La Bella Crucita – Friday 12/28/2018

Bright and sunny day.  The morning beach walk not nearly as exciting as yesterday afternoon’s.

A morning catch is on display awaiting purchase.


In the direction of the intersection of malecon and ‘veinticinco’, the carniceria is open.  Reasonable prices.

A few paper mache heads hang, waiting to be purchased for the traditional burning of the old man.  Larger figures are appearing in vehicle, almost as passengers, and others displayed in front of business.

These hollow figures will be filled with fireworks and set to flame at midnight after reading of the old man’s will and testament.

Trays of bread products await the oven at the corner bakery.

Fresh produce across the street.  Why wait for the open market tomorrow morning?

Three large cucumbers, three avocados, five bell green peppers, six carrots, six tomatoes and a head of broccoli (all organically grown) for $5.50.  Too heavy to carry back to Las Dunas, a trimoto ride to the gate.

Antibacterial produce process is not unlike washing clothes: wash/soak cycle, rinse cycle and dry prior to refrigeration.

The afternoon stroll down towards the pier at low tide.  Unlike yesterday’s find of a large sand dollar piece, today’s stroll yielded two coin ‘sand dollars’, U.S., one covered in tar, evidence of its submersion in the sea for at least several days, perhaps longer.

Wonderful salad and then of to La Tierra.  Ex-pats gathering on Fridays – very informal.

“Nilla, what do you think of this place?”

“I’m hoping that Tina will bring this bird-like stone to life.”


“David will put her to the challenge I’m sure.”

“What a wonderful breeze and relaxing atmosphere.”

The two of us with the owner, Julio.

“Nothing better, especially since it’s snowing up north!


“Do you think there is any fresh fish at Las Ramblas?”

“Maybe, we could stop by and say ‘hello’ to Jeff at least.”

‘It’s after dark, we’ve been warned about walking about after dark.”

“Use your senses and travel together, Jim is going with us too.”

“No tuna yet….?

“No”, Jeff answers, “But we do have salmon.”

“Sounds good to us”.


The two of us with Jeff.

“How about a photo shoot Nilla.”

“Why not Jeff?”


“You know Jeff, these will be on our blog.”

“Time to say good night Nilla.”

“Good night Jeff.”

La Bella Crucita, Thursday 12/27/2018

Drizzle, Drizzle.  It is the rainy season after all.  Sprinkles last only for about an hour, no downpours.

Resolving communication issues once again delay the morning walk.

“Jackson, did you see that the pedestal sinks are made in Ecuador?”

“I noticed that earlier.  You know Nilla, Ecuador has been slower to develop its manufacturing sector when compared to other Latin American nations.  Ecuador for the past twenty to thirty years has been dominated by primary and extractive industries.  The Minister of Industry and Productivity has redirected Ecuador’s effort toward value-added manufacturing, industrial and high technology development.  Significant incentives are available for those int in expanding any one of these sectors, especially in areas of higher unemployment.”

“I wonder if they export?”

Franz Viegener was established in 1899 in Attendorn, Germany, initially manufacturing brass beer taps.  It has expanded to create luxury bathroom fixtures and has a presence not only in Germany but in Argentina, Brazil, and the United States. It has become one of South America’s largest faucet companies.”

“They certainly are contemporary.”

The early afternoon stroll is intriguing.  A very large jellyfish lies flattened on the sand in death, the serrated margin of its hood spread outward appearing sunburst-like, its diameter greater than twenty inches.  Continuing on toward the pier and the marina, both severely damaged in the tidal surge, are Bonapart and Swallow-tail gulls clustered together near the collection of fishing boats. Three pelicans stand watch. Great frigatebirds swarm overhead, while some fishermen repair the bottom of their boats positioning them on the side.  The repairs consist of fiberglass and resin covered with blue paint.

The long tables along the beach embankment, protected by a thatched roof, are empty waiting for the next catch.  Further down, just beyond the tides reach, two small squid are picked apart by the gulls.

