Cuenca - Jasper

Adios Cuenca…

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Cuenca is coming to an end, it’s sad but also exciting for the next place that we go to. Sadly my mom’s parent’s aka our grandparents are gone. It was sad to see them leave, and now another set of grandparents are coming. It’s not as sad as it would be if nobody else were coming. It’s going to be really sad when my dad’s parent’s aka our other grandparents leave because we won’t get to see any family for almost four months. We will be doing so many more adventures that it will make the time go by really quickly.

Another sad thing that happened was we had to say good-bye to our Spanish teacher Luis. The day after he left he sent us a really, really nice email talking about how good we were to him. He also told us that the card we gave to him was going to be placed on his special shelf where he only puts the most important things that he owns (special books, pictures of family etc.). It took us quite a bit of time to write him an equally as nice email because of how busy we were. I don’t even know what my parents said because they wrote and sent the email and I have not had very much time to ask them what they said. He was the nicest Spanish teacher’s anyone could ever have asked for. At least that’s what I think.


Here are some of the differences that you can find in Cuenca. First one is the time that you can take to cross a street. So you know in Calgary it’s only around 20 seconds, well here it can get as high as 75 seconds, just to cross a 25-meter road. Man! People are either really lazy here or they can just walk at a normal speed when they’re about 500 meters away from the start of the road.

Another difference is that their roads in the center of the city are made out of cobblestones. It’s really bumpy when a motorcycle rides on it or a small car like the one that we rented to go to a lot of the places that we have been to. When you look closely at the road you can see where the cars have driven.

The final difference that I think is most important for travelers like us is people stay up really late here. They party until around 2 in the morning and then they’re not tired the next day. It’s very surprising to me. Well I guess in Canada it gets darker earlier in the winter, so people stay at home.

The Zoo

A couple of days ago we went to the zoo called Amaru Zoológico Bioparque. There are so many animals in the zoo including lots of reptiles and amphibians. Quite a few more than the Calgary zoo. It is also on a mountainside so it’s a pretty good walk, especially for my grandparents.

There were two very interesting things that you can see at the zoo. First is the lion feeding at 1:00pm. The lion exhibit is about half way through the whole zoo and I think it is the most interesting thing to see at the zoo. They put enormous amounts of meat, 40 pound pieces (they need to haul them in a wheelbarrow) and then hide them so the lions actually get some exercise. If they just threw it over the fence, the lions would fight each other and then sleep right then and there. Zero exercise.

The second thing that is interesting to see is the Ardillan monkeys. Lucky enough we got there when the monkeys were near the café. Those little hands of theirs were so quick that you didn’t have enough time to snatch back whatever they took. One of the monkeys jumped on a lady and tried to steal food. She didn’t let him though.

One of the things that we saw that was horrible was people feeding a monkey a plastic water bottle. The monkey tried to chew on the plastic but lucky it couldn’t. They basically taunted the monkey to grab it. They were not very nice. Then they tried to feed it another bottle to try to get the other one back. Weird humans.

Él tour de la ciudad en autobus

Yo fui en un tour de autobús con los padres de mi mama. Mis abuelos. Fuimos a las diez y media de la mañana. El lugar dónde compramos los boletos fue en el hotel de ellos. Después necesitamos caminar al parque central. Allí el autobús nos recoge. Era un autobús de dos pisos. Era un día caluroso, fue buena que era caluroso porque muchísimas de las días eran lluviosos. En total fue casi 2 horas. Solo hay un lugar que puedes ir al suelo y caminar un poquito. Hay un parque en el parte debajo. Mi hermana y yo jugamos allí por casi 15 minutos. Solo tenemos 45 minutos en total para caminar. Después necesitamos ir en el bus otra vez.


Casi todos los semanas a las martes vamos a nadar. Solo con mi papa y mi hermana. Tomamos un taxi allí. Y cuando caminamos a la casa, es casi 35 minutos a un buen velocidad.

La piscina es una piscina olímpica. Es una piscina de 50 metros de largo. Tiene un gran trampolín, pero hay casi 5 trampolínes que son de tamaños variables. Yo solo puedo ir en lo más bajo, porque no puede ir en lo más altos. Nadie puede ir, está cerrado. El jacuzzi no es muy caliente, pero a veces es un poquito caliente.

