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!!!!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Entertainment in Cuenca - A City Where The Most Gifted Musicians Perform - like Geoffrey Castle in Cuenca!!!

A Magical Evening with
Violinist Geoffrey Castle
Today I'm still delighting in last night's absolutely most amazing performance at Fish Bon Del Sur.  Rick Hubbert had Electric Violinist Geoffrey Castle flown in from Seattle, Washington, and it was truly one of the most memorable concerts Bo and I have been to in our two years living in Cuenca.  There was limited seating, so when we received Rick's invitation with a YouTube link to preview this great musician,  we reserved our tickets immediately.  What a fabulous performance by a tender and gifted musician.

So, who is Geoffrey Castle anyway?  One writeup in the Seattle paper said:  "Forget everything you think you know about the violin, and prepare to have your mind blown! Geoffrey Castle has made a career out of defying expectations, from his start as a street musician in New York City to playing in a Broadway show and jamming with folks from bands like Queen, Journey, YES, Blues Traveler, Bad Company and more.  An engaging and entertaining performer, Castle in concert is an experience you will never forget.”

Last night, Geoffrey Castle played a variety of music that included flavors of pop, rock, jazz, and mind-blowing celtic melodies.  It was beyond MAGICAL!  He's a one-man band, and the audience was mesmerized and unable to sit still with this high-energied, foot-tapping, master-playing violinist.  It was definitely one of those evenings that we didn't want to end.

If you missed this performance, you missed it big time!  If you are a "lover of music" here are a couple of u-tube links if you want to acquaint yourself with one of the greatest violinists ever:


Rick Hubbert introduces Geoffrey Castle to a full-house audience......
..........and he's ready to WOW us!!!

This creative musician begins the evening performance on his electric six-string violin.

Magical Talent
Soulful Passion!!

Lots of foot-stomping music.....

A Captivated Audience 

He's a one-man band........
........with a powerful voice........
.....and a great smile!

..........and one of many humble bows!!

Kudos to you, Geoffrey Castle, for gracing us and Cuenca with your brilliant talent.  It truly was an amazing evening for many!!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2015!! - We Celebrated Our 3rd Año Viejo in Cuenca......

Bo - Clowning Around!  
Everyone is ready to party and celebrate Cuenca's New Year Eve Celebration!

Can you believe we are now in the year 2015?  I am blessed to live in Cuenca, Ecuador and that Bo and I have finally settled into a simplified lifestyle after two years of making one of the biggest decisions of our life together.  The purging, packing, moving, and then returning to sell our home, purge and pack more, and the process of letting go of 40 years of living in Oregon was no small task.  Yet, we've accomplished so much and we are now calling Ecuador our home.  

Time heals!  I have moved on from the STUFF I chose to let go of and find myself enjoying our smaller home and more simple lifestyle here.  It's actually refreshing.  Sometimes I have pangs of sadness when I look back and remember life in the USA, but when I focus on my life in the "NOW" and look around and see all the blessings and good changes that we've made, I smile.  I especially enjoy the friends we have here in Cuenca who we see often and are intimate with.  When I feel sad or confused, my friends encourage me and lift me up with their words of wisdom and understanding.  Isn't that what true friends do?  Absolutely!  

We expats have all been through great changes to transition to life here. Those of us who chose to leave our USA lifestyles, family, and friends share this understanding. So words of encouragement come easy from those who have left it all behind to embraced a new way of living and a much simpler and freeing lifestyle.  To be able to live in a city that is so alive and amongst a people that are humble and so hardworking is a gift.  We've been able to open our home to young people and teach them English, and to have our Ecuadorian friends over for "un cafecito" and to share our lives together.  They feel comfortable and at home with Bo and me, and that in itself is such a gift and blessing for us.  

After living in the Oregon "country" for 40 years, Bo and I at times had expressed a desire to one day live in a big city so we could walk out our door and walk over to a close by cafe and sit and enjoy reading a morning paper.  Well, we don't really do that very often here (we like spending our mornings at home), but it was a dream we spoke about.  Now we are doing just that - living in the heart of an historic city.  We just didn't know it would be in another country!!!  

