2011 Captain's Log

Michael Edwards, Cheri Edwards, Believe, Sailing, Cuenca Ecuador, Marathon Community Theater, Travel

Click on Image for Map of our Travels. Remember, we're a small leaf on a really, really big pond.

Date Log Entry Pictures
12/31/2011 Still In Marathon - Boot Key Harbor Mooring Ball
Mooring monthly summary:
  • Finances: We spent $2,841 for the month. Included annual storage payment and high provisions costs as we're still getting up to normal pantry levels. Final 2011 Year-End Totals: Total Budget: $33,800. Total Expenses: $30,407. Big exceptions from budget were to strip and redo Believe's bottom paint, high Meal Out Provision costs in Europe. Break down is as follows:

    Communications: 398
    Fuel: 620
    Insurance: 8,062
    Living: 5,359
    Maintenance/Supplies: 23
    Marina-Dockage: 2,365
    Provisions: 97,70
    Registration: 125
    Repairs: 528
    Storage: 1,549

  • Projects: Regular Maintenance.
  • Events: Michael put in a bid to direct Moon Over Buffalo as next season's fourth show at the theater. Michael created the DVD for the Sleeping Indoors show at the theater and presented the DVDs to the cast at the cast party at Director Marilyn's house. Michael also attented the experimental last audition for the 4th show, Forever Plaid - scouting for his show's audition next year. Michael got an iPOD iTOUCH to replace his iPOD that was stolen in Ecuador and is catching up on the new technology and software. Like Cheri's Galaxy Tablet, he now enjoys the ability to have a convenient, portable device to check email and, well. . . play a game or two. Cheri's been busy taking tap classes at the community theater, attending sewing and quilting classes, and working 2 days a week the Dolphin Research Center. She's also working on a quilt for a contest in January she calls Blue Like Jazz with materials from Ecuador, Spain and the US. Through Cheri's work at DRC, we got invited to the DRC's Employee Christmas party. We hooked up with theater friends after their rehearsal on Taco Tuesday at The Hurricane. The author of the book Spanish for Cruisers is in the harbor, and we attend her classes twice a week. Made two trips to Fort Lauderdale to drop off and pick up theater friend Marty. Taking him there went great, his return was delayed twice, so we got back to our boat at 5 am. Went to theater friend Jenn's birthday party on the 23rd and the Candlelight service at Kirk of the Keys on the 24th and then over Kara and Kris's house for Christmas dinner. Went to lunch with some crusiers new to the harbor with the same kind of boat we have - we call ourselves Geminites.

    Started planning for our next 6-month Ecuador trip. Made tentative reservations at our old apartment in Cuenca for mid-May through November. Started researching paperwork needed for a 6-month visa with the Ecuadorian Embassy in Washington DC. Started the process to move our Safety Deposit Box from Annapolis to Marathon to get our Marriage and Birth Certificates for the paperwork. For the sake of mail forwarding, we opened up a PO box in Marathon and will switch critical vendors to the PO Box address.

    Maricoms is the harbor's provider for internet and we use a partner, Boingo. For three weeks Maricoms was down, so Michael cancelled the Boingo service.

  • Weather: Weather is mild, still able to wear shorts. So far the cold fronts just blow through in a couple of days.
11/30/2011 Still In Marathon - Boot Key Harbor Mooring Ball
Mooring monthly summary:
  • Finances: We spent $3080 for the month. Included final vacation expenses and storage, high provision costs to restock the pantry, car insurance and extra maintenance and repairs.
  • Projects: Regular Maintenance and still getting things set up and in place.
  • Events: Michael started videoing the first show at Marathon Community Theater, Sleeping Indoors as part of making the show DVD and saw Real Steel at the cinema, using one of his free tickets awarded for being a director. We had a wonderful, traditional Thanksgiving dinner on Believe and relaxed. The author of Sleeping Indoors went to the 11/25 show and the three authors of ACT NOW (Rita, Cheri and Michael) were asked to meet and talk with him.
  • Weather: Weather is mild, still able to wear shorts but a cold front came in the end of the month.
11/20/2011 Still In Marathon - Boot Key Harbor Mooring Ball
Because of our electric dinghy engine and that we were only going to be in Marathon for 6 months, we requested a closer mooring ball and moved from F8 to E3.
11/14/2011 Left Marathon Boat Yard at 10:30 AM Arrived Boot Key Harbor - Mooring Ball F8 at 10:45 AM

Waited for the office to open so we could close our bill and settle the dinghy problem. Michael wanted the invoice relating to the dinghy (hauling and cleaning) refunded, but we settled on just refunding the hauling. Not a good nor honorable solution, Michael was asking them to repair, only to negate the invoice - we'd heard rumors about their business behavior, so we weren't surprised.

Left the wall at Marathon Boat Yard and traveled to our new home, ball F8 in Boot Key Harbor.

11/12/2011 Left Liberty of the Seas at 8:15 AM Arrived Marathon, FL at 3:30 PM 3863 Miles

Made port at 8:15 AM and were in the first group to leave the ship. There was no control of which groups left when, so there was a long line and the baggage situation was terribly unorganized. But had no problem with our bags or customs. Took the shuttle to the Ft. Lauderdale airport and got there around 10:30 AM. Michael called Keys Shuttle for our pickup (we were scheduled for 12:30) and the shuttle was there and picked us up in 5 minutes, so we made it back to Marathon much earlier than expected.

Tom and Jackie left our car at City Marina and we picked it up and drove to Marathon Boat Yard. It was wonderful to see Believe sitting in the water waiting for us, with a nice clean bottom. We turned and burned and got the cabin cleaned up, sails removed and raised and the berth ready for sleeping.

The next day, Sunday 11/12, we did more work on Believe and walked to where the boatyard left our dinghys. Our Boatex that we had hauled with Believe on the davits was fine, but our aluminum dinghy was not, they tore off one of the oarlocks, destroying the dinghy (repair would cost more than the value of the dinghy).

11/11/2011 Left La Palma, Canary Islands at 4:30 PM on 11/4

11/5 through 11/11 were days at sea - loved them! Could relax and do whatever boat activities we wanted without the guilt of being in port and missing the land sites.

