Sunday, July 31, 2011

Yunguilla Pictures

Our friends have a country home in Yunguilla Valley.  It's at lower altitude than Cuenca, so the vegetation is different with the warmer temperatures.  'Thought some of our readers would like to see more pictures.

Cows in the pasture...that little 'dot' on the right is a baby cow relaxing...

Here's a close-up of Mom-cow.

A peaceful place. 

The perfect place for a BBQ and pool!

Perfect for doggies, too.  Meet Daisy!

The ride to Yunguilla is about 1-1.5 hours from Cuenca.  You'll ride through gorgeous scenery, like this:

One more picture...pretty tile designs around the pool area...

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

It's Just Hair

We love the shop displays...all the fun fashions and 'models'...

Here is a costume shop...

For all the Spiderman fans!

Maybe the fun colored hair is just for display, not sure if you can buy the wigs.

A bride with no hair!

You have seen the beautiful 'real' hair on many previous blog entrys...thick, shiny, black and usually long for the traditional styles, and shorter, fashionable cuts and colors for the adventurous.   We have seen a couple fun streaks of blue and fushia, too.  Just a little...nothing like these wild wigs.
Yes, there are good hair salons here in Cuenca.  Women can get a good haircut, a good choice of colors, including the fun ones, as well as the usual highlights and perms.  Prices are substantially lower than US salons and the quality is generally really good.  You can also buy most of the brands of hair dye you're used to the States, if you want to do it yourself.

 If you're in Cuenca, you can ask around for salon recommendations. Sometimes it helps to bring a picture of what you want (and bring your Spanish words.)  If the style/cut turns out not to be what you're looking for,'s only hair!  Thankfully, it grows out (or buy a hat) and you can try another place next time.

For men, same goes...

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Arts and Crafts and Doggie Update

Another fun Sunday with our friends Chuck and Nancy.  This Sunday our friends, Carol and George, joined us as we headed off to see what we could see at the Main Square.

We were all delighted to see a very fun art show of local crafts!

A picture of the motley crew. (minus Rich) can see we are all bundled up for the chilly day.  Rain clouds were looming, but we managed to stay dry and warm with all our layers.

A picture of the crowds...

Gorgeous fabrics.  Some had sequins and gold braid. 

Some nice embroidery, too.  These dresses would be fun at the beach!  Or, at least for warmer weather later.

Love the dolls!  Some of these are paper mache.

Hand painted faces with lots of eyelashes.

Crocheters -- check out the techniques on the skirt and purses...

Looks very familiar!  Some of you will remember Nancy made countless pairs of slippers and booties in similar patterns back in Oregon...

Beautiful guitars (good prices, too).

In case you're in Cuenca and want to visit the guitar shop.

Always food at events.  These black fruits are sugared (or honey?) figs.  Delicious!

Some of us had to pose next to the street entertainer in front of the New Cathedral.

Another fun Sunday!

A reader has asked about the doggies who live near to us.  All the puppies have gone to other homes, except for one.  He sure has grown!  Updated pictures of the family are below. 

You will remember the big white one is the Dad; black/white one is Mom; the slightly smaller white one is Junior!  He's a spittin' image of his Dad.
He's a little shy;  you can see him peeking over the wall with his big blue eyes.

All so friendly and sweet! 

Monday, July 18, 2011

Dragon's Blood

Note from Nancy...

Dragon's Blood, or Sangre de Drago in Spanish, is a powerful medicine from the jungle.  It's harvested from a tree and looks and acts just like blood! 

Used for a variety of ailments, both topically and internally, it's anti-viral, anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant. It can also heal wounds and it kills some kinds of bacteria, including the really bad one that causes ulcers.

I've had an itchy rash on the back of my hand for way too long. You know the kind of itch that can make you almost crazy?  Like that.

I've tried conventional creams, including the popular $1 itch cream that usually works on any kind of itch. The cream didn't help at all this time. 

I've tried several herbals and teas, different vitamins, apple cider vinegar, different food, coconut oil and more...Sometimes the changes worked some, but usually they didn't work for long. 

The recent conventional parasite drugs helped a little, but the rash didn't go away.
It might have begun when I used a different lotion and a different soap, so I changed to others.  I was beginning to think maybe it was just the 'heartbreak of psoriasis'.  Yeah, I could have gone to a dermotologist, but I'm stubborn and wanted to try to fix myself.  (You know how I am about most doctors...)

