Sunday, 30 December 2012

Living the Life Ecuador Coast

War Games

Over the last week, we have seen an increase in activity on the base, and the Navy, Army, and Air Force have been engaged in war games.
Fighter planes and helicopters overhead, ships and submarines off the coast.

The marines are practicing beach landings with fighter and helicopter support.
We were told that there was to be a beach landing in the morning around 10.00, so we got our stuff together and made our way to Chipipe beach where the exercise was to take place. When we arrived, we found that the beach had been cleared and the tide was out. The sky was clear, and in the distance we saw ships approaching the coast. As they got closer, we were able to make out that there were three ships.

 They looked like they were heading straight for the coast line where we were standing, but about a mile out they turned to starboard  and headed towards the base.  At this point, we had a good clear view of the broadside of the ships; two of them had helicopters on the stern. Then their guns began to fire. We could see the smoke and what seemed like a minute later, we heard the noise of the guns. Smoke was rising from the area where the base is and we could hear small arms fire. At this point, we were being strafed by fighter jets at very low altitude. I was not able to make out what type of planes they were, but very low and very fast.

Helicopters were now approaching the base, hugging the coast line and flying below radar.  From our right, we could see small crafts coming towards us at high speed. If they came from a ship, we could not tell as they just appeared. These small craft came right up to the water's edge and men in uniform jumped out, waded on to the beach and took up defensive positions. They were supported by helicopters; the small crafts left the area and the men on the beach moved to the malecon, where they halted and then returned to the beach where the small crafts had returned to pick them up. Then the beach went back to being a place of enjoyment.
This whole scenario lasted about an hour. It was interesting to see and hear. 

Bringing home the fish

The above video was taken while I was walking the dogs along the beach. I do not normally see this because the tides come back  usually earlier.
This was the last boat to come back as all the other boats were parked up below the Malecon. So I was lucky to see this, and to further push my luck, I had my small camera with me.
By the time I had gotten my camera out, the boat had pulled aboard the remaining nets and was at the water's edge.
To see this was like looking at a page in a history book. Using basic mechanics and man power, the crew of three were joined by three members of the family, and among them, they began a well- rehearsed choreography of "let's get the boat out of the water, the nets emptied, and sell our bounty".
This is a process that goes on every day of the year. The video I have sped up because the process in real time would take too long. I do not think that people would sit and watch it in that form.

The New Year's Celebration here in Salinas
As we get closer to the new year, the streets are getting more crowded and the hostels and hotels are getting booked up.
On the eve of New Year's, the malecon is closed to vehicle traffic, as the number of people trying to get to the beach swells. 
One of the traditions here is that they make paper mache figures, fill them with fireworks, and set them on fire on the beach. As you walk or drive around, you will see them on the side of the road for sale and you can see them in people's homes, which they have made themselves.
The whole of the malecon will become a place where, if you can find a place with a good vantage point and stay there, you will get a very good show. Last year, there were estimates of 40,000 people on the malecon. With the population of Salinas only being 35,000, you can see that it will be a bit crushed.
The video was taken while driving back from La Libertad. You can see these all over the place.