Cajas National Park

We’ve been to Cajas National Park twice. Well at least my mom and I have. The first time that we were going to go my sister was a little bit sick, so she and my dad could not come. The second time that we went she could go, because she was not sick, nobody was sick.

The first time that we went was with a lovely gentleman named Don. My mom found out about him through a Facebook group. He came with a guy/friend named Steve. I was surprised when I saw the age of him, he was around 61 years old. That’s just a guess by the way but I’m pretty sure he was older than fifty years old. It was about a 45-minute bus ride. It was pretty windy at the end so I got a little bit carsick.

When we got to the top there was a little area where you had to sign in. I have zero clue why they wanted you to sign in. Maybe because they wanted to get an approximation of how many people came each day.

We took the hike that was all mainly downhill. It was sort of hard on one part of the body, the quadriceps muscles.

At some points it was a little bit hilly. I think that it was called the red loop. I totally just guessed there. My mom just said that it was called the route number one. It took us a little bit longer than usual because we were going with Steve. There were a lot of parts where you had to scramble downhill, so it was a bit more difficult for Steve.

It was a pretty fun time. I hope that if you go that you have a great time like we did.


It was pretty nerve-racking when my dad said that we were going to get a haircut in Ecuador. We were going to get the haircut at a barber across the street from our house. We had looked in there a couple of times and told them that we were going to get a haircut.

The first time that we went, my dad and I got a haircut. My dad also got a shave done. The second time that we went my grandpa Lyall had a haircut and a shave, my dad had a shave, and I got the design in my hair that I have now.

When they finished my haircut I really liked it. It was better than the super fancy place in Calgary that I go to, even though it was a hole in the wall place. I wish that we could just fly there every 2 months to get my haircut instead of going to my regular place.

The people that work there are really nice. The main guy Diego (the most experienced barber) speaks a little bit of English, which was helpful for my grandpa. Diego also has seven kids and he’s only 27 years old. Crazy! That’s just the culture here though.

Drive to Guayaquil

The drive to Guayaquil from Cuenca was gross and beautiful at the same time. The first part of the drive was really winding road and through the mountains. If you know me than you know that I get carsick pretty easily.

So when we started the drive I was feeling fine, but then when we started to go into the mountains the road started to curve a lot and I became really carsick. Normally when I get carsick I try to go to sleep. I actually had a rest, but when I got out for the first time it was freezing.

We got out at the Tres Cruces viewpoint. It was very cold, at least for the Ecuadorians. It was very windy and you’re at the top of a mountain. You had a pretty great view of the Cajas National Park valley.

The second time that we got out it was humid because we were at sea level but still very far away from our destination. Our destination was Guayaquil; after we went to Guayaquil we would go on a plane to Lima.

So when we got out to go to the bathroom, I felt drowsy and then bam! I barfed and it splattered all over the cement floor. It was disgusting. That’s only the second time in my life that I have barfed. After that commotion I felt sooooooo much better for the drive.

Cuenca has been good to us and always will be. I personally will remember it for the rest of my life. I will miss things and be happy that we are leaving. Sadness is not going to ruin the whole South American trip though.

Hasta la vista, Jasper.

Cuenca - Macy

Bye Bye Cuenca

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*****By the way this was supposed to be posted over a week ago

Oh my gosh………   Cuenca is coming to an end. That also means that we are getting closer to the Galapagos. Our first set of grandparents are gone, but our next set of grandparents are coming tomorrow. I bet they are really tired.😴😴

Jasper and I have not been doing lots of schoolwork because the grandparents have been here. Buttttt I am okay with that because I despise homework.

My mom, my brother and I recently had our last lesson with Luis. He is our Spanish teacher. At the last lesson Luis had prepared lots of games. My daddy could not join because he had to go pick up our abuelos. Buttttt he was able to join half way into the lesson. We gave Luis wine and some new whiteboard markers as a thank you gift.

I will not miss hearing the  sounds of the noisy streets, the smell of the gas from city buses and cigarettes, and last but not least, I will not miss the dog poop in front of our house.  I will miss Cuenca, Hacienda Chan Chan, and most of all I will miss my friends in the daycare that I volunteered at. I will also not miss the “cook- a- doodle- dooing” and the weird dog barking in the middle of the night!!!!!


