Second day in Ibarra, Ecuador


Good morning! (or afternoon I expect). This is our second day here in Ibarra and we are getting settled into a bit of routine. We do not have a land line here (just cell phone) so the way I am working the internet is each day we visit and internet cafe. I have prepared my messages on disk, I feed this into the computer and send them out. Then I pull up the message load them onto the disk and return home to reply. This works better than trying to fiddle with the computers here and their Spanish keyboards! Let me tell you a bit more about the place here and our routine.

We could not ask for a better climate, kind of a green desert. This is because there is a rainy and dry season and the rainy season provides water enough, but it's the dry season now so the only dilemma with the sun is not to get too much. The Spanish style house with thick walls and shaded patio around the pool makes it easy to remain cool. I sun tanned only for brief moments several times during the day.

Yesterday morning I made a big mistake going out on the lawn in just a pair of shorts the gnats here are just sets of teeth with wings and they quickly turned me to mincemeat. My legs are swollen and look like I have leprosy right now as well as my arms, plus the itch. Aghhhhhhhh! I woke last night several times scratching like a dog with fleas!

This said the place is otherwise ideal. The owners are very interesting people, he a Canadian Professor of Anthropology and she an English woman who loves to play bridge. They are the type who drove down here (2 mo trip) and just love to keep making their 65 acres of paradise more and more beautiful. They are an interesting couple and Merri is out riding with the Prof right now.

First night here we were invited to dinner. Now you have to begin by remembering that what I hate more than almost anything are dinner parties. To further complicate this are the late hours (we began to eat about the time I like to hop in bed) and the meal was meat fondue steak shrimp and boiling oil, with a nice heavy red wine) Not too much choice for us non drinking vegetarians.

That said, Merri and I are game and don't fuss about this. We eat a little, smile and carry on as if this was the best meal we had ever eaten.

All this was of course washed down with huge quantities of really excellent classical music that I would love to hear, but not over the shouts we had to make to be heard above the music. (Where did this tradition of playing loud music while trying to carry on an intelligent conversation begin)? Perhaps we should have turned on the T.V. too?

But we made the best and this had to be done.Dinner was about as cosmopolitan as one can imagine, the host a Canadian professor of anthropology, hostess, British, one guest Chilean, another Ecuadorian but both had been living in Los Angeles.

Discussions roamed from economics to politics to education, to which markets had the best fruit etc. We had spoken up front that we were not night eater and it so happened that the Ecuadorian woman (best friend of the British host) had been having trouble sleeping, so her Dr had advised her not to eat at night either, so both she and her husband were also being held dinner party hostage.

This made it easier (along with voicing our concerns about Ma being alone on here first night in a strange place) for us to make a reasonable early exit.

So yesterday, we began our routine rising at sunrise (the sun rises at 6 and sets at 6, 365 days a year). The air is desert clear and high altitude thin, so vistas jump out and everywhere you look there is a vista here. Ecuador is a rugged violent volcanic land,, so many ripples, creases, valleys and gorges blue skies pierced by spiked peaks, razor back cuts and ridges that it becomes difficult to describe it all.

So let me begin with one small, out the window where I write. Far in the distance is a huge mountain, purple than a brown ride closer and a green valley that runs all the way to just below the small plateau where we sit. Our neighbors hose is about a half mile below us and a low rock wall surrounds the house and sets out the garden area. This fence is ringed by trees and shrubs, acacia, bottle brush, Norfolk Pine and Australian Pine. Tropical flowers crawl along the wall, mainly bright bougainvillea and geranium, adding splashes of color to the green. A hummingbird iridescent green sits in a small pine.

After rising I go our and sit by the pool and just enjoy the waking of the morn. The house is punctuated by absolute silence. This make things almost eerie as the rooms with bare walled Moroccan minimalist decorations, echo boldly at the slightest noise. Sounds like a bomb when the refrigerator cuts on! Ma has been having a bit of bother about this, but otherwise at night the house echoes with such silence that our ears ring. The only sound is us scratching!

The morning silence turns to a symphony as the birds come alive. Then I write to you or read a bit working my way through the classics here. Yesterday it was Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and “the Lost World”. Finally as the sun begins to rise into the courtyard we do our meditation and then I do my yoga facing the sun. Breakfast in the warming air by the pool. About this time Pilar and Mannuel come in and Pilar does the dishes, cleans the rooms and hauls away dirty clothes and laundry. Manual cleans the pool and works in the garden.

Soon after Merri goes off with the Prof for a ride. Merri grew up with a horse even took her horse with her to University I prefer to walk though have ridden for days and can do it fine. I just prefer the feel of using my legs and feet in other ways. I suspect I'll add some long hikes to my routine, but for now I am taking it very easy, so at this time I write. Much writing to do to catch up and it such a pleasure to be able to write to you with leisure. This is such a joy! After lunch (we told them we did not need the cook as Merri loves preparing our food), comes a short sun drenched nap, more reading or writing and then we have Manual drive us the 15 minutes into town. We visit the internet café where we get and send our messages and then stop by the markets. They have a super market here called Super Maxi which has every creature comfort one needs all neatly wrapped in plastic, but we far prefer the native markets, fruits piled in mounds, every conceivable vegetable (and a few we cant even conceive), plus row upon row of meats, fish (delivered fresh from the coast) etc. There are so many colors such vibrant sweetness among the vendors and I feel alive there. Returning home about 6 we have a light snack (last night we each ate a fresh Pineapple) and then some more reading before the fireplace and an early night. So it goes for this weekend. Next week we begin two seminars the first a health seminar at a nearby spa (one of the very few Chateau and Relais rated places in South America) and then into Quito for our course on International business. Wonderful and relaxed.


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