The Invasion – The New Normal – Chapter Six

04/17/2020 – 04/23/2020

“More snow – this is ridiculous!”

“Snow, just enough to cause a mess – not enough to make snow people.”

“This has been an interesting week, Patriots’ Day April 20th and Earth Day April 22nd,  and officially April vacation week in Massachusetts.”

“No vacation for students this week – remote learning to continue.”

“Good news too – over $500 million designated to support vaccine development and manufacture of Moderna’s vaccine already in human trials in Seattle.”

“We need a vaccine – the data indicate that more than eighty percent of those placed on ventilators die.”

“That’s why there is such a celebration every time a patient is discharged from ICU.  A victory Jackson.”

“It’s not just the lungs that are impacted with this virus, but the brain, liver, kidneys and intestines.”

“Governor Baker signed a bill extending liability protection to health care personnel treating CV-19 patients during the crisis.”

“No one is really certain of the best way to treat these critically ill patients.  Multiple clinical trials are underway – essential to have some data to guide treatment decisions – how can you second guess choices in times like these?”

“We’re all in this together – I’m tired of hearing that!  I’m tired of hearing about virtual this and virtual that.  FaceTime is fake time.  ‘Virtual’ is like vitro verses vivo!!!  The re-runs of re-runs and runs!”

“Now Nilla, focus on how fortunate we are.  You must admit, the documentary about the Boston Marathon was interesting.  And just think how much you’ll appreciate being social again.  Patience!”

“I know Jackson, I’m just being honest and saying what’s on my mind.  Probably others are feeling the same way!  It’s especially bad when the weather is gloomy.  I think it’s called ‘quarantine fatigue’.”

“Yes, many others feel as you do.  Some states are considering easing the ‘stay at home’ order – Georgia, Tennessee and South Carolina.  There’s a lot of frustration, despair and fear yet about 58% are fearful that easing the restrictions will happen too soon.”

“Amidst all of this, remember we talked about the importance of CV-19 antibody testing as a criteria for the ‘re-opening’? Well, not all of these tests have been approved by the FDA and now the sensitivity and specificity of some of the rapid tests are being questioned.”

“That’s not good Nilla!  The tests need to be reliable.”

“The Patriots did take the opportunity to announce their new uniforms for the season – the familiar blue on blue that they had worn for ‘Color Rush’ in 2016 will now be the home uniform and a new white jersey to be worn for when away.”

“Mayor Marty Walsh requested that no one run the marathon course on Patriots’ Day but of course, there had to be a few that ran the route anyway.”

“So much for “We’re all in this together.”  ‘For every rule there is an exception and I’m the exception’ mentality Jackson.”

“Curfews continue in some communities and all adults and children aged five years and older are required to wear masks when they leave their homes.  Still we see some that don’t despite the risks.”

“Even cats can get CV-19, two cases confirmed today in New York – from two different barrios.”

“But there is NO evidence that the cats can transmit it to humans, probably the other way around and don’t forget the tiger that tested positive.”

“Let’s recap some good news, good news for those who are self-employed or independent contractors this week – in Massachusetts these folks will now qualify for unemployment entitlements.”

“That is good news.  Trump on the other hand this week signed an executive order temporarily suspending immigration.  Not sure how long temporary will be.”

“Food banks are asking for money rather than food donations at this point.  Apparently there is an abundance of some food stuffs and lack of others.  Donating money will allow food banks to buy needed items at wholesale prices and not overstock others.”

“That makes sense Nilla.  Another concern is the closure of some meat processing plants because of the increase in CV-19 cases.”

“The meat supply is not an issue here in Massachusetts though.”

“Because of the increase in CV-19 cases amongst patients and staff at Tewksbury Hospital, the National Guard has set up a command center there.  The field hospital at the recreation center at UMass Lowell has officially opened but no patients there yet.”

“Jackson, did you hear that the running of the bulls in Pamplona has been canceled this year?”

“Yes, that’s another positive one for this pandemic – could never understand why people engage in that sort of behavior.  Running in front of six bulls and risking being trampled or gored”

“Actually it’s not all that dangerous Jackson, it’s a custom.  If you had planned on running during the San Fermin Festival this July, you’d be disappointed.

“Talking about disappointed, Governor Baker officially announced that schools will not reopen this school year – remote learning to continue.  So difficult for high school seniors – no proms, no graduation.  As the Commonwealth heads towards the surge of the epidemic, New York will send 400 ventilators in case we need them.”

“The results of hydrocholorquine trials are disappointing, not a promising treatment or preventive option.”

“Back in February, a Harvard epidemiology professor said he did not believe the CV-19 was containable and than by next year thirty to forty percent of people globally will be infected – CV-19 may become the new ‘seasonal illness’.”

“Let’s hope he’s wrong!”

“Looks as though there will be another CV-19 relief package – $500 billion approved by the senate this week Nilla.”

“And, Gronk – do you believe it?!  He’s coming out of retirement to play with Brady as a Buccaneer!!”

“Jackson, don’t be ridiculous!”

