Decorations for the Festival or, Mary Poppins comes To San Clemente

San Clemente 9.5.2014 031 San Clemente 9.5.2014 032It was a wonderful surprise to see the decorations downtown in San Clemente this morning. Over the past several weeks a great deal of cleaning, painting of curbs and decorations for the Virgin statue have caught my eye. But this mornings addition just made me stop and smile.

Last night was a cultural evening with entertainment. Today there is a surf championship down at the point with cash prizes and over the weekend there will be fireworks, live music and food and drink available from many vendors around the downtown area.

Visitors from Montana USA, Belgium and the UK

About two weeks ago I got an email from Harlan Wells saying he had finalized his and his wife’s plans to visit Ecuador and would be arriving in Quito on October 22nd. That they would be traveling up and down the coast and would love to stop in and share a “Big Beer” with us. Now, I ask you, how could I resist visiting with new friends over a Pilsener?  He was coming bearing gifts a container of curry paste not just any curry paste Panang Curry Paste because of one of my old posts where I explained that finding green, red, yellow or Panang curry sauces here was impossible. How sweet to remember such a specific thing about our life here in Ecuador and then to buy the sauce and then carry it in your luggage all the way from Montana for goodness sake. I will be sure to make a very special dish with that sauce, take pictures to share with all our readers but especially Harlan for his thoughtfulness.

While working in my yard on Thursday, I hear someone yell “Nan Levin?” from a car that has just stopped outside our fence. And when I looked up and said yes, I saw four people smiling back like Cheshire cats!  What a great surprise and what lovely people.  Harlan and his wife Kari had made friends with two young surfers Jerry and Matt while traveling and were now traveling together on their way to Puerto Lopez for an overnight. We sat and had a very nice visit with these lovely folks.

I have told all of you who read our blog that I do it for several reasons, most importantly the safeguarding of our photos. With moving, having a computer stolen in Panama and hard drives that have crashed and burned we have lost many of our family pictures. Keeping them on-line in a program like WordPress, with stories of our adventures is a great way to safeguard them and when our memories start to go we can always look back on these old posts and see what a wonderful life we have had here in Ecuador.

But again I digress, while sitting talking with Harlan and friends I found out from Kari that he would be totally upset if I failed to post each day. He would go into work and the first thing he would do is find my current post and get his daily dose of “Finding our Paradise in Ecuador” and then start his day. That was the most amazing  and heartwarming comment that anyone could say about our little blog. As we talked the young men, who are not followers of the blog, asked questions of the area, our life here and how we settled on San Clemente. It was so funny to hear Harlan or his wife able to answer the questions about Joe and my life. And again heartwarming to see that our blog makes a difference to folks coming to visit Ecuador. I was humbled by their attention to the details of our itty bitty life. We do try to present our little piece of heaven in an upbeat fashion and try to be as honest as possible about the good, the bad and the ugly as we see it. I try very hard not to be to overly critical of life here because it is our life and if you start to nit-pick every little detail of your existence you will eventually find things that are not to your liking and they can become overpowering and take on a life of their own…being upbeat and appreciative of your life is a better way of living in my opinion.

Blessings to them on the rest of their adventure, I hope to hear from them with their thoughts on their visit. Maybe Harlan would consider doing a guest blog article on their visit, I for one would be interested in reading a recap of their trip, of course I would want to hear the good, the bad and the ugly!

Visiting Puerto Engabao

Yesterday was a great day to take a bus trip over to Puerto Engabao. This is the hot surf beach for around Playas. The bus is caught across the street from Bank of Guayaquil and it is a short 25-30 minute trip to the small town of Engabao for .50 cents or onto Puerto (port) Engabao for an extra .25 cents. The drive through Engabao was fascinating as the streets are filled with pigs: big pigs, little pigs, pink pigs and dark pigs. It was amazing to see that many pigs just wandering around the streets. Not a town I would feel comfortable living in.

We made it to the port and the beach is just breathtaking. My friend Nancy recently completed a program where a foundation supplied materials, training and assistance for any family interested in opening a Surf Casa in their homes. The Surf Casa program is where a family sets aside an area in their home for rent to the many surfers that visit the area. The program gave the supplies necessary to refurbish the room with tile floors, beds and mattresses, a TV and a complete bathroom.   In my opinion it was a great success with 18 families participating. The town now has rooms to rent at $10 per night for the surfers that visit. In the past these visitors would end up coming back to Playas to spend the night. This way the local community gets some needed revenue from the visitors that use their beaches and surf their waters.  Nancy stopped to visit with one mamacita who participated in the program. Below is her beautiful Surf Casa.

I must admit I forgot to take my camera so these photos are from Nancy’s and she loves to have a person in the shot.

These guys were shucking oysters on this part of the beach. Nancy had one of her many friends get a few for us to try. I am not a fan of the huge oysters (ostra) found at most of the restaurants here but these were the regular oysters that I enjoy steamed and they were excellent. After Nancy added juice from two limons and a bit of salt, I added a small amount of hot sauce and we were ready to dig in.  These were beyond fresh, I honestly think they were still moving!  Joe was so proud of me as I have never eaten raw oysters before. Excellent!

The beach is deserted with very few houses or structures of any kind. It was noticeably cooler than Playas with a very stiff breeze off the water as you can see from most of these photos.

This area is exceptionally beautiful, unpopulated and pristine. I did not notice the plastic that you find all over the Playas beaches, no bags, bottle caps or plastic containers from food. I hate to see such beauty desecrated with garbage. It was a very enjoyable trip and I have only Nancy to thank for bringing me along for this visit!

This is the church located as you come into town. Made of bamboo mind you!