Pacha Mamma is Testy! Argentina July 11-18,actually 19th, 2013

After my trip to  Cafayate in March -with my friend Lorrie-  I was convinced that the house was trying to kill me. That sounds a little crazy and dramatic, so let me rephrase. I was convinced that the negative spirit or energy inside the house was trying to drive me away. (not sure if that sounds any better?) Perhaps this is because every time I am there, weird things happen. Less so when I am there with Bevan. Many of you have heard the details – but I don’t want to put them in print incase someone from the Psychiatric Association reads this and feels compelled to have me committed!

So super long story shorter – I was recommended to see a Shaman. This lady, Karen, “travelled” to our house (via astral projection), and told us that Pacha Mamma was angry that we hadn’t asked permission to build on the land. She (Pacha Mamma) was also annoyed that our land was uncared for and desolate. (I wonder if the Shaman was actually speaking to our neighbour??) Pacha Mamma is “mother earth” in S. America and she was a big deal with the Incans. We have been told that it is a custom to do a Pacha Mamma ceremony in Argentina prior to building. The Shaman gave us clear instructions as what to do for the inside and outside of the home. Considering all we have gone through with the house, and the hope of trying to make the house work for Bevan’s sake, we booked a flight down although the timing was not great for us.

We almost didn’t get there! The flight out of Calgary was delayed due to mechanical issues. United Airlines thought it would be a 15 minute delay – but time kept on ticking. We decided that the latest that we could leave YYC would be 3pm – getting us to Houston on time to run to the next gate and get on the flight to Buenos Aires (BA). I had said 2pm – as this would be the latest time to arrive and still be able to get my favourite salad at Pappadaux…but I agreed to 3. If we missed the connection in Houston, the next flight out would be 24 hours later – and seeing that the trip was short to begin with, we decided we wouldn’t go in that case.  Three o’clock arrived. We said this must be the universe telling us that we shouldn’t go to Cafayate and Bevan said we should sell the house. We told the United agent that we would not be flying and to have our suitcases removed from the plane.  As he picked up the phone to have our luggage removed he was told the problem was fixed and they were ready to fly. “Board the plane, board the plane” (think Ikea commercial – “start the car!”) So, then, we weren’t sure if this was karma/ pacha mamma saying to keep the house??? Oh this spiritual -energy- universe- stuff is so confusing!  We still knew the connection would be tight. We landed a little late, and had a long slow taxi to the gate…then a delay at the gate! The stewardess said it was 9:03 and our flight left at 9:10 – she said if we ran quickly we would make it….although the other couple sitting further back on the flight, would not. We ran as fast as we could. I am fairly certain that one of my lungs exploded as I could taste blood and what I am sure was lung debris in my mouth. We arrived to the gate – and the flight was an hour delayed – so was just about to start the boarding process. I didn’t think it mattered as I was sure I was going to die.

I didn’t die – so we boarded the plane, had some wine and a nice meal, and slept all the way to BA. We took a taxi to the smaller airport – which was now a tight connection seeing that the flight out of Houston was an hour delayed. Not sure why they can’t just put the pedal to the metal to make up time? Our friend, Brent, was meeting us at the small airport. He alerted the airline that we were on our way, met us at the taxi and took us to the front of line 13 – where the agent knew what the storey was. We were processed quickly, went through security and boarded the plane right away.

We had a great supper and sleep at the Finca Valentina in Salta. I had been waiting to hear back from our Shaman – as she was to travel back to our house before I got there to ensure that the negative energy and grasshoppers (disease) that she cleared previously, were still gone. Her email message came only partially through – and what I saw was, “I wasn’t lead to the house…” Gulp. Why? What was happening?? Couldn’t she just lie and say that everything was good? Is it possible that I am starting to believe it this stuff?

After our drive to Cafayate, we had lunch on the town square before going to the house. Thankfully, the Shaman’s message downloaded – the rest of the sentence was “..at first. Initially I was taken into the garage, then to the back corner of the property where there is the wild shrub, then into the house.”…all was clear. Our lot is completely desolate except a big weed that turned into a bush! Not sure how she would know this.