“What about his CBD business – Abacus Products, and his contract as a commentator with Fox?”

“Don’t know.  More material for the sportscasters to talk about.”

“Not only that,  but the Red Sox learned their punishment for signal stealing during the 2018 season.  Oops.  It could have been worse Nilla.”

“Sock it to ’em Jackson.”

“And what did the Patriots do for their first round NFL draft pick?”

Traded of course!”

“Stay tuned for more finagling.”

“So what did you think about Trump’s suggestion of injecting or ingesting bleach or disinfectant to get rid of the virus Nilla?”

“Was he kidding?  Didn’t look that way – did you see the expressions on the faces of his advisors?”

“Let’s wait and see what he has to say about it tomorrow during his daily CV-19 briefing.”

“Stations for the most part, aren’t even broadcasting his reports live anymore.  Just numbers and political campaigning on what a great job he is doing.”

“On the brighter side, it was good to have FaceTime with Aventurero Nilla, despite what you think about FaceTime being “fake time.”

“It was good to see him, he’s still staying put in Ecuador.  The numbers of deaths and cases of CV-19 have been grossly under-reported, they’re just beginning to catch up now.”

“Looks like Ecuador could be the epicenter of CV-19 for Latin America.”

“On the home front, more progress on the study makeover.  The mirrors arrived and hung.  Looks good I think.”


“I agree, much more bright.”


“And the Ts were glad to be able to get Chinese food take-out from Sichuan Palace – it had been a long time.”

“And they were able to find hand sanitizer, made by Fabrizia Spirits in Salem New Hampshire.”

“Jackson, under NO circumstances should you drink or inject it – you’ll get drunk and your fur will turn white.” “Nilla, to you really think I’d do that? I’m not stupid!”

“So, another distillery making hand sanitizer, that’s a good thing Jackson.”

“Hey, guess what?”

“What Jackson.”

“Guess what’s in the long range forecast?”

“No, not again!!!

The Invasion – The New Normal – Chapter Five

04/10/2020 – 04/16/2020

“Numbers, numbers, numbers!  Personal protective gear, ventilators, testing, new cases, deaths, unemployment – every day the numbers Nilla!”

“I thought you liked numbers Jackson!”

“Not these!  Sacrifice, we are frail but resilient Nilla.”

“For the first time ever all the states have declared emergencies.”

“There’s no escaping it, it’s like a smothering blanket over the world, over our country.”

“Impacting absolutely everything!  The biggest decline in new real estate listings noted this week – a slump despite extraordinarily low mortgage rates.   A Lowell food mart/gasoline station is offering free gas to health care providers and first responders.”

“Every little expression of gratitude for those on the frontlines is appreciated.”

Blue lights across the Bridge Street Bridge, expressing thanks for the service of health care providers, essential workers and first responders.

“There are now over 2000 new cases in Ecuador.  I worry about Aventurero Jackson.”

“He’ll be okay.  His beach view video was fabulous.  At least the weather there is better than here.”

“Federal stock piles are depleted, MassPort continues to explore new ways to cut expenses as air traveler numbers plummet. And now we’re all supposed to wear masks!”

“Nilla, I can’t see!” “Jackson, I can’t smell!”


“Jackson, who’s that bear with the mask on?” “Ahh, that’s Dr. Sergio Bear, a surgeon, he always wears a mask.” “Trendy isn’t he?!”

“More field hospitals open – DCU in Worcester; the Boston Convention Center and soon others in western Massachusetts and Cape Cod.”

“What do you think about Florida’s refusal to close places of worship.”

“Dangerous decision Nilla.”

“The White House Covid-19 released the components for the re-opening of the country – three key points.”

“Yes, diagnostic tests, antibody tests and tracing.  Seems as though it will take a great deal more time beyond May 4th to accomplish all three.”

“Jackson, the White House also outlined the process for ‘re-opening’ – restaurants, places of worship, sports venues, theaters to open first with ‘social distancing’; school, non-essential travel and businesses would follow and then ‘vulnerable’ people can leave their homes observing ‘social distancing’ of course.”

“Not sure how exactly one would social distance in restaurant, theaters, places of worship and sports arenas.  We really need to reconsider drive-ins and perhaps buffets in restaurants – a self serve approach.”

“Takes away from the total experience though Jackson.  Would we still be wearing facial coverings?”

“How can you eat or drink with a mask on.  No popcorn or soda at the movies either Jackson.”

“You know, we’ll just have to wait and see, and be cautious!

“On the presidential campaign front, Sanders and Obama officially endorced Biden.”

“What did you expect?”

“Meanwhile, Governor Baker suspends the mandatory Massachusetts, Comprehensive Assessment System testing, another field hospital to open in the Commonwealth, on the campus of UMass Lowell, the U.S. Postal Service is running out of money, Apple and Google partner in a plan to assist with CV-19 tracing – voluntary measure for participants.”

“And assistance providing hazard pay for those on the frontline has been approved for Massachusetts workers.”

“The Massachusetts COVID-19 Relief Fund has raised more than $4 million dollars in the first week!

