Sunday, September 27, 2009

Another fun week with Bob, Rox and Coquita

Bob, Roxanne and Coquita came to Cuenca for the week and we had a great time!

They arrived last Saturday and helped us celebrate our 200 day mark here in Ecuador. They're now on their way back to the Coast. A fast, but productive, week!

We started the week in Paute (we visited there earlier; see other blog post) and, since we'd all heard how fun the Sunday market was there, we decided to head on out...

Kids were smitten by Barney in the square. We were smitten by the kids!

We ate lunch at the Corvel restaurant... delicious food!
We ate outside in the courtyard... lovely day.

Note the colorful vest of the waitress.

Artwork outside the restaurant.

Market was bustling...

Baby goats!

Bob and Rox got a great start on their Christmas party shopping and planning for the kids at the Coast... check out the booty!

Soccer balls, dollies, teddy bears, jump ropes, toy cars... o my!

A sample of jewelry for the older girls...

And, please go to their blog at for lots more info on the party for the kids.

A trip to a fabric shop for Santa and elf outfits:

We caught up with friends ... and got to ex-pat night to catch up on all the news...Yep, ate alot of ice cream, too!

Coquita and her best buddy, Fredi, were so glad to see each other!
A busy and fun week for all!

Friday, September 18, 2009


For those who have asked about our construction projects...

We purchased an adobe apt in an old historic building called St Vicente de Paul, condo-ized about 10 years ago, to fix up for a rental.
It's 2 bedroom/1 bath.

Outside of building, across the river and the stairs to Calle Larga.

Bathroom window looks to the street.

It's in the UNESCO-designated area, fronting the Tomebamba river, 2nd floor with a lovely courtyard. The building itself was built in the late 1880's, originally as a recovery unit for one of the first hospitals in Cuenca. The hospital is still active in the complex, now a military hospital, along with a medical museum open to the public (see earlier blog entry about the museum.)

It's fascinating to work with walls over 4 ft thick! We're having fun learning about adobe construction and working within UNESCO and the colonial commission's regulations. Their job is to protect and preserve the historic areas of the city.

The apt needed work... mostly cosmetic. We had workers put back a window that had disappeared in earlier times, to allow more light and air.

We added hot water to the unit. The only hot water was a 'suicide' shower... the kind of unit that US soldiers serving in Iraq have died from... totally unsafe!)

We had the old laundry sinks on the back porch removed to make room for a washer and dryer. Before and now... new tiles on walls and floor...

We fixed the living room ceiling... over time, cane and adobe ceilings 'sag' and get wet and crumble... We hired workers who know all about this type of construction and they replaced and repaired and now it looks brand new!

The kitchen has been updated..... some new tiles on the wall and floor and a new countertop and we'll add appliances. Stove fan is installed.

Painting is almost done throughout... and we've been looking at furniture and light fixtures. We've lined up workers to sand the plank floors and we'll need to call the drape-cleaning folks (drapes from the previous owner look pretty good).

It's been a fun project and hope to be all done soon.
We'll add more pictures to this post later.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Rich goes to the countryside

Some of our readers will know that we have been spending lots of time with some construction projects and have asked about them... in a nut shell, we have purchased 2 more properties here as possible rental opportunities.

One is new construction in the Edificio Frigata (right next door to the Ital-Deli, Mora y Solano).

This 'duplex' (meaning 2 level) is being split into 2, wheel-chair accessible units. We've been researching ADA/universal design options. No such thing here in Ecuador, but they are just beginning to learn about requirements...Ecuador's VP is in a wheelchair, so the project is getting lots of attention! The construction should be completed early next year.

We're at the kitchen-design, closet-design, bathroom-design stages. The builder and architect suggested we check out a young carpenter's cabinet work and Rich took a trip to the countryside to check it out.

They drove out to a small town, 10-12 miles up in the mountains, past Mayancela, about 45 minutes from Cuenca. Besides looking at the work, they passed several other interesting places...

A brick factory... all that wood is for the kiln (fired up about once a week).... the 2nd picture is the firebox under the deep kiln that the worker is stoking...

An old, self-sustaining monestery and church, approximately 150 years old, now privately owned. ... and adorable children...

A cow, all curled up sleeping, like a kitty!

Cabinet samples at the young man's uncle's lovely house...Yes, we hired him!

(Sample shows good craftsmanship... we'll do other styles.)

He'll be making the cabinets for the kitchen and closets, aiming to finish in the next couple months. We're sure he'll do a good job for us.

The other project is a remodel of an apartment in an old historic adobe building, at the river. More on that project later.