The next few days we enjoyed Brent’s company and just relaxed. No weird things happened in the house – although I experienced an increase in my neurological symptoms! Oh – and the furnace wouldn’t work so it was very cold at night. We went shopping to get the items we needed to do the Pacha Mamma ceremony. We went to the “Pulperia”. It looks like a hardware/grocery store from the early 1900’s. Think Little House on the Prarie, but not as fancy. There are animal feet, skins, twine, open bags of lentils, dust (not sure if it is for sale), cheese, and men older than the dirt sitting around chatting. I proudly asked for some herbs – the kind needed for Pacha Mamma ceremony. I thought this would ingratiate me with the elders of Cafayate. He answered really quickly – my understanding of Spanish when spoken at the speed of light, when I am extremely tired, is poor. I asked for some string. It seemed like he was saying no. My friend, Brent, took over and was speaking as quickly and pointing to approximately 1200 rolls of string. The man charged me an outrageous amount for the string…perhaps it has been there since the ice age, so considered “antique”. Later Brent told me he was not impressed that I wanted herbs for Pacha Mamma ceremony. He said that they don’t believe in that around here and I can go buy it from the “Bolivians”. So much for trying to be culturally sensitive. So much for flying half way around the world to honor their age old tradition!! We found what we needed at another store – not sure if they were Bolivian or Argentine. Don’t really care. I do know I will not be doing a lot of shopping at the Pulperia. (like I planned to anyways!)

After Brent went back to BA, Bevan and I had lunch with our new neighbours, who we really enjoyed meeting. We came home to do our Pacha Mamma ceremony. The front door key would not work as the other key was left in it on the inside. Usually this is still okay and works, but not today. (I think She is playing with us again!) I told Bevan that I had asked that all the exit doors be keyed the same – and I had paid a pretty penny to have it done. For those following the house saga – you won’t be surprised to hear that that didn’t happen. Thankfully we accidentally left one of the doors open at the back. We began our ceremony by  planting 4 trees – 1 in each corner of the yard – as per our instructions from Pacha Mamma. We also did a smudging ceremony in the house – we lit santa palo wood and waved the smoke into every corner of the house. I didn’t realize how big the house was until I had to put smoke into every corner! It took a long time. Spiders seem to like to make their webs in corners. I am sure all the negative energy was dissipated (some of the spiders were). I was hoping nobody would pop by to visit as the house smelt like a rock concert, if you know what I mean.

Bevan and I headed back to BA for a day, as we wanted to see our lovely friend, Julieta, in her first musical. She played Morticia, in the Adams Family. It was fabulous. I was so proud of her. After the play, and photos with fans, (Julieta that is, not me and my fans….) we had supper at a great restaurant in Palermo. I would highly suggest you go there – I just can’t remember what it is called. We left the following night – thursday – as we needed to be back to Calgary friday morning to meet our 7 house guests who would be staying with us in Calgary while attending our cousin’s wedding. The flight was an hour delayed – we boarded – sat on the plane for several hours – before the announcement that the flight was cancelled. Unfortunately – because it was a holiday in BA, no hotels were available. Apparently taxis too. Bevan and I grabbed a cab outside (which is a taxi no no there) but for 40 pesos more, we avoided the long line and wait. We made some calls to some boutique hotels, our friends, and our apartment. No availability, no answer. Our cab driver was 90 if a day, and had droopy or sleepy eyes. I decided they were actually closing – pre-sleep kinda closing – as he was literally veering between 3 lanes on the highway. There were no seat belts, and I thought for sure we were going to die, and then we surely would miss the wedding. Every time I saw the man’s eyes start to shut – I would make very interesting conversation with him. Considering this was 2 am (and we had left for the airport at 5pm) I cannot say that I was the best conversationalist ever. It kinda went like this: eyes closing, “Hola Senor. Are you tired?” one word answer, no….eyes closing, “I have a dog”…..eyes closing, “Do you live in BA?” (because I am sure many taxi drivers commute!)..eyes drifting..”I like practicing speaking Spanish”…..eyes closing…”I like monkeys”…. He started to wake up and drive faster – perhaps the stimulating conversation did the trick! (Bevan thinks he wanted the crazy lady out of the car). Whatever works. We woke up the porter at Poetry Building and he graciously let us into an apartment that had just been vacated. We were lucky to be able to have lunch again with Julieta and Brent and use their home to get ready for our flight.