“That’s great news Nilla!”

“Several states in the northeast are looking at the ‘re-opening’ process – New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts.”

“It seems a bit too soon to me Nilla, especially that there have been over ten thousand deaths related to CV-19 in New York City.”

“The Ts continue to be busy with projects.  Looks like the face lift for the study is moving along nicely.”

“Looks like art work Jackson.”
“It’s the study floor where they had applied glue.”

They also enjoyed sunset social on Tuesday but the weather didn’t cooperate on Thursday.”


“Although the weather was perfect there were there no parades or celebrations for One Boston Day, April 15th, the seventh anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing.”

“No parades or celebrations either. How do you cheer while to wearing a facial covering?”

“NO tax filing either – the deadline extended to July.”

“The Ts went to the Harbor instead – just for the day, on Wednesday – stayed on the property.”

“Yes, Nilla, they wanted to open up the Seacorn, make sure that water service had resumed, and then returned right back to Massachusetts.”

“Jackson, they commented that it appeared as most all the shops were closed, as Governor Mills has mandated, but that there seemed to be a lot of road work being done in Maine – a good time to do it – very little traffic.  It was a nice day too”

“Nilla, did you hear that the printed stimulus checks are being delayed – Trump’s name is going to appear on them, the first time for any president.”

“I did.  Trump also withheld monies for the World Health Organization claiming they were not forthcoming about the contagion severity and could have spared many lives.”

“More blaming and sadly, the Payroll Protection Program ran out of money this week.  There’s been an outcry that some of the funds went to national chains – some have offered to give the money back.”

“Let’s conclude our post with something positive Nilla.  Benson and Hedges has announced that they have a vaccine that is ready for testing – the source, the genetically engineered tobacco plant!”

“That’s impressive.  A good use for the tobacco villain!”


The Invasion – The New Normal – Chapter Four

04/03/2020 – 04/09/2020

“Massachusetts CV-19 cases are rapidly rising as more testing sites open Nilla.  One opened in Lowell on Tuesday.  Lots of blaming going on between state and federal governments too.”

“Yes Jackson – more tests – that’s a good thing – one problem with this virus is that it goes incognito – the covert Covid-19!  The only way to make sure someone has it in those without symptoms is to test.  The other issue is that they don’t want to test anyone who’s not feeling ill – at least not yet.  When ?this is all over do you think state and federal governments will work together to coordinate efforts for future disasters like this one?”

“Don’t know.  We had some new recommendations this week.  Several scientists are suggesting people wear facial masks.  I thought the CDC said it wouldn’t make a difference – only those with symptoms should wear a mask.”

“That’s another problem Jackson, they don’t totally understand this virus yet.  People that recover have antibodies but do those antibodies protect against re-infection and if immune, what is the duration of that immunity?”

“There seems to be more questions than answers Nilla.”

“Let’s focus on the progress scientist have made.  You know that the University of Pittsburg announced on Friday that they have a vaccine, they tested it on laboratory animals and feel they are ready to initiate human trials.”

“That is good news!  And Massachusetts is going to begin a CV-19 tracing program.  They’re collaborating with Partners Health Care and plan to hire 1000 ‘tracers’.”

“That is progress but as long as there is no ‘testing on demand’, the value is somewhat limited.”

“The Ts had a text exchange with Tia Rosita.  She and her family are well.  They light a candle and offer prayer for the world every night at 8:00 PM.”

“We should do that too Jackson.”

“Yes, let’s.”


“You know, Bill Gates, five years ago, warned of a viral epidemic that could devastate the country – the world?”

“We should have listened.  The government’s stock pile was obsolete and in disrepair in some cases – that’s why the shortage of personal protective equipment and ventilators.”

“Who’s in charge of that stuff.”

“Don’t know Nilla.  But I’m sure in the future there will be accountability and preparedness.”

“Lessons to be learned for sure Jackson.”

“I just hope we do learn!”

“The Ts have had messages from friends, all checking in and so far healthy.”

“You do know that an extended family member of the Ts had CV-19, and had intensive antibiotic treatment for a related pneumonia.  Thankfully he’s fine now, just tired.”

“How are the hydroxychloroquine trials going?”

“Haven’t heard any updates yet Nilla.”

“Dr. Fauci predicts the country will not return to ‘normal’ as we knew it before this viral invasion, this microscopic monster!”

“In some ways that might be a good thing.  Better hygiene, supermarket isles one way only. And Fauci says that Americans should never shake hands again!”

“Everyone is trying to get involved and help any way they can – in our condominium building a couple made cloth masks for everyone to wear.”

“And Lauren Baker along with Eastern Bank have established the Massachusetts COVID-19 Relief Fund.  The Ts are going to contribute.”

“The Ts certainly have kept busy this past week – making haddock chowder, sharing it with friends, social distancing of course and painting the study.”

“I remember the Ts making fish chowder with dorado and sharing it when we were in San Clemente.”

