Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Cajas - Finally!

Yesterday we went hiking in the Cajas for the first time.  We drove up there on Saturday, but there was snow on the ground, we weren't dressed properly, it was raining and I had forgotten my camera.  So, we gathered up Chelsea, Anaya and Gi and headed up bright and early this morning.  It was the perfect day for hiking.  Cloud cover so that we didn't get too hot and a nice breeze.  We were worried about being cold, so we were really prepared.  Luckily we didn't need the clothes we brought and were actually hot and a bit sweaty.  The Cajas have 176 water concentrations, one of the largest water concentrations in the world.  Enjoy the pictures.

Uh oh, llamas on the road.

Mama and one of her two babies.

The Crew

One of the tagged park llamas.

The girls led us the whole time.  They were talking
and walking and just moseying on.  The boys?  Now
they were another matter.  Can you say whiners?


Can you find everybody?  The girls are way ahead.


Paper Trees or Quinoa Trees.

A nice spot to rest after a long hike.

Paute - Part 2

This post covers our last two days visiting Paute - Saturday and Sunday.  On Saturday I got the brilliant idea to take Scout with us.  I knew we were going to be gone for awhile and since I had fed her at 6:30 and we didn't leave until 10:30 I thought she would be fine.  Nope.  She threw up three times in our brand-new-to-us car.  Mark was not a happy camper. 

Scout is 8 years old.  Just this past summer she finally learned how fun it can be to be a dog in a car and hang your head out the window.  For all of those long 8 years she would shiver and shake and puke in the car.  Well, she still pukes in the car, but at least she doesn't shake anymore and now she seems to be having a little bit of fun. 

Just outside of Paute they have a 167 meter swinging bridge. It is pretty rickety and gets a bit scary around the middle.  Tali and I almost turned back, but we talked ourselves into going on and made it to the other side. 

Random photo of the kids in Paute's cute and quiet square.

The bridge.

On Sunday there is a pretty big market in Paute.  It is also a day for families to get together and have a picnic, etc...  Just spend time together.  They had a bouncy house in the park and the kids spent quite a bit of time on it.  They also had these great, little 4-wheelers that you could rent.  $1 for 5 minutes.  Finn and Tali loved them.  Tali kept begging to go back later, but it started to rain. 

It took her awhile to figure out how to push in the starter
button with her little hand, but eventually she got the
hang of it and loved it.

After riding the 4-wheelers we headed to the market in search of sweat pants.  Here are a couple shots of the market before it started to rain.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Many visits to Paute last week. Part 1.

Now that we have our car we got a hankering to visit Paute.  A lot!  We drove out there on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, on Friday to have lunch and explore with some friends, again on Saturday to explore ourselves and finally again on Sunday because we wanted to see their market and Mark wanted to get some sweat pants.  We had heard that they sell them on the second floor of the market.  And they were right.  We scored some sweat pants for Mark. 

We also took a turn around Jadan.  I didn't get any pictures, but if you go over the hill it turns very green and shady.  It is really unusual foliage back there.  All pine trees and cool shadiness.  It reminded me of driving through some of the national forests in the U.S.  The area really appealed to me, so we decided to call and see about a house that was for rent there.  The house had really good bones, but it needed A LOT of work.  The owners were so sweet and a very nice couple.  They bent over backwards to make sure that we would be welcome there.  Unfortunately, it wasn't a good fit. 

But back to Paute.  On Friday we had plans to meet a yahoo group friend who built his home just outside Paute.  His place was just beautiful and I got a lot of inspiration from his bachelor pad home were we to build in the future.  Here are some pictures of his home.

The view from his front porch.

After leaving Vladimer's we met two more friends for lunch.  We then invited them to drive around the countryside outside Paute.  It was a gorgeous day and the Paute River valley is spectacular.

The kids were tired of being cooped up in the car so we let them play for awhile. 

There is a pretty nice BMX bike course in the trees.

Friday, November 30, 2012


We chose to have a quiet family Thanksgiving this year just the 4 of us.  Maybe next year we will do the whole big thing with friends, but this year we felt the need to circle the wagons.  I made reservations at Restaurante Don Colon in the Coronel Hotel.  Don Colon is an Ecuadorian who lived in Naples, Florida for several years and he was serving a traditional U.S. Thanksgiving meal.  It was actually quite good except it could have been a bit warmer.  We had turkey with stuffing and gravy, garlic bread, sweet potato, carrots and green beans, and cranberry sauce that we suspect was actually mora(blackberry).  Dessert was apple pie that I didn't care for at all.  While eating, both the local paper, El Tiempo, and the local news station came in and took pictures and interviewed the guests and Don Colon.  It was pretty funny.  After dinner we walked to San Blas and got MORE dessert.  Ice cream!  Mixx has the best gourmet ice cream in town. It is really good. 

Restaurante Don Colon

Don Colon being interviewed.

I try not to leave my camera at home for reasons like this. 
This woman was in this capsule trying to catch the pieces of
paper that were flying around.  I have no idea why.