Puerto Cayo, Ecuador

Welcome to Gina & Doug's Journey - Join Us on Our Adventure!

NEW!! August 31, 2018
August 25, 2018

Things are rolling along with the pool... as you can see from this photo, the start of the stairs is in place, and there will be a "seat" on the south side of the pool - chest high in the water, and perfect for watching a relaxing sunset over the Pacific. I went with with Maestro to Jipijapa this week to pick out the tile for the pool. Yes, no rough concrete - the entire interior of the pool will be tiled.
That's the way it's done here!

Below are details of our progress these past couple weeks. Then view slide shows of photos from August 21st through the 25th, and 28th thru the 31st below:

View a Slideshow! (Aug 21 - 25)

View a Slideshow! (Aug 28 - 31)

On Tuesday, 8/21: When we arrived at the property on Tuesday morning, work was well underway on the rebar (varrilla) for the pool's sides and bottom.
Work continues on pool

Planting grass in our garden on the hill
Tuesday, 8/21: Paulo (our gardener and #1 "go to" guy) had already arrived and is helping Doug plant some grass sod that Anna had removed from her yard at Casa Anna.... of course, Doug saved it from the trash!

Tuesday, 8/21: Pedro and Pedro Jr. are busy finishing up the fence around the parking area at the entrance to the property. They have aleady completed attaching a barbed wire section to the bamboo fence, and up the slope to attach to the main entrance - Doug is designing some sort of bamboo entrance gate there.
Bamboo fence at entrance

Concrete mixer
Tuesday, 8/21: Our building project so far has consisted of lots of concrete work! This concrete mixer may not look that great - but it sure gets the job done. No cement trucks here (except in the big cities) - so these hard working guys do it all by a combination of this mixer, shovels, and wheelbarrows!

Tuesday, 8/21: To make concrete however, you need water... the 2500 liter tank has been used up, so we ordered another tanker of water. From the 8 cubic meters in the tanker, we'll fill the blue tank, and then put the remainder in the cistern - which the guys can dip the water out when they empty the blue tank again.
Water tanker

Water into the cistern
Tuesday, 8/21: The tanker has moved up to the cistern (which will be our main water source when the casita is constructed) - and the rest of the tanker is being emptied. We are planning to buy the pump for the cistern on Monday when Doug and I take the bus to Jipijapa for a shopping trip.

Wednesday, 8/22: The garden which awaits transplantation is continually growing! We have taken some of the plants out to the property, but the majority remain here on our patio at Casa Anna.
Patio at Casa Anna

New coconut palms
Wednesday, 8/22: This past Sunday morning - at 7:30 am no less! - we were summoned out of bed by the ringing of the bell at the gate. It was Orly with his truck of plants! We bought 4 coconut palms ($5 ea), and a small lime tree ($4)... we'll need more later, but this will get us started.

Thursday, 8/23: The chicos have been busy already this morning! They have erected the form for the concrete pour encasing the rebar on the sides of the pool. What a system they have! Note the boards forming an entrance and exit for the wheelbarrows carrying the concrete.
Concrete pour for the pool

Concrete pour for the pool
Thursday, 8/23: Pouring the concrete inside the block walls. Amazing to watch!

Thursday, 8/23: They have saved us a lot of work in constructing pathways from the drive to the top of the hill! With three chicos running wheelbarrows of concrete up the hill, as fast as they can go, they have cut some great paths for us!
Ferrying the concrete to the pool

Pouring concrete bottom
Thursday, 8/23: With the walls poured, they have started filling the bottom of the pool, over the rebar, with concrete.

Thursday, 8/23: As the end of the day nears, they will have the concrete completely poured before they leave...
Pouring concrete bottom

Concrete forms removed from pool
Saturday, 8/25: By the time we arrive on Saturday, the forms have been removed, and we have one very strong pool!

Saturday, 8/25: This morning, the chicos are working on bending the rebar which will be used in the columns for the casita. They have set up shop between a couple trees, in the shade, and are happily working away!
Bending rebar for concrete columns

Rebar for concrete columns
Saturday, 8/25: These are available pre-formed - but I am told that they are most likely much stronger the way our guys are doing them... each joint is wrapped meticulously by hand. Maestro says they will be starting the foundation for the casita this week - we can't wait!

Saturday, 8/25: Doug is still working in our "garden" area - here our prized aloe vera plant (a gift from our friend, Frede) has a prime spot in our jardin!
Aloe in our jardin

Pineapple Patch
Saturday, 8/25: I have been working on planting all of our pineapple tops in what I call my "Pina Patch"! When these all grow and multiply, hopefully we'll have plenty of pineapples...

Just enjoying some relaxation in our cabana!... while Doug is running around taking photos.
Enjoying the cabana

Steps and Seat in Pool
This pool is going to be sooo cool! Can't wait to relax on a warm, sunny day...this seat along one wall is going to be perfect for us "old folks"....jajaja!

Sunday, 8-26: Jaime, the local carpenter who made two custom bar stools for me out of bamboo, came by to finish the wrapping of the legs on one of the stools. The material he uses is a type of rope that is specially made for him by a friend in Guayaquil - and he had run out before finishing my stools.
Custom Bamboo Bar Stools

Tile for pool
Wednesday, 8-29: I went to Jipijapa today with our maestro, shopping for tiles for the swimming pool. While in the ferreterias, I had a chance to check out everything from glass blocks to toilets to granite for counter tops! What fun! This white tile with a border of blue boats and mountains is what we chose.

