Author: Jim Santos

Here we are, just 76 days from setting off on the Inca Trail, and we have successfully completed our first major tests of hiking at altitude. The results were mostly positive, but also quite sobering. I think at the moment we both feel that we can probably do this, but it is going to be, pardon the pun, an uphill struggle. We began this new phase just four days ago on Friday. For me, the day did not start auspiciously....

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It is true that there are some unusual things to get used to when you choose to live in another country. Speaking a different language is something that is high on most people’s list in this regard, but I have found myself noticing some of the more subtle and interesting differences. Here in Ecuador for example, consider something as basic as food. Of course there is an adjustment to be made in the types of food available here, and this...

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I have to confess, I am a foodie. Although not a chef by any means, I love to cook, and I love to sample local dishes whenever we travel. So Ecuador is a perfect place for me to indulge in this weakness. Not only do I have access to incredibly fresh and healthy produce, meats, and seafood to use in my own kitchen, but there is also a wealth of local and traditional meals to experience. Best of all, even...

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Hard to believe, but we are now less than 100 days from the start of our Inca Trail Trek. We are into the double-digits. Ninety-nine days from now, we should be getting into a van at our hotel in Cuzco at 4:30am to head out to the start of the trail, and a four-day three-night adventure. In preparation so far we have walked 1,327 miles, and taken 18,903 stairs - 14,619 of those just since mid-April. Although my weight is...

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I've been thinking a lot lately about women's rights issues. It is not an easy thing to do for a person of the male persuasion, much like how a white person who grew up in a middle-class suburb really cannot understand completely what is it like to grow up black in a ghetto. But with all the things going on politically in the US that seem detrimental to women specifically, you can't help but wonder exactly what is going on with...

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Happy Anniversary to me and Rita! It as 8 years ago today (May 3rd) that we had our first date. Although to be honest, I did not know it was a date at the time. Let me explain. I got married in December of 1983 to Carolyn, and we had two children. We had a happy marriage, which ended in December of 2008, just a few days short of our 25th wedding anniversary, when she died of complications arising from breast...

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Time to take a break from the Exploring Ecuador series of just looking at places to live, and take a look at places to enjoy life in Ecuador. If you like walking around in the great outdoors, then Salinas has a great place for you to get your hike on. The picture above shows the westernmost point of Ecuador (excluding the Galapagos), a national park called La Puntilla de Santa Elena. Opened in October of 2008, La Puntilla is a...

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Rita and I returned last week from our trip to the States, having ensured the financial security of REI, Bass Pro Shops, Jockey and Reebok for 2017. I can't look directly at our American Express bill from our hike supply spending spree without dazzling my eyes, but I think we did surpass the gross domestic product of several small nations. We flew out of Guayaquil with two suitcases and two carry-on bags, and returned with 4 suitcases and four carry-on bags,...

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On April 7th 2017, a great injustice was finally rectified. The band "Yes" was finally inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. This has been long overdue. Yes, in its various combinations and incarnations, was one of the best bands going for decades. Their music was a big influence in my life, and as a bass player, Chris Squire was always a big musical role model for me (yes, one of my basses is a Rickenbacker). Although members have...

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As I watched Congressman Paul Ryan the other day, beaming his boyish grin while he talked with obvious joy about the benefits of stripping health insurance from the poor, sick, and elderly, I had a disturbing feeling of dejå vu. It is disturbing, because it seems to make some sense of recent events. It had been bothering me for a while now, this string of politicians actively seeking to punish the less fortunate. Ryan's insistence that cutting school lunches would...

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