Here are the differences between Cuenca and Calgary. The first difference is that in Cuenca when there is a festival, they put a time to show you when it will be “starting”. However, when you arrive at that time the people that are performing are still just practicing. It is pretty annoying, but we are really lucky to be in America del sur. Locals have activities like we Calgarians have too, but when locals don’t want to go to their activities they will skip it. I think that is pretty mean to the teammates and the coach because A) you have committed to a team, and B) what if your team has started a fun game and made teams and you show  up the first day but not the next day, then your coach has to make a whole new team? Anyway back to differences…, Cuenca says “Markosoft” instead of “Microsoft”, which is pretty weird.  South America also puts Guacamole on their burgers. Cuenca also puts 60 seconds on the signal for crossing the road, whereas in Canada there is only 20 seconds. I find that so far South America and Cuenca are night people, meaning they tend to do more activities at night than in the morning like exercising and festivals. Ecuador also has cobblestone roads because some towns like Cuenca are really old; whereas in Calgary we have all paved roads because we are a younger city.

Andean monkeys are little stinkers because they sneakily steal your food. The Andean monkey is at the Amaru zoo. They are yellow, fuzzy and really cute, but when they want to steal your food they are not cute.  When you’re trying to shoo them away they grrrrr at you. I got really scared because this one boy was poking at a monkey and then the monkey got mad and jumped on him like it was a rope or something. Also because my mom was shooing the Andean monkeys away but they were not scared surprisingly. When they people who worked at the zoo came and shooed them away I was not as scared. One of the Andean monkeys stole someone’s jello and took it to a tree.

Cuando estuvimos caminando para ver a los muy grande monos, mi papa vio algunas personas alimentándose los monos unas botellas plásticos. Y las mismas personas trataron de dar otra botella plástica a los monos. Y mi papa dijo, “la botella no es para los monos”. ¡Me sentí muy enojado porque cuando mi papa agarró el plástico las mujeres no dijeron “gracias” y plástico no es para todos los animales!!!!


Oh boy…. that drive was a mess and I will tell you the reasons why. First of all we were in a car for four hours and Jasper, we all know, gets carsick and sometimes so do I. Jasper and I kept asking what is the road going to be like but my parents didn’t know because they had never driven to Guayaquil, that was also a reason why.  When we started getting  on the main road it started getting really windy…..I mean really windy! I hated it. When we stopped for a snack after the windy-ness it was really humid.

Mom got out of the car first, then me, then Jasper and then Jasper’s food came out of his mouth next. It was really gross!It splattered all over the ground and grass, but luckily there was a really kind cleaning lady that cleaned it up and gave Jasper 3 limes and some salt to suck on.

After Jasper vomiting, it was time to get back in the car.

The rest of the road was flat.  👌

I am looking forward to lots more adventures in the future!!!!!!!!!

Much thanks to Cuenca for being good to me!!!!!!!!!!!


Cuenca - Macy

Fun times at Hacienda Chan Chan

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Hacienda Chan Chan is a dairy and working farm near Chiquintad, a small town kind of close to Cuenca. They named it Hacienda Chan Chan because Chan Chan is a river right next to the farm.

Milking Cows
When our family was at the farm Jasper and I got to milk some cows bare hand. It was really fun, I had never had a chance to milk cows in my life. The family that owned the farm had about 30 milking cows. A lot of the cows were embarazada (which means pregnant in Spanish). A machine milked the cows, but the workers let me milk them just to try it. The cows are milked at 5:30 am and 3:00pm, 2 times a day. Wow that’s a lot!!!!!

Patsy is a donkey and Fiona is a caballo. They are really nice. Patsy was a snuggle bunny so she really likes kids and snuggles. Fiona the horse was not trained yet, because she was only two.

There was a girl named Gwen (one of the kids who lived on the farm) and she said that Fiona was going to be her horse when Fiona was trained. I was able to go horseback riding on a horse named Ben. Ben was a bit stubborn but I am still grateful that I even got to hop on a horse at a working dairy farm. When we were done riding Ben we were told just to take off the saddle tie him up to the post again. So we did, but Ben kept neighing and neighing because he wanted his friends. Of course my mom wanted Jasper and I to go tell Julie (she owns the farm with her husband Luke) what we should do with Ben. Julie said just leave him there, and…that’s what we did. But about half an hour later I saw Ben trotting to a field of barley. I told my mom, Ben is running to a field of barley. Mom said it is okay.

