Author: Jim Santos

Before I continue with our two weeks in Uruguay, I want to clear up some confusion from the previous post. Rita and I traveled to Uruguay in September of 2017, in the last two weeks of a five week journey that included the Andes in Ecuador; Inca Trail to Macchu Pichu, the Sacred Valley, and Lima in Perú; as well as a weekend in Buenos Aires. On our return, I had a lot of writing to get caught up on...

Read more

When we arrived at Carrasco International Airport after an overnight flight from Lima the sun was just coming up. We had managed to doze a little on the bumpy flight over the Andes, but we were still a bit groggy as we sleep-walked through the motions of getting our passports stamped, finding our luggage turnstile, and making our way through customs to the car rental booth. Already though, we could tell things were a little different here. For one thing,...

Read more

Today I celebrate my second fifth wedding anniversary, by which I mean the fifth year of my second marriage. It seems a good time to reflect on a few things, and I've been trying to sort out and identify my feelings about "the institution of marriage". We hear a lot that the "institution" is threatened by the behavior or actions of one group or another; whether it is the LBGTQ community and same-sex couples, or hetero couples that change spouses...

Read more

I saw an interesting post on Facebook over the weekend. Someone asked if anyone had seen the movie "The Shape of Water" and liked it. OP apparently did not like it at all, and wanted anyone who did enjoy the movie to explain why. I almost commented - in fact, I did post something, but within seconds I had reconsidered and deleted it. After all, at its heart, this post was a futile request. When it comes to art, you...

Read more

With the time we spent in Cusco before our Inca Trail hike acclimating to the altitude, plus our time after the hike recovering and exploring, we were in Cusco for about 8 days. I've written about the downtown Cusco scene, and covered our Sacred Valley Tour as well. Before moving on to Lima, I'd like to share some advice and experiences on other archaeological sites in the area. Although we paid for the guided tour of the Sacred Valley, we...

Read more

I could feel the urge building over the last few weeks, and then this Sunday, it finally happened. I woke up with a raging gumbo-ner. I just had to make my favorite New Orleans meal. Gumbo is not something to be taken casually. It is not one of those "one pot" dinners that you can "whip up". To do it up right, you really need to dedicate the whole day to preparing one meal. Sure, there are "quick and easy...

Read more

We did much more during our six weeks of travel in August and September of 2017 than hike the Inca Trail. I've written about part of our time in the Quito area and in Cusco and the Sacred Valley before the hike, but we also spent some time in Cusco and Lima afterwards, before heading on to Uruguay. We really enjoyed our time in Perú, so I wanted to go back and spend a little time re-visiting each stop.  Before...

Read more

When you live in the most popular beach resort in Ecuador, one thing you can always find is a restaurant. Here on the southern Pacific coast, there is no shortage of places serving fresh seafood, traditional Ecuadorian, and even familiar fare like pizza, hot dogs and hamburgers. Heck, the Salinas area even has two French restaurants now. But like every tourist area, there are the “tourist trap” restaurants, and then there are the one’s where us locals like to eat....

Read more

Living in Ecuador, we have a big money problem. Or rather, we have a problem with big money. The sad truth is that the cost of things like cabs, buses, fresh produce, lunches, haircuts, and so on are so low, that no one likes to break large bills. Taxis frown at anything over a $5 bill, and trying to use anything larger than a $20 anywhere but a major chain store or restaurant is almost impossible. So here in our...

Read more

We have been spending time each day now preparing for our written Ecuador citizenship tests that we will have to take later this year. This involves working on our Spanish, in addition to trying to cram some information into our old, tired brains. As I struggle to try and memorize the names of Ecuadorian Presidents and their accomplishments, the provinces and their capitals, major geographic features, dates of holidays, and random cultural facts, I find myself thinking about both the...

Read more