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Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Random Pictures

These are pictures taken from the airplane window as we flew home from Quito.We were flying over an area called "the avenue of the volcanoes".

This is a crater in the top of a volcano.

These pictures were taken from the different rooms of the apartment we are living in for the next three months.

 Petey almost got a little brother................

            Picture above is the back court yard at our apartment.

                              At the park.

Mother's Day Brunch

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Another week gone already!

Part of my brain says..............Has it really been a week since my last post!?
The other part says....Has it only been a week since my last post?!!

After the huge walk we took on Friday,  we took a day to chill and do nothing Saturday.

On Mothers day we had a nice breakfast at San Sebas Cafe ,then took the dog to the park and had a little picnic and a nap in the grass.

Had a nice Happy Mother's day call from my son, Skip.

We went out for Pizza for Mothers day dinner. Pretty good pizza at a place called Chicago Pizza.

Afterwards, we were able to connect with Doug's family on Skype. It was great to see those smiling faces!
We had to fly to Quito Tuesday to get our Cedulas. The process went very smoothly, thanks to the lovely Anna Maria, our lawyers assistant. She was able to get us in and out of the Registro Civil office in less than two hours. I don't know what she said to the lady behind the counter, but she was able to get us into a special line for expectant mothers and handicap individuals, which cut our time in half.

After we finished, we had the afternoon to ourselves and just strolled around Quito. I still don't have a camera charger, so I have no pictures. I did manage to get a few shots on my Acer Tablet, and as soon as I figure out how to down load them, I will post them.

Our cedula cards were not ready for pick up until 3:00 p.m. Wednesday, so we took a cab up to a place where you can get a gondola to a look out point. When we got there, we were told the gondola was out of service, so we ended up having a taxi ride around the city, and then we spent a few hours furniture gawking

 Headed to the Regestro Office and waited for our names to be called to say our cards were ready.
We sat for about 25 minutes, listening to names being called and various announcements being made in Spanish. Once again, we were being looked after. A very nice young woman sitting behind us was kind enough to tell us that one announcment, that we did not understand, was telling all foreigners to please come to window four. Up to the windown we went and within 10 minutes we had our cards and were on the way to the airport. Our paperwork is now complete. We are officially card carrying  residents of Ecuador.

We were back in Cuenca by 6:30. Went to the Hostal de los Perros to collect Pete, who, by the way, seems to have had a wonderful time.
Our flight home was awesome, as the sun was shining and we were able to see the volanoes along the whole flight path. Truly amazing to see. I got a few pictures on the tablet and hope to post them soon.

This morning we picked up the keys to the new apartment and moved a few things over after Doug's Spanish class.
Tomorrow we will finish the move from the hotel and start a new chapter of our adventure.
We will be staying in this apartment for the next three months.

My number one chore tomorrow is to download some pictures from the ipod and the tablet and get a camera charger.

As is good.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Time goes so fast.............

We have been in Cuenca for three weeks. Somtimes it seems like we have been here for months, but other times I wonder where the time went.
Yesterday we found a 3 month rental to stay in untill our permanent place is ready.
We lucked into a penthouse in a 6 story building. It has 3 bedrooms, beautiful views of the city, and is across the street from the Tomebamba River with green space for Pete.
It's only downside is that it is on the top floor and has no elevator......
It is fully furnished, so all we have to get up the stairs is our suitcases.

It seems like everyday we are busy from breakfast to dinner.

Yesterday we left the hotel at 10:30 and didn't get home until 5:30.
We took Pete with us and walked to a place we had heard of that boards dogs. Hostel de los Perros. A great place with charming hosts.
Hazel and Wally invited us into thier home and we spent a bit of time chatting. I am quite relieved to know that Pete will be in such good hands when we go to Quito next week.
Afterwards, we walked down las Americas and wound our way home. We stopped for an early dinner at Cafe Mocha. A nice little place that allows Dogs. Pete was in heaven sitting in his own chair at the table.
When we finaly got home, Pete was exhausted and slept untill 8 this morning.

