Sunday, December 30, 2018

La Cocinita, El Mercado, and Gigi's

Yesterday was going to be a rest day but it just didn’t turn out like that.   There is always something going on and even though you’re on vacation you still have things to do.  We started off the day with the group at La Cocinita for breakfast.  We decided to not overeat because after we would be heading to the mercado.   I had an omelet and a hot milk with Nescafe.  It was delicious.  At La Cocinita they bring plates filled with fresh cheese, refried beans, tortillas, salsa and other goodies and that’s before bringing your meal.  So I attempted to hold back as much as I could.

The adobe oven where they make the fresh ground corn tortillas and cafe de olla.

We hopped in the SUV and headed over to the mercado.  Some things never change and this market is one of them.  It isn’t very big but runs a couple of blocks long.  All the Christmas items are still out, and now red and yellow underwear for New Year’s.   Red is for love and yellow is for money.   I never see any that are mixed colors.

Walking around I decided I needed a haircut and a shoe shine.  The group walked over to the main plaza and sure enough there were a couple of boleros waiting for customers.   My shoes look brand new with a good shine.  Gail had her shoes shined as well.   While they toured the square I was off for a haircut.  Well, Jorge was busy until 6 p.m., Toni doesn’t open early on Saturdays, Lupita had over and hour wait but around the corner I found a place.  Great haircut!

I was hoping to get in a nap before our afternoon activity.  Heinz and Ulli came by along with Sal, Barb, Doug and Cathy and we loaded up and zipped down the road to Gigi’s Restaurant outside of Mazamitla.  It is an open area with lots of greenery, pine trees and quiet, still air.  The restaurant is actually a house divided up into dining rooms.  We had a room for 12 with a fireplace.  There are also outside palapas but you really need a reservation for those especially during a holiday.   We were more than happy with our place.  

The menu runs the gamut.   Some of what was ordered;  escargot, Thai curry, chateaubriand, Greek salads, and of course beer and wine.  We ordered the house wines, both red and white and many were interested in what label it was.   During the meal we mentioned our favorite wines which are La Cetto and when the bill came we asked about the house wine and sure enough it was La Cetto.  Good choice!

Lots of fresh flowers and delicious homemade breads spread among us.

Friday, December 28, 2018

Hike From Valle de Juarez to El Tigre

We headed out on foot this morning for a famous landmark, Sierra del Tigre.  It is located up the mountains from Valle de Juarez exactly 10.5 km.  It was quite a climb although we did take the cobble stone road because most of the mountain is small farms and ranches.  We started off with vigor and vinegar.  As we continued to climb you could feel the altitude affecting your breathing.  The good thing is we have been working on our cardio-vascular muscles by do inclined treadmill activity.  What is that?  We do thirty minutes on the treadmill starting at 5 on the scale and increasing the speed to 4 miles per hour and the incline changes every four minutes to the next level, or 5 to 11.  We are now at 6 to 12 and it really gets the heart pumping to 140 beats per minute.   That is daily.  Then on Friday we do an actual stress test simulation to where you are at an incline of 14 and running at the end for three minutes.  I was impressed with our climb today.

Back to the trek to El Tigre.  The mountains are beautiful.  Only five cars passed us in the 2.5 hours it took us to go up to the top.  There were many stops for pictures but it was worth it.  We passed small ranches where everyone was friendly and gave us a wave and a howdy-do.  

Fossils in the rocks used to make the road.

I've mentioned before how the farmers produce milk, set it by the side of road, and Liconsa, a government program, comes by to pick it up and registers the milk and the producer is paid 6.90 pesos per liter.  A pretty good business. 

As you know, we have the OXXO convenience stores.  This is at km 5 on the way up.  This is a take-off on the name.  A truly good rest stop for bathrooms, food, water and snacks.  They have developed a truly good business.