This Month
January 1
New Year's Day - The most celebrated holiday around the world.
January 1, 1502 - Portuguese explorers landed at Guanabara Bay on the coast of South America and named it Rio de Janeiro (River of January). Rio de Janeiro is currently Brazil's second largest city.
January 1, 1660 - Samuel Pepys began his famous diary in which he chronicled life in London including the Great Plague of 1664-65 and the Great Fire of 1666.
January 1, 1776 - During the American Revolution, George Washington unveiled the Grand Union Flag, the first national flag in America.
January 1, 1801 - Ireland was added to Great Britain by an Act of Union thus creating the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
January 1, 1863 - The Emancipation Proclamation by President Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves in the states rebelling against the Union.
January 1, 1877 - Queen Victoria was proclaimed Empress of India.
January 1, 1892 - Ellis Island in New York Harbor opened. Over 20 million new arrivals to America were processed until its closing in 1954.
January 1, 1901 - The Commonwealth of Australia was founded as six former British colonies became six states with Edmund Barton as the first prime minister.
January 1, 1915 - During World War I, the British Battleship Formidable was hit by a torpedo in the English Channel, killing 547 crewmen.
January 1, 1942 - Twenty six countries signed the Declaration of the United Nations, in Washington, D.C., reaffirming their opposition to the Axis powers and confirming that no single nation would make a separate peace.
January 1, 1958 - The EEC (European Economic Community) known as the Common Market was formed by Belgium, France, West Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and The Netherlands in order to remove trade barriers and coordinate trade policies.
January 1, 1959 - Fidel Castro seized power in Cuba after leading a revolution that drove out Dictator Fulgencio Batista. Castro then established a Communist dictatorship.
January 1, 1973 - Britain, Ireland and Denmark became members of the Common Market (EEC).
January 1, 1975 - During the Watergate scandal, former top aides to President Nixon including former Attorney General John Mitchell, Domestic Affairs Advisor John Ehrlichman and Chief of Staff H.R. Haldeman, were found guilty of obstruction of justice.
January 1, 1979 - China and the U.S. established diplomatic relations, 30 years after the foundation of the People's Republic.
January 1, 1993 - Czechoslovakia broke into separate Czech and Slovak republics.
January 1, 1999 - Eleven European nations began using a new single European currency, the Euro, for electronic financial and business transactions. Participating countries included; Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal and Spain.
Birthday - American Patriot Paul Revere (1735-1818) was born in Boston, Massachusetts. Best known for his ride on the night of April 18, 1775, warning Americans of British plans to raid Lexington and Concord.
Birthday - Betsy Ross (1752-1836) was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She was a seamstress credited with helping to originate and sew the Stars and Stripes flag of America in 1776.


Friday, 28 December 2012

Living the Life Ecuador coast


      When my brother and sister visited us in November, our friend Randy in Santa Elena graciously offered to drive us to Montanita.  So, we left about 10:30a, and stopped at the small town that makes the Panama hats, Simon Bolivar. We took some pictures of a beautiful Church there from both the inside and the outside.  My sister, Randy and I then found Panama hats to fit us, but my brother and Jodie did not find hats in their sizes.  We then continued on to Montanita.  Well, the last time Jodie and I had been to Montanita was last December, almost a year ago.   
        There has been a lot of new construction in Montanita, getting ready for the high season.  Montanita has a bohemian character all its own, with its small shops, welcoming restaurants , and the very casual attitude and dress of the locals.  It was fun to explore the shops to find unusual gifts and lunch at the Tiki Restaurante there  was  yummy!   The weather was very pleasant, but cloudy, and the walk on the beach was invigorating.
          On the way home, we stopped off at the small town of San Pablo, and went into the San Pablo Artist’s Cooperative, where they had many crafts done by local artists.  We bought some of the small crafts, a hummingbird ornament, a butterfly, and a dolphin.

