Friday, April 30, 2010

Indian/Hindu Cooking Class

We sure had fun at yet another cooking class with Leslie and friends.  This is our third class and we always have a ball!

Brian, Holly, Barbara and Lourdes joined us this time.  A good selection of tasty dishes:

Basmati rice, chickpeas, veal, curried eggs, chicken.

Leslie finding just the right pan...

Prep area and 'cooking' the spices.
Imagine the smells!

The evening was particularly bittersweet...Lourdes is headed back to the US in the next couple days, so we said our 'so longs', too.  She'll be back in Cuenca this summer, so the next few months will be busy for her as she sorts and packs up for her move back home to Ecuador.  Safe travels, Lourdes!

More wonderful food...Earlier this week we helped 'send off' Matt back to the US.  Brian's curry is to die for!  (Matt took this picture.)

We also discovered a good Chinese place on Av. Remigio Crespo with Donna, Jason and Lourdes (another send-off for Lourdes).
See Jason/Donna's blog on the sidebar for address and more info.

Wonton soup and veggie dish:

It's been a busy week for us.  Bob, Rox and Coquita came to visit from the Coast, assorted vendors needed some attention. Stay tuned for more stories and pics...  always something to keep us busy and keep the FUN going here!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Another cooking class -- Thai this time

We had so much fun learning Thai cooking with Leslie!

Barbara/Howard, Jason/Donna and Merlyn joined us this time...more culinary giants in Cuenca! 

Here's Leslie, showing us how to make a paste for a sauce:

And, Pad Thai:

Food is delicious!  Many fresh ingredients:

5 different dishes... 
Imagine the smells and tastes of garlic, onions, chilies, basil, cilantro....

A good time was had by all!

If you'd like to contact Leslie for a future class, send her a note at:

Leslie has a wide selection of classes to choose from.

Our next cooking class is scheduled for next week...stay tuned for Indian/Hindu!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Another Sunday with Friends

Our traditional Sunday walk to town included our friends/neighbors Chuck, Nancy and Matt, their son who is here for a visit.  So nice to have Chuck and Nancy's company again!  We missed them when they were out of the country for awhile.  Yes, we walked when they were gone, but it just wasn't the same.  We had fun seeing Cuenca through Matt's eyes, too!  Always a delight to share in a visitor's perspective.

As we were headed out, we spied a giant bug on the sidewalk outside of our building.  For size, imagine about 4 quarters lined up along the side, including the wings...BIG!  Very Colorful!!

A nearby pottery studio was open and we had to check it out inside.  (It's located right behind the Cuadras buildings.)  It's a family operation and they do everything from mixing the clay to painting the designs.  There is a clay pit on the property in the back, along with the old, still working kiln and work areas.  Another good example of a small doorway...that goes way back inside. Always a surprise behind those doorways.
One of the Senors gave us a demo of making a pot on the wheel:

Wide variety of styles and techniques.  Lovely pieces.

After the pottery, we continued the walk to the Kooksburra Cafe for breakfast.  It was Maddy's birthday, so we all joined in with the singing.  Here's Maddy with Liza...
Here's Matt and Nancy awaiting the food...and relaxing our bodies after the trek.

After breakfast, we wandered to the Square...we love this purple tree! 

...and the 'glads in the flower market.

We enjoyed watching the little children having fun with the stuffed horses...

Our bench was right beside one of the professional photographers who takes pictures of those who want to pose with the stuffed horses...Matt was game!

Anyone can pose with the ponies:

More kids having fun...

Caught up with friends...

We had to eat ice cream!

Here's one of the churches all lit up as we were headed back home.

Another full, fun Sunday.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Soccer = Football

Ozzie, our friend and MAJOR soccer/football fan reminds us that the game is NOT called 'soccer' here...  it's football!  I guess we're still in the habit of calling it 'soccer' to make the difference between US football...very different games.

Anyways...  Rich is dictating the story and Nancy is typing... 

Rich's very first soccer (I mean football!) game!

Rich met the group at the Kookaburra Cafe (weaing his red Cuenca team shirt!) and they all headed out to the stadium.  Chris, of Kookaburra, got eveyone organized (including notifying Jason that he was wearing white, the opposing team color!  Jason did get a red shirt on the way...) 

This was a game between Quito and Cuenca. 19,000 fans were in attendance, mostly Cuencanos.  People of all ages...  a family affair! 
Unlike US sport prices, families can afford to from one of the 'scalpers' was about $15 for mid-range seats...there are cheaper tickets available, and more expensive, too.

When Cuenca's team scored in the last minutes, the crowd erupted!  Tied score, 1-1.
The game began at 6pm, and ended at 8pm...unlike US football games that can take several hours...

The small group of opposing team fans were 'banished' to lousy seats...and were 'allowed' to leave the game last, with police protection.  Refs (in lime green) are not well liked...they were escorted off the field by police (for their own protection).  Fans routinely throw stuff at the refs, so the police also protected them from flying objects.

Rich was surprised by the size of the players...Cuenca's team members were fairly small in stature, compared to the Quito team, who towered over Cuenca's. There were several casualties on the field and the injured were carried off on stretchers...more on the Cuenca side.

Will Rich go again?  You bet!

If you're interested in attending a future game and want some company, check in with Chris at the Kookaburra.  By the way, this is NOT a men's-only event!  Ladies are welcome, too. 

Here are more pics:

The infamous blow-up of the famous beer of Ecuador.  Looks like kids on stilts (?) as part of the Pilsener advertisement.

For another version of the game-night, see Jason/Donna's blog (link on the sidebar).

The guys had a great time!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Happy Birthday, Cuenca!

The 12th of April, or Doce de Abril, marks the founding of Cuenca, 1557.

The town was quiet construction on nearby projects and traffic was light on Av Americas, which is a major, usually very busy thoroughfare.  Many businesses were closed and 3 different ATMs we tried in the area were out of money!

The last few days has been 'Fiesta Time'. Cuenca has been celebrating as only Cuenca can, with lots of art and music and fireworks.

Over the last few days, we've attended several art events.

The Opening of an art exhibit at La Otorongo Gallery featured 'equines'...horses, zebras, unicorns, etc.
One of our favorite artists, Liza Wheeler and husband/assistant Larry, displayed their newest mosiac art.  So beautiful!

(See the link to Liza's website on the sidebar.)  The exhibit runs through April, so catch it if you're in town.  Pictures of Liza's art just don't do them justice!  You have to see and enjoy in person.

A collection of upscale shops at La Esquina Plaza featured art in several mediums.  Some of the most talented and well-known artists in Cuenca were represented.  We wandered the shops and art exhibits (including Liza's and Vega's)...caught up with several friends also enjoying the art and the sunshine.

There was an international several K race on Sunday...MANY runners!  We've noticed that races here include everyone...doesn't seem to be qualifications to participate.  Open to everyone!  Of all sizes, ages and abilities.  Fun to see, but still can't imagine running a race at this altitude!

We visited the art and food booths at Parque de Madre...lots of colorful art and, paintings, textiles and more.  Some originals, some mass produced, all fun to see. Fun to people-watch, too.

 Hot day!  Donna and Nancy with umbrellas to shield from the intense sun.

We really enjoyed talking with an artist from Lima.  He spoke pretty good English (some of his family is in the US) and told us about his travels and some of the inspiration for his art.  Fascinating. We liked the painting (and stories) of his horse in Peru! 

More art:

Nancy liked these chubby llamas!

As many of you know, soccer is a biggie here.  Rich attended a game last night with friends.  We'll post details on that later.