The mystery of how the fishing boats are pulled in and out of the water is solved.  A tractor pulls the boat to or from the water’s edge and a winch turns them into position.  The tide is essential in ‘launching’ the boat from the beach with brute force and an oar until in deep enough water to start the outboard motor.

The damage to the pier and marina unmistakable.  Cranes are replacing and re-positioning boulders and blocks.

Off the beach and up a side “road’ (more like a wide path)  to a main thoroughfare, 25 de diciembre.  Homeopathic center, pharmacy, several fruit and vegetable stands and a bakery.


La Cruz Azul is a pharmacy chain; unlike other pharmacies that are prescriber owed.

The aroma of fresh, hot rolls is irresistible.  It is trash day along the ‘veinticinco’ and the white sanitation truck makes its way weaving through traffic and around parked cars.  Taking a right at the intersection at the traffic light leads back toward the beachfront malecon.


The odor of fresh fish fills the air.  Vendors here will clean the fish and advise the best way to prepare it.

A short distance away from the fish vendor is the gym, closed for the holidays.  The equipment is antiquated but should be just fine.  Membership $1.00 a day.


The evening walk in the opposite direction. Genoa/Le Nostre Pizza has a good reputation.

Cheese, tomato, mushroom, onions and sausage – ymmm

Meanwhile the cleaning crews are still scraping up sand.

The firefighters are coordinating efforts and stop for pizza as well.  Apparently the hope is that the malecon will be completely cleaned up in time for the weekend.

The viuda and her mourners, along with the monstrous father time creature, again walk up and down the malecon asking for alms.


Time to head back to Las Dunas.

“What a great day Nilla!”

“It certainly was!”

La Bella Crucita – Wednesday, 12/26/2018

A rainy start to the day.  While there are lots of bugs, no scorpions, snakes or nasty looking spiders spotted thus far.  That being said, it is always wise to shake out shoes or clothing left lying about, just in case.

The morning song is beautiful to listen to despite the drizzle. A number of Saffron finches enjoy sitting at the window or on the wires nearby.


Leftover ham on the menu for breakfast, queso and cafe con leche.

Ecuador is trying to be eco-conscious overall but in the smaller towns it is difficult to participate in a recycling program.  In 2007 Ecuador’s president convened a group of elected officials to begin work on drafting a new constitution.  (Some of these meetings took place in Monticristi, not far from Crucita.  Monticristi is home to the famous Panama hat, more about that later.)  The effort was assisted by the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund.  The constitution, Ecuador’s twentieth, was approved by the electorate in September 2008.  This constitution was the first in the world to recognize legally enforceable Rights of Nature, or ecosystem and prohibits the extraction of non-renewable resources in protected areas.  It is also one of the first constitutions that recognizes the right to food, “Food Sovereignty”.

Milk in cartons, not requiring refrigeration until after opening. Instructions for recycling on the side.

Communication is important and WiFi being problematic and especially an issue when out and about, a secondary form is advisable.

“Nilla check out these walkie-talkies.”


“Jackson, you absolutely think of very thing!  Great in case of emergency!”

“Looks like the Pacific is behaving close to normal.  Think it’s time for a stroll on the beach, our first real stroll since arriving on 12/17/2018!”

“I was beginning to wonder if we’d be able to before next year!”

In the afternoon, still cleaning up the Malecon.

Lots of broken shells on the beach, smooth from being tumbled in the Pacific.

Dorado for ‘lupper’ at Rimini – delicious and filing.

“Jackson, lets go to Ramblas and talk with Jeff, hear he’s having problems with his cell phone, maybe you can help him out.  Besides, we need the evening stroll.”

Ramblas, like Rimini, has a limited fish selection because of the rough seas and small fishing boats being unable to go and safely fish. The astrological high tides has had a significant economical impact on Crucita, not only the restaurants and shops but also the fishermen.  Extra patrols assuring public safety and additional support from the public works department in Portoviejo is also costly.

“Jeff doesn’t like to smile because of his braces, even when we ask him to Nilla.”

“He has a very nice smile even with the braces.”

A cat stops by Ramblas Sushi Restaurant and Bar.  Friendly, hungry and thristy.  Enjoys attention.

