Monday April 18

041916-020I am writing this as email to myself since I don’t have word process on my iPad.

These are notes that I may compile into something… or post on my blog

I was trying to help fix a generator today, and I was wondering what a part did….. Normally I would google it. Tough to do without net access.

I went to my old apartment to put everything together for the final move….it looks like everything is stable… Maybe a few more bricks had fallen.  I took my sandals off to climb up on the bed to cut down my mosquito net… Started walking around in my bare feet… Started screaming at myself about being stupid…the floor still has broken glass all over…   

There was an aftershock while I was there… Fuck,I don’t know which is worse, the quake or the aftershocks…one was unexpected the others fill me full of dread.   I have one more trip to make to the old place.   I am going to get a car and a few people and do it quickly and finally.

The stuff that if left there is things I would like to have, but don’t need.  If the building comes down between now and getting it than so be it….

I haven’t been taking picture cause I have been too busy taking care of me… I also think I have picked up a mild case of sunstroke… I have one more visit to the apartment to get stuff, and then I think I will calm down.  Knowing I have to go back into the building once more doesn’t make me happy…

I have succeeded in moving all of my stuff out of the old apartment. The guy who helped me move was amazed at the damage…. I am not sure why, because there are so many other building that are partially or completely damaged.

The day after the quake I saw some people “looting” a building that had been flattened.  This was a brand new building which, I have been told, had sold 3 days earlier for 140,000….. One of the highest prices in the area.  The house is now rubble.  It pancaked. There was no one living there at the time.    Anyway I saw some people going through the wreckage pulling out any useful bits.    Another building under construction also pancaked in el centro.  The municipality has come in and finished the demolition and is carting off all the rubble.  I guess that it is better for people to take bits and pieces instead of it turning into landfill.  

I am now staying in a small cottage up the road ( up being a very important word)  It is small, quaint and on the ground, not up in the air.

My new landlord has gotten a generator working, so now I can recharge all my devices… It also means we have water.  I am still being careful with my usage, but with the heat, 3 or 4 showers a day are the norm.  I miss the sea breeze of my old place.  I Tomorrow I am going to see about getting one of the fridges hooked up.

I also tried sending a few text messages, but I am not sure if they got through… There have been no responses.  A lot of time I don’t get a signal on my phone…I am not sure how the cell towers get power….

I am moving…. again

I haven’t written for awhile, so I thought I would bring people up to date.

I am moving again.  I think this is about the 20th time for me.

Busy beach

Busy beach

The place where I am staying is the bottom of the house of a good friend. This place is perfect. But I have to move. When I came to San Clemente I was thinking a 4 to 6 week stay. My friend let me rent her place, and extend my time once I decided to stay longer. The problem is, she has long term renters arriving in December so I have to leave.

I am moving about 5 or 6 kilometers up the road to the village of San Jacinto. It is to a smaller apartment on the third floor right on the ocean. The views are of the main reasons I took this place. Another advantage of this apartment is it is in the centre of the village. No more 2 Kilometer walks or bike rides to go to a restaurant.

The big disadvantage is that the apartment is in the centre of the village, which means I get to listen to the disco on Saturday night. I am hoping that the location of my bed, the sound of the crashing waves, and the general wind direction, will keep the levels low enough that it isn’t a problem.

Once I get in, I will post images of the view…. I think, on a clear night, I should be able to see Manta on one side and Canoa on the other.


In February 2013 I made a trip to the coast of Ecuador.   I was going to take a few photographs for the Fundación Dr. Oswaldo Loor Moreira.   Through a very convoluted series of contacts ( a friend’s friend’s wife is related to the director) I was asked to help take some publicity shots.   I really didn’t have any idea what I was getting myself into.

It was a very eye opening experience.

I got to visit places where most Canadian’s don’t get to see.

One of the places we went to was the workshop of Sandy.

In Ecuador cars are very expensive.  They are outside the reach of most Ecuadorians.  For this reason motorcycles are the main means of private transportation( there are also buses going just about everywhere).

