Montevideo Philharmonic Orchestra Concert February 14, 2017


Valentine’s evening the Montevideo Philharmonic Orchestra gave a free concert. It was held on the beach in the Pocitos neighborhood of Montevideo.

We got there just as the conductor was introduced.  We did not think they would even have the performance as it had rained just a few hours earlier and the sky was still dark with clouds. This was the first performance for their new conductor Ligia Amadio, she was terrific!  The music was wonderful, the dancers extremely talented and the audience very appreciative of this special performance. The theme was Latin rhythms and featured a dance troupe as well as Candombe drummers and Murga artists all part of the Carnaval scene here in Uruguay. Two Tango performances were featured and the orchestra even performed The Mambo tune from West Side Story.



The crowd gave the performers a well deserved standing ovation after about a 1 1/2 hour performance. It was a wonderful concert we are so thankful that we attended.


Joe just found this great article on the performance and translated it. Take a look:

For All of You US Citizens Living Abroad – It’s FBAR Time Again

Who Must File an FBAR

United States persons are required to file an FBAR if:

  1. The United States person had a financial interest in or signature authority over at least one financial account located outside of the United States; and
  2. The aggregate value of all foreign financial accounts exceeded $10,000 at any time during the calendar year reported.

For the full details and to use the IRS’s free on-line submission form……Go to:

PS just so you know one on-line service charges $150 to use their service and submit the FBAR.  So using the above IRS site saves you $150…


Orange Sweet Potatoes or Yams

img_3249One day last week Gonzalo came by with a few orange sweet potatoes. I went pretty crazy as we seldom see orange sweets here. So I begged for him to find me more and yesterday he gave me a bag full of these orange beauties.  I love the purple ones, don’t get me wrong, they are delicious and super sweet.  But when making a sweet potato souffle where I add eggs and brown sugar the resulting color is really off-putting. The combination of the yellow egg yolks, brown sugar and purple potatoes turns almost black.  Again not very appetizing.

I can remember our first Thanksgiving here, we were living in Salinas and were invited to Will’s Coco Bar for a traditional US style Thanksgiving.  I decided to make my sweet potato souffle which is usually well received and finished off. It did not go over well.  Honestly it tasted very similar to the ones I had made in the states but the color, it was scary. I ended up bringing home half a dish full and chucking it in the trash.

Today I have enough to make sweet potato fries. We will see how Joe likes them.

img_3251 Joe loved them and they vanished.

I guess making friends with your vegetable vendor, the meat guy and the rest of the folks who come by on the street does make a big difference. Thanks Gonzalo, you are the best for finding these for me.


Sweet Pickle Relish

Both Joe and I grew up using sweet pickle relish in our tuna, elbow macaroni and egg salads so when I looked for it in Mi Comisariato and saw the price I decided that I needed to learn how to make some from scratch. Cucumbers and onions are inexpensive here and how hard could it be to chop them up, add some sugar and vinegar?

Well, not hard at all. Here is my recipe:

Sweet Pickle Relish

  • 8- 10 medium-sized cucumbers
  • 2 medium red onions
  • 2 large green or red peppers (red peppers look nicer in the jar)
  • 1/4 cup of sea salt

Peel and de-seed cucumbers, de-seed peppers and put in food processor, I used the disk that shreds this time and it gave it more of a texture instead of using the chopper which made it very fine.  Chop the onion. Add 1/4 cup of sea salt, please do not use the salt that has fluoride in it.  Add cold water to cover all ingredients and set aside for 2 hours.


Next make the pickling base:

  • 2 cups of white vinegar
  • 3 cups white sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons celery seed
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons mustard seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

in a large pot add the above 5 ingredients bring to a boil and cook until sugar is dissolved.


Now take your cucumber mixture and drain and squeeze moisture out and add to sugar mixture bringing back to a boil, lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes.



Clean and disinfect about 7 pint jars and lids. Fill jars, clean rims and put on lids. In a large pot half filled with boiling water place all jars and bring water back to a boil. Boil for 10 minutes. Remove jars from water bath and let cool covered with a dish towel out of a draft.  The lids should pop and be slightly indented, if they are not refrigerate and use within two weeks.


Joe wants to know, “Now, where’s the hot dogs and mustard!”

A Prayer for Victims of the Earthquake in Ecuador

25 years of walking with our brothers and sisters in Ecuador

A Prayer for Victims of the Earthquake in Ecuador

God of mercy and compassion
in solidarity we pray for the victims
of the earthquake in Ecuador.

We mourn the death of loved ones
and the destruction of homes and property
that are the fruit of hard work and struggle.
We pray for those who died in this disaster.
May their souls rest in peace.
May their families be comforted.

We pray for the living survivors.
Be with them, O God, in this traumatic time.
May they experience Your healing,
In their spirits as well as their bodies.

We pray for the communities affected.
May they come together in solidarity
To rebuild and to affirm new life.

We know that so many of the people
effected by the earthquake live on the margins
And thus live precariously already.
Like Jesus was when he encountered
the marginalized and poor of Galilee
with tenderness and mercy,
let the world be moved to act in news ways
to bring aid, sustenance and relief.