Now that we have our rentals lined up we will soon be able to relax.
Just have to get the trip to Quito done next week and then move from the hotel.
I look forward to the day when we don't have something scheduled!

Today we went to Banos thermal pools to soak in the mineral waters for a bit. My back is really benifitting from this. We try to go once a week, but after the move hope to go twice a week.
Doug had his Spanish class this afternoon and Pete and I walked up to the market for Prawns and salad makings.
Dinner will be awesome tonight!

Tomorrow we have an 11:30 appointment to finalize the penthouse lease and then we are going to go furniture gawking at a four floor furniture store we found yesterday.
Should be fun.

We are hoping for nice weather Saturday so we can pack a picnic and go back to the big park we found last week end.

Fire flies have started showing up at night. I think that's a good sign.

Love to all the family............looking forward to the time when you come to visit us in our new home.

Life is good.

Monday, 7 May 2012


Juat a quick update.
Saturday we walked up to the neighborhood where we want to rent and had a stroll around to see what was available as far as services go.
Pete has been having some tummy issues, so we stopped in at a Vet's office just a block from the appointment. a lovely young Vet, Doctora Carla, gave him a check up, took his temperature and examined him throughly. She pronounced him in good health and suggested trying anothet food for him. She refused to accept any payment for this visit. Can you see that happening at home?!?

There was a 10 K run on Sunday and the streets of El Centro were lively. Normally on Sunday, it is very quiet.
We walked to the opposite end of 12 de Abril, the street we are currentlt living on, and found a very large park. Pete had a great time being off leash and running with other dogs.
The rain set in and we headed back home for a siesta.

We have made contact with the owners of the apartment we want and tomorrow we will be looking over the contract.
Looks like everything is a go! We are very excited.
Today we started looking for a furnished place that we can get a 3 month lease on. Saw one possible, and are looking at 2 more tomorrow.
Doug had his second Spanish lesson today and I did some shopping at the indigenous market. I'm getting pretty good at prices for produce.
I strolled around town looking at furnishings for our new home for a while and then back home to take Pete out to the park.
Spent the rest of the afternoon reading and relaxing.

We are going to Quito on the 15th to get our Cedulas. That will finish up our paperwork and we will be completely legal residents of Ecuador.
Our Anniversary is the 18th, so we will have a double celebration!

Tinight as we were eating dinner, a yellow faced parakeet sat in the tree by our kitchen watching us.

Life is, indeed, good.

Friday, 4 May 2012

Just me and the dog........

On Thursday, Doug had a Spanish class and, with our newly acquired bus pass in hand, Pete and I set out on our own.
We walked about in El Centro for a few hours and stopped in to visit our friend Kris.

Over the river and thru the woods..............................................................................................

A few blocks from home we came across a run of some sort.......................................................

The flower market was in full bloom...............................................................................................

I never tire of the different views of the Cathedral that you get as you walk to different areas of town.

The pictures also show you how the weather changes from one hour to the next.
We have been rained on a few times, but we haven't been cold.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Our dream home may be in site!

