From California to Ecuador

It’s amazing to me just how many lovely people we have met due to this blog. Folks we have communicated with by email arrived in San Clemente yesterday morning. Doug and Jac have been very good sports through their adventure on the Ecuadorian roadways. I must say that they have been on an adventure since landing in Guayaquil. They set up to stay there first night at a hostel within two blocks of the airport but, after driving around Guayaquil for three hours and not finding it they gave up and drove to Salinas where they found accommodations.  They hit the road heading north towards San Clemente and within a very short drive hit an unmarked speed bump and flattened a tire and bent the rim. We were expecting them late afternoon on Wednesday but they never arrived in San Clemente until Thursday morning. They have now experienced the reality of traveling on the roadways of Ecuador –  signage is sparse if any, roads have potholes, unmarked speed bumps and many other hazards like cows or burros walking in the middle of the road, no lights on vehicles, a two lane road with two cars coming at you while someone is passing you…when they left here yesterday afternoon they were headed to turn in the car in Guayaquil and continue their journey up towards Cuenca by bus.

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From left to right: Harold and Barbara and Doug and Jac.

They invited us to lunch at Viviana’s mostly because we talk about our favorite restaurant so much in our blog that they needed to check out the excellent seafood dishes themselves. After a walk down the beach a cold Pilsener hit the spot and I think everyone enjoyed their fresh shrimp and fish dishes.

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It was great meeting all of you, enjoy the balance of your time in Ecuador. If their plans go according to schedule we will be seeing Doug and Jac back here in August as they will be moving here, maybe not to the coast, but we will know more after they complete their tour of the areas around Cuenca and Loja.

Thanks again for taking the time to drive up the coast to visit us. Buena suerte!

Pizza Thursdays

Yesterday a group of Expats got together to share some pizza, beer, wine and conversation at Meiers. It was a fun evening and allowed some of the new folks (either visiting or just purchased a place here) to meet a few of us who live here permanently.

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I loved meeting and visiting with all of these folks. Next time we need to do musical chairs and move around to speak to everyone in the group.

Hope you all enjoyed your evening together. See you around town!

Party Time with Shelly and Gary

When our friend and blog reader Yusuf came to visit us in San Clemente he arrived with Shelly and Gary. We all sat around on our porch and sipped lemonade and in doing so got to be friends with them all. Shelly and Gary recently completed their vacation home on the beach and we were invited to their first dinner party last evening.

First I must say that these are the most down-to-earth folks that we have had the privileged to meet, no airs, just sweet folks with kind and gentle hearts. Their home is beautiful, spacious, with an excellent view of the Pacific ocean.

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San Clemente 2.24.2013 011Shelly made a sangria that everyone enjoyed and Gary was prepared with an assortment of wines and of course the Ecuadorian staple Pilsener in those big 22 oz bottles. After an appetizer of eggs Diablo Shelly treated us to her version of shrimp ceviche (pretty good for not being a local), it was a big hit.  Gary then christened his new BBQ grill with steaks and shrimp that Shelly had marinated, a grand buffet including an excellent potato salad that I want the recipe for was served. Dessert was a fluffy as a cloud mouse layer cake topped with maracua sauce and chocolate, decadent was the word for that subrosa meal.

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Work continues on the caretaker cottage on the property and another friend David has been hired to fill that position. We are so pleased for both our friends for finding each other.

Several of our Barrio Norte neighbors were in attendance as well as a wonderful Manta family we got to meet along with some of the folks who had been finishing the work on the property (putting down tools and picking up Pilseners is always a good thing). Dinner, drinks and great company…what more could you ask for? Our adventure in Ecuador continues to prove to us that we picked the right country, the right town and have friends that make our lives better just by being our friends.

Joe the Birthday Boy

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Like most celebrations this past few months, Joe and I tend to always go back to Viviana’s for all the right reasons. Sitting at a beachfront restaurant sipping a cold Pilsener is probably one of the most perfect things on earth to do at this stage of our lives. As you see by Joe’s smiling face he and I are in total agreement on this fact.

Next, the food. Perfection. Yesterdays birthday boys choice was Arroz Con Mixto. This is a rich brown rice packed with your choice of two fresh from the sea treats. Joe’s choice – shrimp and calamari. When he was given his plate Eva the chef had thrown in baby pulpo (octopus) as well. AND papas fritas.

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Now don’t say a word, Joe wanted french fries (papas fritas) but Eva said that she did not have any so he changed his order from Shrimp in Garlic Sauce with French Fries to the Arroz con mixto  dish. But when his plate was delivered Eva had found him the potatoes he wanted…a starch fest for sure. Joe did not complain.

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Viviana and her cousin were out walking on the beach and stopped by to say hello and brought Joe a piece of birthday cake. This was tres leches which is a very rich cake with three different types of cream added to make it even richer.

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Viviana and Joe sharing a hug. She is a lovely young woman, a great entrepreneur and has a wonderful family that is so supportive of her and the business.

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On our walk back down the beach, Joe had to show his cliff diving stance with the beautiful South Pacific sunset in the background.

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What a great way to celebrate a birthday….we need to do this every week. Oh I forgot we do make it our Sunday ritual to visit Viviana’s for a late lunch each week. How blessed are we?

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One last photo of last evenings sunset. Happy Birthday Joe may this year be filled with blessings beyond your wildest dreams!

Joe’s Exercise Program for Retired Expats Everywhere

We have become very fond of Pilsener, the local beer of Ecuador. This is not an extremely potent beer it is 4.2% alcohol but it is very refreshing on these hot days especially if stored in the freezer for 3o minutes before you pop the top. And of course it should be served in mugs that have been stored on the door of said freezer for several days to get the temperature of the glass and beer just perfect. And even better you should be seated under the trees on your property to truly enjoy this beer moment!

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Todays topic is purchasing Pilsener by the case in San Clemente. First hail the huge delivery truck, give him your empty case and hand him $9 for 12 – 22 oz bottles. He will, in turn, give you .05 cents back and grin like a fool. The next time you hear the truck approaching and your case is empty hail it again, tell the guy who was grinning like a fool the last time that you want two cases. He will take your empty case, leave you two full and charge you $24 for the filled bottles (this includes the deposit for the second 12 bottles and container). Next time we need beer I will give him two empty cases and he will charge me $17.90 that is a real deal for us and of course we do not need to haul this back from the store. About seventy-five cents for 22 ounces of pure pleasure……….

Joe has decided that this is part of his exercise program.  Moving the cases from the front porch into the kitchen and then packing the refrigerator.  I agree this is a very good Expat Exercise Regime!

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Sunset in San Clemente

I have not felt like going through my pictures and videos from our trip up the coast until today so for the next week I will try to post everything I have on our trip.

One day Joe and I took our 22 oz bottle of Pilsener, two glasses and our camera and walked down to the beach in front of the hotel we were staying at in Clemente. There is a ranchero or patio of sorts with a sand floor, no walls but a great roof of palm fronds that is set up with several long benches and a few tables and chairs. We sat, poured our beer and enjoyed the beautiful sunset.

And here is the sunset I promised.