The next day my dad and I went to see if Ben was okay. So I went first, and saw that Ben was still in the spot eating away. I noticed that the rope was on him from the day before. I grabbed the rope and got Ben to walk with me. He was kind of trotting so I got a little scared and let go of the rope. Ben stopped so I tried to get a hold of it again. I could not because he almost bucked me right in the head. Luckily he didn’t.

After a little while my dad finally came, and we helped Ben into the other field but we just couldn’t quite figure out how to get him past the fence.

On the last day when we had to say goodbye to Patsy and Fiona I cried because I did not want to leave them. When everyone else left I was still there with Patsy and Fiona, but when my dad was walking towards me I walked closer to Patsy and Fiona.

My dad called out “you will want to hear this”. He told me that Julie comes into town every Friday and maybe one of those Fridays we can have a sleep over at the farm. Now I am happy about that because we will get to have a sleepover in 2 weeks and stay at the farm again with Lyall Nash and Sheryl Nash (my grandparents).

Adios hacienda Chan Chan

Cuenca - Macy

Día de la Independencia

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What’s happening in Cuenca? 

It is currently November 8, 2017. I am getting so excited for Hacienda Cha Chan (Hacienda Chan Chan is a dairy farm). We are going to the farm on Friday and it is Wednesday early night.

I am really tired because today was an exhausting today, as I hiked to a viewpoint with a church. The church is called la Iglesia de Turi. To the church it is about a ONE-HOUR walk. It is on the other side of the city. You have the option to take a tour bus but our family walks.

Half of the way is walking to the stairs and the other half is going up the stairs. I have done Turi three times. I did a walk there today, another one yesterday and one time in October. Turi is pretty easy for me because I have done it 3 times. The viewpoint is beautiful, you can see all of Cuenca. You can even see Cajas, a hiking spot. I would go up there every day if I could.

Independence holiday is over!!!!!

Nooooooooooo!!!!! Independence day here is apparently a popular thing. Tents are set up. People stay up late, music when I am trying to sleep. But after Independence Day is over there are not a lot people walking around, no more festivals, and last but not least no more stages.  

It was really weird last night there WERE FIRE WORKS, EVEN THOUGH IT WAS not Independence Day. Anyway back to Independence Day. Independence day was a really big holiday. SOMETIMES MY mom would even go check out some of the festivalS that were happening at night. When she was out my brother my dad and I would be watching a movie or doing something else.  

Near our house there is a park called “Parque De La Madre”. In the park there were tents set up with people selling crafts and decorations. Some people were selling boxes made out of wood; people were also selling scarves, bracelets, and posters, spectacular things made out of metal. I thought it was really cool to see things in Ecuador that I have never seen in my life. I miss Independence Day. 

Get this, sometimes when my mom would arrive and my brother and I would Already Be in bed. One time, when I was getting ready for bed and reaching out for my pajamas, I saw this gigantic spider. It was so big that I cried, my dad heard me crying so he came over to my room but he could not see any spider. He said “Macy what’s wrong?” I said “there is a spider in my room”. My dad thought it was just a little spider, but when he saw it in his mind he said to himself OH MY GOSH THAT IS BIG. Luckily, we caught the spider and put it outside.

By the way this was supposed to be posted about a week ago.

Extraño el Dia de la Independencia porque no voy a regresar. En el Dia de la Independencia hay artesanos con decoraciones. Además hay muchos festivales. También hay personas cantando y bailando. Me gusta el Dia de la Independencia mucho. Yo compré una caja con mi dinero.

Durante toda esa semana las tiendas venden un pan que se llama pan de guagua. Yo tengo un maestro que se llama Luis y él nos traia pan de guagua para mi hermano y para mí todas las clases.

 Después de las fiestas de Cuenca no hay muchas personas en los parques.

 Mi hermano y yo vamos todos los días a una piscina para nadar durante una hora y media.

Me gustan mucho los mercados y las plazas porque hay personas locales y ellos hablan muy bien español, y aprendo de ellos cuando escucho.

