La Bella Crucita, Thursday 03/07/2019

“Torrential rain with thunder and lightning last night – it kept me awake!”

“Can you imagine what the house is like?  The windows don’t close or if they do, they still leak.  The roof leaks.”

“It’s probably flooded Jackson.  While I was unable to sleep I came up with a name for the house.”

“You did?”

“Yes – Golfina – the sea turtles – they’re endangered, so is the house unless timely repairs are completed followed by comprehensive, routine maintenance.”

“Interesting association with ‘endangered’ but a cute name none the less Nilla.”

“The Ts promised to be back at Las Dunas at 8:00 AM, it’s still raining – we’ll get wet.”

“The Ts can handle it, they’re the ones who will get wet!”

“The malecon is a mess – a series of puddles, mud and sand everywhere.”

“Open the door and keep our paws crossed.”

“Jackson, smoke everywhere, there’s a fire somewhere, but where?”

“Nilla, the floor is soaked, water in the living room, dinning room and kitchen, coming down the stairs.”

“Manuel is here, he’s worried about fire too.  I’m so glad we were with the Ts at Hotel Java.  If we can’t locate the fire we need to call 911 and get the bomberos here!”


“Manuel found the problem – in the bedroom with the twin beds – looks like water came in from the ceiling – short circuited the ceiling fan, heated it up, melting part of it and starting a fire from the ceiling down the wall burning the curtain and the window frame – so hot it broke the window pane.”


“If it had ignited the other curtain panel, the bed would have caught fire too and then it would have been major! The Ts have to throw the circuit breakers – don’t want to risk another fire.  It must have burned out when there was no more combustible materials close by.  Lucky.”

“Three inches of water on the roof – the drains are plugged – need the plunger or more water will come in down the walls.”

“Everything smells like smoke.  We can’t stay here!”

“No internet or WiFi, no way to call anyone – need to go to Diego’s place and use his access.”

“Amarita says she can’t come from Portoviejo because it’s raining.  Some property manager!”

“Russell can’t be reached.  I think it’s time to leave Crucita Nilla.”

“Aventurero says his house on the loma is flooded with three or more inches of water on the lower floor.  At least Wolf is a responsible property manager and will have it under control in short notice.”

“But glad we didn’t stay there either.”

“Need to pack up and head to Manta – call Carlos and have him send a taxi.  Hotel Balandra here we come Jackson.”

“We won’t be able to have our photo with the new Crucita beach sign.”


“We won’t be able to say ‘good bye’ to all our friends.”


“Once we get to Manta the Ts will work on changing the flights – we may be on our way back to the United States and burrrrrrrr cold weather and snow Nilla.”

“The Ts are talking with Russell finally.  He’s worried about the damage, wants to know how the fire started.  He wants the Ts to take pictures and send them to him.  Isn’t that Amarita’s responsibility?”

“Russell doesn’t seem to worry too much about us or the Ts.  We need to file a police or fire department report.  Diego is going to take the us.”

“Look at the water.  Look at the mud! The malecon and Avenida Portoviejo are a mess Jackson.”


“The police and fire personnel are all on rescue missions.  No time to wait around for a report , that will have to be Amarita’s responsibility.  I’m sure Russell will need one to file an insurance claim.”

“If he has insurance.  Do you think Amarita will even bother with the report?”

“She sure doesn’t seem to know about property management.  That back window – the one damaged in the fire, always leaked, nothing was done.  Now it won’t close, more rain will surely follow.  How can you turn on the electricity – not knowing where another short could happen.”

“Russell has two major barrier issues – language and distance.  If someone doesn’t take responsibility for the property now, it is vulnerable to more damage Jackson.”

“Nilla,  we need to get the dry goods from the kitchen and bring them to Diego, paper products too.  Everything in the refrigerator thrown out except bottled water.”

“Carlos can’t come to take us, Kleber can’t either but Carlos is sending taxi ’08’ to take us to Manta.  Aventurero is coming down the hill to say ‘good bye’.”

