How to ensure good luck and prosperity in 2015--Ecuador style!

Some of the most fun about preparing for the New Year, is all the hoop-la that goes with drumming out the Old Year, and Welcoming in the New One...

Here in Ecuador we see some of the following sights for the several final days in December...These shots were all taken yesterday, and today--Jan 1--they are all gone!!!

El Presidente...

Could this be Scarlett and Rhett?

It is a little disconcerting to see these 8 and 10 foot monsters, but we never see them in front of any houses near us.  For one thing, they cost lots of money compared to the little ones, and they take a big truck to transfer them...

You see tons of action heroes and villains, and lots of "Disney" knock offs...




 

 

At the stroke of midnight...all of these wonderful creations are thrown into a huge fire--and with them all of a person's negative thoughts, vibes, and actions from the previous year! That done, they now begin the new year fresh--what a good idea!

To further cement the good luck, many athletic fools jump over the fire three times...not a good idea if you are on the beach in soft sand...

Rox bought a large bag of seedless, California green grapes to Agripina's family, as another tradition involves eating 12 grapes, and making a wish, just before the stroke of midnight.She says that they say "Buena Suerte" (good luck or fortune) enero, febrero, marzo, abril, with each grape, etc.  as you go through the new year's months...

They also wear new underwear for good luck in life and love...

More fun times come as we watch young boys and men dress up in drag, to become the "widows" of the old (man) year...and they are requesting funds for their support and your good fortune...usually at speed bumps in the smaller towns...


The red devils have a habit of whistling at you as you are stopped at a light, until you break down and give them a little change--to keep the evil spirits away...

And...of course, nobody is allowed to forget the fireworks, as they are lighting up the sky all around!



Last night the fireworks began to go off with machine gun rapidity...not a favorite time for Coquita...so I spent the next 45 minutes  holding her to keep her from shaking, but near the end of the display, there were the inevitable sonic boom type of rockets...and she decided that Rox was the only person to save her from those...she was happy when they were done...

Agripina's daughter was shelling black eyed peas the other day...so these will be served up at midnight feast with collard greens.  Usually this is all served with pork--because pigs are famous for "rooting ahead"...OK...

Here are a couple more shots of the Manijotes...

Since these manniquins are great photo ops...these young folks positioned themselves to be able to wave as the passing cars all took their photos...

 

Another nice tradition is the midnight visit of a close friend...to ensure happiness and good fortune for the following year...

Agripina and Isidro dropped in at about 30 minutes after midnight to wish us well for the new year...

We were in our  bathrobes, and they were in their dancing clothes...their plan--to have a huge family party at their home that would last until 5 am...

We hope all of our friends, relatives and guests all have a great 2015...

Bob & Roxanne & Coquita...

Posted on Thu, January 1, 2015 at 08:38AM by Registered CommenterBob & Roxanne | Comments1 Comment

Some more fun times...

Here are photos of a few events that have happened since the Kid's Christmas Party...

We had Agripina and Isidro, our helpful, resident family, over for our annual Christmas get-together...

Isidro and Coquito were posing just right until I took too long getting the camera out...

We had drinks and goodies to eat, and we gave them an assortment of presents, the best which were, a new clothes closet for the bedroom, and most of all a new pillow top mattress with a pretty comforter which were just Agripina's colors.  


They both have aching backs at night and have now reported that they sleep like babies and there is no more back pain!

Each year the church puts on a traveling Nativity show, which is a combination of upbeat Christmas songs and a little like trick or treat...The show performs all over town and each home gives what they can to the cast...

Here are some of the shots...



The kids had been performing for three hours before arriving at our place...so it was a little like herding cats...this little angel was having a little better time organizing shells...There might be a good guess that her name begins with the letter "C"...

The young lady on the left has been singing for us for over 5 years...

Sonia, Agripina, and Rox have just finished handing out 50 baggies full of goodies...

This is the result...Those smiles are worth a million bucks...

Another big event for us was the return of dolphins to our waters after being gone for over five years...they were curious about the surfers...as you can see...

Here's a shot of Isidro watering our place,  using water from the well he dug...we wanted it to look like a jungle, and it's getting there...

I keep telling the people that I am done with counting birthdays...but nobody listens...here are Agripina, Sonia, Cecilia, and Alex bringing me a traditional Ecuadorian dish and a yummy cheese cake...well,  calories don't count on your birthday!

