Monday, May 7, 2018

Puerto Lopez, Ecuador A to Z Summary and Reflections #AtoZChallenge


I survived the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge! Throughout April, I wrote about Puerto Lopez, Ecuador, where I live with my husband and cats. This post contains a complete list of April 2018 Emily in Ecuador posts and my reflections on the Challenge.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Zapatos in Puerto Lopez, Ecuador #AtoZChallenge

Puerto Lopez is hard on zapatos (shoes). As I explained in Mototaxis, walking is the most popular way to get around town. Paved streets bake in the sun, in turn wearing down shoe soles. When it rains, dirt roads turn to sticky mud, threatening to become one with your footwear.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Yellow Orb Over Puerto Lopez, Ecuador #AtoZChallenge

A Yellow Orb (YO) arrives every morning in Puerto Lopez at 6:30, dazzling us with it’s beauty. It silently preys on our eagerness to celebrate beneath it.

Friday, April 27, 2018

eXpat Creates Kids Skating Club in Puerto Lopez, Ecuador #AtoZChallenge #WATWB

Skating and rollerblading are relatively uncommon in Puerto Lopez, Ecuador. It is becoming more common thanks to one man. Matthew Meinzer, a former semi-professional hockey player, has introduced Puerto Lopez kids to the joys of skating.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Workout on Puerto Lopez beach, Ecuador #AtoZChallenge

After a few days in Puerto Lopez, you have snorkeled, dived, hiked, ridden horseback, swum and kayaked. Now you are wondering where you will do your pullups and rope climbing. I have great news for you! You can do them right on Puerto Lopez beach!

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Visitor Center, Machalilla National Park, Puerto Lopez, Ecuador #AtoZChallenge

Machalilla National Park surrounds Puerto Lopez, Ecuador. Two monkey species and more than 270 bird species, including the endangered Waved Albatross live in the park. Whales mate and birth just off the coast and turtles hatch on the beaches.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Ultralight Flight Over Puerto Lopez, Ecuador #AtoZChallenge

Sunday, 5:29 PM

"You did what?!"
"I know you've said they are deathtraps, Dad. Before I went, I...
"Ultralights ARE deathtraps, Emily!"
"...weighed the risks verses my desire to see Puerto Lopez from the air..."
"It's not worth your life!"
"...and decided it was more likely I would land safely on the beach than crash into the ocean."

So it went when I told my retired pilot father about my first ultralight flight.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Tiendas - Puerto Lopez, Ecuador's neighborhood stores #AtoZChallenge

Neighborhood tiendas (stores) are part of the fabric of Puerto Lopez, Ecuador. They supplement larger grocery stores by stocking single rolls of toilet paper, small containers of milk, yogurt, ice cream, cooking oils, sugar, and other daily essentials.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Sunrise in Puerto Lopez, Ecuador #AtoZChallenge

My favorite place to watch the Puerto Lopez sunrise is the south end of the bay. For an overhead shot of this area, click Boats in Puerto Lopez. As the sun rises over the eastern hills, I love the reflections in the bay.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Quake: Puerto Lopez two years after a 7.8 rocked Ecuador #AtoZChallenge

April 16, 2016 at 6:58pm, a 7.8 earthquake shook Ecuador's coast. If you have not read my reliving of that night in Puerto Lopez, find it here

Some have asked what the buildings in the photos look like now. What follows are the photos from April 17, 2016 and the same location two years later.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Palo Santo products made in Puerto Lopez, Ecuador #AtoZChallenge

For centuries, Palo Santo has been used for it's healing and cleansing properties. The tree grows in coastal areas of South America, is in the citrus family, and smells of pine, mint and lemon. It is a relative of Frankincense, Myrrh and Copal. Palo Santo translates to "Holy Wood" or "Sacred Wood" in English.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Oeste de Puerto Lopez (West of Puerto Lopez), Ecuador #AtoZChallenge

You may be surprised to learn that if you cross the Pacific ocean 993 kilometers from Puerto Lopez, you will be in Ecuador. Specifically, you will be in the Galapagos Islands' Puerto Baquerizo Moreno

Monday, April 16, 2018

Nets, Fishing Nets Made in Puerto Lopez, Ecuador #AtoZChallenge

As you walk around Puerto Lopez, you will likely find someone working on a fishing net. One of the steps in creating a new net is to string rope between two posts and attach the net. As one long section is completed, the rope is moved along and retied, finished portion on the ground. 

Friday, April 13, 2018

Lights Reflecting Off the Ocean, Puerto Lopez, Ecuador #AtoZChallenge

Stand at the end of the Puerto Lopez pier after dark. Street, building, and beach cabana lights dance to create a symphony of color reflecting off the water. The photo for E (see Emily in Puerto Lopez here) is a daytime picture from the spot above. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Javico, A Puerto Lopez Grocery Store #AtoZChallenge

You will find several grocery stores in Puerto Lopez. Family owned and run Comercial Javico is one of the two largest. The store is on the main through street, the only stoplight is a few steps away. If you click here to view it on Google Maps, you can see Javico is right in the middle of Puerto Lopez.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Internet Cafes in Puerto Lopez #AtoZChallenge

Many families in Puerto Lopez (and much of Ecuador) do not have internet at home. They do have internet needs - communicating with family abroad or school children who need to perform research. Internet cafes (cyber cafes) throughout Puerto Lopez fill both needs. You lease computer access for 15 minute intervals.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Monday, April 2, 2018

Friday, March 30, 2018

Revitalizing an Ecuadorian Coastal Village #WATWB

Residents of La Entrada are revitalizing their poor Ecuadorian village with a new destination wedding church, artwork and town improvements. Shell and Marsha Spivey, expat owners of a popular bed and breakfast, Villa de Los Sueños, have been vital to the efforts.

