Friday, June 19, 2009

Nothin' Special but All's Fine

More Spanish: to have ~ (1) haber: I have already seen that film. Ya he visto esa pelicula. (2) tener: I have a terrible cold. Tengo un resfiado horrible. (3) tomar: I'll have a coffee. Tomare un cafe.

A friend of ours, reading the blog, sent us an e-mail saying the Payless shoe stores in Ecuador were going to close due to the new 35% tax imposed on imports. Thinking "crap, we've just found a place to get Brian shoes and they're closing", we trudged off downtown to purchase yet another pair of shoes for Brian in "just in case" mode. We asked the lady in the store if she knew about the closure and she was quite adamant they were not closing. Now...she may simply not yet be in the loop...and we recognize that. Upon arriving back home we Googled the whole thing and came up with a press release that Google displayed as: "increased costs to comply with new regulations and taxes in Ecuador", however, when we clicked on the link, the article never came up although we let our computer grind away at it for about half an hour. Looking back at our friend's e-mail, we noted that he'd actually talked to the owners of the store in Cuenca. Plans change, however. In any case, we suppose we'll find out soon enough and Brian now has enough shoes to keep him going for at least a year.

Thirteen of us met at the Otabe on 2-33 Avenue Remigio Crespo and had a wonderful Japanese Restaurant experience. The cook is Ecuadorian but has all the moves and entertained us royally chopping & flipping vegetables & meat. There's a large area in the middle of the restaurant with four grills with seating in a circle around them for about 16, plus side tables for overflow customers and another smaller grill area off to the side. Shelley had grilled noodles & vegetables and Brian had a full meal deal for $12 which included steak, salmon, mushrooms, sauteed bean sprouts & a grilled fruit dessert with ice cream on top. We ended up sitting beside a couple we've never met before from the mid-west of the United States. They're here in Cuenca for 2 months scouting the place out for their up-coming retirement in a year. We talked about culture shock & the wonderful people and weather here, our respective puppies (they have 2 Pekinese), the health system in the U.S. vs Canada vs Ecuador, our respective children, past careers & learning Spanish.

One of our friends mocked us for trying to see the Corpus Christi fireworks from our front room window. The night we went to the Japanese Restaurant was the last night for those fireworks. Apparently one had to venture down to the main square when it was dark to see the action. See their blog: http://watsontravels.blogspot.com/2009_06_01_archive.html We explained it wasn't going to happen as we had to hurry home to catch the last season of ER just now showing in Ecuador; everyone has their own priorities we told them. We're not sure they agreed with us. ;-)

Having nothing pressing on our agenda, we hopped on the #2 bus (the first bus to come along) and took another one of our serendipity tours. We rode to the end of the line one way, which took us into the hills behind Feria Libre and admired various sheep & corn crops. We then rode back for the entire length of the line past the Centennial Mall, past the grounds of the Museo Banco Central (about the half-way point) to its other terminus at Totorococha. We got off the bus in Totorococha at a small park where every dog in the neighbourhood came over to inspect Fredi. It was all very civilized. The Barrio Totorococha is a very clean, well kept neighbourhood & it seemed a pleasant place to live. After about a 15 minute wait, the next bus came along and we rode home. The entire journey took us just over 2 hours and cost 50 cents each.

While we usually set off East from our place and head downtown and often go South/West to Feria Libri on our walks, we decided to shake things up and head West along the River and see what was new since the last time we walked that way. There's a small Co-op just opened, just West of the Avenida de las Americas and the Security Man outside graciously consented to watch Fredi while we went inside to inspect their meat & produce. We'd been told the prices were very good and they are. Shelley was quite enamored by the various squashes they had on display, advising Brian she could make a nice pumpkin-like pie out of squash. Picking Fredi up and entertaining the Security Guard royally with Fredi's overjoyed reaction to our returning from the store, we continued up the street by the side of the river. Crossing over a bridge and walking a few blocks we headed back until we got to the circle near SuperMaxi on Avenida de las Americas. There we stopped at the plant store across the street from SuperMaxi and picked up a giant plastic pot that Shelley carried home. She's going to grow a tomato plant in it. Tomatoes are plentiful, cheap & delicious here but there's nothing like fresh-picking a vine ripened tomato and eating it like an apple.

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