We landed in Calgary at noon – and miraculously cleared customs, got our luggage, and got home in time for a 2 minute shower, and made it to Kyle and Megan’s wedding that began at 2pm! Yeah!!!!

So, overall, I think Pacha Mamma has a quirky sense of humour and was testing us a little bit, but I think we have made her happy and now we will be able to enjoy the house. (and hopefully the heating / air con will finally get fixed!)

….next planned trip to Cafayate – New Years with Tonya and Cal!

Categories: Argentina, Uncategorized | Tags: | Leave a comment

Halifax, June 4-9, 2013

Often when preparing for a trip I need to get immunizations,  learn a few new words in the language of my destination, or do a currency exchange. I sure didn’t think any of these would be necessary traveling within my own country. In retrospect, I should have purchased and studied the Nova Scotia dictionary! The following may be helpful in reading the rest of this post which is written with nuances of Nova Scotian.

Muckle:  I was afraid so I muckled on to his arm. (to grasp firmly)

That’s just NOT right.  (It is really excellent!)

Last week my friend come over to my house. (Last week my friend came over to my house).

All raged up. (I am very angry)

Right…. I am right tired (very)

The purpose of our trip was to visit Kim and Shawn – and Boston – their 5 year old English Bulldog who just starred in the musical “Legally Blonde”. I was happy to see that Boston’s fame did not go to his head. (Although his head is a little big – probably just genetics.) Boston pictured below – looks like he is smoking but he had just been right nasty with his stuffy toy.

photo

Kim and Shawn have made a lovely home for themselves and they were the perfect hosts. Shawn made some seafood chowder that just wasn’t right!!  And it went perfectly with Kim’s beer bread which was right tasty. This meal was worth the trip alone. I’m glad I come there.

Kim took a couple of days off to play tour guide and visit. She said she knew of a great shoe store in Mahone Bay so I muckled onto her. En route to Mahone Bay we drove by Peggy’s Cove. Now those familiar with the area may say, “wait a second, Peggy’s Cove is NOT on the way to Mahone Bay”…let’s just say that even though Kim is Bevan’s sister, she and I have the same navigation skill gene! It was a beautiful day – beautiful scenery, lunch on the waterfront, and toodling around artsy stores. I rode shotgun so the boys got the backseat.

IMG_1600

During our road trip I was so excited when I saw a light brown baby bear walking along a driveway. I shouted out “baby bear” so loud that I almost made Kimmy lose control of the car! Sadly by the time everyone recovered from my yelling  and the oncoming traffic cleared, the bear had left and there was a pit bull in its place. Kim and Bevan had quite the chuckle – but in my mind’s eye – I saw the bear. It was so cute – about the size of a dog.

The next day we hung out in Halifax along the Harbour front- enjoyed the sun, some great Nova Scotian wine (truly and surprisingly) and toured down town. What a beautiful city. Later, after Shawn got off work we come over to Tracy and Deana’s home for a visit.

By the time the weekend came  around – so did heavy rains. Poor Shawn missed all the nice weather while he was working. The weekend was great –  went for a drive, had a wonderful feast, and Tracey and Deana come over for contact Pictionary, some beverages and some dancing!  Sunday – we tearfully said goodbye to our wonderful hosts, and headed back home to Alberta.

Other things I experienced in Nova Scotia:

-riding a ferry across the harbour from Halifax to Dartsmouth

-“sideways rain”

-shopping at Super Store and Joe Fresh

-being in the fringe of a hurricane (thanks Florida for sharing!)

-partying like a Maritimer (28 bottles of beer, 3 bottles of wine, 1 bottle of rum) – 6 people.  Just saying, that Bevan and I were NOT hung over the next morning. Perhaps it was the super chowder we ate…. Or perhaps we didn’t drink our fair share?

