Friday, May 15, 2009

Of the Internet & Fredi's Fame

Dinner at the Reemiles (Brian cooked his Mom's curry recipe) was successful. We had over a new couple to Ecuador and a couple of old hands and the mixture proved to be a good exchange of thoughts and ideas. We talked about the difficulties of doing wire transfers if you haven't arranged them in your home country first, the problems with banking in Ecuador in general, the best places to shop in Cuenca for household items. We gabbled about riding the buses, the ExPat community here & items you just can't find in the grocery store. Fredi, figuring it was her house, jumped on everybody that would let her. We ended up putting her in one of the bedrooms for an hour or so and when she was let out she was much more subdued. (It's a dog's life.) Everyone enjoyed Brian's curry and all in all it was a pleasant evening.

We've been having internet blues and took a taxi ride down to ETAPA to see what they had to say. Explaining problems over the phone with our Spanish is fruitless. They did an on-line diagnostic and said they figured there was something wrong with our modem. They were supposed to be sending people out to us the next day between 8:00 and 11:00 a.m. but (this is Ecuador) we'll see what happens. While we were there we expanded our band width. For an extra $20 per month we expanded it 2 1/2 times. This service was switched on while we were actually at ETAPA. Upon arriving home nothing seemed any different so we await the internet repair guys. We've been getting worse and worse service for the last couple of weeks and the day we decided to head down to ETAPA our service was intermittent at best. To top it all off, Shelley's arthritis has been acting up for the last couple of days and her youngest daughter was making her gut wrench from 3,000 miles away. (No one can press your buttons better than family.) All this is par for the course but it just added to a generally "poopy" morning.

With internet not working and the weather being generally rainy (thus Shelley's arthritis) it was unanimously decided to spend the afternoon reading and napping. We lived for at least 7 years on the boat (maybe longer) with no TV & no internet. These days we sometimes wonder how we managed that (board games, cards, reading, music, naps & conversation). The ambiance of the boat (darkish, enclosing & cozy) certainly made hunkering easier. It was a boat joke that come winter all the boat people hunkered down below and you didn't see them again until Spring. Come Spring everyone was outside working on their decks. It's harder to hunker when you've got a big picture window showing off a huge Ecuadorian sky.

In typical Ecuadorian fashion, the internet guys did not appear between 8 and 11 a.m. Shelley stuck around until 11 and then walked downtown with Fredi to check the post office box. There was a Mothers' Day Card waiting for her. Brian stayed at home "just in case" but to no avail. They may show up first thing in the morning, but if they haven't by the time we've done our chores and studied Spanish, we'll have to take another cab ride to ETAPA and find out what is going on. We've gone through this routine with ETAPA and the internet before and we'll likely go through it again. No sense being upset or put out, it's just the way it is. Our net continues to be erratic. We can however, now watch videos in real time! This is because of the upgrade but our other problem (we were told) is likely our modem.

The next day we waited until 11 before we set out on our day. I suppose it goes without saying the internet guys again did not show up. Our intermittent internet seems to have pretty much disappeared, so perhaps it's just as well they didn't show up. Nevertheless, it's rather annoying. If our problem returns, we'll have to take a taxi back to ETAPA and instigate the whole fractured appointment business over again. It'd be nice to think they fixed the problem in the office and that's why they didn't show up, but we know that's not it. It's just Ecuador. Please understand we're not saying how awful this is, we're just commenting on how different it is from say Canada..... Well...maybe daughter's been waiting for decent internet in Canada for months now and they finally decided to switch carriers and ended up without internet for 12 days.

PS:- For those wondering ~ we still have a hole in our kitchen ceiling. Should this situation EVER change, we'll not forget to tell all and sundry.

Off we went to the CB Carolina Bookstore for our monthly allotment of English language novels. As always Carol & Lee were gregarious and helpful and during our time there several people dropped by for a hello and/or a book or two. They advised us that they too had been having trouble with their internet the last few days and that they used ETAPA as well. So, perhaps it's not our modem (since the problem now seems to be fixed) and simply ETAPA. Not showing up for the appointment was their way of telling us this.

Friday evening we went to Gringo Night at Zoe's. We hadn't been for several weeks and as it turned out quite a few other folks who don't go every week showed up as well. We gathered together at a long table that kept getting longer as people arrived. As one point however, we looked around and noticed that there were a bunch of new faces. It made us realize that we were now official "old hands". Later on at home, Brian asked "What do we think about that?" (being old hands that is) and we agreed that it was just another sign that we really are making Cuenca our home. As usual Fredi ingratiated herself with everybody. She is acquiring her own measure of "fame". The other day when Shelley & Fredi took a walk downtown without Brian, several people pointed and called out "Fredi !" Fredi is handling her new found status with aplomb.

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