“They’ve enjoyed their walks, they’ve enjoyed seeing families walking together, working on the lawns or playing games in their yards.”

“I almost forgot to mention one other important event this week Jackson, Senator Bernie Sanders’ announcement that he was suspending his campaign.”

“Another victim to the ‘new normal’.”

“Not entirely but it has definitely been a factor.”

“Joe Biden is most likely the democratic party nominee.”

“What will happen next?”

“Don’t know Nilla.  The White House Covid-19 task force is developing a framework for what ‘return to normal’ will look like.”

“Millions of Americans have filed for unemployment benefits – is any type of ‘normal’ in the future for them, for us?”

“This enemy has taken lives, freedoms and livelihoods.”

“The Red Cross is asking for blood donations from healthy donors and donors who have recovered from Covid-19.  There may be some promise of antibody positive plasma transfusion for treatment in those with severe symptoms.”

“The Ts don’t have any immediate plans to go to Maine, but the water/sewer service has resumed.”

“All this discussion about the ‘reopening’ criteria and process – there’s something missing – something our elected officials have yet to mention – the ability to easily purchase hand sanitizer, disinfectant, paper products, gloves and masks”

“Nilla, you forgot TRUST.”


The Invasion – The New Normal – Chapter Three

03/27/2020 – 04/02/2020

“Big goings on the beginning of this week!”

“Yes, let’s see if we can list them Nilla.”

“Well, on Friday, Trump signed the 2.2 trillion dollar CV-19 relief package, and Baker announces self-quarantine request for fourteen days for anyone coming into the state.”

“Don’t forget that Trump had to evoke the Defense Protection Act to get General Motors to manufacture needed ventilators.”

“I know, too bad that he had to do that.”

“Don’t forget either that Baker extended the state income tax deadline from April 15th to July 15th – that mirrors the federal income tax deadline.”

“Vermont’s schools are going to be closed until the fall Jackson.”

“And it’s not a vacation!  Remote learning.  Remote teaching.”

“There’s no vaccine, there’s no definitive treatment.”

“And folks that are asymptomatic are still contagious!”

“We’ve heard that some people experience the loss of taste and smell early in the course of their illness.”

“Aroma likes that Nilla!”

“Skunks don’t deserve their bad reputation Nilla.” “Have to admit Aroma, that they can be pretty stinky.”

“Hydrochloroquine is being studied as a possible treatment in combination with zithromycin, but no one is sure that it will consistently work and there are side effects with both of these medications, some deadly.”

“Trump extended social distancing this week until April 30th.”

“Wonder if we’ll get another postcard Jackson?”

“The Ts projects are moving forward.  They selected a tile for the study and replacement for broken tiles in the master bathroom, as well as the guest bathroom.”

“They have also donated boxes of things including clothing to Goodwill.”

“Yes, it’s been a time of getting rid of clutter and discovery of things they had forgotten they had.”

“It’s a good thing Jackson – especially if they are going back to Ecuador in October.  Simplify things here first.”

“The most recent predictions are that Massachusetts will have a total of 47,000 to 172,000 CV-19 cases before we start to see the ‘end’ of the pandemic in the Commonwealth Nilla.”

“That’s a lot – do you think it will ever come to an ‘end’?

“Only with a vaccine. At least the FDA has approved the first CV-19 antibody test this week – another important step in containing the pandemic.”

“It was exceptional effort to have essential masks flown from China to Boston via the Kraft’s Patriot jet.”

“Emotional too!  A mask decontamination unit should be headed here in the next several weeks and is capable of sanitizing 80,000 masks a day!”

“This while Trump had to evoke the Defensive Production Act for the second time, this time against 3M.”

“Over one million cases reported globally by Thursday afternoon.”

“We’re together – faith, hope, thanks, love – unifying while separate Jackson.”

“Did you hear that residents on Cape Cod want to close the Sagamore and Bourne Bridges to all non-essential traffic.”

“Well, I understand why they’d like that – keep away people from Covid-19 infections.  And you do realize the Ts received a letter from Boothbay Harbor Board of Selectmen about the Harbor’s response to the pandemic, guidelines and restrictions.”

“Yes Nilla, if they do go to Maine to stay they’ll have to quarantine for fourteen days, that will take some planning.  They have projects to complete there too.”

“I guess we’ll just have to wait and see Jackson.”

“At least shopping by the end of the week was a little more successful.  Stores are limiting the number of people allowed inside at any given time.  Yes, the Ts were up early to take advantage of the ‘senior hours’.”

“Charlie Baker announced that Massachusetts will see a peak in CV-19 cases sometime between April 10th and April 20th.  The DCU Center in Worcester is being converted into a field hospital to accommodate those who still can’t return home because they need skilled care, this will relieve some of the burden the hospitals have had.”

“Through it all Nilla, keep faith, embrace hope, give thanks and love one another.”

“Amen Jackson.”

The Invasion – The New Normal – Chapter Two

03/20/2020 – 03/26/2020

“The weather is sooo gray Jackson.”

“Yes it is.  Even snow showers this week!  It makes being indoors and no where to go worse.”


