Off we went to the Parque Paraiso to give Fredi a good romp. She loved it! She roared off in all directions, smelling every fixed object in the park to see who had been there before her. She bounced like a bunny into the tall grass exploring every nook & cranny we passed. She met several small children who wanted to pet her and then when the opportunity came, were too afraid. She worked her considerable charms on an elderly high Spanish lady and made a friend for life. Brian ate a doubtful hotdog (it was orange inside & even the stray dogs wouldn't eat the last bite he threw to them) and we walked and sat on benches and watched various soccer games and generally all had a very good time. The bus was packed on the way home and Fredi fell asleep in her carry purse almost immediately, exhausted from perhaps (in her mind) her bestest day ever.
Standing slumped over in a T-shirt and his underwear, his hair poking up at odd angles, Brian threw a pouting & accusatory look at Shelley and asked, "Who were you talking to? You were almost yelling!"
Shelley had been on Skype and was talking with an old friend from high-school who lived in Alberta, Canada. She'd gotten way too excited about the whole thing and apparently woke Brian from his nap. "It's a wonderful thing!" she told her friend talking about Skype. "We lived long enough to enter into Buck Rogers' territory!" she exclaimed.
"Make me coffee!" Brian insisted after her explanation. "It's the least you can do."
In an effort to broaden Fredi's horizons & at the invitation of some friends of ours, we took Fredi bowling at the Mall del Rio's Fun Centre. Unfortunately for Fredi it's 10 pin and therefore unreasonable to expect she could use the ball; the rest of us had fun though. One of the workers at the Fun Centre was very curious about Fredi and wanted to know her breed and asked in that frank Cuencano way how much she cost. Shelley'd told Brian to tell anyone who asked that we paid $40 for her. There's a general assumption here that all gringos are wealthy & one person suggested Fredi cost us $1,000. We're a little concerned that she could get dog napped. (Shelley had a dog napped in Canada years before.) We're not sure anyone believes us when we state the $40, but you can buy mixed breed Cockapoos at the Feria Libre for about that price.
Off we went to look at the orchids once again. We'd gone before and were within a stone's throw and had turned back not being able to find it. We'd carefully gone both times on a Tuesday as a friend had advised they were closed on the weekends. We arrived at 11:50 and were advised it wasn't open until 2:00 p.m. We're not sure if they're open in the morning and closed for lunch or if their hours are only in the afternoon. It's a lovely walk along the river, if only it wasn't 20 minutes too long for us. Fredi got her little legs all muddy and slept in her purse on the bus ride home. Upon arrival in the apartment Fredi & Brian had a bit of a hissy fit with each other as Fredi wanted to nap immediately and Brian wanted to eat lunch. Brian won.
In Vancouver we always bought monthly bus passes, except for holiday months when it wasn't worth it. The bus pass gave you a sense of belonging. It was much more satisfying to flash your pass than come up with your exact change $2.50 and plunk it in. We finally purchased our tarjeta for the Cuenca bus system; 40 bus rides for $10. You can put whatever amount you like on the card and once Brian gets yet another piece of I.D. identifying him as over 65, he can then get a discount tarjeta. And yes...once again...it was much more satisfying using our cards on the bus than plunking in our exact change $0.25.
After some wandering trying to figure out where to buy our bus cards, we then ventured over to the Nueve de Octobre market downtown which has recently been refurbished. Apparently they'd been working on it for 18 months. There's big tall Brian with Shelley's fancy cloth purse slung over his shoulder and Fredi's little head poking out. At least half a dozen of the sales ladies in the market teased Brian about being PaPa and wanted to pet Fredi. At one stall a woman offered Fredi a tiny taste of raw hamburger and Brian explained partly in halting Spanish, partly with sign language, that it wouldn't be a good idea as it'd probably just come right out the other end. This caused great hilarity. The market is beautiful, with lunch stalls on the top floor offering pig & chicken & beans, fruit stalls on the main (middle) floor and meat stalls on the bottom floor. Everything was extremely clean and well laid out and we didn't get the feeling of pick pockets lurking behind us like we did when all the stalls were outside.
Thinking our PO Box was only paid up until the end of last year and wondering why we hadn't received a notice, we hopped on a bus (with our brand new bus cards!) and went to the Post Office to inquire. Yes, in fact, our PO Box was due for renewal as of January 1st and we paid our $23 for the year. When we inquired as to why we hadn't received a renewal notice we were advised they waited 2 months and usually by that time most people had managed to pay it without a notice. Can't argue with that.
We tried to go to Punto and pick up a small cake for Brian's 68th (can you believe it?) birthday but Punto kicked us out because we had Fredi in a purse. Shelley told them we'd never come back shopping there again, but it didn't seem to worry them at all. She suspects even if she had told them in Spanish it wouldn't have made any difference. It's funny, we've gone to several restaurants and Fredi's sat politely under the table until it was time to go and we've gone to numerous shops where usually Fredi is doted upon, not kicked out. Alas, Punto's cakes will no longer be on our menu. Later on that day in fact, we went to Sankt Florian and had their lunch special & a bottle beer in the middle of the day to celebrate Brian's big day. He got email cards from several people and even from one of the children & a son-in-law!