Sunday, May 31, 2009

Back to Walking Though We're a Little Out of Shape

We're coming up to July and thus we'll have been in Ecuador as residents for a full year. We've picked up several things on the web that reinforce our decision to move here, in that apparently they now believe that extra sunlight & learning a new language both help to prevent Alzheimer's. Brian's been pointing out to Shelley lately that we've probably got a good 20 years that we'll be spending almost 24 hours a day together; his argument being that she should forgive him his minor foibles (not listening when she's talking) and her quick retort being: "You're only going to get worse as time goes on if we don't deal with it now!"

Quite often people ask us how we fill our time and anyone who has read the blog for awhile can see that we do. None of it is particularly earth shattering (walking is one of our major entertainments) but we never really feel bored and mostly are just grateful we've managed to end up where we are. We've been complimented on being great adventurers and compliments should be accepted with grace but we really don't feel that it's deserved. Living on our boat in Canada was probably more alien & alienating than coming to Ecuador. In any case, here we are in Ecuador winter (it rains every 2nd day instead of every 5th day) and Shelley still hasn't felt the need to wear socks. Hard to beat it!

As it was "bill day" and Fredi's scar is all healed (except for one little tiny patch) & her pink-prevent-chew-collar finally was off, we decided to walk her through the day and see how she did. We went down the street to ETAPA and paid our electricity & cold water. The bill was $4 more than usual as a $2 discount was discontinued and we'd used $2 more in electricity. We couldn't figure that one out but paid it without protest. The total was still only $14. Then we walked to the bus and went to the ETAPA downtown to pay our internet bill. While we were there we double checked that we couldn't pay our other ETAPA bills at the downtown place and were told once again "No". Different ETAPA places depending on the service. Who knows? Then we walked to the bank and paid our rent and then wandered around to 3 different "Chinese" stores, as Shelley was looking for a new blouse. She didn't find anything; everything was too synthetic. At last we walked home and Fredi was a trooper; no complaining, no sitting down refusing to walk any more, just frantic smelling & zoning in on a kleenex or 2. The day was beautiful, the sun was shining and people were smiling on the street. By the time we got home both Brian & Shelley's legs were tired. We forgot, giving Fredi a break on the walking, we'd given ourselves one too. We were ones out of shape because of it though, not Fredi.

While checking through Cuenca's Cultural Calendar on line, we discovered Concierto de Jazz al Aire Libre: Orquesta Juvenil de Jazz de Baden-Württemberg at the Plazoleta de San Sebastián and headed off to it Saturday morning to see how it would be. The San Sebastian Plaza is about half-way between our apartment and downtown so a walk there & back is a pleasant little excursion. Once we got the plaza, it was obvious nothing was going on. There was a group of teenagers playing some sort of tag game, where they stick a rolled up bandana in their pants hanging down like a tail, and then chase after one another until someone grabs the tail. We sat and watched kids for awhile and then decided to head downtown. We got almost to the middle of town and Brian heard jazz music.

Zeroing in on the music we came upon the orchestra we'd originally hoped to see. We found some seats and enjoyed some really wonderful music. There we were, sitting in the sunshine in Ecuador, the occasional butterfly flitting over our heads, listening to American jazz played & sung (in English) by a group of young people from Germany. There was an Englishman on one side of us and a German family on the other. Talking to some Americans in front of us, they told us there had been a misprint online but that a flyer had been handed out which was correct. Two Ecuadorian women, one in front of us and one behind us, were both enchanted with Fredi. Fredi found the music a bit loud but covering her ears seemed to muffle it just enough to stop her concern. We were grateful not to have missed this wonderful concert which from time to time actually brought tears to our eyes. Afterward we ran into some friends and chatted for a bit. They too agreed the concert was great!

On Sunday we managed to walk all the way downtown, wander around the main square for awhile listening to the band, check this and that out and then walk all the way home. The group in the square started out as perhaps being a Santana-like group; the guitar player wowed us for several licks & Shelley commented that "he must be practicing". However, in the end they turned out to be the typical Ecuadorian group that plays the same song over and over again (joke). We picked up a copy of the new movie Angels & Demons (with Tom Hanks) a few days ago but the sound quality was so terrible, Shelley ended up going to sleep. Brian eventually woke her up and we stopped watching the movie at that point. We spent some time testing out various copies of the movie around town but didn't find a better one. We'll have to wait until they pirate the CD rather than the movie. Fredi was a trooper on our walk and really enjoyed herself. Brian and Shelley were in trudge mode by the last few blocks but we made it!

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