Time flies when you are having so much fun!
It's hard to believe that five years ago today, we flew one way from Oregon to Quito, on our first and only trip to South America...
You can follow our story by reading the left side entries from the bottom up
We knew we needed a car, so we immediately bought a newspaper, and searched for the kind of SUV that we figured we needed. We looked at several, but finally bought a KIA Sportage from a young couple.
We knew we wanted to live on the Coast, so we headed to Manta and rented an apartment to use a a base of operations for locating our "dream house"...
We spent most every day driving up and down the Eucador Coast, looking for the house that would work for us...After a few weeks, we decided to take some "time off" and go see the jungle.
We booked a room on floating hotel where we had a wonderful jungle experience...
We still regard our jungle adventure as a high point in the last five years!
Back to our Coastal search for a new home, we discovered Montanita, an old surfer hangout, that was just beginning to catch on as a "go to" tourist destination.
This was "our table" at the Casa Blanca, for many, many great meals, and some really fun people watching...
After days of driving to little villages, we decided that we wanted to be near Montanita, so we knocked on doors, and eventually found our piece of paradise, right on the ocean. We purchased the home, and moved in. We pretty much had to repair or replace everything to make it work right, but it was fun!
After getting the home livable, we decided that we needed a little more action around the house, so we decided to get a puppy! We went to the People's Market in Cuenca, with our Vet friends, Bob and Jan, and Jan made sure that we selected a Puppy that was just right...
It is not recommended for Gringos to buy puppies at the People's Market, but we felt fortunate that we had two vets with us, and to make sure, we all trooped over the local Vet's office to get our new puppy wormed, initial shots, a course of antibiotics, and a new bed.
Even though Coquita is totally in charge of the house, we have not regretted that day for one moment!
Right after this, we applied for and were granted Visas for an indefinite stay in Ecuador.
The three of us settled in to a pretty darn nice life here on the beach, where we are lucky enough to have Agripina and Isidro living on the property, making our lives easier and more secure.
Agripina and isidro have lived on the property for 25 years now, and several years ago, in a discussion about Christmas traditions, we learned that the local village children only received a piece of fruit or some candy for Christmas.
Four years ago, we began our Kid's Christmas Party, where village kids under 10, could bring Mom or older sibling, and get to see Papa Noel, get a new truck or doll, some candy & cookies, and some school supplies, and have everybody partake in Hot Dogs, chips, soft drinks, and best of all, have a photo of each child posing with Santa Claus (Papa Noel). For many families, this is the only photo of that child taken all year.
The first year we had about 45 children...and last year we had over 350 kids, and 150 adults, plus more that twenty "Santa's Helpers". The event has gotten so big, that we can't even get everyone in one photo.
See more... http://bobnrox.squarespace.com/journal/2011/12/23/the-kids-christmas-party-was-just-incredible.html
Starting today, we are planning for our 5th Kid's Christmas Party--we'll be off to Cuenca to purchase 350 gifts, candy, cookies, animal crackers, decorations, and even more Santa hats for the helpers...
During the past 18 months, we have remodeled our downstairs into a popular "Suite on the Beach"
After driving our KIA all over Ecuador for four years, including the beach, river beds, and other off roads, we decided that bad driving conditions plus four years of salt air corrosion had pretty much taken its toll. We decided to buy a new car, but knew that it would be a fool's errand to buy one and just leave it out in the sea air again...
So...we decided we had to have a garage, and if you have a garage, you probably should build an apartment over it so we did! The result is a snug home for our car, and the wildly popular "Alta Suite"
The car still looks just like this a year later...
And here is a partial shot of the Alta Suite on the second story of the garage. It's deck has a magnificent view of the breaking waves, as does the queen sized bed.
Our latest project was to expand our own deck, so that now we practically sit on top of the breaking waves!
As we watch the tides, beautiful sunsets, whales, fishing boats and beach fun, we realize that not a day has gone by that we haven't remarked on how fortunate we are to have found this wonderful country, wonderful people and beautiful piece of Paradise!