“Let’s name it Humo, Smoke. What do you think Jackson?”


Another beautiful sunset!



La Bella Crucita – Tuesday 12/25/2018 – Christmas

“Jackson, what a gorgeous day, birds chirping as though they are singing their own Christmas carols.”

“Do you think we have any gifts in our stockings?”

“Look Nilla, we have lots of gifts stuffed in the stockings!”


“Let’s go and find out what they could be!

I have ‘respect’, ‘determination’, ‘love’, ‘charity’, ‘dedication’, ‘courage’ and ‘Spanish lessons’.”

“I have that one too!  Practical while in Crucita don’t you think?”

“What other gifts did you receive Jackson?”

“‘Imagination”, ‘kindness’, ‘wisdom’, ‘hope’, ‘curiosity’ and ‘patience’.”

“Wow Jackson, these are our gifts to share.  Isn’t that what Christmas is about?”

“You’re right Nilla.  I want to give you the gift of joy too!”

“Ahhhh, Jackson, seems that ‘wisdom’ becomes you!”

“Joy to the world!”

The Ts are going for their morning walk, this time beyond the end of the Malecon picking up shells and admiring smooth stones tossed ashore.  The tents are out along the higher edge of the beach, the lifeguard is making sure people are safe, still a concern with high tide.


Clean-up resumes yet again because of the aguajote. The Pacific is determined to make the beach and the Malecon one.

Where does all the scooped up sand go? Hmmm.

A sculptor is also sifting through the ocean tossed debris, looking for objects to be used in his art work.  He appreciates the gift of a smooth, nearly symmetrical  heart-shaped stone, acknowledges that it is a message from the sea that he intents to share in a sculpture.  Another stone appears to be a bird settled down on the sand.

Gifts from the sea.

At the Rimini Restaurant a couple sits at a front table looking out towards the ocean and are celebrating her birthday.  Other groups arrive some with the matriarch of the family, coming out for the Christmas Day meal after celebrating Christmas Eve.

Jesus is in the manger, the creche still protected with sand bags.

As the day progresses the sidewalks and the streets become more crowded.  People, cars and trimotos negotiate around sand piles, other pedestrians, dogs and vendors. The viuda, the widow, is asking for donations to bury her husband the old year, 2018.  Dressed in mourning attire and accompanied by a figure, a monster-like creature, dressed as father time, they ask for alms for the soon to be deceased.

Late afternoon somewhat traditional ham dinner followed by the evening stroll.  Another gorgeous sunset.  There is still quite a bit of activity as the waves roll in onto the malecon in its determination.



























La Bella Crucita – 12/24/2018

“Well Nilla, it’s December 24th!  We haven’t even decorated the tree yet.”

“Jackson, where will we hang the stockings?  There’s no chimney in Crucita.”

“We’ll figure it out I’m sure.”


“But we’ve been here a week now and things are falling into place.  We even ate dinner  last night.”

“The Ts are going out to Fremas to pick up some things for tonight and tomorrow.  They’re not sure if they will have guests over or not, but better to be prepared.”

The malecon from one end to the other is covered with sand, AGAIN!  The police, the military and sanitation engineers are out cleaning the road, AGAIN, and those in charge of transito are detouring traffic including the buses!


Plowing sand

Some say this is an annual event, happening about this time, while others say this is extraordinary.  Even Rimini has sand swept inside along with seawater up to the bar, mid restaurant.


Side streets too are impacted.


Things need to be cleared by La Noche Buena, the Good Night.  Pesimistas say it will all happen once again this evening.  A female firefighter standing on the sidewalk, surveying the surge, expects it to happen this evening as well.

Frigate birds, pelicans and sandpipers enjoy the beach.  Not a sign of a seagull for the past week.  Are they even here?

Along Portoviejo road is the church, Chinese restaurant and not too far beyond, the bank and the ATM.  The bank is closed.

At the end of Portoviejo Road and up the hill is the parasailing launch site.


The view from the hill, a is spectacular!

Band aids?  Sold as singles – $0.05 for ten at the farmacia on the malecon.

