Ecuador Is Great… But Now What?
Did I ever mention to you that next year I plan on doing some world travel. This was my original plan when I moved to Cuenca, but I needed to get that first 2 years of residency in before I could be out of Ecuador for more than 90 days.
But what do I mean when I say world travel?
And will I still be Ecuador George, or will I be España George, or maybe Italia George?
Nothing will change. I will still be George and my blog site will still be Ecuador George, but my reports will be coming to you from all over the world.
Of course I will touch down in Ecuador on a regular basis, but for the next 2 years, 2017 and 2018, I am hoping to have extended stays in Spain, France, and Italy, and I might do a little traveling into Malaysia and Mexico. I might even do a tour of the United States for a few months, maybe the east coast.
Who knows, it is all just in the planning stages right now, but I thought I should let you know.
As for this year, nothing will change. I will continue to travel around Ecuador and next week I will be in the United States and will tour the coast of California from Laguna Beach up to San Francisco. Later this year I will be going into the Amazon. Maybe some of you would like to go along.
So looks like my travel goal is going to be realized soon. But what about those other goals I set? How are those coming along?
From Fat George To Not So Fat George
When I moved here in 2014 I was 248 pounds, but today I am dancing in at about 215. Ecuador has that affect on a lot of people. Of course I feel a lot better now, but 195 is my ultimate goal.
And I need to firm up. I have resorted to leaving the lights out when I shower. I make the dog leave the room when I’m getting dressed. And I only date people with failing eyesight or ones who are legally blind. It has really gotten pretty bad.
So I finally joined a gym… and it is the best thing I’ve done for myself in a long time. And I bought a bicycle. And I’m riding it.
Maybe you want to work out with me???
If getting into shape is one of your goals, and you live near Remigio Crespo between Solano and Loja, we could do it together. This gym I found is new, it’s clean, the owners are great, and it is actually fun. (and no, I don’t get free months if you join).
Losing weight is hard. I thought learning Spanish was going to be the difficult task, but this last 20 pounds might be my biggest challenge to date.
Progress, not perfection. And I am making progress in both areas. My Spanish is coming along ever so slowly, but I am seeing improvement every day.
But lets not get off the subject of that Gym Membership…
I joined this place for a couple reasons. Convenience, as it is only a 15 minute walk from where I live, I have friends already at this gym, the price is really good ($72 for 3 months), and everything is almost brand new and the place is really clean. Spartan Gym is also very close to one of Cuenca’s colleges so the clientele are very young and healthy, and very friendly and helpful too. I find this very motivating… And not in a dirty old man way either.
The first day I joined I had a talk with one of the owners, Cesar, and told him what I was trying to accomplish. He then took 2 hours of his day to show me around, teaching me a good routine for increasing stamina and losing weight. I offered to pay him when he was done, but he would not take my money. And the other owners and employees are just as attentive. If you want help, they are right there. If you want to be left alone, no problem. I really like this place.
So who wants to come work out with me?
Spartan Gym is located just off of Remigio Crespo. If you know where the Subway is, and JEP, well, it is within a block or two of those landmarks, a couple of blocks west of Solano. The address is Remigio Tamariz 337 and Agustin Cueva in Cuenca.
If you have any questions, call them at 098 3092511 or 099 17336511. I’ll even meet you there if you need a little moral support.
I play poker every week with a group of friends. These are very special guys who asked me to join their group about 9 months ago. I had no idea that most of them were small business owners here in Cuenca. And I had no idea how quickly we would become close friends.
These are all well known business people, and I have been to each of their shops. Jim Gould is the owner of La Yunta Tienda and Cocina, along with his partner and wife, Soledad. If you want rustic furniture, this is the best place in Cuenca to go. And if you like authentic Ecuadorian food, their kitchen will cook it up in the same store. That’s right, furniture and food, what a great combination. Located 10 miles outside of Cuenca on the Panamericana Highway. Call them for directions 0989456551 or just Google “La Yunta”.
You will not be disappointed.
But this place is more than just that. These are community minded people, and I have been to more than a few events at La Yunta. This is a place you will want to take your time visiting, meet Jim and Soledad, and enjoy an hour looking around their very beautiful store.
Then sit down and order up some great food. Let them know I sent you. I get free refills if you do. Hahaha.
California Here I Come
Tomorrow I leave for California. I will spend about a week in my mountain cabin and then we are going to tour the coast from Laguna Beach all the way up to San Francisco. We will have many stops along the way including a nights stay on the Queen Mary in Long Beach.