As we're so high up in the Andes, I even thought maybe it was a radiation burn...maybe from a combo of intense sun and a new lotion.  Along that theory, I ordered some emu oil from the US a few weeks ago, but it hadn't arrived yet (we couldn't find it here), because emu oil is supposed to be good for healing burns from radiation. 

One day, our friend Chuck suggested getting this Dragon's Blood.  We did.  We found it in a little shop off the Square that also sells other herbs and potions, as well as vitamins and conventional meds.  Just a couple bucks for a bottle (we got lots of change from a $5 bill).  You can get it in the US, too.

By golly, we think we're on to something with this blood!  No itch and the rash and inflammation are disappearing fast.

Dragon's Blood looks just like blood, would be good for a scary Halloween party.  It stains and it's messy and sticky, so if you try it, be careful.  It smells like a jungle, kind of like lots of damp plant growth, but the smell goes away quickly.

We went back and did a search on our friend Nancy's blog, remembering Chuck had written an entry about his trip to the jungle.  He learned all kinds of things, including more about the medicine plants.  You can re-visit here:

Thanks, Chuck, for reminding us about Sangre de Drago! 

After only a few days, the rash is almost gone!  The itch is totally gone!  Finally!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Yarn and More Flowers

Our knitting/crocheting/weaving friends will appreciate this post!
Yes, there is yarn in Cuenca.  You can visit several shops along Av. G. Sangurima.  There is even a yarn shop right next door to the CA Kitchen at Av. Sangurima and P. Borrero.

We found this particular yarn shop at Av. Luis Cordero, between Gran Colombia and Simon Bolivar, headed to the Square, right hand side (walking from the CA Kitchen).  We didn't go in, so not sure of prices;  looks like some really good stash!

Window display showing variety....some acrylic, alpaca, wool, cotton...

Close-ups of some of the labels.

More bouquets to enjoy!

Pretty roses and baby's breath.

These were purchased from a vendor, out of her wheelburrow, at a recent outside art fair.  They are real flowers, but dried and dyed.  They shed some, but they are lovely!

Our artist/craft/kitty friends will enjoy our friend Sharon's new blog.  She and her husband Lenny have recently moved to Cuenca from Oregon. Sharon quilts! 

Sharon's blog

Lenny's blog is also wonderful!

Both blogs are fun, happy, hopeful and informative.  We really enjoy their stories.


This morning, the sun is shining and our sky is blue, blue, blue, with big puffy white clouds! 
Happy Friday to all and enjoy the weekend.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Neighborhood Construction and the River is Roaring

For those following the progress of the Edificio Terrazza across from us...This is the construction we've been watching from our porch, since we moved in a couple years ago.
It's been fairly quiet at the construction site for the last week or so..not much noise or activity that we can see.  Perhaps there are more workers elsewhere in the complex and we just don't see or hear them.

Here are some updated pictures to share:

This massive apt complex is as wide as our block and goes street to street.  We took the pictures in sections, going left to right, from our view.

You can kind of see the intersection near where the Coopera (great produce/meat market) is located across the river.  You can walk to the Feria Libre (largest people's market in Cuenca) down that main street, Av. Las Americas.

Middle section of Terrazza.

You can see the river rushing by in this view.

Our porch is 10 stories up so we look out on the top floor, unless we're standing at the windows looking down for a bird's eye view.

You can see our window boxes of flowers and the surrounding mountains.

Looking down on the river and the trees.

Edificio Amazonos construction across the street has been fairly quiet, too.  Another 10 story going up across the street from us.  You can see the Juliet-type balconies.


Our river has been roaring with all the recent rains.  No drought here!  Rain generally means power availability and greener areas with lots of flowers.  Yes, there are still occasional power outages, but probably not drought-related.  Outages could be related to street construction, water system maintenance or who knows. 

The more modern buildings may have a better chance of having a back-up generator for power, but the older buildings usually don't have back-up.  The power outages this year have usually been short and may have been announced in the buildings or in the newspapers, if they are planned.  Without power, most shops close down and your internet could be affected.

The raging rivers have brought some sad news...we have heard of some folks drowning in the rivers, this season.  A little child drowned when she was swept away while helping her Mom do laundry in the river.  A couple of young boys were rescued when they fell in while trying to fish with nets...So not safe.  Our hearts go out to the grieving families.

No neighborhood flooding that we can see, but the roar is almost deafening!  At river's edge, we could hardly hear ourselves think, let alone hear each other talk.

If you're in Cuenca, be careful out there!

Last night, there was a break in the storms...beautiful skies!

Check out the wall of fog coming over the mountains.  Very San Francisco!