Motorcycle mechanics are very popular, especially if they are good.  Sandy is a good motorcycle/ bicycle  mechanic.

He is also blind.

This is as I saw him last week.  He was fixing the spokes of a wheel of a clients Motorcycle.

Sandy is a blind motorcycle mechanic.  Fundación Oswaldo Loor Moreira Manabi Ecuador

Sandy is a blind motorcycle mechanic. Fundación Oswaldo Loor Moreira Manabi Ecuador

Sandy is a blind motorcycle mechanic.  Fundación Oswaldo Loor Moreira Manabi Ecuador

Sandy is a blind motorcycle mechanic. Fundación Oswaldo Loor Moreira Manabi Ecuador

Sandy is a blind motorcycle mechanic.  Fundación Oswaldo Loor Moreira Manabi Ecuador

Sandy is a blind motorcycle mechanic. Fundación Oswaldo Loor Moreira Manabi Ecuador

And this is as he looked on my first visit in 2013. That day he was building a replacement part out of metal. This required grinding, pounding and shaping.

Sandy is a blind motorcycle mechanic.  Fundación Oswaldo Loor Moreira Manabi Ecuador

Sandy is a blind motorcycle mechanic. Fundación Oswaldo Loor Moreira Manabi Ecuador

Sandy is a blind motorcycle mechanic.  Fundación Oswaldo Loor Moreira Manabi Ecuador

Sandy is a blind motorcycle mechanic. Fundación Oswaldo Loor Moreira Manabi Ecuador

Sandy is a blind motorcycle mechanic.  Fundación Oswaldo Loor Moreira Manabi Ecuador

Sandy is a blind motorcycle mechanic. Fundación Oswaldo Loor Moreira Manabi Ecuador

I hope to drop in again in a few more months.

I bought a bike.

My bike...still a work in progress

My bike…still a work in progress

One of my goals in life is to own as little as possible. I find the more stuff you own, the more rooted you are in a location. Sometimes you just have to buy some things, but I try to keep it to things I need, not what I want.

I bought a bike.

The house I live in is about 2 kms from “el centro.” The walk on the beach is really nice, at low tide. At high tide the road is the only way to get there since the beach is impassable.  The road walk is ok, but it isn’t as nice as the beach, and in the heat of the day it doesn’t have the cooling ocean breeze.

So I thought a bike would be a good idea.

Bikes don’t last long in San Celemente.  The constant salt spray off the pacific is bad for any metal.  Add to that the sand and dirt and Bikes have a limited life expectancy.  As well I was just going to be here a short time so a new bike would be a waste.  The idea was to just buy a beater since I wasn’t going to stay here all that long…. (but that too has changed.)

So I bought a used bike.

The bike I picked up is from a gentleman who was leaving the country and was getting rid of his possessions. It is a little flashier than I really wanted but the price was right… $50.  It came with 2 flat tires. I could have had the local bike guy fix the tires but he is located in “el centro” and I am in “el norte” Getting the bike to him  requires getting a ride in the back of a truck,walking home, and then walking back to pick up the bike. I did this once and then promptly blew a tube. In order to finally fix the tires I had to buy a new tube, an air pump, a patch kit and tools.

So now I own a bike, an air pump, and tools.

It is a 18 gear machine that was put together out of spare parts.  I have been tinkering with it so that I can use about 10 of the 18 gears.  Since the road is flat I really don’t need all the gears. It isn’t important to get them all working, but i keep adjusting things anyway. To make things run smoother ( and to try and keep things from rusting too quickly) I needed a can of some type of lubricant.

And I now own some WD40.

After a bit of work, the going is now really good, but the stopping is a little rough.  I still need to do some work with the brakes.  I don’t really get up to any speed, because the potholes are many, and the sweat factor comes into play very quickly.  I usually amble along at a nice leisurely pace.

Being able to just to hop on the bike and bounce into “el centro” for a bite or just to see what is going on is a nice bit of freedom. The cost has to include the extras as well.