Thirsty?  A stop a Zona Frio Restaurant for refreshment and fish soup.


“Time to decorate the tree., the palm tree Jackson.”

“I can’t wait to see what it looks like in the dark.”


“Nilla, let’s hang the stockings by the stairs, what do you think?”


“Seems like a reasonable thought Jackson.”

As dinner time approaches the sea is once again crashing over the malecon in a formidable display of power.  Word has it that these conditions will prevail until 12/27/18, until then there is no real appreciation of Crucita beach, nor its weekend visitors.

The evening stroll is once again an obstacle course around debris of all sizes.

“Jackson, let’s get in the Christmas mood with Irving Berlin’s ‘White Christmas’ before going to bed.”

“Splendid idea Nilla.”


….and to all a good night!

La Bella Crucita – 12/23/2018

“Look Nilla they’re putting up the little beach tents, must mean a calmer surf.  Now maybe we’ll see how busy it gets.”

Posted rates for beach tents and chairs.

“Then again, maybe not.  Last two days before Christmas and people may be out shopping.  Not much shopping here – they’ll be in Portoviejo or Manta for sure.”

Scrambled eggs, prosciutto, toast, mango, queso de mesa and cafe con leche – pretty balanced and healthy breakfast.  Enough energy until this evening – chicken, broccoli and rice on the menu.  Food safety require forethought and preparation.

“‘Quien No Sabe’ has a friend Nilla.  What are you going to name this little creature.”

“Could call him ‘Tonto’

Little lizard near the coco, thinks he is invisible.

It’s hot.  The beach is a definite consideration after finishing a washer load of towels – cold water only of course! WiFi iffy since power outage.

Most of the homes here have cisterns to help with water pressure, our rental doesn’t and water pressure does become an issue.


A walk down the beach, the tide seems to be coming in and the surf is pounding.  No little tents are remaining.


The lifeguard is patrolling the beach and warning of the rising tide and crashing serf.  While the significant high tides are known to occur at least twice a year, these conditions are more dangerous, with search and rescue personnel on hand as well as the fire department.



Primo II is moderately busy.  Good place to stop and have a Club Verde and a Guitig.

Note the sandy floor.


An evening stroll after dinner.  The malecon has once again become one with the beach.  Sand reaches the sidewalks, the road with ruts created with the wet sand deposits.  Did someone say this would continue to happen until 12/26/2018?



La Bella Crucita – 12/22/2018

“It really is mango season Jackson!  This mango is delicious.”

“So what’s the plan for today?”

“There aren’t any plans – we’ll play it by ears Jackson, yours, ha, ha!”

“Very NOT funny!”

“We should do some laundry though before we go out.  Time we’ll see if the machine acts up again!”

“Be especially careful if the hot water valve is turned on – I suspect that may be the problem.”

“You’re right Jackson, look the water is not turning off!”


“It should be okay if we turn off the hot water valve.  We’ll let Russell and Amarita know that we determined what the problem is.”

“At least now we know what’s happening.  That’s a relief.”

“I thought the weekends here were busy and noisy.”

“I did too Jackson.  The Ts are going for their afternoon walk after folding the line-dried clothes, maybe they will find out.”

There is no one on the beach except for two young women and they are soon told to leave by the firemen patrolling the malecon and the beach.  The sea water is coming up to, onto and in some cases completely over the roadway.

In some places there is so much debris that the tricimotos have to be careful going up and down the street.

They call this condition the aguadote and explain that this occurs about two times a year.  Unfortunate that this astronomical high tide is happening on the weekend when vendors expect to do a brisk business.  While those with commercial interest are lamenting the situation, others are laughing and waving to friends.  Others just sit on the sidewalks and watch or take pictures.  A group of men play checkers on a improvised homemade board with bottle caps as the checkers outside a cafe.

The army usually has duties in Crucita during the weekend, as supplemental law enforcers.  They have little to do today except walk the sidewalks, stop and chat with some and, watch the waves.  Here, it is shoveling sand, not snow on December 22nd.



One store front/cafe has sand bags to keep the water from splashing in.