El clima de Cuenca cambia durante el día. Normalmente hace mucho sol en la mañana, y llueve mucho en la tarde. Es muy importante tener siempre un paraguas en la mochila por si acaso. Para mí el sitio más bonito es el “mirador del Turi” porque tú puedes ver toda la ciudad desde alli. 



Cuenca - Jasper

Festival Time

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September 29 to November 5

It is getting nearer to the Independence Day weekend and I’m getting really nervous. The actual Independence Day is November 3, but it’s pretty much just a weekend of fun and buying things. One thing that I’m nervous about is there are workers that are setting up these enormous stages outside. Two, people are staying up later and partying way more than they usually would, on a normal day.

I think that everybody is getting nervous/anxious. Even though is not even starting yet. Bam! It just hit me, it was the start of the Independence Day weekend

There are food tents on one side of the river and artisan’s tents on the other side of the river. Luckily there was going to be no school even though it was a weekday, and we normally did school. That was a relief, and a surprise. That day we saw a school parade and then at night we saw some traditional music. While we were walking to the music we went to the travel agency and got a timetable that showed us what was happening and when.

We could see that this was going to be a lot of different music concerts. I couldn’t really understand it because the singer was singing really fast and it was in Spanish. At least we got to see it. My mom and I stayed longer because my sister was really tired, so she went home with my dad. During the time that my mom and I were there we were able to get some enormous lollipops, from a vender with lots of other things. We didn’t leave until around 9:45pm. It was still going when we left. Man these people stay up really late. I guess that is just normal for them.

I had a REALLY good sleep that night. I got to sleep with my mom, I felt more safe with her. The next day it was more festivities. We got up a little bit earlier, I didn’t like that. We did this because we wanted to see the military parade. Man! “It’s hot out” I said, as we walked out of front door. It was actually pretty hot though, around 27’C. Even my mom thought that it was hot, and she normally thinks everything is cold.

The road that the parade was on was near the Italian restaurant that we went to previously. Come on. There were already about a billion people waiting for the parade to start. Almost all of the people had those dang umbrellas. It’s like there is a giant wall in your face so you can’t see. It seemed like they were putting their umbrellas even higher so even my dad couldn’t see. People are just weird these days.

The concert started and it was upbeat and fun. During the end it got pretty boring because firefighters just kept coming not really MILITARY people. So it was a so-so parade.

I actually sort of forget what we did or went to after that, so I’m going to tell you what we did that night. Well truthfully we didn’t do much. My sister, my dad and I stayed home and watched a movie, and my mom went out to see a different concert. It was another late night.

The next morning we set off at around 10:30am to go for some more festivities. Yes more festivities. It was called battle of the bands. The bands were really bad, it sounded like they didn’t even practice one day. My mom was really disappointed because it was her idea to go and see it. She thought that it was going to be good, but it turned out pretty much the opposite of what she expected. I’m pretty sure that that was all that there was to the Independence festival/weekend. So I guess that I will see you next time. Which will be about Hacienda Chan Chan. A farm.

Bye (American way to say Adios)

Jasper(Jásper in Spanish)


So, what DO we do all day long?


**Warning…… this is a rambling exposition.

This (the title) is a great question, sparked by one of Macy’s classmates during a Skype chat with the whole class the other day; which, by the way, was really lovely to witness.   One of the kids asked, “Macy, so…like…what do you do all day?”   Brilliant.

I noticed I have felt less driven to write a blog entry the last while, and I suppose it’s because the kids are writing about the “exciting things”, and I default to “what’s left”?  Life is becoming normalized here for us in a way…and…isn’t that what we were going for?  Situating ourselves in one place so that we can carve out a shortened version of a simple, normal, daily life in a totally different culture?

Suddenly I hear a shrieking voice inside my head berating me, “Emily… have you become complacent?!?!? NORMAL?!!? Seriously??  You are wasting your precious time here falling into some safe bubble!  What’s wrong with you?!  You’re throwing this once in a life time opportunity away!!!!!!”   Next, an extended “uh-oh” sinking-type feeling, and then the storm passes with only slight collateral damage that I’d like to believe I transform into motivation.  Eventually, I step back, take a breath, attempt to access my rational brain, and remind myself that what we are doing is pretty incredible.  There simply has to be an ongoing “balancing and rebalancing” of some form of adventure with basic living.  The question then becomes,  what is our basic living like here?