I caught this virus.

It sucks.

Chikungunya is a mosquito born virus that is spreading along the coast of Ecuador.  It isn’t as bad here in San Clemente as on other parts of the coast, but I have been going inland to take photos and I think I picked it up there.

Yesterday I started to feel a fever/chills after I came back from a walk on the beach.  I treated myself as if it was heat stroke, in the hopes that that was all it was.  I also had aches and pains throughout my body.  The problem is I always have pain in different parts of my body.

This morning, after sleeping for 14 hours ( with many pee breaks..whenever I am not well I always try and hydrate myself) I tried walking.  My feet HURT.  My feet rarely hurt, but they were really painful to walk on.  After spending 10 minutes walking around trying to ease out the pain I decide it was time for the doctor. It wasn’t heat stroke.

Patricia ( a lady across the street) drove me to see doctor Christina.  After a few questions and some poking and prodding ( I still have trouble with Ecuadorian doctors putting the thermometer in my arm pit) she said I likely had Chikungunya.

She gave me three shots, a B vitamin, an anti-inflamatory, and an antihistamine ( I think)

She also gave me prescriptions for similar drugs and supplements.

She then gave instructions on what I can and can’t eat or drink.  Basically anything heavy or that causes the liver to work harder, Pork, shrimp, beer…. and peanut butter. I live on peanut butter.  I am addicted to peanut butter. I wonder if it would be ok in moderation, or if I have to go cold turkey. I have a fresh new unopened jar sitting on the shelf calling my name. I love peanut butter.

So today has been spent napping in between sleeping,  and then another nap.

One of the interesting effects of all of this, is the drugs I am taking have removed all of the pain from my body.  This is something I have not felt for years.  The downside of these drugs is the toll it puts on your liver. The good thing that I like about this doctor is she prescribed supplements ( Bs Cs  etc) to counteract the harmful effects of the drugs and to help my body fight the virus.

I have canceled most of my classes for tomorrow so that I can concentrate on the import thing right now..getting rest and helping my body fight this bug.  I know I will come out of this ok…. but no peanut butter…. 🙁

Helping a Young Lady Walk

Two years ago.

Two years ago.

Three + years ago I starting doing some photographic work with the   Foundacion Oswald Loor.

Two Years ago I had the opportunity to photograph this young lady ( I haven’t given her name because I would likely spell it wrong( as has been pointed out to me by several people many times, I need to improve my spanish))

She, as well as most clients I have met of this organization, seems to always have a smile on her face. It was very noticeable that she had trouble moving, and not from her Visual Impairment but a serious back issue.

In her case she had 2 big “problems” to deal with.  1 was her visual impairment.  Another was a problem with her back.  ( I don’t know the problem exactly…bad spanish on my part as well as squeamishness keeps me from exploring such details.

When I talked with the director of the Foundacion, she explained that she was working hard on arranging the financing, timing, drugs, and aftercare for an operation as well as trying to co-ordinate everything so that the young lady would miss as little school as possible.  This is outside of what the Foundacion normally does, but this the type of person the director ( Yolanda ) is… trying to help who she can when she can.

This is how the young lady looked yesterday.

How she looks today

How she looks today

She had her operation last October ( over a year after I first met her) and she now moves very well.

Yesterday she was smiling as usual.

Unfortunately this doesn’t help her vision problems, but anything that can help her life be better, is a good thing.

I have arrived

San Clemente Ecuador

San Clemente Ecuador

I have been so busy being here I realize I haven’t answered myself when will I arrived.

I am not sure when the exact date and time, but I am here now.

This place is so different than anyplace I have ever lived before.

Today I wanted to go to the store to buy some food and stuff for the week.  Easy to do in most other places I have lived… not so San Clemente.

It starts with a walk to the Y… goolemaps says this is 1.7 KM.  I can usually do this in 15 minutes… but I don’t.  The heat makes me slow down so it may take 25 or so minutes.