“He shouldn’t, too dangerous with all the water and the mud Nilla.”

“Already told him that.  Wolf has a ‘crew’ bailing out the Pyramid House”

“Make sure we have everything.”

“Taxi is here.”

“Good bye Crucita.  Oh there’s Aventurero!”

“He wants to know if we’re coming back to Ecuador in December.”

“Of course we are – just not staying in Crucita – especially that house.”

Taxi ride is uneventful and in about thirty minutes the Ts and companions arrive in Manta.

“Look at all that debris on the beach, it’s awful Jackson.”

“From the rain, from debris carried into the Pacific via the river.”

“Hotel Balandra looks very nice.  I wonder how long we will be staying here>”

“It depends on the flights and expense Nilla.”

“Room 126 – very nice, everything we need including WiFi and internet – we can post!”

“Message from Russell – make sure the Ts get the report and take pictures for their insurance claim – but all they have is trip interruption insurance – they may or may not compensate them.  It’s his responsibility to obtain comparable accommodations and he is to reimburse the cost as stated in the rental agreement.  Sounds like he plans to do nothing!  He has not offered once!”

“The report is Amarita’s responsibility, good luck to Russell.”

“Switching flights is financially not an option Nilla.  Thousands of dollars to switch and two thousand to buy new tickets.  We can stay here for the next six extra nights for just under seven hundred dollars.”

“The hotel is very nice Jackson – we’ll explore tomorrow – time for the Ts to get something to eat, they haven’t eaten anything all day.”

To Mall Pacifico for a bite and then back to shower and early to bed.

“We’re safe Nilla.”

“Yes we are – back to the U.S. in one week.”

“Do you think the Ts will try to go back to Crucita before they leave?”

“Don’t know.”





La Bella Crucita, Wednesday, 03/06/2019

“Quiet night Nilla.”

“Good morning to you too Jackson.”

“Portoviejo today.”

“That’s right, a bus ride!”

“Do you think someone can fix the glasses?”

“Hope so.  The Ts are going to stop by Las Dunas to check on the transformer situation before they go.”

“I’m not sure they are taking us with them Nilla.”

“Will we be safe here?”

“I think so.”

No transformer yet, the security guard is not sure if they will have the transformer installed today.  It’s not the responsibility of the electric company but rather the Las Dunas homeowners’ association.  Will have to see when we get back.

Crowded bus ride without air conditioning.  The opticians in the shopping center are able to remove the bottom half of the broken glasses screw but not the top.  Without the screw the lens will fall out of the frame.  A watch repair person is recommended – located in front of the cathedral on Rocafuerte street.  The cathedral is beautiful.


The watch repair person is locate in an ally off the main road.  This area of the city is busy with small shops and experts in repairing almost anything.  After nearly forty five minutes the glasses are functional again.


The Ts are on their way back to Crucita.

A taxi ride to the terminal terrestre and hop on the Crucita bus – seems everyone has decided to go to Crucita today – Chris and Elaine for their appointment, Diego and another group to conduct some business and surprise, on the bus Russell el musico, Trevor, Shelly and Gary.  At the Rocafuerte bus change four other gringos climb on board the very crowded bus – loaded with beach goers.

Another try to eat at Genoa – too early.  The Ts get off the bus near Rimini and have a beverage before walking up to the pizza place and ATM.  Pizza is great.

The newly renovated fire station across the street from Genoa. Too small to accommodate the fire engine.

Time to head back to Las Dunas for a progress report.

It’s a little past 6:00 PM and Manuel is proud to report that they just finished installing the transformer.  Hurray!  Not so soon – no water, every time the water pump goes on the lights dim and there’s still no water.  Manuel is going to contact someone in the morning to come by and see what’s wrong – hopefully the water pump is still okay.

Back to Hotel Java.

“Jackson, the Ts are back – looks like still no water since we’re still here.  It sounds like the Ts had a significant discussion with Russell about the house.”

“I hope that he follows up on some of their recommendations.  Looks like the glasses got fixed.”

“Another night in Bella Crucita Jackson!”