We never really took a break of more than a picture or a drink of water.   When we arrived at the top we found El Tigre.  Unfortunately, for those that live there, it is not a tourist attraction.  The open safari wagons from Mazamitla just drive right through and never stop.   It would do a great deal for the very small community on top of the mountain.  We stopped and had the tacos I had prepared in the morning and walked to a small farmhouse that offered meals.  We ordered two coffees and chatted with the owners for a spell.  They too are disappointed with the lack of tourism.  They complained about the large groups of 4 X 4s and RZRs that pass through destroying the canyons and streams with their vehicles.  The owner had worked in Santa Maria, California for many years during the planting season.

Juan’s knees starting to hurt.  We had planned on walking up and hitching a ride down but only five vehicles passed us on the way up.  The owner who offered us a coffee said that eventually, someone would pass by.  One of the tour safari wagons drove by but refused to pick up us up even for pay.  We decided to started walking and all of a sudden a tuk-tuk passed with a woman and a couple of costales of grain for her cows.  We waved and he said he would be back to pick us up.  A fun ride down.

We met the group from the rv park at the entrance to the road we had gone up and they were at the famous Pemex at the entrance to Valle de Juarez having tacos.  Okay, what the heck.  We had a quesadilla.   Nap time came and went and before we knew it, chairs gathered on the lawn for happy hours and a few good jokes.   As Croft always says, “life is good”.  We sure miss Croft and Norma here.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Another Eventful Day In Jalisco

I'm not really sure just what day it is or what to title today's blog.  All I can say is that we are relaxing and enjoying the vacation.  Let´s hope it lasts for a long while.

The weather in Valle is my kind of climate.  22C during the day with the sun on your face it's nice and warm.  At night it has been hovering around 7C.  That's perfect for connecting the electric blanket.  

Everything here at the rv park works just fine.   Good electric, water, showers, and laundry.   There is no wifi but we are using the Telcel stick.   I called yesterday to confirm which package was the best and I am buying 2 hours at a time for 15 pesos.   So with 300 pesos of air time, choosing the "internet only" option, that gives us 40 hours of internet time.  That's according to the calculator.  We'll see what happens but it works great here in Valle.

Yesterday the guys went to Mazamitla.  We did a little shopping at the local mercado.  People are always surprised at the prices.   Lots of fresh meats and although we aren't big flesh eaters, they do have chicken livers.   I haven't had them for a long time and would really like to bread and pan fry some.  We also stopped by the little supermarket and picked up; kleenex, napkins, toothpaste, laundry soap, two Colgate toothbrushes, and it all came to 60 pesos or about $3.  

On the way home, we stopped at a restaurant that Heinz had recommended.   He gets the award for the best restaurant recommendation of 2018.  He said they sold fish tacos that were lightly breaded.  Well, Jerry ordered three fish tacos, Bill had two, I ordered the shrimp burger, and Juan ordered a fish taco and a shrimp quesadilla.  The shrimp burder is not like Toni´s in Mazatlan.  It's the best we have had but just a different flavor.   The fish tacos are white bass and truly lightly breaded.   They have a small salad bar with pico de gallo, cole slaw, chopped cabbage mixed with pico de gallo, salsa, etc.  U-N-B-E-L-I-E-V-A-B-L-E!  I have no need to try anything new this trip here in Valle, I've found all I want.

Last night we headed up to the restaurant that is on the grounds here.  It is closed for lack of workers, I won't go into that diatribe now.  On the covered patio they have an adobe oven.  We built a fire and had happy hour there.   The three girls were crowned "The Queens of Chema´s Rv Park" but just for the one night.  They received crowns and septors.  We finished up and went home to watch Austin Powers Goldmember.  

Tonight we have a bonfire at Becky and Jerry´s house.  They moved here two years ago and built a house so that will all be new to us.  They are loving their new life here in Valle. 

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Merry Christmas From Valle de Juarez

Sending this from my cell phone with a very small screen.  Don't expect miracles.

 We started out on Sunday from SMA taking the lead to Salamanca.  We stopped and Jerry and Paula took over.   We stopped a couple of times for a potty break, fix a quick bite to eat, and then on to Valle de Juarez.   Nothing much to report from the road.

