Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Travels in Ecuador PART 1 - SAN JUAN BOSCO, ECUADOR!!

Our 2015 Travels in Ecuador

  Our adventure in 
  San Juan Bosco, Ecuador
Near the town of San Juan Bosco is this spectacular scenic area where we gazed upon Pan De Azucar, which Means "Sweet Bread."   It has an elevation of 9,700 feet. 

It's time!! To travel and explore our beautiful Ecuador.  Now that we're settled into daily life in Cuenca, and we should be after over two years here, we want to make 2015 our year of exploring this breathtaking country.  Because our cost-of-living is so affordable, and because we are retired and free, we have the liberty to take off and GO!  So, I wanted to share our three amazing trips we have experienced in the past two months.  

Our friends, Dave and Libia invited us to come to their little town of San Juan Bosco and hang out with them for a few days.  So, off we went with our backpacks, walking sticks, and dressed for the Amazon.  Libia was in Cuenca visiting family.  So the day she was ready to leave and head home to her finca in the jungle, we tagged along, took a bus together, and headed for our three day experience in the lush green Amazon Jungle of Ecuador.  

A view of San Juan Bosco from the Bus!
Part of our days were spent exploring the town of San Juan Bosco, an historic town located in the Amazon Basin at an elevation of approximately 3,400 feet (1,050 meters).  It is a county within the province of Morona Santiago and extends from the Eastern side of the Andes mountains to the jungle border with Peru. This peaceful small quaint town has a population size of approximately 1,500 and was founded only 50 years ago. 
San Juan Bosco's Main Street

        Jungle Dave does ecological tours of the Oriente.  
You can visit his website at 
and read all about it.

We did lots of hiking with Dave and Libia.  Bo and Dave taking a break and enjoying a moment in the Mountains!!

On one of our "Tour" walks near San Juan Bosco, we made way for these harvesters of branches..... 
......heading down the mountain. 

Ahhhhh, time away from the city was spent basking in the silence of the jungle and amongst the beauty of nature.

It reminds me of lush green Oregon. 
My favorite place to relax is by a rushing river......

.....and for me, there's no other place in the world to sit and escape the bustling city!

 It had been raining for days, and the ground was very muddy.  So, we decided to not hike into Jungle Dave's farm during this visit.  One of our mornings there, Dave's farm workers hiked out to load up with more provisions.  Libia helps him tie down the load for his journey back.

One of the worker's sons takes a mountain break.

Okay, their mule is loaded and ready to go!

The journey back begins..... 
For Dave, Libia, and their helpers, this hike is a daily event.  Sometimes Dave hikes in and out two or three times a day.  For us, it would have been a great challenge and hours of forging our way in.  They are truly human mountain goats!!!
Yes, that little white speck is Jungle Dave's finca - definitely a hike to be in shape for, even if you have a mule!

 We visited one of Libia's friend's farm.  Their daughter
was captured by my camera and I was captured by her adorable face!

 We enjoyed roaming around their farm......

....and playing with the pups.

 One afternoon, Dave and Libia bought a mule she has had her eye on.  They negotiated their price....

She told me the mule was neglected - but the next time we visited, her mule would be shiny and healthy.  They LOVE their animals!

We also visited Libia's cousin's finca - 
75 spectacular acres of lush green jungle land!  

Oliver - Fishing for fresh Tilapia
Libia is an amazing cook - and guess what we had for dinner that night?
Whatcha Lookin' At????
Libia and Bo - Posing by the Pig Pen
(Is that Bo in a hat???)
We enjoyed the hidden waterfall and calm river on Olicho's property
One of the days, Libia's GORGEOUS family drove in from Cuenca to visit their mom.  I loved meeting them and taking some family portraits for her of her two handsome sons, beautiful daughter, and gorgeous grandson.

One of my prize photos of Libia and her precious grandson.


Some of you know the story of Bo's childhood past "Cowboy Hat- Hey Tex!" trauma.  To get Bo in a hat - well!!  So, for me, capturing this moment is priceless.  We both had such A HAPPY TIME during our visit with Jungle Dave and Libia.  

Thank you, Dave and Libia, for such a relaxing and enjoyable few days with you.  You made it grand for us - and we can't wait to come back and see you again!

If you haven't visited Ecuador's Amazon yet, you must.  If you haven't tasted Jungle Dave's Organic Meat yet, you must!  He does home delivery in Cuenca!  If you want to order meat or take a tour of his Finca in the Jungle and see the sweet town of San Juan Bosco, you can contact Dave at davegouch@yahoo.com 

Stay tuned for 

Saturday, February 21, 2015

ZER0 Magazine/Cuenca - Living with Latitude LAUNCH PARTY - YOU'RE INVITED!!!

