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...

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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...

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Recently, we left our home in Salinas, Ecuador to visit the US for the best possible reason – my daughter had just given birth to twins, one boy and one girl! We had a great visit, but as always, there is some “reverse culture shock” to deal with when we are confronted with life in the States. I had one incident in particular that I found both amusing and instructive. As you might expect, I spent a lot of time...

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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....

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It was 1995. We were living in Charles Town, a little community of 3500 in the Shenandoah Valley of West Virginia. Early that summer, we attended a carnival in the even smaller town of Inwood with some out-of-state friends. Our Maryland friends were delighted with the small-town flavor of the carnival, and were amused to see you could win a rabbit pitching Ping-Pong balls at goldfish bowls. Seeing this, my son (Jonathan, then age 10) could not rest until he...

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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...

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It is hard to believe, but just seven weeks ago today, Rita and I set out on our hike to Machu Picchu. Actually, sometimes it is hard to believe we really did it. But we have the trail stamps and photographic evidence to prove it, and in fact Rita says I still have a bit of the bruise on my ass from the third day, so there's that too. Now that we have had a little time to gain some...

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Before finishing the story here, I need to offer two apologies. First, sorry about the issue with images not loading. I have resolved that now, so all images from all four days should load without problems now - just in time for a bunch of Machu Picchu pictures. Second, sorry it has taken so long to get the whole story online. You see, we didn't just return home after Machu Picchu - we've been on the road ever since. We...

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Day 3 of our Inca Trail Hike dawned cool, cloudy, and buggy. Thousands of the little guys, buzzing around our faces. They made it annoying to get ready, and made us ready to get moving to try and leave them behind. You may recall from our Day 2 report, that I was not feeling my best after a rough night of Insomnia and Diarrhea, which I know sounds like a French acrobat team, but in fact is not a great...

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Day Two of our Inca Trail hike started early, with a wake up call at our tent at 5am. Wake up comes with cups of hot coffee and some water for cleaning up, so that's not too bad. Also, much to our surprise, we had both slept very well in our nice, warm sleeping bags. Although we each were up once to visit the potty tent, we got at least 6 hours of uninterrupted sleep, and another hour or two...

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