Blue Footed Boobie

John and Mary MacDonald just posted on their blog about seeing the Blue Footed Boobies in San Jacinto this past week. While walking this morning Joe and I spotted one just sitting on the sand at the beach in San Clemente.

San Clemente 6.16.2014 007I was within just a few feet and he allowed me to get closer.

We have noticed a great deal of birds around the shore the last few weeks, diving, soaring and diving again feasting on the fish that are bountiful near the waters edge. I have been told that the change of weather has drawn different fish to our shores making the birds who follow them more interested in our area. Blue Footed Boobies are normally only found in and around the Galápagos Islands.

San Clemente English Speaking Worship Service

This morning Mary and John MacDonald along with the help of Mary and Larry Lloyd started a Sunday morning non-denominational worship service at Macedonia Hotel in San Clemente. It was a very joy-filled service with singing and an inspirational recorded message from the assistant pastor at the Lloyds’ church Christ Church in Oronogo, MO.

Both couples decided this past week to take the leap of faith needed to start this weekly gathering. All are welcome so please come and join the services next Sunday at 11am.

Malecon Changes in San Jacinto

Our friend Keith Williams sent me an email yesterday morning after he watched while workers took down all the small ramadas, shacks and stands on the beach side of the malecon near his home. He also said that the police were there watching as each one was removed.

San Jacinto 6.13.2014 001 San Jacinto 6.13.2014 005 San Jacinto 6.13.2014 006 San Jacinto 6.13.2014 007 San Jacinto 6.13.2014 008 San Jacinto 6.13.2014 009 San Jacinto 6.13.2014 010Keith’s comment was, ” All along the Malecon from central San Jacinto to our house, they tore down every shack, stand, lean-to, and homemade benches on the ocean side of the malecon. Local police and special uniformed police were on site to watch government workers demolish each one. 

They stopped doing it near our house and I wonder if they plan to continue it towards San Clemente today. I have no idea why it is being done as a few were recently constructed. Maybe a road widening finally?”

Joe and I had to be in Jacinto yesterday anyway so I took the above pictures. Keith is correct every single structure on the ocean side is down, leveled or already removed from the site and just a makeshift foundation remains. I did not notice anything different in San Alejo or San Clemente on our ride back home.San Alejo 6.14.2014 002

San Alejo 6.14.2014 004 San Alejo 6.14.2014 003 I hope this means that they will be reinforcing the stone walls that now separate the street from the ocean. If El Niño weather, like they are predicting, hits our area the current sea walls are not anywhere substantial enough to stop flooding inland.

Our friends Eva and Fredy had a home on the ocean back in the 80’s when there was a bad El Niño. Day by day more water came around their property and eroded palm tree by palm tree until they had no choice but to deconstruct their home and move it farther back near the cliffs.

Mother Nature is the great equalizer. You can’t get away from it                                       Christopher Heyerdahl


New Lifeguard Stand in San Jacinto

Several weeks ago while we were in San Jacinto we noticed that a life guard stand had been built right on the beach.  What a great idea having this added for safety.

San Clemente 4.8.2014 106On some busy weekends lifeguards are stationed up and down our beaches.

San Clemente 4.8.2014 107

Café de Pacoche

One of the other great things we discovered while in Manta was Café de Pacoche. The Loaiza family had a display of their coffee set up on the malecon. You could smell the coffee from a block away – that and the smiling faces of this lovely family attracted us to their booth. the coffee beans were dark and rich and had that certain  glossy sheen to them. Smelled so good that we bought a pound bag and have enjoyed it every morning since.

One son, Diego, spoke excellent English so we talked for a bit. When I started running out of the coffee I emailed them to find out if we could get several bags delivered to our home by Servientrega.  Surprise! Saturday morning Diego and his mother stopped by with six bags of their excellent coffee. You can almost smell the richness through the photo.

