August 2, 2012

Cuenca, Ecuador: The Adventure Continues

On Pit Road at Parque Xtremo
Yunguilla Valley, Ecuador
It's been a busy couple of weeks around here. First, we went to Parque Xtremo in the Yunguilla Valley for the rally races. We took an excursion van from JD's Private Transportation & Custom Outings, since we don't have (or want) wheels of our own. 

Because I told them I was covering the event for Skirts and Scuffs, they introduced me to the park manager, who drove me along a section of the course to the pits and arranged for me to speak with a couple of the drivers, Then, since the races were starting, he did one of those "Hold on, I've got to get you back up top fast, as the race is just about to start." Wasn't a Sprint Cup ride, but we were hauling along the dirt track and just barely made it before the race started. That was pretty fun.
My overall impression of the park and the raceway is that it is like a road course version of the Bullring at a local home track — which is not a bad thing. Was it at Sprint Cup or F1 level, no. But it's a great place to watch young drivers. They also sponsor motocross races  the ups and downs and twists and turns of the course should make that interesting. We definitely will go again.

Our friends John and Violetta were up for more excursions, too, and since they are only in town for a month at a time, we went with them one day to explore some of the nearby towns like Chordoleg where they make lovely silver filigree jewelry. A week later, we all went out to the biggest archaeological Inca complex in Ecuador — Ingapirca. Grisly bunch, those Incas.

On the same day, I had a last-minute assignment for Las Vegas City Life regarding funding cuts to the annual Dance in the Desert Festival, one of the highlights of the Las Vegas dance calendar. So while everyone was looking at ruins (OK, I glanced at them), I was using the Inca cell phone tower relay (very advanced bunch) to interview and coordinate material for the article. We managed to get back home just in time for me to sort things out and make my deadline. 

The Visa Saga
In addition to playing social butterflies, we also got news from our attorneys that our pensioner visas had been approved. So we had to quickly fill out a bunch more forms and send them to Quito, along with our passports. Today, we received copies of our approved visas. Of course, they are holding the original passports hostage at the attorney's office until we pay them the remainder of the attorney fees. We are now in the process of reminding them that we have already paid half the fees, and the amount they quoted us today was in error. As soon as that is cleared up, they will DHL our passports back to us, and we will go up to Quito to get the cedulas. And then we are street legal. 

I Thought We Were Retired
Work news: My first article for Skirts and Scuffs went live on August 1. It looks like my articles will run on the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month (after this one). In addition, I am doing some copyediting work for a new client on some fiction books and short stories. And still doing interviews and book reviews for California Literary Review. Oh, and copyediting for K. W. We are trying to get the rest of his back list up for purchase.

K. W. is working on Kim Oh 5 and other projects — as usual. If you are still Kim Oh challenged, K. W. is continuing the limited-time offer for the first book in the series. Just go to his Steamwords blog, and he will send you the ebook. Don't wait; I don't know how long he will be doing this. I'd be the last to find out.


  1. Hi Geri, Your blog is fantastic, you do really nice work! I have not heard a peep out of J.D. Private Transportation & Custom Outings for a long while, have yall?

  2. Hi Jack --

    Thanks. Much appreciated. As for J.D. Private Transportation, they have disbanded. That kind of service turned out to be much more work than the owners anticipated, I think.