Things are as usual, we did some libres and some toll roads and some were great and others not so great.

We arrived to the rv park around 3p.m. and got settled in.  Chema charges 1400 pesos a week including electric.   We really don’t need the electric and may negociate for just a primitive site.

The bathrooms are excellent and in new condition and there is a laundry room for wash. 

Last night we celebrated Barb and Sal’s 46th anniversary with a big party at their house with family, friends, and expats from all over who now reside in Valle and Mazamitla.   It looks like Mazamitla is really becoming a grand tourist attraction and was recently named as another Pueblo Magico.

This morning we headed out to La Cocinita for breakfast around 9:30 but not before I got in my morning exercise.  Lots of people from all over were there.  The waitress that they opened at 6 a.m. and were greeted by customers who had been out the night before doing some pretty heavy drinking.  All was good because they are doing a great business.
After we walked around the main plaza and some others did some quick shopping because tomorrow everything will be closed.   We had a late lunch with another large group of about 35 people at La Troje restaurant in Mazamitla.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

On The Road To Valle de Juarez

It was an uneventful drive to San Miguel de Allende.  We left Matehuala at 9 a.m. and picked up some fresh whole wheat bolillos and a chile relleno to make a delicious breakfast torta.  The highway this time of year is packed with paisanos and many of them are driving like there is no tomorrow.  

Blue skies all the way, in fact, it has been that way since Thursday and it makes for some great picture taking from the road.  We usually go down Hwy 57 to Dr. Mora which takes you to Los Rodriguez and then to SMA.  This trip we took the exit to Dolores Hidalgo and it is a lonely two-lane road through the countryside.   You can really see the plains of Guanajuato on this route and it is a bit shorter plus we didn't have to drive through SMA which we had heard was packed with tourists.  This route brings you right to the rv park Hotel San Ramon.

We arrived to a warm welcome from Bill, Gail, Paula, and Jerry.   We had a glass of wine and went to bed very early.   I was pooped.   I fell asleep around 8:30 and now it's 6:40 a.m.  We are heading off with the other two rvers in about an hour.   Nothing to unhook, we just leveled the trailer and left it at that.

It will be an interesting drive.  We haven't traveled with other rvers for many, many years.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Retirement and On The Road In Mexico

Here we are on the 21st of December and found this jewel as we were leaving the quinta.

We headed out this morning a bit later than our usual.  Now that It appears that there is no more schedule, we left the house around 8:30.   We stopped in our town to get the paper and I realized that the front passenger side headlight was out.  Go figure, from last night to this morning.  We stopped at Autozone in Santiago and they didn’t have the lamp.  We decided, what the heck, who needs the headlights during the day when the running lights are working and the low or day lights.  We got to Allende, about 20 miles south and stopped at that Autozone.  The manager knows me and he helped us out.  He had the lamp and we also had a bad wire.  It had rubbed another and shorted out the lamp.  All was well after that.

I had originally planned to take the route to Ciudad Victoria and meet up with the Policia de Federal caravan which takes people south.   But, as we approached Linares, we decided to head across the mountains.  I shied away from that because of our breakdown in March.   The SUV performed beautifully without a hitch (no pun intended, the trailer was behind us all the way).  When we arrived to the top, Galeana, we stopped in to see our gordita friend at the intersection of the highway and the entrance to town.  I had two tacos de higado, liver.  Shouldn't have, but man were they delicious.

We did hit very heavy traffic stopping at the Parador San Pedro.  The paisanos, or Mexican-Americans who travel home for the holidays had hit the road.  At San Pedro we hit a construction zone and the back up was over 45 minutes.   I’v never seen people bring so much used junk into the country.  For crying out loud, they make money in the U.S., can’t they bring new stuff or even better, help out the Mexican economy by buying gifts in Mexico?

Full moon behind us.  Looks like we're set up for the night and ready for bed.  