La Bella Crucita, Tuesday 3/5/2019

“One of three transformers in the Las Dunas compound blew.  Still no power this morning.”

“Well at least the computer is charged.”

“We don’t have internet though.”

“So, we take notes in ‘Word’ just like we did when we were in the Galapagos.”

“It’s Carnival – no replacement transformer until tomorrow.”

“Then there’s the installation – how long will that take.”

“Who knows.”

“We need to reach Russell and Amarita and Aventurero.  Aventurero has space in his place.  I’m sure he won’t mind if we stay with him.”

“That would be fun – up on the hill!”

“Let’s go to Ramblas and use their WiFi.”

“Sounds like a plan.”

“They’re going to make breakfast for us even though they’re a sushi place.  Geoffrey is so nice.”


“Looks delicious – almost as good as the ones you make Nilla.”

“Amarita can’t reach Russell – she can’t help us other than to offer to keep the food in the refrigerator at her house.  She said we can stay there where it’s cooler.”

“The Ts can’t reach Russell either.  The rental agreement states that if the property becomes unusable for whatever reason, it’s his responsibility of the owner to arrange comparable housing arrangements until the problem is resolved.”

“Aventurero says we can stay with him if we want.”

“I think the Ts want to be close to Las Dunas and keep an eye on the house.”

“Aventurero ran into Trevor and Russell, el musico, and they say they’ll help bring our stuff up on the hill if we want.”

“Everyone is so nice and willing to help.”

“Funny, what’s it say on the wall by the front door – “Mi casa es tu casa’?  It’s more like ‘Mi pesadilla es tu pesadilla”.”

“What’s that mean?”

“My nightmare is your nightmare” Jackson.”

“Very funny – it hasn’t been that bad has it?”

“Think about it.”

“Russell could not have anticipated the transformer demise, but the other chronic issues with the house, many of which we have not mentioned in our blog, should have been addressed.”

“Let’s just find a place to stay, something close by and hope that most of the party goers have left Crucita.”

“Hotel Java looks pretty nice, let’s see if they can accommodate us.”

“Room 201 – king size bed, WiFi, hot water, AC, looks pretty good to me.”

“Remember Jackson, the ‘J’ is pronounced like the English ‘H’.”

“Ha, ha.”

“That’s right Jackson, soft and short ‘a’.”

“Another message from Amarita – she says we can get water from the cistern on the roof – just open the valve.”

“But that doesn’t help with hot water, air conditioning, food from spoiling.”

“The Ts tried opening the valve but the water flows directly into the reserve tank beneath the rear patio.”

“Sure seems that the owner and his family don’t know much about the household operations does it.”

“Another message from Amarita – seems she and Tito went into the house and opened the cistern valve and what happened?”

“No water.”

“The Ts want to meet up with Aventurero and have an early dinner, we’ll stay here Nilla.”

Aventurero meets up with the Ts in front of Palm Beach and agrees with the plan to have dinner at Ramblas.  He’s headed that way and encounters Guardagatos walking to Primo Dos.  The two of them will catch up with the Ts in a little bit.

Minimal communication from Russell who also incorrectly assumes that the water in the cistern will flow into the water pipes via gravity and supply adequate water.

BBQ wings and pescado a la plancha at Ramblas.  Guardagatos finishes off the French fries.  It’s not even 6:30 PM when the police begin patrolling the malecon to order the restaurants to shut down by 7:00 PM.  Aventurero hasn’t even ordered dinner yet.

That group is going to Crucita Village – exempt from the shutdown.  The Ts head back to Hotel Java.

Tomorrow they need to go to Portoviejo for glasses repair – that will take a good three hours at least.


La Bella Crucita, Monday, 03/04/2019


“Nocturnal human creatures at it again – it’s 3:30 AM.”

“So much for sleep.”

Daybreak and no rain.

“Someone doesn’t have water in Las Dunas Nilla.  Here comes a water truck.”

“But the water is on this morning – our tank is full.”

