Thursday, January 09, 2014

Al Gore Selfie

Oh My

That's a Skewl Chair

Oh My

Adventures with Rakesh

That's What I See

Last Week

How to take a DNA swab

How to take a DNA swab

Chris Bowes


cuzzin ricky  AMERICAN IDYLL

Alive and thriving in Ecuador. What an amazing country!!!
No Obama.  No Holder. No Reid.  WOW!

So President Correa (yes, a ratbastard socialist) came to Cuenca yesterday to campaign for members of his party before the local election next month. In the rain he spoke for about an hour to a drenched crowd of several thousand. What is really interesting about this photo is that it was taken from my friends apartment who lives above Otorongo Plaza where the event took place. I was about 50 feet away from the president. No secret service came to search my friends apartment. In fact several people came to hang banners. Imagine a country where the president can fearlessly walk among his people!!

Nate is a friend of ours... he is a financial markets drop-out from the Chicago Board of Trade... where he had a career.  He is now a bartender at De Baco's... a bar we go to occasionally for Gringo Nights.

I direct you to his site, because he took pictures of the President's speech last night in Orotongo Square.... from Ricardo's (another Gringo from Seattle) apartment window.  This is the same apartment that has the one-Sunday per month concerts... a clip that I sent several of you earlier.  Nate has some other interesting pictures of his travels around Ecuador, as well.

The interesting thing is that I played chess with both Nate and Ricardo at a coffee shop, directly below Ricardo's apartment, yesterday morning in Orotongo Plaza, as they were setting up the stage, hanging banners, etc... for this event.

President Correa is widely popular here, some of that popularity comes from his ability to speak Quichua..the major language spoken by the indigenous in the Andes..  He is a Socialist... was educated at the University of Illinois (Masters in Economics) and Belgium, where he got his PhD.  He is not a big fan of the U.S., but encourages Gringo emigration because of the relative wealth they inject into the local economy (Cuenca is the most prosperous city in Ecuador, with less than 1% Gringo).

With Correa has come stability to Ecuador (in the 4 years prior to his election 5 years ago, there were six presidents).  He is teflon coated, and (like most third world Socialists) is able to blame any problems or woes that the Country has, on the Western Industrialized countries.  In a real leap of logic, since Ecuador in conjunction with the Chinese, is drilling for oil in the country's eastern provinces (in the Amazon), he has somehow managed to convince the population (including some Gringos that should know better) that it is because the U.S. and Europe failed to pay a $16 Billion hostage / ransom fee that would have only postponed exploration and drilling for a few years.  The area of the Amazon affected relatively accounts for an area as large as a postage laying on a football field.

Nonetheless, here in Cuenca, the stability and prosperity is obvious.  Modern, high-rise buildings are going up all over the place.  Construction has started on a light rail system.  There are new, Western-oriented restaurants and bars popping up all over town (many started by Ecuadorians that have spent decades abroad.....usually the U.S. or Europe..... that have prospered and come home).  Locals, whose family units average $600 per month income, complain that Cuenca is the most expensive city in Ecuador.

Examples of the repatriated Ecuadorians:  Our Ecuadorian friends, here in the Palermo building (Pepe and Cathy) lived in New York for almost 20 years, and still have a house in Flatbush.  He was a waiter at Peter Lugar's for 10 years, then started his own Italian restaurant, which he sold about 8 years ago.  They took their money, bought a beautiful apartment (similar to our apartment but he is on the 12th floor, we are on the 9th), and dabbles in real estate, usually as the middle man between Spanish-speaking Ecuadorian owners, and Gringos.  Another example:  The guy that owns the apartment we are in, is a long-time bartender at Bemelman's Bar in New York (inside the Carlyle Hotel......a very old, well known, power-meeting spot).

So... we are alive and well in Cuenca.... and enjoying it.  Kitty is having lunch with some Gringo girlfriends this afternoon.  Tonight, dinner downtown, tomorrow is BBQ night at Roux's (catering almost exclusively to the Gringo community...their BBQ nights are always booked to capacity), Friday:  dinner at the apartment of some friends of ours who are from Sacramento by way of Phoenix.  Sunday is the traditional "Game Day" at the INCA bar, where a core group of Gringos gather to watch football.

Like I said.... there is no shortage of things to do here.

Our open invitation to come visit stands......but if you start looking at the calendar, please keep in mind that Kitty and I are going to Mancora, Peru (a beach town in norther Peru) for a week, in mid-February.  We return to the States for our West-Coast trip (San Diego to Vancouver, over a 2 month period) in late May.

Come see us!  We will pay for your airfare.

cuzzin ricky