New Years Eve plans!!

December 29, 2007

Well, it´s all coming together today. Good job I´m here in Quito to take all the calls and emails!

Karin, nurse and aforementioned Cafecito owner, has just called to thank me for offering to help her and Tony in Bogota with the opening of their new place. In and amongst the talking she´s invited me out with her on New Years eve.

Previously NYE was looking a bit of a damp squib. Lord and Lady Hollick are booked in for a fancy meal in the Old Town and I am coming back to the empty Quito flat to make the January 1st picnic (sausages and potato salad incase you´re wondering). Not exactly a happening evening then.

I was planning to take a walk down Amazonas where the Quiteños have all their “guys” (Guy Faulks type dolls, stuffed with papermache faces) which they burn at midnight to signify the end of the old year and the beginning of the new year. But now I can meet Karin and some friends down there, rove the streets looking at the dummies with them over a glass or two of Margerita and then go to some house party with them all. How nice is that. Honestly, the people out here are just lovely.

Hope you all have Happy New Years, whereever you´re spending them. And although I´ll be running about 5 hours behind you all, I´ll raise a Margarita to you all back home. Especially everyone at the Ibbos house!

All the best for 2008

PS Jorge was in touch yesterday… it may not be dead in the water just yet!


I’m going to Columbia!!!

December 29, 2007

Not part of the original plan, and not even going for New Year… but all the same… plans are being put in place to get me and my ickle back pack to Columbia at the end of February. Whoooooooo hoooooooo!!

Tony and Karin, joint owners of the lovely hostel and restaurant, Cafecito, here in Quito… (Karin’s also my nurse when I get things like typhoid or go deaf)… plus they have a Cafecito in Cuenca, which I’ll be visiting later in January when I pop down to the Southern part of Ecuador for a nosey around, but more exciting than all this… they are about to open a Cafecito in Bogota, Columbia.

NEVER one to turn down a party invitation, and I do believe this is the most extreme length I’ve gone to to attend a party, the opening party is on February 29th and I am supposed to be in Cordoba, Argentina. But what´s a couple of days… I´ve emailed the guys in Argentina to see if it´s okay if I arrive a couple of days later on… and am hoping to change my flight to have some neat little 3 or 4 day stopover in Bogota on my way up to the Hub of all Airports in Panama. From where I´ll catch my flight a couple of days later on down to Cordoba.

You following all this?

Detour via another country to go to a party? Yup, that´s right. Plus as I´ll be there on the 27th I can help Tony get set up for the opening event. He´s just rung me and is sending through his travel agents details to help me out with the flights. 

I love it when a plan comes together. 

PS. It´s 24 degrees, sunny and blue sky today.  Je je.

PPS. Slipped on a banana peel this morning, no really. Very slippery too.

Christmas pics

December 27, 2007

As you were all reclined on sofas with chocolates, glasses of wine and cups of coffee and bulging bellies, Sam, Sally and I went with 5 guests to Hacienda Rumiloma for lunch on the 25th.

The sun was out and the sky blue… until it clouded over, but the morning was warm at any rate. And we lounged around in the hacienda for 4 or 5 hours, eating drinking and chatting.

Nice though it was, it wasn’t the same as a Christmas at home. There were a few presents in the morning, chocolates from Sally and and a lovely Christmas Nativity set made in wood (they have some lovely nativity scenes out here, really simple and beautiful) from Sam.  

So, although I’m not making promises, I’m hoping that next year I’ll be setting up Mary, Joseph, the crib, the Archangel Gabriel and the 3 Kings in a hearth or coffee table in the UK.

There are a few pics of where we were on flickr.

 PS the riding tour went really well, nice people. Although various exaggerations about riding ability and experience, plus people weighing themselves with a toe on the floor, meant the horses had to put up with a fair amount. (weight and inexperienced bouncing riders).

Here’s a pic from the last half hour of the ride on Christmas Eve when the peak of Cotopaxi showed though the clouds…

Cotopaxi through the clouds

Mmmm books…

December 27, 2007

Currently trying to get my hands on all books by this man…

Paulo Coelho

Realise I’m a bit behind as most of you will have read the Alchemist which is the book I believe made him most famous, however I’ve yet to read that one. So far I’ve read and loved 11 minutes and The 5th Mountain. Going to pop down to ye olde American owned English bookshop in Mariscal later and see what he’s got.

and Christmas aproaches…

December 21, 2007

Worked out for the first time today that Christmas would be on Tuesday. Would normally have had that figured out weeks ago, thinking of holidays off work and the like, but this year it’s all a bit off-kilter.

The riding tour (which I’m guiding the last few days of) finishes on the 24th December. And Sam, Sally and I are supposed to be climbing (in a taxi of course) the tree covered slopes of Pichincha for a sumptious Christmas lunch at Hacienda Rumiloma.

However… best laid plans and all that… Sam and Sally appear to have had a couple of “discussions” whilst riding in the northern part of the tour and I doubt if either one wants to spend any time together. Which kind of leaves me stuck in the middle.