This month

December 28
December 28, 1832 - John C. Calhoun became the first American ever to resign the office of vice president. He served under Presidents John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson and resigned after a series of political disagreements with President Jackson. He went on to become a U.S. Senator from South Carolina.
December 28, 1947 - Victor Emmanuel III, the last King of Italy, died while in exile in Alexandria, Egypt. He had become king upon the assassination of his father in 1900. Following World War I, he named Benito Mussolini to form a cabinet and then failed to prevent Mussolini's Fascists from seizing power. In 1946, he abdicated and went into exile.
Birthday - Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924) the 28th U.S. President was born in Staunton, Virginia (as Thomas Woodrow Wilson). He served two terms from 1912 through 1921. Best remembered for stating, "The world must be made safe for democracy," while asking Congress for a declaration of war against Germany in 1917. Following the death of his first, he married Edith Bolling Galt in 1915. He had suffered a paralytic stroke in 1919 and never regained his health, leading to speculation that his wife was actually running the White House during his illness.
December 29
December 29, 1170 - Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, was murdered by four knights acting on orders from England's King Henry II.
December 29, 1890 - Members of the U.S. 7th Cavalry massacred more than 200 Native American (Sioux) men, women and children at Wounded Knee Creek, South Dakota.
December 29-30, 1916 - In the waning days of the Romanov dynasty, Russian 'monk' Rasputin (Grigory Yefimovich Novykh) was assassinated. A group of conspirators had lured him to a private home then poisoned and shot him, although he did not die. They then tied him up and threw him into the Neva River, in which he drowned. Rasputin had gained enormous influence with Russian Emperor Nicholas II and the Empress Alexandra, claiming Divine inspiration and the ability to perform miracles, especially in helping young Nicky, the Czar's son who was a hemophiliac. He also urged severe measures in dealing with the peasant masses and for a time had virtually dictated government policy.
December 29, 1940 - During the Blitz, German aircraft dropped thousands of incendiary bombs on the center of London, causing the worst fire damage since the great fire of 1666. St. Paul's Cathedral survived but eight other Wren churches along with the Guildhall and Old Bailey were badly damaged.
December 29, 1965 - During the Vietnam War, North Vietnamese President Ho Chi Minh rejected unconditional peace talks offered by the U.S.
December 29, 1989 - Playwright and human rights activist Vaclav Havel was sworn in as president of Czechoslovakia. He had formerly been denounced by Czech Communists as an enemy of the state and had spent five years in jail for his beliefs.
Birthday - Andrew Johnson (1808-1875) the 17th U.S. President was born in Raleigh, North Carolina. He was Abraham Lincoln's vice president and became President upon Lincoln's assassination in 1865. He went on to become the first President impeached by the House of Representatives. He was acquitted in the Senate by a single vote. He later served briefly as a Senator from Tennessee until his death on July 31, 1875.
Birthday - Cellist Pablo Casals (1876-1973) was born in Venrdell, Spain. He was one of the most influential musicians of the 20th Century whose superb ability in playing the cello set new performance standards.
December 30

Monday, 24 December 2012

Living the Life Ecuador Coast

News Flash!

Late night shopping at SuperMaxi

Last minute shopping for the Jones family. You know the Jones family; they are the ones that have the restaurant called Big Ralph's.
So they went out to Supermaxi for some items to get them through this busy time over the Christmas period. As Ralph entered the store, he found it oddly empty, but he went on to make his purchase and get back to the restaurant so he could get on with the preparations for the Christmas Lunch/Dinner on Christmas Day.
In the aisle in front of Ralph was a lone figure which he thought he recognized. As he got closer to the man, it turned out to be the President of Ecuador, Rafael Correa.
With few, if any security guards around, Ralph was introduced to the President by Ralph's wife Andrea, in Spanish. The President shook Ralph's hand and they spoke for a short time. At the end of the conversation, the President concluded it by saying, " I thank you for investing in my country".
So it pays to shop late; you never know who you will meet.

A very Merry Christmas to all, and to all a 
                     Good Night!