-disturbed sleep due to a right  loud snoring  by a FAMOUS bulldog  in the next room

-Kim’s expert navigational skills

-the worst driver’s in a developed country. We expect poor driving in undeveloped countries but never in a country where taking a test prior to getting a license is required. We had cars flying at us from all angles.  Kim got right raged up but expertly avoided several near death collisions.

-learned more about the stresses of Shawn’s work – he is a patient man! Trying to keep his staff working is like herding cats.

-the best seafood chowder ever!  Thanks Shawn!

IMG_1641 IMG_1631IMG_1635

Categories: Travel | Leave a comment

New York City, May 16-20, 2013

When Bevan and I were dating we thought it would be a lot of fun to go to NYC. Actually I remember Bevan saying that it would be great – but we would each NEED about $10,000 to spend on clothes for the weekend. That is probably the day I fell in love with him. We have both been to NYC, never together, and never with $10,000 to spend shopping. I am happy to report that after 15 years  of dreaming about it, we  FINALLY made it to NYC together (without the $20,000 mind you!)

NYC was fabulous! I love the tall buildings. I love the diversity of people. I love the different neighbourhoods that each have their own flavour and personality. I love that every designer has their own dedicated store. I love the vast choice of broadway shows, museums, and restaurants. I love the energy. I love the hustle and bustle. But mostly I love the people. I found everyone helpful and friendly – whether  in a nice hotel, a ma and pa coffee shop, a young hip beautiful couple waiting in line beside us, sales people, or the person I ask for directions in the subway – everyone was friendly, polite and helpful. The rumour that New Yorkers are not friendly simply is false. Even a man riding his bike in a bikini took time out of his busy day to interact. (Kinda sad that an old man is cycling around NYC in a girls bikini in search of tips/tourists taking photos for cash/ being treated like a weirdo. Is it wrong to be jealous that he looks better in a bikini that I do??)

bikini-man

And yes – I did say ‘subway’. Although I love all sorts of travel methods (planes, bike, boats, cars, camels) I have a severe dislike, perhaps phobia, of subways. Firstly they are underground – that is just wrong. They are crowded. They are dirty. They are filled with freaks, flashers and felons. But I put my fears aside, as Peter, the owner of El Refugio in the Cloud Forest in Ecuador, whom I met last month, was in Brooklyn. Peter and his lovely partner, Janice, met Bevan and I at the subway station and took us on a short walking tour of Brooklyn. There is so much history there and the town homes and architecture are amazing. Although it was raining, we could see across the water to a foggy Manhattan and foggy Statue of Liberty. I would love to return on a warmer, sunnier day and toodle around more.We went to a local restaurant for brunch – the food and energy of the place was only surpassed by our wonderful conversation with our hosts.

We did hit broadway – although it was not the most elegant and spectacular production ever made. We went to Rock of Ages. It was a lot of fun and the loud 80’s Rock and Roll made me feel like making my hair really big again and pulling out the shoulder pads from storage. (Sad to say that neon is actually back in style!)

We stayed at a fantastic hotel on 5th Avenue. (Langham Place). Bevan treated us to a suite – which had a fantastic view of the city from the living room, and the lights of the Chrysler building could be seen from the window in the bedroom. The service was amazing at the hotel and the staff went above and beyond. As I mentioned – it is on 5th Ave – which is a great location for shopping – and not far from the quaint “Meat Packing District” which also has lots of shopping. I am now personal friends with Tory Burch and Trina Turk. Bevan is on a first name basis with Cole Haan.

Modes of Transportation taken besides the subway: Maserati, Bicycle Tuk Tuk, and NYC cab.  Costs: Free/$12/ $127 for 7 blocks…..can you guess which one cost what????

photo 3971931046_96d3558c081 taxis-480

The cab rides we took averaged around $12, the Maserati was free – even to other neighbourhoods (complimentary of the hotel!) and the Bicycle Tuk which drove us home 7 blocks to our hotel cost $127!!! Our mistake for not asking first. We weren’t sure if this was the true cost or if we had been “Shanghai-ed”. Either way, it was all fun!