“But Jackson, what do you think about the Ts friends doing virtual cocktail hours?”

“Yes, coming up with names like ‘quarantini’, ‘lejito’ or the ‘isolone cosmo’.

“I hope this doesn’t last all that long.”

“Well the Ts seem to believe that the virus is spread by just talking, don’t need a cough or a sneeze!”

“If that’s the case then everyone should be wearing masks.”

“They’re saying that’s not necessary.”

“Anyway Jackson, check out the president’s fifteen day plan.”

“Hey, have you noticed the kitchen counter top has a circular pattern that sort of looks like the corona-19 virus cartoons?” “It’s everywhere!!!!!”

“Fifteen days isn’t so bad.”

“But come March 31st it will end or be modified.”

“Let’s hope that it will end.”

“Ecuador now has 426 cases and it doesn’t look as though Aventurero will be returning as he had planned.”

“Hope he stays safe. They initially had a curfew from 7:00 PM to 5:00 AM, but on March 25th they tightened it from 2:00 PM to 5:00 AM.”

“I’m sure he will.”

“Hey, do you know of any drive-in theaters around here?”

“Those are all gone, long ago, for the most part, but you’re right, you could have movies, church services, weddings everything!”

“You know Nilla, they just might come back in vogue with this covert deadly infection.”

“The Ts have a great idea for those in our condominium – ‘sunset social at six’ – doesn’t matter if the sun isn’t setting at six.”

“It’s a good way to thankfully celebrate the day, embrace hope and engage a neighbor.”

“Schedule it for Tuesdays and Thursdays, weather permitting.”

“Perfect, or as perfect as it can be.”


“Jackson, shopping is still a mess – even for senior hours.  The Ts get up early but still find the shelves empty – toilet paper, hand sanitizer still not available.  Can’t get deli cheese and meat cut to order either.”

“But the Ts have been able to find carton milk – the type they have been drinking in Ecuador, it has a really long shelf life too.”

“Costco has started to offer senior hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays – the Ts might be able to find things they need there.  All the grocery stores and pharmacies have to have senior hours in Massachusetts – per the governor as of March 26th.”

“So many people out of work.  The stimulus package is still pending, partisan bickering.”

It’s good that the Ts have lots of projects to keep them busy here.”

“Walks are important too.  On Wednesday they discovered a new sandwich shop downtown, the Purple Carrot.”


“Maybe during one of their walks once nicer weather is here, they can order a sandwich and enjoy it while they walk along the river.”

“What about the students?”

“The governor announced on Wednesday that the schools would be closed until May 4th.  Remote learning.”

“That’s tough.  No sports or other school activities.  How are the students going to be graded?”

“They’ll have to come up with a system I guess Jackson.”

“Guess Baker is not in agreement with the president – who announced  earlier in the week hoping to re-open the economy and services by Easter.”




The Invasion – The New Normal – Chapter One

03/12/2020 – 03/19/2020

“Wow Jackson, these past few days back in New England have been crazy!”

“Crazy times, crazy, crazy everything!”

“So, what did you think about going to the grocery store?”

“You’ve got to be kidding – things were better in Ecuador.”

“What’s with the toilet paper shortage?”

“Is the virus causing massive and severe cases of diarrhea?”

“Funny – if that were the shelves with Imodium and Pepto Bismol would be empty too.”

“Don’t forget probiotics as well.”

“Ecuador has closed the border completely!  What’s going to happen to Aventurero?”

“Nilla, don’t worry, he loves adventures – that’s why we named him Aventurero.”

“Social distancing, wash your hands, use hand sanitizer.”

“What hand sanitizer – think about the stuff we left in the box, now in storage in Ecuador.  We should have brought it back with us!”

“Hoarding is terrible – a few with what so many need.”

“It’s a sign of fear and lack of trust.”

“Mine, mine, mine!!” “What do you think you’re doing? You’re not in the movie ‘Finding Nemo’.

“And don’t you do it Jackson!  SHARE!

“No sports, no restaurant seating, no gatherings greater than twenty five, no casinos or malls.”

“Yes, Nilla, no malls, no shopping!!”

“Is there any good news, Jackson?”

“Yes, if you’re a Tampa Bay Buccaneer fan.”

“What are you talking about?”

“Tom Brady of course – he’s leaving the Patriots.”

“Well, that’s not good news for us.”

“Sportscasters like it – they have something to talk about.”

“It’s a good thing the Ts have things to do inside – they’ve been sorting, donating, and throwing out ‘stuff’.”

“Ever since this last visit to Ecuador, it’s been simplify, simplify.”

“Jackson, did you hear, Charlie Baker has called out the National Guard to help, I hope it’s not a sign of things to come.”

“On the bright side Nilla – we’re not quarantined.”


Packing and Leaving San Clemente: 03/08/2020-03/11/2020

“Nilla, Ecuador’s coronavirus-19 cases continue to rise slowly – fourteen by the time we leave San Clemente.”

