Merri and I are back from texas (more on this amazing story tomorrow) and now are settled into the charming small city of Cotacachi in the El Meson de las Flores, our new home.

The building has 16,350 square feet…66 steps along a gaslight lit path to the village square at the corner of Calle Bolivar and Calle Garcia Moreno (see picture below).

The plaza is a small patch of peace and quiet facing the Cathedral on the east edge. The Cathedral dominates the town, rising several stories with its minarets and crosses. You are never lost in the village because you can always spot the Cathedral. Built of local stone, this huge edifice covers an entire block and rises eight steep tiled steps up above street level where you enter thru huge, carved, arched wooden doors.

The plaza is typìcal, grass and brick pavers segmented into 12 small, wrought iron rimmed gardens bristling with heather, petunia, violets, ice plant, canna lilies and aquavy.  Trees with white painted trunks line the pathways, tall stately Washingtonian Palms, two huge old Canary Dates, some “Alerce Pines of Chile” (a rare ultra hard wood called the Tree of the Inca) and lots of Golden Raintree and African Tulip in full bloom.

Flag poles on each corner add some color and in the center there is a small cupola topped with a statue of Santa Ana, the patron saint of the canton.  A big sign for the Canton declares “144 Years of history-work and identity.”

El Meson is about 180 years old with an entrance through two enormous hand carved wooden doors with lions. The place was originally the center of vast ranches in the area but fell empty for 50 years or so. Then Don Hugo(Señor Cordova) bought this from his family´s estate and turned it into a small hotel opening March 1982.  The hotel has 17 rooms and 19 bathrooms including the suite where we are esconced. They need decor but the bones are good. The place is spotless and has lots of history.

We are getting some good stories from the previous owners the Cordovas about the background.  The Cordovas have now built a large brand new hotel, Rancho Santa Fe nearby.

They told us that we can call the Meson the place that saved the village. Population had dropped from 15,000 to 6,000 when Sr. Cordova started the hotel. Having a small exquisite hotel brought business and life back to Cotacachi (now 30,000 population in the canton).

We topped off last night sitting before a roaring fire by the cow hide leather covered bar (now under our tutelage a juice bar!) sipping a coffee with special medicine that enhances a long vital life suggested by Doña Elsa. However, I believe we call it Cognac. Perhaps this is a magical health elixir.  How many people start a new huge project as Hugo and Elsa have done when in their 80s? The meson, like the Cognac, is quite French and its name is derived from the French Maison (In Spanish it turned into Meson) because the French Ambassador used to come out from Quito to stay with his delegations.

The town turns deathly silent at night so we slept in total peace…until six am. Do not expect to sleep beyond this…as we are right next to the Cathedral and it sounds like the bell there is in our bedroom.  First comes the “to Mass toll”  Clang Clang for a long time. This not an especially melodic bell either. Then just in case you missed this (or in other words if you were totally deaf) they have the “second call”.   If you could imaginably sleep through this then perhaps you could also ignore the sounds of the town coming alive, the chickens crowing, doves cooing, traffic and the staff down in the court yard cleaning, scurrying and frying bacon, eggs and ham.  All quite pleasant and since we are early risers and did not have too much medicine the night before we enjoy the early start.

Now while others up north suffer in the cold ice and snow we are sitting in El Meson’s sunny patio (we have wireless so I can work in the courtyard) enjoying the beauty of the flowers, humming birds and sweetness of El Meson. Our hound dog, Mahananda, is greeting all the guests while we savor Hacienda Life and most of all Merri, ma and i along with our guests (which we hope you will enjoy) enjoy the sweetness of the wonderful Ecuadorian people. Life here in the winter is good!

We ope you’ll join us. Until then all our best!

Gary

P.S. Join Merri, Thomas Fischer of Jyske Bank, Joe Cox, Dr. Andres Cordova and of course our hound dog Ma in Quito and here at Meson de las Flores! Learn more about Ecuador. Review where to invest and do business now and learn which markets and currencies may be strong in the year ahead. Details


P.P.S Focus on Import-Export with Merri and me and tour Ecuador on our Import Export Expedition. DETAILS

Here is that village square 66 steps from our front door. Join us here!