Friday, August 27, 2010

All is well in the world again...


If you read yesterday's blog, you know that our children have arrived. Due to some last minute planning with our 'live life in the moment' child, there was only room in the hired van for seven people (both children brought friends). Consequently, I stayed home and worried all night about my entire family traveling over the Andes late at night in a van. Horrid remembrances of the kamikaze van driver we had last year kept creeping into my mind. OK, I admit that he did a good job for a driver whose feet did not reach the pedals but a worried mind is a funny thing. Only the worst case scenarios kept slideshowing through my brain. Falling boulders, slick roads, sharp curves, cows in the road, landslides...oh my God, I'm going to be widowed and childless and will have to move back to Kansas and go back to work!!!!

I finally managed to fall asleep with my cell phone tucked in my underwear (I'm deaf, remember, and I sleep like the dead. My only hope was that the vibration would wake me when that horrible call came.)

At exactly 3:23 a.m. I bolted wide awake. A few minutes later the phone rang with Clarke telling me to put on the coffee pot - they were on the outskirts of Cuenca, alive and well (how I woke up at the precise moment they hit Cuenca, I'll never know. Chalk it up as one of the maternal mysteries of life.) All I know is that Mama Bear has her cubs home safe in the den again. All is well in the world.

Yes, there are five of them sleeping on the floor. The next picture shows the REAL reason why there was no room for my new set of pots and pans!

Thursday, August 26, 2010


CAITIE (daughter, 23, works in credit union, lives in Portland Oregon):
- Applied for time off 3 or 4 months ago.
- Advanced purchase of tickets for best price.
- Required details of transportation from Guayaquil to Cuenca.
- All I's dotted and T's crossed (twice).

ALEX (son, 21, part time kitchen work, finished road trip a couple months ago with Brady and has been squatting at Cait's until he and Brady can afford place of their own):
- One hour before taking Caitie to airport changes his mind and decides to come too. Therefore the 5:00 AM phone call ....... from Cait ..... not Alex.
- Will possibly phone in resignation.
- NOT getting discount air fare. (Brennie and I pay basic air fare only.)
- Will be required to vacate Cait's couch upon return.

(Cait is bringing 2 friends with her and Brady is coming with Alex.)

They are all on the same flight. I will be meeting them at the Guayaquil airport. Upon return to Oregon, Caitie will go back to work and also back to school. Alex and Brady plan to head to Bend (because that is where the snowboarding and rock climbing are ....... but jobs in Bend are SCARCE). Caitie will know where her next meal is coming from. Alex will almost certainly have yet another tattoo ....... from Ecuador.


You just gotta love them both. But they are polar opposites. We are very excited to see them. When we all get together it is an absolute gas and almost never appropriate. My mother, god rest her soul, would be horrified!


Tuesday, August 24, 2010


“Shame and Excitement?”

Sound lurid doesn’t it? Albeit a catchy little title.

So is this blog entry about the seamy side of Cuenca? The dark side. A guide to the Cuenca that your mom fears you will find? Or is it possibly a memoir. The s*xual coming of age story of an adolescent Catholic lad in the early 60’s?


It is motos (motorcycles to my americano amigos). But really ...... “shame?”, “excitement?” Yup...”shame and excitement” is dead on.


I am a Harley boy. There are a lot of really fine motos out there, but all I ever wanted was a Harley. I’ve had two of them. The second was one that I bought used and had 10 years ....’94 Heritage Softail Classic. I had a lot of engine work done on it to make it very responsive .....blah blah blah. It was my intention to have that bike the rest of my life. I loved it beyond logic and reason. Plus I am a full figured boy and I love a bike to match. (I had a Yamaha ages ago , but at least it was a 650cc.)

Motos here in Cuenca are different. The vast % are 200 cc or less. Of those, most are 100 - 125 cc. The huge majority of them are Chinese. (50 million motos are built each year and more than half are Chinese.) Back to the shame. Harleys (and other big twin massive cruisers) are:

1. the wrong bike for here

2. unbelievably expensive

But I want a moto now. So .... and here is the ‘shame’ part........ I am getting a Yamaha DT175. 2 stroke, 175 cc, dual purpose (on and off road). Randy Kimbler (my new little buddy) tells me it will be perfect. I have no idea as I have no experience with small bikes. We will see. FYI....‘test ride”? No such thing here.....can that be true?


I am so excited! And of course very ashamed to be so excited about getting a tiny little bike.



Randy and I picked up the bikes this evening. I rode home under cover of darkness.

