sister and I put mud on each other in the areas we could not reach, like our backs.  This mud is good for your skin-it purifies, and removes the toxins from your system if you let the sun dry the mud on your skin, which we did.  It felt good to let it dry on the skin, and took about 20-30 minutes to dry completely.
                   Once the mud was dry on our skin, we showered off, which took a while since the dried mud was a little difficult to get off quickly.   We were in showers with doors, so we could take off our bathing suits and really get the mud out of all the nooks and crannies of our suits and our bodies.  I had to have my sister check to make sure I got all of the mud out of my hair and ears.  Then we put our suits back on to get to the changing rooms, and dried off, and changed back into our clothes.   Our skin and hair felt so soft and I felt invigorated.
                    We could have spent $5 to have the hot mud massaged into our skin, but I think we did a good job rubbing it into our own skin.  We did not use the mineral water pool, which was also free.  We also did not use the vapor area, which had choices of aromatherapy fragrances, like eucalyptus or manzanilla- that was an extra $3, but I will use this the next time I go.
                     We had lunch there, which was reasonable.  Camaron ceviche was $6 with rice and plantains, and fried fish was $4 with the same sides.  Drinks were $1.   Then we asked for a taxi since they told us that no buses go there.  I was told that a bus does go there, but maybe not on week-ends, or maybe since it is still low season.  The taxi ride back to Salinas was $12, which was fine.  For the price, I will definitely go back to the San Vicente baths, since I found it relaxing and also invigorating, and your skin feels so good afterwards.

This month

The 14th president of the United states of America was borne in  1804 and his name was Franklin Pierce.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Living the Life Ecuador coast


This is the week we got the new cabinets in the kitchen. We had been waiting for them so we can finish our unpacking. But now, even with all the cabinet space, we do not have enough space to stow away all of our pots and pans and kitchen items. So the main ones will have to go on the wall, which is fine, because I have a space above the sink area to accommodate them. We are very pleased with the quality of the material and the workmanship. Because of the unusual nature of some of the cabinets, installation has taken 3.5 days. Now, the reason I say unusual is that we have introduced some items that the cabinet makers have not been asked to make and install before.

Italian Restaurant


                  Review on Positano, Italian Restaurant in San Lorenzo               

We decided to try the Positano Restaurant last Saturday evening with 3 of our friends.  We arrived to find steps up to the restaurant, with no ramps for the disabled. Street parking is at your own risk because the road is very busy with the restaurant being on a bus route.  When we entered the restaurant, we were showed to a table and given menus. Then we ordered our food and a large carafe of sangria, and bread was brought to the table only after we asked for it.  We did notice that a few other groups came in after us, and the manager  went over to their tables to greet them, but he never came over to our table.   There were no condiments brought to the table, and they had no parmesan cheese , or balsamic vinegar or olive oil for the bread, and had no fresh pepper.  For some of us, the first choice was not on the menu; they were pushing their specials.                                                       
         While we were waiting for our food, we noticed that the restaurant was quite large in size, and old in appearance and d├ęcor.  It lacked ambiance, and the music that was playing was not in keeping with an Italian restaurant.  The music was not original, but knockoffs, and not good ones, I might add.
           Jodie’s dish, ravioli with spinach and cheese sauce, was too salty. My osso buco was very good, but the food was warm, not hot.  Chris said his ravioli with marinara sauce was okay, but also warm, not hot.  Piedad, who also had the osso buco, said that  the meat was good, but warm , and Randy said hers was okay, but warm.  The sangria was very good. 
            After the meal, we were not asked if we wanted dessert. So, we paid and left and went  to downtown Salinas for dessert.
            None of us would return to this restaurant since it was not welcoming in any way.

This Month

The British astronomer Edmond Halley was born in 1656; his claim to fame is the discovery of the comet named after him.

One of the first colleges to open for women was the Mount Holyoke College, founded by Mary Lyon in 1837, when higher education for women was a revolutionary idea. Mount Holyoke College is the United States' oldest continuing higher institution of education for women.

This month is historic for a number of reasons. One of which is that a black democrat incumbent president of the United States was reelected for a second term. Also this month, the recognition of the 41st state of the union in 1889 was Montana.   Montana passed measures liberalizing marijuana use in this 2012 election.