Wednesday, 8-29: When we returned to the property, Pedro and Jr. were working on the bamboo "wall" at the entrance to the property. This frame will be filled with bamboo to match the fence, and we'll have a wood plaque made to attach, spelling out the name we have chosen for our property: "Villa Dos Colinas"....(literally villa two hills).
Bamboo at entrance

Whales on my toes!
Friday, 8-31: Today was pedicure day! Yeah - my calla lilies from last time were growing out. This time: Ballenas! (Whales.) Monica really is an artist. And all this work for only $5!

Friday, 8-31: When we arrived at the property today, it looked like high-rise city! The rebar for the support columns for the casita were in place. Didn't realize how high it would be because of the slope of the land.
Rebar for columns

Holes/Rebar for columns
Friday, 8-31: Folks, this casita is not going anywhere! With all these support columns in these deep holes in very solid terrain, we should have no fear of any little shaking the earth might do!

Friday, 8-31: We invited Justine & Ludo out to see the property today. They are volunteers at Casa Anna, and are from outside Paris, France. By the time they finish their travels of most of South & Central America, they will have traveled for almost a year! We just hope they will return to Ecuador and hopefully volunteer for us when we have our workaway program in place!
Ludo and Justine

August 17, 2018, 2018
August 19, 2018


Things seem to be be rolling along now - and we are ecstatic! Our Maestro is totally on top of things - and has his excellent team moving from one project to the next. Septic tank with cabana - completed! Cistern to hold the water supply for the property is close to completion! And since the hole for the pool was dug at the same time as the cistern, he has moved on to the "dipping pool"! (More details below.)

And, no, we will not be the only ones living on this beautiful piece of property.... Doug about had a heart attack on Friday when he started to lean against a tree - and this huge guy moved quickly away from him! Not sure if it's a lizard or an iguana, but look at the size of this guy's tail!

Below are details of our progress this week. Then view a slide show of photos from August 14th through the 18th below:

View a Slideshow!

On Tuesday, 8/14: After the size of the hole for the water cistern was to Maestro's satisfaction, the bottom was lined first with large rocks, and then covered with "chispa", or smaller rocks.
Rocks in bottom of Cisterna

Rebar in Cisterna
Next, the chicos began lining the cisterna with rebar. We do not have city water at our property, so the supply of water will be held in this large cistern. It will hold 24 cubic meters, or 6,000+ gallons - and will be delivered by "tanquero" (a tanker holds 8 meters of water, and costs $30.)

Also on Tuesday, Pedro and Pedro Jr. were busy splitting and preparing the bamboo for the fencing at the road, where we have made a parking area between the two hills on the property. This will connect to the barbed wire fence encircling the rest of our land.
Working on Bamboo Fence

Cistern Framework
Wednesday, 8/15/18: Today when we arrived, our crew were already busy preparing to pour the concrete walls for the cisterna. What an elaborate system of framework they have built from bamboo and wood!

It wasn't long before the guys were scurrying up and down the hill with carretillas (wheelbarrows) full of concrete and pouring the walls of the cisterna!
Pouring cistern walls

Area for the pool has been dug
While the "Cat" was on the hill, we also had the space for the pool dug. This is a small "dipping pool", which will sit between the casita and the palapa. And with the slope of the land, it will essentially be an "infinity" pool - looking out at the ocean and mountains!

Thursday, 8/16/18: Pedro and Pedro Jr. are working on the bamboo fence on the street, around the parking area. The bamboo is treated with a mixture of a preservative and diesel fuel - this turns different colors on the bamboo canes... it's really quite pretty!
Working on Fence

Finishing the interior of the cisterna
Terry and Luis are doing the finish work on the interior of the concrete cistern.
The precision of the work would be suitable for the walls of a home - but the pride of workmanship shows, even inside a water cistern!

At the end of a day at our land, we walk down the highway back into the village. The first place off the highway is a small tienda where we stop and have a cerveza, and talk with the family who owns it. While having our cerveza today, we were treated to the appearance of this entrepreneur... he has his charcoal grill built onto a motorcycle. He got off his bike, stoked up his grill, and put chicken and possibly pork on to cook.... then he got back on his bike and drove up the highway (possibly near the bus stop with more potential customers!)...
Traveling Grill

Maestro at Work
Friday, 8/17/18: Pedro and son are doing a beautiful job on the fence at the entrance - and the Maestro and his helper (Doug) are working on a custom made gate of bamboo.

Friday, 8/17/18: Meanwhile, on top of the hill, the chicos have been busy filling the bottom of the pool with the large rocks.
The start of the pool

Bamboo entrance gate
Doug and Maestro are testing their gate frame for the perfect fit....bamboo canes will be nailed to this frame to match the fence.

The view from the street side. This area is located between the two hills - and the drive leads into a good sized parking area.
Doug and Maestro Yovo

Pool base
Back at the pool, after the large rocks are all in place, they are covered by the "chispa" or small rock.

This view is looking "into" the hillside, above which the palapa will be built. The side of the pool on the left, and the side in the front nearest the camera, will be built up... forming an infinity pool edge. Cool!
Pool location on hillside

Saturday, 8/18/18: The pool wall facing the ocean, and the side against the dirt are both straight - the other two walls have formed a large curve. This will be the perfect place to watch the sunset from the pool!
Pool with ocean view!

Seashell shape
When I looked at the pool from above (the palapa level), it struck me that the shape of the pool reminded me of a scallop shell! What a perfect shape for a couple of beachcombers who love seashells!

See photos from July, 2018