The travelers have returned from Ecuador, pretty much in good shape, but both thoroughly exhausted. We were all so happy to see them, especially Emily's children, who missed their Mom desperately.
In our family, returning travelers and Ecuadorean visitors come bearing gifts and special orders. There are a few things we know we want when we can get them from Ecuador. I always want earrings. I love the silver jewelry they make down there. I asked for small earrings and Emily brought me two pair. One pair are very plain, very small silver hoops. They were so difficult to get into my ears that I fear I will never be able to remove them, but I do love them. The others have a red stone and I do hope the hoops are removable so I can wear them too.
There are foods from Ecuador that we have never been able to find anywhere else. Guava paste. Emily brought me two cans. The cans are quite beautiful in themselves. The stuff inside is delicious. It is a firm fruit paste that can be sliced and eaten like candy; paired with cheese as an appetizer; or an ingredient in desserts. I like it sliced right out of the can.
Aji (ah-hee) is the Ecuadorean hot sauce found in every home and restaurant. Unlike Mexican or American hot sauces it is fruity, sweet and moderately spicy hot. Delicious on meat, potatoes, french fries and more.
I also asked Emily to bring me some little zippered coin purses made from the beautiful handwoven fabrics of Ecuador. They are very inexpensive and I have found them very handy for business cards and such. Here is the one I have been using to hold credit cards and bi-Mart card and Costco card and library card and blood donor card, etc. etc. It is just the right size, but it has gotten quite worn. There is a little hole in the bottom.
She brought me several, which I will share with friends.
Andy and Emily know how I love the distinctive roof crosses of Cuenca and brought me another very beautiful one. Here it is with a beautiful scarf from Emily's sister-in-law.
Since our first trip to Ecuador we have had an Ecuadorean hammock in our yard. We have gone through several over the years. The kids brought Ray a new one, which he promptly installed near the creek. This is the prettiest one yet.