Michael did his daily Rock Wall ritual (got his ascent time down to 30 seconds) as well as Volleyball, Dodge Ball and Ping Pong. We also hooked up with the two couples that Cheri met at her Barcelona cooking class and Michael learned a new card game called 10 Pennies and joined Larry and Jim for daily matches while the wives did craft projects. Jim's wife Holly brought her clarinet and she and Michael played daily duets. The ship had activities going on all the time, not very well-run and they never started on time. The nightly entertainment was mostly well done including an Ice Show (yes, the ship had an ice rink that Cheri skated on), an In the Air arial show and a Broadway-style musical called Saturday Night Fever. The vocals were good but not great, the choreography and staging were Broadway level and above. The stage had a pit and could drop 5 different scenes from above. Cheri became sick and bedridden from 11/8 through the end of the cruise.

On 11/11 we packed our bags and left them in the hall before dinner.

11/4/2011 Left Tenerife, Canary Islands at 5:30 PM. Arrived La Palma, Canary Islands at 7:00 AM 34 Miles

Today's port was La Palma, Canary Islands. We walked around town and really liked it. Their architecture flowed well with the landscape. They have a great mix of modern and classic. We visited several plazas and churches as well as their local market. In the market we walked by a booth with Cana Dulce (Sugar Cane) and watched a woman making juice with it - so we had Sugar Cane juice mixed with Passion Fruit and it was wonderful - the combination was complex and very tasty.

Another day, another route on the Rock Wall.

11/3/2011 Left Cadiz, Spain at 4:30 PM Arrived Tenerife, Canary Islands at 9:00 AM 829 Miles

This morning we made port at Tenerife, Canary Islands. As we walked around, it didn't have much personality for us. The Plaza Espana was nice and the local market had some interesting new seafood items to buy we hadn't seen in markets before - like Moray Eel and Octopus.

We got back early and Michael made an early and then late visit to the Rock Wall.

11/1/2011 Left Malaga, Spain at 6:30:00 PM Arrived Cadiz, Spain at 8:30:00 AM 104 Miles

Made port in Cadiz this morning, dated to 1104 BC. Visited the Plaza de la Catedral which houses the Catedral de Santa Cruz de Cádiz, built between 1722 and 1838 and the Baroque Santiago church, built in 1635. Like Cartagena, Cadiz also has a Roman Theater, built in the 1st century and discovered in 1980. Walked through the town and its many beautiful plazas.

Michael did the Rock Wall again, a different route.

10/31/2011 Left Cartagena at 8:30 AM Arrived Malaga at 5:45 PM 198 Miles

This morning we made port in Malaga. Called Malaka when it was founded by the Phoenicians around 770 BC, Malaga is another charming Spanish city. Painter and sculptor Pablo Picasso and actor Antonio Banderas were born here. We walked the long, long walkway up one of the hills to the dominating Castle of Gibralfaro, built by the Moors in the 11th century. When we say long, we mean long. To make it walkable, the walkway goes back and forth up the hill. When tempted to stop, we figured it was just around the next corner, then the next, then the next. But we made it and were rewarded with a beautiful view of the city and harbor. Going down was much easier and we walked through stepped gardens and then a beautiful rose garden in bloom. Visited the church of Santiago (Saint James) and the Renaissance Cathedral of Málaga constructed between 1528 and 1782.

Michael was concerned about his arms and the Rock Wall but he went for it, did a different route and rang the bell.

10/30/2011 Left Barcelona, Spain at 5:00 PM Arrived Cartagena, Spain at 11:30 AM 311 Miles

We have an inside cabin, so we have no concept of time of day. This morning we made the port of Cartagena, founded around 227 BC during the Phoenician conquest. The town was nice and had a helpful tourist booth with a city map to aid with exploration. Our first stop was to visit the restored Roman Theater (built between 5 and 1 BC). Entry is through the museum with several levels of hallways and galleries funnelling you to the Theater. While there, a tour group got on the stage and sang a beautiful Spanish song with the chorus, "busco para amor" (I look for love) - obviously planned and prepared with wonderful four-part harmony.

Looking around was interesting and enjoyable. We'd walk around and see a Roman ruin and across the street an art nouveau building and further down the block a Baroque or Neo-classical building. At the entrance to the cruise ship dock is the Peral Submarine, the first practical submarine built in the mid-1880s by native Cartagenian, Issac Peral.

We returned to the ship and Michael changed clothes and climbed the ship's Rock Wall, to become a daily activity. This first day left his arms completely wiped out, but he rang the bell.

10/29/2011 Left Barcelona, Spain at 11:00 AM Arrived Liberty of the Seas at 12:00 PM 3 Miles

Checked out of the hotel at 11:00 am, took a taxi to the Moll D'Asset Pier. Tried to get info from Royal Caribbean and travel agent about which of the 4 terminals we should go to, but as we got close it was very obvious - so no problem. Check-in was easy and fast and we had lunch at the Windjammer Café until our cabin was ready at 12:30 pm. Our bags arrived within the hour and we were set.

Had our first dinner with two couples traveling together, John and Jeannie and John and Kathy.

10/22/2011 Left Madrid, Spain at 4:00 PM Arrived Barcelona, Spain at 5:15 PM 314 Miles

Left the hotel early and took the metro to the airport. Had 2 transfers but was very easy. Went to Terminal 4 at the Madrid airport to get the bag from long-term storage and then went to Terminal 2 for our flight on SpanAir. We were 8 kilos over the weight allowance for 2 people, so had to pay the penalty. No problems with the flight or our luggage. When we arrived in Barcelona, we followed the excellent instructions from the hotel and took the Aerobús A1 to the Plaza Catalunya and walked half a block to our hotel (Lloret Ramblas) right on Las Ramblas.

Stayed in Barcelona from 10/22 through 10/29. Walked through most of the city and visited Gaudi's Sagrada Familia (church), Park Guell (50 acres of Gaudi gone wild) and several other Gaudi street buildings. Cheri took a Cook and Taste Tapas class, which included a tour of Barcelona's main market.

10/20/2011 Left Seville, Spain at 8:45 AM Arrived Madrid, Spain at 5:30 PM 243 Miles

Bus Tour: Seville to Cordoba to Madrid

Boarded the bus and traveled to Cordoba, another ancient city conquered by the Romans in 206 BC and then by an Arab/Berber Muslim army in 711. We toured the Cathedral–Mosque of Córdoba. The site was originally a pagan temple, then a Visigothic Christian church, before the Umayyad Moors at first converted the building into a mosque and then built a new mosque on the site. After the Spanish Reconquista (1236), it once again became a Roman Catholic church, with a plateresque cathedral later inserted into the center of the large Moorish building. The tour guide said it is the second largest Mosque in the world. The bus dropped us off and we walked across the Roman Bridge, built over the Guadalquivir River in the early 1st century BC to the City Gate. Visited the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos as well as the Royal Stables.

