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Sunday, January 15, 2017

Winter in Ecuador

I guess it’s time to start writing a few entries into my blog about my travels since leaving Guyana. I returned to my home state of Alaska, in July 2016. I had just completed my 27 month service in the Peace Corps. Kodiak Island is one of the most beautiful places on this earth, and I feel that the food served on my table and the table of my friends is the best you could ever eat in terms of freshness, wild game and fish availability, and variety offered. I savored every meal I ate for those 4 1/2 months in Kodiak.
 But then the weather started to chill, in fact I never got warm coming from a hot steamy tropical climate such as Guyana, to a cool, breezy, often drizzly Kodiak. So I’m off again, This time traveling around Ecuador.

I started out in Quito, a quaint and totally Ecuadorian experience. Cuenca was also a mountain city but subtle differences from the capital. Both charming experiences and of course every place I travel to in Ecuador has it’s charm depending on who I am with and what am I doing. One night in Guyana, I sat with friends at a roadside restaurant and proclaimed my love for Guyana. They literally died laughing because it was noisy traffic passing by, the same garbage in the street, blaring music. But I was in lust and so the place grabbed me and made me feel so many things.

So too in Ecuador, the people make each place. They are so open to conversing in Spanish with English as 1st language idiots. They are so accepting. And so many interesting people cross my path, some immediately feeling like friends, and others that are just there. Some Ecuadorians, and some foreigners from all over the damn place: Germany, Switzerland, France, Sri Lanka, the US, Venezuela, Argentina, Chile, the UK, Canada, Uruguay, Colombia, Puerto Rico. 
  • Street in Quito

City of Quito

People of Quito

Street in Cuenca

lunch in Cuenca
Earthquake damage in Canoa

Ayampe resident
San Alejo resident
Looks Ecuadorian! Yes?

treats galore
Christmas in Cottages by the Sea

Cottages by the Sea
Murals everywhere

Hanging a net in Canoa
Puerto Lopez
A whale of a tail

One day visit with my sister Charlene in Quito

For the last month or more I’ve been exploring the lovely beaches of Ecuador: Manta, Ayampe, Puerto Lopez, San Alejo, Bahia de Caraquez, and presently Canoa. Bahia and Canoa were hit pretty hard by last April’s earthquake and are still rebuilding. Many residents still live in tents, but construction is on going and new homes are visible throughout these towns. The sentiment here that I’ve seen displayed in publications is “Tourists don’t give up on Ecuador, the communities need your dollars!” 

Now I am sweating every day and the equatorial sun is burning all my white areas. I walk to the beach every evening at 6:00 to watch the sunset and drink my proverbial cocktail. I study Spanish using 4 online programs most mornings and then I mingle with the people and try to understand what they are saying to me. I spent a couple of days with a young couple from Chile who told me even they have a hard time understanding Ecuadorians, because the pronunciation is different than Chilean Spanish and the Ecuadorians have words for things that they do not use anywhere else in South America. So good luck to me.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Easter Week In Anna Catherina

Easter week was a blur with activities. My good friend, Brian Cleary, was visiting amid celebrations and religious traditions. We attended a Hindu Jandei, followed by Phagwah, a National tradition of painting peers and passing strangers with powders and colored liquid to commemorate the sowing of seed on agricultural lands.

We also toured a rice factory with fellow PCV’s that was informative and eye opening. Rice is a staple dish that most Guyanese eat on a daily basis, sometimes two or three times a day. Rice is offered at every event and featured in Creolese Restaurants as well as the many Chinese eateries.

Easter Sunday is quiet but on Easter Monday the communities come alive, especially along the sea wall with kite flying, eating and drinking until the wee hours of the morning. My home rocked with Guyanese gyrations until 2am and then commenced again at 6:30am on the Tues. after. One can only grit teeth and hold on to sanity until the scenario plays out.
Go fly a kite, would ya!

Beautiful sewer of rice bags.


Mini-bussin with Patty at left. Brian and I soakin in the powder and the Power of Phaagwah!

Patty and Lauren

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Guyanese Birthday

When in Guyana do as the Guyanese do. When it comes to birthdays and cake, after the wish is made and the birthday candles extinguished, quests line up to feed the birthday boy/girl cake one bite at a time. Thus, I am being fed my chocolate chocolate  birthday cake by my dear friends, who as you can see, really got into it.