Wednesday, January 21, 2009

WW II, General Strikes & New Heads of State

While it's still warm, the weather has turned and it's not as warm as it has been for the last 3 months or so. Now when we go out we wear a sweater or bring one (except for the days when it's still really quite hot), whereas for several months it's definitely been shirt sleeve weather. One should not be confused by the rain indicated on the weather gadget for Cuenca on this blog. It does rain almost every day but unlike Vancouver it doesn't last. A heavy shower will come down for twenty minutes or so and then it ends, or a light shower will sprinkle for a few minutes and then go away. It's not cold and damp and puddly, it's the kind of rain one would expect just miles from the Equator.

And now for something completely different: For some reason we've been stuck in World War II for the last several weeks. Last night we watch Tom Cruises's Valkyrie and a couple of weeks ago we watched the series Band of Brothers and quite enjoyed it. Books read are Marge Piercy's Gone to Soldiers, Paul Grieve's Upon a Wheel of Fire and Larry Collins' Fall from Grace. People of our generation grew up hearing about WW II but never had to really understand the fullness of it. Wikipedia says over 70,000,000 people were killed in WW II, 3,800,000 in the Vietnam War & 100,000 in the Persian Gulf War. Tucked away in our little South American paradise, we can't help but thank our lucky stars the way things seem to be turning out for us. Maybe that's why we're in the WW II phrase, just thanking our lucky stars and recognizing what could be?

ExPat night was at the Sankt Florian on Calle Larga. There was a good turn out, perhaps because everyone wanted to see the new venue, and certainly the food & service was much better. Tables were set up to seat about 6 whereas a long table to seat 12 or 15 or more is much better for expanding your ExPat horizons. We took Fredi and she lay under the table quietly & unobtrusively (despite the quite loud din) unless someone wanted to examine her and then she was cuddly & cute & good.

Today is Tuesday and we were told at ExPat night that on Tuesday there was going to be a "general strike". This meant no taxis, buses & we're not sure about the Post Office or similar places. We'd already invited people over Tuesday evening for dinner so we warned them they might have to walk and made sure we did all our shopping on Monday. I know Canada, way back when, tried general strikes a few times and vaguely remember reading about people walking to Winnipeg. http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/index.cfm?PgNm=TCE&Params=A1ARTA0008649 We've certainly seen the cabs not running for a couple of hours from time to time but the only time we've seen no buses was on New Year's Day. Later on when we went out, taxis & buses were running, so now we're not sure if we were given incorrect information, or it was cancelled...or it only was in the morning, or what. Shelley tried to Google "Cuenca General Strike" but the only thing that came up was from 1995.

Tuesday was inauguration day for the U.S.'s new President Obama. Brian spent a great deal of the day watching the festivities on television. At one point Shelley asked him, "What do Canadian's do when we get a new Prime Minister?"

Brian quick reply was, "Spend the next several weeks trying to remember his name."

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