This Month

December 25th - Christmas Day, commemorating the birth of Jesus of Nazareth. Although the exact date of his birth is not known, it has been celebrated on December 25th by the Western (Roman Catholic) Church since 336 A.D.
December 25, 1066 - William the Conqueror was crowned King of England after he had invaded England from France, defeated and killed King Harold at the Battle of Hastings, then marched on London.
December 25, 1776 - During the American Revolution, George Washington took 2,400 of his men across the Delaware River. Washington then conducted a surprise raid on 1,500 British-Hessians (German mercenaries) at Trenton, New Jersey. The Hessians surrendered after an hour with nearly 1,000 taken prisoner by Washington who suffered only six wounded (including future president Lt. James Monroe). The victory provided a much needed boost to American morale.
December 25, 1868 - President Andrew Johnson granted general amnesty to all those involved in the Civil War.
December 25, 1926 - Hirohito became Emperor of Japan.
December 25, 1989 - In Romania, a television broadcast of a Christmas symphony was interrupted with the announcement that Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife had been executed following a popular uprising. A pro-democracy coalition then took control. Ceausescu, a hard-line Communist, had been ousted from power after ordering his black-shirted state police to suppress a disturbance in the town of Timisorara, resulting in the deaths of an estimated 4,500 persons.
Birthday - Isaac Newton (1642-1727) was born in Woolsthorpe, Lincolnshire, England. He was a mathematician, scientist and author, best known for his work Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica on the theory of gravitation. He died in London and was the first scientist to be honored with burial in Westminster Abbey.
Birthday - American nurse and philanthropist Clara Barton (1821-1912) was born in Oxford, Massachusetts. She served as a nurse during the Civil War and in 1881 founded the American Red Cross.
Birthday - The founder of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Mohammed Ali Jinnah (1876-1948) was born in Karachi.
Birthday - Film actor Humphrey Bogart (1899-1957) was born in New York City. Best known forThe African Queen, The Maltese Falcon, Casablanca and To Have and Have Not.

Friday, 21 December 2012

Living the life Ecuador Coast

Man of La Mancha

 Salinas does not have its cultural arts base set in the performing arts, so when we were approached with an opportunity to not only see this production but support a worthy cause, we jumped at the chance.
The ticket price was set at $5.00 and it was to be shown at the SalinasYacht Club. Yet another bonus- until now we have not been to the yacht club, so we took this opportunity to take a look around.
Running late, we jumped into a taxi that let us off at the gate to the yacht club, where we were to meet another couple that had asked us to purchase tickets.
We made our way from the gate to the building where the musical was to be shown. This play was being performed by adults with disabilities such as Downs Syndrome, so the first thing I noticed was that the play was being shown on a floor of the building that can only be accessed by stairs. As some of our friends have physical difficulties, we thought that this was not the best idea.
A small stage was set up in an area that is used for dancing; the stage was raised, which helped the audience see better. They had speakers on both sides and lighting for the stage. The performance was produced by Fundacion Gabriel. 
There was ample seating and the crowd was from all parts of the community, old and young.
The speeches and performance were in Spanish. I doubt that there are many from my generation that have not read or have not seen this production. The fact that it was in Spanish did not detract from the performance.
The opening performance was a two man skit called Rompi la Dieta. This piece to me followed the line of mime and turned out to be quite funny.

 We then moved on to the main event, and with the aid of narration, the play began. With the exception of the narrator, the spoken word was recorded and the players were to mime the parts.
It worked well and took the risk of forgetting the lines out of the picture.
A lot of effort was put into the parts played by the individuals. Their costumes were bright and fun.

As the play unfolded and the characters entered the stage, their colorful attire and the sound track melded into a nice performance.

The crowd seemed quite taken with the performance and were making noises that indicated appreciation.

From this point, I have included a number of images that show the performers and their colorful costumes in various parts of the play. At the end, I have put together a slide show of most of the images I was able to take and set them to music. I hope that you enjoy the play as much as I did.