Boarded the bus and traveled through the La Mancha area watching huge olive groves and the occasional Cervantes windmill passing by and arriving at our hotel (Praga) in Spain

The hotel was pretty far south of El Centro, so we checked a bit of the area and then packed for the next leg or our trip - to Barcelona.

10/19/2011 Bus Tour: Still in Seville

Seville is more than 2,000 years old and with the passage of the various civilizations (Moors, Castilian) instrumental in its growth, has left the city a distinct personality, and a large and well-preserved historical center. Although it has a strong medieval, renaissance and baroque heritage, the city received heavy influences from Arabic culture. In mythology, the founder of the city is considered Hercules.

We visited The Cathedral of Seville (built from 1401–1519) and the the Alcázar (started at 1181 and continued for over 500 years). Sat for a while and watched Gypsy ladies scamming tourists with a rosemary bough (let me "bless" you -- oh, and by the way, now you owe me 5 euros). Between our hotel and the Cathedral we walked some wonderful shopping walkways reminiscent of Madrid. Went to the the Gold Tower (Torre del Oro), built by the Almohad dynasty as a watchtower and defensive barrier on the river.

Then to the Maria Luisa Park (Parque de Maria Luisa) and the Plaza de España, built Aníbal González in 1929. The Plaza was wonderful, an outstanding example of Regionalist Revival Architecture, a bizarre and lofty mixture of diverse historic styles such as Art Deco and Neo-Mudéjar with Venice-like bridges and canal. Another feature are small enclosures bordering the Plaza decorated with glazed tiles for all the major cities in Spain. Visited the Metropol Parasol, in La Encarnación square, a monumental umbrella-like building designed by Jürgen Mayer, finished in 2011, housing the central market and an underground archaeological complex.

10/18/2011 Left Lisbon, Portugal at 8:30 AM Arrived Seville, Spain at 4:30 PM 193 Miles

Bus Tour: Lisbon to Seville

Boarded the bus and travelled to Seville. Drove through Alentejo, famous for its production of cork. Then across the border and back into Spain, through Andalusia and to our hotel in Seville. The tour package called it "delightful" Seville - very accurate.


Bus Tour: Still in Lisbon

Like many cities in Europe, many sites and buildings are closed on Monday, so we didn't see much. We did a bus tour of the city and to be honest, were not impressed. It was dirty, dark and lifeless, not helped by the tour guide saying, "and around this corner is a beautiful ancient building blah, blah." Because of a terrible earthquake in 1755 that destroyed 85% of the city, America has buildings that are more "ancient". We visited the Jeronimos Monastery, and the Discoveries Monument, built on the north bank of the Tagus River in 1960 to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the death of Prince Henry the Navigator. The pavement in front of the monument is decorated with a mosaic that was offered by the South African government in 1960, representing a compass with the map of the world charting the routes taken by the Portuguese explorers. Sadly the Florida Keys were missing - a terrible oversight.

10/16/2011 Left Coimbra, Portugal at 8:30 AM Arrived Lisbon, Portugal at 5:00 PM 110 Miles

Bus Tour: Coimbra to Fatima to Obidos to Lisbon

Boarded the bus and crossed the river to the town of Coimbra, the capital of Portugal during the Middle Ages. It was a Sunday, so many sites were closed but we walked the beautiful main street. Checked out the University of Coimbra, established in 1290, one of the oldest universities in continuous operation in the world. Looked at the Old Cathedral (Sé Velha), one of the best-preserved Romanesque buildings in Portugal as well as the Cathedral of Sé Nova.

Boarded the bus and traveled to Fatima, site of the famous 1917 Marian apparitions witnessed by 3 shepherd children, Lúcia dos Santos and her cousins Blessed Jacinta and Francisco Marto (not sure why Lucia isn't blessed). On the site of the apparitions, they built the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary, The Chapel of Apparitions and the Church of the Most Holy Trinity (the 4th largest Catholic Church in the World) all surrounding a huge open area where worshippers gather for open air services (as we saw on this Sunday). Some things that stood out were the placement of long smooth marble pathways so people could approach the Basilica on their knees, and a huge furnace on the left-hand side of the open area. People could go across the street to the "special" shops and purchase candles in many shapes (3', 6', wax legs, arms, heads) and stand in line to throw the candles into the furnace - no wicks, they just buy the wax sculptures and toss them in the roaring fire.

Boarded the bus and travelled to Obidos. The town was built on a hill and is a well-preserved example of medieval architecture with narrow, cobbled streets lined with white-washed bougainvillea-draped houses. I mean seriously flowered streets, squares and walls. We also visited the Manueline style castle and the renaissance church (Igreja de Santa Maria). The town is also known for the 17th century glazed tiles that adorn the walls and churches.

Boarded the bus and travelled to our hotel in Lisbon.

10/15/2011 Left Madrid, Spain at 8:30 AM Arrived Coimbra, Portugal at 5:15 PM 249 Miles

Bus Tour: Madrid to Avila to Salamanca to Coimbra, Portugal

Boarded the bus and traveled to Avila, their boast being that they have the best preserved medieval (11th century) wall enclosures in Europe. While visiting the Cathedral of of San Salvador (built in 1095), we arrived just in time for a welcome ceremony for some military officials which included 10-foot-tall puppets. Visited the Alcázar and the San Vicente gates.

Then to Salamanca where we visited the University of Salamanca (the oldest university in Spain; founded in 1218 by King Alfonso IX). The most important exterior aspect of the university is the facade facing the "Patio de Escuelas," which has a statue of fray Luis de Leon. The outside of the university was constructed in what is known in Spanish as "gotico plateresco," a gothic architectural style with an abundance of detail. One legendary aspect of the façade is if you find the frog, you will have good luck and be married within the year. We didn't find the frog. Visited the Baroque style La Plaza Mayor and several churches.

Then to Coimbra, Portugal and checked into the hotel, across the river from the town.

10/14/2011 Still in Madrid, Spain
Walked from the Hostal Adriano to the starting point for the tour (Jewels of Spain & Portugal), the Abba Hotel, and that evening had dinner with our tour group (coordinated by Cosmos Tours). Maybe half were from USA, the rest were from India, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand and England.

We had unlimited internet and no problems with power supply conversion during the last 10 days at Hostal Adriano. The Abba Hotel charged for internet and the power converter got VERY hot in 15 minutes.

