Monday, December 31, 2012

New Car Fever

If you have experienced "new car fever," you are fully aware of the symptoms.  As you know, there is no known cure.  Mick has had this illness as long as I have known him.  It sometimes goes into remission.  I'm fully aware when he is about to have an outbreak.  The first sign is the continual talk of cars.  Then comes the attraction to dealerships.  In recent years, there has been a new sympton, constant searching of the web for specs and pictures.

As previously stated, there is no known cure.  You just have to let the episode run its course.  When the Mickster bought the Renault, the comment was made, "this is our last car, it will last us until we're no longer able to drive".  I agreed and laughed to myself. 

About a month ago, Mick began showing signs.  I knew there was no stopping it.  On December 20th, we took possession of our new car.

This time, he selected a 2013 Kia Sportage.  Laws have changed since our first purchase.  Now the matricula has to be made prior to delivery.  Therefore, although we paid for the car on Monday, we were not able to get it until Thursday.  Also, with our first car, it was months before the license plate was ready.  The placa came with the matricula. 

This one has everything the Mickster wanted...AC, automatic, the feel of a truck.  Used cars don't loose their value in Ecuador as in the US.  For the Renault, Mick paid $12K and sold it for $10K after driving it for over 2 years.  The Renault was a good car and it served it's  purpose; however, this is better.  Mick is happy and said that he'll keep this one for AT LEAST 5 years.  I'm thinking 3 at the most, maybe less if he has another bout with the fever.

Until next time,
Mick and Kathy

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Just Another Saturday

Our preference for Saturday morning breakfast is the Coffee Tree. You never know what you'll see, there's usually something going on at La Merced.  Yesterday, there was preparation for a procession.
The band was positioned across the street on Borrero

Lovely ladies
Almost angels
I peeked inside La Merced, exceptionally beautiful for Navidad.
Preparing the float
Another stunning participant anxiously waiting.
In the afternoon, David and Janet accompanied us to Yungilla to one of our favorite restaurants, Bambu.  The seafood is always exceptional.  The ambiance is pleasant and relaxing.
This is one of the few places that you can get corvina entera frita.....que ricissima!
The drive to Yungilla is a little over an hour from Cuenca and is quite lovely.  It is worth it to dine at Bambu.

Until next time,
Mick and Kathy

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Christmas Day

A belated Merry Christmas to all.  This was the first Christmas in several years that I decided not to prepare a Christmas feast. Although we did not have the Christmas dinner, we had a cookout the week before, of course, I forgot to take pictures.  We had 25 friends attending, with great food and perfect weather.  In Cuenca, we've always done Christmas lunch with as many as 20 or so guests.  This year, we spent Christmas at Hosteria Uzhupud .  It has been several months since we were there. 

Uzhupud is near Paute; it is lovely, tranquil, with impeccable service.  Our friends, Julie and Jack went with us. There is seating in the courtyard, terrace, as well as the dining room.  We have on occasion gone by for coffee.  Here's Mick and Nikolas.
Group shot, Mick and I, Julie and Jack
The buffet was incredible!  The menu:  cream of zuccini soup, various salads, shrimp ceviche, chicken a la king, trout, lomo with mushroom sauce, pork tenderloin, roast turkey, rice, sauteed veggies, soufle de choclo, pie de limon, budin de tomate, yule log with manjar, strudel.  WOW! It was YUMMERS.  The price has decreased since the last buffet we had there.  It was only $16.50 per person.  It's not the price, but the quality that's important.  The quality was outstanding.  What a lovely way to spend a holiday.

Navidad was great!  Mick, Nikolas, and I enjoyed the outings and time spent with friends. 

Lina has been extremely happy for the last couple of weeks.  We told her that Papa Noel was going to bring her a washing machine.  He visited a little early, but didn't install it.  The technician that always services our dryer installed it last Friday.  Until then, she has washed the clothes for herself and 4 children by hand.  She also got her 14th month's pay.  Lina is still smiling!  Yes, Lina, there is a Santa Claus.

Until next time,
Mick and Kathy

Friday, December 28, 2012

Holiday Time Again, Part 2

On the previous installment, I failed to post the finished product in our reception area.
Some of us had festive nails. 
This is Vicky Reyes that paints our festive nails.  Vicky will come to your house for manis and pedis.
The morning of the 24th was spent in El Centro for the Paseo de Nino Viajero. We planted ourselves near San Sebastian. The children's Christmas parade is a huge tradition in Cuenca.  It is about tradition.  Much time and money are spent on the prepartions.  Most of the costumes are rented.  The cost of renting a cholita outfit for a small girl is around $15.  Many of the families have multiple children.  The ornateness of the gifts displayed on the strollers, horses, and floats are elaborate and are an additional expense.  The tradition implies such an importance that  a family will spend much of a small income in order to participate.
Everyone wanted to get in the act.
Three spectators.
The easy way to go.
This guy was dressed for the occasion.
The parade begins. 



This is one of my favorites.

We were seated across from Hogar Miguel Leon.  Here are some of the residents.
 Residents and possible future residents.
Is there a baby in there?
The most popular kid on the block, she has bottles of rum attached.



"He represents the Lolipop Guild."


Some stay for the entire parade.  We stayed for only a couple of hours.  The entire duration is at least 8 hours.

A new tradition for us was begun this Christmas Eve, Noche Buena.  The Schunks hosted a soup supper.  Everyone brought a soup.  Here are some of them heating.  It was a great evening.
From the terrace as night approaches.

Fireworks were launched from down Ordonez Laso.  The viewing was from the terrace.
Regardless of where you live, Christmas is about tradition.  As children, we had Christmas traditions, perhaps it was the positioning of an ornament on the tree, the actual decorating of the tree, or the Christmas Eve dinner.  There are traditions here as well, traditions that have lasted for decades.  However, it's never too late to start a new one.

Until next time,
Mick and Kathy