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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

CHALLUABAMBA, ECUADOR - WITH SPECIAL FRIENDS!!!



This past weekend we visited with friends at their uniquely built and one-of-a-kind peaceful rustic country home in the beautiful valley of nearby Challuabamba, a small community about 15 minutes via taxi from the heart of El Centro. The elevation there is about 2,000 feet less than that of Cuenca's 8,500 feet, so their weather can be 5 to 10 degrees warmer and supposedly has less rain.  We have been in our rainy season here in Cuenca, which is nothing compared to what Bo and I left in the Willamette Valley of Eugene-Springfield, Oregon. So less rain, to us, would be a dry area!  We also met another couple there who have lived in Panama for the past couple years and were here to explore the possibility of relocating to Cuenca.  Our time together with these two couples was enjoyable, informative, and deliciously relaxing.

The six of us shared a wonderful organic feast that evening.


For Bo and me, it was wonderful to see another breathtaking area outside the city proper and to also fellowship with more fun, easy-going and interesting ex-pats.
View from the bathroom window!
View from the beautiful outside deck.  The magical skies and cloud formations here change by the minute!
A fragrant and lush Hibiscus hedge-row borders this unique property.
There are flowers in Ecuador year-round. 
Another fabulous view from the rustic deck.
Living in Cuenca has given us the opportunity to meet ex-pats from the United States, Canada, Europe, and other remarkable areas of the world.  It is one of the many things we love about being here.

Of course, we continue to especially enjoy the friendships we establish with the local Ecuadorians, which happens daily!  I cannot stress enough how important it is to learn Spanish because it opens up many more doors and opportunities to truly get to intimately know the Ecuadorian culture and personal lifestyle of the locals.  It was close to 10:30 pm when we finally rose to leave our friends' comfy home.  They called their private taxi friend to drive us back to Cuenca.  My ability to communicate in Spanish (and believe me, I have much to improve on) had me chatting with our driver Fernando who lives in Challuabamba. As we headed down the hill, he asked us if we liked the "postre" that our friends had served.  He proudly told me he had made them.  Bo and I raved about how delicious they were, and he asked me if we'd like to see his "Panaderia."  Of course!  So, at 10:30 pm he was driving towards his bakery and phoning his wife to open the shop.  (I thought it was going to be a drive-by.)  I said, "Fernando, you don't have to wake up your wife!  We can come back another time."  Oh, no!  He wasn't going to have it.  He said it was "No problema".

On the way to the Panaderia, Fernando gave us a drive-by-mini-tour of some of the area of Challuabamba where he has lived all his life.  He showed us their church on top of a hill, and across the street teenagers from the school nearby were playing soccer in a lighted field.  We got out of the taxi and inhaled the beautiful evening air and basked in the hill-top scenery.  Ecuadorians are night owls.  They work, attend school, or play sports at the oddest hours of the evening.  It's their daily weekly lifestyle. 
We got back in the cab and drove down the hill to his bakery.  His wife was obviously awakened from a deep sleep, but she graciously smiled and welcomed us in.  YUM, YUM, YUM!  The sweet smell of dessert hit us.  The beautiful display was so tempting, I found myself saying, "Give me one of each!"

Fernando proudly handed me a basket and some tongs, and Bo and I began to honor him by raving and picking several of his artistically assembled and delicious pastries.  By now, Nuvea was awake and busy totaling up our selection.  I decided to take out my camera and photograph this delicious and special moment. 
Fernando lit up!  He willingly posed for me by his dessert display 
   and then took out his phone and began to photograph Bo and me.  
Now, Nuvea was wide awake and smiling (isn't she beautiful?).  We had some wonderful laughs with Bo's continued jokes in his broken Spanish (the Ecuadorians love my hunky people-loving husband).  It continues to be my passion to capture EVERY moment, event and person we meet, and this was one of those beautiful moments.

finally, it was time to go.  By now, it was well after 11 pm.  Nuvea closed up the bakery and decided to ride into the city with us.  So, the four of us headed out in their car, and by the time we were in front of our apartment we had shared bits and pieces of our uniquely different lives and culture.  They asked curious questions about our life in the USA and why we left,  and we asked questions about their lives as life-long young Ecuadorians.  For me, one of the most interesting and rewarding aspects of living here is being able to speak the language and getting to know the people from Ecuador by intimately sharing in their lives. The young Ecuadorians are loving and respectful, and they sincerely enjoy sharing and talking to us.

At last, Fernando pulled up to our apartment, and as we gathered our backpacks Nuvea smiled and said, "Come and visit us anytime!"  Fernando nodded in agreement.  I reached over the seat, took Nuvea's hand and said "We'd love to!  Thank you!!"  We knew that their invitation was sincere, and hopefully we will see them again.  For now, we have made and captured more memories of another relaxing time, sweet treats, and an evening of meeting very special, genuine and loving people.  Yes, we continue to make many heart-warming memories here!

 Bet you can't eat just one!!!!



