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Showing posts from August, 2019

Donuts are Grape!

Friends, Labor day, that symbolic boundary between summer vacation and the school year. The time our HOA closes the pool and fantasy football returns. It’s also the time grapes in my back yard ripen. I have a brown thumb, however, I do have one agricultural achievement: not killing the grapevine that came with the house eleven years ago. In September, my ritual includes grabbing a bunch with breakfast. By October, if there are enough grapes left, I’ll make some wine. This year’s crop looks promising, so last night I bottled my 2015 vintage to start making room for the new batch. The wine is nothing to write home about, but it’s not bad either –if only my thumb were greener, I’d grow wheat for donuts. Then again, it’s so much easier to buy them at the store. Enjoy your long weekend, I’m sure it will be grape! Happy Friday!

Cuenca Donuts

Friends, Whenever I travel to Ecuador people inevitably assume the climate is hot —after all, the country owes its name to its latitude.  Of course, elevation also plays a role, and when you’re over 8,000 feet above sea level (as is usually the case when I’m down there), the climate can be a bit chilly. Cuenca is the land of eternal spring. It is never too hot and, while people like to complain about the cold (because nobody has heating or AC), it never snows. A Spanish city founded in 1557, it boasts four rivers and over twenty five churches. This fine Friday morning I thought I’d share a small sampler of photos from my home town with you. Grab a donut and enjoy. A few of the Churches (All Saints, Santa Maria de Baños, Saint Sebastian, the old Catherdral, Saint Alphonse, Turi) Some other sites in the city. O ld downtown,  t he “barranco” with its hanging houses next to river Tomebamba,    the cross of “el Vado”,    one of the “three bridges” over

San Salvador, hear the voices ringing, people singing...

Friends, What do you do when you have a 21 hour layover in San Salvador, El Salvador? Spend it at the airport? Of course not! You get out and discover a place that, while not on most folks’ bucket list, surely has a lot to offer. Granted, there were some practical considerations. Could I get a visa at the airport and explore? –yes, for a $12 fee. Should I rent a car in a city ranked by the Economist as having the highest per-capita homicide rate in the world (excluding war zones)? –no, tempting as the $15 daily rate was, I didn’t want to drive to the wrong side of town end end-up dead. Could I leave my carry-on bags somewhere at the airport? –no, unfortunately there are no lockers. The solution came in the form of Julio César, my Über driver who agreed to show my son and I the sites for $50, plus gas. It was amazing! Sure we had a false start. La Puerta del Diablo (the Devil’s gate), our first stop, had been closed for remodeling for a year, so all we saw were some zinc sheets meant

Donut judge me if I wax philosphical

1. Guinea Pig is a delicacy in Ecuador Friends, Wherever you go people are similar. We share the same basic needs, desires and aspirations. Whether we prefer filet mignon or guinea pig 1 , folks need to eat. We may live in extended families or alone, but everyone desires appreciation, acceptance and a sense of belonging. We all aspire to count, to make a difference and to have our legacy remembered. Whether we care to admit it or not, we would all like a big hand 2  from time to time –and a donut in that hand would make it even better. Happy Friday! 2. Some big hands are more literal than others

Spa Experiences and Other Forms of Torture

Friends, I must admit I’m a novice to SPA experiences. I’ve been in sauna and Turkish baths, jacuzzis and pools before, but had never ventured into the menagerie of advanced torture devices. I was curious as to why people “indulge” in them, so I thought I’d try them first hand. What could go wrong? There was the aptly named mud bath, where you rub some dubious-looking goop all over your body, let it dry until you look like Casper the friendly ghost, only to take a shower and wash it off. Meh! There was the intuitively named steam box, which evokes Edgar Allan Poe’s stories of mystery and wonder (I imagine myself being locked into one and left there to wither away). I found-out my fear was unfounded, as there are no locks on the outside and you can get out any time you like. That said, it was not a life-changing experience. I decided to forgo the contrast thermal waters where you go into hot water, then cold, then hot again. Maybe I’ll subject myself to that torture some other day