 You're Invited - Yes, You!!!

Have you heard about it?  Cuenca is going to have a periodically printed English-Language publication called Zero Magazine/Cuenca - Living with Latitude.  I'm excited, and you should be too, about a local and community-based magazine that is a free publication which will inform Cuenca's community and help us to feel closer and more connected.

There will be a LAUNCH PARTY at the Museo Municipal De Arte Moderno this Monday, February 23rd, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm, and it is an open admission event.  Don't miss this event!  Come and enjoy live music, delicious food catered by Black Olive Bistro, and a running slideshow called CARAS DE CUENCA (Faces of Cuenca) featuring beautiful lifestyle photography of people who live in, work in, and play in this alive and happening community.  Ummmmm, I wonder whose photography that would be?

Here is a fabulous article for more information about how this idea for a Cuenca community magazine evolved:

Because this is a catered event, make sure you RSVP to Sara Coppler at  premier@zeroenterprises.com before Monday.

Come expecting - and be ready to receive a copy of your first edition of this amazing publication of Zero Magazine/Cuenca - Living With Latitude.  Hope to see you there!!




Are you planning on attending this fabulous up-coming event? 

Leave your comments and let me know what you think of having a one-of-a-kind free publication about Cuenca's community of people.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

ENTERTAINMENT IN CUENCA - Geoffrey Castle & Rubber Biscuit "WOW" the Audience....

It poured buckets yesterday afternoon.   It even hailed!  I looked out my balcony and people were running - dodging the powerful downpour.
Here are some photos that gringotree posted saying it was a "torrential downpour!!!!" http://cuenca-news.gringotree.com/torrential-downpour-causes-havoc-in-cuenca/ 

In an hour we were having our pre-concert potluck at our place.  Who would brave the storm?  Well, everyone showed up by 4 pm, with their rain-splattered faces and fabulous dishes.  The rains don't stop us here in Cuenca - they just soak us a bit.  Actually, we haven't had any downpours for weeks, this being our summer with warm-hot sunny blue-sky days - Brag, Brag!!!!  So it's good to have the rains to clean the air and wash the city streets now and then.  It was great that everyone was enthusiastic to brave the storm so we could enjoy each other before the rockin' concert! We have friends who know how to WOW each other with their creative dishes.  (My foodie friends, I love you!).

We headed down the wet streets of Cuenca to Fish Bon Del Sur.  No cabs were available when I called from the apartment.  So, "we'll just walk there."  Ahhhhh, then a miracle - a cab lady kindly stopped. Three of us climbed in, and the rest of the crowd chose to walk.  When we arrived at Fish Bon many people were already there.  Then I spotted Wilson, one of my "adorables" who is a practicing musician.  He met Geoffrey and Shannon Castle yesterday when they visited his dad's Rancho Hermanos Prado Restaurant in the Cajas (http://boandlindainecuador.blogspot.com/2014/09/el-cajas-national-park-parque-nacional.html) for a day hike and fresh trout dinner. Geoffrey invited Wilson to come to the concert tonight as his guest.  

So, not only was the evening a great time shared with our foodie friends, but I had great joy knowing Wilson was joining us to have a fabulous "music" experience. Wilson told me that it was a night he will always remember and that the music talent was "amazing!"  Yes, tonight was another fabulous evening listening and dancing to the talent of 6-string electic violinist Geoffrey Castle with the added bonus of Brian Gary and Rubber Biscuit.  Cuenca continues to absolutely amaze me - there is always something to do, someone new to meet, and the greatest entertainment times in this fabulous city.  I LOVE LIVING IN CUENCA!!

Enjoy the PICTURES I Captured OF 
  Rick Hubbert greets and presents the amazing Geoffrey Castle.......

This genius violinist gets right to it - not wasting one second to......
get our feet a stompin'........
......and to WOW his audience!
He shared with his audience.......

......reminiscing about his journey as a musician who moved from NYC and eventually landing in Seattle, Washington (good move!!!!)

After playing several captivating solos,  it was time to introduce.....
.......Brian Gary and Rubber Biscuit!


.......Rockin' and jammin' together......

....playing tunes from old favorites such as Santana, Rolling Stones, Beatles, and more!!!!!

........and the dancing begins!
Wilson joins right in......

......and also makes new expat friends.
Geoffrey has a moment with his wife, Shannon, after she sang him "happy birthday!!!!"

One great hit after another....
......and we can't stop dancing!!!
Another great performance by one passionate and amazingly talented electric violinist!

My handsome guys had a great time tonight!!

Time to say goodbye!  
It was another evening we'll all remember.

THANK YOU, Geoffrey,
for gracing Cuenca with your captivating performance.

Until we meet again!!!!