“But Jackson, remember that none were near where we were.  But nonetheless using the hand sanitizer wipes when traveling is a good idea.”

“According to the CDC, there still is no need to wear masks unless one were sick.”

“Sine the Ts couldn’t find any sanitizing wipes in San Clemente, stopping in Rocaforte on the way to Crucita on Saturday became necessary.”

“What I thought was amazing was the Saturday market – huge!”

“Fruits, vegetables, meat, cheese, nuts, and clothing, you name it, it was there!”

“We need to remember that when we return in October Nilla.”

“I won’t forget it!”

“It was great to see our friends in Crucita on Saturday too – and Neiser’s open-air lounge space is delightful!”

“A success for sure Jackson.  It was wonderful seeing Aventurero again – and the Ts gave him some wipes for his return trip.  He’s leaving on March 24th.”

“Our time here seemed to have been so short Nilla.  And that’s why the Ts are going to arrange for the prorroga to extend our stay when we return!”

“On Sunday, daylight saving time began, there was no need to change clocks in San Clemente but important to remember once back home.”

“We don’t want to be late for anything!”

“The Ts don’t have any appointments until April, Jackson – so being late won’t be an issue.”

“Our last sunset in San Clemente was spectacular, we got to relax a bit before Marcelo came to pick us up at 7:15 PM.”

“Flight to Quito and connecting with the shuttle to the Wyndham seamless.”

“Up early on March 11th, no breakfast for the Ts at the hotel, but they did have a nice breakfast at the airport, Nilla.”

“What I found impressive was all the shopping opportunities on the way to the gate – even that early in the morning!”

You would find that impressive, Nilla.   I call it expensive!”

“Wasn’t Diana at migracion gracious as we left the country – she said she’d assist us with the prorroga process when we return, Nilla.”

“Jackson, that mural in the international waiting area in the Mariscal Sucre Airport was a masterpiece, capturing history, folklore, the varied landscapes of Ecuador’s regions – comprehensive.”

“The airport in Panama City was really busy – the Ts had plenty of time to walk around, grab some coffee and people watch.”

“There sure were a lot of people wearing masks and gloves.”

“Did you notice the coffee shop, Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, was selling masks?”


“Not only that, passengers wearing masks and gloves were touching ‘things’ and then touching the mask, the face and obviously thinking that this would keep them ‘safe’.”

“Nilla, it was absolutely crazy!”

“Jackson, what I couldn’t understand was the lack of Covid-19 signage at Terminal E in Logan Airport.”

“The Ts were cautious – using gloves and the sanitizer wipes.”

“It is certainly nice to be home again – and face the projects that the Ts talked about before leaving Ecuador.”

“Nilla, the Ts were warned about the changes here – apparently people are consumed with Corvid-19.”

“How bad could it be Jackson?”


The Last Full Week in Ecuador (This Trip): 03/01/2020 – 03/07/2020

“It’s been an interesting week Nilla.”

“Yes, it has, particularly with the weather, and conditions on Avenida Quito – either dust, the toads are happy or mud, the frogs are happy.”

“It certainly was a particularly laarrrgge toad by the gate.”


“What did you think about the ‘mussoles’  experiment at Cafe Mussol Sunday?”

“More than four hours there.  The batter is perfect, the flavor delicious but the popover mussoles kept sticking to the bottom of the pan.”


“Jackson, the oven at the cafe is designed for pizza and it’s possible that the stone shelves in the oven are just getting too hot.”

“There was a significant temperature difference between the top and bottom shelves too.  So what’s the plan now Nilla?”


“See if we can find racks that will allow for air flow within the oven.”

“So no mussoles on the menu officially yet.”

“Unfortunately not!”

“Our last trip to Montecristi on Wednesday was fun.”

“Stopping at our favorite pastry shop, Mia Delizia – no calories there.”

“Nope, not a one Nilla.  Don’t forget stopping by Kobe in the Mall del Pacifico for some sushi.”


“I wonder if they deliver to San Clemente Jackson?”

“Not a chance!”

“Jackson, the first case of Coronavirus-19 confirmed in Ecuador this week and at week’s end thirteen cases all linked to an Ecuadorean woman residing in Spain who flew into Guayaquil..”

“The coronavirus-19 is spreading globally with cases of people not having known contact with an infectious source.”

“It is alarming. Arriving and departing passengers in the airports are receiving fliers about routine precaution measures and there was even an Ecuadorian government issued alert through cell phones Sunday afternoon.”

“We’re no where near where she and her family are Nilla.”

“And when we travel back to the U.S. we’ll exercise precaution, use wipes – the ones we bought at Tia in Rocaforte on Saturday, and wash hands frequently, don’t touch the face, keep away from those with cough or nasal symptoms and use hand sanitizer.”


“That’s the best we can do.”

“Other than a pleasant trip to Crucita on Saturday, the remainder of the week has been spent organizing and getting ready for our return trip – a large plastic box to stay in the bodega here, until our return in October and two backpacks friends will store at Ensenada del Pacifico.”


“Nilla, it was fun seeing Aventurero, Guardagatos and Norest Grump.”

