Ecuador is a land of cottage industry opportunity; a land of vendors. At different times of the year individuals and street stalls spring up overnight selling fireworks, soccer shirts, mannequins for burning (Guy Fawkes style) and leading up to Palm Sunday, every few yards downtown you encounter someone sitting and weaving palm fronds into various decorations. When we went for our neighbourhood walk on Palm Sunday we encountered many groups of people and families with their woven fronds; baskets, fans, decorations & long scepters.
Also during our walk we passed by La Esouina de Las Artes an upscale artisan market on El Barranco / Av. 12 de Abril y Agustin Cueva. On the opposite end of the scale from the palm frond vendors, we've been to this mall many times and almost always see something we shouldn't buy, but do. This time we dropped into Signum which sells designer hand knit items representing both traditional and contemporary aesthetics. Shelley's been looking for a small brown sweater to wear with a dress for weeks now and Signum supplied. We also peeked in the Artes de la Tierra Galeria, which carries Eduardo Vega, Ernesto Jaramillo, Maria Augusta Crespo y Juan Guillermo Vega and bought yet another fish for our fish wall. Shelley is now chanting quietly under her breath: "Must not shop...must not shop....must not shop..." but we are sure Ecuador is pleased we're contributing to their economy.
By the way, Twitter tells us that: (RT @billabonggirls) Cali girl Courtney Conlogue brought home silver & Hawaiian surfer Alessa Quizon the bronze at the ISA World Juniors in Equador April 5th. These surfing championships were being held in Salinas just a week and a bit after we were there. We commented in the blog that Salinas was more of a "family oriented" beach but you can bet during these championships bikini babes & buff boys abound!
Brian went off to the airport Monday evening to pick up our friend from Canada and get him settled at his hostel. Fredi stuck to Shelley like glue the whole time Brian was gone and was OVERJOYED (!!!) to see Brian walk through the door. Dogs are very gratifying that way. With cats you're lucky if they'll glance up at you to see if you happen to be carrying a tuna. The next morning Brian was off to escort Greg through some typical tourist musts: pick up map from tourist bureau, buy cheap cell phone, see indigenous market, take tour of panama hat factory, drink cheap beer. The girls (Shelley & Fredi) took a walk to the plant place a few blocks away from where we live. After losing sight of the building, Fredi planted herself and tried to refuse moving any further. Shelley tugged on the leash and won via muscle strength but Fredi sure didn't want to wander without the Alpha Male along.
That evening we had 2 couples and Greg over for dinner. During Brian's afternoon galavant with Greg he was under instructions to buy a fork. The set we'd originally purchased was for 6 and Shelley felt salad might be somewhat difficult eating it with a spoon. "The rest would be OK though" she conjectured. Shelley had also told one of her guests jokingly that we were minus a fork, so not only did Brian buy 4 but the guest brought 2. Does that mean we can now feed 12 people? (Some would have to sit on the floor?) In any case, we had a lovely evening and talked about Texas & Canada & Ecuador & Vlad the Impaler (don't ask). Brian made his chicken cacciatore & Shelley made her microwave cheese cake. Everyone ate well and it continues to please us that we have made friends with some truly nice people down here in Ecuador.
It's raining! It's been raining for 2 days! How can we convince our friend from Vancouver that this is not the usual weather? He's being gracious and said even though it's raining it's not cold like in Vancouver but still...! We took him to Feria Libra and pointed out the ducks & puppies, fruits & vegetables, clothes & blankets, flowers & cactus and wandered through the market & had roast pig for lunch & generally was awed by the vibrancy & colours....even though it was raining. By the time we got home Shelley's shoes were squishing and Brian's shirt was soaked through because he hadn't zipped up his rain coat. Fredi was shivering & generally looked ratish. We had fun though.