10/13/2011 Still in Madrid, Spain
  • 10/5 - We joined Clarke and Brenda and did the Madrid Tourist Walk On/Off Bus Tour. Got off and walked around the Parque de el Retiro, a huge park with fountains, gardens, 2 palaces (Palacio de Cristal, Palacio de Velaquez) and a lake with paddle boats. We had coffee by the lake before taking the tourist bus back to the hotel.
  • 10/6 - We met Clarke and Brenda and bought tickets for the Metro and bus to go to Segovia. It's a beautiful town with an incredible Roman Aqueduct. The classic dish there is cochinillo, suckling pig (a baby pig fed only milk for 21 days and then butchered). After touring the town, we returned via bus to the Metro station and then returned to the hotel. Michael's wallet was stolen on the subway. He only had a couple Euros in it and immediately cancelled the credit card - so the only real loss was the wallet.
  • 10/7 - Explored around El Centro and then went to the Museo Nacional del Prado (Prado Museum) that evening (free between 6-8 pm).
  • 10/8 - Had a delicious breakfast at Plaza Major and then visited Palacio Real (Royal Palace), Plaza de Oriente and the Catedral de La Almudena (cathedral by the Royal Palace with beautiful stained glass). That evening we strolled along the wonderful pedestrian walking streets of Sol Plaza.
  • 10/9 - Every Sunday Madrid has the biggest flea market in Europe, El Rastro - so we went. After that we went to the Basilica de San Francisco de Grande, the Templo de Debod (a ancient temple gifted to Spain for helping with some towns in Egypt) and the Plaza de Espana. The plaza wasn't that impressive but it did have a beautiful status of Don Quixote and Pancho - a tribute to Cervantes.
  • 10/10 - We went to the Puerta de Alcala and scouted the Abba hotel where we will meet for our bus tour.
  • 10/11 - We went to the Sabatini Gardens (Sabatini designed many beautiful buildings in Madrid).
  • 10/12 - Went to the Museo Nacional Centro de Arts Reina Sofia. Madrid's modern art museum. Saw the incredible Guernica anti-war work by Picasso and some terrible modern art. I'm talking about walking into "Teatro Negro" and it's just a dark room; or kid-level drawings of hands with one finger, then two fingers, etc.
10/4/2011 Left Guayaquil, Ecuador at 8:05:00 PM Arrived Madrid, Spain at 2:00:00 PM 5600 Miles
After a three hour layover in Guayaquil, we got on the Iberia international flight. It was an older plane, so there were no individual TVs on the back of seats, only one TV in the cabin. No problems with the flight or luggage. We looked for and found the luggage storage (Conseignas) and stored the extra bag in Terminal 4.

We took a taxi to our hotel and were pleasantly surprised with our location; we were 5 minutes from Sol Plaza, a central location for metro, shopping and exploration. While in Cuenca, we discovered that some friends (Clarke runs the Thursday Poker Night and Brenda attends the English Book Exchange) were also going to Madrid, arriving the day before we did. So we coordinated to meet the next morning.

10/3/2011 Left Quito, Ecuador at 4:25:00 PM Arrived Guayaquil, Ecuador at 5:20:00 PM 169 Miles

We left the hotel at 1:00pm for our 4:00 flight. Per our itinerary, we fly to Guayaquil and then Madrid, with luggage checked through to Madrid. So we went to the international terminal and waited in line for an hour. When we got to the window we were told it was considered a domestic flight - so we had to go to the domestic terminal and wait some more. We got checked in with plenty of time, including paying the excess luggage fee.

While in Quito, we got the paperwork from Affordable Tours for our Jewels of Spain & Portugal Tour with Cosmos Tours. On the second page was a highlighted boxed warning about our luggage limitations for the bus - the first time we ever heard about it and much tighter than the airlines. After several emails back and forth where we discovered that the agent used Cheri's ID to forge our approval of all charges and conditions. Bottom line is Michael did some research and found we could store luggage at Madrid airport so we used our time in Quito to organize our luggage so we'll each have 1 bag and 1 carry-on for the tour.

On Sunday, October 2nd Michael received emails in his inbox from Paypal saying that he'd requested funds transferred from his Bank of America bank account -- which he had not done. Long story short is that Michael spent Sunday changing IDs and passwords for all accounts, freezing accounts and talking to his banks (thanks Skype!). As of October 9th, nothing is lost and our accounts are much more secure.

10/1/2011 Left Cuenca, Ecuador at 1:45:00 PM Arrived Quito, Ecuador at 2:35:00 PM 191 Miles

In the morning we made final preparations to leave Cuenca. Our landlords, Juan and his wife Adriana, came by to wish us well and to return our deposit. As we talked about our departure time, Juan offered to drive us to the airport - so one less hassle for the day.

The Cuenca airport is very clean and modern and we had no problems with check-in. Our luggage was overweight (same as when we flew to Cuenca) so we had to pay an $11.12 fee. The flight went well, no problems with the taxi or our hotel.

This was a very different experience than when we flew to Ecuador. The language was no longer "foreign" and we had the confidence to negotiate taxi fees, wave off scammers and converse with the LAN agent about luggage weight limits between domestic and international flights.