It’s awesome…

….mostly……except…. that although I had ridiculous hopes and visions of my kids turning into complete angels, I still have to parent.  What?!?   I still have to deal with brother-sister asinine fighting…..absent-minded crossing of the streets…..enforce manners… …squash “attitudes”……nag about cleaning…etc..etc.  Also, just quickly – folks who are able to homeschool their children and remain a sane and somewhat effective parent are freakishly amazing.  This could never be something I do regularly.  Wow.

Doing homework

**Kids sitting nicely, doing homework.  Hmmmm….suspicious….

Jasper doing dishes

**Jasper washing the dishes.  Rubber gloves a must as the hot water BURNS!!


What has fallen into the backdrop of our “normalized life here” is the buzzing noise, including the incessant cock-a-doodle-doo of the rooster next door and the traffic hum-drum right outside our door amongst other cacophony.  We have also inserted white noise into our sleeping routines, which has helped.  So, I must admit that we sleep in every day.  (insert shame-faced emoji here).   For instance, it is currently 8:50am and the kids are not up yet.  Granted, they went to bed late….but…….

I enjoy waking up early (relatively speaking 😉  ) and coming downstairs to have my coffee and either study some of my Spanish or write in my journal.  Eventually everyone makes their way downstairs, Myles usually first, and we have breakfast.   Breakfast can be Cornflakes, toast and peanut butter (which is not popular here and incredibly expensive), yogurt and fruit, or a personal favourite of the kids’ – a plate of quail eggs!

After breakfast and cleaning ourselves up, we jump into homework and studying Spanish.  Luis, who is from Spain and has lived in Cuenca for 9 years, comes every Tuesday and Thursday to spend 45 minutes with each kid and an hour with me!  It’s incredibly helpful and I appreciate his informal way of teaching.  Sometimes on those days, as I’m last to have my lesson, Myles and the kids will take off right after their their lessson to go swimming.  Once I’m done mine, I find any excuse to go walking around.  I’ll head to the market (which I still LOVE, but has become “normal”) or the grocery store, or the other day I walked over half an hour to find a store that had rain ponchos.  We all reconvene at the house where I hopefully will have begun some creation of dinner….simple, or a few notches above simple.  Then it’s just hanging out.  Being on the equator, the sun is essentially gone by around 7pm all year round; so although the temperature is fine (jeans are perfect and a sweater is necessary), the day feels “done” by then.  We haven’t any toys or games to entertain us, and there’s only so much you can do as a family inside at night, so admittedly we sometimes sit around the computer and watch something on Netflix.   For those of you who know our family, tv is a privilege, especially during the weekdays, so the kids are pretty amped when they get to watch something and stay up until 9:30pm!!


**The market…….just one, small section of it.

Cuenca musings 8

**There are 3 rush hour times throughout the weekdays….morning, lunch, and after work.  Here’s one of them.  The streets are narrow and in our area are most often one-way…so the traffic can line up!!


Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays Jasper has his soccer at 3pm, so we do the “schooling thing” in the morning, and then head out around 2:15pm to walk to his soccer.  Macy was initially more keen on going to soccer when the family of adorable and very dirty puppies were there, but since they were stolen (yes, stolen), the lure of watching the 9 rabbits stuffed into a make-shift metal cage and the chickens and roosters wandering all around has faded.  Often she and I will walk there (20 minutes) with Myles and Jasper, watch for a bit, and then head off to the market or some such thing.

Soccer pitch 1

**This is the bench seating area where we watch Jasper’s soccer from.   Thankfully there is the cover overhead as it often dumps rain!  The chickens and roosters run the show here though, and they wander all over….including almost stepping across our feet on a regular basis.

Macy's puppies 8

**One of Macy’s little puppy friends.  The location is similar to a junk yard, so if you look closely, you’ll notice the puppy’s toy is some part of an old car.


Weekends?   Well, no regularity…but thus far we find some small or medium-sized adventure….be it the zoo, a hike, or simply walking around to explore the city somewhere.

If it isn’t yet obvious, we walk everywhere.  I deeply appreciate that part.  I am not exercising in any way, shape or form….so I’m grateful for the walking.  Once in a while we take a taxi, but not often.  Really though, walking affords the opportunity to really observe and take in the nuances of the culture.  I absolutely love walking along inconspicuous streets and witnessing daily life unlike anything we see back home.  I often wish I could take pictures to capture things, but that feels gross and like these people are a zoo exhibit.  So I don’t.