Now don’t tell anyone, because this is a surprise, but a good friend is going to get us into the Facebook facility up near the bay area. There is a rumor that this place is spectacular. If they let me take pictures, I will have them on the next blog post.
Of course we will stay two days in San Francisco, so expect to see pictures of all the iconic landmarks in that beautiful city. My brother and sister will be joining me on this little coastal tour, and there will also be a surprise guest. Can you guess who it might be. This person had to jump through some hoops in order to make this trip, but with a little help from some friends and sponsors, we got it worked out. No, I am not telling. But my Facebook pictures might give it away over the next week or so. But I will have the whole story for you next time.
Don’t you love surprises?
Another One Of My Lists
You must know by now I love to make lists. I write down little comments and story ideas all the time. Then I put them in a list and pick one of the items to write about. So, here is the list and I hope I have time to write a story. It is midnight and I still have to pack. So, the list tonight and then a story tomorrow morning before I leave… Maybe I will have time to write two stories.
- I wish I could write some better words that no one has ever heard.
- Am I insecure because I care what people think?
- That smell reminds me of my grandmother’s basement.
- If you have an experience, then you have a subject to wrote about.
- Lover or hater, which one are you?
- The accidental ugly American.
- The anatomy of a story.
- The elephant in the room might be you.
- The Boy Scout badges story.
- My dog died tonight.
- My next step in the right direction doesn’t have to be a big one.
- Making mistakes is always better than faking perfections. (stole this from somewhere)
- Embarrassing those negative thoughts could destroy them.
- Do you post misinformation? Are you a hate spreader?
- Yesterday my friend question my ability to maintain a relationship.
- When did your smile start looking like your grandpas?
- I have doubts.
- Camping and holding it for 3 days.
Bless you my child. (But I Have Doubts)
Today we are going to be looking for my soul, and maybe we will go looking for yours too. Soul searching is todays topic. Filling up that black hole with good stuff so there is no more room for the bad.
Lets explore all those questions that you may have silently asked yourself but have never been able to come up with a definite answer. Maybe the answer is gratitude, love, and an open mind. And maybe we over think things a bit… This will not be for everyone. And I am not taking sides with this. I am just thinking out loud. And my thoughts and ideas change almost every day. Please don’t assume you know my religious beliefs because of these words…
I think this might be my first poem….
I Have Doubts
I believe in good. I believe in God.
I don’t believe in God. I have doubts.
The embrace is very telling.
What part of the good book do you embrace?
The love part or the hate part?
Is life a test? Is this heaven right now? Is this hell?
Is life what we make of it?
Eternity seems like such a long long time.
But why would we be here if this is all there is?
Does believing make your life better or worse?
I might say a prayer for others. That is a good thing.
And I might whisper for a little help, but then I do the work.
Hello God, are you there? I think I feel you sometimes.
But then I have those doubts.
What kind of person are you?
How do you start your day? Are you grateful or are you fearful. Are you sad because you’re old or are you happy for a full and long life? What kind of self talk do you have? Are you finished or are you just getting started? Do you think about everything you don’t have or are you grateful for all that you do have?
Have you noticed a little bit of poison getting stirred up lately while listening to all this political rhetoric? A lot of my friends are experiencing discomfort. It really is ugly to watch what is happening. Lots of fear and anger. It is like a bad car accident. It’s hard to turn away from it. It makes me upset if I watch it for too long.
It’s funny, because I have a daily ritual for staying mentally healthy. But as hard as I work at this, I still have some of that awful stuff creep into my head now and again. But I kick it out the minute I see it happening. Staying in gratitude is my only hope for a fantastic life. If I let myself be influenced by all the crazy that is going on in the world, it will drag me down into that dark place.
Don’t go there. Nothing good has ever come from that place. For me, I turn off the television and turn on some music. In a matter of minutes I am usually dancing around the kitchen.
“I cannot control everything that happens to me; I can only control the way I respond to what happens. In my response is my power.”
Ok, that is it for this time. Got pretty deep there for a minute. Hope I didn’t harm anyones sensibilities. And I hope you didn’t misinterpret these stories to be about religion and politics, because they were not meant to be.
They were about acceptance, about keeping an open mind, they were about saying it is ok to question things, to change your mind, and then to change it back again if you want. They were about doing your best to stay above the fray and out of that dark place.
Next time I will have a thousand pictures to show you. And come to the gym with me. We can get fit together.
Friend me on Facebook and take that coastal tour in real time…
And if you have any questions or comments, leave them below.
Until next time….