We had a great time – can’t wait to go back. I hope to join my two crazy sister-in-laws and my Mom-in-law in September – a late celebration of Marilee’s birthday. The 4 of us travelled to Thailand together for Marilee’s 65th birthday. Tonya’s blog is linked on mine (Survivor Thailand: Frizzell edition).  I re-read it recently and really enjoyed Tonya’s humour. It is funny – however, at the time, I didn’t think it was. Although I found Ton’s portrayals of Kim, Marilee and herself to be EXTREMELY accurate, I was quite hurt and insulted with her portrayal of me. Reading it now – I laugh. Boy she had me pegged….although I am sure I never, never said “I can’t simply stay in anything less that 3 star…”….I really can’t imagine saying something so absurd. I am sure I said 4 star!! Fingers crossed that I can join these great women – I feel honoured to be considered a part of the Frizzell’s Girls Club!

When I win the lottery – I am moving to NYC (well, not in the summer when it is too humid…or in the winter when it is cold…….

xoT

Categories: Travel | 1 Comment

Cloud Forest to Comforts of Home!

After toodling around the beautiful gardens and monastery at Hacienda Cucin, Kathy and I ate breakfast and then started our journey north to the Cloud Forest. I really had no idea where we were going as Kathy had taken the lead and booked everything for us. Oswaldo, from the Refuge, picked us up, then we stopped in Otavalo and picked up two passengers – Peter and Sandra. We thought they were other guests who would be staying at the Nature Refuge, but it turned out that Peter owns the place and Sandra is the manager.

IMG_1951                         IMG_1971

The 2 ½ hour drive was beautiful. We stopped at a vantage point that allowed us gorgeous views of the crater and the volcano – we were told what a disaster it would be if the volcano blew – so I thought we should stop standing there and move along. The road got bumpier and bumpier as we headed towards our next stop. The vegetation was very diverse and lush – and areas reminded me of Northern Vietnam. We ascended into the clouds and heavy rain. I would never tell Bevan this, but with all the mud and not so perfect road conditions I was wishing we were in his beloved Defender. I was a little nervous as we slowed down because there were 4 men standing in the middle of the road. They all were carrying large machetes. I was thinking “put the pedal to the metal” – but Oswaldo was slowing down. Now my Dad always told me not to pick up hitch-hikers – and I would assume this would include men carrying large knives!!! Obviously Oswaldo’s father did not impart the same wisdom. The 4 armed men jumped in the back of the truck. I thought life was over and thought – I really have had a good run! However, after several miles, Oswaldo stopped and the armed men disembarked without any bloodshed.

Soon after we pulled into a yard – there was a weather beaten house and chickens walking on the veranda. When I realized this was where we would be spending the next 4 days I was wishing the men with the machetes had slit my throat. But like everything, things look better in the morning light….or is that in the dark?? Bevan thinks our house in Cafayate is on the edge of civilization….he has seen nothing!

House at RefugeIMG_4959

Our cabin

Our cabin

Our lodging was actually quite nice. It was rustic – but new and clean. Kathy and I had a cabin down the path that was constructed about 4 months ago. Although it was cold and damp (we slept in our jackets!) it was definitely do-able. (Tonya would be proud of me – I stayed at a place ‘sin’ [‘without’ for the Spanish deficients] 5 stars) Although I must admit that I do like the luxury of boutique and high end hotels, this place had charms of its own. It would be hard to have a Four Seasons in the middle of a nature preserve. Peter- the owner- led us on several nature walks. He is an avid birder so was able to point out several different birds. I think he was a little disappointed at the lack of knowledge that Kathy and I had. As he would point out and say “South American gold beak Tattinger XIV” (this is nonsense, I have no memory of any real names”, Kathy and I would yell out “BIRD”. (Shanda – does this remind you of  Claire’s nanny??) When he would ask what we saw – our answer was typically – “a big brown one” or “a little yellow one – with a chubby belly and pointy nose”.