The creche is fairly dry, the manger still empty, waiting for the baby Jesus.

A delicious ‘lupper’ at Rimini, a little rice with dorado a la plancha followed by ceviche dorado.  Dorado is one of the most easily recognizable fish because of it’s color.  Las Ramblas is also relatively quiet and Jonathan, the sushi chef is chuckling as he watches Home Alone, the version on the TV seems to be a combination of Home Alone One and Two.

Back at Las Dunas, a little unadulterated Home Along Two

La Bella Crucita – 12/21/2018

“Is the internet working Jackson.”

“No.  I’ve been trying to log in to blog and it isn’t connecting.  I’m going to see if  we’ll have any success by connecting the computer directly into the network.”

“And, is it working?”

“Yes, we’re in!  Perhaps the WiFi connection was damaged when the power went out last night. I’ll have to run some diagnostics to see exactly what’s happening.”

“Hey, the water man is here – we should get an extra 5 gallons to hold us over during the holidays, might be awhile before he returns and we don’t want to run out.”

$6.00 for the bottle and the water.

In July 2010 the United Nations declared ‘the right to drinking water and sanitation’ as a human right, essential to full enjoyment of life and all human rights.’ The most recent Ecuadorian constitution provides a framework requiring a set of changes and regulatory measures towards this end.   While this is positive progress, the National Secretariat for Water Provision recognizes remaining gaps towards achieving standardization and country-wide access to water and sewer.  The percentage of homes with piped water and public sewer have increased overall, however well below ideal standards in rural areas.


“We need to get to Fremas before is closes at noon.”

“The computer can wait.  Vamos!”

Fremas is open, there was a death in the family and thus the change in store hours. Generally open from 8:30 AM to 8:00 PM daily except for lunch from 1:00 to 3:00.

Eggs and vegetables at Fremas

Eggs in smaller tiendas are generally stored at room temperature, in larger markets refrigerated. Often eggs are not washed.  The outside shell has a protective cuticle that helps protect the egg from harmful bacteria (salmonella).   Dangerous levels of bacteria can occur after 3 weeks at room temperature storage and at 6 weeks when refrigerated.

“Nilla, aren’t you going to put the eggs in the refrigerator?”

Best purchase eggs in busy markets, if at room temperature keep them at room temperature or refrigerate and remove the egg from the refrigerator only when ready to use, and wash at that time.  If refrigerated continue refrigeration which will prevent water condensation on the egg that promotes bacterial growth.

“How much did the groceries cost.”

“Less than $15.00, which is very reasonable considering our purchases besides the eggs.”

One dollar US coins with a 50 cents and a 5 cents Ecuadorian coins.

“Ecuador uses United States dollars for currency ever since 2000 Jackson.  You probably have noticed that rarely a one dollar bill is issued a change.  Apparently businesses prefer to use the one dollar coin.  Occasionally a fifty centavo piece will pass hands (paws) and is valued $0.50 in U.S.  There are no sucre bills in circulation at this time.”

“Must get pretty heavy caring the dollar coins around.”

“It’s actually more convenient than dealing with bills Jackson.  A dollar or two for most common purchases, pull out come coins and the transaction is complete.”

“Maybe. Time to get back to the computer and see if the WiFi can be re-established.”

Amarita stops by to pick up her keys and brings four mangos.  It’s mango season.


“You’re so smart Jackson! Let’s enjoy some guava and celebrate.”



The delicately mildly sweet, fuzzy appearing fruit is wrapped around large black seeds, a little messy.

It’s a lazy afternoon.  About 5:00 we decide to stroll to the gathering spot that Jim had recommended yesterday, La Tierra del Arte, a hosteria with a newly opened restaurant.  Apparently many Canadians and U.S. folks like to hang out there and enjoy one another’s company.  Julio, the owner, is a potter and his wife is creatively talented too as evidenced by the decorations on the atypical Christmas tree – a simple leafless bush painted white. Julio graciously shares some freshly roasted peanuts with us while his cat, Blanca, socializes with those sitting around the table.