Arrived to Matehuala at 4 p.m.   The Oasis Hotel, where we usually stay, is being remodeled.  Very nicely painted, new lighting, and wifi.   The casino in front has received permission to reopen.  Good for them.  150 pesos a night.  You can’t beat that.

We’re in happy hour mode right now.  It will be 5C tonight.  Good thing we have an electric blanket. Not sure why more rvers don't use them as they work wonderfully on battery.  Tomorrow it is off to San Miguel de Allende where we meet up with Paula and Jerry and on Sunday head to Valle de Juarez.   Maybe we can meet with Barbara!!!!

More later.  As Croft always says, “life is good” and I am happy to say that we are not sure when we will go back home!!!

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Meeting Up With The Caravan

We hosted the Kevin and Ruth Experience Caravan at our place in Montemorelos.  It was the best thing we could have done.  We met some new friends, some friends who have been blog followers for a long time and were able to put names to posts and faces.

As you know, we hadn't been out for some time and I wanted to do some things to get the rig in good shape.  Well, it performed beautifully.  Little Bit was in tow and he enjoyed himself as much as we did.  

We headed down on Sunday morning to avoid the traffic stopping at a popular restaurant between Allende and Montemorelos, Gran Principal.  They have great breakfasts and instead of serving chips and salsa they bring a crisp flour tortilla that measures 25 to 30 cm wide.   In addition, they also give you a couple of gorditas de manteca de res, or beef fat.  They are not greasy, probably not healthy on a daily basis but delicious to the palate with some of their wonderful salsa.

We arrived early, set up and took a quick nap.  The caravan made great time and I'm sure you have read all about it, if not here is the link to the blog, Travels With Kevin and Ruth A Great First Full Day In Mexico.

Sunday night after happy hour we had dinner with Ruth and Kevin.  We had marinated some steaks the day before.  They were great along with some delicious green beans.

We spent Sunday and Monday doing all types of activities.   You can tell we all pretty much come from the same ink in the sense that driving the group into town to do some minor shopping and get their cell phones working.   We all wanted to be in charge!  It was hilarious in the end.

We had a dinner out Monday night and it turned out to be a real bash.  We found a small place in downtown Montemorelos, Fonda San Miguel.  The owners really catered to us and the food was pretty good and so was the price.

We have made so many good friends who are so accepting and we just hope we return the same feelings and hospitality to them.

We left the rv at the park in Montemorelos because we had to shag for work thinking we would be back to pick it up.  We did go back but we didn't pick it up, we spent another night in the light rain enjoying conversation and going over the time we had with the caravan.   Up early this morning, heavy fog, rain and traffic my first thought was that I wouldn't be able to get the rv into the driveway.  Then I had a change of mind and thought, "Have I ever not been able to back the rv into the driveway?"  Never.   We pulled up to the quinta, opened the gate and on one try I backed it in.

Special shout out to Paul who has been a long-time reader and we really hit it off.   

Thursday, November 29, 2018

False Gods

I'm not a very religious person and as the years go by I start to see my own reality.  There are things that are true in religion.  Commandments, which are pretty much truisms in life such as thou shall not kill, steal, covet thy neighbors wife, to name a few.  The commandments are pretty much the same in the Torah as well as the Quran.

Everyone uses the word "bible" today.  There are even bibles for rvers and expats in Mexico as well as other countries.  New bibles appear every day and it's important to be leary of those false gods.  In Mexico, there are unscrupulous people who deal in expats.  They like to offer their services to "help" foreigners who are non-Spanish speakers.

I'm not against anyone providing services for newcomers to Mexico.  What I am against are people who help foreigners by going around the law.  There are areas that are grey and some that are pure black and white.  Here are two of those black areas that many expats take advantage of at the urging of these bible gods.   

One is the UCD license plates.   The plates were originally meant for those in deep rural areas who were considered poor farmers.   Now, you can see Mercedes driving around the streets of places such as San Miguel de Allende with these plates.   What does that really mean? It means that it is illegal and they have a court-ordered stay to avoid having to follow the law.   In essence, these people are avoiding to pay taxes on plates and tag renewal.  They can't go far, however, once they leave the city limits or in some cases, the municipality they are open game and some cases can lose their car.  You don't hear that part though.

