Monday, December 22, 2008

Strangers in a Strange Land

Anarchy continued to reign in our house until we all had a sit down and figured out guide lines. Jan was not to bad mouth our Mac and Shelley would continue to accommodate Jan's need to have his salad on a separate plate. Brian would carry on standing in the middle buffeted by varying loyalties and not complain about his stress levels.

That straightened out, we took Jan downtown to the 4 level artisan shop on Gran Colombia and to Laura's CasaMuseo on La Condamine. In between we stopped at the people's market and both the boys had a large plate of roast pig. Laura's is run by an ExPat Dutch fellow & his lovely Ecuadorian bride (they're both in their 70's). Jan & Jan had a wonderful time speaking Dutch to each other and trading stories. While we were there a tour of Canadians (the eastern side) came through and we all traded experiences for awhile.

We took Jan to ExPat night so he got a chance to mingle with the usual mix of long-term & short-term residents and visitors. Later on we went for pizza at Monday Blue and returned home suitably exhausted.

Up in the morning we were greeted by a plugged toilet so the boys went off Kywi (out near the airport) to find a plunger (what's that called in Spanish?). Brian had gone on line and printed off a picture of a plunger at Jan's suggestion and that seemed to do the trick. They came back home with an absolutely marvelous plunger complete with instructions in English (how difficult can operating a plunger be?) and the toilet is now gurgling happily as it should.

After his 3rd visit to the travel agency and his on-going arrangements for his trip to Peru, Jan proceeded to make his "world famous chicken wings" for a small Christmas party we were attending that evening. Shelley left the room during preparations and Brian was called in several times for consultations. At the party Jan was gratified everybody enjoyed his wings.

It truly was a wonderful evening; all these strangers in a strange land brought together in a warm lively home. At this particular gathering Canadians almost out numbered the Americans and we threatened to talk Canadian politics all night but, with typical Canadian reserve, we resisted. Our hosts were wonderful and made us feel like we were back home. The hit of the night were the homemade Nanaimo bars; a West Coast Canadian delicacy (see Planet Irony Recipes & Note: As Bird Eye Custard powder is not available in Ecuador our hostess, on the advice of her mother, used custard pudding mix).

The next day the boys bussed off to Gualaceo to see what there is to see while Shelley remained at home quietly basking in the sun on their balcony. The bus trip to Gualaceo was lovely; Jan commented on the beautiful scenery & countryside. For some inexplicable reason the bus stopped 4 blocks short of the depot while the driver had lunch. The boys didn't realize the depot was so close or they would have walked there. "So we sat on the bus like idiots and waited the 20 minutes" Jan said. "The bus driver returned and within 3 minutes we were at the bus depot where we disembarked."

A second short bus ride got the boys to Chordeleg which is famous throughout Ecuador for very fine filagree gold jewelry. All in all a highly successful trip; they arrived home exhausted and settled in to a great meal of left-over chicken cacciatore.

1 comment:

  1. Aw, you shoulda' talked Canadian politics. Let those yankees know there's even more to the world. (Being a border city yankee, I can be somewhat smug.) Also, you could have given them a taste of what they put you through for 8 years!!! ;-)