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Captiva Island


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And that’s exactly what I did! But I’m getting ahead of myself! Back up a bit to January after Eddie’s ankle replacement. We had Thanksgiving in the hospital and a take-out Christmas Dinner, but all went well and he came home in a wheelchair. The physical therapy wasn’t much fun and, as we know, men can be hell as patients so you gotta have patience. But we got through it and in the middle of it…surprise! Our condo sells. Now I’m not complaining, mind you, but all the packing, cleaning and moving is now on…guess who! I’ll skip over the morbid details and just say we made it to the hotel where we spent the next few weeks. Not fun.

Next, one more quick trip down to “the land of the sun” with the resolve that, if we don’t find something this time to either buy or rent, we are not coming back! We started our search in Manta, the seaport with the airport. We looked at several property possibilities for a couple of days and then headed back up to our favorite spot, Palmazul in San Clemente.

It was fun being back and even more fun to see old friends. We ran into one of the Canadians, Kevin, we knew from our first trip to Cotacachi way back in January, 2010. How bazaar it is to see someone here that you know from before! Happens more than you would think.

This was also Academy Award Week and of course I’m not gonna miss that event. We checked into the fabulous Casa Ceibo for great food and drink and large flat screen TV. Can’t say the show was worth it but the pool sure was!

So now, on to the pothole. Back in San Clemente now and I really was stargazing on the way back from having excellent pizza at Sabor de Bamboo (Miers) when, down I went. Crashed right onto the pavement, knees, hands and head. We made it back to the hotel in one of those bicycle two seaters…somehow. The doctor came to the hotel and fixed me up, came back the next morning and sewed me up. Two stitches. Two house calls. Plus drugs. Grand total? $70.00. Hello.

We headed back to Manta so that I could recoup for the next few days. We looked at more properties and decided to rent a condo in Manta right on the beach. With that, we flew back to Florida and back into the hotel. UGH.

More soon. Promise.


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Real Estate or Bust!

A Chef, a Sous Chef and a Cigarette Girl

I can’t believe it has taken me so long to get back to this blog but much has been happening in Hollifield House!

We returned to Ecuador for the 4th time in October on Gary Scott’s Mid-Coast Tour. We were hell bent to purchase real estate this time and were considering Vistazul, the condo development behind the Hotel Palmazul. We had considered these condos before on our tour last January and wanted to take another look as the owner was offering lower prices and financing.

The Mid-Coast tour this time included visiting real estate in Manta, Crucita, San Jacinto and Bahia as well as the Vistazul condos and another development in San Clemente. There were only 5 of us on the tour plus our guide Jean Marie and his wife. We had a great lunch in Bahia and visited the fabulous Casa Ceibo 5 star resort with real estate agent Xavier. A real highlight. If you are up that way, don’t miss it!¬†We enjoyed the tour and always like staying at Palmazul. The restaurant is great and I love to walk the wide beach every morning and every afternoon. Anyway, after all was said and done we decided none of the real estate we saw was right for us at this time.

After the tour, we stayed on a couple of extra days to explore San Clemente. The time was well worth it. We met some very interesting folks to say the least. The more you know, as they say.

Next, we took a taxi to Manta and met up with our friend and taxi driver from Salinas, Vicente. He drove us down the coast to Salinas, with a stop on the way for lunch at the eco resort Mandela in San Lorenzo. On our arrival in Salinas, we headed straight for Peggy, Will and Kimi’s house for what we had planned would be a 2 night stay with the 3rd night at the Phoenix, courtesy of David Smith, the owner. We met Peggy, Will and Kimi on our March Cuenca and Salinas Tour and it was great to see them again. Peggy and Kimi are wonderful cooks and dinner that night was spectacular! So we decided to stay the 3 nights with them and skip the Phoenix. Too much trouble to pack and repack! Anyway, lots of fun, food and drink! The house is as great as I remember it and their dogs are wonderful. Kimi had to leave the day after we arrived so we didn’t get to spend much time with her. We did, however, manage to make it to the Phoenix for their Friday night band practice get together in the Penthouse. David is definitely a crazy.

After all the walking and looking and walking, Eddie’s ankle had begun to bother him. We have known for sometime that his ankle would need to be replaced due to an old car accident, but now was not the time for it to act up! By the second day, a doctor visit was imminent. Now, things are not done quite the same way as in the States, just let me say that! But the doc was great, shot Eddie’s ankle full of pain killer, gave us a script for more pain killer, I handed him $60 cash, which he put in his pocket (!) and off we went, sans pain. We were never even asked if we had insurance!

Since we had not found any real estate to our liking yet, Will suggested that I stay for a few more days to continue the search. I rearranged my flight and all was settled. Eddie left the next day… two hour drive to Guayaquil…flight to Quito…spend the night in Quito …flight to US the next day. At least I was able to change my flight to fly directly to Miami from Guayaquil, only I didn’t realize at the time that I had scheduled the red eye! Opps!

The next fews days were spent looking at real estate with Hector and Kim Quintana. They were tireless and showed me everything in the area plus the Punta Blanca area. Whew! The rest of the time was spent with Peggy and Will eating and partying and having a blast! Oh, and not to mention Houdi, Ginger, Nutmeg and Pellu.