“Maybe they’re afraid the water will be turned off again, and the more visitors the more water usage.”

“What’s on the schedule for today?”

“A nap might be in order later this afternoon.”

“The featured concert with Zion and Lennox from Puerto Rico at midnight and fireworks at 10:00 this evening.”

“What’s Aventurero doing?”

“He’s going to meet us and then go for lupper at Genoa in hopes that it will be less busy off the Malecon.”

“Aventurero is at Ramblas.”

“Off we go.”

“Looks like Genoa is closed – no where to?”

“Let’s go to Las Gaviotas, shouldn’t be too busy there especially up on the balcony.”

“It’s crowded even here too.  Mucha bulla.”

“The Trio is having pescado a ajillo, camarones a ajillo and pescado frito.”

“Those are absolutely delicious choices.”

Bellies full the Ts head back toward Las Dunas and Aventurero to la loma.  Naps are in order.

“What’s the best place to meet this evening Nilla?”

“Ramblas.  Has WiFi and while we wait we can people watch.”

“I don’t think the Ts are taking us with them.  Too much risk for getting foamed or wet.  We’ll stay here until they return.  They’ll be back long before fireworks.”

Lots of foaming and spraying along the malecon.  The group gathers at Ramblas.  Pinchos from the vendor in front of Diego’s place – yummy.


Impressive that the clean up crews are already patrolling the malecon – not even waiting for the holiday conclusion.

Hats are a top seller to party goers.  Five dollars each.


People are migrating to the stage area with chairs, cushions, stools, coolers etc.  More political parades along the beach.

It’s time to go there and see what’s happening.

Another beautiful sunset.

Amazingly the performance of the first band starts almost on time.  A decent group.  Better back at Las Dunas and relax until the fireworks begin.

“Oh no Jackson – the power went out again.”

“It’s probably temporary, most likely because of Carnival.  think positive, better for watching fireworks.”

“And the noise level should be tolerable too.”

“Sit back and relax.”

“It’s Carnival!”

“Great display from the roof.  Can’t stay up for the midnight concert.”

“Good night.”

La Bella Crucita, Sunday, 03/03/2019

“It’s raining Nilla.”

“It’ll probably stop by 3:00 PM – that’s when the body builders’ event is scheduled.”

“Besides raining, the water is off again!”

“I can’t figure it out.”

“Even though it’s raining I still want to walk up the malecon and look at the ‘letter’ sign.”

“What time did the music stop last night?”

“You mean this morning, around 3:00 AM!”


“There’s a viche event at La Boca this morning but the Ts aren’t going, especially now that it is raining.”

“Have to wait and see.”

“Wonder what time Aventurero called it a night?”

“Seems some people become nocturnal during Carnival and expect everyone else to do the same.”

“No wonder why there are no events on Tuesday even though it is the holiday, people have to get back the normal rhythm.”

“Looks like the rain is subsiding and the Ts are planning to go out.”

“They’re not taking us Nilla.”

“It’s probably better – don’t want to get foamed, wet or muddy.”

“I’m sure they will give us a full report when they return.”

The malecon is busy but not as busy as one would expect.  A cloudy day but people are enjoying the beach.  Parasailing again, banana boats are hauling people through relatively smooth seas.

Lots of people watching, walking, wading.  Some drinking, eating.  Vendors are ‘vendoring’.  Police – local, regional and national patrolling.  The ‘bomberos’ are riding up and down the malecon on motorcycles.

The mud is a mess up by the stage area.  No one seems to care that the body building is going to take place in less than an hour – if it’s on time.  Trophies are in place – oh, there’s a specimen now.


The judging of the Miss and Mister Crucita 2019 is not spectacular by accounts – one female contestant (guess who won all categories) and ten male contestants (a little more of a competition).  Nilla and Jackson didn’t miss much.

The letters are up and many people are taking selfies in front of the sign.  Nilla and Jackson will have to wait their turn – after Carnival is over. IMG_4994

No power at Las Dunas, which means no flowing water, no air conditioning, no cell phone communication with anyone.  No site of any friends except Trevor who says Russell is still sleeping.  No sign of Aventurero until after three.  He is minus a hat but buys a good-looking red one – expensive $5.00!