Then I wait for the bus….. and wait…and wait….  I could go two different directions, One way there were 3 or 4 buses, the way I wanted to go, today not so often.

The bus arrives and for the fee of $1.25 I get to ride 45 minutes or so to the city
(Bahía de Caráquez) I wanted to go to.   Once I am there I have to pay another .15 to ride the city bus downtown.  Basically 2+ hours just to get to the store, and do some transactions.

Then I get to do one of my (not) favourite things…food shopping.  I get enough staples and stuff to last me a week or so ( I have simple tastes)  for about $75.  This is way too much to carry on the bus, so I take a taxi to my apartment.  A 25 to 35 minute ride ( depending on the driver)… cost is $12.

So to go grocery shopping I left my place at 9:30ish and got back around 2:00.  And there are items I needed that I forgot to get.  I won’t be running back to the store soon.

But why am I here:

This picture might explain it.



I photographed a picnic on Friday.

FDOL Picnic.

That by and of itself isn’t anything too special.The children also got a tour through the   seed propagation area of the university forest we were in.  There were games for the kids such as sack races.

It wasn’t a large picnic, because the children are all clients of the fundacion oswaldo loor.This non-profit organization helps people with visual impairment in the province of Manabi in Ecuador.

FDOL Picnic.

These kids are busy being kids, and having a great times…being kids

FDOL Picnic.
FDOL Picnic.
FDOL Picnic.

It was another interesting experience for me.  My camera has taken me to so many amazing places and experience some things I never would have otherwise.


So when do I arrive?

081013-579I have been in San Clemente for almost a week, and I have to ask myself “when do I arrive?”

The flight here was ok.  I had a decent cab ride to the airport, no unexpected problems at check in, security, etc…

I don’t know why but I always seem to fly out of the same gate at Pearson… the one right across from Tim Hortons…even though I have flown with different airlines to different parts of the world….  I have done a lot of serious thinking about life in that same area…though they have added those “free” ipads to use… I wonder if anyone has thought about the diseases that get passed through those things.

The flight here was the way I like to fly…boring.  I don’t want excitement on an airplane or at an airport.

Customs was fine, the overnight stay in the Quito airport was boring and uncomfortable, the short flight to Manta, was fine though I was extremely tired. I think I fell asleep while the plane was held up on the tarmac

The cab ride to San Clemente where no problem since I am used to cab drivers in Ecuador.  We only got off track once because of a bridge repair and he did what every other driver in Ecuador does..he asked for directions.He as do  most Ecuadorian drivers ( whole are mostly male) asked 3 or 4 times.  And this was all ok because I knew where we were and where we were going.

My problem is I am still not here.

I don’t feel comfortable yet.

The heat and humidity have been a challenge….35c with 70% humidity has been a standard day time temp.  There is a great ocean breeze… but it is draining.  Hydration is the orders of the day.

I  started working right away, which I think was a mistake.  I need to take more time to settle into what is here.  I need to get into the swing of life here.

Tomorrow will be Supermaxi day… and my first return to Portoviejo.

I don’t know.

Busy beach

Busy beach

I visited some friends a couple of days before I started on my latest round of travels.

As people do, they asked me about my plans.  My answer was “I don’t know”

Once I got to Ecuador and started meeting and re-meeting people, one of the first questions they ask is how long are you staying, or what are your plans.  My answer…. “I don’t know”

I can’t remember saying this phrase this much in the past…  I usually know, or have an idea about most topics, but about my plans I had to say “I don’t know”

It is easier to say “I don’t know” then to say my future is rather fluid, there are a few photo projects I want to work on ( I want to do some more work with FDOL FDOL Images on grsphoto )  I want to explore Ecuador some more, I want to visit friends, I need to rebuild a couple of websites, but there isn’t a timetable or deadline for any of this…. mostly I just want to be…..

So instead of explaining this I just give a little smile, and say ” I don’t know”…. mostly because I don’t know what my future holds for me… and I feel good about it.