The other, which is morally wrong and can be illegal but recommended by some bible thumpers, is the use of Seguro Popular.  It is legal to apply for Seguro Popular as long as you meet the requirements.   The requirements are based on income and any expat, who is here legally, and by that means they have met the financial requirements for temporary or permanent residency, pay $600 dollars U.S. per year.   

Some of these disciples believe it is okay to advise their followers to lie and cheat on their application saying that they are near destitute.  You'd have to be pretty broke, down on your luck, or just plain immoral to use Seguro Popular under those terms which are meant for those who don't have social security and IMSS medical care and are generally in the group listed as "in poverty".  

In the U.S. and Canada,  people would never even begin to think of doing any of these things because they are not moral and also illegal.  There is that saying though, "when in Rome do as the Romans do".  I doubt that was ever meant to apply to illegal activity.   Just because someone jumps off a cliff, does that mean you should too?

I don't brag much about my Catholic upbringing as it is usually associated with child abuse or some other illegal activity that takes advantage of the poor and downtrodden.  

Expats, beware of false gods.  

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Replaced The Batteries With LTH

This was a three-day weekend for us, celebrating the Mexican Revolution (Not sure how many more years we are going to do that considering it was a complete failure.  This new president will be the final proof in the pudding).

It's been cold and rainy and the weather isn't going to improve anytime soon.  This week it will continue through the first week of December with warm days and 10C at night, little to no rain.  I've done a couple of things to get the rv ready and it really needs some decorating.  I'm not very good at that but it needs pictures.  We have a great small 5 x 7 frame that is raised fabric and light as a feather.  I need to find more.  We have some great pics just like everyone else.

I bought new batteries.  We bought the last set 7 1/2 years ago.  They were actually starting to bulge on the side.   They were Interstate from Costco and served us well.   They still hold a charge and as long as the sun was shining during the day the charge worked well all night long.  

I stopped by CostCo and they no longer carry them.  Sam's was nearby and they don't either anymore.  They carry batteries but not 6V deep cycle.   Battery Master carries the Trojan brand but they wanted 4800 pesos each for the T105.  Sure, why not?  What other choice is there?  So, I took a chance and stopped at a factory LTH battery store.   Yep, they carry 6V deep cycle at 232 amps.   Get this.  The price was half of what the Trojan cost and still carries a 1-year guarantee.   The label reads, "Solar, Golf Cart, Marine".   Sold!   I had to leave a 1000 peso deposit (500 each) for the return of the used batteries (casco or shell).   Then, they said they had made a mistake on the price.  Because I had come to the shop (they do home service, that's their big business), they gave me an additional 10% discount.   Total came to 2500 pesos each or $125.   

I paid the electrico (car electrician) to come and redo the terminals and check the 12V system and install the batteries.  I could have done it but I don't have a soldering iron and a voltmeter.  Worked out well.  He spent about 3 hours total and when completed he charged me 350 pesos.   What a deal.  I'm very happy and everything is working.  

We went to a party Sunday night.  Holidays are not a good time to be driving around late at night especially if you have had a drink or two.  The last two years I have been the designated driver.  This was a big party with people we have known for over 30 years so we drove into town, rented a hotel room nearby and spent the night.   Worked out well and worth every penny.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

The Cold Is Here and Closer to a Trip.

The cold weather is setting in and I am enjoying it 100%.  I put the electric blanket under the fitted sheet and turned it on low last night.   Love, love, love my electric blankets.  It rained off and on and warmed up today but we will see lows of 1C this week.  I'm a happy camper.  Getting things ready for December and I don't know when or how we will come back home.  

When at home on weekends, I don't venture out much.  Too much traffic, crazy drivers (no comments please) and overall chaos.  I like being here at home except for an occasional grocery shop.   Today was different.  We went to a furniture event at the convention center.  First stop was at a taco stand in town.  Pretty good for a quick trip and to an unknown place although it is originally from Santiago.  

