Armed with only her purse & camera, Shelley set out Saturday morning to meet with one of the people who read the blog and got in touch with us. Normally Brian would have gone with her on this minor adventure, but he was still suffering with stomach cramps and that desire not to be too far away from a toilet. We figure we've met close to a dozen people who have read the blog and eventually made it to Cuenca. A couple of them have moved here permanently, several are in the process of selling assets in order to make the move, others are still testing the waters trying to make up their minds between Ecuador and for example Mexico, and yet others were either down here just for a vacation or are hoping to make it back here within a year or so. Shelley had a lovely lunch with a lady from Florida and chatted about Ecuador & Cuenca & kids & husbands & food & politics & such. After lunch we walked to the CB Carolina Bookstore, past the ExPat restaurant & we gabbed with the nice people in the bookstore for awhile. Psychic twinges about poor Brian started to eat at the edges of Shelley's mind so she headed on home.
"I was just starting to get worried about you" Brian told her. "Did you have a good time?"
"Yes, yes I did."
Brian's stomach problems continued to keep us at home for several days. Shelley began to grow a bit stir crazy and discovered "StumbleUpon" on the net. Deep into cat jokes, political satire, art, stunning pictures & writing sites, she began to bother her daughter, son-in-law & others with all her new discoveries. "Just let me know if what I'm sending becomes too much" she wrote.
"I'm a better sufferer than you are" Shelley told Brian on day 4, having had just about enough.
"Yes, yes you are."
Eight e-mails to all and sundry later, Shelley turned to other avenues and discovered a friend from high school that she hasn't had contact with for over 30 years.
"I think I've only got 5 days worth of real sympathy in me" Shelley confessed to Brian "and between your teeth and the food poisoning it's pretty much all gone."
"You're being wonderful!" Brian told her.
As fortunes would have it, Brian's dental surgery forced him out of the house and away from the commode. He'd thought about canceling the appointment but reasoned if he didn't eat before hand he'd be OK, and afterward he'd only be able to eat soft comfort food anyway. Once again he took his happy pills but this time, because he had no food in his stomach, the effect was quite profound. Upon arriving at the dentist, he was advised that work could not take place because he'd abscessed in the area where he'd had the tooth pulled and the root canal.
The periodontist told him it was likely he'd had such a long reaction to the food poisoning because of the abscess; his immune system was compromised. He prescribed antibiotics and made another appointment for Brian in a week to check on him. They both agreed to put off the rest of the work until the new year so it didn't interfere with our friend visiting and Christmas. When the dental surgery is done, Brian'll have stitches in his mouth for 8 days and be restricted to soft food.
Walking home, Shelley's arm through Brian's to keep him from wide tracking, she told him she'd get him home and then she'd like to go down town. "Just to get out for a bit more!" Hand on his stomach, heavily medicated, Brian told her he wouldn't mind going downtown too. "I'm very mellow" he told her. Downtown we went; Shelley shopped for a shawl and we stopped so Brian could have a bowl of the local soup. Upon arriving home, Brian had yet another one of his marathon naps. (Will this dental session never end?)
We'd been planning on going to Vilcabamba to spend Christmas there as the French Canadian manager of Jardin Escondido puts on a traditional Canadian Christmas turkey feast. However, when we emailed to make reservations we were advised that the rates were almost double what we'd paid in February/March of 2008. We wrote back trying to figure out if it was Christmas rates or a mistake but in typical Ecuadorian fashion we received no reply. It seems in Ecuador if the answer to a question is not what the questioner probably wants to hear, then no answer is given. This has happened to us several times here. Our friend from Holland is due to arrive in 2 days. We were planning on spending several days in Cuenca showing him our new home town and then busing to Vilcabamba for the Christmas feast. Now we're rethinking our agenda.
Warm weather, artificial Christmas trees everywhere, blown up snowmen & poinsettia plants big enough to climb; whatever we do for Christmas it'll be different than what we're used to.
PS:- Shortly after publishing this blog we got an email from the manager of Jardin Escondido saying he'd check with the owner and get back to us. I guess we'll find out what our Christmas plans are in due course.