Majestic mountains surround Cuenca and have a dramatic effect on the weather. It was interesting to find that more rain falls and the weather is noticeably cooler at homes we inspected at higher elevations. The difference of a few thousand feet was dramatic. Fortunately, we found the weather warmer by about five to 10 degrees and with considerably less rain in Challuabamba, a spectacular valley 2,000 feet below Cuenca and only a 15-minute drive from the city.
One of the reasons we chose the Sierra Mountains in Ecuador is that the temperature every day of the year is a constant 60 to 70 degrees and only goes down to 50 degrees at night. Rather than the four seasons we left in the U.S., there are only two seasons in the Sierra-the wet season, which runs from January through March, and the rest of the year, which is the dry season. A typical day in Cuenca is bright sun until afternoon, when rain showers come from the clouds racing over the mountains. It is a climate to be envied anywhere, and quite a surprise since it lies on the equator, where you’d expect sultry heat night and day.
Again, the equatorial sun is not what you would expect. Because the sun is directly overhead at the equator and there is almost no pollution at Cuenca’s altitude, the clouds and sky are intensely bright. The stark contrasts created by the intense sun are a photographer’s dream come true.
- See more at: http://www.ideal-living.com/?p=1177#sthash.Qb84bptl.dpuf
Majestic mountains surround Cuenca and have a dramatic effect on the weather. It was interesting to find that more rain falls and the weather is noticeably cooler at homes we inspected at higher elevations. The difference of a few thousand feet was dramatic. Fortunately, we found the weather warmer by about five to 10 degrees and with considerably less rain in Challuabamba, a spectacular valley 2,000 feet below Cuenca and only a 15-minute drive from the city.
One of the reasons we chose the Sierra Mountains in Ecuador is that the temperature every day of the year is a constant 60 to 70 degrees and only goes down to 50 degrees at night. Rather than the four seasons we left in the U.S., there are only two seasons in the Sierra-the wet season, which runs from January through March, and the rest of the year, which is the dry season. A typical day in Cuenca is bright sun until afternoon, when rain showers come from the clouds racing over the mountains. It is a climate to be envied anywhere, and quite a surprise since it lies on the equator, where you’d expect sultry heat night and day.
Again, the equatorial sun is not what you would expect. Because the sun is directly overhead at the equator and there is almost no pollution at Cuenca’s altitude, the clouds and sky are intensely bright. The stark contrasts created by the intense sun are a photographer’s dream come true.
- See more at: http://www.ideal-living.com/?p=1177#sthash.Qb84bptl.dpuf

7 comments:

  1. Wow!! I could smell both the flowers and the pastries. Can't wait to visit!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Soon, Donna, Soon!
    When you do, there will be fragrant flowers galore and LOTS of pastries to choose from.
    Looking forward to meeting you two.
    Linda

    ReplyDelete
  3. Fascinating!!! I so love these blogs! Write your book. As you have had problems with the Immigration folk, I cannot get my email address changed by Google. Strange!!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Shadley,
    So glad you are enjoying the blogs you're reading (including ours) about Ecuador. I still read them - and I'm already here (LOL). They are informative and helpful.

    Shadley, try this to get help for changing your e-mail:
    http://support.google.com/plus/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=1045580
    If that doesn't work, search: How To Change email on google account -
    and several sites will appear. Let me know if this helps.

    Yeah, the book. Ummmmmmmm.....
    Linda

    ReplyDelete
  5. Ron and Anna WillisApril 11, 2013 at 7:07 PM

    Hey, It's me the retired pastor, friend, living in Newberg, Oregon. Remember? Just kidding, I know you remember us all of the laughter we've shared together. Anna is concerned that you might forget us, so I'm sending a note to let you know that we are doing fine. Busy, but fine.

    Baseball and track season are upon us, and three afternoons a week we are at one of these activities. Zach is on Tigard HS track team throwing shot-put and discus. Tyler is on the baseball team at Lake Oswego HS, and plays outfield and pitcher. They are both doing well. Of course that's Gramps point of view, which we know is spot-on.

    Mike, Chana, and Tyler are settling in their apartment as best they can after 20 years in their home. Mike enjoys evenings and weekends without yard duty. They have access to a nice workout facility, and swimming pool, which Mike is using. I think Tyler has plenty of workouts with his BB and Football team. Chana continues to work in her redesign business, and has recently picked up a number of new jobs. Mike is quite busy at Kittleson Engineering, and travels a faire amount. Mitch is in his second quarter at Western Oregon, and seems to be doing well. He changed his major to graphic arts, with a business minor.

    Rob and Krista are adjusting to on son at home, Zach, while Sam is doing his thing at Oregon State. Rob travels a fair amount and is currently in Germany dealing with suppliers for the pacemaker company he works for. Krista is the social one in charge of the parent organization for Tigard HS. She also has a business with another lady making industrial blankets for high tech machines at Intel.

    Anyway, we catch up now and then on your blog, and are happy that you are doing well. Anna is calling me to eat dinner, so need to run. Miss you two, and love you much.

    Ron and Anna

    ReplyDelete
  6. Dearest Ron and Anna,
    How sweet to hear from you and what a wonderful update. Thank you! We love and miss our Willis family - all of you!!! It sounds like the family is doing well, and when we come to visit this summer, we will be sure to spend lots of time together catching up and making more memories. For now, stay in touch and keep reading our blog for regular updates on our life in beautiful Cuenca. We are truly loving it here more and more each day. We are waiting for our residency visa to be processed, and as soon as we are approved and it is finalized, we'll be coming to Oregon for a visit.
    Love from Cuenca,
    Linda & Bo

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hi Folks,
    Love the article. Enjoyed every minute of your visit. We, Terry and Ginger just found a home in Challuabamba. Been here for 14 months in Cuenca and so happy to get back to "The Country". Able to garden again.Lower altitude. Need to get connected to Fernando. Would you please send us his number and address of his Panaderia. Greatly appreciate your help. Kind Regards, Terry and Ginger Schaefer auntieging@gmail.com Skype 214-705-2325 0979359875

    ReplyDelete

Leave us your comments and I will respond with any questions you may have. Enjoy our Blog! Linda (y Bo)