The exhibition was a bust and we were hustled right into it.  It was called Blue Room.  Turns out that Blue Room is a furniture franchise and they had their end of year pieces on sale.  It was fun to get out and mingle.  One of the very young salespersons followed us around.  His last name was German and he said his grandfather came from Germany to Mexico about 35 years ago.  Hmm.  He didn't receive any genes from him.  

On the way home, we stopped at the Tim Horton's near the house.  Imagine, now they are springing up everywhere. I still can't understand why there is one 20 km from the city but it was packed with customers.  Their prices are very reasonable and beat the socks off of Starbucks.   There are now 12 Tim Horton's in the Monterrey area.   A breakfast combo; coffee, sandwich with bacon, egg, and cheese along with hash browns, is $3.00.   We didn't buy anything, normally we don't eat at these types of places but the food looked pretty decent.  My five tacos and coffee were the same price.

Good ole Little Bit is getting on in years, going on 19 years now.  He has some stomach issues we have been working with for the last two years and now he has stomach pains.  The doctor says it's just old age.  When he feels the need, he gives out a small scream and we need to tell him to go outside and he does.  We will continue to take care of him until he just can't anymore but he runs, plays and likes to still chase things.  As long as he's happy and mobile, I'll support his once in a while mistakes.  

Gearing up for December the SUV is in good shape.  There were some suspension issues that have been fixed and an annoying clunking sound from the rear end on shape turns.   Well, it went to the shop yesterday where they determined that everything was in good order in the rear end.  The problem was caked on grease, road dirt, and grime.  They steam cleaned and lubricated everything and it seems to have done the trick.  Time will tell though.   They also did an engine cleaning and the total price was 550 pesos or around $26 U.S. and they worked for over 2.5 hours.  Looks good for an SUV that is 13 years old.  

Sunday, November 4, 2018

The Rest of Ecuador

Typical autopista toll booth, always $1.00

I will have to say that it would be very exciting to rv in Ecuador.  You are free to roam just about anywhere and I would like to think, based on what I have seen now in four trips, that boondocking is more than viable.  Lots of small towns where you can duck into backroads and side streets and maybe with permission find lots of safe and secure options.  The mountains around Quito are truly amazing as is the coastal route.  

My conference was a success with 260 teachers in attendance.  The theme of the event was Social and Emotional Learning including a segment on self-regulation and suppressive expression.  It has taken me a lot of work to develop this workshop; reading, viewing, studying, and attending other SEL conferences over the last two years.  I don't have pictures yet but should have them this week.   Ecuador had a four-day weekend because of Dia de los Muertos, here in Mexico it was only three days.

The U.S. consulate used to be next to my hotel but moved a couple of years ago.  They have a beautiful stone mural on the second floor.  It may be a bit difficult to see but it is well worth clicking to enlarge it.

I may have posted some of these before, my apologies.

Great architecture, old mixed with new.

Like most major cities, things are going vertical and sustainable communities, live, work and play.

The previous U.S. consulate next to my hotel in the background.

I worked on the front end of the trailer today.  I took everything off the front only to discover that the battery tray is complete rotted and rusted.   I have a guy coming on Wednesday to help me redo all the terminals and maybe move the batteries inside.  That means I will be buying two sealed batteries, and adding a transfer switch to make all the outlets live.  

More pictures tomorrow.  

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Getting The Rv Ready

I wouldn't say that the rv has been neglected but it was time to get down to brass tacks and get some repairs done.  The frame and most of the metal parts such as the bumper, jacks, LP gas tank tray, the hitch and the WDH system all needed some cleaning and painting.  

I started with the rear bumper and jacks.  Not at all difficult and actually quite fun to do.  Rust is the enemy on these parts so I took off all the parts, soaked them in a salt and vinegar solutions.  I washed them in soapy water and then after drying gave them a light sanding.

