Thursday, 31 October 2013

Galapagos Island Dance competition


$ 5.25


 $ 6.75


 $ 9.90


$ 5.80


$ 5.80


$ 7.70


$ 4.75


$ 4.75





$ 1.50


$ 2.00


$ 2.00



Where: Big Ralph´s Restaurant

When:  Sunday 03/Nov/2013

Time:   9:30 - 12:00

Thursday, 24 October 2013



Today, Oct. 22nd, at the Museo de Amantes de Sumpa in Santa Elena, about 14 women expats gathered to participate in making of gua gua bread, which is an Ecuadorean Andean tradition that honors the deceased every year on the Day of the Dead, Nov. 2nd. Historically, at the indigenous people's funerals, it was customary to nail a doll made of wood to the tombs of the deceased and offer them food. The gua gua bread, in the shapes of babies or dolls, represent some of the food that was offered.
But first, there were some women who had not seen the Amantes de Sumpa, or lovers'
remains embraced in death, which is the main feature of this museum. These remains are about 2500 years old, whereas the rest of the museum's features show what life was like for those people who lived 10,000 years ago.
After seeing the remains and a little of how these people lived so long ago, Suzanne, her friend Beatrice and another Ecuadorean lady all helped with getting the bread ingredients ready to knead. While one of these women actually kneaded the bread, Suzanne explained the tradition and some tips to know when the bread was ready to set aside to rise (double in size) and also the order and placement of the ingredients (it does make a difference).
When the kneading and rising were complete, everyone got a section of the bread to fashion into whatever shape they wanted. Some of the ladies got very creative in making their “dolls” with all different kinds of details, like eyes, nose,mouth, different appendages and one was even strumming a guitar. Then, these dolls made it onto large baking sheets and put into the crackling oven fire that was there on the premises, very similar to the ones they used eons ago.
Of course, we were hungry by this time, and when the gua guas were done, we ate them with great relish, and they were delicioso! Served with the gua guas was another tradition handed down from generation to generation, and that was the drink called colada morada, which was made with purple corn, some fruits like blackberries, pineapple,strawberries, etc., spices like cinnamon and cloves and corn starch. Over the years, the recipe has changed to make it easier to prepare due to modern time constraints. Actually, this drink was to honor the deceased saints, and it was also muy sabroso, not too sweet!
Then, to top the day off, we went to Randy's home in Santa Elena and she had 5 different cakes and 5 different kinds of ice cream to help celebrate all our birthdays. What a treat!
After sitting and talking for awhile, we all left satisfied that this day was well worth the time spent!

Sin Bar open
After a well deserved rest, Kim will reopen Sin Bar- ready for the upcoming summer season.
Mary Kelly will be celebrating her  65th birthday on the 26th of October at Sin Bar.
Why not scoot along there 18.00hrs and help her enjoy it!
Mary told me that you only turn 65 once, but that is not holding her back. 

Friday, 18 October 2013

Living the Life Ecuador Coast

Alstom to supply the country’s first tramway system to the city of Cuenca

Alstom, leader of the consortium 1 CITA Cuenca, was awarded a contract by the city of Cuenca to supply 14 Citadis trams, along with electrification, power supply and system integration. The part for Alstom is worth approximately 70 million Euros. The 10-kilometer2 line will be the first tramway system in Ecuador. It will include 20 stations and will cross the historical city center over 4 kilometers.  The line - which will be inaugurated in 2015 – will be able to carry up to 120,000 passengers per day.
Cuenca, the third largest city in Ecuador, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. To preserve its architectural heritage, the city chose Alstom’s APS3 technology, a catenary-free solution with a 10-year success record that powers the tram through a third rail embedded in the ground between the running tracks. Cuenca will be the first city in the Americas to obtain a catenary-free tram, already in service in several French cities as Bordeaux, Reims, Angers and Orleans and soon in Tours as well as Dubai in United Arab Emirates.
The Citadis tram for Cuenca is about 33 meters long and can accommodate around 300 passengers. Its full low floor and wide doors enable easy passenger access, especially for those with reduced mobility. Additionally, Citadis features large central aisles allowing passengers to move inside.
This project and our Citadis will improve the urban mobility of Cuenca, home to about 500,000 inhabitants, with one of the cleanest, most efficient and most comfortable means of public transportation. It is also an opportunity to show other Latin American countries that similar projects can be developed in their cities” says Michel Boccaccio, Senior Vice President of Alstom Transport in Latin America.
The trams and the infrastructure components will be produced at the Alstom Transport sites in France (La Rochelle, Ornans, Vitrolles, Saint Ouen).  The project is mainly financed by the French Treasury through the ECR (Emerging Country Reserve) loan scheme4. Alstom has already sold nearly 1,700 Citadis trams to 41 cities around the world.
The fare will be kept at the same rate of $0.25; the average speed of the tram system is estimated to be 22 km/ hr. which is an improvement on the bus and car transport which is around 15 km/ hr . Two of the tram cars arrived in Cuenca early this month;  these long loads traveled at night to avoid clogging the roads due to their slow speed.