Day 2 arrived, as did another guest – a self-proclaimed ornithologist. She enjoyed discussing all the bird life with Peter. The 4 of us walked 5 miles to see and listen to the mating dance of “Cock of the Rocks”. These beautiful red birds fly around and make quite the sound. It was very interesting and we are told a very rare opportunity. The other guest told us a joke she loved – what is a fisherman? A jerk at one end of a line waiting for a jerk on the other.  She said she couldn’t think of one for Bird Watchers. In a microsecond I came up with: Birdwatching: when there is a quack on each side of the binoculars.

Kathy and I had fun with some hikes and a little road trip to some pre-Incan ruins. Oswaldo drove us- it was a very steep road and narrow. Sometimes he can’t make it up with the truck but was able to this day. Oswaldo’s wife, Lupe, is the cook at the Refuge. Every meal had multiple courses. Home made soups, home made bread, salads, meat/fish, deserts. It was amazing. It is great to have a home cooked meal when traveling. They had 2 year old twins that were very cute!

IMG_2050 IMG_2081 IMG_2148IMG_2146

Sunday was spent driving to Quito and shopping at the market place in the park. We stayed at “Cultura Café” one of the first boutique hotels in Ecuador. It is in a great location and great little find. (thanks Miriam for the suggestion!) Our stay there was short – we were up at 2:30, to catch a taxi to the airport for a 6am flight.

I am now back in Calgary. Thankful for water I can safely drink from the tap, a warm house, a toilet that can handle toilet paper, and a bed without bugs.

Things I learned on this trip:

-if you almost step on a caecilian worm in the jungle people consider you “really lucky!

-bed bugs seem to love Deet and yes it is possible for your bites to get bites

-there is a bird that can moonwalk!! Seriously check this out – it is a really funny video and very educational and entertaining. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T2Bsu4z9Y3k

-I can survive (perhaps thrive?) in less than 5 star accommodation. Sometimes to see amazing things you really do have to get off the beaten track.

-Even if watching your child get a needle makes you almost faint, you can watch a periacetabular osteotomy in the operating room (good job Kathy – you rock!)

-If I leave Bevan alone too long he will shave his head bald!

Things that I was reminded of:

-I am very lucky to live in Canada and have great healthcare

-I am happy to have a body that is functional (at least most of the time!) and I would rather my body function  well than to look great

-It feels good to help other people and volunteer

-I love to travel and see new places

-I love to be home

Categories: Ecuador | 2 Comments

Mission Completed, Vacation Started

It was a busy 7 days at St. Ines hospital! Our team assessed, chose, operated on and somewhat rehabilitated 32 people. It was wonderful to hear their stories and know how grateful they were. One young woman said she had given up on her dreams. Now with her new hip she has hope and will be forever grateful that her dream of walking her kids to school and walking to the park to see trees will come true. Really makes wishing for thinner thighs and less cellulite seem superficial and trivial.

Yesterday was a busy day for the Physio team, which included Kathy. Not only was she a translator and photographer, she became physio-assistant extraordinaire. Jeanine and I, exhausted from the day and the repetition, forgot one patient in a wheel chair after taking her back to her room after walking stairs with crutches. Kathy transferred her safely back to bed! Oops.

Most patients did extremely well although I will worry about Marianna. She looked like an uncoordinated octopus when trying to ambulate with crutches. (to be fair she has one leg shorter than the other and needs her other hip fixed next year ).

This morning we left Cuenca and flew to Quito. After saying goodbye to our team, Kathy and I met the driver to take us to Hacienda Cucin in San Pablo de Lago. ( I just had to ask Kathy where we were!) It was a 90 minute drive north of Quito. A gorgeous drive and we stopped at the equator and did the touristy picture having one foot on each side of the equator. Our driver’s name was Angel, but he drove like a devil. My seatbelt’s function was to keep me on MY side of the car.

The hacienda is a 17th century monastery. Although Angel said the actual monastery is closed now and was never a monastery?! Either way this place is beautiful.