I am using Rustoleum flat on all the parts.  My motivation for this part of the project was Nancy and Doug.  They did this I think over a year ago and I kept saying that I needed to do it.

Another motivation for this project is that it's good to keep busy when you are grieving.  I'm sure most of you know that I lost my brother Steve this week while I was in Ecuador.  I'm still in limbo here but I have lots of support.  Yep, I'm a guy, but we suffer too and we need emotional support.

My brother and SIL were in Cancun.  Being the adventurer, he decided to go scuba diving which he had done many times before.  He had a massive heart attack.  The ambulance arrived within five minutes but he couldn't be revived.  We did as much as we could in terms of helping from a distance and ready to go should my SIL and nephews needed us.  All I can say is, don't rely on the U.S. government.  They didn't lift a finger after several attempts to be in contact.

Fortunately, the hospital personnel were more than kind and one employee who spoke English did the translation for my sister-in-law's police report.  He did a fantastic job and with the paperwork, they were able to take my brother to the funeral home for cremation.   The documents that followed, again no thanks to our friendly U.S. consulate, helped them get the ashes through Mexican customs and into U.S. customs without a hitch.   So if you should decide to pass away while out of the U.S., you're on your own.  As I have always said, KNOW BEFORE YOU GO.

In memory of my brother Steve.  It happened so quickly he may not even know he's gone.  We'll never know.  We had good times in the last 10 years.  We took trips to San Miguel de Allende, Loreto, and time along the coast of Oregon.   I'm sorry he won't be here anymore.  

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Day Off In Guayaquil - Museum of Anthropology

(Pictures were taken by my cell phone so they aren't the best)

What a fantastic day.  I was up at 6 a.m. after not sleeping so well.  I ate too many carbs last night and it made me kind of hung over.  I woke up several times during the night.  When I saw the clock at six I decided to get up.   
The hotel has coffee in the room.  It's an electric water pot like a percolator and they have terrible instant coffee that comes in a tea bag.   The other day I bought some Nescafe instant.  Instant is good if you know how to prepare it.  My oldest brother worked for Folgers all his life.  He showed me how instant is made and if you ever get a chance, check out a YouTube video.  The process will surprise you.  I had a couple of cups and hit the shower before heading down for breakfast.  

I confirmed my route with the concierge who said, "that is a very long walk you're taking".  Please, 3.5 km each way.   Off I went down the main avenue and through the Centennial Park.  I hit the beach head on.  It's not really a beach it's a river but it has a marvelous malecon.  

It's called La Perla.  It looks like a string of pearls.

The museum is next to this ferris wheel.  I was about 10 minutes early and hung around and took more pictures.  This mural was created by an artist, Rendon, and it was sitting in a warehouse for 28 years until it was installed outside the museum.

The doors never opened.  I asked a worker who was sweeping and he said that on weekends I had to enter on the first floor, another entrance that was not listed on the upstairs door.  No big deal.  

Each of the following depicts a different set of animals; squirrels, birds, sea creatures.

All the artifacts are from the coastal areas of Ecuador and date back to 3000 b.c.  An excellent exhibition that explains the history of the area, what crops were grown based on the different elevations as well as explanations of what trees and animals live or lived at that elevation.  I spent over two hours there and could have stayed longer.   I left because of this:

The museum is along the river.  All of a sudden, 50 to 100 very loud ski doo starting running up and down the river.  The noise was so irritating I decided it was better to leave.  The audios for the videos were drowned out by the sound.  I wasn't the only one who left.

After, I headed to the mall.  I didn't bring my black jacket and I have my conference on Tuesday.   I took a taxi for $3.50.   I was about a 15-minute drive across town.  I don't care for malls as its all lights, noise, and commotion.  I didn't find anything but I did buy a black shirt I found of all places at the supermarket inside the mall.  😃  It's your typical mall as you can see.

I walked back to the hotel so I did about eight kilometers.  A good Sunday walk followed by a nap.  Now, time for happy hour.