Primo Dos is busy, but still room for Diego, Guardagatos and the Ts to sit and watch people walk by – some foaming while others are foamed.  It wouldn’t be much of an event without the political opportunity – Casanova supporters contributing to the ‘bulla’.

Despite finishing the tuna/pasta salad and sharing a chicken wing pincho, the Ts need something to eat and walk by Ramblas – no space there – the group had decided on Rimini anyway – Guardagatos wants the table in the corner, Aventurero is no where to be seen.  Apparently they have stopped to enjoy a beverage at a newly constructed ‘michelada’ stand.

Service and food at Rimini is not the usual standard – to be expected during Carnival –  less and more expensive for most everything it seems.  The waiter is tired, beverage orders are mixed up and Diego leaves.  Aventurero and Guardagatos arrive and order.  Guardagatos has a cold and leaves shortly after he arrives.  Those remaining are stuck in a corner without a breeze – high humidity – uncomfortable.  Shelly, Gary and the Ts decide this is no place to linger.

The concert on the other end of the malecon should be starting soon.  The Ts want to see what’s happening there.  No indication that any band will be playing soon – well after 8:00 PM at 8:40 the first band finally takes stage.  Russell is up and walking around the field.

Time to return to Las Dunas and attempt to rest – those nocturnal ‘humans’ will be at it again throughout the night – without a doubt!

“Nilla, the Ts walked over six miles today!”

“Doesn’t surprise me much.”

“And, it sounds as though we didn’t mess much, they got foamed and sprayed but not covered or drenched.”

“So far the parade has been the best part of the Carnival celebration.”

“Remember, Carnival doesn’t officially start until Monday!”

“Good night Ts.”

La Bella Crucita, Saturday, 03/02/2019

“No rain yet Jackson.”

“Time to get going – up to the open air market.  The Ts want to see it before they leave back to the U.S.”

“Still pretty quiet.  They’re getting the beach ready.”

“Not up by the market though.  Look at all the produce.”

“Mud, people, produce, tricimotos, cars, trucks, this is obviously the place to be on an early Saturday morning!”


“Look at the meat – no special cuts here!”


“And over here he’s making fresh peanut butter.”

“Here’s the bakery that others have told us about – it’s not just a panaderia but a pasteleria as well.  Look at those cakes!”


“The corner of malecon is busy too.  Fish, produce, miscellaneous and shrimp!”

“The beach is quiet at this end.  Can hardly wait to see what it’s like at the other.”


“Have you notice all the water tanqueros?  This is not a good sign – they must have not turned on the water.”

Back at Las Dunas concern, no water coming in.  The reserve is down about a tenth.  Enough until next week is its still not turned on.

“Let’s walk up the malecon to see if the ‘letters’ have been installed.”

“Jackson, I thought you said the malecon would be closed to traffic after noon time.”

“That’s what I thought but as they say, “There is an exception to every rule y yo soy la excepcion”.”

“No letters yet.  Looks like the rain they predicted will hold off.”

“There’s Russell, Terri, Roy, Shelly, Gary.  Russell says it wasn’t much of an obstacle race at La Boca today, but they had a good time there after buying lots of strawberries at the open market.”

“There were lots of fruit at the market, just hope he washes them well Jackson.”

“It’s a little too early to go to Ramblas.  Aventurero is going to meet us there at 4:00 PM.  The parade is supposed to start at 5:00 PM.”

“Looks like there is going to be a lot of foaming going on later Jackson.”

“Look at those water guns Nilla.”

“They are directing traffic off of the malecon – at least there are no buses.”

“Haven’t seen Diego or Guardagatos today, wonder where they are.”

“I think we have water coming in at last!”

“Nothing like waiting until the last minute.”

“Let’s go to Ramblas, it’s getting busy and we want to make sure we get a good viewing seat.”

“Aventurero is here and other gringos too – stocked up with foam for later.”