9/30/2011 Still in Cuenca, Ecuador
  • La Finanzas (finances): We spent $3,188 for the month. This includes boat storage, dentist costs and bottom paint for boat maintenance.
  • Vida en la Ciudad (city life):
    • In our experience, Gringos receive no breaks in the language. The locals don't slow down their dialogue and sometimes seem to intentionally not even try to understand or just want to mess with us. One night the landlord was gone and we ran out of gas for cooking in our apartment. On a whim I stopped by and only the Spanish-speaking-only maid was there. I said, "Yo necesito propane para cocinar" (I need propane to cook). She acted confused, left and came back with toilet paper. Come on!!! I stepped inside and demonstrated on the stove about the gas and cooking and "then" she understood. When I got back I looked up propane and the word in Spanish is "propano". So, really? She connected propane/cooking with toilet paper? Admittedly my accent is terrible. Admittedly in the United States we're used to making language connections with all kinds of accents. Admittedly Spanish is different. To look AT something is "mirar"; to look FOR something is "buscar", so the difference in the verb concepts does create some gaps they don't easily leap across. At the Supermaxi I saw some strange-colored meat and asked if it was pork (cerdo). The clerk answered "chuleta de olmada" that it was smoked chops. So I had to ask, "Que tipo de carne? Es eso cerdo, chivo, pollo, vaca, pavo o que?" (What kind of meat? Is that pig, goat, chicken, beef, turkey or what?) and then I got the answer: pork.
    • In our apartment we have Direct Satellite TV. The onscreen guide tends to be an approximation. There can be a 30-minute slippage either way of what is really on. Sometimes a movie title is something else altogether - the guide says Transformers and the show is Lord of the Rings. Sometimes they pound us with commercials for an upcoming show including day and time and that day comes and the show isn't on and commercials are never seen again. US TV exports are: Big Bang Theory, Two and 1/2 Men, Bones, Friends and Seinfeld at 4-6 episodes of each per day with an eclectic smattering of other series.
    • Construction tends to be solid cement for the walls. There is some experimentation with drywall and framing, but they tend to trust solid concrete. There was a water leak in an upstairs apartment, so a laborer worked for a day chipping away the cement with a hammer and chisel. The same with running new internet lines just outside our apartment - a day or two of hammering away at it. When complete, they patched the long trench with fresh cement.
  • Comunicación (communication): Many Cuencano friends have phones but we only have email. Michael had set up Skype before leaving the US and when he had some issues with Paypal and Schwab, used Skype without any problems. Skype is free between Skype accounts, an added bonus is that it's free to US toll-free numbers. While in Cuenca we heard about a product called Magic Jack. It's a computer USB device into which one plugs a telephone receiver and can then make free calls from anywhere in the world to a US phone number. We'll get the device for next year's trip.
  • La Comida (food): Meat isn’t aged in Ecuador, so doesn’t have much flavor and it's difficult to get the range of beef cuts like the States. We tried the following new fruits, Pitahaya, Babaco, and Mamey in recipes as well as juiced. Cheri made two Hearts of Palm dishes and frosted cake pops and a soup and a stew using local recipes. In September we settled into the following weekly routine: a light breakfast at home, almuerzo (cheap lunch) a couple times a week and dinner out a couple times a week. At the beginning of the week we'd go to the mercado and buy 4 pounds ($10 worth) of fresh atun (tuna), a bunch of cilantro (.25) and a libra (pound) of mora (blackberries) for $1. So every week we'd have Tuna and Mora de Miguel. Michael did experiments and added several fruits to the Mora - but Papaya ($2 for a 4-pound fruit) was the best - with lots of leftovers for jugo (juice).
  • El Acontecimiento (events):
    • 9/1 - we attended An Evening of the Spoken Word at Zoe's restaurant, where members of the local writers group read their work. Cheri and Michael performed the Writer's Skit they did at the Marathon Theater after Michael re-wrote the three-person skit for two actors.
    • 9/2 - Cheri went to a ribbon embroidery class with craft friend Gatha. While Gatha was in town, Cheri and Gatha went on weekly shopping trips for craft supplies.
    • 9/16 - We went to the Parque Arqueológico de Pumapungo. After touring the museum, we went onto the beautiful grounds to view the wall foundations and wonderfully laid-out and documented plants, trees and insights into Inca life. It's all free and our plans for next year would be to take a lunch and eat on one of the many benches.
    • 9/18 - We went to a going away potluck for John Brochu. On the way there, a couple on the street asked if we spoke English. They had just arrived from Canada the night before. We invited George and Miriam to join us at the potluck. As expected, our friends at the potluck were very welcoming including making George a much-needed cup of coffee.
    • 9/19 - Because it takes so long to prepare and cook Cuy (guinea pig), we stopped by the Guajibamba Restaurant at noon and made reservations, thus avoiding a 2-hr wait if we ordered it at dinnertime. We returned at 7pm that night for a wonderful experience. The service and food were excellent.
    • 9/20 - Went to A Night at the Cabaret featuring Agnes Debord & Daniel Glet. This was put on by the French Embassy. We met George and Miriam there and enjoyed a wonderful show. The singer spoke French and had a Spanish translator. We really enjoy that they only speak Spanish at such shows, they don't cater to the Gringos.
    • 9/21 - Cheri went on a weaving tour featuring the Ikat techniques and designs.
    • 9/22 - We went to the Centro Interamericano de Artes Populares, a museum featuring artists and handicrafts of South America. That evening Michael played Texas Hold ‘em Poker at the Cuenca Chamber of Commerce. It only cost $7 and all proceeds went to the Messengers of Peace Foundation, which supports an orphanage for 70 disabled children in the Yungilla Valley.
    • 9/23 - We joined friends George, Miriam and Susannah and went to a birthday party potluck for George Fort - we'd toured his animation studio in August.
    • 9/24 - We decided to check out the night life with George and Miriam and ended up dancing at the Blue Cactus Disco.
    • 9/27 - Cheri went to a tamales cooking class, during which Michael returned to Parque Arqueológico de Pumapungo with George and Miriam.
    • 9/29 - Michael attended the weekly Poker Night at Clarke Green’s. It costs $5 to play. They have three 45-minute rounds. After each round the players count and document their chips and then rechip to the beginning counts - so if someone loses an All-In, they can still play the next rounds. All proceeds are returned to the players with the lowest of 19 players getting $1 (so it costs them $4 for an evening’s fun and entertainment) and the winner getting $13. Michael came in second and received $12.
    • 9/30 – Early in our stay, Cheri had met Diane at a cooking class and we'd see her and her huband, Bob, around town and at the bookstore just before Michael's writing group on Thursdays. Diane and Bob graciously offered to store any items we wanted to leave until next year. So we went to their place for a wonderful dinner and dropped off a couple of boxes. That evening, Diane and Bob joined George, Miriam, Cheri and myself at the Auditorio del Banco Central for a concert by the Orquesta Sinfonica de Cuenca. It was an evening of Musica Contemporanea (Contemporary Music) and featured local composers from Quito, Cuenca, Loja and Latacunga. Afterwards we went to Cacao & Cannella for hot chocolate, coffee and desserts (Cheri finally had a chance to try humitas).
  • Dentista (Dentist): This was the month of dentist work. We started with exams and cleanings, and then returned for special work over the next couple of weeks. Michael ended up with a temporary bridge (he'll get the permanent one next year) and Cheri with treatment for a toothache.
  • El Tiempo (weather): We watched with relief as Hurricane Katia and Hurricane Maria missed the Keys. Per the locals, September was an unusually wet and cold month. Clouds and rain almost every day.
  • El Hurto (Theft) - I can finally talk about the theft. We'd heard about theft in South America and even Cuenca before we left Florida. In the US we tend to immediately judge other countries with such news. Keep in mind that I'm writing this on September 7th and yesterday 8 people were shot at an IHOP in Carson City, NV and this last weekend 24 people were shot in New York City in 24 hours. So let's try and keep a balanced perspective. Our theft happened on July 28th at the English Book Exchange. Michael set his backpack (mochilla) down with a group of other people’s bags and joined the conversations. He looked and checked his bag every couple of minutes. He watched as new people came in. When some locals came in Michael watched them, but when the Gringo host joined them in conversation, they fell off Michael's radar. The next time Michael looked, his bag was gone. He ran out the door and searched but it and the locals were gone. It turns out that the host didn't know them and even watched them as they grabbed a backpack and left. Total loss is a video camera and iPOD, some change and the backpack. Our lesson learned is that we and only we can be trusted to watch our stuff. We trust no one and count on no one but ourselves. Three weeks after the robbery, John, a friend that was there during our theft was outside his apartment, set his bag down and talked to a friend for "a minute". He turned and his bag was gone. His total loss was his passport and personal computer. Last week a friend went to Peru to get help at her embassy with her Ecuadorian visa. Two minutes after getting off the bus, a man ran up and tore her fanny pack off her body. Her loss was her passport and $600 she brought to pay for her new Ecuadorian visa. Bottom line: the world is a dangerous place. So be careful and limit your exposure.

