Cañar Redux, 2016

Dear Friends:  Here’s the view out our bedroom window on January 3, the day before our flight to Ecuador. (This is a color photo, by the way)view window

By January 4, the first snowstorm of the season had turned into a treacherous ice storm. We decided to spend the night in an airport hotel so we’d be sure to catch our 6:00 AM flight. No taxis available, not even Uber, so a friend drove us, slipping and sliding, to the Holiday Inn, where we spent a brief night. Next morning, our flight to Los Angeles was cancelled – no apology, explanation or friendly reroute. Once we reached Dallas on an alternative flight, our plane to Miami had already boarded and we had to sprint about 20 gates to make it as the doors were closing. In Miami, Cuban sandwiches and beers and a Cuban coffee restored us before a delayed flight to Guayaquil, where we arrived at 2:30 AM. With our bags! As we headed for customs, I looked with pity at the large crowd around the “lost luggage” window. 

Enough of this January travel chaos! Two years ago, we were stuck in an east-coast storm that caused all our flights through DC and NYC to be delayed or cancelled. After an expensive night in a crummy motel near JFK, we arrived a day late. We’ve decided that next year we leave in November.

After a few hours of sleep in Hostal Tangara, at 85 degrees, with noisy air conditioner off and chirping crickets in the room, we woke to this:

arch guacamayasP1110640  P1110637

(OK, the macaws were on the wall of our room, painted by Lucia, the hostel owner.)

After breakfast and naps, we ventured out into the hot humid air for our ritual crab soup, crab ceviche, patacones and ice-cold beers in an open-air restaurant on the Malecon Salado, the seawater canal near our hostel. This has been our routine for years, and the place always reminds me of my mother, who came to visit when she was 87 and loved it. She bought a CD from the guy who was fake-playing his panpipe. crab cevichewaterworks

January 6:  After another night in the hostel to recover, things move more smoothly. A good driver with a vehicle with seatbelts that work gets us to our gate in Cañar in a mere three hours. The house looks much as when we left it in July. This is the dry season, so the yard is scruffy, and inside the house is dusty and cob-webby, but this climate – dry and cool year-round – is kind to a house like ours, made of wood and mud and straw. house first vewInside, the macho aloe lords it over the patio, bigger than ever, and I complain to Michael, as always, that it needs to be taken down to size. As always, he resists. And by the swallow-like birds that flit in and out (through an open space between glass and tile roofs), and seem to feel right at home, I suspect there is a nest or two hidden there.patio first vew

We follow all our usual arrival rituals, including the uncovering of San Antonio, the patron saint of Cañar who keeps watch over the house.  uncovering st anotnio san antonio alone

And then, Michael’s first fire, first beer and his favorite Oscar Peterson on the CD player.  Ahhh, we are at home in Cañar.M. first fire2

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20 thoughts on “Cañar Redux, 2016

  1. Hola mi hermana and hermano! I’m always so happy when you are safe and sound in your home in Canar – in my mind, such a long journey! I awoke to yet another winter wonderland in Santa Fe – magical but so inconvenient! love to you both sherry

  2. Hi Judy,
    We flew home from France on the night of Jan. 3rd and had to creep home over icy roads, so I know of what you speak. I’m glad that you plan to leave earlier next fall because it will be great to have you and Michael there when the Intercultural Learning Community arrives in December. I am so pleased that Nicolas Pichizaca has applied. We are still figuring out who needs funding in order to participate and how we might get it.
    Have a wonderful stay in Cañar. I look forward to more chronicles.

  3. Jude, I loved this chronicle, and am reading it looking out on much the
    same snow scene while Fred is ready to board his flight to the Bahamas.
    I cannot believe Mom went there at 87 with no oxygen. Our brave and cheerful
    Mom. I’m glad you are up in the clouds safe and sound. Love Char

  4. Judy,

    Looks so pleasant and warm and cozy. I remember sleeping on the floor of Mike Impastato’s place in Canar. It was so cold that I could only extend one arm for a few minutes to read by kerosene lantern. Then I switched arms. Below in the morning mist I saw that dogs were perched on the backs of the pigs in the courtyard shivering in the cold. That morning I saw a little boy perched on the back of a pig herding sheep in this mist. Of course that was 1966, Jeff

  5. Love your tales, as always. Glad you are safely back in your beloved winter home

  6. Once again, you two have gone slip sliding away to the beatitudes of macho aloe paradise. Hope the crab ceviche keeps coming and the cerveza keeps flowing. Went to pick up your Ponderosa needles. Thanks. Met your tenant and we chatted about Healdsburg. Stay close to San Antonio’s salubrious shadow, and when you return in July, the sun will be shining, and the snow cranes will be celebrating the absence of those bible-beating troglodytes currently occupying the Malheur Bird Refuge.