Last Sunday afternoon we went to a Christmas party at Charlie and Sherry’s house. Turkey, people, chat, wine and dancing… all lovely. I mingled, chatted to some Argentinians had a go at tango dancing (rather difficult!) and generally had a lovely time of it. Sally arrived late (as per usual) and also had a good old chat and dance. Sam was hung over from the day before and sat in the corner. She didn’t want to be there and it was fairly obvious. That said, we’ve all been to parties when we’d rather have been somewhere else. But it’s just that she and sally are like repelling magnets and can’t stand to be in each others company. It’s amazing they’ve lasted this long… almost 6 months. Sam leaves in early January.

I have emailed the new girl who’s coming on Jan 5th, she seems nice enough (and is on facebook), although is in her early twenties, so might find it a bit tougher being out here. However she’s only here for 3 months, so have to see how she gets on I suppose. I am working on a pack of stuff for her… camping and picnic lists, horse information, dos and don’ts, hacienda names and locations etc. And I’ll do my best to induct her in the couple of days I have before MY PARENTS GET HERE!!!  (Not that I’m looking forward to that a lot or anything! But a familiar face from home will probably have me blubbing in the airport at the moment!)

I also have a cold. Only a small one, but niggly enough, one nostril won’t stop running and I have to do that blackadder thing of stuffing a tissue up one side to go to sleep.

The Quito weather has been uncharacteristically cloudy and wet for a number of weeks now (ever since when Xavi was here actually). Which is rubbish when the houses don’t have central heating. I have been lighting the fire in the lounge most afternoons, which Fraser has been very appreciative of and if I remember I can keep it going until 10pm ish. Sadly that’s in the lounge and I pretty much live in the office. Luckily, we have one portable radiator thing, unlukily, if you plug it in anywhere in the office the fuse blows and you have no light or computer. (trust me, I’ve done it).

I am missing more than anything the following (in no particular order):

1. Christmas gatherings, with red wine and cheeses

2. Trashy Christmas telly and Only Fools and Horses reruns

3. My family

4. Pressie shopping

5. My friends

6. Buying Christmas going out outfits

7. I´m still missing bonfire night from back in November

8. Having a tree to decorate and turn the lights on

9. Tins of Quality Street and Christmas biscuits

So, I warn you all here and now, that if I am home at Christmas next year… you will be sick by the 10th of December by my enthusiasm and general Christmas cheer, cos I have two missed years to make up for.

Lots of love to you all, and have a very Merry Christmas xxx 

No Jorge… yet

December 15, 2007

Well it´s always the way, you get excited about something and there´s no way it turns out as well as you´d hoped.

I didn´t see Jorge (and yes Mum, it is pronounced Hor-hay) the other evening, he worked until 1am on a company presentation on what business/figures etc they ( were going to do in Ecuador in 2008. (My business vocabulary in Spanish is really coming along). We managed various messenger conversations, texts and at half eleven a phone call (I had been asleep and was not very compos mentis to say the least, let alone for a business class Spanish). Anyway, he invited me round the next day after the presentation, but I couldn’t go as I was ON TOUR… waaaay heeey, playing super guide down in Cotopaxi National Park, with a group of 5 Americans and one guy from Madrid.

They were a right laugh. The guy from Madrid, Francisco(or Paco) was the archetypal absent minded professor now teaching at the University of Georgia, but previously head of department at Princeton. A really really interesting guy, with tonnes of knowledge on everything… and patience to help the whole group with Spanish.

And there were a lot of decent Spanish speakers, (from Houston, Miami and California, which all have large Spanish speaking communities), including Geoffry. A therapist. Who also happened to be gay and complete scream. It was his birthday 60th on Thursday, so we made it a bit special… he was el rey for the day, sitting at the head of the table and generally being fussed over, which he loved. At dinner that evening we had some champers and red wine (which really didn´t help my headache galloping along at 3750 meters altitude the next day) officially crowned him with a napkin and made him a King Geoff sash. Anyway, like I said a fabulous group.

Anyway, I stayed with them in Hacienda La Cienega near to the national park for two nights and Jorge rang on the first night. We managed about 70 percent of the conversation in Spanish (he talks soooo fast) and when I hung up, realised he´d been yakking on the phone to me for over an hour! Glad that wasn’t my mobile bill.

Anyway, he´s supposed to be back up in Quito next week… so fingers crossed.

Although on the other hand, I got the loveliest email from Xavi today. Really need to figure out a way to get to Barcelona sometime before Spring 2009.

Ooo am all confused.

Emergency blog entry!!!

December 10, 2007

One for the ladies this one…

OMG, it’s true!! The guy, Jorge , the surfer, the guy I’m supposed to be going out for dinner with tomorrow… he looks like this…

and this

 and this


or in the office (just to prove he’s a normal 37 year old).


 Whooooooooo hoooooooo.  How on earth did I pull that?!?!

Bet he cancels now…  

How can I lose weight by tomorrow night????!?!