Tramway Citadis - Cuenca. Copyright : Alstom Transport
Manos a La Obra Update

Here are some images showing the progress of the home improvement.
What you can see are the new roof line, the base of the bath and laundry room, and the installation of the sewage line.
The wall for the bathroom will be completed and the floor, then the roof can be put in place.
After that the project stops due to lack of funds.

City sewage 2 m below, we had to dig this out and construct this manhole 

sewage line from the new bathroom, drop of 1 cm per meter to have the correct drain away

The laundry produces gray water which they will use to water their plants

new wall of the bedroom and passageway to rear of the house

you can see here how the roof line has been lifted to accommodate the extension 

Monday, 14 October 2013

Art in Salinas

Art in Salinas

If you have an artistic bone in your body you need to attend this meeting.
Art, from quilting to neon lighting, ceramics to scrap booking, wood carving to hairstyling.
If you are not an artist but love art and support art, then you need to be here for this meeting.
All of the above and more are to be discussed at this effort to bring out the artist in Salinas 

The first meeting of interested people with art  backgrounds.
 Paint media, photography, quilting, etc will be held at smoking on  
October 19th at 10:30am.

Below are some images that I use to express my contribution to art.

Some tips on photographing women:

  • For goodness sake. Please PLEASE be responsible with low shots. I very rarely see a photo of a woman taken from down low (looking up) that doesn't make her look totally unattractive. This isn't a good angle no matter the size or shape of who you’re photographing. Friends don’t let friends get photographed this way so beware that a loving friend may tackle you at any point should you choose to proceed with a low shot.
  • On the opposite side of the spectrum. shooting from above (or even a slightly down-angled POV) can be very flattering for a lady, particularly a fuller figured one. But also beware that this is the calling card of a large lady – this trick has become so well known. Don’t overdo it or you’ll be kind of highlighting the fact that she’s larger rather than minimizing it.
  • Learn from the red carpet – those poses aren’t accidental. Celebrities have training for how to handle the red carpet photographers. Learn their tricks so you can guide your subjects through poses that will highlight their lovely long legs or help minimize their postpartum baby bulge. And you don’t have to tell them what you’re doing because naturally, that will make them feel self conscious.
One hour with a sensitive professional can change a woman’s view of herself forever.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Living the Life Ecuador Coast

For Sale By Owner

 $182000 / 2br - 1900ft² - Cozy 2 bdrm house on the beach (Punta Carnero, Salinas)

2BR 1900ft2 house 

Lovely 2 bdrm house about 250 feet from the ocean.
Very large lot 50' wide by 120' deep. Unfinished so you can add a pool, a garden, landscaping or ...
Protection wall all around.
Ground level, no stairs.
Big covered deck out front.
Large attractive and inviting open kitchen, dining, living area.
Large bedrooms. Master bdrm with en-suite.
Ceramic throughout.
Granite counter-tops in kitchen and main bathroom.
Main bathroom has large bathtub and double sinks.
Very high ceiling revealing dark wood joists.
Large patio doors and windows adorned with beautiful Spanish tile allow a lot of light to enter.
Little cottage in the back can serve as guest house or employee quarters.
Ocean in front is marine sanctuary. Beach is quiet most of the year.
Taxes are about $110.00 a year.
New international airport to open soon about 15 minutes away.
Shopping about 15 minutes away.
Public transit in front approximately every 10 minutes.

If you have any questions or would like more information about the house or the area, please feel free to contact me as I am happy to help.
reply to

Friday, 11 October 2013

Living the Life Ecuador Coast

 “DAY OF THE DEAD” Fundraiser
Friday, November 1, 2013
Supporting the Buena Fuente School Children
These are 80 children who need our help to make their Christmas special.  They attend the public school in the pueblo of Buena Fuente, one of the poorest villages on the Santa Elena Peninsula. Many of you want to share your love and prosperity with some of the neediest children living near us here in Salinas.  Here is your chance!
Friday, November 1, 2013
Smokin’ Barbecue
Dinner: 6-7:30
(Hamburger, Potato Salad & Day of the Dead Cupcake)
$6 per ticket – ($2 for food and $4 donation)
Silent Auction: 7:30 – 8:30 (Items include original painting by Babs DeArmond, original photo print by Mary Kelly, Smokin’ dinner coupons, Spanish lesson and Translation coupons from Mike and Raquel Candra, and more!*
First Come – First Sold
Tickets available ONLY at Smokin Barbecue starting on Wednesday, 10/16/13
If you can’t come for dinner, please feel free to join the gang at 7:30 for a drink, fellowship, and the Silent Auction which will be open to the public.
This benefit is being organized with the help of the local Coast Guard Station here in Salinas.  Buena Fuente is one of the communities they assist.  We will have names and ages of the 80 children at this event and hope that everyone will also pitch in and “ADOPT” one or more of these needy niƱos to purchase them a Christmas gift (as we did with the orphans in the past).  Money raised this night will purchase a new pair of shoes for each child as well as provide their lunch on Thursday, December 12th. Additional monies will buy school supplies and special candy treats.
*If you would like to make a donation of an item for the Silent Auction, please contact Babs DeArmond A.S.A.P. Thanks!