“It certainly was.  Sounds like Aventurero, Guardagatos and some other friends will be off on an adventure of their own next week Jackson.”

“Hope he sends pictures!”

“I’m sure he will.”

“It’s time to return to the United States but I’m going to miss Ecuador Nilla.”

“Me too, but the Ts already have tickets for our return.  We’ll be back at the school, writing stories, traveling in country…”

“Wow, a lot to look forward to.”

“Sure is but they have a list of things to do when they arrive back in New England.”

“It’ll get done.”

“What happens if we get quarantined?”

“Nilla, don’t even think it!!!  We haven’t been exposed.”




Carnival and Conclusion of Vacation School: 02/23/2020 – 02/29/2020

“It was a very quiet start to the week for the Ts Jackson.”

“It certainly was considering Carnival was going on.”

“The very busy plan for later in the week was back to school on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Then on Thursday afternoon over to Mussol to show the owner and his family how to make dessert popovers. On Friday night, after the last day of school heading to Crucita for a graduation party.”

“Yes, it was a busy week, but we’ll get to that later Nilla.”

“So, Sunday afternoon lots of food vendors as well as ones selling clothes items, sunglasses, trinkets and foam canisters – of all sizes!”

“But not too much ‘bulla’ and performers on the stage.”

“Lots of people though.”

“There was minimal water throwing – mostly at cars and other people throwing water – throw and get wet in return!”


“Monday was a different story – the Ts got ‘egged’, not intentionally but just happened to be standing by someone who was the target and…..”

“And yuck, yoke!”

“Good thing they were close to Mussol and were able to use the washroom to clean up!”

“But it’s all in fun – really Nilla!”

“It was great that they went to Mussol, because it began to drizzle.  Mussol had entertainment, a retired professional guitar player that played wonderful Ecuadorian songs from the sierra.”


“It was a wonderful evening away from the goings on in the streets – that is until the downpour came and pushed people inside.”

“That brought the evening to a close for the Ts.”

“The frogs certainly weren’t singing the blues – they were singing joyous songs of praise to the rain and mud!”

“Should we mention the stock market back in the US?”

“Nilla, it was bound to ‘correct’ – the corona virus has had an impact but certainly not totally to blame.  The Ts have and adviser managing things for them.”

“Carnival was pretty much wrapped up by Tuesday – a few people were still in town – lots of trash everywhere, piled up on corners in boxes and bags.”

“There was mud most everywhere too from last evening’s rain.”

“Wednesday was not as busy as expected at the school, perhaps because of Carnival.”

“Thursday was supposed to be ‘mussoles’ making day at Mussol but they had a change in plan which was fine with the Ts, tired after a long day at school.”

“Jackson, they had an important discussion with Tia Rosita, the director about suggestions for organizing a volunteer program as well as some enhancements for the school’s website.”

“Nilla, the school needs some assistance with computer lab equipment, musical instruments and even tournament quality chess sets!”

“Yes, it seems as though the original area of the school’s classrooms needs to be rewired – an expensive task which leaves little room in the budget for ‘wish list’ items.”

“If folks don’t know what the school needs, it’s difficult to help.”

“That’s why Jackson, the Ts want them to have a list on the school’s web page.”

“So, what did you think about Thursday night?”

“What about Thursday night?”

“It woke us up Nilla.”

“Oh yes, thunder echoing off building walls and mountain sides and lightening flashing and pounding rain.”

“No running water on Friday morning, the last day of school!”

“The Ts are very resourceful Jackson.  Bottled water to brush the teeth and moisten wet wipes for basic face washing and hygiene care.”

“Be prepared!”

“They took a taxi to get around the ‘ponds’ on Avenida Quito, the frogs joyous once again.”

It was still raining on the way to school, the double sided tape, log sheets and a list of computer lab rules to present to Tio Eduardo were tucked safely in a plastic bag.

“What’s the double sided tape for Nilla?’

“To keep the ants out of the monitors, a second monitor had a nest!”

“Some of the students were happy about the progress evaluation planned for the class on Friday – but others not so much.”



“Most of them were able to complete the first fifteen lessons satisfactorily – the basic ‘eight’ on the keyboard home row, which isn’t bad for such a short course.”

“The Ts were presented with recognition T-shorts at an assembly in the auditorium. Clever of them, don’t you think, since we call them the Ts – one for each of us.”


“Not our size Jackson!”

“But they certainly complement my complexion Nilla.”

“But Jackson, it was an adventure, the first ride in a combinacion!”

“The combinaciones are pickup trucks that are taxis that carry passengers and freight – that’s why they are called combinations.”

“They cost a little more Jackson, but it’s an option nonetheless.”

“Did you notice the lamp posts with festive lights and the new recycle containers that look more like red mailboxes Nilla?”


“I did but did you notice what isn’t there Jackson – apparently those complaining about the one-way malecon and no beach side parking won out – the signs are gone!

“It doesn’t make sense to me – all that expense.”

“Not sure who is really in charge of making changes in Crucita.”

