Thursday, July 28, 2011

Good News and Bad News

I have always liked to play "Good News, Bad News".

I know it's kinda childish.  But still .....

So, you wanna play "Good News, Bad News"?

OK.  Whadaya want first?  Good or Bad?

'Good' you say?  Fine.

We got a Garmin GPS.  Roads here are not real well marked so we thought it would help when leaving town.  (That's not the good news.)

Maps for those things are kinda spendy.  So a friend took us to a place where we could get them installed for a fraction of the price (15%).  This friend is a lawyer, so I am sure that everything was legit.  You know,  no pirated stuff.  Yeah, bullshit. (That's nice, and all ...but it is not the actuall good news in this game of GN, BN.)

So this Garmin has a feature called "Points of Interest."  Points of Interest' has categories like fuel , transit, food, shopping, lodging, banks/ATM's, hospitals, entertai........   HOLD ON!  Go back!  "Food?"  Really?  Bitchin'.  So back to the 'Food'  category in POI  Food has different categories, too.  One of which is fast food.

So, finally the good news.  My handy dandy Garmin will give turn by turn directions.  It will speak to me. It will guide me (by voice) through every turn I need to get to the closest McDonalds 121 kilometers from here.  And also the next 8 closest, which is a max of 132 kilometers.  It will take me right through the Caja mountains up to the drive through window.  Is that bitchin' or what?

My handy dandy Garmin will give turn by turn directions.  It will speak to me. It will guide me (by voice) through every turn I need to get to the closest McDonalds 121 kilometers from here.  And also the next 8 closest, which is a max of 132 kilometers.  It will take me right through the Caja mountains and up to the drive through window.  Is that wretched or what.

I am a terrible photographer.  And some how the auto focus gets confused by the backlit touch screen.  So maybe you might have trouble reading the text.   But here you go.

Super Size Mine!
If there is a motel next door.........
.......... what an interesting way to spend a weekend!

Life is sweet,

Friday, July 22, 2011

You Gotta Love It ......

OK now ........

So yesterday, I am dong some errands by bicycle.  I have always loved scooting around on 2 wheels.  When I was a young(er) man, I did lots of cycling ...... pedal type, not motor type.  By lots, I mean coast to coast type long distance as well as daily life.  In fact, when the Brennie and I met, she didn't even know I had a car until after we had known each other for over a year.

Anyway .........

So I am scooting around town on my velociped (bicycle), and on the way home I get to grind up this couple block long hill that goes from New Town to El Centro.  Those that live here will know the street.  It goes from Ave Loja /Tres de Noviembre up to Calle Larga.  It is kind of steep, so I am pedaling and breathing hard.  The road is usually crowded and traffic is slow.   Seeing as how I am pedaling, I get to weave through the traffic and play leap frog with the vehicles.

There are always busses on that little stretch of incline.  AND, most of the busses spew nasty diesel exhaust.  So, it is not a real healthy couple blocks.  You know, hard breathing plus toxic exhaust.

So, one of the vehicles I am playing leap frog with is this nasty toxic bus.  It has a sign painted on the back .......... which of course is filthy dirty from the lovely diesel fumes.  So, one of the times the bus spews by me, I read the sign on the back.  The sign proudly proclaimes, in Spanish........ "Cuenca, A City Free of Cigarette Smoke."

I then noticed that this little brag was also painted on the side of the bus.  Much easier to read there.

Like I said, you gotta love it.

Life is sweet,

Friday, July 15, 2011

"Precious Things ......

..... Come in Small Packages."

I must have heard that  saying 500 times from my mother. No exaggeration. Mom claimed to be 4' 11 3/4". So, she had a vested interest in the whole precious / small concept. Personally, I think that she probably stood closer to 4' 10", but I never had the stones to express that. She was a tough gal ........ all 4' 7" inches of her.

Back to the precious / small concept .... BANANAS AND CARROTS!

They CARROTS here are THICK stubby little things.  But they are great!  For my money, they are much better than the typical carrot found in the US.  To me they are sweeter and more moist.  I love 'em.

There are many types of BANANAS here.  I can't even pretend to speak intelligently about all the different varieties.  Some are just for cooking (frying?) .......... must be an acquired taste.  My favorite bananas are called 'ORITOS'.  They are short little fellars with no edges running down the outside.    They are great.  They are much sweeter and the meat is firmer than what one is used to in the states.  They are fabulous.  They are even good without peanut butter on them.  Yeah, that good!

I don't really need to label this pic, do I?


  • Avocados (aquacate) - you get about 3 -5 for $1 (depending on size).  At first, I ate about one a day.  Some days, I forget.  I am down to 3 or 4 a week now.  There are so many ways to eat these treasures.  Correction:  one 'eats' them with their mouth.  I guess it would be correct to say there are so many ways to 'serve' or 'prepare' them'
  • Maracuya - aka passion fruit.  Love the juice from those babies.  There is a place around the corner that I get liters of homemade maracuya yogurt.  FYI, the yogurt is the liquid drinking type.  Love it.  You can also get maracuya ice cream at many of the 1000 ice cream places in town.  I like to put maracuya ice cream and chocolate in the same bowl ...... about half and half.
  • Ceviche - holy mother of god!
  • and other stuff too numerous to mention.
Life is sweet,

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Whales and Such

Oh my oh my ........

Been so busy ....... accomplishing so little.

In the end of May (Predictions and Dire Warnings), I shared a concern that this whole contentment / early retirement was simply some type of delusional side trip through mental illness ....... that maybe I truly hated this new life and was was too confused to realize it. Therefore we took a trip to Vilcabamba to try to re-connect with reality. Sadly the re-connection did not work ...... still found ourselves with nothing to complain about. So, in desperation we were planning a trip to the coast to try to re-establish our bearings. Try to re-establish some tenuous connection with reality.

So, we went to the coast for 5 days recently while our daughter Caitie was visiting. Fired up the old go-fast (car), plugged in the GPS and headed out.

Sadly, our little trip to Puerto Lopez, did not do the trick. We had the misfortune of staying at this wreck of a place ....... We spent days walking on the beach, eating fresh sea food, whale (and porpoise) watching and taking a boat out to Isla la Plata (aka "The Poor Man's Galapagos). Alas, I am still saddled with this false contentment. And here are some pics to prove it.......

Click here to see more pics.

I am a terrible photographer ........

and am too lazy to edit or select pics ......

so I just dumped them all up there.

But we are not going to give up. Maybe a visit to this dump next time will help us to clear our heads .......

Life is sweet,