Sunday, January 28, 2007

The Tungurahua

From Riobamba we were just a jump skip and a small car ride to Tungurahua.  Last year, this was the Volcano that erupted last year.  Here is a picture of what it looked like last year.

Tungurahua 2006

The area had started recovering, and the people were back to their lives.  This is what it looked like in December 2006.

Tungurahua Dec 2006

They say it is not the destination, but the journey.  I find myself saying that a lot...  We had a great time driving through the beautiful country side, through the little towns.  It is not until you get right up unto the volcano that you start seeing the ash buildup (near the river bed) and where the lava poured down the mountain.  I put together some of the pics from the journey in a little gallery.  Click on the pictures or HERE to go there.

Trip to Tungurahua

Sunday, January 21, 2007

The Riobamba

Sorry for the delay.... crazy week at work.   (well... I still have a lot of pics to catch up here goes)

So we survived the bus ride... a very memorable bus ride.  And we were there:  Riobamba.  We stayed at Paola's Uncle's house with some family... and one of the first things we all noticed were all the Christmas decorations all over the house.

Riobamba : Nativity Scene

My son stood in awe at all the lights, and ornaments... he stood there looking over everything as if we had wondered into a Christmas store.  I noticed that he also lingered too long staring at the natvitiy scene.... and I thought we would have another accidental nativity death on our hands.  I would have to keep my eye on him very carefully on this trip...

Christmas Decorations

More Santas than you could shake a stick at... but that also meant more things my kids could break.  I was glad that there was actually very little destruction, but I think that was due to the fact that there were so many other kids for them to play with.... if there had not been, I think we would have spent more time there looking for replacement parts...

Riobamba Kids

I guess it does not matter what part of the world you go to... kids will be kids... You would think they had a special code... or something.  They all went straight to playing as if they had known each other for years...  Maybe they know something we dont...

Sophia Snooze

The best part about visiting places that have other kids.... is that they play so much they wear our kids out.  Running playing.... whatever... in the end, it means that Paola and I get a little more rest time...

Riobamba Christmas

Riobamba is in the mountains... Its a bit cooler... and a stones throw from several spots we were going to visit (which I will have to post about later)..... valcano.... parks.... mountains... Pig Roasting Market... 

...if you look closely enough at the last picture... you will notice my red face.... this is not embarasment... this is me recovering from my beach "lobster" burn....

Monday, January 15, 2007

The Bus

No time for rest.  Just because we finished one family gathering, doesn't mean we get a break!  So we packed our stuff, convinced Paola's parents, and headed for the Bus Station.

Sophia on the Bus

Where to?  Riobamba, of course!  Paola had some family up there, and they were waiting.  At the last minute, Paola thought that it would be great for her parents to take a couple of days off and join us.  (I think they would have had more rest at home without the three little angles running around, but that logic flew out the window)...

Matthew on the Bus

To some of the adults, this was a long bus ride full of twist and turns in the mountains.  My father in law gets a little motion sickness.  And by a 'little', I mean a lot.... a very much lot.  But to the kids, this was an adventure.  The scenery and sites where beautiful.  So much lush countryside.  And the mountains were beautiful.

Megan on the bus

But the ride itself was a whole other adventure.  Like the runaway train at Disney world.  Except that there was no track for this bus to keep you safe.... and add to that as it got darker, there was a low mist that made visibility harder and harder.

Sophia Smiles

The driver seemed like he knew this route blind folded... and with so much low visibility when the sun set, and with the rough roads... and with the mist... I believe it!!   But the kids did have a blast, and I found it amusing how they enjoyed the ride..... but every now and then, I would wonder if our wills were up to date... or where we left it... just in case

Saturday, January 13, 2007

The Day After Christmas

Day after Christmas.  It had been a late night... we got very little sleep.  You would think that the kids would let us get a couple extra hours of sleep.  Right?  Wrong!

Matthew Playing Leapster

The early kid gets the games? ...well, I guess they feared that if they slept (or let us rest too long) that the games and presents from Christmas would magically disappear.

Megan Aligator Track

Day after Christmas is also a time when you get to play with your siblings toys.  Almost like a limited time barter system.  So, why would you think that the kids would even want to wake us up?  Well take a look at this race car track!

Race Car Track

Well, these race car tracks don't build themselves.  ...and that is why kids need their parents... at least on this day.

Sophia Smiles

Well, one thing was for sure.  These kids all had big smiles on their faces.... always a good sign.  Sure there is the occasional fight over who gets to play with what... but I guess that is just part of the Christmas game.  We just hope they remember the more important parts and meanings of Christmas...

Friday, January 12, 2007

The Christmas

So I finally got around to doing some more pictures.  I am caught up to Christmas!  Coming home has been hard.  Changing from vacation mode, back to work mode is not easy... but what can you do.

Christmas Ecuador 2006

Ok, so first thing... yes, in this picture I am a little read still from the first trip to the beach.  At this point in my recovery, I am no longer able to hear my teeth crying.

The second thing you may be wondering is where Sophia might be.  Being as it was a late night, Sophia did not make it.  She slept .... well... like a baby.

Christmas Food

The traditional food for the season is Turkey.  There was tons of food for everyone, but my favorite was the stuffing that my mother in law makes.  It is a sweet stuffing and went great with the turkey and gravy!!

Christmas Presents

After a few hours of eating... and eating... there was a pause.  Then came the presents!  So many relatives and kids, it was a flurry of wrapping paper and ribbons.  I think in this picture, Matthew is actually trying to open presents with his teeth. 