San Clemente 6.1a.2014 003They were on their way back to Manta. What service – having them deliver right to our door. If you are interested in contacting Diego he can be reached at 09 9376 2472 or 052 626 819 or email


Annatto or Achiote Seeds

When making seasoning blends called Sazon and Adobo most recipes call for annatto or achiote seeds. The neighbors down the street have an achiote tree and it is full of pods filled with these tiny seeds.  The seeds can be bitter and you may want to either steeped in water or sautéed in oil to get the color you want and then discard the seeds. In our local markets you can get oil infused with these seeds. Or dry the entire seed and grind it into powder to add to your seasoning blends like I do.

San Clemente 5.29.2014 007 San Clemente 5.29.2014 009 San Clemente 5.29.2014 010San Clemente 6.1.2014 005I have dried a few pods and removed the seeds for my spice blends. I have read where this is called the poor man’s saffron, it sure has a vibrant color.

Here are recipes I use this dried seed in:

Sazon Dry Mix

  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon annatto or achiote seeds
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon salt

Toast coriander, cumin and achiote seeds in a dry pan, cool. Grind into a fine power then blend all spices together. Store in a cool dry place in a jar with a tight-fitting lid.

1 1/2 teaspoon of this mix is the same as using a packet of commercial sazon seasoning mix.

Mexican Dry Adobo Seasoning

  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seeds
  • 3 japones chili peppers
  • 3 Arbol chili peppers (You can find these dried chilies in some markets in Ecuador)
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon sweet Spanish paprika or annatto or achiote seeds

Heat dry skillet add cumin, coriander, fennel, mustard, achiote and both chilies. Toast 3 minutes DO NOT BURN. Cool, put in coffee grinder with all other ingredients and grind to a fine powder.

Use 1 1/2 tablespoons for baked chicken. I use 1 1/2 tablespoons of the Sazon seasoning along with this adobo seasoning. Season chicken and allow to marinate for several hours to overnight. Add 3/4 cup of water, white wine or chicken stock along with any veggies you like to the bottom of the baking pan. Place the chicken on top. Bake covered with aluminum foil, at 350 f, 1 hour, remove from oven, coat chicken with guava marmalade and return to oven uncovered for 15 minutes more. I always add a little more seasoning as well as hot pepper flakes for that final kick of heat.

FBAR Due June 30th

For those of you who are US citizens and have money in any foreign banks totaling over $10,000 at any time in a calendar year, you are required to file the FBAR.  Go to:

This year is the first time that you must file online.  You will need Adobe Reader program on your computer. Also, depending upon the browser you use, several hoops need to be jumped prior to you being able to submit the form.

I would suggest that you take a look now.

Recent Drownings in San Clemente

In the past several months three people have died in the waters around San Clemente. With the threat of El Niño weather this year I just wanted folks to understand the waters here can sometimes be more than you can handle.  Please use caution while swimming. The fishermen have warned people in the water a few times while we have been on the beach.

This is from El Diario May 27th, 2014

This is from El Diario April 28th, 2014

This is from El Diario March 24th, 2014

We have no regular lifeguards posted on our beach so again, please use caution.



Salud Making House Calls

Yesterday morning after our walk and coffee on the beach, a nurse from Salud stopped to ask if we wanted flu shots. Both our neighbors Paola and Gina were standing behind the nurse and her assistant, looking hopefully at my reaction.

This is not the first time Salud has come to the house and will not be the last I’m sure. I honestly did not think of getting a flu shot in May but they must feel like there is a threat of an outbreak.

Maria and Javier were just lovely.

San Clemente 5.29.2014 014There is always something new to look forward to. What really nice people we have met on our adventure!

Peppers and Friendship

At this point in my life I would probably not be overly impressed if given a fancy sports car, a pair of beautiful high-heeled shoes – all I would be thinking is who is going to do repairs on the car and where would I wear a pair of heels in San Clemente…. but give me a bag of hot peppers and you are my friend for life.

San Clemente 5.29.2014 011These beauties were a gift and will be turned into several condiments for our table. First a few of the habañeros will be sliced and added to olive oil for Joe’s special taste sensation, the rest of them will be oven dried slowly until I can grind them into a fine powder. The red ones will be ground separately because the habañeros are incredibly hot and need special care in my opinion.

Thanks again Debbie and Ernie for this most wonderful gift.