For cleavage perhaps the best place in Ecuador is Guayaquil, although we haven't been in to the Northern Coast but Cuenca seems to excel in the skin tight blue jeans and high heels with pointed toes department. The women are graceful in their heels, not clopping along as some do, but seemly comfortable, elegant and light footed. They start young so they've had years to perfect the dance. At any sort of event the gringos seem almost shabby in their comfortable, very casual clothes. Ecuadorian men regularly wear suits and the women are elegant in pant suits and light sweater sets. Shelley's a little worried about buying clothes when the need arises as most of the stores seem to cater to women years younger and the alternative is dressy casual. We're also concerned about pants or jeans for Brian. He's 6'2" and not many Ecuadorians are that height. One can always get clothes custom made for a very reasonable price but we'll check out bigger shops in Guayaquil or Quito before we go that route, although Brian's eyeing a custom made leather jacket.
The weather's been bleak the last four days, raining most of the day and cold. There seems to be a huge controversy over when the weather is best in Cuenca. One lady said that in each of the 6 months she's lived here, she's been told the weather gets better "next month". Normally, each day brings you sunny patches where you feel the heat of the equator sun, but we seem to be going through a rough patch. We were previously assured that the winds die down in September and it gets warmer but at this point we're wondering which September they were talking about. This is not to say we're unhappy with our decision to settle in Cuenca. To live somewhere where you require neither air conditioning nor a central heating system is a wonder! We only have to tell native "cuencanos" (yes; small c) that we come from Canada and they seem to understand why we don't complain. It may be however, that like many unfamiliar with Canada, they think we all live near polar bears in igloos.
Shelley got her hair cut the other day. We carefully looked up the Spanish words for "short here, longer there" and armed with our dictionary went to the salon she'd visited during our vacation. During the course of the hair cut the stylist told another customer we were Americans and Shelley quickly set her to right saying, "No Americana! Canadiense!" She did it with such feeling that the hairdresser laughed and laughed and patted her on the shoulder. Brian in the interim got into a conversation with a German Expat who's been in Ecuador since the 80's. He owns one of the many ice cream palaces in Cuenca and lamented that when he'd first opened the place he'd had to carry the money away in sacks. These days with 18 other similar establishment having opened in the downtown area, "It makes a good living but not like before".
If you notice Planet Irony becoming somewhat erratic in the next few posts, please be advised WE ARE ALMOST OUT OF NICORETTES! We brought with us 4 boxes which has lasted us 8+ weeks. We thoroughly discussed weaning ourselves when we got down to the last box and both of us heartily agreed that didn't seem like any fun whatsoever. We now have 2 sheets of Nicorettes left and are happily chewing our way to our Nicorette-less life. Brian says he's overjoyed they're almost gone as the way Shelley chews gum annoys the heck out of him. Shelley's looking forward to a unaddicted life style. Since we can't find Nicorettes in Ecuador we have desultorily discussed perhaps looking for patches but so far we haven't. We'll see what happens when the crunch comes! A nice couple who reads our blog offered to bring us Nicorettes when they visit Cuenca in October. We thanked them for their thoughtfulness but declined. Aren't you all proud of us!?
Shelley, always one to find a project when none exists, is now dragging Brian around Cuenca taking pictures of floors, walls and ceilings. "I'm going to paste them all like a collage on a big piece of cardboard and then get it framed" she excitedly explains to Brian. "It'll look neat and fill in that spot on the wall in the apartment just in front of the door."
"Why not use the pictures of doors you're taking?" Brian asks.
"Oh you silly" Shelley scoffs "that wouldn't work."