Friday, June 24, 2016

Brexit--Good or Bad?

I want to address a subject that is very important to me today. I awoke this morning to learn that the UK's citizens have voted overwhelmingly to withdraw from the European Union.

This news came as a shocking surprise to pollsters who assumed the vote would maintain the status quo, but not to me. There is an undeniable parallel between the rise of Donald Trump in the U.S. and this historic vote on the "other side of the pond." No establishment figures, be they politicians or the media, took Trump's candidacy seriously either, yet he has attracted a record number of new voters on the way to becoming the GOP nominee.

Too many critics focus on The Donald's oversized personality and sometimes outlandish statements while ignoring the underlying discontent that has propelled his candidacy. There appears to be a shift in global consciousness occurring where people have reached a breaking point regarding their frustration with unresponsive government. They are fed up with the loss of personal freedom through overreaching government intrusions into their lives and the arrogant attitude of elected representatives that signals "be quiet--we know what's best for you."

Trump's appeal to his supporters is not so much exactly what he will or won't do but that he can be counted on to do something. They believed that a vote for more experienced establishment opponents in the primaries, and now for Hillary in November, is a choice to continue along the same "do nothing" path with which they are supremely dissatisfied. And their unhappiness is so intense they are willing to take a chance and boldly move the country in a new direction.

The same mindset has prevailed in the UK. The EU experiment from the outset was a monetary initiative cloaked in the same "safety and security" fabrication as our own Patriot Act. In the end each has been revealed to be more about government control than the welfare of the citizenry.

In both cases the immigration issue stands at the forefront, but it is a mistake to lionize this one aspect of a much broader feeling of disgruntlement. Famous author Stephen Covey reminds us to "keep the main thing the main thing." The main thing right now is that people worldwide are standing at the window like the guy in the movie Network and shouting, "I'm mad as hell and not going to take it anymore!"

Has the UK made a wise decision? Time will tell. The great news is if this turns out to be a mistake they can decide something different.

I believe the vast majority of us are good and decent, and that we are perfectly capable of deciding what is best for ourselves. I fervently believe in democracy. I believe that the will of the people must prevail.

And for that reason I celebrate yesterday's vote as a win for the people. Let freedom ring!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Full Moon Horseriding Adventure

We recently enjoyed a very special weekend that I'd like to share with you. Through our good friends at TerraDiversa tour company Cynthia and I have had the pleasure of several horseback riding trips over the years through the beautiful Ecuadorian countryside.

Last month we took these excursions to a whole different level with a full moon ride.

Joined by another fun-loving couple we all were driven to Hacienda Totorillas

where we would be staying overnight in a lovely, rustic casita on the property.

Even these photos can't fully capture the beauty of this place. And to think it's only a short distance from the city!

Shortly after getting settled another group arrived to join us for the ride. We all got outfitted with boots and safety helmets

and at dusk we were off!

Our steady horses climbed upwards along narrow ancient trails used by the CaƱari people long before the arrival of the Incas. Then just as we came into a high clearing the full moon slowly rose over the mountains as seen in the first photo.

It was a sight so truly magnificent that all of us sat silently on our saddles in awe. Then our guide Carlos told us to turn around and there behind us were the twinkling lights of Cuenca!

On the way back in a pasture Carlos asked if we wanted to go faster for a bit. Everyone said "yes," and off we went galloping through the night. A little scary? Sure was. An unforgettable memory? Absolutely!!

Once we returned a ceremony was held around a bonfire as our group enjoyed wine and refreshments.

Afterwards our riding companions left and the four of us pretty quickly fell into bed. The next day we took a leisurely hike to once more take in the breathtaking scenery before heading home.

If you'd like to experience the beauty of Ecuador from a unique perspective, consider going for a horseback ride even if you've never been on a horse in your life. All the horses are matched to the size of the rider and each tour is tailored to the skill and experience of the group. Contact MontaRuna Tours for more details.

The casita we stayed in is available for rental whether or not you want to ride. It has two bedrooms and is fully furnished. All you need to bring are food and clothing, and if, like us, you don't own a vehicle, transportation can be arranged. Cynthia and I love to go there occasionally just to relax and remind ourselves what a gorgeous country Ecuador is. Check with TerraDiversa for more info.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Sometimes We Lose Our Minds

On Sunday we often hang out at home and don't even unlock the door. For "retired people" we're often quite busy during the week and this day of R&R really suits us.

Today began with that exact vibe. I got up early, had a relaxing yoga session, and sat down to watch the finals of the French Open. Cynthia slept in and piddled around, while I actually crawled back into bed for a late morning nap.

A-h-h-h---life is good!

Shortly after my shower Cynthia asked me to help her turn our king size mattress. Sure, no problem. Somehow that involved us moving the bed out from the wall, which caused us to discover that the area back there hadn't been cleaned in awhile.

This triggered a chain reaction of thinking about all the other places in the house that needed attention, and we suddenly were off on a full court press deep cleaning project. I'm talking about up on ladders and down on hands and knees stuff. Tops of kitchen cabinets--behind the sofa--cleaning the sofa--tops of tall furniture--scrubbing the grout.

I don't know what the hell got into us, but a second shower, ibuprofen, and a cocktail later, I have to admit it feels good to know we got all of that done with one massive effort.

And it was still kind of like a normal Sunday--we haven't unlocked the front door.