8/31/2011 Still in Cuenca, Ecuador
  • La Finanzas (finances): We spent $1,940 for the month. Includes boat storage and vacation costs.
  • La Comida (food): Cheri took 3 cooking classes this month, taught by a former Cuenca restaurant owner. The first class was about local ingredients, the second was fruits and veggies and the third was local cuts of meats and what to do with them. This month Cheri made the following dishes with local ingredients: jugo de guayabe (guava juice), jugo de papaya (papaya juice), yucca cakes, fried zapallo (pumpkin), tomate de arbol (tree tomato) and zanahorias (carrot) salad, chiramoyas (custard apples) in jugo de naranha (orange juice), guanabana smoothies and salsa with tree tomato & pepino. We bought a Babaco fruit, but it’s ripening on the window ledge, so we'll report on it in September. For dinner Michael likes to get 2 chuleta de cerdo (pork chops) and cook them with garlic, olive oil and oregano. Because several cups of Mora (blackberries) only cost $1.00 and they don't have pie shells, Michael makes a weekly cobbler he calls Mora de Miguel. For almuerzo (lunch) our best price this month was $1/each, consisting of juice, soup, rice and meat.
  • El Acontecimiento (events):
    • 8/4 - we attended An Evening of the Spoken Word at Zoe's restaurant, where members of the local writers group read their work.
    • 8/7 - went to a gringo pot luck.
    • 8/10 - we attended a health care seminar put on by the Cuenca Cultural Center.
    • 8/14 - went to a gringo pot luck.
    • 8/17 - we joined a gringo tour to the Bonanza Foundation Orchid House sponsored by the Cuenca Cultural Center.
    • 8/18 - we needed haircuts, so despite our trepidation we went to a local shop and went for it. Michael got a buzz cut (corte corto) and Cheri got a long layered cut (largo capa) - great haircuts for $3/each with instructions in Spanish and pointing at pictures.
    • 8/22 - we went to Banos de Cuenca with Book Club friends Suzanne and Katie. Banos has several spas with hot water from the volcanic springs.
    • 8/24 - we went to a wonderful performance of Schumann, Strauss and Beethoven by the touring German Symphonic Youth Orchestra.
    • 8/29 - we went to the Cuenca Museum of Modern Art.
  • La Ciudad (city): Every bank, major business and many stores have armed guards at the doors. Some have pistols in holsters, but many have shotguns strapped or held across their chests. Walking on the sidewalks is a little frustrating. Families, couples or groups walk side by side - so there's a constant game of chicken as we walk the streets. TV is interesting here. Some shows have Spanish subtitles and others have Spanish dubbed into the vocal track. It's interesting knowing a bit of Spanish and watching the translation. Here are some samples: dude = amigo, buddy = amigo, friend = amigo, sure = claro, right = claro, yes = claro. The movie "The Hangover" = "El Nocho Pasado" = "Last Night". All kidding aside, it does assist our language learning.
  • Nuestro Dia (our day): Monday tends to be SuperMaxi (local supermarket) shopping day. We walk to the market and take a cab back ($2) with all the groceries. On Wednesday we go to Mercado Feria Libre, a huge local farmer's market. On Thursday morning we go to the Gringo Book Exchange and in the afternoon Michael goes to a Writer's Group. Other days are miscellaneous shopping, trips and exploration. For fresh fruit we go to Mercado 10 de Agosto or Mercado 9 de Octubre. For meat we go to a couple of local butcher shops and for incidentals we have a couple of local tiendas (stores). Cheri found a craft friend and they do weekly craft shopping in the plethora of tiny craft stores.
  • El Tiempo (weather): August is the peak of Ecuador's winter, so days are in the 60s and nights are in the 50s with lots of cloud cover. We watched with relief as Tropical Depression Emily and Tropical Storm/Hurricane Irene missed Marathon and Believe.