Cemetary 3

***This is a big and beautiful cemetery I came across one day on one of my walks.

Cemetary 4

**This is one of the outside walls to the cemetery.  This paintings are at least 10-12ft high, and I am guessing they are images of important people….possibly buried here??


Cuenca musings 2

**Just an incredibly hard-working woman pushing her cart of goods….maybe heading home for the day.  Not an easy living.

What do I cook?  Wellllllll, not ever having been known as a fanciful cook, I still keep things mostly simple.  I have ventured into making some nice meals, even an Ecuadorian arroz con pollo, (rice with chicken….whoopee); but I love leftovers, and some nights it’s sandwiches.  I can get almost everything I need from the grocery stores, so that’s great.  The fruits and vegetables are most enjoyable and cost-friendly to purchase from the market just 9 minutes from our house…..e.g., 3 lovely red peppers for a dollar, 3 or 4 avocados for a dollar, a big bag of tomatoes for a dollar….you get the point.  Sometimes we go out for a meal and my favourites are the ones where it entails cheap, local cuisine.  We have had a few nice meals at “fancier” places with more western gastronomic choices, but they are expensive when you are on a budget and often filled with expats or other gringos.   Obviously we somewhat fit into that category, but my skin crawls a bit when we are surrounded by these folks and being swallowed up by an Ecuadorian attempt to set the expat mind at ease by creating a North American experience.  That isn’t why we are here.

Arroz con pollo

**Arroz con pollo.  Fancy.

Graffiti 3

**Loads of graffiti all around.  I like this one in particular….a creative embellishment of a boring door.

If you’ve managed to stomach my rambling – thanks!  I have so, so many more things I can ramble on about, but perhaps I’ll leave those for another day.




Cuenca - Jasper

The hike of amazingness.

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Saturday October 28

The time in Cuenca has passed by sort of fast and sort of slow. It has passed by fast because I’m having a really fun time exploring places and just being out of the house. It has passed by slowly because most of the days we’ve just been walking around and I sort of want to do other things. I just don’t know what I want to do.

Overall it has been a pretty fun time more than it has been not fun though. The other day I went on a hike with a guy named Donald who my mom connected with through Facebook. I finally realized that he didn’t want to get paid or need to get paid. Wow! He’s a really nice guy I kept thinking to myself before we even left for the hike. Sadly my sister couldn’t come because she had a very big belly ache. I was sad that she couldn’t come because then it would have been way more fun with her.

On the day that we went on the hike I was really nervous because I was going on a hike with somebody that I didn’t know. I had to get up at 7:30am. I was super tired during the time that I had to get changed and stuff like that. It seemed like I got shocked the second that I stepped into the bus terminal. I was shocked because it was actually going to happen. I was going on a hike in South America.

Mi mama y yo necesitaban caminar y ver por Donald. El dice que iba estar cerca la fuentes de agua. El razón que no le vimos, es porque el taxista nos dejó en la parte de atrás de la terminal de autobuses, no en la parte en frente. Estuve enojado con el taxista por hacer eso. Finalmente encontramos a Donald y dijimos nuestros holas. El estaba con otra persona que se llama Steve. Las dos personas estaban muy amable.

OMG! We almost missed the bus, because it was supposed to leave at 8:30am but the driver was ready so he left at 8:10am. That never happens in Calgary I thought. We were able to get some snacks at the little visitor centre. They were very good. I hoped that the hike was long and not very short. Donald said that we had the option to go the extra hour and a half. I wanted to do that.

The actual hike was really fun. There were quite a bit of differences about the actual hike. Number one there was no real pathway/trail. You basically just walked on this big brown dirt road. A long time ago the road was used for donkeys to haul things along. Well that’s what Donald told us at least. For snack break we stopped at a little meadow near a lake that we were going to be going around. I tried to make a statue of rocks but sadly it failed. I ate too much I thought after we started to go again. Wow! That went quick. Please don’t end I thought, but it had to. It was the most fun hiking experience in South America ever.

Bus come right now or else I will kill you. I was saying that because we had been waiting one hour to flag down a bus. Finally it came and I napped all of the way home.

See ya J-man