Hacienda Cucin

Hacienda Cucin

Gardens

Gardens

We took a 20 minute drive to Otovalo, known for its markets and crafts. Kathy and I had a great time taking photos. Some friendly men invited us to join them for a drink in the market, which I thought was so sweet. A few minutes later I was just looking at one old ladies items for sale (camera NOT out) and she started yelling at me in Spanish to “Get! Go away you! Get!” She also toothlessly hollered a few other words I couldn’t directly translate but I clearly understood!

IMG_4846 IMG_4847 IMG_4845 IMG_4816 produce is huge, Otavalo market IMG_4783

Sure looking forward to some wine and a good night sleep in the garden cabin. Tomorrow we head to the cloud forest. Sure hope it isn’t cloudy there!

Our cottage at Cucin

Our cottage at Cucin

Cheers from Tanya’s iPhone

Categories: Ecuador | 3 Comments

One Happy Customer

Cheers from Tanya’s iPhone

Categories: Ecuador | Leave a comment

Cuenca

Cheers from Tanya’s iPhone

Categories: Ecuador | 3 Comments

Colonial Cuenca

Hip dysplasia

Hip dysplasia

I had forgotten how beautiful Cuenca is. Perhaps because on the last trips I typically stayed in the hospital until night fall.

Yesterday Kathy, Jeanine- my Physio counterpart and I left the hospital at 3, and toodled around Cuenca. We went into a beautiful old cathedral that had its original wooden floors. We went to the artesenal market and flower market. The city has several rivers running through it and the architecture is colonial and beautiful. There is a lot of festivities (music, markets, fireworks) as the city is celebrating its 500th birthday!

At assessment clinic Ariana, one of my favorite patients ever from 5 years ago came to clinic. It is amazing to me that she and her mother remember my name. Ariana is doing extremely well and was happy to tell me she has a boyfriend.

Eleven surgeries were completed our first two days. Pedro, 18 years old, did super with his Physio and was sent home already. Today 9 surgeries are in the works. Our youngest patient so far is 14, the oldest 72. The 72 year old lady has the flattest affect ever. She did not smile or respond to any of my charming ways. At first I thought she had died, but I could see her chest rise and fall. Then I thought she was sleeping with her eyes open, but she did actually follow a few instructions (not as enthusiastically as Carlos a sweet 14 year old who jokes with me the entire time we do his exercises).

As my friend Frank says, ” the hips don’t lie!” The xray photo is typical of what we are seeing in clinic.  In some patients, their femoral heads are completely flattened and sitting up at the iliac crest instead of the socket. I don’t know how they function day to day.

Signing off with 2 happy and healthy hips.

Cheers from Tanya’s iPhone

Categories: Ecuador, Volunteer | 1 Comment

Mission in Motion

Twenty of us transitioned quite easily through the Calgary Airport, US customs and Ecuadorian Passport control and customs. Only real bump was the “landing in Quito”. I think the pilot forgot to lower the landing gear. The plane belly flopped onto the run way then came to a complete stop in approximately 10 feet. Even the most rotund passengers were sliding off their seats.

We transferred to a “hosteria” about 20 minutes from the airport. My colleagues sitting close to the front said there was a dead guy lying behind the drivers and passenger seat and the first reverse facing bench seat. I couldn’t see or smell such person but did notice the driver looked like she was 13 years old. We were winding through the slums and going down alleys. We all thought we had been abducted but were all slightly too tired to spring into any potentially life saving plan. Surprisingly we ended up at a quaint little hosteleria. Which is different from hosteria. The difference is the amount of people in one room. Now for those who know me well… or at all, you know that I like my privacy and don’t enjoy sharing rooms with anyone, other than my ever loving. I was with 5 others, 2 of which were female. Got to know the new male team members quickly. Well, not that well as we had 3 hours in the room before journeying back to the airport. Between coughing, snoring, dogs barking I managed about an hour sleep. Great way to start the mission, all bright eyed and bushy tailed!

Cheers from Tanya’s iPhon

Categories: Ecuador, Volunteer | 1 Comment

My sister in law is awesome

Thanks Lil T for setting up my blog site!!!

I hope I have some interesting tales to share from Ecuador.

Categories: Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.