  7. Judy and Char, the heating of the ocean in the eastern Pacific is bringing us these terrific storms In The Western US this season.

    The third week of June this last year, Regina and I went camping in the Tetons. But we were driven back by e tremendous heat. It was 95 deg F. in Jackson Hole. We retreated through the place of your childhood–Craig, CO–where it was 103 on a Subday afternoon. To say it seemed desolate would be an understatement, except as I thought of you two, and Sherry, and your wonderful parents, Lynn and Adelin, brightening the sage.

  8. Judy,
    Thanks for the new chronicle and happy and rewarding year for you and Michael. I am glad you are back in Ecuador and look forward to your chronicles.
    My girl friend who now lives in Rainier, overlooking the Columbia, invited me to spend Xmas and new year’s in Oregon but I decided to stay around home. Two years ago there we had snow and ice and many accidents over the holidays. I am glad I did not go. In Rochester, we had 68 (sixty eight) degrees on Xmas eve. Same for new years. Even today, Jan. 9, it is 52. It feel like fall, not winter and very unusual for the area. All the ski resorts are suffering ; they can make snow but it does not last.
    I was talking about you to the executive director of Friends of Ganondagan, the Seneca Village and Cultural Center near Victor, NY. The state has spent millions to build a cultural center and now they have great exhibits (and real bathrooms instead of the portable johns), a parking lots. etc. We started talking abut a collaboration between their historic site and the Arts and Cultural Council for Greater Rochester (which I chair) and talking about native peoples I mentioned the work you have done, the Smithsonian connection, etc.
    I had planned to go to Costa Rica with a group of friends but I may not go. People are becoming so scared because of terrorism. I have been there several times and I will not go alone. Unfortunately, terrorism is impacting all our lives in different forms. Two days before Dec 31, the FBI detained some Muslims who were planning to disrupt celebrations on the 31st by attacking some very popular restaurants in town. They had even written their messages and taped them saying why they were doing it!
    Consequently, and without knowing if there were more people involved, the city cancelled their midnight fireworks, a tradition in our area.
    Enjoy you stay!

  9. Oh, Judy, I can almost taste that silky crab soup (having enjoyed it there myself!) A rainbow of color and warmth at the end of your icy journey! Am so glad you and Miguel will be adjusting your schedules. Just think of the extra daylight you’ll enjoy–no longer here during the darkest, rainy/snowy days of December, and enjoying spring flowers and the summer solstice for the first time in many years in the far north. How about we harass your tenants so they leave early, and you get a head start in 2016? xo much love. Nancy

  10. What a delight to be back with you! That first meal looks like heaven and the patio is a wild jungle! So looking forward to following along for another season in the sky. xo

  11. Thank you as always for sharing your adventures and pleased to have you back in Ecuador. I’ve just started a new project which will involve work in Cuenca and Loja, so I hope to see more of the two of you in the coming years. By the way, I’ve been staying at the El Manso in Guayaquil, in case you were not already aware of it — thoughtful owners (active in the local food movement), lots of character, across the street from the Malecon and inexpensive. The contact is: Ricardo Cevallos, Director de El Manso, Centro cultural, Boutique hostal y Cafetería agroecológica, Malecon 1406 y Aguirre, Planta alta, tel. 593 4 252-6644, Abrazos!

  12. I remember the corner from your house…. They say we are going to have snow next weekend, but I do not think the El Ninio will let us and I hope not. I am trying to grow some beets. I wasn’t even away and my house is full of dust……. ha, ha. Michael looks so relaxed and comfortable and I am thinking that I am in probably the most unrelaxed and scary part of the world right now. I hope things get better here…more like when I first came, 20 years ago.
    Best in the 2016 to you and Michael.

  13. Hi Judy! The best part about living in LA is that there are NEVER any weather delays when traveling! I will come and see you in Portland when you get back. Maybe I can pop down there after one of my short trips to Seattle. Have a great winter in the mountains. Love, Lisa

  14. So sorry for the spelling mistakes above. I replied from my phone. Your mother’s name of course is Adeline, not Adelin.

  15. Hi Mom, I love the contrast of Portland and Guayaquil and the dusting off of life Canar. I can feel the muggy heat of Guayaquil and taste the crab soup and Club beer. Life in Cañar looks beautiful – just as I remember it. Let’s skype soon!


    – s

  16. As always, fun to hear about your winter travels. Looking forward to your Chronicles and your adventures. Stay safe and healthy

  17. Hi Judy – so good to get your warm, colorful newsletters again from your lovely southern home. It is really winter here in Colorado now and such a good time to enjoy your news.
    Thanks, Julie

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