St. Augustine, FL

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St. Augustine bills itself as the oldest city in the United States.  When we stopped here we parked at the Stagecoach RV Park just off Interstate 95.

The territory we now know as Florida was first claimed for Spain by Ponce de Leon in 1513.  On September 8, 1565, St. Augustine was founded by Spanish admiral Pedro Menendez de Aviles.  In 1763, the Spanish gave up Florida to Great Britain following the Seven Years’ War, only to regain control in 1784.  In the years following the American revolution, it became increasingly difficult for the Spanish to control the Florida colony so in 1819 they relinquished it to the United States.

Bridge of Lions Continue reading

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San Antonio, TX

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We visited here on our car road trip back in January 2014, just over two years ago.  This time we revisited some places and checked out some new ones.  We stayed at a relatively new RV park on the southeast side of San Antonio, Green Lake RV Resort.  It’s a really nice park with a small lake in the middle and very good facilities.

Lunch at Rio Rio Continue reading

Spanish Lessons and Leaving Canoa

Dinner at Sundown Inn

Dinner at Sundown Inn

On Sunday, January 16, we’ll be leaving Canoa.  However, we won’t be going very far.  We’re relocating for a brief visit in Bahia de Caraquez.  This is a nice town that sits out on a point at the intersection of the Pacific Ocean and Rio Chone.  This river separates Bahia from San Vicente.  These towns are only about 4 or 5 miles south of the Sundown Inn.  Bahia has some nice high rise apartments and condos with terrific views of the ocean and coastline.  Some people we met at the Sundown have taken an apartment in Bahia for the next month.  We’ll be staying at the Hostal Coco Bongo in Bahia for a couple of days before heading back to Quito to prepare for our flight out to the Galapagos on the 20th.

We’ve enjoyed our visit to Canoa and the Sundown Inn.  Along with some of the other guests here, our catch phrase for the past few days has been, “it’s good to be the king”, a line delivered by Mel Brooks in “History of the World – Part 1”.  It fits.  Life here is pretty simple and easy.  The ocean, sun, food, beer, etc.  It’s all here and it’s convenient and inexpensive.

As for the Spanish lessons, we participated in lessons here at the Sundown for 5 days, 4 hours per day.  Our instructor was Maria Elana, the wife of the on-site manager, Juan Carlos.  They use a very structured curriculum, one apparently used throughout Ecuador.  There is a grammar book that addresses all aspects of the language:  pronouns, gender, verb forms (regular and irregular), conjugation, sentence structure, etc. and an exercise book to reinforce the grammar lessons.  Now those of you who may have had extensive Spanish language instruction (Paige) are probably saying, “Right, so what’s your point”.  Well my point is that our expectations were for something more along the line of survival Spanish or traveller’s Spanish.  Something to help us get by until we could develop a more extensive vocabulary over time.  The lessons we had were useful but we’ll keep looking.  At this point I wouldn’t say that we have significantly expanded our language skills.

Baby Nicholas

Baby Nicholas

The daily sessions were split into 2 parts, 2 hours in the morning and 2 hours in the afternoon.  The afternoon sessions were 3:00pm to 5:00pm.  These sessions were held in the dining area.  Maria Elana has a 9 year old daughter, Lindsey, and a 1 year old son, Nicholas.  There was someone looking after Nicholas but they were also in the dining area.  Often, Lindsey was also there and sometimes with her friend.  In addition, the cook would be there preparing dinner.  So, generally we had to compete with a squealing 1 year old, the little girls, the cook and Maria Elana keeping track of everyone.  Challenging.

Next article we’ll put up some photos of Bahia.