Visiting Ecuador’s Past

As our visit to Cuenca approaches it’s last few days, we decided to explore one of its many museums – Pumapungo. The brochure for this wonderful museum states on its cover, “Pumapungo: Pasado y presente de la Antigua TOMEBAMBA.” Translated it means “Pumapungo: past and present of ancient Tomebamba.”

The museum has exhibits that covers its early beginnings to its present day. Starting on the lower levels, you’ll find exhibits on their currency, invention of scales for measurement and cash registers to conquest by Napoleon Bonipart.

There are wonderful dioramas depicting the life of the ancient Cuencans, consisting of full size huts complete with hammocks, cooking pots and weaving. These dioramas continue with the way Ecuadorian living in Cuenca look today and how many make a living selling everything from baskets and produce to clothing.

At the back of the museum and outside are well preserved ruins showing how the people farmed, the steps for irrigating their crops and some of the crops they grew. Both then and now, the things that matter to not only the people of Cuenca, but all Ecuadorians are familia, the land and God.

I leave you with these thoughts, as you travel the roads of life remember those who traveled before you and give thanks. They overcame obstacles that we can only imagine.

Until next time my friends, hasta pronto

Terri at the Drakes Nest

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Much to See And Do

Cuenca has three rivers that run through it and are vital to their water supply. They are Rio Yanuncay, Rio Tarqui and Rio Tomebamba. According to UNISCO, Cuenca has the best water and among the safest walkable city in Ecuador. After being here a few days we can see why.

There is something for everyone here. Beautiful walking/biking trails, parks, restaurants, music filled environments, open air markets filled with fresh fruits and produce year round and theater. I am not just speaking of movie theaters, but a vibrant theater company that puts on some wonderful productions. There is also a large modern hospital here, Mt Sainai.

This morning after a wonderful breakfast of fresh fruits, delicious freshly squeezed juice, hot rolls fresh from the oven, honey stuffed pancakes, haveros or eggs, and coffee, we were ready to begin another day exploring this beautiful city on foot.

We headed to the southern end of the city and enjoyed exploring the beautiful neighborhood of Tomebamba and Yanuncay. Slow steady grades made the walking delightful, as did the cool breezes, the shady tree-lined paths and the music of the Yanuncay and Tarqui Rivers as the babbling, rolling waters serenaded our progress.

Hope you enjoy the scenes from our walk.

Wishing you pleasant journies,

Terri at the Drakes Nest

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Another Beautiful Day

Buenos Tardes, thanks for visiting. Today we made a return visit to El Centro to do more exploring of the various streets, shops, restaurants and churches. Perfect weather for walking, 70 degrees Fahrenheit, cool breezes and large marshmallow clouds in a robin-egg blue sky.

There are 52 churches in Cuenca and 12 of them are located in El Centro. They are breath-taking on the inside and architectural marvels on the outside. The people of Ecuador are very religious and so there are a lot of churches. These houses of worship can hold anywhere from just a few worshipers to hundreds of people. There is a wonderful museum here that has a well maintained Inca dig which portrays some of how the native people lived.

As we strolled the narrow streets, the smell of fresh-baked bread filled the air as did that of roasting pollo or chicken. Today we enjoyed a homemade queso empanadas that were so delicious that I asked our server if she made them and she pointed out the owner. He was delighted with my compliments and promised to tech me how to make them when we return.

we spoke with not only the locals but with many expats who sat in the park listening to music and enjoying the views and energy of Cuenca. Some have been here for as little as six months, like. The couple from Alabama and others have been here 4-10 years.

There are parks arks everywhere you look, and 3 rivers flow through Cuenca. Art is all around as well and murals can be found on many walls. Some link Cuenca’s present to its Inca past.

Until later my friends, Hasta Pronto,

Terri at the Drakes Nest

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Cuenca, a Vibrant City

Cuenca is a city nestled in the Andes between the 6000-7000 foot level. Quito is at the 9000 feet and just a bit cooler. The temperatures in Cuenca vary from 50 degrees Fahrenheit at night to 75 during the day. This is also the rainy season, but it seems the rains hold off until the late afternoon or early evening. Currently, it is the Ecuadorian summer here and with 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of night, life moves at a steady but laid back pace.

It is an artist paradise with plenty of inspiration surrounding you. From El Centro to the museums to the many winding streets and mountain trails, there is beauty everywhere.

The streets are alive with the Native Ecuadorian selling their wares on street corners, in parks or in the many open air mercado’s. They are an inventive people who work hard and play even harder. It is not unusual to see a juggler perform a long the roadway when traffic is stopped for lights or to see strolling musicians playing and singing songs that touch the heart. Familia or family is most important. Children and the young people are very respectful of the elders in the community.

Until later, I leave you with a few more pictures of this wonderful city that I am soon to call home.

The first picture shows the Millennium Mall where you can find some wonderful shops, a Paneria or bakery and a food court that has everything from native dishes to Subway and KFC. The middle picture shows a little of the inside of the Mall, love the tile, and the last is of a park on the corner from our hotel. There are parks everywhere and they are wonderful and litter free!

Hasta my friends,

Terri at the Drakes Nest

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Hola Buenas Dias or Hello, Good Morning

Hola, Buenos Dias as they say here in Cuenca, Ecuador. That means hello, good morning in Spanish. We are currently visiting and exploring the city that will become our new home. It is a friendly, vibrant part of Ecuador that takes pride in its history, its people and the environment. I have traveled many places in my 66 years, but never have I been to a place that is so beautifully kept. It is unbelievably clean, safely walkable and the people are very helpful. With my limited Spanish, I have been able to communicate my wants, needs, desires and get questions answered.