The sound of roaring thunder has been replaced with the thrill of "nyiiiing, nyiiiing, nyiiiing".

For those that need a pic.......uh, maybe tomorrow.


Thursday, August 19, 2010


So I am taking our two little beasties for their (early?) AM walk. The beasties (Pekinese) weigh in at about 10 pound each and are both committed pacifists (d*mned cowardly sissies). So, as a responsible and caring daddy, I am always on the lookout for anything that could pose the slightest threat to the little darlings ...... basically with these guys, the threat level is always a minimum of orange.

So up ahead (way ahead) I see a guy walking a couple huge, I mean to say HUGE dogs. Threat level transitions immediately to red. I pull the little beasties in closer to me and the three of us scamper to safety to the other side of the street. Although the huge beasts are about 3/4 of a block away, I don't want them to catch the scent of our fear.

As we close the gap I am able to tell that there are actually 3 big dogs ........ I mean REALLY HUGE. The smallest is taller than the owners waist!?! Too late to run and no trees to climb. What are those guys? Mastiffs on steroids? Closer yet and closing the gap. Kinda strange looking. Can they be Bully Kuttas? (Oh poopy, that is NOT good news.)

Closer still. Goats? Some guy is walking goats? It's a middle class guy in a residential neighborhood. Walking his goats? This is not a peasant taking his goats to market. It is some lawyer(?) walking his GOATS. Really big goats.

Wait a minute now. Maybe they are not goats. Could they be the famous Goat-Dogs of Cuenca? Or is it Dog-Goats?

Why do I never have a gun camera when I need one?

PS: Corky and Fluffy (Bugger and Wanker) told Brennie that they weren't really afraid. Yeah, they talk. Only Brennie can hear them. However, you can't believe a word they say.


Thursday, August 12, 2010


If you read this blog, you probably read other Cuenca Expat blogs and already know we had an earthquake about 7:00 this AM. About 7.something magnitude ...... that's the old news.

We were asleep. (Retired remember?) What woke us up was the bed violently rocking back and forth about 8-10 inches. Now I admit that it is a little confusing being woken up this way. The punch line ..... at first Brennie thought the rocking was caused by my being nasty with myself.


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Uh Oh...Not all is perfect in paradise.

Huh? Whadya mean?

Cigars my friend. Cigars.

If you are familiar with our blog and our apartment you know that we have a 45' long balcony.....perfect for enjoying cigars. If you are not familiar, see the pic at the top of the blog. That pic is taken from inside the apartment, looking out to the balcony. The balcony is fine ..... CIGARS are the issue .... or rather lack of them.

It is a challenge finding decent cigars here. Knowing this from the visit last year, I came prepared (I thought) by bringing several boxes of my favorites.

Our loving daughter Caitlin is coming to visit in a couple weeks. (Guess who is buying her ticket, etc.) Knowing this and the 'cigar issue', I have ordered more cigars to be delivered to her at her job in Portland for her to bring down to me. So far, all is good and there is no 'issue'.

That is ....until I got her email today:
I received your cigars at work today. My name was not on the shipping label, it was just addressed to Advantis Credit Union. So my boss took the liberty of opening the package and then sent out an email to the branch asking whose cigars were delievered to work. I am now a laughing stock. People are teasing me shamlessly.
The only way to get them to stop laughing at me was to share with them. All of my co workers are now enjoying their daily cigar breaks.
See ya in 15 days...cigarless.

My response:
You may think that is funny. Giving away daddies cigars is not even remotely funny. Even joking about it is not funny. Nor is even thinking about joking about it.

The only funny thing is that more cigars are on the way.

Talk soon.


I got a response from her that it was no joke.

When she gets here, I sure hope all my cigars are with her. Otherwise we are taking a long bus ride to the most remote village in Ecuador ........ where I will trade her for 2 goats and a pig!


Wednesday, August 4, 2010


When I retired and moved to Cuenca, I made the resolution to not talk politics at all, with anyone, for any reason.

And, I have done a pretty good job of that.

“Why?” You ask.

Well, if you are a:
- Gay rights supporting
- Gun toting
- Pro choice
- Redneck
- Liberal
- Harley riding
- Agnostic
- Well educated with multiple degrees
- Left wing
- Cigar smokin’
- Smart ass
- PInko
- Male Chauvinist Pig

Well, it’s pretty safe bet that you are going to piss off just about everyone.

So, if anyone starts talking politics with me, I usually say ....... “Nice shoes. Where did you get them?” Because hell, everyone likes to talk about their shoes!

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Everyone likes Brennie!