7/31/2011 Still in Cuenca, Ecuador
  • La Finanzas (finances): We spent $3,730 for the month. Includes boat storage preparation and vacation costs.
  • La Comida (food): Our apartment has a fully-stocked kitchen, so we shop at SuperMaxi (equivilent to a US supermarket) once a week and get fresh produce from local indigenous markets. Part of exploring the city is eating out, so we do eat out quite a bit. If we want breakfast out we do the traditional Ecuadorian breakfast (desayuno) of juice, coffee, eggs and bread that costs between $1.50 and $2.50. If we want lunch out we do the traditional Ecuadorian lunch (almuerzo) of cold drink, soup, main dish and fruit/pastry that costs between $1.75 and $2.50. We've tried a variety of evening meals throughout the town. We've had filet mignon for $8.50. Most main course dishes are between $7 and $11.
  • La Cultura (culture): Like Thailand, the people are very "touchy". Women walk arm-in-arm or holding hands, families walk along the sidewalk holding hands. In general, no one meets our eyes as we walk around. Service staff at most restaurants are not friendly or social, no customer service skills. But amongst themselves they are friendly. When walking on the streets one can see men and women in suits for work walking alongside women in traditional skirts, scarves and hats.
  • La Ciudad (city): The city is old and worn but clean. Cleaning crews in blue uniforms with brooms are always working the streets. We live in a perfect location in the old town historic district on Calle Larga, right off the river. We're mere blocks away from the central square (Parque Calderon), with stores, markets and restaurants all around us. The beautiful main square of the city has a plaque documenting that the Old Town area is a World Heritage Site. Parque Calderon is a meeting place for activities, concerts, dance performances, or just hanging around. Our one problem is getting used to traffic lights. In Marathon there are only 2 lights that we've used. Cuenca is criss-crossed with one way streets and traffic lights. So we really have to stop and think and make sure we're looking in the right direction.
  • Nuestra Dia (our day): We've hit some of the gringo nights at local restaurants. Tuesday night is Gringo night at Di Bacco, Friday night is Gringo night at Zoe and Sunday is Gringo Domingo at Inca Lounge. Thursday morning is a book exchange at Windhorse Café. Buses are only a quarter so many days we just hop on a bus and go from one end of the route to the other. One never knows what's happening, so we often cruise by Parque Calderon to see what's going on or just to sit and relax.
  • El Tiempo (weather): The weather has been unseasonably cool, normally days in the 60 and evenings down in the 40s. Mostly cloudy, but when the sun does come out it's beautiful and you can really feel the sun differently at this altitude. It's rained almost every day, which isn't a big deal. The rain doesn't last too long - but it's very different to hear rain and not have to get up and bail out the dinghy. We've also been watching Tropical Storm Emily. As of July 31st, Marathon and Believe (on the hard) are in the cone.
  • Things we miss from the states: Peanut butter is very expensive here - over $6 for a very small jar, TUMS, ZICAM.

7/6/2011 Left Marathon, Fl at 11:00:00 AM Arrived Quito, Ecuador at 11:30:00 PM 1798.07 Miles
7/6 to 7/10 Got picked up at City Marina by Keys Shuttle. Got to airport, had no problems with security. Flew from Miami to Bogata, Columbia and then Bogata to Quito, Ecuador. It was a long day, got to the hotel at 1 a.m. but everything went smoothly and no problems. Since we went from sea level to 9,895 feet in altitude, we took it easy the first day, just did some minor walking around.

On Friday we did a tour via Tropical Adventures at our hotel. We toured the city of Quito, Independence Square which is surrounded by 4 buildings symbolizing the 4 powers of the country - the President's Palace, Cathedral of Quito, the Archbishop's Palace and the Municipality of Quito (mayor and council). The center of the square has a statue in remembrance of the independence revolution on August 10, 1809 and its heroes. Then we went to the Middle of the World complex where the Geodesic Mission of the French Academy of Sciences measured and marked the equator in 1743. We went to El Panecillo, a hill to the northwest of Quito that has a 150' statue of the Madonna inaugurated in 1976 that is the only statue of the Madonna with angel's wings. We also toured several churches: La Basilica whose architect was inspired by Notre Dame in Paris. One interesting difference in this church are the gargoyles. In Europe, rain spouts are covered up with statues of monsters. In La Basilica, the gargoyles are animals of Ecuador and the Galapagos, not monsters. We also saw the church of San Francisco, the Iglesia La Merced and La Compania (The Church of the Society of Jesus). This Jesuit church took 160 years to build and the inside has 7 tons of gold leaf covering the inside Moorish geometric designs. In the naves are many paintings and statues including a large painting of Hell by Nicolas Javier Goribar in 1620 with a facsimile by Alejandro Salas. There is a lovely societal tradition with this painting. For generations grandfathers have brought their grandchildren to view the painting and discuss the "wages of sin" and results of bad behavior. Our 25-year-old guide described his own childhood experience with his grandfather in front of the painting.

On Saturday, Cheri went on a tour via the Pan American Highway to Otavalo, one of the top craft markets in South America; Cotacachi, a town known for its leather goods; Calderon and an overlook of the Imbabura Volcano and Largo San Pablo.

Sunday was a relax and walk around day as well as packing for our flight on Monday.

6/30/2011 Left Boot Key Harbor Mooring Ball at 12:01:00 PM Arrived Marathon Boat Yard Dock at 12:30:00 PM 1 Miles
Checked oil and coolant levels, started the engine and tested the drive leg first thing in the morning and engine died twice before it broke the prop free. Did final prep of Believe for trip across harbor - prepared sails and anchors, put the dinghy in the davits, marked the blocking points and prepared the mooring ball lines.

Left the ball and made the transit without a problem. Winds were 5-10 from the south - perfect for our final north/south channel approach into the protected marina. We tied off at a temporary dock and checked with the marina office. They were way behind schedule, so they had us move to a wall until the next morning. We hadn't moved the boat off the ball in years, but they had us move our 34' boat into a 40' space and we did it without a problem. We moved items off the boat, locked it and returned to our house-sitting gig.