And then there was Halloween. I think you can tell by the picture at top that we were headed for a fun night. William T of the Score Bar had a super party with lots of fun costumes. Great group and I made lots of new friends.

Sad to leave and sad to say I didn’t find what I was looking for this trip:( as far as real estate anyway. Meantime, back in the States. Eddie had his ankle replacement surgery and he is getting along OK. Hope to be all healed up by January and then we plan our move to Ecuador, whether we rent, buy or build, we’re there.

So until next time,

Vive con Sabor!


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Check out ¬†Ecuador Adventures with Rachel and also Gary A. Scott on my blog roll to get a good idea of the so called “coup” that happened in Ecuador last week.

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On our first trip to Ecuador in January, 2010, we flew from Miami to Quito, spent the night and were off the next morning with our tour on a bus through the Andes to the town of Cotacachi. The 2 hour trip was a bit harrowing…barreling down serpentine dirt roads, around huge mountains with no guard rails and a never ending drop over the side…I couldn’t even look down. But we had a fun group on the tour and the chatter and banter sure helped get my mind off possibly ending up in a ravine never to be seen again! We really knew we were in South America!

We arrived at Meson de Flores, now Land of the Sun Inn, a charming old colonial house that has been renovated by Gary and Merri Scott’s foundation. It could still use some updating but it served the purpose and is very inexpensive, breakfast included and a wonderful staff.

I can’t say enough about the Ecuadorian people. They are lovely, sweet and extremely welcoming. Their indigenous dress is quite charming, black skirts and white embroidered blouses and gold necklaces for the women. A typical man will usually sport white pants and a black shirt with a long plait down his back under a black hat! I suggested they could sell that beautiful black hair for a lot of money, but no dice…seems it’s their custom.

For the next few days we toured the famous Otavalo Market where one can find all sorts of clothes, jewelry, blankets, carvings and trinkets, most hand made and very cheap. Then it was on to the real estate properties. I was most taken with the houses we saw designed by renowned Ecuadorian architect Patricio Falconi. Very high quality. And the development is a ten minute walk to town.

The town itself is small and nestled between the mountains of Cotacachi and Imbabura. We learned our way around without too much trouble, including sampling the local restaurants. Dinner for 2 is under $20 and the food is delicious. Gringos seem to drop quite a few lbs while there, probably due to the fresh non-genetically engineered food. I have never seen such a bounty in a fresh market in my life. These people will never starve!

We also had the treat of visiting a Shaman and participated in the ceremony. Got spritzed with some concoction she blew on us, smoke she blew on us and leaves she beat us with that left nettles. It was suppose to purify…interesting if nothing else. We also toured a leather factory, Cotacachi is the leather capital here, and watched a man make a flute and then play it for us!

After Cotacachi, we were ready to see the coast. A quick flight to Manta and another a bus ride up the coast to San Clemente and we arrived at the Palmazul Artisan Designed Hotel and Spa. Hello ocean!

More on that later!

After our trip to San Clemente, we returned to Cotacachi for a few days instead of continuing on with the Cuenca and Quito Real Estate Tours. Eddie wanted to do some filming of the local artisans at work and I wanted to experience La Mirage! Their treatments are unbelievable…a soak in a lavender bath surrounded by candles and then a scrub while lavender burns in the fireplace…next wrapped in an ice cold plastic sheet…then a facial and a massage…2 hours for $80.00! Plus you can experience the grounds for the entire day. Watch the peacocks roam while having lunch. The appetizer arrived in a music box! Absolutely exquisite.

We headed back to Quito for our trip back to the US to return in March.

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Trip to San Clemente

I am excited to report that our Mid Coast Real Estate tour is almost upon us… October 16 through 17. Eddie will drive us from Fort Myers to Miami and we will take a 4 hour LAN flight to Quito, the capital of Ecuador. It will be our fourth trip so we are savvy now to the ins and outs of this journey. The flight on LAN is far superior to the American flight and a better price to boot. Not happy that now one must check in for international flights 3 hours before departure. Yikes!

After we arrive in Quito, it’s back to the 5 star (ahem…3 star) Raddison Hotel to spend the night. The next morning we take a quick flight to Manta on the coast with the tour group. Deja vu for sure! I have heard recently that the road from Manta to San Clemente has improved since we last traveled it in January, so let’s hope so! Not looking forward to that bus ride though.

I’m excited to stay at the Palmazul Hotel again. It is right on the beach with an ocean front gormet restaurant and beautiful pool…also a tennis court and spa. Lots of cute little touches…like the towels are twisted into elephant shapes (no doubt due to the direction of the owner, Jessica Meza, a very savvy lady!) Rooms have an ocean front balcony and flat screen TV.

I don’t now how to describe the ocean there except to say it is fabulously foamy and refreshing! The beach is serene and mostly devoid of any people. It goes on forever! The mountain in the photo above is miles away. I never did reach it!

We will tour real estate in Bahia de Caraquez and Manta for 2 days. We extended our time there to get a better feel of the area and hopefully find a condo or house to purchase. I hope we will get back down to Salinas too because I left a pair of awesome shoes there on our trip this past May. More on that later!

So that’s the news for now!

Vive Con Sabor!


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Palmazul Hotel

Lorena and me at the pool at Palmazul in January.

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