Blog Hits 100,000 Views, Thank You

Well today is a pretty special day for us and the blog. My readers have now viewed the blog 100,000 times as of today. Thank you, thank you, thank you for following our adventure, our little bitty lives in Ecuador. I started the blog July 6, 2010 as a way to archive our stories as well as safekeeping of our photos. When we first arrived in Ecuador to start our new lives was the perfect time to start writing.

That adventure took us to Quito to get our visa applications started, Puerto Lopez just for the fun of it, Salinas, Playas and now to our home in San Clemente.

It has been a wonderful experience none of which we would change.

Thank you again for being a part of our lives. We now consider you our extended family wherever you may be.

Ecuadorian Sweet Potatoes – Camote

I have learned to love these sweet morsels. I know the color is odd, I know that the shapes are a bit strange but..if you bake these beauties until the outside skin is crispy, break them open, add a good dollop of sweet butter and a bit of cinnamon, you will be in heaven. I love eating the crispy outside almost as much as the silky sweet inside.

They really don’t look to pretty when you make them in a casserole, I have tried it several times and it turns a very strange almost dark purple color. Not very eye appealing so I am now just baking them and enjoying them that way.  The locals call them camote, I call them fabulous!

The above photo is a camote plant that I have planted on my balcony. Yes, you guessed it.  I allowed my sweet potato to sprout and because it was such a beautiful green/purple plant I could not just throw it out so I found a spot in one of my pots and planted it. It is a beautiful flowing vine and loves being on our balcony.  Next I will need to see if any sweet potatoes are actually forming…and then you can call me Farmer Nancy.

A rainy morning in Salinas

We woke up this morning to the sounds of splashing as cars drove past our apartment. There is not a drop of water on the front balcony, no signs on the back windows, but the back balcony is very wet. The roads are slick and not just a mist but a nice coating of rain.  Yeah!!!! We need a good soaking, not just a light mist once in a while to just clean the sidewalks, streets and dare I say the smell off the beach…there I said it.  Someone asked me several months ago if there was one thing I could change about Salinas what would that be. Without hesitation I said “Bathrooms” . To elaborate on that just a bit, I guess I would have to say changing rooms and bathrooms. It is so heartbreaking to see young boys to full-grown adult men sidle up to the walls around the malecon and whip their penises out and pee… It is a bit off-putting to those of us who like to stop, sit and try to enjoy the water or people watch having to see this as well as smell it afterword  and second this is a resort town and it is sad to think what folks think about us when they walk the malecon and smell the scent of urine.  Sorry off my soap box and back on track.

The rain must have started before dawn and it was so misty that you could not see the tankers waiting in line out to sea.

It stayed that way until well past 10am but now the mist is gone, the vendors are set up on the sand and the weekend has begun.  I heard that school starts in the highlands next week, that should mean that Joe and I will have the beach to ourselves.

Juggling School, yeah right

We do see some odd things going on at times on the beach or malecon. On this afternoon Joe saw these tents set up near the yacht club side of the beach. Low and behold each of these guys standing in front of a tent started to juggle. Two are juggling pins while the one is juggling balls.

Animation of 3 ball cascade , also known as a ...

Image via Wikipedia

On my trips around town or to Libertad I have seen several jugglers who will walk out in front of stopped traffic at a light. They will juggle for a minute and then walk from car to car looking for tips. I guess it is better than trying to wash your windshield with a dirty rag.

Seco de Chivo

This weekend I went to the Mercado Salinas and my favorite butcher to see about Chivo (goat). Joe has enjoyed Seco de Chivo at several restaurants first in Quito and then when we can find it here in Salinas. So I decided that I would try to make this goat stew. First I asked the butcher what cut of meat I needed for the Seco and then asked his wife what I needed to add to it. The list is easy enough. The first thing needed was a glass of beer –  no problem there. I just walk downstairs and ask my Amiga Margarita for a few 22 oz bottles of Pilsener.  Some to cook with and some to celebrate the goat stew!

First you take the meat and cut it up into nice size chunks. Make a marinade of the beer, garlic, cumin, oregano and salt – marinate for a minimum of 1 hour.

Remove meat from marinade and set liquid aside. Brown meat and add onions, achiote and bell pepper.  Saute for 5 minutes until onion is soft. Add tomatoes, cilantro, hot pepper, naranjilla juice, beer and balance of marinade. Add grated panela sugar and allspice. Simmer for 2 1/2 hours on very low heat.  When ready to serve add additional salt to taste and chopped cilantro. Serve over rice. Yummy….even better than lamb.

Discount Cards

I just love using the local discount cards –tarjetas de descuento.

I just purchased the Pharmacy discount card, there are two Pharmacy stores in el Shopping Center. It cost $5 for a year. Every time I use my card I will get a discount. The card says the discount is 20% on medicine and products – also a 50% discount on services at Salud, I will need to ask my new friend Belen if this is true. I have used it but it does not look like I am getting 20% more like 10% but that is okay with me if I am savings on drugs and supplements. I very seldom leave the store without spending at least $60. I would get $6 x 12 months or $72 dollar savings or $67 after the cost of the card.

The second card is the Mi Comisariato supermarket card. This card cost around $30 if I remember correctly and is good for a year. I replaced this card in June and it has saved me hundreds of dollars on items that I have purchased at Hipermart. If you shop at Junior the small store located one block off the malecon they do not require that you show your card but still give you the regular store discount as well as on Wednesday for fruits and veggies and on Friday for all meats but if you go to Hipermart in the mall you will need to show the card to get the discount.

The last card is my Supermaxi card this was $44.80 and is also good for one year. This also saves you on your grocery purchases.


Salinas and the towns around us are what I would call arid – I know how can it be – arid on the coast? Well we are so far down the coast and so close to Peru that it is actually dry here. Annual rainfall is under 5 inches, less than Las Vegas.   Most yards are not grass but concrete with small concrete planter boxes around the inside walls as well as the outside walls.  As we walk around we see some beautiful flowering plants and trees.  Below are some of the pictures I have gotten over the past several months. Hope you enjoy!

Cuba Libre anyone?

Up until about a month ago Joe and I only bought Abuelo Rum but we have seen this San Miguel Rum both the silver and the gold all over. So we decided to give it a try. Well our first test is Joe drinking it warm straight – if his stomach can handle that we are good to go.  This is our second bottle and it has been a very pleasing experience. It tastes darn good, smooth with no bite – and the price is out of sight at a little under $5 a bottle.