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Super Bowl at the Monkey Bar

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Since our beloved St. Louis Rams didn't make it to the playoffs, we faced the serious dilemma of which NFL team to give our allegiance on Super Bowl Sunday. Would it be the Baltimore Ravens or the San Francisco 49ers?

Our Heads in the Clouds

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After being away from Cotacachi for a while, we returned with fresh eyes and were filled with wonderment at the natural beauty of the country. There are green valleys in the countryside around our home at Jahua Pacha. Mount Imbabura towers outside our front window while Mount Cotacachi keeps guard outside our back window. We feel fortunate to be enveloped by such beauty. Truly breathtaking. Walking into town on the cobble stone streets accompanied by herds of sheep grazing in the field and the sun on our faces, we pinch ourselves knowing there's no other place we'd rather be.

Cotacachi versus the Midwest (by Cotacachi expat)

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Cotacachi is such a great place to relax. So refreshing compared to the frantic pace of the U.S. Even here in the Midwest where life is slower than NYC or LA, there's still a lot of stress to contend with on the highways and byways, especially now that Americans are so fond of texting while they drive.

Farmacia (Pharmacy) (by Cotacachi Expat)

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I thought it was the altitude. I felt more fatigued than usual after a run, plus my fingers and toes were always cold, and my thick mane was thinning out. One blood test later, I learned I had a problem with my thyroid. No big deal. I take a tiny pill once a day, every day, and that takes care of that.

Without a prescription, I walk into any farmacia (pharmacy) and request my meds. $2 for a month's supply. Still cheaper than Walmart. Plus, I don't have to contact my doctor for prescriptions.

The Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) (posted by a Cotacachi expat)

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Often, we expats face unforeseen problems and make matters worse by resisting the flow of life. This was one of those days for my husband and me. Every two weeks, we grocery shop at Supermaxi in Ibarra, thirty minutes away, for many imported goods from the U.S.A., such as Kellogg's Muesli, Pace picante sauce, Gatorade, and Snickers bars. Normally, we hire our favorite taxi driver, Giovanni, to take us shopping, run various errands, and return us safely home with a loaded car of goodies. In all, it’s a three hour round trip for which he charges a measly $15.

Away From Cotacachi

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We have been away from Cotacachi for almost 5 months now as we are attending to some family health issues. I haven’t been very diligent about updating my blog but do have a few thoughts about life in Cotacachi versus the U.S.

1) As younger retirees, most of our friends in the U.S. are still working and have their own lives. As almost everyone in Cotacachi is retired, it is much easier to get together for lunch or a beer anytime we feel like it.

Champagne lunch at Hacienda San Isidro

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About 30 minutes on a rough road outside of Cotacachi brings you to a restored centuries old hacienda call San Isidro.  A special dinner is served there virtually every Sunday.  We made our first visit and enjoyed a excellent meal of

Empanadas of the Hacienda
Cream of Mushroom
Roman lobster salsa golf on bed of vegetables with basil
and mashed potatoes
Crepe suzette flambé the Grand Marnier with vanilla ice cream

Street Dog

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We finally broke down and adopted a street dog.  She had been hanging around our development scavenging for food, and we started feeding her.  She was such a pathetic sight, hair falling out and covered with dirt.  We took her to the vet where she was shaved, bathed, and given medicine.  Now, she is named Phoebe, lives like a queen, eats steak, and sits in my place in the living room chair. It has been a lot of fun watching the transformation.  Happy dog.  Very happy owners.

Thanksgiving at La Mirage

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More than 70 expats gathered at the 5-star resort in Cotacachi for a 6-course Thanksgiving dinner.  The food was amazing, and nobody left there hungry!  It was a great way to spend the holidays with and meet new members of the Cotacachi expat community.

Back in Cotacachi

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After a long and rather exhausting trip, we made it back to Cotacachi about a week ago after spending 3 months visiting friends and family in the States.  Getting away for a while is almost always a good thing because it allows you to come back with fresh eyes.  The pastures are always greener, the  sunrise always brighter after some time away.  Our impressions….Cotacachi is bustling.  More expats, more businesses, more people looking for rentals, another bank.  Changes are coming quickly to this town.

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