Christmas Relatives

The phones kept ringing... all different kinds of cell phone tones... Everyone calling everyone to wish them a happy Christmas.  The kids seemed oblivious to everything but their loot.  The parents seems to enjoy more the expressions on the kids faces when they opened up the presents more than anything else.... It almost seemed like the presents would never stop coming.

Christmas Pyro

But like all things... they must.  The kids did also get a chance to play with some fireworks and sparklers.  The laws governing fireworks seem much more liberal there.  You will get a better idea of what I mean when I post the new years pictures.  This picture was taken shortly before Matthew burned his fingers.... yeah.  He just had to test for himself...  He is stubborn, but I must admit I was surprised how little he fused about the burn, and just ran back to play with the cousins.

Click on any of the pictures or HERE to go the gallery for Christmas... again... too many pictures.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

The McLawsuit


There have a been a few of these portable Mc Lunch places that have started to open up in different area's of Ecuador.  Portable Lunch places that serve various things... but the food is not what really caught my eye.


No where in your wildest dream could you franchise something with a name remotely similar to this in the states... I wonder how their burgers taste?  I hear their grilled... 

Well we are back in the states.... safe and sound.  The trip back took a few days longer than expected.  A couple of re bookings by Delta.... a couple of nights at the Hilton due to their mistake.... I am sure if I ever catch up on the pics (and am not abducted by aliens) I can post more about it.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

The Beach II: Feel the burn!

After day one of fun in the sun .... I was red... it usually takes a couple of hours for the red to show it self.  I guess this is where I am supposed to have a picture of my redness.. 

But oh well, since I was taking most of the pictures, there is not a good one of my redness.  But don't worry, on the second beach trip (the second burning), there is a good one with Lobster Briam!

Xavier and Family

(This is what it looks like when you take a picture of a picture)

Well, we survived the first day out there.  None of the kids were killed... or lost... or imprisoned.  They all played enough to wear themselves out and give the parents a small break.  The second day we spent a lot more time out and about.  The morning was all beach time.

Beach Coco

we got there early so we could have one of the shade huts... and all the home town services where everywhere.  We took a couple hundred pictures... (Matthew took a few of my feet which made it to the editing room floor).  Out of all of those, there were a good 75ish, so I created another Gallery. (Click HERE or on any of he pics in this post)

Xavier and Sophia

One thing that surprised us was the number of vendors that comb the beaches.  We bought some coco-nut services... jewelry... shirts... shorts... baskets... beers... all from the comfort of our shade refuge.

Megan and Maria Daniella

I think the ice cream visit was the same day (or the day prior), but those pics are also in the gallery.  The company that rules all ice cream in this land with an iron fist is called Pinguino! (Penguin).  It never ceases to amaze me.  The universal power of ice cream to resolve all problems and bring all kids (irregardless of origin) together.

Paola and her Ceviche

Since this is a coastal country (mainly), there is plenty of seafoods (and specialty sea foods) everywhere.  One of the dishes I prefer is Ceviche de Camaron.  This is like a Shrimp soup/cocktail.  Very delicious.  My wife has had a long list of home style Ecuadorian favorites that she has been crossing off since before I got here.  If you notice the pictures where she is eating/drinking... you will see the shear delight she takes in enjoying her favorite foods.  If you know Paola, you know that people enjoy watching Paola eat... just to see the passion in a simple meal.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

The Beach I: Clear Water

Ah, ... still not even close to catching up on the posts.  (Today is Paola's birthday ... and I will have to post about that later... much fun... and her birthday party is tonight!)

Paola's Friend

This trip has been one of the longest vacations that I have ever taken in my entire life.... (next to those years where I really did not work at all...and pretended to go to school).  Paola (and family in tow) has gotten a chance to see tons of friends and family that she has not seen in years.  Every day there are errands... visits.... lunches... dinners.... all involving friends and family.  In the few short weeks here I have been introduced to so many people that it makes my life seem quiet (and peaceful) in comparison.  I now suspect that Paola knows every person's name in this country.


Well any-who.... We were off to the beach.  Paola's brother (and wife and kids) invited us to their beach house.  We were just going for a couple of days, but day one of course was just getting there ... and making the plan of attack.  The kids of course wanted to go to the pool while the 'adults' planned.  Above is Maria Daniella and Megan showing of the latest swim apparel.

Briam Pool
Paola Pool

Here we have all the kids enjoying their pool side transports.  There are a bunch of pics, so I just picked a few and added it to another gallery.  Click HERE or on the pool pictures to go to the gallery.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

The Birthday

Ah yes... here we are in 2007 and I am no where near caught up on the pics from this vacation (that we are still on).  Before Christmas we did get a chance to go to one of our cousins kids first birthday party.

Grumpy Matthew

Here is grumpy Matthew... we were early (which is a very rare characteristic not found in most Spanish genetic build up).

First Birthday

First birthdays are a big deal in these circles.... clowns ... games... face painting... food.... more food.... cake candy!!  That is exactly what we need for the kids.  Sugar with some sugar on top!!

Sugar Bomb!

But what goes up must come down... down hard like a plane crash!  This kids spazed out for an hour or two after all the food and sweets.... games and running around.  Matthew was a little sweat ball from all the activity.  Sophia crashed hard on the way out..... like a sack of potatoes we had to carry her out of there.  Megan ate so much she had to go purge a little... sometimes its good to know your limits... and I guess this is how they start learning them.

Click HERE or on the pictures to go to the Gallery for more pictures.