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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Another trip to the Coast - Playas

There are many places to plan a getaway on the coast when someone needs a beach-fix.  The most popular are Salinas (a mini Miami Beach...term used lightly), and further north the towns of Montanita (think surfer dudes), Olon (quiet village close to the party scene of Montanita), and Puerto Lopez (launch point to the Isla de la Plata...aka Poor Mans Galapagos).

For those who live in Guayaquil, Playas (aka General Villamil) is only about an hour away.  In Spanish 'Playas' means 'beach', but in this case, Playas is the name of the beach town of about 24,000. It's also cheaper than Salinas or Montanita.   There's nothing fancy about it, it's just a basic Ecuadorian town that happens to be on the waters edge.

Of course, since I had my car I had to get out and explore the surroundings.  The entire area is flaaaaaat and dryyyyyyyyyy with lots of scrubbrush.  Not very exciting.   But, there were some gems to be found.

Iglesia San Jacinto Del Morro
(in the town of El Morro)

I like above-ground cemeteries.  There's so much more character.

Outside of Playas I came upon an interesting development so starkly different than the area around it.

Each of these conch-shaped structures housed a small eatery.

Beautiful bouganvilla rambled overhead.

The sand dune creatures are watching you!!!

A long covered bench area overlooking the beach while you wait for your transport.

High heeled shoes?  Top of the line shoes?  I've got a great line of shoes for you!  You need a size 8 1/2 D in a slip-on?
Sorry, we're out of those.

I wonder how many times it took to get ONE pair up there??

Church of Jack-in-the-Box

So, the previous segment was what I discovered by driving out of town one way.  Then, I chose to drive out of town the other way.  Off to one side of Playas is a few mid-rise condo buildings that, from afar, look nice but once you get closer the class-level drops quickly.  I followed a road that passed them and out to what seemed the middle of nowhere.  There were a few billboards with tattered promotions of a real estate development on the beach.  So, I turned.

And this is what I found:

Clearly, not a well-maintained or much-travelled road due to the vegetation taking over.

There are sectioned off lots 'AVAILABLE!!'
Even the lanes between lots were named.

A lot of blue paint was used....once upon a time.

Down on the beach and off to the right wasa supposed to be the great gathering center with cabanas, lounge chairs, and a restaurant.  But, it never took off and now stands weathered and beaten up.

Looking off to the left back towards Playas and the mid-rise condos.

I walked down the bluff to the crescent-shaped beach which had beautiful rock outcrops.  Not a soul was around.

The weathering of the rock outcrops created some interesting shapes (souls?).

With the two shades of gray and charcoal, and the cuts and crags, one can easily spot creatures.
Look towards the top/right of the photo.  A whale's long nose and mouth?
Now, look to the left above center.  See the eye?  Another whale?

See what I see?

Pig snout.

On the way back into town, I passed the airport for Playas.  Being an aviation fan, I had to check it out.

Ummmm...the windsock is not a good indicator (in more ways than one).

The runway.   I guess the swoop at the end was to help you lift off?

Actually, the airport is no longer in operation.


Well, that's the end of this story and I'm sticking to it.


Dad made me stay home.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

One Person's Work of Art - 29 Pieces to Show You!!

Miguel Illescas

I FINALLY stopped procrastinating (at least on this one thing) and went to Miguel Illescas's Art Gallery here in Cuenca.  A place I had driven by more times than I can count and said to myself "self, I need to go there".  I LOVE HIS WORK!!!

I've seen his work many times before, at arts and craft fairs and various fundraising events.  I've even bid on one of his pieces...ONCE.   Many of my acquaintances here in Cuenca have pieces of his work.

I WANT ONE!!!   Hell, I want the whole damn gallery!!!

I used Bing Translator to translate a segment from his 'About Me' section on his website:

His..."works of art in two-dimensional and three-dimensional format, using materials such as iron, wood and mixed media for their chromatic solutions as a means of expression.  He ventured into topics 
ANTHROPOMORPHS, ZOOMORPHS, symbolism, giving his works a MYSTICAL character magical and PLAYFUL, 
from the ancient to the contemporary, deeply Latin American but at the same time universal."

In case you're wondering what that big word "Anthropomorphs" is...here's a definition I found on the interwebs:  "the attribution of human characteristics or behavior to a god, animal, or object."

Much of his work is made out of wood and metal, but takes on a ceramic-like finish.  The squares you see, such as in the first photo, are metal upon which the figures are attached.  The swirls in the metal give the mystical background a very 3 dimensional look.

Instead of me attempting to be an art critic and explain what each of these are supposed (?) to represent, I'm going to simply list words that come to mind when I see his works:
  • Mystical (said that a few times)
  • Spirits
  • Fun/Playful
  • Frolic
  • Musical
  • Sea Creatures
  • Gods/Goddesses
  • Finding Nemo
  • Whimsical
  • Humorous
Most of his works are very affordable.  Some smaller pieces run about $300, standalone 'statues' $350 - $550, the large squares (about 28" x 28") around $500, many non-square wall hangings $800 - $900, and then up from there.

To get an idea of the size of his pieces, take note of the informational card (about the size of an index card) posted next to it.

Many times I can whiz through an art gallery in nothing flat as I'm not so much taken by paintings and/or obscure/abstract art.  But, in this gallery I stopped and admired each and every piece.

If you visit Cuenca, or live here, you MUST drop in and experience it for yourself.

Calle Larga 1-209
(approx 1 block before the Museum Pumapungo and Banco Central)

Why do I have the song "Under the Sea" stuck in my head now??

I LOVE the Iguanas!  These are 3 to 4ft long.

Male Frigate Bird

Maybe 'he' is whistling a happy tune?

My favorite....the Blue-footed Boobie
(only because I like saying that)


I wonder if this whale is shunned by the other whales due to his rainbow colors?

He plays in the horns section AND the strings!

A Mardi Gras float?

If he joined the other guy, between the two of them, they would have a flute, horn, strings, and drum.

Out on the lawn in front of the gallery.

Miguel has also created large-scale urban art, such as these:

On top of a bridge span.

The next piece is NOT an Illescas.  The gallery showcases other artists as well.  This particular piece is all HAND WOVEN.
Approximately 4ft x 5ft.
Price:  $1,800

(THERE's a project for you Chris!)

Til next time.....



Have plans to visit Cuenca in the near future or down the road?  Don't want to stay in a Hotel with just a bed and a bathroom and have to eat out for every meal?

Solution:  Short term rental apts provide 2-3 times more square footage, ability to cook, and sometimes even do laundry...all at a price tht's usually less than the cost of a hotel.  They're typically outfitted with everything you need and want down to pots/pans/dishes, towels, bed linens, TV, small appliances, etc.  All you need to add is groceries.

You'll find them listed on AirBnb , TripAdvisor, and VRBO.  Just search for the city you're travelling to, then filter the result list to 'entire home/apt' to eliminate room-only rentals.  A good listing will show you plenty of photos, past reviews/ratings, detailed description, and the location on a map.

Maybe you'll book one of mine!  I have several weeks open between now and the end of the year.

About Me

My photo
Palma, Mallorca, Spain
This is all about my transition from an American lifestyle and culture to my newest adventure, life in Spain, in the city of Palma on the island of Mallorca in the middle of the Mediterranean sea!! I moved from the USA to Cuenca, Ecuador, South America and lived there for 7 years before moving here to Spain in early 2018. To read about my adventures in Ecuador, check out my other blog "Ahhh Cuenca!!". I'll be recapping some of my day-to-day experiences (and mishaps) to highlight what it's like to live in Europe....across the pond.

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