Before retiring back at Las Dunas, we stop by Las Ramblas for an evening snack. Jim and Brain join us.  Other gringos are there too.  A ‘El Pase del Nino’ procession passes by – part of the Ecuadorian Christmas tradition and snarls traffic along the malecon.  The procession is representative of the journey the pregnant Mary and Joseph took on their way to Bethlehem.

We are invited to a game of horseshoes tomorrow afternoon at Eileen and Russell’s place on the far end of the beach.  Their large house is in a section of Crucita inhabited by several Canadian retirees. Apparently the horseshoe tournament is a Saturday ritual.


La Bella Crucita – 12/20/2018

A quiet drizzle this morning with drops falling nearly silently from the railings outside.  Perhaps today we’ll have a new air conditioning unit and determine what happened with the laundry unit.

The usual breakfast except sauteed mushrooms and onions added to the plate.  Quien no sabe, the crab, is outside.

“I wish he’d give us a chance to get to know him and he us, don’t you Jackson?”

“Oh, but then you’d have to change his name, Nilla.”

Just about 10:30 AM and Kleber  confirms that the unit has arrived and will stop by around 11:00!  We hope the installation and repairs to la maquina won’t take long.  The drizzle has stopped weather conducive for another adventure once Kleber finishes his work in the house.  Perhaps up to Portoviejo Road, the same road we’d take in case of a tsunami.

Kleber has been called away on an emergency and sends a co-worker to install the new air conditioner unit and look at the washer/dryer.  The new air conditioner requires a bit of banging and some tape.  The compressor on the roof is an easy replacement.  La maquina is another issue and in order to reproduce the overflowing event, has to run an entire cycle.  Of course, the ‘bad behavior’ is not reproducible – yet.

After 2:00.  Plans change, and instead we head out to Fremas.

“Nilla, it’s closed and it’s almost 3:00!”

“Yes, I’ve noticed that things aren’t open when they’re closed Jackson.”

“No Nilla, things are closed when they’re not open!”

“That’s not the same thing.”

“Lets go down the malecon toward the south.  We haven’t explored that direction much.”

“We’ll go walk down, get a bite to eat and walk back and maybe by then Fremas will be open.”

“That’s a reasonable thought Nilla.”

“Hey, look at that, a certificate of occupancy, issued in June after the earthquake in 2016.  It says that it’s safe to occupy the premises after passing both an interior and exterior inspection.  I wonder why the building is still closed up?”


“Don’t know Nilla.”

“But look over there, isn’t that a cute snowman?”


“That’s what I call creative recycling Jackson!”

A delicious lunch at Las Alas Delta and a walk back to Fremas, which is still closed.

Back to Ramblas.  Our new friends, Brian and Jim come in too.  Jeff offers us some sweet crackers and we sit and chat.

“Look at that sunset Nilla, isn’t it beautiful?”

“It really is, Jackson.”

Time to go back to Las Dunas and relax for an hour or so before going to bed.

“Tonight we’ll have air conditioning!’

“What a cool thought Jackson. It’s been a challenging beginning here in Crucita, but things are getting better and the people are so nice.”

“Nilla, where are you?”

“I’m right here.  Where are you?”

“Over here.  We’ve lost power!”

“Where’s the flash light we bought at the HiperMarket the other day?”

“Over on the kitchen counter, by the Advent calendar.”

“Got it!”

“Does this mean no air conditioning?”

“No air conditioning, no internet, no water, no lights, no security cameras, no blogging, no nada.”

“Numero tres!”

“Trace what Nilla?”

“No, tres, as in, ‘uno, dos y tres’, you know, number three.”


Power restored at 9:45 PM.

La Bella Crucita 12/19/2018

The second warm night of sleeping.  We notice that there are no clocks in the house!  Clearly an indication that time is NOT the essence.  Shopping list revisions, time for a simple breakfast in our kitchen – cafe con leche, pan y queso – coffee with milk, a little bread and a slice of cheese. The milk available locally, comes in a box and is not refrigerated, 150 calories/cup and skim milk is almost non-existent In the major super markets we may be able to find 1% milk but then it becomes an issue of 30 to 40 minute return trip home.

