Wednesday, April 30, 2014


Finally, after five attempts, I have made cornbread in Ecuador!!!  This is a very happy day. I was about to give up. The corn meal that is available here is very fine and is pre-cooked. This causes the cornbread to be "gummy."  I tried ground corn, and even ran it thru the blender, but it comes out too "grainy."  Today, I took a friends recipe, modified it to suit my taste, and SURPRISE, it turned out perfect!  Check out the pictures of my masterpiece. 

Monday, April 28, 2014

Party and a Spider!

Last night we attended a party at Sara and Kathy's to help them celebrate their first year in Cuenca. I have no idea what was outside the window behind me but Mike and Dea found it to be fascinating. I was busy talking as usual. 

A very special guest showed up at the end of the party. 

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Cajas National Park

Words cannot describe the natural beauty we saw yesterday as we hiked around a lake in Cajas National Park just outside of Cuenca.  So, I will let the pictures do the talking . . . 

Friday, April 25, 2014

Good friends and lots of walking!

Last night Mike and I had dinner with our good friends Major Mack, Dennis, and Tom at Wunderbar. The food was great and the conversation with friends was even better!  We all met in Quito while we were in the process of getting our visas and cedulas. Our friendships were instant and I love each one of them. Six months ago I could not have imagined living in South America and having met so many wonderful people. Life is precious. Every moment should be spent doing what brings you happiness. We have been in Cuenca for eight weeks and we see friends on the streets, in restaurants, and in stores. Cuenca has a population of about 500,000 yet it seems much smaller. We are now starting to meet and become friends with locals as well. This makes me very happy!

We had lunch today at a restaurant called Chiplote. The name is similar to Chipotle in the US. Notice that the "soup of the day" is a Bloody Mary. Too funny!

After lunch, we walked 2.5 miles to Mall del Rio. We went shopping at our favorite store, Coral.  It is a lot like a SuperTarget. If you can't find it at Coral...then you don't need it!  Again, I must brag on the customer service that we received there. After shopping, the bagger, Pablo, an older gentleman, attempted to hail a taxi for us. Since it was the afternoon rush hour all of the taxis refused to give us a ride to downtown. In typical Ecuadorian fashion, a Coral employee gave us a ride home. Would this happen in the USA? NO!  

Pictures of things we saw on our walk to the mall.

Yes, the picture above is a Poinsettia, it is a tree!

For dinner I used my mom's recipe to make Cabbage Soup. It was delicious!

Weather permitting, we are hiking in Cajas National Park tomorrow. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Teaching English

We did not make it to Banos yesterday due to sleeping late and rain in the area. We will try again Friday. Today was a very busy day. From 11:00 until 1:00 I participated in my first Culture Exchange Council activity by teaching English to students majoring in Hospitality and Tourism at The University of Cuenca. It was a lot of fun and I made new friends. 

At 1:30, Mike and I met three FaceBook friends, and new neighbors, at a nearby restaurant for lunch. From 4:00 until 5:30 I met and tutored a student in English. Then, at 6:00, our friend Bryan came over to give us a lesson in Spanish. Afterwards, the three of us went to dinner. Soon after we returned home there was an accident on our street. It appears that a car was traveling at a high rate of speed, ran the traffic light, hit another car, and bounced around several times from one side of the street to the other. Mike ran down to check it out. It did not appear that anyone was seriously injured. 

Our favorite local coffee shop is Cafe de Nucallacta. Today they announced the addition of outdoor seating which is a new concept in Cuenca. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

A new week...

Dinner at Joes' Secret Garden Saturday night was excellent as always.  Many of our friends were there and we made several new friends.  That's one of my favorite things about the dinner club.  The other, of course, is the delicious food.  



In a previous post I mentioned that Poinsettia's are actually trees.  Below is another example.  So pretty.

I have attempted to make cornbread here three times.  All attempts have been unsuccessful.  The main reason is due to a lack of cornmeal like we have in the USA.  However, the meal that is available makes excellent grits!!

I saw these mannequins in a store window and had to share with you.

Mike and I may check out Banos tomorrow.  The town is a few miles from Cuenca, five miles I believe.  The town is famous for their Spas and Hot Springs direct from the heart of the volcano.  The place we plan to visit is called Piedra de Agua - Fuente Termal & Spa.  

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Good Saturday

Our hiking trip to Cajas was cancelled today due to heavy rain in the mountains. The rain caused the Tomebamba River to rise significantly. We walked down to take a look. 

On our walk around the city we stopped by the Panama Hat museum. I purchased my third hat from them. Starting a collection ...

Tonight we are having dinner at Joe's Secret Garden. 

Friday, April 18, 2014

Good Friday

Today was a fun day. I got up and out early this morning, 9:30, to see the Easter parade as it left Santo Domingo Church and continued around the city, ending back at the church.

Afterwards, we met up with our friend Major Mack and walked around the oldest part of the city. 

And as always we enjoyed the unique art around the city. 

Tomorrow we are going to Cajas National Park to do some easy hiking with a couple of new friends we met this week.