It’s well past 5:00 before there is any sign of the parade – but the wait is well worth it.  Performers stopping in front of Ramblas.



“This is a WONDERFUL parade Nilla!!”

“Pay attention to the golfinas float coming up next Jackson, save the endangered sea turtles!”

“Oh but of course Nilla.”


“The Hawaiian dancers are pretty good too, don’t you think?  Their costumes are lovely, modest but one can still appreciate the hip movement Jackson.”


“Look at those sea creatures – and there’s a seahorse too, caballo del mar!”

“They’re on stilts – one false step and….”

“Those Spanish dancers are fantastic.  The ladies are all wearing heels – impressive.  I wonder if this is a version of the ‘amorfino’?”

“The mexican float is lively too.”

“Here comes the rock ‘n roll band – concert a 7:00 PM down on the stage.”

“And bringing up the very end all the motorcycles – a riding group in Ecuador.  Seems I read something about them.”


“Concert tonight, tomorrow night and Monday night.  Party, Party, Party.”

“And just think, Carnival really doesn’t start until Monday.”

“Watch out for the foam.”


“Catch that sunset too.  So much for the weather forecast.  Glad it hasn’t rained.”

“Let’s try to sneak back to Las Dunas.”

“I’m looking forward to the best bodies in Manibi province tomorrow Jackson – body builders.”

“Has to be another event scheduled for the same time Nilla.”

“I don’t think so.  Good night Jackson.”

“Might be some lady body builders Nilla.”

Good night!”

La Bella Crucita, Friday, 03/01/2019

“Listen to that rain Nilla!”

“No doubt we have leaks again.”

“The roof has nearly two inches of standing water on it – the drains are plugged.”

“Good thing the Ts know what to do – this property really needs an ongoing manager – one that can perform preventive maintenance and repairs as needed in a timely manner.”

“Amarita is nice but she can’t fix things – she doesn’t have regular transportation – and unable to follow-up on issues.”

“Jackson, this is the first day of March, we’re not here much longer.  I’m really looking forward to Carnival!”

“Nilla, think about the field in front of the main stage…. imagine the dirt and rain and ….”

“MUD! All of it, unless they paved it or placed crushed stone before it rained.”

“And that’s not all, the forecast is predicting significant showers most of tomorrow.”

“Lots of people, lots of mud, lots of umbrellas, hmmmm.”

“Mud wrestling isn’t even scheduled, but maybe it should be.”

“Hey, that’s not a bad idea Jackson.”

“What’s the plan for today?”

“The Ts need to go to the ATM before the machine runs out of money over the weekend and Carnival. then perhaps back down along the malecon to see what’s happening.”

“Fantastic, let’s go.”

“A slow start to the weekend, not many people have arrived yet.  Still performing touch ups along the road way.  Parasailing looks like fun.”


“Crucita is finally going to get its ‘letters’ Nilla.”

“It’s about time – I hope they have it done by tomorrow.”

“The ATM still has money and the cashier in the bank is very nice to the Ts too.”

“Let’s go to Aventurero’s ‘hang out’ restaurant and see if we can reach him with a text.”

“Doesn’t seem to be answering, he could be down at Primo Dos, no WiFi there.”

“Let’s stop and purchase some ‘recuerdos’ Jackson.”

“You really like the tagua pieces don’t you?”

“Absolutely, I wish they still made the tagua buttons but the vendor says they’ve gone to plastic, what a shame.”

“Rimini isn’t too busy.  Let’s stop in and say ‘hello’.”

“The ‘letters’ still are not in place Jackson.”

“We’ll have to come back tomorrow and see.”

“We need to drop off the purchases before checking out the stage area.”

“I wonder how bad the mud will be.  Oh look, here come the Tres Caballeros.”

“They’re going to Julio’s place, will see them there later.”

“Amazing, the mud isn’t too bad.”

“And look what they’ve done to this road.”


“Let’s catch up with the ‘caballeros’ at Julio’s and call it a day.”

“Sounds good to me.”