This month

December 15, 1791 - The Bill of Rights (first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution) became effective following ratification by Virginia.
December 15, 1840 - Napoleon was buried in Les Invalides in Paris. He had died in exile on the island of Saint Helena after his fall from power.
December 15, 1890 - Sioux leader Sitting Bull (native name Tatanka-yatanka) was killed in a skirmish with U.S. soldiers along the Grand River in South Dakota as his warriors tried to prevent his arrest.
December 15, 1939 - Gone With the Wind had its world premiere in Atlanta, introduced by producer David O. Selznick and featuring appearances by Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable.
December 15, 1943 - The Battle of San Pietro took place during World War II as a German panzer battalion devastated American forces trying to take the 700-year-old Italian village. Hollywood director John Huston, serving as an army lieutenant, filmed the battle and left behind a graphic account.
December 15, 1961 - Nazi SS-Colonel Adolf Eichmann was sentenced to death in Jerusalem for his role in the Holocaust. Eichmann had organized the deportation of Jews from all over occupied Europe to Nazi death camps.
December 15, 1964 - Canada adopted a new national flag featuring a red maple leaf on a white background.
December 15, 1989 - The dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet ended in Chile. Pinochet had come to power in 1973 after a military overthrow of the democratically elected government.
December 15, 1993 - The GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade) Treaty was approved by delegations from 117 countries. The treaty was designed to reduce international tariffs, eliminate trade quotas, and protect intellectual property.
December 15, 1995 - European Union leaders announced their new currency would be known as the Euro.
Birthday - French engineer Alexandre Eiffel (1832-1923) was born in Dijon, France. He designed the Eiffel Tower for the Paris International Exposition of 1889. He also helped design the Statue of Liberty.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Living the Life Ecuador coast

Something Fishy 

Santa Rosa
Just a short bus ride away is a world which many of the visitors to Salinas never get to see. It is not considered the place to be or is it a place where expats would consider living.
More is the pity that it is not on the agenda for a visit because you are in the heart of the community that has served this area for a  very long time, and will continue to do so.
This area is predominantly occupied by men in the morning, men bringing home their bounty to sell so they can get drunk, feed their families, and go out again the next day and do it all over again. As I walked down the narrow street, loud music filled the air as did the smell of diesel. Men sat on a low wall on one side, and men drinking and falling down drunk on the other side. The street was filled with small trucks and taxis slowly making their way down towards the shore where boats have landed their catch. The sand is littered with birds, people, and fish and is tinted red with the blood from the fish. The noise level is high as the men are shouting out what they have and want to sell. Small fish, big fish, and fish that I have never seen before are on the sand, in the boats, and held up by the men for sale.
In some of the boats the fish are still alive. It was strange; as I walked around, the attention was momentarily diverted from the fish and I became the focus. Once the novelty wore off and the need to sell their bounty was their goal, life went back to its daily routine.

As I got off the bus and walked, this was the view from the street.

Small trucks, loading fish

This one is waiting to be weighed

The scramble to sell their catch

Head off and on to the scale

Men and boats with their catch

Just arrived

Mind your head

Dinner tonight 

They are looking for a quick meal

Everyone gets fed here.

While there, I was able to take well over 200 images, but I am not going to place all of them here. I have distilled it down to these few that I feel conveys what I saw and felt. It was breathtaking for me to feel that energy.

This month

If you have not read Thomas Carlyle, then you should. His acclaimed three volume publication named "The French Revolution", was a turning point in writing for its time. As he often wrote in the present tense, it was this style that attracted Charles Dickens to use this book as an influence in writing the novel, "The Tale of Two Cities".
Thomas Carlyle, a great Scottish author, born this month in 1795.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Living the Life Ecuador Coast

The orphanage Christmas

How you can help.

Party 18th December

There will be a gift wrapping party held at Casa Blanca, the home of Peggy, Will, and Kimi.
To start around 13.30hrs.

Please bring with you an imagination, ribbon, glue, string, and anything that you think would help with the process of wrapping gifts.
for directions and please RSVP:

Peggy's cell is 0991724284 and home is 2778083, email

Bathroom kits have been purchased, which include : tooth brush,soap, and are in need of thoughtful wrapping ideas?

Tee shirts have been ordered for all the children and will be picked up by Peggy and Kimi.
All gifts need to be into Bab's by the 17th. 
This includes cash donations.

Kimi and Peggy will then go out to buy gifts to make up the difference of gifts for the children.

