One thing Ecuador is teaching us, quite like the boat also taught us, is to be self-reliant about many things. Brian recently made up a batch of home made Italian sausage meat for pizza. We have looked high and low and have found some almost spicy sausages but nothing like what can be bought in the stores in Canada, the U.S. & Europe. Shelley's made her own chili pepper flakes and one of our readers sent a recipe for Miracle Whip that we're going to try out in due course. These are small things and we shouldn't be misunderstood; we're not complaining. The trade off is endless fresh fruit, queso fresco cheese & (albeit killer) wonderful buns!
Our daughter sent us an email advising she'd forwarded all our Canadian tax papers. The package she mailed cost $35 in postage (can you believe it?). It seems to take about 2 weeks for anything mailed, so we have some leeway before we actually have to get down and start calculating. Canada apparently has a tax treaty with Ecuador so that after we file our last Canadian resident income tax return, then Canada starts deducting 15% of our Canadian Income after $12,000 as non-residents. How exactly this works, however, we're not sure. We may have to pay the 15% and then file returns requesting a refund. It's all very confusing and we've been asking around but can find no Canadian who can give us their experience and advice. Just the thought of the packaging wending its way to us has given Shelley a bit of an anxiety attack. Who likes dealing with the income tax department? Brian has told Shelley in no uncertain terms that he's not willing to think about it or talk to her about it until the package arrives. Although on the surface this may seem reasonable, Shelley's mind doesn't always do what Brian's telling it to.
Fredi is a foolish little puppy! We were out for a walk along the river and Fredi took it into her head to exuberantly jump over a retaining wall, falling at least 20 feet (no exaggeration) onto a tiny bit of sandy shore next to the river. Anywhere else where these retaining walls are, she would have fallen either onto a sloped grassy bank or straight into the river. Shelley immediately called to her and we were relieved to see her frantically trolling the tiny beach looking for a way up (i.e. she wasn't hurt). With Shelley going down one side of the steep bank and Brian the other, we went to the rescue. Brian was able to get to Fredi first and handed her up to Shelley. After climbing through tree debris and up the bank again, Brian proceeded to give a stern lecture about the dangers of jumping over a retaining wall. "Are you talking to me or Fredi?" Shelley asked.
We sat down on the grass for awhile to let Brian's heart go back into a normal rhythm. Brian made Shelley feel along Fredi's ribs & legs to make sure she wasn't hiding any injury. She was fine. Continuing on our walk, we noticed that Fredi now gave the retaining walls a wide berth. "If either one of us would have fallen that distance, we'd have hurt ourselves for sure" Shelley pointed out to Brian. "Shih Tzu must be like cats; 9 lives!"
It was off to the veterinarian for Fredi's next shot. Once again, Fredi was very brave. It hurt A LOT because she had to have 2 shots this time (!) but she settled immediately after and didn't seem to hold a grudge. We discussed getting Fredi spayed and were advised if at all possible to wait until Fredi has had her first heat. We're getting conflicting advice regarding this and upon searching the web were pretty much told to get her done before her first heat. Now we're confused. We'll take the web advice to the vet and see what she says again; we still have a month or so before timing gets critical.
Lunch at the Mediterrane, dinner at Eucalyptus & lunch again at La Parillada made for a delightful if somewhat "stuffed" week. At the Mediterrane our Ecuadorian/American blog friend hosted us and once again we had a delightful time talking about the differences between North & South America (viva la diferencia!), cooking at high altitudes & food in general. We met several friends at Eucalyptus and Shelley took a survey to find out if everyone was satisfied with their meal. Shelley had chicken with peanut sauce & a spicy cabbage salad. It was wonderful! Three people had Pad Thai and a couple of people had sushi. Everyone surveyed was very happy with their meal & we talked about politics, dogs & the good life in Ecuador. La Parillada has an all-you-can-eat Sunday buffet lunch so we thought it would be fun if a bunch of us went together to try it out. It ended up 17 of us attended and we ate charcoal grilled meats (a bit dry & salty), the local potato soup (wonderful!), various salads & a light coffee whip/cream dessert (Shelley had 2!). The bill came to a total of $228 and most of us had a beer (or 2). We talked about politics, dogs & the good life in Ecuador (does this sound familiar) and a convivial time was had by all.
If you've been reading the blog for awhile you know that we both quit smoking February 1, 2008. That means we've passed our first anniversary (pat on the back for us) but it also means we've both gained a couple of pounds that weren't there previously. While neither one of us is tipping into a bad BMI, the clothes are just a tad tighter & the scale just a tad squeaky. Eating massive meals out 3 times a week will not do this any good!