Because we consider our excursion to Portoviejo a significant shopping trip, we have arranged Jean Carlos to pick us up at 10:00 AM, wait while we shop and bring us back to Las Dunas.  Otherwise there are plenty of Crucita-Poroviejo buses, an experience that will wait for another day.

A crab ‘greets’ us at the back door – well, not really happy nor greeting us, and promptly scurries behind the propane tank, which does not have a volume indicator.


“Nilla, what do you think we should name our back door quest.”

“Why don’t we call it ‘Quien No Sabe’, Jackson.

“What kind of name is that – ‘Who does not know’?

“Well, do you think the crab knows anything about us?”

“No, probably not.”

“There you have it then.”

We definitely don’t want to run out of propane in the middle of Christmas dinner.  The only way to tell if is near empty is to lift it – the weight being the indicator – per Russell.  The problem is how to determine that, when one does not know what the tank weighs empty?


“Propane weighs 4.2 pounds/gallon.  You do the math, Jackson.”

“But what does the tank weigh?”

“Why don’t you ask ‘Quien no sabe?”

“Very funny, Nilla!”

Jean Carlos arrives early!!  Impressive.  After reviewing the list, decides it is better to go to Manta rather than Portoviejo, and as we prepare to leave, we discover that Amarita’s keys were in the front door all night!

The Crucita-Manta road traverses farm land – growing rice, peanuts, coffee, plantains, bananas, melons and various other fruits.

The kapok trees along the road appear as if they could come alive at any moment, the weird shaped trunks with outstretch branches and fingers ready to grab the passerby.  Before 1900 life jackets were made from cork and balsa wood and then about 1912 the the flotation devices were filled with material from the kapok tree.  The material was also used in mattresses and insulation.  Nowadays the life preservers are fill with plastic foams such as polyvinyl chloride and polyethylene.

The HiperMarket is crowded and seems to have everything we need on the list except potholders.  Toys, housewares, garden supplies, automotive, furniture, etc.  A perfect place to go Christmas shopping for a practical gift.  One of the most helpful employees is locating items on our list is a deaf mute.  Seven percent of larger business’ work force must be disabled per Ecuador’s disability law.

Unpacking, organizing and storing purchases takes about an half an hour.  Text to Kleber to let him know we are back and one to Amarita about the keys.

Amarita is apologetic and will be by on Friday – meanwhile we have to watch next door – air it out, and replace the rugs when dry and possibly put the furniture back.  Kleber hasn’t had much luck with the new air conditioner unit and offers to come by to at least look at the washer/dryer this afternoon.

“What’s the point – better to resolve two failing mechanical problems with a single visit and wait until tomorrow, don’t you think, Jackson.”

“Absolutely.  There are places to go and people to meet.  Let’s go for a walk!”

Up towards the jetty, the opposite direction from our previous sojourns, and a search for the protected areas where sea turtle eggs have been carefully ‘planted’ in the sand.  Each nesting area is clearly marked with an identification number of the nest and the date the nest was discovered.


A collection of fishing boats, seeming waiting to return to the sea, is most likely the place we have to return to purchase freshly caught fish.

We turn around and head back towards Ramblas for more tuna and meet two gentlemen, one from Canada, the other from the United States, neither of who speak Spanish and have resided here for at least five years.


While seated and looking across the street toward the Pacific, a funeral procession passes by – flower car followed by the musicians and then the casket carried on the shoulders of six men and numerous town people trailing behind – a quiet, respectful and loving display of sorrow.

Jeff leaves and shows up later with two guava pods – “we’ll enjoy them later”.

“They’re odd looking, don’t you think, Jackson, like long seed pods?”

“But delicious, just wait!”


Back at Las Dumas it’s time to open today’s Advent window.

“Nilla, the window is up and to the left.  Hop up on my shoulders and reach it.”

“Jackson, hold still!”

“Watch my ear!!”


It’s early still, but we’re tired.  There are more plans for tomorrow provided that we’re not waiting for the air conditioning unit and laundry repair.