Christmas Eve.
The morning of Christmas Eve, a van will be leaving the Score Bar at 10.00 hrs., taking with it:

3 cooked turkeys, rice, and lentils donated by Will and Wendy,

A salad, mac and cheese,  donated by Peggy and Kimi, 

Any additional food that has been donated to Bab's or left at Score Bar, and

As many gifts as they can take.

The van is full; if you want to get to the orphanage, start looking for rides!!!

Anything you give will be happily accepted  and made great use of by the orphanage.

Remember this is about the children, they need help all year round, thank you.

San Lorenzo Beach and La Libertad over that way
Post card views 

This is what most people come to Salinas for. They want to see the sea and the beach; you may not want to live by the sea, but this is what you would like to see from time to time. 
These views are taken from the San Lorenzo beach looking at Salinas, except one of the shots is looking towards La Libertad.

Looking down the Malecon 

Looking at the Salinas Bay

The Yacht Club and Chipipe beyond

Chipipe and the headland 

The wide shot of Salinas

This Month
The town of Bhopal, India was in the news for many years. It was due to a gas leak at a pesticide plant. The gas was lethal, and killed 2800+ people in 1984.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Living the Life Ecuador coast

This year Big Ralph´s Restaurant 

Christmas Lunch on Tuesday 25th at 1pm. 

This is our menu



$ 20 per person

Only bookings are going to be accepted. To book we require 50% deposit till the 22th.  If you need further information, please let us know.

Wishing you all a very Happy Christmas

Andrea & Ralph

My trip to the wood shop

Not only did we have cabinets made for the kitchen, but we also have had additional pieces of furniture made  for the bedrooms, closets, and storage for the linens.
I was over at the house of a friend when the carpenter came over to complete an estimate  he was preparing for their kitchen. He said if I had time, he would take me back to the shop, and there we could pick up some of the pieces that we had been waiting for. So I said that it would work out fine for both of us. So off we went to his shop in La Libertad, way down the road, almost to the major road that takes you to Guayaquil.
Once there, I was able to look at some of the other work that was being done for other customers. Luckily for me, I had my camera with me and I was able to take advantage of this time to wander around the place and take some very interesting shots.
While I was busy taking shots of the work area, they were loading the truck with the pieces of furniture that was to be installed in our home.
I climbed into this big old Ford truck, and we lumbered down the road. This was one of the times I should have worn a bra. It had been a long time since this truck had suspension that worked, I was bouncing all around. The only thing that kept me in the seat was the seat belt.
The noise level in the truck was a bit high, but that was fine as they spoke only Spanish and I could  understand about one word in ten. I kept an eye on where we were going, and that was no mean feat as the windshield had not seen water for quite some time. Taking all that into consideration, we arrived safe and the furniture was installed without a fuss.

finishing touches

measure twice, cut once

looks like a bed

love the lighting!

cutting to size

sanding the wood

building area

finishing area

What century did this come from ?

A laborer working on our remaining piece

there is stuff like this all over the shop

some old pieces of furniture

converted pool table

Looking out to the road

Around the yard

The owner of the work shop

The roof of the work shop

Plenty of billboards

Looking the other way 

The shop is on a busy road

Local bus service

They do not just make furniture 

This Month

December 8, 1991 - The USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) ceased to exist, as the leaders of Russia, Byelorussia and the Ukraine signed an agreement creating the Commonwealth of Independent States. The remaining republics of the former USSR, with the exception of Georgia, joined the new Commonwealth.

Birthday - Mexican artist Diego Rivera (1886-1957) was born in Guanajuato, Mexico. He created large works for display in the U.S. which aroused controversy due to his political point of view as a Communist. In 1933, his fresco Man at the Crossroads was removed from Rockefeller Center in New York City amid claims it included a figure resembling Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin. A year earlier, a mural done for the Detroit Institute of Arts had been criticized as irreligious. Following these controversies, he was denied further commissions in the U.S., although his work remained popular in Mexico.