Wednesday, April 20, 2016


I'm sure you've all read about the recent devastating earthquake in Ecuador. Please know that the damage was mostly confined to the northwest coastal area of the country. Here is a reprinted article from Conde Nast about travel to Ecuador:

Don't Cancel Your Trip to Ecuador

Quito's historic center remains mostly unaffected by the earthquake; the city still plans a close inspection of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The earthquake-prone country suffered one of its worst natural disasters in decades, but the main tourist destinations remain largely unaffected.

A 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck Ecuador late Saturday night, toppling buildings and bridges in the northwestern coastal province of Manabí and the resort town of Pedernales; at least 350 people were killed and more than 2,000 injured. With tremors felt all the way in the capital city of Quito and neighboring countries Peru and Colombia, the quake is one of the worst to hit the country since 1979.

Despite the destruction—and the billions in repairs estimated—the damage appears to be isolated to the central coast, said Fernando Alvarado, Ecuador's Ministry of Tourism. Here's what you should know.

What has been affected?

Manabí and the province Esmeraldas have endured the worst of it, but gateways to the Amazon, Andes, and Galápagos—where many travelers will head this year—remain open and operational, the ministry said in a statement.

Airports in Quito (some 175 miles east and inland from the quake), Latacunga, Cuenca, Loja, and Tulcan were spared, while the areas around the Cotopaxi and Chimborazo volcanos have not reported any major problems. Hotels remain open, and tours have not been canceled.

The port city of Guayaquil, 180 miles away from the epicenter of the earthquake, and where many travelers land en route to the Galápagos, didn't fare as well. A drone video showed the collapse of an overpass, while roads, streets, and bridges suffered damage across the city; however, Guayaquil's airport and hotels are fully functional.

The Galápagos themselves are about 850 miles from the mainland, and have not been affected by the quake or aftershocks. All airports, hotels, and cruises in the area are continuing with service as normal, while guided tours and excursions continue to run. "Visitors traveling to Ecuador or planning a visit to unaffected areas can feel confident that their trip will not be impacted and feel secure to continue with their plans to visit our country," said Alvarado.

Friday, April 15, 2016

New Orleans

Have five days come and gone already? Once a conference starts time becomes a blur. We had a fab experience all week--the French Quarter Festival, Garden District, lots of wandering around, and incredible food. Here are some pics:

Now it's time to go see those grandbabies!

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Head's Up

We're leaving for the States in about an hour and won't return to Cuenca until the beginning of May. First stop is New Orleans for an International Living conference. Before we get to work on Tuesday we're going to eat and drink our way through an annual event called French Quarter Fest.

After the conference we're off to New Jersey to visit with half the family, then down to North Carolina to see the other half, then back to Ecuador. I don't write about our family life so posts will be sporadic until our return.

Oh, a week after we land in Cuenca we're off again for a fantastic six day cruise in the Galapagos. Cynthia has wanted to go there for ages, so this will be an early celebration of our upcoming 45th wedding anniversary.

Until I have time to write again, ciao amigos!

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Art Gallery Opening

I mentioned in a previous post about bumping into a new art gallery last week. Yesterday evening was its grand opening, and as promised we were there. Take a look at the size of the crowd and how cool the art is.

Anybody out there have contacts in the art world? This caliber of work deserves a broader audience.

And just to prove we were really there (we always seem to be holding wine glasses----).

Afterwards we strolled to dinner with friends in the cool night air. I remarked that it's so easy to take our remarkable expat lives for granted. How often in our previous world did we say, "Oh, nothing special planned tonight. Just meeting friends at the opening of an art gallery then walking to dinner in the historic district." Uh, like----never.

Our lives here truly are a blessing.