We continue to live on one of the noisiest streets in Cuenca - a bus route and a market-vendor "yelling" street.  It's funny, but when certain ex-pats come over to our apartment for the first time, they seem more troubled by the area we live and the noise than we are.  If they are not in the best of shape and have to climb our three flights of stairs, some have grumbled and one woman even swore all the way up, while I speak words of encouragement to help them along, "You're doing great!  Just a few more stairs to go......" (liar).  I go up and down these stairs two at a time (not bragging, just a fact) and consider them good exercise.  As for the noisy buses going by, we're use to it.  We consider there are more pros than cons for our location, like not missing out on the fun festivities and cultural city events, and being walking distance to everything.

Last night was wild and very noisy!  Loud music, people dancing in the streets, fireworks being blasted off,  DJ's announcing the events over big loudspeakers, and a city of locals and tourists coming together to partake in the tradition of Cuenca's Año Viejo.   The burning of the old and rejoicing in the New Year ahead was celebrated with such joy and laughter last night.  We had special friends over for a potluck dinner, and then we all headed downstairs to enter into the festivities happening right out our door on Padre Aguirre.  Calle Larga was closed off to traffic, as was Juan Jaramillo.  Some of our friends had not experienced the El Centro Ecuadorian New Year's Eve, so it was a fun experience for everyone, especially their little ones who were leaping with energy and excitement to say "adios" to the old and "Feliz Año Nuevo" as midnight approached and the burnings of the effigies began.  


We walked around our neighborhood late afternoon to view the preparations many were making for the big night ahead.  Large paper mache statues were being constructed and dressed.....

.....and last minute gluing and painting were making these characters come to life!  Such artistic and serious participants make this event happen.

Two blocks from our corner, hundreds of masks were sold.......

......and every size and kind of firework you would hope to find was available.  Yes, we bought fireworks for the kids!

Even the tour bus heading up Padre Aguirre was adorned with effigies!

Three sisters sitting on a bench at the San Francisco Flower Market area were having too much fun!

Spanish Bob Marley music blared along the street.....

.......and this young adorable was in business collecting 50 cents for a photo with Bob Marley!

Bo and I picked and bought our Effigy body from this kind vendor.......

.......saw a ghoulish mime holding his position (for a looooong time) along the way......

......got a photo of our "vecino" Manuel by his Calle Larga "street-blocking" creation.......

.......and saw more artistic participants working on their paper mache creations.

As we headed home, we could see the progress being made.

We spent the next few hours at home with our friends, eating, drinking, laughing, and getting ready to head down to the festivities.  Our Effigy was hanging out on our terrace - soon to go up in smoke!

It's time!!!  The party-kids are fed and ready to go show off their masks and light their fireworks......

So, we all head downstairs and around the corner......

........and the party begins!  Mr. Bo is designated firecracker lighter.  Not so sure Alexandra is getting into this.

 Victoria sparkles away and is too adorable for words!

The festivities are on the way......

Moms holding Mr. Effigy are loving this first-time New Year Eve experience in El Centro with their families......

.........and I think Mr. Bo is having more fun than the kids are - ya think??????

It's close to midnight and the crowds are getting huge!

We all head for Calle Larga, and Manuel announces that it's time to toss in the Effigies and BURN THE OLD!

The pile is lit......

.......and the fire roars......

This fire burned high and was huge.  You could feel the heat from afar!!

The crowds gather and watch with smiling faces!


........three leaps over the fire each for good luck.......

....if you can stand the heat and jump that high and far.  If not it would not be good luck!!!!

 Brave boy!   Pretty risky if you believe in such a thing as GOOD LUCK!

So far, no fire enemas! 

 It was a happy "high" time for all!!

 The laughter and fun continued until the wee hours of the morning.

This evening's celebration was even more fun than last year for us!

All wild street parties in Cuenca do come to an end!


So, how did you spend your New Year's Eve???