Nomadic Art

The Musical Nomads opened their Cuenca home tonight for an evening of art, music and food. They are one of our favorite local bands, performing "Classic Hits For All Occasions" (the byline on their business card).

They had a sold-out crowd for the event. Everyone first socialized while walking around the improvised art gallery, then sat and listened to the Nomads. The second half of the music cleared the chairs and the dancing started.

 Two artists were displaying their work, Dale Lance as a painter and Tom McNaughton showing metalwork.

Almost all the songs played by the Musical Nomads tonight were ones I have in my iTunes collection.  They included such songs as:

Here they performed Me and Julio Down By the Schoolyard (Paul Simon) tonight for us.


Could be a Wedding. Could be a Divorce. Who Knows?

Another day in Cuenca, another parade it seems.  Last night we heard music blaring from Parque Calderon in the center of town, with fireworks later. This morning we heard a band going by at 5:15AM, but rolled over and went back to sleep.  This afternoon I walked out my front door and discovered the largest parade I have seen since February passing by half a block from our front door.  I walked down and snapped a few images.

I realized the parade started (and later ended) at the church by the Flower Market a block from Calderon.  I walked over to the Don Colon restaurant and talked to the owner (Don Colon...) asking if he knew what the parade was about.  "Could be a wedding. Could be a divorce. Who knows? They celebrate everything with a parade here!"

We have often noted how we only find out about celebrations when they are under way around here.  We have asked several Cuencanos about it, and always get a shrug and a statement that they don't know either.  Here was one more example of a local not knowing what was going on literally next door to him...

This particular parade took up three blocks, and consisted of six different bands playing.  They all played the same music at the same time, so at least it wasn't a cacophony, but did make it rather loud...

The parade also had a couple of floats, and horses, and people dancing, and marching with banners (that appeared to be celebrating the Pope?).  At the end was the traditional Child Jesus statue, carried by 16 military officers, which was followed by perhaps a hundred other military men in uniform. 

That statue gave the clue to the true meaning of the parade.  Each church has a celebration on its "Saint's Day," which is the day set aside for the saint the church was named after. On that day, they parade their Child Jesus statue around town.  Apparently, this was their day.  Indeed, upon further research, I found it was in celebration so "Virgen del Carmen de la Asunción."


Art Exhibit Wrap-up Slideshow

Evelyn's first art exhibit is now complete, and was a complete success.  Here is a slideshow of the paintings, artists, and guests.

Evelyn Art Slideshow 2014-07 from Burt Johnson on Vimeo.



Evelyn's First Art Expo

After years of having friends try to convince her to have an art showing, Evelyn finally caved and had her first opening reception tonight.  After weeks of being nervous and fearing nobody would come or like her work, she sold 6 out of the 14 she displayed within the first 3 hours -- far more than either of the more two established Peruvian artists she was exhibiting with.

These are some of the paintings Evelyn displayed tonight. Sara, in the lower right, is placing the 'sold' sticker on one that she bought.

Freddy Llerena and Alexander Sucasaire also exhibited in the same show.

Turn-out was great, with pretty much everyone we knew showing up to support Evelyn


[Recipe] Chicken Tetrazini

This is a pasta dish that Evelyn used to make in California using the leftover turkey from Thanksgiving or Christmas.  When I started cooking, this is one of the recipes I got her to teach me.  Of course, I made a few modifications in the subsequent years.  For one thing, I no longer wait until we have turkey.  Since we often have chicken in Ecuador, but rarely turkey, one simple change was to now use chicken as a base.

The shopping list includes:

  • Spaghetti, 10 oz
  • Mushrooms, 10 oz sliced thin
  • Chili, 2 small, chopped
  • Butter, 5 tbsp
  • Flour, 1/4 cup
  • Milk, 2 cup
  • Chicken Broth, 2 cup
  • White wine, 1 cup
  • Chicken or Turkey, 3 cup coarsely ground
  • Peas, 1 cup
  • Parmesan Cheese, 2/3 cup
  • Bread Crumbs, 1/3 cup
  1. In a large saucepan, cook the mushrooms in the butter over moderate heat, stirring for 2 minutes.
  2. Stir in the flour and cook the mixture over low heat for about 3 minutes.
  3. Add in the milk, broth and wine, while stirring.
  4. Bring the mixture to a boil, then simmer the sauce for 5 minutes.  If the mixture is too thick, you can add more broth.
  5. Mix in the turkey, chili, bread crumbs and peas.
  6. Meanwhile -- cook the spaghetti in a pot until al dente, then drain well.
  7. Mix the spaghetti, sauce and parmesan cheese in the saucepan well.

I usually double the recipe, using a full package of pasta, giving us plenty of left-overs.  Those are packaged in meal-sized containers. When ready to reheat, add a little water and microwave until hot.  Tastes just good as the first day, as the juices get absorbed by the pasta.