About as good as it gets!!!

Most of that cheesecake is gone already...

And to top it off...we get this dramatic sunset...

Posted on Tue, December 30, 2014 at 03:25AM by Registered CommenterBob & Roxanne | Comments2 Comments

Our Seventh annual Kid's Christmas Party was the largest and best ever!!! 

Roxanne and I first conceived the idea of a little party for our neighborhood kids, after learning that it was common for them to only receive a piece of candy or some fruit for Christmas--and that's all!

For our first party in 2008,  we asked Agripina to invite some of the kids from around our few blocks, and figured that maybe 20 kids might show up.  We had packed up some gift bags consisting of a small toy and lots of animal crackers and Christmas candy.  We were shocked when we were greeted by 47 smiling faces.  Yikes!  What to do?  So we scrambled back into our house and frantically filled up 27 more baggies of goodies.  It was just luck that we had bought a little more than we thought we would need.

It turned out that the kids just loved the surprise visit from Papa Noel, and they told everyone!

So...fast forward to this year...we are now printing tickets and stamping hands, in a valiant attempt to limit the number of attendees to 625!

As you have seen from our previous posts, we begin to purchase the toys and candy in October, and we continue to add to the process,  until the day of the party, when we take delivery on 625 hot dog buns, which were so close to the deadline, that they were still hot from the massive stone over where they were born.

There are a million details to work out and rework.  Roxanne  wakes up in the night to rewrite the "to do" and the "to buy" list, almost every night!

On the day of the party, we have ten strong men borrowed from construction projects all around town, and 10 women who all pitch in to make this a smooth operation.

For Example:  We need eight guys for two hours to receive the seating for 600 people...here they are unloading the freight--the table and three stools are made of one inch thick hardwood, and the load is over 50 pounds for each trip!

This is how they look all set up...

Here's Roxanne posing with less that half the gift bags...

And the ladies are already slicing the 625 hot dog buns...

The boxes contain 160 liters of Coke...the guys are emptying 400 pounds of shaved ice into the soft drink crates...

This is a shot of the crowd just a couple of hours later...

 

 

Keeping everyone happy is our main job, and it really helps when Papa Noel goes out into the crowd!!!

 

Of course, the highlight of the show is when each child sits on Santa's lap and gets his or her own gift bag...here are some of the 400 photos that we took for printing later for each household...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is Manuel and his son...Manuel and Papa Noel grew up together...Manuel also does a fabulous job as MC of the event...

This young boy looks to be 8 going on 30!!!  Probably a future CPA!

 

A little  break after taking all the tickets, delivering all the food, and stamping all the kids hands...

 

Papa Noel taking a deserved break, after spending over 2 hours handing out gifts, talking to each child, and posing for a ton of photos...

Of course, when it's clean up time, and the music changes from Christmas music to good ol' rock and roll, everyone gets a second wind!!!

 

Here's a few shots taken by Ace Photog Robert...

 

 

 


 


 


 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These wonderful ladies made dozens of trips with these trays to deliver 600 hot dogs.  The chips and Cokes were delivered by more waiters...

 

 

 

 

 

 

Manuel just announced that we were the party hosts...

 

A couple of shots showing how the place looked before it filled up...

 


 We want to thank Shell and Marsha and Ami for letting us borrow these huge blowup figures...many, many amature photos shot here all afternoon!

 

 

 In the upper right you see Robert (ace Photog), and wife Jilleen (fabulous gift distributor working with Rox to get every present just right into Papa Noel's hands.)

 

Isidro is our chief of security today...but inside, he's just a big teddybear!!!

 

When all the kids have gone home, and all the tables and stools are loaded on two trucks, and the whole place is cleaned up, there are  well deserved  beers passed all around... 

Again this year, Roxanne and I wish to thank all of our friends, family, blog readers, and guests, for their generous support for this really fun party.

As you can see, it takes a lot of wonderful folks to make this event come off perfectly, and we all did it again this year.  So thanks everybody--you done good!!

 Rox took this shot of me and Coquita mellowing out the day after all the fun!!!

Posted on Sun, December 21, 2014 at 06:25AM by Registered CommenterBob & Roxanne | Comments1 Comment | References1 Reference

Blastin' down the home stretch to a HUGE Kid's Chirstmas Party...