Just as I was starting to think our wish list for our dream home may have been to lofty, out of the blue.....or, actually, out of the grey misty appeared before our eyes!
We have been taking to the streets on a daily bases looking for windows with " for rent" ("se arreinda") signs. Seems everytime we called, we got a lead on another place. After veiwing many, many apartments, we took to knocking on doors of buildings that looked like somewhere we might want to live. It is amazing how much information you can get from the doorman or security person of a building.
Yesterday we took a bus to a differnt side of town and walked back to the neighborhood we are staying in. After a good 3 hour walk, about 8 or so blocks from our apartment hotel, we were ducking down side streets trying to avoid the thunder showers. We suddenly found our selves looking at a house that was being built and realized that it was a 3 floor home that appeared to have apartments on each floor. The building was very nice. Even though it was a new building, it was in keeping with the style of the rest of the street. I was tired and wanted to get back to the apartment before the rain really started, but my sweet, curious husband talked me into having a closer look. Thank goodness he did!
We rattled the gate and a member of the construction crew came out and in our tiny bit of Spanish, which, by the way is growing daily, we were able to find out that, yes, they were apartments and they were for rent. He invited us in for a look, and it was like walking thru the magic mirror in wonderland!
Even though the place was still under construction, we knew it was the place we wanted to live.
The 2nd floor and third floor apartments are stunning. The views of the city from the balconys were breath taking.
As we went from room to room we realized more and more that this was exactly what we were in search of.
A woman appeared and  we managed to piece together enough conversation to know that she lived in the house behind the one being built and that it was being built as a rental by her family members that were living in New York. We left our number and she said she would pass it on to the owner.
Neither one of us slept much last night. We talked a great deal about the apartment and tried not to get our hopes. But, our hearts were singing at the thought.
This morning the owner called us from New York and we made arrangements to go back to the place with a translator at 2:30.
We had lunch with our friends from Vancouver and then went bcak to the Apartment house with a translater.
I was beginning to think that I had blown things up in my mind and that a second look would bring me back to reality, but I was wrong. The place really is perfect for us! This time we took Pete with us and found out that the lady that lives behind the house has a little dog and he and Pete played chase for the hour or so that we were there.
We found out that it would be 60 to 90 days before completion, but, if we were willing to sign a contract and put down a deposit, we could have the place. Tomorrow we will talk with the owner, in New York, again, and get the plan firmed up. They will get a lawyer to write up the contract and we will get a lawyer to go over it with us and make sure everything is on the up and up.
Here are pictures of the outside of the place:

The pictures don't really do justice. The walls are gourgeous stone work.

If this works out for us, I will start taking pictures as the construction progresses.

Tonight we went out to a local place called the Inca Lounge ( best chicken tacos I have ever had)  with Kris and Dave, new friends we have made since we arrived here.

Tomorrow Doug starts a Spanish class called "Survival Spanish". I am waiting till we get settled a bit before I start classes, but I am working with my online programs and feel more comfortable each day.

It was a bit overwhelming trying to accomplish simple tasks at first, but every day we learn something new that helps us. Today we went into one of the local corner stores and bought bus passes! We were quite pleased with more fumbling for quarters.

Once again, I just have to say it....................

                   LIFE IS GOOD!

Bye the way family and friends, our internet connection has not been very good so we haven't been able to make the Magic Jack connection to call you. I promise that we will go somewhere tomorrow and call all of you.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Apartment Hunting

Friday & Saturday found us beating the streets for rentals. We have seen everything from dungeon-esque basement suites to palaces in the sky. We just have to find the right one in between. We have a 10 point wish list and have found an 8 that just might do the trick.........but.....we have a few more weeks so will keep looking.

The architecture of this country is truly amazing. Cuenca has been named as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The latest version of Old town, or El Centro, was built by the Colonial Spaniards. The entire area is being resurrected, under strict guide lines to keep as much original exterior structure as possible. Many times you look beyond the antique facade to find very modern and upscale homes and apartment.

The newer part of the city has gotten very modern looking, but there has now been restrictions put on future buildings in that area as well.
Here are some pictures taken from the roof top of one of the buildings in new town:

Friday morning we stopped for a cup of coffee and just as we sat down, a parade came marching past the window. It was a 50th anniversary of one of the schools. There were kids from high school age to preschool. some in costume, some in school uniforms.
Here are few pics:

Here a picture that Doug finds intriguing. Norfolf pines and palm trees growing togeter...................

Sunday we had a "day of rest". Six of us from the apartment hotel jumped on a bus and went to  "Mall de Rio", a very modern upscale mall, and roamed around for a few hours.

After a siesta we had a small dinner party. We were all exhausted and hit the sack to start a new week on Monday.