“I don’t miss the bus dust and noise when you’re eating or trying to hold a conversation Nilla.”

“I’m kinda glad we’re in San Clemente and it looks as though will be staying at Ensenada Del Pacifico again later this year – in a different unit though.”

“That’s fine with me, we’ll have some more fun.  The Ts are going to volunteer at the school only two days a week not three which leaves more time for us!  Ha!”

“Seeing Aventurero at Ramblas was fun, but the graduation party was just beginning by the time the Ts taxi arrived to take them home – certainly a long day.”


“Saturday was a ‘nothing in particular’ planned day.”

“But the Ts whipped up the last batch of deviled eggs to distribute to friends here Jackson.”


“We’re bringing egg containers with us when we return in October, improvising has been challenging!”

“You’re right Jackson, we need to start working on that list again – ‘Things to bring to Ecuador’.”

“Sounds like full luggage, between personal stuff and school items!”

“Will have to wait and see.  Careful packing essential.”

“Essential is the word Nilla.”

“They are leaving some things behind in a large plastic container so that is a good thing Jackson.”

“Exciting to think we’ll be back in Ecuador towards the end of October – and Aventurero too, but he’ll be staying in Crucita.”

“Let’s hope they work on the Crucita portion of that road past the ‘under construction’ super mercado.”

“It would make it so much easier to travel between San Clemente and Crucita.”

“Any ideas what our week ahead looks like Jackson?”

“Making ‘mussoles’ on Sunday and perhaps one last trip to Montecristi.”

“And one more ‘lupper’ at Kobe for sushi?”

“Vamos a ver as they say here.”

“Hey, Jackson, your Spanish is getting better.”



Vacation School To Begin: 02/16/2020 – 02/22/2020

“Jackson, it was a soggy froggy beginning of the week!”

“It sure was Nilla.”

“Those frogs can certainly make a racket!”


“Not sure they’re the glass frogs, it sounds as though there are at least three different varieties.”

“Bugs bring out frogs and geckos.”

“Like the cute one on the living room blind.”


“I’d say the focus this week has been the computer lab at school.”

“The fiber hadn’t been installed by Monday, therefore no teaching anything on the computer which was unfortunate as there are nineteen students on the list.  The Ts also have made it clear that what is going to be offered is more a typing class than an introduction to computers.”

“Didn’t seem to matter much, there was still a lot of interest after the fiber was successfully installed on Tuesday afternoon.”

“So that left time back in San Clemente for the Ts to make deviled eggs, popovers and fish chowder – a busy week in the kitchen Nilla.”

“The Ts first ride on the more sophisticated version of the tricimoto – windshield and all!”

“Oh and don’t forget the special visitors to Ensendada del Pacifico!”

“Yes, of course.  The production crew for House Hunters International  – I did forget.”

“We stayed out of their way – it was easy for the Ts because they were in school during most of it.”

“Yup, the fiber was finally installed and reasonable speed for the computers, so first day of typing class was Wednesday.”

“Tio Eduardo had his own class so the Ts were in the computer lab by themselves with the students, which was a bit confusing as they didn’t have the sign up sheet to see who should be there.”


“Nilla, the students enjoyed using the computers and typing but they really don’t do well keeping focused on the screen and the program so the Ts made covers for the keyboards and you know, some of the students wanted to use them.”

“Jackson, it was scary though when on Thursday morning there was a fire in one of the computers.”

“It was under control immediately!  Three new computers, one down, and multiple non-functioning monitors – in one of them was an ant nest!”

“That’s how it is – insects can get into the lab and who knows what happens next.  Good that they are building a new computer lab that will have glass windows and air conditioning.”

“Friday at school was crazy!  It seemed as though more students were coming and asking to be a part of the typing class – and there are not enough computers for all of them – parents are even coming to ask if their child can be enrolled.”

“Tia Rosita came by and was pleased with the students’ enthusiasm and is planning to purchase some headsets so students can use the computers to reinforce English lessons.”

“The lab needs equipment and I know Nilla that the Ts will do all they can to help them get the equipment they need.  They also need a computer class curriculum besides using the lab for typing and English.”

“Friday was fun too.  After school back to Ensenada del Pacifico.  Aventurero and his friend came for a visit – great to see them.”

“They got to see one of the places the Ts are considering for a rental later this year, Marrisol, and had a nice walk through town followed by a fabulous dinner at Dona Castillo.”

“Should we mention Carnival Jackson?”

“Why not?”

“Well it certainly wasn’t crazy on Saturday afternoon, they were just starting to set up the stage.  And, very few vendors.”

“Tonight Nilla – the parade and crowning of the queen.’

“I’m not staying up for that Jackson – we’ll have to see what is going on when we go for a walk Sunday afternoon.”

“Plus there’s a birthday party back at Ensenada del Pacifico and the Ts are bringing deviled eggs.”

“Tomorrow we’ll check to see what’s going on in the center of town – certainly not as much craziness as there was by now in Crucita last year.”

“Maybe that’s a good thing Nilla.”