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Manos a La Obra Update

Manos a La Obra Update

For those of you who are interested in the progress of the family that has been receiving help, I have a few images of the home and what is being done to it.
There was some disappointment when it came to calling on the people that had made an offer of materials and help.
Thank you to Luis (most of you know him as Peggy's driver)- he came through with materials, Will of Hostal Aqui is donating a bed (which we are not ready to pick up yet), and Jon Scott has provided a Maestro and a worker to do the labor at a reduced rate, plus overseeing the project at no cost.
Let me tell you what it is that we are doing.
The house is being extended to provide a bedroom for William (this is the young man that is suffering from leukemia and whose health restricts what he is able to do).
Also, as part of the extension, we are building a bathroom and a laundry for the family. Before the project started, the family did not have a functioning bathroom, because there was no septic system connected to the house.

This is what the extension to the house will look like. To the right is where the original house.

The Bedroom

Looking down the side of the house

Laying blocks to take the extended roof

Looking down the other side of the house
 What you can see here has a cost at this time of $600.00. There have been materials that have needed to be purchased and the labor of the two workers. We are over budget right now,
but I am hoping that we can complete the project.

A Pinocchio Lizard

The Rare Pinocchio Anole

Ecuadorian Team Finds And Photographs The Holy Grail of Anoles - The Pinocchio Lizard!

For image/press use of these photos please contact Jeff Cremer and Phil Torres at:

Biodiversity in the cloud forests of South America are renowned for producing a seemingly constant parade of beautiful, bizarre creatures. One such tropical oddity is the Pinocchio Lizard, Anolis proboscis, which was once presumed extinct and recently spotted by a team of biologists in Ecuador for only the third time in 15 years.

After three years of searching for this oddity, a group of photographers and researchers from Tropical, Paolo Escobar, Lucas Bustamante, Diana Troya and Alejandro Arteaga were finally able to document and photograph this lizard in January of this year.

Known as the Ecuadorian Horned Anole, this bizarre creature earns its title because of a rhinoceros like protuberance that grows out of its snou
As you might guess, its common name was coined for its resemblance to a particular wooden puppet when he wasn't being honest.
First discovered in 1953, this unique animal was only seen on a handful of occasions for the following 15 years and was thought to have gone extinct until being rediscovered in 2005 by a group of birdwatchers that noticed one crossing a road. Another expedition summer of 2010 led by Jonathan Losos, a herpetologist from Harvard leading a group of herpetologists from Belgium, Ecuador, and the United States also found the anole.

The Pinocchio Lizard goes largely unseen due to its cryptic camouflage that helps it blend into the dense vegetation of the cloud forest. The team got around this by looking for the lizards at night instead of during the day because diurnal anoles are apparently much easier to find after dark (who would have thought?).

While Ecuadorian Horned Anoles and other day anoles hide in plain sight during the day, they turn a pale, easy to spot whitish color when lit up with a headlamp at night!

“We wanted to find it because it is a fantastic and mysterious creature that has remained unknown for almost all human beings for decades. Also, we needed pictures of the species for a book about the Amphibians and Reptiles of the Mindo region. It was the only lizard we were missing.” says Alejandro Arteaga.

The lizard was spotted in the cloud forest of Mindo, at nearly 1530 m. This area is located in northwestern Ecuador, 2-hour drive from Quito and is a popular destination for vacations in Ecuador.

Its hard to describe the feelings of finding this lizard. Finding the Pinnochio Anole was like discovering a secret, a deeply held secret. We conceived it for years to be a mythological creature. Therefore, when Paolo screamed that he had found the lizard, our hearts stopped.” said Arteaga. In recalling the night of the re-discovery, Arteaga also added: “Our team was walking along a cold-water stream in deep cloud forest during a chilly night. Frog choruses were constant an enchanting, and the rain made our task to walk along the tangled vegetation surrounding the stream very difficult. It was well over midnight when one of the members of our team, Paolo Escobar, saw the lizard, just sleeping, covered in dew, about two meters above the water.”

"Examples like this are one of the many reasons I've loved working on conservation projects in Ecuador." says Phil Torres who works with Destination Ecuador in Mindo on promoting unique conservation projects. "There is a lot of excitement in these discoveries, and each region can offer something unique, from Pinocchio lizards to new species of glass frogs."

