Friday the 13th came and went and we, once again, survived mostly intact. The web tells us there'll be 3 this year (Friday the 13ths) which apparently only happens once every 11 years. "Fear of Friday the 13th - one of the most popular myths in science - is called paraskavedekatriaphobia as well as friggatriskaidekaphobia. Triskaidekaphobia is fear of the number 13." It's all very interesting and means very little.
In any case, we took Fredi to the Park, the "best place in the whole world" (to her) and she romped & hopped & generally had a great time. We even went through some jungle tracks & pretended to be great hunters. Shelley got some nice pictures of wild flowers & Fredi snoozed on the bus going home. Talking with one of our ExPat friends on the phone Brian commented: "It's getting harder as we've been to all the good spots now" in response to the question "wha'da'ya been up to". Our routine of Spanish lessons, chores, long walks & afternoon naps has become pretty much entrenched.
More Spanish: When the object of a verb is a person, you need to put the preposition "a" (also known as the "personal a") in front of it. This "a" has no real meaning and is not translated, e.g. Quiero a Lucy - I love Lucy.
Valentine's Day kept us close to home except for Fredi's walk during which we saw several vendors selling Valentine balloons & roses. Downtown, near where the flower market is, they've been selling cards & stuffed toys for the last couple of weeks. We both downloaded/printed a card (in English) from the net for each other, kept them hidden until the big day & then shyly brought them out. We had lomo fino & Caesar salad for dinner and generally, one more time, congratulated ourselves on not being in Vancouver during February (perhaps that city's most miserable month).
An example of how cosmopolitan we're becoming is that the other day we watched an older version of the movie Project Valkyrie on History Channel on TV. It was in German with Spanish subtitles. Given that we knew what the story was about, we actually didn't have much trouble watching it. The Spanish subtitles seem to be getting easier and easier to follow. We guess we really are making some progress, even though at times it doesn't feel like it.
Sunday we were invited out to dinner at a friend's apartment. It was the first time we'd seen their place and it really was charming; Shelley would almost "kill" for their patios. In any case, we had a lovely chat and were fed an absolutely divine Thai noodle dish. We would have got the recipe but several of the ingredients cannot be purchased in Ecuador. Fredi as usual was close to perfect even though we'd had to sneak her into the building, past the security guard (no dogs allowed) in a zippered purse.
Monday morning dawned for us at 2:30 a.m. when Fredi got kicked off the bed accidently. Having slept for several hours, she figured it was time to get up (after all she'd been rudely awoken) and it took us some harsh words and at least an hour to convince her it was inappropriate to be in such a good mood. Shelley was greeting by Brian in the morning telling her the computer was "down" and although he'd tried the various tricks to get it going again, they'd been to no avail. Dragging her butt from bed, it took Shelley about an hour to get the Mac rolling & in the meantime Fredi's feelings were hurt once again because she'd missed her usually morning Shelley cuddle. Two wrong-telephone-number calls at 8:30 a.m. & a text message from Shelley's youngest daughter saying she was ill (nothing too serious), rounded off the morning quite nicely. Have we mentioned the demented school master who harangues his students every morning over a loud speaker and often plays rousing military music at 7:30 a.m.? This blog started out with comments about Friday the 13th. Is there a delayed effect in Ecuador?
Tuesday had us wandering downtown to pick up some potatoes at the public market, a new $14 shirt to satisfy Shelley's clothes lust (made in Ecuador thus no extra taxes), some indigenous tea & some cooking chocolate. You can't buy cooking chocolate at SuperMaxi but you can buy it in the public markets in huge flat-with-bumps-slabs or smaller chunks. Shelley's wondering a little how to convert the cooking chocolate measurements she's used to (x # of squares) into these slabs & chunks (it can be done). Fredi as usual, charmed the sales ladies and they're teaching us all sorts of diminutive words in Spanish to describe cute small things. Linda, bonita, perracita...
Wednesday was inoculation/grooming day for Fredi. She had her shot, which is always quite a shock & then that icky tasting medicine, not to mention having her temperature taken from the rear end. Then she had her fur cut/groomed on her body, leaving just the fur on her head and tail long. Now she really looks like the lion the Tibetans named her after. While we were waiting for Fredi it was off to the Public Market to pick up a couple of cactus. We thought Fredi would be all traumatized by her morning at the Vet, but once she was outside on the leash everything seemed to be just fine. That afternoon she had her regular nap with Brian & except for the fact that she looked so cute in her new hair-do & that she seemed just a tad more needy, you wouldn't have known anything had happened. Unable to help herself, Shelley picked up a pink dog back pack for Fredi. She fits in it very much like a newborn baby pack and seems to like the ride just fine. "It'll be easier on me" Shelley told Brian trying to convince him (his real problem was that it was pink). "This way she'll be on 2 shoulders not just one like with the purse". Brian obviously caved in the end. Are we indulgent "new parents" or what?
Thursday Fredi figured out how to get on the bed. She's been too small to jump up on the couch or bed so far, but last week she leaped onto the couch (surprising herself) & this morning she managed the bed. Brian's usually up around 5:30 or 6:00 but Shelley sleeps to a much more civilized hour. However, when a Fredi dog is licking your ear it becomes almost impossible. We stuck around home in the morning, only going out for Fredi's off-leash romp for 45 minutes. Later on we were invited for coffee & snacks at a friend's place. They have the most spectacular view of the big cathedral anywhere. We'll post the pictures in a future blog. When you see them remember that it's only from their apartment that you can see all 3 domes of the cathedral at the same time.
On the way home we ran into yet another Cuencano parade. This time it seemed to be a battle of the drum bands between various high schools. Lots of energy & enthusiasm & the young people seemed to really enjoy strutting their stuff. This weekend marks Carnival, Ecuador's biggest and most boisterous celebration. This is the one where kids of all ages seem to delight in throwing water on people. Frequently you'll see a pick-up truck with people in the back & buckets of water. They grab cups and sling the water on bystanders. You also have to be careful when walking under balconies. Water balloons are a huge item! Gringos are a favourite target.
We've purposely done a week on this blog (day to day), as much for us to see what a typical week looks like as for the people who may read it. None of it is earth shattering, but we manage to keep ourselves busy and active in our retirement and continue to enjoy it. Fredi has added a whole new dimension to our lives and we're both rather surprised at how much we feel for the little darling. We'd thought that rabies shots were not administered until 15 months but finally figured out it's 15 weeks, so we should be clear to travel cross border with Fredi in not too long a time (we're still looking into the details). If this is your first reading of Planet Irony, you should check out the index for "Ecuador Winter Holiday 2008" for first impressions and "Homeless in Ecuador" & "Getting Settled in Ecuador" for details re setting up an apartment etc here.
Until next time...tienen un gran día!