We arrived in 29 November late in the evening on a very unusual flight. Orlando to Miami was uneventful, however our American Airlines flight from Miami to Quito was another story. We sat on the tarmac waiting for some maintenance to be done. Something about low oil or oil pressure. That was fixed and we started to head toward the runway for takeoff when the plane just suddenly stopped! It has lost all power! Not a good way to start a flight for someone who is afraid of flying. Finally took off, arrived in Quito and made connection to Cuenca. The airport in Cuenca is much like that of the airport in Alpena, Michigan – one terminal and one gate. You can’t get lost.

Will post more later today, for now I need to get breakfast. In the meantime enjoy the views from our hotel.

Hasta pronto, until later

Terri at the Drakes Nest

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A little This and That

Well, Thanksgiving has past and, thankfully, so has the election season. I won’t say anything more than I’m glad it’s over with and will be glad when the country settles down and gets back to working on those things that are important. Hope that one an all had a wonderful turkey day and were surrounded by the love and laughter of friends and family. We’ve so much to be thankful for and count our blessings every day. What are you thankful for in this great game of life?

We are gearing up for our trip to explore another part of Ecuador and I will try to post about our travels and experiences as they progress. I have a new iPad, so it’s taking some getting use to using its tiny keyboard and learning all its ins and outs. I’m hoping to be able to post some pictures we take as well.

From what we’ve seen following the weather, it’s been in the 70’s during the day and 45 or so at night. The rainy season is due to start in December, so not sure just how much rain they get so will have to remember to pack a small umbrella. Will definitely have to get use to wearing “clothes” again as here in sunny Florida, shorts and tee shirts or sun dresses are the norm. There in Ecuador, with a cooler climate, will have to wear slacks or jeans and shirts/blouses with longer sleeves, not to mention making sure to wear sunscreen if out and about due to increased UV there.

The hardest part about travel is that these days you have to be at the airport 2 hours early, 3 hours if international travel and if you live any length of time away, you have to add that into the mix to figure when you need to arise, do last-minute packing and leave. I figure that I may not even get to go to sleep at the rate flight info changes, and that I say with a weak grin. It will be worth it in the long run.

Wish one and all the very best wishes and may you and yours enjoy all the very best that life has to offer. I leave you with a few more pictures from our July trip. This was in Cottacachi. The man in the last photo had limped in with a cane but sure didn’t need it as he danced with the locals.

Blessings and talk with you soon.

Terri at the Drake’s Nest


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The Ball is Rolling!

We have taken our first steps towards our move to Ecuador by having a conference call with a company that will provide a container for our things (we pack and load) and deliver it to wherever we are in Ecuador and unpack the container for us. We have begun to purge and start packing a few things that we don’t use every day. There is so much that we have to do, but it will be worth it in the long run.

What has amazed me is that it will be cheaper to ship our things to Ecuador than it was to move from Michigan to Florida! Just goes to show how out of hand things have gotten here in the U.S. When we were contemplating our move from Michigan, we originally considered Hawaii and even made an exploratory trip there. It ended up being exceedingly cost prohibitive – $20,000 for a “small” container, plus $3,000 if we wanted to ship our car and we had to deliver the car to California, plus renting or purchasing a home. Once we did all our research, investigations, etc. we decided to move to Florida. While not a whole lot cheaper to live here, it was still less expensive alternative to Hawaii.

As much as we loved where we were living in Michigan, the damp and cold were not conducive to our health. We could circle a date on a calendar and could almost guarantee that within a day of the date my one of us would come down with pneumonia and either be on the verge of being hospitalized or would end up in the hospital. This was certainly a guarantee for my dear husband. So we moved to Florida.

Now, things have gotten too out of hand here in the U.S. for retiree’s, seniors or those with very limited incomes to live the good life. If you are on social security, you will be lucky if you get any kind of increase in income and if you do, it will be taken away by a double increase in cost of Medicare, supplemental health insurance needed to help cover what Medicare does not takes even more out of your pocket and the deductibles and out-of-pocket are ridiculous. People, in many instances, are having to make choices to either pay their insurance or their rent, put food on the table or get prescriptions that are necessary for their health.

This is why, after much research and soul-searching, we decided to move to Ecuador. Better quality of life, lower expenses – healthcare, prescriptions, housing, food and transportation costs.

Thankfully, my old organization skills will come in handy as we prepare for our move. We need to itemize what we have in boxes and what will be loose and the list must be numbered sequentially. The list would have column for the box number, column for what the box contains and column for total number contained. For example:

Boxed Items:

#1 Men’s clothing – shirts – 10, pants – 10, shoes – 5 pairs, total: 25 pieces

#2 Household goods – 1 set of China – 100 pieces total

You won’t have to list the cups, saucers, plates, etc. separately, just that it is, for example, a 12-piece setting of china with 100 pieces total. That “12-piece” description would cover everything that is included in that set of china without being extremely detailed. So listing won’t be too hard. Each person is allowed 420 pounds of clothing! Not that I have that much, but it’s good to know. I can’t even imagine 420 pounds of clothes, I mean are there closets large enough to hold that much?

I think the hardest part of this whole adventure will be all the packing and living with boxes until we ship, but it is doable. Just have to make sure that I don’t pack what we need to use until the last possible minute.

Well, I need to go play in my studio for a bit as I have a challenge that will be due in a few months. Can’t show any of that, but will leave you with a picture or two. Until next time,

Hasta pronto!

Terri at the Drake’s Nest in Palm Bay

The first picture is me with a few of my pieces on display at a demo that the Dirty Dozen Fiber Artists put on last year. The “sliced” top of Ft. Mackinac was a collaborative effort in an on-line swap and based on a photo I provided. The second photo is of the only snow-capped volcano on the equator and could be seen from our room in Quito, Ecuador.

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