The team also found out a few things during the discovery: “We discovered this lizard occurs in habitats very different to what has been suggested in the literature. No one had ever found the lizard in deep cloud forest away from open areas. The other sightings were in forest border.

“Besides learning this we learned that a highly unlikely but not completely impossible event (like finding the rarest lizard in Ecuador), becomes likely if enough time passes. In this case, three years passed.” said Arteaga.

So why does the anole have the elongated nose? According to Jonathan Losos, the horn is also quite flexible and “was seen bending when in contact with leaves and other soft objects”. Those observations quickly discounted the idea that males used their elongated snout to battle with each other for territory and/or mating reasons.

However, the fact that the “horn” is flexible and can be moved up or down by the lizard turns out to be quite interesting since the lizard isn’t expected to have muscles that could move it! Losos mentions that “hydrostatic pressure might be used to change the horn’s shape, but at this point, we just don’t know”.

It could be that hydrostatic pressure is used to change the horn’s shape, like with some other "elongated appendages" that are found in nature, but at this point, we don’t know.

Monday, 7 October 2013

Living the life Ecuador coast



$ 6.75












Where: Big Ralph´s Restaurant
When:  Sunday 13/Oct/2013
Time:   9:30 - 12:00



The Great Marijuana Crash Of 2011

Colorado legalized marijuana for recreational use in late 2012. Beginning next year, anyone with an I.D. can waltz into a marijuana dispensary, put $50 on the counter, and announce to the clerk that he’d like one eighth of an ounce of marijuana. And he’ll get it, without any interference from law enforcement. The market is stable.
The Colorado marijuana industry — which is responsible for thousands of new jobs, and is projected to raise $130 million in taxes for the state next year alone — has accomplished something not seen in this nation since the passage of the 21st Amendment.
It has taken an illegal product and legitimized it in the eyes of the government. It has made a notoriously sketchy transaction less of a hassle than buying Sudafed. What’s more, it has built a thriving economy after overcoming wild price fluctuations and crashes, stern government regulation, and absurd banking restrictions.
The last time something similar happened, 96.5% of the United States population hadn't even been born yet.

Driving in Ecuador         

A couple living in Ecuador left their home and went traveling along the coast. While driving, they were pulled over for a roadside check by the police and the Transito. They were asked to exit the vehicle and present their documents; these were to be checked by the Transito and the national police went ahead and searched the vehicle and their bags.
They found a bag of pot!
The couple spoke little to no Spanish and were horrified at the discovery. Fortunately for them, one of the officers spoke enough English to get by.
The officer who spoke English explained that they were in serious trouble and would have to appear in court to pay a fine. Another officer was writing a ticket. When the couple asked if they could put their belongings back in the vehicle, the officer said 'yes' and handed them back the bag of pot. The couple were puzzled.
The couple asked, "What are we in trouble for?" The officer replied, "You are driving without a legal driving license; when you have a cedula, you cannot use your US driving license."
This story has not finished, as the couple have to go to court, but what I am seeing here is that the use of pot for personal use is accepted.

Can you tell me what this is?

Answers on a post card, please.

Yasuni National Park is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve [EPA]
Lawmakers in Ecuador have authorized the extraction of oil from Yasuni National Park, a pristine Amazon reserve.
After a 10-hour debate, Congress on Thursday approved the motion backed by President Rafael Correa by a 108 to 25 margin, with four legislators absent.
Correa in August announced that he was abandoning a unique plan to persuade rich countries to pay Ecuador not to drill in the Yasuni, saying wealthy nations had failed to pledge enough money.
Environmentalists hailed the initiative when it was announced in 2007, saying Correa was setting a precedent in the fight against global warming by lowering the high cost to poor countries of preserving the environment.
Correa had sought $3.6bn in contributions to maintain a moratorium on Yasuni drilling. But he said Ecuador managed to raise just $13m.

Do you like to go to the Movie Theatre? 

If you live on the coast and want to see a movie, you have to go to the cinema in the Paseo. There the showings of first run films is very good.
The rub is if you want to see the film in English.
As you know, here you can buy a first run movie on the street for a dollar, take it home, and watch a reasonable copy.
But, for a number of people living here, the cinema is the place to watch on a wide screen and enjoy the Dolby surround sound, not to mention the popcorn and other goodies that you can consume while enjoying the movie.
The chain Supercines has been approached about this, and they have said, " We do have enough theaters to show films in English with Spanish subtitles, but we have not seen the support to make this a permanent feature."
So if you would like this to happen, make yourself known to the cinema chain in person to the manager, and online by sending them an email saying that you would be happy to spend your money in their cinema if they were to show more first run movies in English with Spanish subtitles. 

Link to supercines