We're in the last few days before the Kid's Christmas Party, and Zowiee, it's going to be BIG!!!

The only way for these big deals to come off right, is to start planning about three months ahead, make a ton of lists about all those necessary details, and remake those lists again every morning!

Here are a couple of lists Rox is using this week, one in English to us, and one in Spanish to the folks that really count.

There will be a new revised list tomorrow.

Today, Agripina and I ordered 625 specially made buns to be ready on the day of the party.  We made sure that many boards and saw-horses would be available to hold 450 kids' presents, and 625 lunches being prepared.

We requested the ingredients that Agripina will need to feed 30 helpers and workers for lunch on the day of the party.

Roxanne is busy mapping out the 450 wrapped gifts, so that when it's time to hand them off to Papa Noel, there will be a smooth transition, and no mistakes.

Here is a shot of just the girl's presents along our hallway.  All 200!

Each child's gift bag contains a neat doll or macho truck and a huge baggie filled with animal crackers and Christmas candy...

Here's is a shot of all of us filling baggies, and then filling all the 450 gift bags just yesterday.  For the last 6 parties, Rox and I did all this by ourselves, but this year, it is just to big for just two of us.

This year we loaded up 550 baggies with goodies.  We make 100 extra, because many people show up from other towns and beg us to let them in without tickets.  We have always stressed to everyone, that our party is for the kids of our town of Manglaralto.  To keep people mollified and in line, Isidro and our other three security people hand out over 100 full baggies to the crowd.

We keep count of our baggies by stacking up the empty baggie boxes.  Take a look at 550 empties...

Here is a shot of me making another fill up.  I emptied 88 pounds of animal crackers, and 176 pounds of Christmas Candy, into those bowls.

After we filled all the 550 baggies, it was time to change hats and fill up each child's Christmas bag.

Well, that's what we did yesterday and this morning.

Tomorrow, we pick up 625 hot dogs, Agripina passes out 450 tickets to households in our town, we take delivery on our borrowed saw horses and planking.

The next day we receive all the seating for 625 people, with little tables to match.

So, folks...you can still be a big part of our party, by sending off a contribution to help us make the smiles on these deserving kids a lot brighter.

We still must pay our staff, pay for the chairs and tables, and pay for over 500

5" x 7" matte prints memorializing each child's visit with Papa Noel.  

Our PayPal account is bobnrox@gmail.com 

And...we will stress one more time, Every single dollar contributed, goes directly to the Kids!

Thanks to all of you who have kept us going so far, and thanks in advance for any who might wish to chip in!

Bob and Roxanne,  and all the Kids!!!

Posted on Tue, December 16, 2014 at 12:44PM by Registered CommenterBob & Roxanne | CommentsPost a Comment

No Christmas Trees available on the Coast, Sooo..., Roxanne creates one out of bamboo--and more!

This year, we could not buy our usual live Christmas tree.  In addition, the local stores did not carry fake trees either!

We had an artificial tree for several years, and when it became a little weak, we passed it on to Agripina.  She almost cried, since she had never had a Christmas tree of her own.  She and Isidro lovingly restored it, and now it is blinking merrily away each evening.

Rox drew up a plan showing the kind of tree she wanted, and then asked Fernando, our neighbor craftsman, to craft up the stylized tree out of bamboo (cana).  She reasoned, that it might last several years, that would be good.  Here's a shot of him delivering the bare bones tree...

Fernando even carved out the slots for the "branches"...

Here's a shot of Roxanne, as she decorates the tree...


Later in the day, we got Fernando to pose with Rox.

Although, the tree is really pretty during the day, it knock you socks off at night!

Rox's bamboo tree floods the living room with good vibes...

She also commissioned Fernando to cut and sand up several sizes of bamboo rings.  

These looked pretty nifty when glued together into a Christmas tree wall hanging!

The plan today, is to provide red felt as backing to complete the Christmas look.

Rox will continue to be on the lookout for little goodies to add to the remaining cubby holes...

Here is a shot of how the red backing adds a new dimension to the overall effect...

The camera was slightly tilted, but you get the idea...

Posted on Wed, December 10, 2014 at 05:01AM by Registered CommenterBob & Roxanne | Comments1 Comment
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