From this article about the revitalization:

From March 5 to March 11, artists from all over Ecuador came to La Entrada to paint giant murals throughout the village, in what is Phase 2 of an innovative renewal project for the small town aimed at revitalizing the spirit of the people and the town’s economy.

Artwork in La Entrada
Photo from CuencaHighLife article

Thursday, March 15, 2018

A Little Night Music on the Beach

"I cried through the entire thing!" 
-- Sophie, a concert attendee, March 10, 2018

Opera music filled the warm beach night air. Three sopranos amazed throughout the performance. Their voices floated down to us as if angels singing from above.

Nadia Neiazy, Anjali Caillat and Anica Lazin shared their heavenly voices with us

Friday, February 23, 2018

Godfather Ecuador Links Donors with Families in Need #WATWB

It is the last Friday of the month, which means it is time for the We Are The World Blogfest when we bring you positive stories from around the world. Thank you to this month's co-hosts Shilpa GargPeter NenaEric LahtiRoshan Radhakrishnan and Inderpreet Kaur Uppal. Please visit their blogs for more positive stories.

A Free Education is Not Cost Free  

Education in Ecuador is free for all children but it is not without cost for families. The children need uniforms, pens, markers, crayons, notebooks, backpacks, etc. in order to attend. 

Purchasing these supplies is a financial burden some families are unable to meet. Heartbreaking choices are made - if you can afford supplies for one child, which will get an education and which will be left out? Some families have no children in school because they choose feeding their children over formally educating them.

Godfather Ecuador is working to help struggling families. They match donors with families in need. The donor becomes the family's godparent, purchasing school supplies, celebrating birthdays together, and helping where needed. 

Many children who have missed periods of schooling require private homeschooling to bring them up to grade level. Their new godparents provide resources for that.

From Godfather Ecuador's Facebook page:

Monday, February 19, 2018

Family Friendly Carnival in Puerto Lopez, Ecuador

I'm a huge festival fan. I love to dance and dance all night long. 
--Douglas Booth

Laughing children, water guns, espuma and full beaches are sure signs that it is Carnival in Ecuador. During this pre-Lent festival running Friday evening through Tuesday, many families flock to beach towns to swim, hang out on the sand and relax. Puerto Lopez beach's busiest day of the year is Monday of Carnival.

If you are picturing Carnival in Brazil with huge costumes and parades, it is not quite the same. The Ecuador festival is very family friendly and less flamboyant than its Brazilian counterpart.

Puerto Lopez beach on the busiest day of the year
Monday, February 12, 2018

Monday, February 12, 2018

Alcohol Free Ecuador Elections - Voting Weekend Prohibition

"The biggest danger for a politician is to shake hands with a man who is physically stronger, has been drinking, and is voting for the other guy." 
-- William Proxmire

Do you celebrate election night victories with a cocktail? Or drown your election losses with a few beers once the polls close? These are illegal activities in Ecuador. There is little chance of the quote above happening on election weekend.

You can, however, have the beach almost all to yourself.

Puerto Lopez beach

Friday, January 26, 2018

Single Father Getting New Home With Indoor Bathroom #WATWB

It is the last Friday of the month, which means it is time for the We Are The World Blogfest when we bring you positive stories from around the world. Thank you to this month's co-hosts Shilpa GargSimon FalkLynn HallbrooksEric LahtiDamyanti Biswas and Guilie Castillo. Please visit their blogs for more positive stories.

Improving Living Conditions for Father and Daughter 

Canadian Dodie Schadlich lives in La Libertad, Ecuador and helps those in her community who could use a bit of assistance. The following project to rebuild a father and daughter's home is an example. 

Current home occupied by father and daughter, to be replaced in February
Photo courtesy of Dodie Schadlich

Monday, January 1, 2018

Christmas at the Orphanage in Olon, Ecuador, the Happiest Place on Earth

This blog has a guest writer today for the first time ever!

Erwin Musper lives with his wife Danielle near the orphanage in Olon, Ecuador. He spends most of his days at the orphanage - teaching guitar and providing a positive male role model for the kids. When not at the orphanage, he is fundraising to benefit it (click here for the current project). He is an internationally acclaimed music producer, mixer and engineer who worked with acts like Metallica, Elton John, Anouk, and Van Halen. See the full list here. Take it away, Erwin!

One two three FOUR!  Just like the famous first Beatles album, the YOKO band counted off their annual concert for the guests and donors at the orphanage in Olon, Ecuador. (YOKO - Young Orphanage Kids Orchestra). The guitar and piano students proudly played their donated instruments and got the crowd going from the get-go.  The first of many performances by the children that day. Self-made costumes and stage props and increasingly more difficult choreography with the different age groups. Rehearsed for weeks, the twinkle in their eyes while twirling dresses made for a great show. This was my fourth pageant at this place and my third one collaborating.

YOKO (Young Orphanage Kids Orchestra), Erwin on the mike with guitar
2017 Christmas Eve | Photo courtesy of Erwin Musper