And, in our merciful response,
so that the lives of the impoverished
and vulnerable not only be restored
to the conditions in which they suffered
before the earthquake,
Let us seek with them out of rubble,
the creation of a more just and loving world.

We offer this prayer and our solidarity
in the name of Jesus Christ.


Una oración por las víctimas del terremoto en Ecuador

Dios de la misericordia y la compasión,
en solidaridad oramos por las víctimas
del terremoto en Ecuador.

Lamentamos la muerte de seres queridos
y la destrucción de viviendas y bienes
que son el fruto del trabajo duro y el sacrificio.

Oramos por aquellos que murieron en este desastre.
Que sus almas descansen en paz.
Y que sean consolados sus familias.

Oramos por los victimas sobrevivientes.
Estar con ellos, o Dios, en este momento traumático.
Que puedan experimentar su curación,
En su espíritu, así como sus cuerpos

Oramos por las comunidades afectadas.
Que se unen en solidaridad
Para reconstruir y para afirmar una nueva vida.

Sabemos que tanta gente afectada por el terremoto
ya viven precariamente en los márgenes,
al igual que Jesús fue cuando se encontraba
los marginados y los pobres de Galilea
con ternura y misericordia,
que nos conmuevan a actuar de maneras nuevas.
para ofrecer la ayuda, el sustento y el alivio.

Y en nuestra respuesta misericordiosa,
así que las vidas de los empobrecidos
y vulnerable no sólo ser restaurado
a las condiciones que los sufrían antes del terremoto,
busquemos con ellos en los escombros,
la creación de un mundo más justo y cariñoso.

Ofrecemos esta oración y nuestra solidaridad
en el nombre de Jesucristo.


Why a Vacation in Manta

When we last visited Manta and on earlier trips we stayed at the Oro Verde Hotel and really fell in love with the area. So when we made the decision to take an extended vacation to Manta we wanted a place on the beach but in the Murcielago area.  We found a wonderful Realtor Elena of MantaHome – she showed us this lovely apartment on the 5th floor of a small building and we were hooked.  We moved in on the 15th of January and have been exploring old haunts as well as finding new places to visit.

One of our favorite walks takes us to the malecon where you can enjoy a great lunch or dinner, walk on the beach at all times of the day or night (this area has a police substation and constant police patrols for your peace of mind).  The malecon has kiosks where you can buy many items including clay figurines, books in Spanish, hand-made earrings, clothes, hats and even get a refreshing agua de coco as well as our favorite coffee Cafe de Pacoche from local family Eunice Jacome and her son Diego. This is where we discovered this exceptional coffee.

When Joe and I have traveled in the past and stayed in hotels, we end up longing for a bit more, so having a fully furnished apartment works so much better for us. I do love a fancy hotel but after just a few days the routine of leaving the room for breakfast, lunch and dinner along with allowing the staff cleaning time starts to get on my nerves.  Here if we decide not to leave the condo at all we can do that easily.  Being in a bigger city allows for easy access to taxis. more options for dining and much more entertainment available. It’s just a nice change of pace from the small town for a bit.IMG_2571This is the view from our balcony.

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.

Boxing on the Beach in Manta

I love the activities you find while at a big beach. So when we came across boxing while strolling on the malecon in Manta we stopped to get a better look.

Manta 5.13.2014 (78)These guys are true amateurs but it was great fun just to stop with a crowd of other folks just to see what they were up to.

The noise you hear is the wind.

Futbol Field

On the main road going towards Meier’s Sabor de Bamboo Restaurant and Bar we walk past a big field, overgrown to the point that the plants in the swale were growing over the road  – reminded me a lot of kudzu from the southern states in the US. We have probably walked past it 100 times but never knew what was on the land behind all the bushes and trees.

San Clemente 1.19.2014 008The field and swale have now been cleared and a big full-sized soccer field including goal posts was revealed.  I wonder why no one uses it?

Building a Finca – Update

Back in December of last year our neighbors Ivan and Max allowed me to visit their finca and post about their work. See Building a Finca, December 1, 2012.  Max was kind enough to come by with some beautiful papaya from the farm and he took me back for an update.

San Clemente 10.31.2013 045Joe and Max are examining the bounty on this one type of papaya. Different varieties of papaya have been planted to see which variety is better suited to this climate. Max is experimenting with the Hawaiian Papayas as well as the locally grown variety. His focus has been fruit that has a high sugar content with low maintenance and water consumption. The papaya trees that have been planted are producing but the focus of the farm is the production of tamarind.

San Clemente 10.31.2013 064San Clemente 10.31.2013 035These tamarind trees were started from seeds and have grown to over three feet in less than a year in the ground. It is a beautiful property with spectacular views of the ocean from almost any spot.

As we were leaving Max jumped out of the car and put several huge squash in the back seat, the one he gave me made several squash breads that I shared with the neighbors.

San Clemente 10.31.2013 040Since my first visit electricity has been brought to the property, roads and planting fields have been cleared and construction has been started on the first all bamboo home.

Good luck, buena suerte!