6/1/2011 Still In Marathon - Boot Key Harbor Mooring Ball
Mooring monthly summary:
  • Finances: We spent $2,571 for the month. Includes computer repair, storage room, vacation expenses, Cheri doctor visit and prescriptions and annual towing insurance.
  • Projects: Replaced coolant hose from overflow reservoir to engine. In the past, when I ran the engine every month, I didn't spin the transmission and the drive leg. When I tested the drive leg in June, the engine died when it tried to spin the prop. I tried again and it broke the prop free and spun. When I tried hand turning the prop the next day, the prop was stiff again. At this point, I just researched until Believe was on the hard. On 6/25 the dinghy engine died, since we're leaving so soon we'll just row back and forth to shore.
  • Events: We attended the theater's Pampered Palms Award night. We had weekly rehearsals for the theater's tah-DANCE show and did a Saturday night show and a Sunday matinee. Created and distributed tah-DANCE DVDs for cast. Made a boat haul-out appointment with Marathon Boat Yard for Friday, July 1st. On June 25, got a call from theater friend Joyce asking us to housesit from June 30 until July 6th (the day we leave for Ecuador). So we changed our haul-out to Thursday 6/30.
  • Weather: First half of the month was great with 10-15 winds day and night keeping us cool. But in mid-June winds died so had many hot, humid days. Watched Tropical Storm Arlene with hopes it wouldn't affect our haul-out.
5/1/2011 Still In Marathon - Boot Key Harbor Mooring Ball
Mooring monthly summary:
  • Finances: We spent $7,853 for the month. Includes computer repair and storage room. Vacation expenses
  • Projects: General Maintenance
  • Events: Researched and changed insurance for boat and car netting $1,000 in savings. Cheri continues to be involved in the Quilt Guild in Big Pine for sewing and quilt lessons. Michael created choreography for 3 men's numbers in the upcoming tah-DANCE show and started rehearsals. Attended theater friend Marianne Motches Art Show at the theater. Finalized music and script for ACT NOW. Went to theater friend Sylvia's housewarming and it ended up being a wedding, very cool. Helped with the opening night party for Blythe Spirit at the community theater. Continued raising Believe's waterline by putting more items in the storage space. Cut and sanded wooden boats for Dan for his Sea Camp classes. Continued planning and locking in details for our vacation. Helped at the Colors of the Rainbow children's Dancing Competition at Marathon High School. Met and shook hands with Dance Judge Jon Landau, Producer of Avatar and Titanic.
  • Weather: Mostly great weather, always a breeze. Watched a couple of blobs off the coast that disappeared.
4/1/2011 Still In Marathon - Boot Key Harbor Mooring Ball
Mooring monthly summary:
  • Finances: We spent $2,416 for the month. Includes computer repair and storage room.
  • Projects: General Maintenance. Still having problems with Windows 7 on my new laptop.
  • Events: Finished the performance run of ACT NOW and had a record set strike of 51 minutes. A week later had the cast party and viewing and distribution of the show DVD. House-sat for theater friends Dan and Rita. Rented a storage room at Big Pine Key and started off-loading rarely-used items. Raised the water line by 5 inches so far. Started work on making a marketing version of ACT NOW and revising the script and music. Saw our friend Annie Miners in the play, The New Century at the Waterfront Theater in Key West. Saw The Adjustment Bureau at the local cinema.
    Made a decision to leave Marathon for the summer, so started researching alternative locations and situations. Researched and selected Driftwood Marina for our haul-out, bottom work and dry storage. We plan on hauling out the end of June. Researched and selected Ecuador for the bulk of our stay, primarily in Cuenca. We plan on leaving Marathon July 6th and leaving Ecuador October 3rd (maximum stay without lots of paperwork is 90 days). Researched and selected Spain for the next part of our stay until October 29th, when we'll do a 14-day trans-Atlantic cruise back to Ft. Lauderdale.
  • Weather: Watched Disturbance #1 4/22 - very early for the season, otherwise fair weather, winds and temperatures.
3/1/2011 Still In Marathon - Boot Key Harbor Mooring Ball
Mooring monthly summary:
  • Finances: We spent $5,728 for the month. Includes annual boat insurance and high provisions costs due to busy at theater and eating out.
  • Projects: Windows 7 died on my new laptop, therefore a delay in posting to the log. Windows restored, data saved by $200 poorer and 3 5-hour drives to Best Buy in Miami.
  • Events: Did a live interview on Thunder Country Radio (100.3) on March 8th at Sparky's Landing. Attended Lee's (on About Time) 72nd birthday held at the Marathon Cinema. Cheri has been working at Frankie's Food Shack at least once a week at Dolphin Research Center. To support Relay for Life, we, along with other boaters from the harbor, volunteered to clean tables at the Seafood Festival on March 13th. Our musical, ACT NOW, opened Thursday March 3rd and ran every weekend through Saturday, April 2. Michael taped every show as part of building the DVD, including original animation. We had quite an interesting run with 4 different versions. Keep in mind we had to replace 6 actors before we started our live performances. Version 1 (original cast) ran 6 shows, 3/3 to 3/12. On Saturday 3/12, one of our cast got "sick" and had to drop from the show - actually we had to stop the show halfway through. On Monday, 3/14, we cast an actor who had dropped out during rehearsals back to his original role and Michael replaced the "sick" actor. In 3 days Jeff and Michael memorized lines and created their characters for Version 2 Act Now on 3/17 and 3/18. On Saturday 3/19, Michael got a 5pm call from Marty saying he had fallen and torn a ligament and would be in a cast and crutches for 2 weeks, so Version 3 on 3/19 and 3/20 was performed with Marty in a wheelchair. The remaining performances were Version 4 with Marty in a walking cast. Overall we were very pleased with the performances and certainly the audience reactions. We are preparing a refined version of the script and a special marketing DVD for some theaters that requested the materials to evaluate for their upcoming seasons.
  • Weather: Great weather, winds and temperatures.
2/1/2011 Still In Marathon - Boot Key Harbor Mooring Ball
Mooring monthly summary:
  • Finances: We spent $1,594 for the month.
  • Projects: General Maintenance
  • Events: Cheri is back into the weekly marina craft club and is into quilts and making tote bags. Cheri went to the Paradise Quilt Guild craft show Women's tickets cost $5, men got in for free. Even so, Michael did not go. We helped boat friends Larry and Linda on Enchantress with their 2nd annual Captain Morgan's Treasure Hunt. Had rehearsals throughout the month for ACT NOW and on 2/24, we had a great Press Night. Attended a birthday party for theater friend Kris - a Rocky Horror movie night. Finally had enough Gemini boats in the harbor to have a boater's lunch at The Hurricane. Cheri started working every Wednesday at Hammer's Café at Dolphin Research Center. Cheri's sister Karen, brother-in-law Joe and nieces McKenna and Haylie spent the day with us for Cheri's 50th birthday on the 20th. Saw the reading, Love Letters at the Community Theater.
  • Weather: Great weather, winds and temperatures.
1/1/2011 Still In Marathon - Boot Key Harbor Mooring Ball
Mooring monthly summary:
  • Finances: We spent $7,995 for the month. Bought a car, a 1999 Mitsubishi Mirage. Bought new computer for Michael/Cheri. Bought a solar panel to charge the dinghy battery. Basically the budget was blown and had to transfer some mutual funds to build up the cash accounts.
  • Projects: Purchased and installed a 20-watt solar panel for the dinghy's electric engine. For unknown reasons, the shear pin for the dinghy engine prop broke, so replaced it. Friends on Free and Clear experienced the same thing.
  • Events: Purchased a new, used car. Purchased a new computer. Ushered for and saw A Bad Year for Tomatoes at the theater. Made cast changes in ACT NOW. Jake and Kris dropped out, so auditioned and cast Jesse. Rehearsals Monday - Thursday plus whatever extra things are needed during the weekend and weekends for the play.
  • Weather: Beautiful, wonderful. Best weather in the nation.
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